Flower

Why Do the Religious Reject Regeneration?

The Reverend C. J. Huggins

This Sermon was presented at Redeemer Baptist Church, Macon, Georgia on Sunday morning, July 13, 2003.

I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve met your Pastor previously at one of the ARBCA assemblies and I’m excited to know that there is a sister church in Macon, so close by. We’re excited about all the possibilities of what God is doing in terms of raising up churches like ours throughout the Georgia area. So you be in prayer that God will raise up even more churches and God would give us a burden to plant churches and He will bless us by raising up churches that preach the Gospel, that hold to the doctrines of grace and that are truly reformed both in doctrine and in practice.

Turn with me to John’s Gospel, chapter 3 (John 3)

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”
4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

We’re going to look this morning specifically at verses 9 – 15 of John’s Gospel chapter 3 and I want to address this question: Why do the religious reject regeneration? Why do some people and specifically some religious people, people that you know, people who claim to follow Christ? Why is it that so many of them reject the Bible’s doctrine of regeneration?

Now be careful. I don’t want you to misunderstand here. Most if not all of them accept the concept of being “born again”. It was Jimmy Carter back in the seventies that popularized the phrase “born again”. In fact you hardly ever heard the phrase “born again” used in the popular media until Jimmy Carter was elected President. Then, of course, his claim to fame was that he was a “born again Christian”. That was the same year that one of the major magazines in America named that year the “year of the evangelical”. The phrase “born again” took on all kinds of meaning in America and people were intrigued by the idea. And Baptists in particular are fond of speaking of themselves as being “born again believers”. And so most Christians that you and I know and most Christians that we meet have some understanding of what it means to be born again. And they accept the idea that a Christian has new life as a result of being a Christian.

However, once the Biblical doctrine of regeneration is carefully explained, we discover that many Christians reject the doctrine of regeneration. Many religious people reject it. Why is that?

There’s one thing that I didn’t share this morning in the Bible study hour. When our Church was applying for membership in the local Baptist association, the Flint River Baptist Association, we went before the credentials committee. Now the credentials committee’s job is to examine this prospective church doctrinally. And they were ready for us. They’d examined our church constitution and discovered that we held to the London Baptist Confession of Faith and they had the London Baptist Confession of Faith on one hand and they had the 1969 Baptist Faith and Message on the other. And they were comparing those two documents. And prior to our coming, they’d decided on a particular strategy. That strategy was to demonstrate that those two confessions of faith were incompatible; that they were at odds with one another. We were taken aback by this approach but, never the less, we were ready for them. And after they had said a few things to present their case and their argument, I spoke up and asked the gentlemen, “How many of you believed that regeneration precedes (comes before) faith?” No one raised his hand. I said, “How many of you believe a man is born again and then he places his faith in Christ?” No one raised their hand. I said, “Well, how many of you believe that one places faith in Christ and then he is born again?” The hands come up. I said, “Ok, you have a copy of the 1969 Baptist Faith and Message. Now take a look at it and read it with me. It says regeneration (and I’m not quoting word for word but this is the jist of it) is a work of God’s grace to which man responds in faith and repentance.” I said, “Now if you respond to something, that means your response comes after. Right?” They said, “Yes”. I said, “So the ’69 Baptist Faith and Message clearly teaches that regeneration comes before faith and repentance.” To which one gentleman threw his copy of the ’69 Baptist Faith and Message onto the table and proclaimed, “Well, I guess then I’m not a Baptist.” Well, to make a long story short, it was we who were not allowed to become Baptist. Not they.

There is this antagonism, you see, among people toward what the Bible really teaches about regeneration. When you come to John, chapter 3, you have a chapter on this particular doctrine; the doctrine of regeneration. And Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus how this thing works. Nicodemus comes to Jesus inquiring about the nature of Jesus’ teaching. He has some appreciation for the fact that Jesus is at least a prophet; a man from God because he can’t deny the works that he’s seen. However, he’s confused at best and perhaps there’s even a deeper problem with Nicodemus. And Jesus cuts right to the chase and says Nicodemus; you cannot even see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again. Now what Jesus means by “see” … He has here what is common in John’s Gospel, a double entendre. That means kind of a double reference, you see. And it’s…you find this throughout John’s Gospel, where Jesus is saying, in one sense, that your not going to get to the Kingdom of Heaven unless you’re born again but in another and more profound sense you cannot see the Kingdom in the sense of perceiving it, understanding it, grasping it unless you are born again. In other word, Nicodemus, before you can even take one step toward the Kingdom, you must have an experience.

