Good evening everyone, and welcome to our ongoing Bible study in the book of 1st Samuel. This is study number 13 and tonight, we are going to begin reading in 1st Samuel 1:21-28:
And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto JEHOVAH the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before JEHOVAH, and there abide for ever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only JEHOVAH establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of JEHOVAH in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto JEHOVAH. For this child I prayed; and JEHOVAH hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to JEHOVAH; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to JEHOVAH. And he worshipped JEHOVAH there.
That is the end of chapter 1. We were looking in our last study, at the picture that God gives us in the Bible, of feeding upon “his word” like a newborn infant (like a baby). Someone who becomes born again is likened to a child just born into the world and we know that the little baby needs its mother and it needs its mother’s milk, in order to live, in order to grow and to grow stronger and stronger.
That is how God likens the individual—a sinner, dead in sin, who is “quickened” by the word of God and brought to life. As God brought the Gospel into that person’s path, at some point; he or she heard the Gospel and God’s intention all along (since this individual was one of His Elect) was to bring that person into a new life. A new heart was given to that person and at the moment of salvation, he or she is likened to a newborn baby.
Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus, in John 3:2-8 (Nicodemus is the one spoken of here):
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Then Nicodemus wonders how these things could be. He is marvelling. He was “a master (teacher) of Israel” and he knew “not these things”. The Israelites knew “not these things”. The Pharisees and the Scribes were basically ignorant of God’s salvation plan. They thought that all you had to be was a descendant of Abraham, keep the law, be circumcised, observe the Sabbath Day, offer the sacrifices in their proper seasons and do the main things that the law required and of course, then you were in good standing with God, you were a faithful Jew and therefore, an inheritor of the promises to Abraham and they were all wrong. They were completely wrong. They totally misunderstood the Gospel of the Bible that was in their law, that was given to Moses and they missed it. They could not see it.
It is the same with the churches today. The churches think that they have it all figured out. Now they are not going to make the same mistake that Israel made, oh no. No, they realize that we are not made right with God through the offering of sacrifices. At least, most churches realize that. Most churches recognize that we are not made right with God by the keeping of the law.
No, what you have to do is “believe” and then, you will experience this new birth and become “born again”. At this point, the churches make their error (their big mistake) and they say, “Now, just accept Christ and “believe” in Him and you will be “born again”.” They are now falling back into the same error as Israel, even though they are not aware of it, which is that you must do a work and “faith”, the Bible tells us, is a “work”.
So they say “you cannot be saved by works, but however, here is one work you must do: you must do the believing.” and the Bible tells us, no, we cannot become “born again” by any of our works and if we attempt to, then we have placed ourselves under the “whole law,” if we are trying to get right with God by the keeping of one law and again, “faith” is a “work”, then we have thereby placed ourselves under the yoke and the burden and that heavy weight that no man can bear, of keeping the “whole law” of God.
There is no salvation, there never has been and there never will be salvation for anyone, through their effort and the stirring up of their spirit, in order to grab a hold of Christ, to accept Him and to say, “I now believe.” It never saved a soul and it never ever created a new spirit within someone.
We cannot get ourselves “born again” and the analogy is made and Jesus made it in John 3, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”, you must be “born of the Spirit”. And so, we can look at earthly birth and we see that the one being born plays absolutely no part, has no say and cannot bring about his own birth in any way.
It is something that is a result of the interaction, and of course, in a perfect world, it would only be the result of marital relations. But, it is the result of relations between man and woman and God blesses the union and God creates the baby in the womb.
The physical birth of a man is the action of God who must bless the activity and create the baby. There is no other way for a child to be born physically. It is God’s action and if God does not give the blessing, then there will not be a baby.
And of course, it is the same way with salvation, where God does the work. He must take the action of creating the “new heart” and “a new spirit”, like we read in John 1. God, here, clearly and plainly tells us that a man cannot get himself saved through his free will or through exercising his will in any way. It says in John 1:11-12:
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Now, if the LORD left it at that, we would wonder. It speaks of receiving “him” and giving “power to become the sons of God,” “to them that believe” and of course, many pastors of freewill congregations have taught from this verse and ended the reading of the scripture right there in verse 12, because it suits their doctrine. It suits their idea that it is up to man to do something. We have to watch out for that.
