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Calvinism Abases Man
L. R. Shelton, Sr.

An audio file of this sermon is available at
www.sermonaudio.com/vot

When we speak of Calvinism in this present day, it is almost like waving a scarecrow, or like a red flag ma bull's face. Folks begin to tremble and run from it. About the only way they can get around the teachings of God's Word is to condemn the man who is preaching the truths of God's Word and throw every aspersion upon his name to discredit his testimony. How many lies have been told upon this preacher by those who do not believe his message, the message from God's Word, in order to discredit his testimony!

One of the great doctrines of Calvinism, which is a doctrine of God's Holy Word, is the Sovereignty of God and the teaching that God's purpose or purposes can never be defeated. Now that's true, my friend, regardless of what you think or say. You cannot reason out these truths; you accept them by faith until they become experimental in your own heart and life. Arminians exalt man and say that man controls the destiny of his own soul, not realizing that God's purposes can never be defeated. Isa. 46:10, 11 says, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure...I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." Now let me tell you, friends, it is one of the greatest moments of your life when you come to see, to know, and to acknowledge in your heart that God is on the throne. I don't mean just to believe in the Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God, but to know a Sovereign God. Psa. 115:3 also sets forth this same great truth listen, "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." When you honestly face God's Word, you run up against this great Rock of Gibraltar, that God does as He pleases and no man can stay His hand (Dan. 4:35) or change His will. Why? Because God is sovereign.

The fruit of Arminianism is, "God may be sovereign, but man is also sovereign." One of our religious leaders made that statement in print the other day. Unsaved religionists hate the Sovereignty of God and gnash their teeth at the doctrines of Election and Reprobation. They will readily tell you that Satan will never have a chance to be saved; they will tell you that fallen angels are doomed forever in an endless Hell, but when you tell them that God's Word teaches that God has elected some to salvation from among Adam's race and some to damnation, they rise up with all the fury of Hell and say, "I'll not have it!" But remember, friend, Satan and all the fallen angels are greater, more noble creatures than man ever dared to be, and God will never save Satan or any of the fallen angels or demon spirits; He has never made any provision for their salvation. Then when you find in God's Word that God has elected some out of Adam's race for salvation in Christ and then elected others for damnation in Hell, why should you object to that! You won't have it, will you? God does not have to save any of us. Did you know that? He did not have to make provision for any of us, but He did, and I praise Him for it. I praise God that I was one of His elect.

You know, the fact that they reject the plain teaching of God's Word is a sign of utter rebellion against the Word of God and against the Sovereignty of God, and it shows that they have never been saved. To them God's Election is one of the greatest evils of Calvinism, and to justify their own rebellious, Christ-rejecting hearts, they will brand the individual who preaches the Word of God as a Hypercalvinist, or something else. They do not know the difference between Calvinism, Hypercalvinism, and Arminianism! Now, brother, that might be some stiff preaching, but it is right down the line where religionists live today. If you want a book that will open your eyes, you write for my book on "Doctrinitis."

Now let's discuss one of the first great evils of Calvinism as viewed by the unsaved religionist; and that is, "Calvinism Abases Man." In this day modernism, which exalts and deifies man, humanizes the Lord Jesus Christ, and whittles the Word of God to pieces, is in the ascendancy, and when you talk about man's condition as God's Word describes him, you are teaching a great evil in the eyes of the wicked world and the unsaved religionists. The teaching of God's Word on the Sovereignty of God and Total Depravity of the Natural Man, I believe, are the most hated, despised doctrines of the Bible among unsaved religionists. Men hate God's teachings on the Sovereignty of God and the Total Depravity of Man, and every individual who does not know Christ hates those doctrines as well as Calvinism, because God's Word cuts across the thinking of present-day religious circles.

A man came into my office one day and said, "You're a disgrace to the present-day ministry because you preach Bible Repentance." If a man were not totally depraved, he would never have to repent. Never! Let me tell you something: if God for one moment should find any merit in man, He would have to acknowledge that merit; then salvation would be by works and not by grace. If God should find one scintilla of merit in the heart of a sinner, that sinner would never have to repent. Now that is where the pulpit and the pew have gone astray today. They teach all over this country that there is a certain amount of good in every man and it's up to us preachers to bring it out. Therefore repentance is the missing note in present-day preaching and the Person and Work of Christ is the missing note in the present-day testimony. Now you get it.

So Arminianism has boiled salvation down to a mere mental assent to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and has done away with Total Depravity and Bible Repentance. Why? Because they hate the doctrines of the Sovereignty of God and Total Depravity. Therefore, they exalt man and say that man is good and that the only thing we preachers have to do is to bring out the good that is in man. My, my what a job we preachers have if that is so! I am glad that's not so. I am glad salvation is wholly of the Lord, that salvation is by grace. All right, now, hold both rungs of your chair, lest you fall off; I want to show you something. You listen.