Now it’s important and I’m sure at some point you’ve had this pointed out to you and that is that this issue of being born again in John’s Gospel, chapter 3 here is not an imperative. That is it’s not a command; it’s an indicative. This is something that must happen to you. This is not something you do. This must occur in your life. You must be born again and God is the one who does it.

And of course Nicodemus is confused and he asks, “How can this be?” He’s thinking purely on the physical realm. “How can a man be born a second time when he’s old?” Even when he’s young, how can a man be born again? Of course, Jesus is talking about spiritual things not physical things. So Nicodemus fails to grasp this truth.

So this is where we pick up. And what we’re going to discover in this passage, verses 9 – 15, is that Nicodemus’ problem is not really so much a cognitive problem, that is not an intellectual problem, but it’s a problem of the heart. It’s a problem of the will. And his slowness to accept what Jesus is teaching about the necessity of this new birth prior to any move toward the Kingdom… His slowness is so typical of the slowness that you perceive in many of your own friends when you talk about this issue of regeneration and what it really means to be born again.

So Jesus challenges Nicodemus’ rejection of the necessity of regeneration. Nicodemus rejected Jesus’ teaching. He clearly rejects it. Verse 9; look what it says. “How can this be?” Nicodemus asks. Now this question, in the original language, “How can this be?” is not so much a question of, “Please explain this to me, I’m not quite getting it” as much as it is, “this is crazy”. It’s like, “Come on now. How can this be?” It’s like when someone tells you, “I’ve seen elephants fly”. “Now how can elephants fly? How can this be?” Jesus has presented Nicodemus with an impossibility. And Nicodemus finds this incredible… this concept of a new birth, “How can this be?”

It was unreasonable, to Nicodemus that a man could be born again; born anew; born from above. It was unreasonable in that he could not grasp it fully with his mind. “How are these things possible? Yeah, it was something he did not have the mental capacity to grasp. And since he could not grasp it mentally, in his mind, then, it was impossible.

Kind of like people who express serious doubts about the resurrection of Jesus. And when you talk to them you find out their doubts are based on a premise they’ve accepted and that is that miracles are impossible. “I’ve never seen one. I don’t know how it can happen. Therefore, miracles don’t happen. They’re impossible.” “How can this be? It’s unreasonable.” “I cannot mentally comprehend such an event. And since I cannot mentally comprehend it, it can’t happen.” Do you detect an arrogance in that sort of position? “If this is not something I can understand then it’s not something which is possible. How are these things possible?”

But it was also unreasonable to Nicodemus in that it did not fit his preconceived notions of God and His Kingdom.

So Nicodemus finds this teaching of Jesus on regeneration unreasonable in that:

He did not understand it, he could not grasp it fully, but then;
It did not fit his preconceived notions of God and His Kingdom. Nicodemus comes to Jesus with preconceived notions of God and His Kingdom as a Pharisee. You can imagine what some of Nicodemus’ notions might be.

And so Jesus was forever challenging the Pharisaical understanding of many things. And so Nicodemus comes almost with a closed mind. He sort of reminds me of some of our students in Australia, at the theological college. They would come to the theological college and they came, many of them did, not really expecting to learn something but instead expecting to have their beliefs confirmed. And so they came to class with what I call a theological rug very firmly positioned underneath their feet. And then as class would proceed I would take great delight in jerking the rug. And listen. We’re all the same. We all have rugs that we stand on and when someone starts jerking them, we’re very uncomfortable. We don’t like it. We want everything to conform to the rug that we’re standing on. We have our paradigm and we want everything to conform to that. Nicodemus is no different.

And so Nicodemus finds Jesus’ teaching unreasonable. “How can these things be?” Because, to him, he can’t understand it and it doesn’t fit his preconceived notions of God and God’s Kingdom.