We never want to pick and choose. We never want to just look for things that support our doctrine and try to avoid others that do not fit our doctrine. We have to look at the whole Bible and we have to make sure that if there is other scripture that contradicts our conclusion, that we honestly face it and we try to understand it and we try to see that, “well, how can it be that I am holding to free will and I am saying that you have to “believe” and exercise your will and John 1:12 lends itself to my idea and to my doctrine, but what about John 1:13?” Which says:
Which were born, …
In John 3, Jesus is talking about being “born again,” and in John 3:16, it says:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
So “belief” and being “born again” are connected and here, in John 1:12, it speaks of “belief” and John 1:13 speaks of those which are “born”. So obviously, it is referring to being “born again”—the “new creature” in Christ, and God says:
Which were born, not of blood, …
And that would be a blow to the Jewish people who thought that “just being a descendant of Abraham is enough, is it not? I am a Jew and I come from the loins of Abraham”? But God says that, that will not save you and neither will it save you if you are a descendent of a Christian pastor or if you come from a long and faithful line of Christians. That will not save anybody.
So, we are not “born again” and we “cannot enter into the kingdom of God” due to:
… blood, nor of the will of the flesh, …
Now, God is speaking of “the will” (the volition), that is involved with salvation. At least, the churches tell us that. The vast majority of the congregations say that: “you have to exercise your will.”
How many sermons have been preached trying to convince, trying to convert, and trying to make the individuals emotional and to finally stir them up to the point where they decide and make a decision for Christ and come walking down the aisle? How many messages (untold numbers) have been preached along those lines for centuries? Yes, but especially in our day. It is universal in the Christian churches and congregations and it is just in the Christian world of ministry.
The true gospel is not so universally taught as this false gospel of free will. Theologians call it Arminianism and it is just rampant and all over the place. And yet here, God is clearly, once again, saying that you are not born by “the will of the flesh”. That is, that “will” that is within you. You cannot be “born again” by your own will. He goes on to make another statement that re emphasizes this truth:
…, nor of the will of man, …
So you are not born by your own “flesh” nor are you born by “the will of” any “man”—not yourself and not anyone else. Nobody, No human being and no individual can save you.
Just look at the facts as, how many people have made professions of faith in churches and how long did it last? Maybe a few years in some cases and more likely, a few months, a few weeks and even a few days. And then the person goes back to wherever they came from—to the sins they were involved with or to the world. What happened? If it is all a matter of just choosing Christ and these people chose Him, why did they not become saved?
Well, some people come up with a foolish idea, that salvation is not eternal—that you can lose your salvation, in order to try and explain something like that. No, that is not what happened. These people never became saved. There was no change in them. They never had a “new heart” placed within. They never had their old heart of stone removed. They remained the same dead sinner (spiritually), after their speech or their accepting Christ, walking down the aisle or saying of the sinner’s prayer, as they were before. Thereby showing that accepting Christ is worthless. It is worthless, as far as salvation. It has no impact. It changes absolutely nothing.
I know that sometimes they say, “Well, he was not sincere.” But when the results deal with thousands and hundreds of thousands and even millions of people that have done this and some people have done it repeatedly, again and again and again. A few probably are not sincere, but many are very sincere and they are very stirred up emotionally, and they are pouring down with tears, on occasion; and yet, two weeks later, back to the drugs, back to the alcohol, back to adultery, back to thievery, back to lying and whatever it is. It did not take and the church has no answers. They do not want to talk about it. They do not want to get into these kinds of details because they cannot and hold onto this doctrine. So they leave it in a superficial way. They do not discuss it. They do not get into why these things are so.
Why is it, for example, that when there is a Billy Graham Crusade (I do not know if he has them anymore. But, it is historically true and any crusade would follow this pattern), that when thousands of people who hear the message and they truly want a change in their lives, they come down and accept Christ? Thousands of them. It has been checked out, and followed up on (whoever is doing these kinds of testing—following up on people—whatever their idea of the Christian life is), that very few of the thousands actually seem to go on to live that way. Most of the overwhelming majority of them, it has no lasting impact. Why is it? Well, the Bible tells us because you and I and no man can save ourselves and we never could.
