Jeremy Jessen, pastor at Heartland Baptist Church in St. Louis, Mo will be speaking on The Doctrines of Grace and the Christian Minister in the Search for New Lambs.
Jeremy’s dad, Jerry, leads us in worship every year at the Founder’s Conference Midwest and is the worship leader at First Baptist St. Peters. The joy of seeing your son preach the word must be beyond description.
Why do Reformed Baptists have a poor reputation for evangelism? Is Calvinism anti-missionary? The problem I think Calvinists have with evangelism is the same as everyone else – we are selfish and lazy. I think it is mostly because we are not committed enough to the Doctrines we claim.
God didn’t send Jesus to make people saveable. He sent Him to redeem the lost. Jesus was the Good Shepherd we are the sheep.
If the Holy Spirit is calling, we know that calling is effectual. We also know that they will come. The Holy Spirit has never failed. Just because someone has walked an aisle does not mean they will walk on golden streets.
A robust commitment to these doctrines, limited atonement in particular, will ignite a passion for evangelism to the nations. We will approach this through the head, the heart and the hands. I pray we will see real change.
When we say limited atonement, we are not saying anything about the sufficiency of Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement. The issue is not extent. It is intent. We also are not saying that the benefits go only to the elect.
What we are saying is that Christ died for the purpose of actually and intentionally saving the elect. This is extremely important. We see this testified in the scriptures everywhere. The atonement has a specific purpose. We see this in the OT. The priests in the OT served only Israel. The Day of Atonement were only for those in the covenant community. There is nothing general about the sacrifices in the OT. Those were a type and a foreshadowing of Christ.
Because of the time constraint we will focus on the NT. First, let’s look at John 10:11ff. Verse 26, Jesus says they do not believe because they are not part of His flock. He does not say the reverse that so many claim. Now, John 17:9. The “them” is the elect. Jesus was not praying for the world, but for those who God gave Him.
When Jesus is named by the angel, it is because He will save His people. Notice the language. Romans 8:32 talks of God’s elect for whom Jesus is interceding. Al l f these passages point to God’s elect. Ephesians 5:25 we see that Jesus died for his bride, the church. He died to secure and actually save His church.
The intention of the atonement was to save the elect. It actually was accomplished when Christ died not when you accept Jesus into your heart.
The cross procures all that is necessary for salvation. The language of scripture demands this. Jesus died for and was ransomed for the elect. Genesis 22 is a beautiful picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t die so that you could potentially come to salvation but that you, as one of the elect, could be saved.
How should these truths ignite a passion for evangelism?
1) A passion for evangelism in general should be ignited. If God died for the elect, then our evangelism will succeed. Jesus has already done the work of atonement. All we are doing is announcing that the work is finished.
2) There should be an ignition of passion over the sufficiency of the evangel. We do not have to add to the gospel. We don’t need to make Jesus cool. He doesn’t need any help from us!
3) The ignition of evangelism should ignite the evangelist. To realize that Christ died for “me” is life altering. As a believer, you can say that Christ died for me with absolute certainty. It is not in how you signed a card or walked an aisle. We don’t share the gospel with passion because we don’t love the gospel with passion.
How does this become action on your part? First, you will be preaching life to those who are converted. Secondly, it means you will be preaching condemnation to those who are not converted. It still means that you have to preach to them both. We believe in Limited Atonement and universal proclamation. The plan has always been that we go to all the nations. No, we do not know who will be saved, but we do know that people will be saved.
Good news is better than motivational speech. Victory in Christ is good news. Every man for himself is motivational speech. Preach the good news. Jesus actually won victory on the cross.
Finally, how does this change what we do as Christ followers? It doesn’t change what you do at all. You preach the gospel over and over again. You scream victory over and over again. It changes the fire for what we do. If this message is true then you know you cannot fail in the proclamation of the gospel.