Now perhaps Nicodemus rejected Jesus’ teaching additionally because to him it was not just unreasonable but also uncomfortable. I think this is where we begin to get to the heart of the matter. He found it uncomfortable. Now what was uncomfortable about Jesus teaching on regeneration? Well, it was uncomfortable to Nicodemus in that it affirmed the absolute sovereign grace of God in salvation. It strikes at the very heart of man’s autonomy. It challenges man as the captain of his own soul.

Nicodemus did not like this idea. Nicodemus is like the rest of us. You too can recall, perhaps, when you were first in the process of having your eyes opened to the truth of the Gospel. Do you remember kicking and not liking it?

I remember the story of C.S. Lewis, his autobiography, Surprised By Joy, and he talks about his coming to Christ. And he mentions that he’s on a trip to the zoo. And he says somewhere between leaving his house and arriving at the zoo, he was converted. Now this is not without some prior preaching and reading of the Word and contemplating Christian truths but somewhere between his house and the zoo, he was converted. But he talks about himself initially being the most reluctant, resistant, unhappy convert in all of England. He said, “Look, this is not what I set out to do. This is not who I set out to be.” But God got a hold of him. You see, every time we, as human beings, are confronted with a God who is sovereign, we kick against that, we don’t like that. Nicodemus is no different. He doesn’t like the idea.

What is it that Jesus told him about the Spirit? This Spirit, it blows like the wind wherever it will. You can’t control the wind and you can’t control the Spirit of God. You can’t predict on whom it will blow. This is a matter entirely out of your hands. You see the Pharisees had created a form of Judaism, which they controlled. They could get their hands around it. They could understand it. They had their rules. They had their regulations. They had their oral tradition which surrounded the law. Their intent was that man never break God’s law again. So they went out beyond God’s law with all these other laws to make sure that man never even got close to breaking God’s laws. They had their religion in their hands. They were in control of it. They knew it. They were the religious authorities. And Jesus comes along and says, “Look, something as got to happen to you over which you have no control.” This made Nicodemus very uncomfortable. “How can this be?”

It was also uncomfortable to him in that it threatened his assumed standing in the Kingdom. Remember, he is THE teacher in Israel. Many Bible scholars believe that Nicodemus was at the top of his rank. He was one of the primary, if not the primary theological teacher in Israel. And here is this prophet, perhaps who is telling Nicodemus if this has not happened to you (we can assume that Nicodemus is thinking, “No, what he’s talking about hasn’t happened to me.”) that you don’t have a clue about the Kingdom of God, not even a clue. So this is very threatening to Nicodemus. He must be very uncomfortable with the idea because Jesus is clearly challenging not only this man’s standing in the Kingdom of God but also his standing in the community, his religious standing, his reputation. Jesus is essentially saying, Nicodemus, you are not a man fit for the Kingdom as you are. Nicodemus is uncomfortable with all that Jesus is saying about the necessity of regeneration.

Jesus challenges Nicodemus (we’ll see in this text) not by increasing Nicodemus’ understanding but by reprimanding him for his prideful unbelief. You see Jesus could have taken one of two directions here. After Nicodemus responds to Jesus’ teaching by rejecting it saying, “How can this be?” could have said, Nicodemus look. Obviously you just don’t understand. Let me back up and explain it more carefully. But by Jesus’ response to Nicodemus, you can tell that Nicodemus’ primary problem was not a mental issue. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the mental capacity to understand what Jesus was saying; he lacked the heart capacity to accept what Jesus was saying. That was his problem. And so Jesus reprimands him.

Look at verse 10.

10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?

Jesus was saying, just as you find my teaching on regeneration incredible, I find it incredible that you don’t know about it. I tell you the truth. We speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen but still you people (Who are “you people”? Nicodemus and the Pharisees whom he represents) do not accept our testimony. Do you see? Jesus cuts right to the heart of the matter. The issue is not so much that you can’t understand what I’m saying but it’s that you don’t like what I’m saying. You find it unreasonable, uncomfortable and you’re rejecting it. He says I’ve spoken to you of earthly things and you don’t believe, how then will you believe when I speak of heavenly things. In other words, I’ve explained regeneration by using earthly analogies. And if your not getting that, how in the world are you going to get spiritual truth that has no earthly analogy: things like the Trinity; the nature of Christ? Is there some earthly analogy by which you can explain those things? Men have tried but, in the end, it’s a matter of accepting what God has given us by way of revelation as being true. There are many things in God’s word which no earthly analogy can help us to understand. We must accept those things by faith. Jesus is saying, “If you’re not prepared to accept what I say, that can be explained by an earthly analogy, you’re never going to accept the weightier matters in terms of far more abstract concepts of my teaching.”

