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Calvinism Gives Fire and Enthusiasm to True Evangelism
L. R. Shelton

An audio file of this sermon is available at

So many people have said to me, "Brother Shelton, if I believed what you believe and teach, I'd just quit preaching, teaching, praying, and giving, because if God has a certain people elected to salvation in Christ, then they are going to be saved and what is the use to spend our effort in trying to win them?" Now, do you know why you say that, my friend? I am going to give you two reasons in the way of introduction. It is because, in the first place, you may not know Christ as your Lord and Saviour. I say this after years of observation and also of experience in dealing with the hearts of men and women all over this nation, and practically all over the world. I am not the final judge. You may think you know Him, when you don't. Let that great fact soak into your heart – Do you know Christ?

Then, in the second place, being blinded to the truth of God's Word, about God's decrees, you have the wrong concept of soul-winning and evangelism. Evangelism, to the average Arminian, is merely a social Gospel, institutionalism, professionalism, and outward showism, because you exalt the will of man and the dignity of man, falsely so-called, and your converts know nothing of experimental Christianity. Now, brother, that will hold. You let these facts soak in. Now, let me suggest possibly a third reason; and that is, you cannot see on the one hand God's great decrees and on the other hand, man's responsibility. If you did, you would not be asking those questions. Now there was a day I didn't see that but I praise God He has opened my heart, my understanding, and my blinded eyes, and has let me see it. And He can open your eyes! Go through your Bible and pick out God's decrees – write them down on the one hand. Then on the other hand go through and pick out man's responsibility, and write those down. God's decrees make the firm, unshakable foundation on which the saints of God rest and, brother, that is where I rest. That is my resting place; that is my place of encouragement. On the other hand, man's responsibility fires my soul, based upon God's decrees to tell men about such a blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I am a Calvinist to the core – not a Hypercalvinist. I cannot be still for preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that one of God's elect may be saved. During the year 1954 I averaged preaching twice daily for 365 days. First Baptist Church, Algiers, New Orleans, is preaching
to more people every week than practically all the other churches combined, and that's not boasting – that is just stating a plain fact. True Calvinism will put enthusiasm, zeal, and
into soul-winning, and mission work. Now let me give some reasons why
that is so.

Here are six reasons why Calvinism gives fire and enthusiasm to true soul-winning or true evangelism. First, we know that God has a people who will hear the Gospel and be saved, according to II Tim. 2:10. "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." Isn't that wonderful! Every saved person wants to see God's people brought in. There is a fire and enthusiasm in your heart that you can't let go. The Apostle Paul was one of the truest Calvinist's, from the standpoint of doctrine, who ever lived. When he went forth to preach, he knew that God's elect would hear him; whether he was in prison, whether he was standing before kings or queens, whether he was out there facing a mob, or whether he was just there facing one or a few, he knew God's elect would hear him, and he could endure all things for the elect's sake. Contrary to the concept of Arminian's, in the heart of every true Calvinist there is a burning desire to see God's elect get saved.

Let me tell you something right here – you Calvinists who sit down on the stool of Do-nothing and say, "Well, if they are elected, they will be brought in," I doubt your salvation. Friend, if you are saved, you know such a wonderful Saviour, you know such a matchless Saviour, you know such a precious Saviour, until you want everybody else to know Him, too. That desire fires your soul. It is not a doctrine you have – it is a Living Christ that you have, and whom you want to make known.

The true Calvinist knows that as God has ordained men to be saved, He has ordained the means to salvation; and I know there are men and women who will hear the Gospel that I will preach in spite of Hell and high water. In spite of all the opposition that Arminian's may raise, God's elect will hear the Gospel; and when they hear, there is no power in earth, sea, or sky that can hinder them from getting to the Lord. They will ultimately get there. Now, I know that thing, and every true Calvinist knows it, and that is the basis on which I rest in my labors with my Lord.

