Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Ignorance of Self-Reliance

On September 25, 2016, Pastor Mark Fitzpatrick of Arann Reformed Baptist Church preached a sermon titled "From Ignorance to Faith (1)" on John 8:25-27.  In part of his teaching, Pastor Fitzpatrick looked at the sanctifying work of God in a believer's life.  I've included my notes to encourage Christian's to look to Christ and His work on the cross as we battle our sinful flesh rather than relying on our own strength (which is powerless).  These notes are written in the third person rather than the first person as preached:

"There is no evidence that will convert a depraved sinner.  God must change them.  That's even true of believers now.  Every sin that a believer loves, it is ultimately only God who can remove the love of that sin, remove the habit of that sin; however, this does not give a believer an excuse to continue on and say that he will have to wait for God to change him.  Therefore, it's wrong for a believer to say after committing a sin: 'That's it; that's the last time I'll do that.  Lord, I'll never do that again.'  But that's exactly why God lets the believer do it again because it's worse to say that you'll never do a sin again, than doing the sin itself.  Saying that is pride.  It's speaking folly before God.  God allows a believer to sin so that he will know himself.  When a believer commits a sin, the reaction should not be to exalt his own character as the answer (by saying 'I'll never do that again').  No, no, what a believer does is say: 'Lord, now I know a little bit more of what I'm really like.  You've revealed a little bit more of my true nature.  My only plea is the blood of Christ; my only plea is the righteousness of Christ.'  Believers [who are self-reliant in combating sin] are like the Galatians who go back to their own obedience and works for God to be merciful to them.  But ignorance is without excuse and believers are not to be ignorant of God's working in their souls."

"Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:3).