November 22, 2004

Some believed and some not why? by Don Fortner

The preacher was the apostle Paul. The message preached was the gospel of Christ. Paul expounded the Scriptures, testified of his own experience of the Christ. Yet, we read that "some believed... and some believed not." Why did Luke write that down? What does the Holy Spirit intend for us to learn from this fact?

Without question, the intention of the Holy Spirit is to teach us that THE SALVATION OF SINNERS IS NOT DETERMINED BY THE ABILITY OF THE PREACHER. I do not mean to suggest that a person can be saved apart from the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 10:17; James 1:18; I Pet. 1:23-25). And I do not suggest that it does not matter who you hear (I John 4:1-3; II John 10). If you feed upon the poison of a false religion, you will perish under the wrath of God. But the Holy Spirit does mean for us to understand that saving faith is in no way dependent upon or determined by the gifts, abilities, education, or spiritually of the man who preaches the gospel. No one excels Paul in these areas. Yet, some who heard him "believed not." He preached pure gospel truth. He preached the truth in love. His heart was in his message. He wanted those who heard him to know Christ. Yet, "some believed not."

WHY DID SOME BELIEVE WHILE OTHERS BELIEVED NOT? All heard the same preacher the same sermon under the same circumstances. Only one explanation can be given for the faith of those who believed. They believed because God chose them in eternity, Christ redeemed them at Calvary, and now the Holy Spirit called them and gave them faith by his irresistible power and grace (John 1:12-13; Rom. 9:16-18). Their salvation was entirely God's fault and the result of God's work.

WHY DID SOME NOT BELIEVE? Their unbelief was their own fault and the result of their own work. They did not believe because they would not believe (John 5:40). They would not believe because they had no need of Christ (Luke 9:11). ALL WHO ARE SAVED ARE SAVED AS A RESULT OF WHAT GOD DOES. ALL WHO ARE LOST ARE LOST AS A RESULT OF WHAT THEY DO.