I was thinking last week as I was preparing part 2 of my Sunday school lesson What Can A Dead Man Do? (Part 1 Only Believers are Seekers) in Romans 3:11. When did God actually start seeking? I thought that would be a great question for the class… For me that answer took me all the way back to Genesis when man fell and God said, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9 Since that point God has been the seeker of man. Man died in that garden… Genesis 2:17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” Not a physical death but a spiritual one and man has run from God ever since. So Paul can say Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned Romans 5:12 We are all born as sons of Adam and born in sin and in guilt and condemnation… All because of Adam’s sin.
How does a spiritual dead corpse Ephesians 2:1, 2 seek God? The Bible tells us that God looked down from heaven to see if there were any that were seeking after him. The Lord had to conclude that there was not one Psalm 14:2-3. A dead man is not capable of changing his own heart or seeking after God. A dead man suffers from total inability to save himself or cooperate in his own regeneration. We don’t think that way do we? We’re told that God loves us and Jesus died for us, NOW! It’s up to us, you see that’s a real problem! Because Paul explains that unbelievers are not even able to understand the things of God 1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. So how does one get saved? Well that is a great question… Man is not able to seek God on his own, but simply responds to God’s sovereign, efficacious and irresistible grace. God is seeking men, before they seek Him, then he who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him. Acts 10:35
The work of the Holy Spirit is in the world, convicting men of sin, righteousness and judgment to come John 16:7, 8. Then somehow by the sovereignty of God and free sovereign grace some men are moved by Him to begin to seek Him for themselves, because without faith it is impossible to please Him and as His word continues to say He promises to be a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:6. I was looking through the book of Acts to see the people who were moved by God’s Spirit to earnestly seek after Him and two names came to my mind that I shared with the class, the first one would be Lydia in Acts 16:14 and Cornelius in Acts 10:1. Cornelius was a man the Lord was drawing to Himself John 6:44. God led Peter to go to Cornelius to instruct him about the things of Christ, God took notice of Cornelius by name Acts 10:1 and that’s the first great truth that we read “The Lord knows those who are His,” 2 Timothy 2:19. Before the foundation of the world He chose Cornelius Ephesians 1:4. Cornelius had been praying and giving alms in the fear of God Acts 10:2, that’s all nice and religious, but he needs to believe in Jesus Christ… For by grace you have been saved through faith; not of yourself Cornelius, it is free sovereign grace… The gift of God Ephesians 2:8, 9.
Look at Lydia in Acts 16:14 A woman named Lydia, Just like Cornelius, the Holy Spirit had a divine appointment to save those who are His. Cornelius and Lydia were devoted to God, but needed to rest completely on Christ alone and this was all orchestrated by a sovereign God who said “I will search and seek out My sheep.” Ezekiel 34:10, 12 Jesus said in John 10 Only the sheep hear the voice of God and respond, they are the true seekers; His sheep are the “elect,” the sheep whom God the Father has given to the Son John 6:37, 39 and Jesus calls them His own sheep John 10:3, 4. Because they are His sheep, they know His voice, recognize Him as the Messiah, and trust in Him as their Shepherd. Jesus referred to all of us in our spiritually “FIXED” condition when He said “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” John 5:25 When Jesus calls the chosen, we come! We are not saved because our parents took us to church, nor are we saved because we sense there is a God of the universe as in Romans 1:19, 20. Though we’re getting there… We are not saved because we know what the Bible says. We are saved because God chose us out and Christ calls us out and we hear His voice and we respond willingly… Just like Lydia and Cornelius.
Calvin writes “it is not violent, so as to compel men by external force; but still it is a powerful impulse of the Holy Spirit, which makes men willing who formerly were unwilling and reluctant,” and John Gill writes “this act of drawing is an act of power, yet not of force; God in drawing of unwilling, makes willing in the day of His power: He enlightens the understanding, bends the will, gives an heart of flesh, sweetly allures by the power of His grace, and engages the soul to come to Christ, and give up itself to Him; he draws with the bands of love. Drawing, though it supposes power and influence, yet not always coaction and force: music draws the ear, love the heart, and pleasure the mind.”
Jesus said… But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God. “Luke 9:60 Think about this for a second “Let the dead bury the dead” how can the dead bury their own dead? Jesus is saying let the spiritual dead sinners bury the dead. Spiritual death is probably the most difficult truth in all of Scripture for human beings to believe or accept. The unsaved think we as believers have lost our minds talking about the walking dead! Ephesians 2:1. They don’t see that because of sin, every person born is separated from God. They refuse to believe that spiritual dead people are unable to know God personally and can’t do anything about their condition. The terrible thing about it is they are dead and don’t know it… And to be dead is a hopeless condition… Paul says the Gentiles were those “having no hope.” Ephesians 2:12 So what Can A Dead Man Do? Answer Nothing! Not by you’re doing but by His. He is the author, finisher and orchestrator of our faith.
Thank you Lord there is a But God Ephesians 2:4, 5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Cry out to God for mercy like the Publican in Luke 18:13 and tell Him you are a sinner and ask Him to save you. ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Acts 2:21 Not by you’re doing but by His… And may He be pleased to do for you, what He did for Lydia and Cornelius and all their household… What they couldn’t do for themselves… That is make a dead man come alive.
All by God’s sovereign, efficacious and irresistible grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone… And in our human responsibility when we don’t respond, it’s all our fault, what about me, God should not blame me Romans 9:19. On the contrary who are you old man to answer back to God Romans 9:20. We have no right to ask God “Why?” The fact that we in our finite minds don’t comprehend divine election and human responsibility is irrelevant. God commands all people to repent and believe, the reason you don’t come, is not just that you are not one of the elect, the reason you refused to come will always be your love of sin… Repent and believe!