Put on the new self who is being renewed


by Mike Ratliff

1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 (NASB) 

Ten or fifteen years ago those of us in discernment ministries were in intense battles against the Satanic forces of “emergence christianity” and its vanilla cousin the Purpose Driven/Seeker-Sensitive paradigm. I don’t miss those ugly times at all, but now our enemy has a new weapon with new followers who are attacking God’s truth and His Body of believers from inside the visible church with new Satanic weapons. These weapons come from Marxist philosophy and are making great strides in compromising governments, educational institutions, corporations, news media and of course social media. They are Critical Race Theory or WOKEism combined with Intersectionality. This insidious weapons make everything either about race or gender or identity and divide people up into smaller and smaller groups of victims. Victims of who or what? The who there are those in power. The what there is the current culture or whatever institution or group, etc. this “cancel culture” is attempting to marginalize from the inside and make it powerless. This insidious attack is now on the inside of the visible church in a big way. Continue reading

Submission


by Mike Ratliff

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:18-21 (NASB) 

The proper worship of our Lord is done by Spirit-filled Christians and no others. We have looked at what being Spirit-filled is and what it isn’t before. Perhaps the number one attribute that is evidence of being truly Spirit-filled is the submission of our will to the will of God, proper submission, as He has defined it. Our God is all about order, not chaos. I listened to an interview with the author of the book Surprised by Grace, Tullian Tchividjian, right after he wrote it several years ago. He made the statement that God is all about setting His people free from bondage and we have no business throwing a bunch of “law” at them. I suppose I could have misunderstood him, but I did listen to the entire interview and I would say that Tchividjian is what I would define as an antinomian. That is, he and I may agree that we are saved by Grace through faith alone apart from works, but we depart ways when it comes to that obedience stuff. He would have a huge problem with the subject of this post for he would see it as an attempt to put people into “religious bondage.” Well, let the Word of God speak…  Continue reading

Genuine Believers Are Dead to Sin but Alive to God


by Mike Ratliff

1 Εἰ οὖν συνηγέρθητε τῷ Χριστῷ, τὰ ἄνω ζητεῖτε, οὗ ὁ Χριστός ἐστιν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ καθήμενος· Colossians 3:1 (NA28)

1 If, therefore, you were raised with Christ, seek the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

One of the most unpopular Christian teachings is summed up in Colossians 3:1 and Romans 6:1-4. I have been in discussion with some professing Christians who detest any teaching calling for repentance and walking before the face of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, denying self, taking up one’s cross and following Christ. These same ones look at sermons such as Jonathan Edward’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” with disgust. They claim this is self-righteousness and calls for salvation by works. Nowhere do we teach salvation by any means other than Justification by faith alone. On the other hand, we do teach that from that moment of rebirth into God’s family, He begins the sanctification process in the life of the believer that will not end in this temporal existence.  This sanctification, unlike our justification, is synergistic. We cooperate with God in our spiritual growth. This is where we learn to walk in repentance through the fires of tribulation, to abide in Christ as we are pruned, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and to put on the new self. Continue reading

All in Christ were Chosen in Love


by Mike Ratliff

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB) 

I was given a great deal of work to do today. In fact, it is almost 7pm here in Oklahoma as I write this and I just finished wrapping up a very long day at work. I am tired of sitting in this chair I assure you. So, I pray this post will be sufficient my brothers and sisters.  Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post my brethren. In love, God predestined believers for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. Our Creator’s great love for us moved Him to call us out of the passion we had for Satan and the kingdom of darkness.  Continue reading

The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship – Part 4


by Mike Ratliff

1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν· 2 καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον. Romans 12:1-2 (NA28)

1 Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. Colossians 3:16 (NASB) 2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In our last post, The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship – Part 3, we looked at Romans 12:2a, which says, “And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind“. We learned that genuine believers give their souls to God at salvation and their bodies to to God as living, holy sacrifices as genuine acts of worship, as our priestly self-sacrifice and they give their minds to Him as the third element of our priestly self-sacrifice is giving our minds to God as an act of worship. In this post we will look at Romans 12:2b, which says, “that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.” This implied fourth element of our priestly self-sacrifice is giving our wills to God as an act of worship.  Continue reading