Nicodemus’ ignorance was clearly inexcusable. It was inexcusable because Nicodemus was the teacher of Israel and therefore should have known the Scriptures. It was inexcusable because it must have been his own pride which caused him to ignore those things which seemed unreasonable or uncomfortable. You see the Old Testament teaches about regeneration. In the New Covenant, the hallmark of the New Covenant is this issue of regeneration. “I will give my people a new heart. I will put my law in their hearts”. You see one of the major differences between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant is that the New Covenant is an effectual Covenant where the Old Covenant was not. A person could be a member of the Old Covenant but not be regenerate: not be a born again believer. How did a person become a member of the Old Covenant? By physical birth. But the New Covenant, only those who’ve experienced this new birth are members of the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant, you had both regenerate and unregenerate people making up this community of faith under the Old Covenant. And God was forever purging those people and calling back the remnant; the converted. But in the New Covenant only the converted are part of the New Covenant; only those who are regenerate. And Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, Nicodemus these things are clearly taught in the scriptures.

Why is Nicodemus ignorant of the Bibles teaching of the necessity of regeneration? The same reason that sometimes you have directed some of your friends to Romans 9, 10 and 11 and they’ve read it in your presence and they’ve said, “I’ve never seen that before”. Why have they never seen it? Have they never read Romans before? Well, perhaps. But more than likely, they’ve never seen it because it’s not something which fit they’re paradigm. It didn’t fit they’re preconceived notions. It made them uncomfortable. They didn’t like it and so they glossed over it.

R.C. Spruel once wrote that you should, when you read the Bible, get a yellow highlighter and highlight everything you don’t like as you read. You know, “Oh that troubles me” or “I don’t like that”. Then he says to go back and make sure you’ve understood the passage. It’s possible that you’ve misunderstood. But if you realize you’ve not misunderstood, but you still don’t like it. He says don’t take it out of the Bible and out of your thinking but instead realize that the problem is with you not the Word and deal with it.

I must confess when I first came to the doctrines of grace I didn’t like it. I was forced to that position because of the weight of Scripture. It was so obviously clear. At first, I saw it but didn’t like it. It’s there but I’m not fond of it. But no doubt, the Spirit of God kept at my heart and through further study and reflection soon, those things became not things which I didn’t like but things which I didn’t think I could live without, marvelous truths.

What was Nicodemus’ problem? It was a heart problem. He didn’t know about regeneration because he didn’t like the idea that this teaching presented. So he glossed over it in the Word of God. He failed to capture it. So his ignorance is inexcusable. Nicodemus and the Pharisees he represents had consistently rejected divinely revealed truth in favor of their own dubious human speculations. “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, we testify to what we have seen but still you people do not accept our testimony.” Like so many other people, when they come to scripture, they think it’s like a buffet in a restaurant where you can pick and choose what you like and what you want.

Because of their pride they had developed a religion that was reasonable to them. And because of their pride they had developed a religion that was comfortable to them. If Nicodemus’ pride had prevented him from accepting this simple revealed truth, clearly explained by these earthly analogies then, as I said before, he had no hope of accepting more complicated truths with no earthly analogies. In spite of his scholarly reputation, Nicodemus, without regeneration, was incapable of discovering the truth of salvation. It must be revealed to him by the one from heaven.

Verse 13, Jesus says,

13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.

That is no one in himself is capable of reaching into heaven and pulling down divine truth but there is one who came from heaven, the Son of Man, and just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. Nicodemus’ prideful unbelief is just like that of the snake bitten Israelites in the desert. His only hope is to simply look to Jesus.