It is being taught all over the country that it is not a sin question we face today, but a Son question. They say that a sinner doesn't go to Hell because of his sins he doesn't go to Hell because of his wickedness, his iniquities, his sins gambling, drinking, etc.; but he goes to Hell because he rejects the Son of God. Let me tell you, my friends, there never was a more damnable lie ever taught out of Hell! There never has been a greater error, a more subtle falsehood preached from our pulpits than that one statement, that it is not a sin question today, but a Son question, and that a person doesn't go to Hell for his sins but because he rejects Christ! that is not so! My friend, it is a sin question! It's a sin question that every sinner faces, and you go to Hell not for rejecting Christ, but you go to Hell for your sins and you will be punished in Hell throughout eternity for your sins! Don't you get away from that.

When you say it is not a sin question but a Son question, you do away with repentance and put salvation on a basis of merely simple faith in Jesus Christ without repentance. But when you preach what the Bible teaches, it is a sin question. So then every sinner must be brought before the bar of God's justice where the Holy Spirit opens his eyes to see that he is a sinner by conception, a sinner by birth, a sinner by nature, a sinner by practice, a sinner by God's decree under condemnation, totally depraved, lost, doomed and damned forever, and that justly. Then he stands before Christ not to accept Him, but to be either accepted by Christ or cast into Hell by the Son of God. It is a sin question, that you face, and don't you get away from it!

Calvinism takes away every straw that man can lean on, and sets forth thousands of Scriptures which always prophesy evil for the man who does not know Christ. Now there is where your blood boils, where mine used to, before God saved me. Every time you turn to the Bible you find condemnation, condemnation, condemnation! And that's all you will find until you repent; and when you repent, you will find promises that will lead you to Christ. Calvinism leaves a poor old wicked sinner without one straw to lean upon, and his only hope is the crucified, buried, risen, exalted, living Christ. Christ Jesus came forth from God to undertake for us. He signed our bond back in eternity when God wrote in the Book of Predestination (get it, now!) the name of every one of God's elect throughout all ages! The Lord Jesus Christ signed the bond for every one of us, and in time He came and paid that bond in full on Calvary's cross.

Then the Holy Spirit was sent into the world to make real to the heart of God's elect one that he is a lost, doomed and damned sinner, and to bring that sinner to know Christ as his Lord and Saviour because Christ signed that bond and paid in full every one of his sins. When that takes place, He makes him a new creature in Christ, and in Christ He undertakes for him until He gets him home to glory. Praise the Lord that's shouting ground! That is a foundation to stand on. That won't rock in this day of unrest. That will stand when the stars pale into insignificance. That will stand when the worlds dissolve and pass away. That will stand when the skies roll back like a scroll, when the sun ceases to shine and the moon turns to blood yea, when Hell moves from beneath! Brother, that is the sure foundation on which the elect stand! Christ Jesus cannot fail. He can't! He never has he never will!

Calvinism says that Christ is Lord of all, and there is none else beside Him: Christ will not take second place to any other god (Isa. 42:8). This truth is clearly stated in II Chron. 18:7; when the king of Israel, talking to Jehoshaphat about Micaiah, the man of God, said, "I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil." How many have said that about this preacher; "I hate the Parson because he always prophesies evil to me"! Brother, there is nothing else that I can prophesy unto you but evil if you are out of Christ, because, according to Rom. 8:7,8, "The carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God: it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

Calvinism puts man down where he belongs, as a totally-depraved, Hell-born, Hell-bent, Hell-deserving, ill-deserving, undeserving sinner, because he is evil by nature and is a child of wrath, a child of Satan, a child of Hell, condemned to die (and that justly) and must pay his sin-debt in Hell unless he has a Substitute, and the only Substitute that will satisfy is Christ. Don't you feel sorry for these seminary professors who sit in the chair of learning and rear back on their 24-inch seat of dignity and say, "You know, we are living in an enlightened age today. We don't believe any more in the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross for sinners; we will work out our own salvation"? Huh? Ah, God pity you, man! When you wake up in Hell, you'll wish to God you had a Substitute, Christ Jesus your Lord. God's Word says in Eph. 2:3 that "by nature" we are "children of wrath"; it also says in Eph. 2:1 that we are "dead in trespasses and sins," having "the understanding darkened" (Eph. 4:18). Also our minds are blinded (II Cor. 4:4), and our hearts darkened (Rom. 1:21) by the god of this world, and we are more stupid than an ox or an ass. That is God's Word; read the first chapter of Isaiah. That is what Calvinism teaches, brother, and I believe it with all my heart.

Now that puts a sinner in a place of hopelessness apart from the power and grace of a sovereign God, who does as He pleases. That makes sinners gnash their teeth; that makes unsaved religionists in the pulpit and the pew foam at the mouth. They think they are free to choose as they will, not knowing that man in his natural state is free only to choose sin, and that no man in his natural state can voluntarily choose good. Oh, you may make a mental assent to some things, but your will has never been bent in that direction. The will of the natural man is controlled by his depraved nature.