The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship – Part 3


by Mike Ratliff

1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν· 2 καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον. Romans 12:1-2 (NA28)

1 Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. Colossians 3:16 (NASB) 2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In our last post, The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship – Part 2, we looked at Romans 12:1b, which says, “to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service.” We learned that genuine believers give their souls to God at salvation and their bodies to to God as living, holy sacrifices as genuine acts of worship, as our priestly self-sacrifice. In this post we will look at Romans 12:2a, which says, “And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind“. The third element of our priestly self-sacrifice is giving our minds to God as an act of worship.  Continue reading

The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship – Part 2


by Mike Ratliff

1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν· 2 καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον. Romans 12:1-2 (NA28)

1 Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In yesterday’s post, The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship – Part 1, we looked at Romans 12:1a, which says, “Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God.” Today we will look at Romans 12:1b which says, “to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service.” Actually, what Paul is saying here is that genuine believers must give their bodies to God. Yes all of us who are true believers have given our souls to God through faith in Jesus Christ, however, we also specifically called to present our bodies to Him as living, holy sacrifices. Continue reading

The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship – Part 1


by Mike Ratliff

1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν· 2 καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον. Romans 12:1-2 (NA28)

1 Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Our supreme calling is to serve God with all our being first and foremost in worship. The writer of Hebrews tells us through Christ we are to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). When I was a younger Christian I struggled for many years trying to work hard to please God while all the time never believing or feeling like I was doing enough. Along with that I struggled with my assurance because I saw other men and women in our church who were so much more mature than me and they were always at the right place at the right time doing the right things while it seemed to me that I was always “off” and “out of place.” I finally got past this when God took me through nearly a year of personal revival in which I shed all focus on self and worldly things and simply spent time in prayer, in the Word, and especially in worship whenever I was not at work or asleep. A huge part of this was discovering the passage I placed at the top of this post. Oh, I had read it many times and even memorized it when I was part of Evangelism Explosion at our church. However, I had not studied it like we are going to do here over the next several posts.  Continue reading

He led captivity captive


by Mike Ratliff

1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε, 2 μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος, μετὰ μακροθυμίας, ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ, 3 σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης· 4 Ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα, καθὼς καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν·
5 εἷς κύριος, μία πίστις, ἓν βάπτισμα,
6 εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων,
ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν.
7 Ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ. 8 διὸ λέγει·
ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν,
ἔδωκεν δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις. Ephesians 4:1-8 (NA28)

1 Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, encourage you to walk worthy of the calling by which you were called, 2 with all humility of mind and meekness with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, 3 being eager to keep the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace. 4 As there is one body and one Spirit, as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all,
the one over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Wherefore it says,
“Having ascending to the height he led captive
captivity,
He gave gifts to men.” Ephesians 4:1-8 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

It wasn’t until I started studying and learning Koine Greek that I ran into the puzzling verse above (Ephesians 4:8). After all, the English translations I have always used did not read like I translated that verse above. No, the NASB translates v8 as:

 Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” Ephesians 4:8 (NASB)

However, the Greek reads as I translated it. I have actually heard sermons and teachings based on the English renderings of this verse that viewed “captivity” in v8 as referring to Old Testament saints who though saved, were held in some sort of captivity. Supposedly, then, Jesus went into hades (hell), retrieved them from their captivity, and took them to heaven. However such a teaching is actually rooted in Roman Catholic tradition, not Sacred Scripture, and it does not even come close to the imagery of the phrase. Continue reading

What is Biblical Exhortation?


by Mike Ratliff

13 ἕως ἔρχομαι πρόσεχε τῇ ἀναγνώσει, τῇ παρακλήσει, τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ. 1 Timothy 4:13 (NA28)

