Paul Washer ministered as a missionary to Peru for 10 years, during which time he founded the HeartCry Missionary Society to support Peruvian church planters. HeartCry’s work now supports indigenous missionaries in Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. An itinerant preacher, Paul also teaches in the internship program at his home church, First Baptist Muscle Shoals. He is the author of The One True God: A Biblical Study of the Doctrine of God.
Text: Ezekiel 36:22-29
There is a war of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a sense in which men of God should weep; there is also a sense in which men of God should draw swords. This is about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to demonstrate how far we have gone in our gospel reductionism.
“Are you a sinner?”
“Do you want to go to heaven?”
“Would you like to pray to receive Christ?”
“Would you like to repeat this prayer after me?”
“Welcome to the family of God.”
That form of evangelism is a liar. I have approached many an evangelist and said, “Do you not realize that God is not knocking on the door of a sinner’s heart but the door of the Church?” The usual answer is, “Yes, I know, but it works.” Men are building their own spiritual kingdoms on the bone of unconverted sinners. Men are going to hell not by liberal politicians but by conservative pulpits. They learn strategies because they have not the power of God on their lives. We are not boys, strategists, or businessmen, but men who dwell before the presence of God, who weep over souls of men and the Word of God. We should give our lives in prayer and open our mouth so that the Word of God may come forth not give ourselves to flippant strategies.
“Was there a point in time when you asked Jesus to come into your heart?”
Where did you get that? Did God teach you to tell them that? No! You got that from the traditions of man, from one empty head to another empty head.
“I was baptized when I was an infant” and “I prayed that prayer” is the same thing. It is idolatrous. People are trusting in a decision they made, and you cannot see the apostasy of it. The proper answer is not, “I made my decision,” but “I am ever looking to Jesus for salvation by faith and repentance.”
“Do you know you are sinner?” And they say yes, they know nothing. They do not know what thay means. Our culture drinks down iniquity like water. You are to press down the Scriptures upon their conscience. Scripture after Scripture, digging the deepest hole you can put them and build walls so that they cannot escape but only look to Christ.
The real question should be,
“Has God worked in your heart so that the sin you once loved you now hate?”
What you need to understand that the question is not, “Do you want to God to heaven?” because everyone wants to go to heaven because everyone wants to go to heaven; they just don’t want God to be there. It is a matter of whether you have come to esteem, desire, and treasure the God you have been hating and rebelling against.
(v. 22) God is doing this whole thing primarily to demonstrate this own power. God saw absolutely nothing in you to save you. God chose to demonstrate his love in the worst of sinners. He has not put any confidence in you, and it has never been about you. It has always been about Him. He save you for His own name’s sake.
Isn’t it amazing how offensive this is? “What about me?” Had God not done it for Him, there would have been no other reason to do it. The only thing that man motivates God to do is crush him to hell.
(v. 23) There is a god loose in evangelical churches who is the only lord who cannot do anything. There is a deity that saves people and is wringing his hands because he cannot make believers grow and make them cooperate with him. Conversion always produces fruit. Someone who God saves, God will finish the work. If any man be in Christ because all of this is from God. This is not about God doing 50% and you do 50%, but it is God doing everything to demonstrate how powerful God is.
The only reason there is an Exodus is to teach us about the salvation of the Church. Every person who is truly regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit will persevere in being transformed into the image of Christ because God’s reputation is riding on it. The damnable, demonic doctrine of the “carnal Christian” has done more damage to the Church than any other! If the reality of regeneration is not there, tell you’re people that they need to be afraid.
Pastors, we ought to be ashamed. We are doing an injustice to God when we get people converted through the little means (mentioned earlier) and we turn the church into Six Flags over Jesus to keep them in church. Pagans look at the churches today and they do not revere Him but mock Him. The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. Church discipline is no longer practiced because we care more about people than we do God. We care more about self-preservation than the reputation of God.
Let me share with you something about the Church. If you ever called my Bride a whore, there is more than words that is exchanged between us. The Church in America is beautiful. She is not a whore! It is because of your lack of study, you don’t know what the Church is. The Church today has lost the doctrine of regeneration.
When God regenerates you, the first thing you will see is separation. It will make him aware of what is righteous and what is unrighteous. He will no longer walk the way of the nations but enter into the narrow. He will draw the man away from that which is wicked but also will draw the man unto Himself in holy love and service. Getting saved is not someone deciding to get out the line of those going to hell and getting into the line of going into heaven. God takes a corrupt mass of humanity and changes it, recreates it, and forms it into true righteousness and holiness. How many people in our churches never offer prayer or worship to God except on Sunday morning? They are not drawn to God. The concept of living in His presence, desiring Him, dependent on Him is not there. When was the last time someone in your church came weeping over their sin?
I will vindicate the holiness of my great name
I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses
I will cleanse you
I will give you a new heart
a new spirit I will put within you
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
The Church will cooperate because God has changed the hearts of His people! I will do it! I will be their God, and they will be My people. He will make it happen, it will happen, and it is happening. Has God put a separation in your heart to cleanse you, to sanctify you, to cause you to be holy? Is this a reality? Stop thinking that just because your congregation has grasped a theological truth your work is done. The question is whether it is a reality in your life. Not, “Yes I recognize that God will do a work of separation” but, “Is there a reality of you overcoming sin in your own life?”
How will he do this? By His Spirit. The more you press holiness and righteousness against an unconverted heart, the more the sinner rebels and reacts against it. When you present Jesus, the unbeliever cannot see Him because they are blind. In order for someone to be saved, they must be given a new heart. If I was a God-hater, how did I change? How did I become a God-lover? Through the new birth. The Spirit of God must resurrect a dead, stony heart and transform that heart to be irresistibly be drawn to the very thing it loves. How can it be that men kick against the gospel, hate Christ, and flee from the light and then be turned to run towards Jesus and treasure the gospel.
The doctrines that are being taught out there are killing people and sending them to hell. This is about Christ’s Bride. This is about God. God changes men and that is why all this nonsense about storytelling and about reaching generation X, Z, B, A is a bunch of rhetoric from boys with laptops who haven’t read their Bibles. The question is, “Has your heart be changed?” This is not a new morality; it is a new nature.
The heart of man is a stone. It is dead. It is wicked, full of hatred, and men cannot change themselves. You are not entirely convinced that men are evil and born fallen. The only way they are going to be saved is the supernatural resurrection when we preach the gospel. “I will cause you to walk in My statutes . . .”
Washer to pastors inquiring about the The Passion of the Christ: “I don’t have near as much problem about Mel Gibson’s film as much as I do with your preaching.”
Someone said, “When think of the Eastern monk, I think, ‘Holy man.’ When I think of the Western minister, I think, “Businessman.”
Who took that from you? How did this happen? You have come from a long line of godly men.
What will you be? A prophet? A preacher? Or Life coach? Strategist?
Preachers! Has God ever thrown you to the ground? Let’s pray.