The second reason is, we know that there is a certain number whom God has given to His Son, and He will not lose one of them, according to John 6:37. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." When I go forth to preach, I know that there is a certain number that God has given to the Son, and He says in His Word, "They shall come to Christ." Isn't that encouraging! Then I am not beating the air with uncertainty as to results. I know that God has some people out there whom He has given to His Son, and when I preach the Gospel to them under the power of God's Holy Spirit, they will come, they will be awakened. They "shall come." "Shall come" will bring them, because they were ordained to eternal life. Now that is true. (If you want it, I will send you in connection with these messages my booklet, "The Effectual Call." I wish it were in the hands of every listener, "The Effectual Call" – God's effectual call to sinners. Write me and I will mail it to you).

But you Arminian's – you just don't know whether anybody is going to be saved or not. You are hoping they will, you are hoping you will have a certain number of additions to the church, and you will go out and set a goal of so many that you are going to try to win to Christ this year. Well, that is none of your business; it is within God's decree who is going to be saved. It is your responsibility and mine to preach the Gospel to every creature. Let me tell you something, saint, as you are sitting there in your home this morning, will you let me tell you something? You and I are responsible for every individual, with whom we come in contact. May there burn in your heart a desire, first, to see your loved ones saved, and then to see others saved. My responsibility is to every creature, but I rest upon God's great decrees as the foundation of my hope. But you Arminian's don't have anything to rest on. That is the reason you have to put in your little two cents – persuade them, manipulate invitations, put on decision days. You have to buttonhole them and use a thousand-and-one methods to get them out on a decision for Christ and into the church, and you call that salvation! There is a book put out by a certain press, "A Thousand and One Ways of Giving an Invitation" (it may be a hundred – I don't remember). Man has ransacked his brain to produce every method under the sun to bring a person out on a decision for Christ and call it salvation. That is nothing in the world but freewillism and showism, and you make men twofold more the children of Hell than they were before. Then you want to jump up and say that I am judging. No sir, I'm not judging; I am just stating a fact, as a physician would make a diagnosis of a case. I know.

Then the third reason why true Calvinism gives fire and enthusiasm to true evangelism is, we know that Christ lay down his life for His sheep, and they will hear the voice of the Son of God and follow Him. How do we know that? Acts 13:48 says, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." Paul did not know those who were ordained to eternal life – neither do I – but, thank God, He does! He said, "The foundation of God standeth sure, having is seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his" (II Tim. 2:19). Brother, when I go forth preaching, I expect results from this message today. Somebody is going to be awakened; some saint is going to be encouraged; some awakened sinner is going to be drawn closer to the Lord. Yes, I expect results. I look for results. I heard a preacher say once, "Well, I never look for results." Brother, I do! Brother, I look for results. The Bible says, "Watch and pray" (Mark 13:33). "Watch and pray." As you pray you watch, and as you watch you pray. I know they are coming, because God has some of His elect there and they are going to hear, or He wouldn't have sent me there. They are ordained to eternal life, and "shall come" will bring them. Now, I don't have to sit down and beg them, or manipulate invitations, or put on decision services or any such thing. I preach the Gospel and leave them in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and He'll bring them to Christ.

Listen to God's Word, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). John 10:16 says, "And they shall hear my voice." Brother, I like those "shalls" of God, don't you? I never worry about the results of my preaching. If you are one of God's elect, you are coming in God's time. You may say, "I will not believe," but you will believe. You may say, "I will not hear that preacher any more," but you will hear this preacher, because "shall come" will bring you. I have made this statement a few times that Baptists have a Calvinistic creed, but and Arminian ministry (and I can say that because I bear the name Baptist, but I am of the old school). Therefore, mission work has largely been reduced to a social gospel, institutionalism, and teaching heathen how to milk cows. Yes, that's so! Now I read that in one of their magazines. Let me tell you, brother, the responsibility on us is to preach the Gospel. If we will preach the Gospel, and men and women get saved, then their lives will be cleaned up and they will start living right – and if they have a cow, they will learn to milk it!