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Timothy 4:13 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

One of those things all Christians, and especially Christian leaders, should be about is obeying Paul’s command in 1 Timothy 4:13. Let us look within that command at what Paul means by “exhortation.” As is the case with so many other words, our English word, “exhortation” does not quite carry the same depth of meaning as does its Koine Greek equivalent. In this post we will look at both the Greek noun is translated as Exhortation, παράκλησις (paraklēsis) as well as παρακαλέω (parakaleō), which is often translated as “beseech.” Why do this? Much of what passes for preaching and teaching in the visible church these days in neither of these things, as we shall see. Consider this a call to repent to those Christian leaders who have compromised their ministries in order to become less controversial or to be more man pleasing as well as a time for you to learn how to discern that what you are hearing from your Church leaders is from God or not.  Continue reading

God’s Will is not Constant Comfort and Worldly Success


by Mike Ratliff

7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:7-11 (NASB) 

As we have been discussing lately, only a fragment of the visible Church is holy. Only a Remnant is truly saved. There is actually a great gulf fixed between this Remnant and professing Christians who are in apostasy. This gulf has many aspects, but one of the main things that separate the two groups is that the Remnant is made up of those who are true worshippers of God. They worship the Father in spirit and truth. Those in apostasy may very well have stirring worship services and sing praise song after praise song in their Sunday Worship Services, but that is as far as it goes. It is simply music, and in God’s ears it is nothing more than a clanging gong. Genuine worship of God in spirit and truth comes from the heart of the regenerate who worships Him with every part of their lives. They serve God in all they do. He is their all-in-all. They do not seek for God to make them happy in all things. Instead, they seek to walk holy before the Lord.

Continue reading

Hear


by Mike Ratliff

27 εἶπεν δέ· ἐρωτῶ σε οὖν, πάτερ, ἵνα πέμψῃς αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρός μου, 28 ἔχω γὰρ πέντε ἀδελφούς, ὅπως διαμαρτύρηται αὐτοῖς, ἵνα μὴ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλθωσιν εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦτον τῆς βασάνου. 29 λέγει δὲ Ἀβραάμ· ἔχουσιν Μωϋσέα καὶ τοὺς προφήτας· ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν. 30 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἀλλʼ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτοὺς μετανοήσουσιν. 31 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ· εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν, οὐδʼ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ πεισθήσονται. Luke 16:27-31 (NA28)

27 And he said, “I ask you then, father, that you may send him to the house of my father. 28 For I have five brothers that he may warn them lest they also may come to this place of torment.” 29 But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the Prophets let them listen to them.” 30 But he said, “No, Father Abraham. But if someone from the dead should go to them they will repent.” 31 But he said to them, “If if they did not listen to Moses and the Prophets neither will they they be persuaded if someone should rise again from the dead.” Luke 16:27-31 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Probably most of us tend to think that to hear something simply means that sound registers in our ears and brain, but even Webster says that it goes further than that: “to perceive or apprehend with the ear; to gain knowledge by hearing; to listen with attention.” Every parent has experienced times when their child says he or she hears what the parent is saying but does not really listen with attention. Continue reading

Parable


by Mike Ratliff

8 τοῦτο δηλοῦντος τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου, μήπω πεφανερῶσθαι τὴν τῶν ἁγίων ὁδὸν ἔτι τῆς πρώτης σκηνῆς ἐχούσης στάσιν, 9 ἥτις παραβολὴ εἰς τὸν καιρὸν τὸν ἐνεστηκότα, καθʼ ἣν δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι προσφέρονται μὴ δυνάμεναι κατὰ συνείδησιν τελειῶσαι τὸν λατρεύοντα, Hebrews 9:8-9 (NA28)

