Turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 4:1-8. Today we are examining the doctrine of Irresistible Grace. Irresistible Grace is one of the five points of the Doctrines of Grace, otherwise known as Calvinism. As I stated last week, the five points are Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. An easy way to remember these five points is the acronym TULIP. Last week we took a long hard look at total depravity, and it was not a pretty sight. We read text like Genesis 6:5.
- Genesis 6:5 - “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
- Romans 7:18 - “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.”
- Hebrews 11:6 - “And without faith it is impossible to please him”
- Ephesians 2:1 - “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins “
- Romans 3:10-12 - “"None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
- John 6:44 - “ No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:1-8 - “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness, "has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:4 - “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. “
Paul then says in verse 5, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.” So Paul says that we, meaning Christians, believers, go around and proclaim, or tell, unbelievers about Jesus. Specifically that he is the Christ, the Messiah, the one the world has been waiting for, their Lord. SO Paul is saying, he goes around and shares the gospel with the blind, the ones who are under Satan's power, the ones who are dead in their trespasses and sins. It is like Paul is walking amongst the tombs talking to himself. Then what happens?
Verse 6, “For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Where has God said let light shine out of darkness? What is Paul referring to here? Creation. Paul is drawing you attention back to God's work in the beginning.
- Genesis 1:1-3 - “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.”
- Acts 9:1-6 - “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" 5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
- John 3:3-8 - “Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Why couldn't he see the Kingdom? He wasn't born again. You must first be born before you can see. In that order. Born first, then see the Kingdom. If you haven't been born, you can't see, your blind to it. So how is one born again? Verse 5, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The catalyst of being born is not your flesh. It is not inside of you that causes you to be born. It is God who causes you to be born. Listen to what John says in chapter 1.
- John 1:12-13 – “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
- 1 John 5:1 – “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”
- 1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
- Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved—“
- Colossians 1:3 – “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,“
- Philippians 1:29 – “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,”
- Acts 18:27 – “And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed,”
- Matthew 16:15 – “He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
- Acts 11:18 – “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."
- 2 Timothy 2:24-25 – “And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,”
- Deuteronomy 30:6 – “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”
- Matthew 19:25 – “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
- Acts 16:13-15 – “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.”
The bottom line is that apart from grace, we are dead, unresponsive sinners. We are completely unable to repent and believe in Christ. It is impossible for us to get into Heaven apart from a miracle. And it is God who performs this miracle, not man.
I think it is so interesting, that as our country as slowly decayed spiritually over the years that what has increased more and more is the belief that your faith comes from somewhere inside your cold dead heart of stone. We love to say we are saved by faith and all for God’s glory, and just like Adam and Eve in the garden we look at faith and see that it is good and pleasing to the eye and was say, “MINE!” It is my faith, I get the glory!”
Was that the heart of the Apostle Paul glory? No, it was gratitude. He praised God for the miracle that God performed in his life that caused him to see the surpassing value of knowing Jesus. I can just hear Paul saying, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Isn’t God good? Every single one of us deserves Hell. We fully and utterly rebel against our Creator, yet he mercifully, lovingly, graciously breaks the chains of our sin and showers us with irresistible and glorious grace. The gospel is such good news, it is such a treasure this gift of God’s Grace through Christ. With this in mind, let us come full circle and close with Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:7.
- 2 Corinthians 4:7 – “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us”