The fourth reason Calvinism gives fire and enthusiasm to evangelism is, we know God's Word will not return unto him void. Isa. 55:11 says, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where unto I sent it." I do not know where God will send forth His Word, but He does, and He will bless it, and He will make it prosper in the thing whereto He sends it, as He pleases and as He will.

It may make you so mad until you will champ your bits, and you could bite tenpenny nails in two, but, brother, when you get mad and go to stamping, something is going to happen. You are either going to hit it to the briar patch like a cottontail to the broomsage, or you are going to get saved. We are to walk in His will and way. He says, "My child, here is the path; walk ye in it, and blessing I will bless thee; I will prosper My word that I send forth through your mouth." We are too never take our eye off the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to preach His Word and leave the results with Him. Listen! We are to preach His Word and leave the results with Him! If the average preacher did that, he would not have any results, would he? No, because the Gospel he preaches wouldn't move a flea. Do you believe the gospel you preach? Do you believe the gospel you teach in your Sunday School?

The fifth reason is, we know that by the foolishness of preaching God has ordained to save them that believe, according to I Cor. 1:21, "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." He didn't say by foolish preaching or by visual aids, or religious moving picture shows, nor by pictures: He said, "By the foolishness of preaching." When God's man stands and preaches His Word under the power of God's Holy Spirit – I don't care who he is – he need never fear about results. That's right! He may be as ignorant as he can be from the standpoint of the world, but if God has given that man a message, and if he will stand there, though he may wreck the King's English to a Queens misfitting and everything else, God will bless it and He will convict sinners, because He has said that through the foolishness of preaching God has ordained to save every one that believes. Acts 18:27 says, "Which had believed to through grace." It's all of grace.

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ preached under the power of the Holy Spirit will call out every Arminian who is ordained to eternal life. And he ceases to be and Arminian five minutes after he is saved. Brother, if any of you Armenians get to Heaven, and I hope a great number of you do, you'll be a Calvinist two seconds after you land in Glory. You'll know that God did it all. When God takes hold of that individual's heart – he may be one of the best members of your church – you won't know what to do with him. There has been so little Holy Spirit conviction in this age in the average church, and the average preacher knows nothing about Holy Spirit conviction. You may try to persuade him that he is already saved, but he won't believe you; now he knows better, because the Holy Spirit has opened his heart and he sees himself a lost, ruined, Hell-deserving sinner, whose cry is, "Pastor, I want to get to Christ; I'm lost." You may try every way in the world to quench conviction, but God has written His Law upon that man's mind and into his heart, so that he is convinced without the shadow of a doubt that he is lost and cannot be convinced otherwise. A Calvinist or an Arminian can't do one thing in the world with him, except let him alone, and let the Holy Spirit bring him to Christ.

The sixth reason is because we know that God has much people, and we can do all things for the elect's sake, "Then spake the Lord unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city" (Acts 18:9, 10). When God calls a man to preach, He calls a people to hear him. Let me emphasize it, When God calls a man to preach, He calls a people to hear him! If you say that you are called to preach and nobody will listen to you, then you had better go back and first examine your salvation, because God never wastes His ammunition. He doesn't. All the powers of darkness cannot keep God's man from preaching, and God will give him an audience – it may be prisoners, it may be kings and queens, it may be one man at midnight, it may be multitudes in the marketplaces. That man will preach, and God will call out His elect through him from among those He has sent to hear him. God knows those that are His – we don't. We are to preach to every creature. I keep emphasizing that today.

I may have used a little sarcasm to get you to thinking. Once I was there myself, I know what Arminians teach. I also know what God's Word teaches. I praise God that one day He awakened me, a lost Arminian, and brought me to know Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and He has taught me His Word, and I thank Him for it. Now He has sent me forth to preach under the power of His Holy Spirit and the results are His. I am to follow Him in prayer for His own. Brother, I don't know who God's elect are, but He does. I'll give the general call; it's God who gives the effectual call.




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