What I want you to see in this passage is not a man who is simply confused, but a man whose heart is stubborn and hard. His issue is not an intellectual issue but it is clearly an issue of pride. He doesn’t accept Jesus’ teaching because Jesus’ teaching, to him, is unreasonable and to him it is uncomfortable. Both of those reasons reflect the nastiness of human pride. If I can’t comprehend it then I won’t have it. How can God be sovereign yet man responsible? I don’t know but that’s the truth. We just have to accept it.

I used to tell the students in Australia that every heresy in the history of the Church has resulted from men trying to resolve divine mystery. Trying to make Biblical both/ands either/ors. Think about it. Jesus is the God/man. All the heresies revolving around the person of Christ resulted from man trying to comprehend, trying to fully understand this person of Christ. Well how can you be God and man at the same time? That’s not possible so he was either God or man but not both. The Word of God is the word of men and the Word of God. How can that be? I don’t know but it is. All heresy revolving around the scriptures resulted from us trying to see it as just God’s Word or just man’s word. The Trinity, the Father, Son and Spirit, God’s sovereignty, man’s responsibility, this whole issue of the new birth. Jesus is clearly saying this is a mysterious thing like the wind. You can’t predict it. You can’t control it. It does what it wants to do. It’s under the sovereign direction of God.

People reject divine truth because of pride. Their pride either makes them come to the truth in some attempt to fully comprehend it or they want truth with which they can be entirely comfortable. Sinful human pride always breeds ignorance of God’s truth. Why are so many people ignorant of the doctrines of grace? Why are so many people ignorant of this teaching on regeneration? It’s pride. It is simple pride. It’s not just a lack of information. It is a lack of heart change. It is pride. Simple human pride always places human reason, what makes sense to me, over divine revelation.

The truth of the necessity of regeneration is mysterious and it is beyond human comprehension. It is known only by divine revelation. Sinful human pride always measures truth against what brings comfort. What makes me feel good about myself? You see the truth of the necessity of regeneration causes me to recognize my sinfulness and total inability to save myself.

I was having a conversation with a gentleman the other day. There were three or four guys sitting around but I was talking to one in particular. We were talking about the issue of God’s effective call as it’s found in John’s Gospel, chapter 6, where Jesus says, you can’t come to me unless the father draws you (verse 44). We were talking about how men come to God and because of their sinfulness they cannot come unless the Father, through the Spirit, opens their eyes to the truth of this Gospel giving them a new heart bringing them to Christ. Naturally, the question is to whom does God extend this grace? He extends it to those whom the Father has given to the Son. The guy sitting next to me was listening in. You never know who’s listening to your conversation, you know. He piped up and said, “Are you saying…” and he repeated what I’d said and I replied yes and he looked at me like I had cursed him. He got up and left. He was that disturbed by what I had said. I don’t even think this gentleman was a Christian. Never the less, the idea that God doesn’t uphold democracy where everyone gets to vote, that God is sovereign, that he determines, the whole concept, to him, was repulsive. Clearly he was uncomfortable with this idea.

Why do so many reject the truth of regeneration and other Biblical truths? It’s because it makes them so uncomfortable. It highlights their own pride and sinfulness and it highlights their own inability to save themselves. In John 6, why did the Pharisees have such a struggle with what Jesus was teaching? It’s because it cut them to the core. It dealt with the inner issues of their heart and it said to them you don’t have the moral requirements necessary to come to me. You don’t have the moral I.Q., if you will, to recognize who I am and to come to me. You are that morally corrupt. You cannot see God when he’s in front of you. It threatened them. It made them uncomfortable.

Human pride always measures truth against what brings comfort. When you go to Romans, chapter 1 – 3, Paul is talking about man’s sinfulness and how all men are under sin. He concludes in chapter 3 by saying there is none who seek him, no not one. He talks about how man is an idol fabricator. He makes idols. He rejects the God in Heaven and makes himself gods made of wood and stone. What’s going on here? Well, you see, man in his sinfulness is repulsed by this God who is revealed in nature and through special revelation in the scriptures. He doesn’t like this idea. It makes him uncomfortable. He prefers a god who will coddle him in his sinfulness, who will cater to his fleshly desires and appetites.