A man said to me one day, "Preacher, my will is free; I can choose any time and anywhere I want to." He's crazy He's blinded. This same preacher said, "Give me a sinner, and with my Bible I can lead him to Christ in ten minutes." Now, that is the salvation you Arminians have today and that's all you've got! You have nothing to stand on. No wonder you are on sinking sand. Your will is controlled by your old natural, depraved heart. How many of you sinners sitting there listening to me have been brought under conviction to the place where you would give a million worlds, if you had them, if you could choose Christ at this moment and say that you are saved! You would. But God gives Christ to whom He wills and to whom He pleases, and when a sinner gets saved, he knows one thing that he was saved by the sovereign, free grace of an eternal, omnipotent God. David Brainerd said (and I recommend the book to you, The Life and Diary of David Brainerd), when he came to that place, he was walking in a pine-sapling thicket; he said he gnashed his teeth and cried out, "Am I at the disposal of a Sovereign God that I can't choose as I will and I can't choose Christ at my will?" When he came face to face with that fact and found that his will was shackled and controlled by a totally-depraved nature and that God was eternal and sovereign, he said, "I never realized that I was in such rebellion against God until then, and I began to cry for God to break my rebellion and free my will that I could choose Christ and choose good." Now, that doctrine is not preached today; and it is hated worse than I hate a rattlesnake. Listen to God's Word! "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (John 3:19, 20).

Christ said in John 5:40, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Listen again: man left in his natural state, apart from the convicting power and influence of the Holy Spirit, cannot and never will choose that which is good of his own will.

Now, here is where the rub comes in: man does not like to be told that he cannot do anything he wills. The very moment you cross man's will, he will fly back at you I don't care who he is, whether he is a D. D. in the pulpit, a deacon in the pew, a teacher in the classroom, or a drunkard on the street, he will tell you, "I've got a will. I will do as I please."; But you only have a will to reject Christ and the truth. That's all. Let me say again, man does not like to be told he cannot do anything he wills. Rom. 3:11 says, "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." Now, you hold that truth. I know the unsaved religionist hates it. I know you hate it, if you are not saved. Listen to John 5:40 again: "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." You have willed not to come, because your will is controlled by your old depraved, damnable, wicked, sinful nature.

John 6:44 says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." No individual has ever, does now, or ever will, come to the Lord Jesus Christ unless he is drawn by the Holy Spirit; and Christ said, "No man cometh unto the Son except the Father draw him." Man, you can't draw a sinner to Christ! You can break the cord, but you can't bring him a hair's breadth. And no sinner would ever get saved if he could help it! One of the most helpless situations in which I find myself is to try to draw a convicted sinner to Christ. As long as you can lead a sinner to a decision for Christ he is not under Holy Spirit conviction for salvation. I can break the rope, but I can't budge a sinner a hair's breadth toward Christ. In Matt. 23:37 we find these words; Christ, sitting on Mt. Olivet and weeping over Jerusalem, said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" "and ye would not!" Why don't you come to Christ right now. Because you don't want to come, you have willed not to come, and your mind is set that you will not have Christ because you don't want Him to rule over you. You have a will to choose against Christ and to choose evil and sin, but you don't have a will to choose Christ, or you would. Now that is why the unsaved religionist hates the doctrines of Calvinism, because Calvinism with God's Word puts natural man in his rightful place at the feet of a sovereign, eternal, omnipotent God as a helpless, hopeless, unrepentant, Hell-deserving sinner.

The natural man likes to think that all men are good, that they are seeking God and will someday get saved. He knows that the breath of every man is in the hands of a sovereign God, and that God does with every man whatsoever He wills, yet at the same time God holds man responsible for every act he commits because God is not responsible for man being in the condition he is in. Brother, you are in that condition because of your own choice. You can't blame anybody else.

Every individual who ever gets saved has to admit in his own heart that he is helpless and hopeless and doomed and damned, and that God can do with him as He pleases. Have you ever been there? I have. One day I lay in the dust of repentance at the feet of a Sovereign, Eternal, Omnipotent God and cried out from the depths of my heart, "Save me, Lord, or I perish." Now, I could not do one thing about it; couldn't save myself, and I couldn't make Him save me. But I have never yet known a sinner whom the Holy Spirit had brought to that place that God didn't save. Brother, that puts us where we belong.

Now this is a great teaching of Calvinism that unsaved religionists call an evil and they hate it with undying vengeance. Praise God He brings every one of His elect home. He brings them to the feet of Christ as lost, doomed, damned sinners, and there is the place where God pardons a sinner. Are you there? Oh may the Spirit of the Living God bring you there today. May you rest at His feet, and look up into the face of a Sovereign God who died for you and say, "Lord, save me or I perish!"


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