8 The Holy Spirit is making this clear, that the way into the holy place has not yet been revealed while the first tabernacle is still standing, 9 which is a parable for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshipper perfect in conscience, Hebrews 9:8-9 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The literal idea of the Greek παραβολή (parabolē) is a placing side by side and, therefore, a comparison or similarity. A parable is, therefore, “a short story under which something else is figured or in which the fictitious is used to represent and illustrate the real.” In the passage above (Hebrews 9:8-9) I translated παραβολὴ as parable instead of “symbol” or “picture” showing that the wilderness Tabernacle was a “parable” of Christ’s heavenly ministry. Continue reading

Understand


by Mike Ratliff

13 διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ, ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν, 14 καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἠσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα·
ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε,
καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε.
15 ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου,
καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν
καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν,
μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς
καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν
καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν
καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς. Matthew 13:13-15 (NA28)

13 For this reason I am speaking to them in parables for while seeing they do not see and while hearing they do not hear nor do they understand, 14 and the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled in them, which says,
‘In hearing you will hear and by no means understand,
and while seeing you will see and my no means perceive.
15 for the heart of this people has been made dull,
with their ears they hear with difficulty,
and their eyes are closed, lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart and return,
and I would heal them.’ Matthew 13:13-15 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In the heartbreaking passage above the word “understand” translates the Greek verb συνίουσιν (syniousin) it is the third person plural present tense, active mood, and indicative voice of συνίημι (syniēmi), which means “understand.” It originally meant to bring together. One Greek scholar has explained συνίημι this way, “The comprehending activity of the mind denoted by συνίημι entails the assembling of individual facts into an organized whole, as collecting the pieces of a puzzle and putting them together. The mind grasps concepts and sees the proper relationship between them.”

Another example of this word appears in Acts 28:25-28.

25 ἀσύμφωνοι δὲ ὄντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀπελύοντο εἰπόντος τοῦ Παύλου ῥῆμα ἕν, ὅτι καλῶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ὑμῶν 26 λέγων·
πορεύθητι πρὸς τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον καὶ εἰπόν·
ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε
καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε·
27 ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου
καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν
καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν·
μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς
καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν
καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν
καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.
28 γνωστὸν οὖν ἔστω ὑμῖν ὅτι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπεστάλη τοῦτο τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ θεοῦ· αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται. Acts 28:25-28 (NA28) 

25 And when they did not agree with on another, they were dismissed after Paul had spoken, “The Holy Spirit spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying,
‘Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand,
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive.
27 For the heart of this people has become dull,
and with their ears they scarcely hear,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart and return,
and I would heal them.”’
28 Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been set to the Gentiles and they will listen. Acts 28:25-28 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

While under house arrest in Rome for two years, Paul taught those who visited him. Some believed, but some didn’t. When he saw the unbelief of the Jews, He said, quoting Isaiah 6:9-10:

9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9-10 (NASB) 

Romans 3:11 likewise declares:

11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; Romans 3:11 (NASB) 

In both cases the point is that the unbeliever does not understand spiritual truth; he cannot “put the pieces together” and comprehend what he is hearing. This is why Jesus used parables in His teaching.

In contrast, Romans 15:21 declares that Paul’s word among the Gentiles fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, that the Gentiles who had never before heard God’s truth would hear and understand. This is a great encouragement to us. Why? After’s Peter’s confession that Jesus was “The Christ, the Son of the living God,” our Lord responded, “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Likewise, the Holy Spirit illumines spiritual truth to us so we can understand it, so we can “put the pieces together.” 

I know that before the Holy Spirit did that for me I was spiritually clueless even though I had gone to church my whole life. But one Sunday morning as I was minding my own business trying to be as invisible as possible in Bible Study class, the truth of the Gospel hit home like a ton of bricks and all those years of hearing the Gospel suddenly made sense and I saw that I was a lost sinner whose only hope was to turn to Jesus as my Lord and Savior, repent of my sins and be baptized. I have never been the same. How about you?

Soli Deo Gloria!