So it is when we come to people and when we teach the truth, preach the Word of God and they don’t like it, understand the issue is that it makes them uncomfortable. Their human sinful tendency and their human sinful pride is to create religion that doesn’t challenge them in any way but confirms them in who they are and what they are and makes them comfortable. The God of the Bible makes sinful men uncomfortable. God’s accompanying truths about himself and how man is to relate to him make men uncomfortable.

Simple human pride renders us incapable of progressing in our grasp of divine truth. Listen, even those of us who consider ourselves reformed, we must be careful that we don’t allow sinful human pride to creep in and prevent us from progressing in our understanding of the Word of God.

Sometimes as reformed Christians we fail to remember one of the slogans of the reformation. We remember Christ alone, faith alone, scripture alone, grace alone, God’s glory alone but there was another, reformed and always reforming. As long as the Word of God exists there’s always a need for men to always be reforming because our human tendency is to degenerate in our understanding of truth, to go away from, institutionally we will go away from the truth. We as reformed Christians must always keep ourselves in check and make sure that we are not allowing our own sinful human pride to prevent us from progressing in our understanding of God’s Word.

You know what? I’m scared to say this because I don’t believe it right now but it’s possible that there is some minor aspect of what we hold to that could be wrong. Now, we in the reformed faith, we think we have it all figured out and we’re the only ones that have it figured out but it just might be that there’s some area where we’ve missed the boat. We could be corrected. Now what’s going to correct us? The Word of God, that’s what’s going to correct us. We need to always be like Martin Luther, our consciences captive to the Word of God.

Pride will keep us from paying attention to the Word of God. Our only hope is to look to Jesus, the one from heaven for salvation. He is our only source of divine truth as he is presented to us in this Word.

Why do so many people, religious people, reject the doctrine of regeneration? For the same reason they reject so many other doctrines from God’s Word. Because of sinful human pride, pride that says, that teaching is unreasonable. If I can’t grasp it with my mind it must not be true. That teaching makes me uncomfortable. If it doesn’t confirm who I am and what I am and what I want to be and what I think then I’m uncomfortable with it and I reject it.

So please keep that in mind as you interact with your friends, you neighbors, your Christian friends and as you present Biblical truth to them and you encounter their negative responses please keep in mind that there is a spiritual thing going on here. It’s not just that they’ve failed to understand. Now there might be some of that but more than likely, what the Word of God says is unreasonable to them and it makes them uncomfortable. That engages us, then, in spiritual warfare, does it not? That’s where we need to pray and pray fervently for these people because, listen, think back on your own experience. How is it that you came to a. be a Christian and b. to really take hold of the doctrines of grace and the truths of the reformed faith. Is it because you’re so smart or because you have this incredible capacity to understand the deep truths of the faith? I doubt it. If you’re like me, I doubt it. It’s that God in his providence brought you to certain people, to certain books, to certain materials and supernaturally opened your eyes and enabled you to know and understand what you understand and believe. It’s by grace. It’s all by grace. So as we present these truths, as we preach these truths we need to accompany that proclamation with the prayer that God, by his Spirit, his sovereign Spirit, would work in men’s hearts to open their eyes to these truths.

Let’s pray. Father thank you, thank you so much that by your grace you have enabled us to see. Lord you enabled us when we were wicked and sinful rebellious sinners you enabled us to see the truth of the Gospel. By your grace and through your Spirit you opened our eyes, you gave us a new heart and we believed. Father additionally, you were so good to open our eyes to these important truths in the Word; the necessity and the nature of regeneration, the doctrines of grace, the issues of your sovereignty and man’s responsibility. What a wonderful difference these things have made in our lives. But Father never let us forget that you were the one who overcame our sinful resistance, our prideful resistance. And Father I pray that we will not, in any way, grow discouraged as we present these marvelous truths to our friends, our neighbors and we experience their rejection, Lord, may we remember our own resistance. Lord may we recall that it is you who overcomes. And Father I pray that we’d be faithful to lift up these people in prayer and pray that you would exercise grace in their lives just as you did in ours. Father cause us to always be faithful to preach the truth no matter how it’s received, because, Father, it’s your word and it is to your word that we are bound. We pray in Jesus name and for His sake, AMEN.