It says in Isaiah 64:6-7:
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: …
This is God’s perspective. From His vantage point, there is not a single human being that actually is capable of stirring “up himself” to the point of true salvation, in order “to take hold of” God. Yes, there is a lot of this going on in the mind, going on in the emotions and going on outwardly. But no one, not anywhere in the world and not any human being has ever been able to stir up his soul because the soul of man is dead in sin and you cannot stir the dead.
It has been said of anyone who believes in free will, where a person can accept Christ, then if you truly think that (and the Bible tells us that man is “dead in trespasses and sins”), then take a stroll to your local cemetery where those people are physically dead, just like mankind is spiritually dead. Now go try and stir up the dead that are in the graves. Go preach to them, go tell them all the things that Jesus has done for them, go tell them how Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives and how much better their lives would be if they would only rise up out of their graves and come out of their tombs and come forth. You can preach for days, you can preach for weeks and you can preach for months and for however long you would like and never will one physically dead individual rise up.
It is only God, of course, that did that with people like Lazarus, during the days He was upon earth, in order to illustrate salvation, to illustrate that we are spiritually dead and it takes the voice of Christ to bring someone out of their tomb. That is how it is spiritually. It has always been that way. It takes a miracle. It takes the mighty hand of God and the sending forth of His word into the world to save sinners and God did this throughout history.
And of course, He did a great and tremendous work of saving during the “great tribulation” period that just passed. God saved “a great multitude” of people from all over the earth. He is the one who made these people born again. Not one of them had anything to do with it or played any part in it. God did all the work in saving them.
So, this is why the Bible speaks of feeding upon the “milk of the word,” like we read in 1st Peter 2:1-2:
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
By the way, the word “sincere” here is a compound word. It has the Greek negative prefix attached to it, which means that it is negating the word that comes after the prefix. The Greek word has been translated “deceit” or “guile”. So, it is saying “no deceit” or “without deceit”, “without guile”:
As newborn babes, desire the sincere (or that without guile or without deceit) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Now, the problem is, of course, if the elder or pastor who is teaching these people the gospel. Number one (today) is: they are beginning by teaching them that “you just got yourself saved”, “you just became born again”, “congratulations, you accepted Christ. Now you are a Christian. Now you have a secure, eternal future. You have eternal life.”
Right away they are not giving “sincere milk of the word.” This is deceitful “milk”. This is erroneous and false and not only has nothing happened, so the individual is still not “born again”, but now the church compounds the error. It multiplies the sin of telling the person that they did become saved, by now attempting to build upon a false salvation; and so, the individual, he is drinking it all in. He is fully accepting it.
Have you ever talked to anyone (I know this would happen routinely in handing out tracts, especially the Does God Love You? tract, we used to hand out), and you would go to offer it to someone who was in a church and they would say, “Oh, give that to someone else. I do not need that. I am born again.”
Then, if you talk to them a little bit and you find out that, they are a part of another kind of a gospel. They do not know, to use the language of 1st Peter 2 here, “the sincere milk of the word”. They think they got themselves saved or their pastor got them saved. They have no right understanding and now they do not want the truth or “the sincere milk of the word”. They do not want to hear that we cannot do anything to get our self saved, that it is all in God’s hands. No, no, no. They quote a couple of verses like, “…, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, …” What has happened is their hands have been strengthened in wickedness.
God warns against that in Ezekiel 13; it is the awful consequence that comes when people have fallen into this kind of a trap. God says here in Ezekiel 13:22 and He is speaking to Israel, yes, but He is talking to professed Christians, especially the churches:
Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, …
How do they do this? Well, God goes on to tell us:
…, by promising him life:
And, that is a horribly wicked promise. It sounds good and people love to be flattered and they love the easy road and they want to hear that which is sweet to their ears.
And yet, it is the worst thing that ever could have happened to them, that they encountered the gospel of free will and they fell for it and they believe those that were “promising” them “life”, even though 2nd Peter 2 tells us that the ones making this promise are themselves “the servants of corruption” and do not even have any idea what life is (spiritually speaking).
We are going to close our study here.