Christians, We Are Chosen by God

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Christians, We Are Chosen by God

1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Thess 2:13; Rom 9:10-26; Eph 1:3-7

Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 28, 2012

*Remember playing games as a kid, when they had to choose teams? Nobody wanted to be chosen last. It’s good to be chosen, and it is especially good to be chosen by God.

*As Christians, we are chosen by God. And last week in 1 Peter, we started exploring what this means.

I. For example: We are chosen for salvation.

*We saw this truth in 1 Peter 1, where the Apostle opened by saying that Christians, we are “elect.” Please listen again in vs. 1&2:

1. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2. elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. . .

*All Old Testament believers and all Christians are part of the “elect.” God uses this same word 23 times in the New Testament, and it simply means “picked out” or “chosen” by God.

*Most of the time this word is translated as “elect.” But sometimes it is translated as “chosen,” like in Matt 22:14, where Jesus said: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

*And this is just one of the Greek words that are translated as “chosen.” We also find 23 more examples of “chosen” that come from other Greek words.

*For example, in 2 Thess 2:13, the Apostle Paul said this to those Christians:

13. We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

*Christians, God chose you from the beginning for salvation. It’s the same truth Peter stressed when he said we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. . .” When we believe in the truth, when we choose to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then at some point we will look back and see that God chose us first.

*Before the beginning of time, God looked into the future, and saw you, and chose you to obtain His Salvation. This means that when Jesus Christ was on the cross, we really were on His mind.

II. Christians, we are chosen by God for salvation. Now, any time we look into Scriptures like these, the question of predestination comes up.

*We could spend a long time talking about predestination, because it opens a can of worms that has been debated for hundreds of years:

-I’m talking about the issues of eternal security and limited atonement.

-The issues of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.

*The two basic schools of thought are called Calvinism and Arminianism. These names come from two theologians who lived about 500 years ago: John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius.

*But these two labels are not the bottom line.

-The bottom line is this: What does the Word of God say?

*And as we look into the Word of God tonight, there are 3 things to keep in focus:

-God’s perfect sight.

-The power of God’s sovereignty.

-And the paradox of salvation.

1. Last week we focused on God’s perfect sight.

*God really does see the end from the beginning. In Isaiah 46:9-10, God says:

9. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

*As human beings in this world, we are perpetually stuck in a moment of time.

-But God is not like us.

-He is bigger than time.

-In fact, God created time.

*And He sees the end from the beginning, so He foreknew who was going to be saved. We also see this truth in Romans 8:28-31, where Paul said:

28. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

29. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

31. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

*When it comes to predestination, we need to focus on God’s perfect sight.

2. But also focus on the power of God’s sovereignty.

*This is the source of the argument between Arminianism and Calvinism: The issue of man’s free will vs. the sovereignty of God.

*If you believe that a saved person can lose their salvation, then you would be considered to be Arminian. Historically, most Baptists are Calvinists up to a point, and eternal security is one of those points. If you believe in the eternal security of the believer, then you would be considered to be a Calvinist.

*The strongest Calvinists basically believe in 5 points called TULIP for short:

T - The Total depravity of man.

U - Unconditional election.

L - Limited atonement

I - Irresistible grace

P - Perseverance of the saints

*T stands for the Total depravity of man.

-John Piper explains: “When we speak of man's depravity we mean man's natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform man. . . Romans 14:23 says, ‘Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.’ -- This is a radical indictment of all natural ‘virtue’ that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God's grace. . .

*Our rebellion against God is total. Apart from the grace of God there is no delight in the holiness of God, and there is no glad submission to the sovereign authority of God.” Man is totally depraved. So our salvation is totally dependent on the grace and mercy of God. That’s the “T.” (1)

*The “U” is Unconditional election.

-Saved people are the elect or chosen ones of God. This is the word we found in 1 Peter 1, but the Apostle Paul used the same word.

*For example, in 2 Timothy 2:10, Paul said: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” And Romans 8:33 says, “Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.”

*One of the strongest passages on unconditional election is Romans 9:10-26. Here Paul says:

10. And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac

11. (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),

12. it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger.''

13. As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.''

14. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!

15. For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.''

16. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

17. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "Even for this same purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be declared in all the earth.''

18. Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?''

20. But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?''

21. Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

22. What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

23. and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

24. even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25. As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.''

26. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, `You are not My people,' there they will be called sons of the living God.''

*The difficult truth here is that God is absolutely sovereign when it comes to salvation.

-His judgment is perfect.

-And He alone decides who will be saved.

-So the glory will all go to Him.

*TULIP -- The “U” is Unconditional election, and the “L” is Limited atonement.

-It would be wonderful if everybody was going to heaven. And some false teachers teach universal salvation. But you won’t find it in the Word of God.

*The “I” in TULIP is irresistible grace.

-John Piper says, “The doctrine of irresistible grace means that God is sovereign and can overcome all resistance when he wills. So Daniel 4:35 says, ‘He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand!’” (2)

*Finally, the “P” is for Perseverance of the saints.

-This is the eternal security of the believer: Once saved, always saved.

*All of these doctrines are connected to the Biblical truth of saved people being chosen by God. They speak to us about the sovereignty of God. He is God and we are not. He gets all of the glory for our salvation!

*When it comes to predestination, we need to focus on the power of God’s sovereignty.

3. But we also need to focus on the paradox of salvation.

*We often run into paradoxes when it comes to the things of God and by paradox I mean a seeming contradiction: Things that don’t seem to go together, but do go together. Let me mention three of these paradoxes.

[1] For example, is Jesus Christ a man or is He God? -- The answer is, “both!”

-Jesus is 100% man and at the same time He is 100% God.

-That shouldn’t be true, but it is true.

*As we see in 1 Timothy 3:16: “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.”

*Then in Colossians 2:8&9, Paul gave us this warning:

8. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

9. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

[2] We find another paradox in the Bible: Was it written by men or by God? -- The answer is “both,” for 2 Peter 1:21 says, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

[3] There is also a paradox when it comes to salvation Scriptures. The same God who hardens hearts in Romans 9:18 also said in the same chapter: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.'' (Romans 9:33)

*Christians, are we chosen for salvation? -- Yes, before the creation of the world.

-But the same God who chose the elect before the creation of the world also says:

7. . . Today, if you will hear His voice:

8. “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, And as in the day of trial in the wilderness,” (Psalm 95:7-8)

*And in Matthew 11:28-30:

28. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.''

*And in John 3:16-17:

16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

*And in 1 Timothy 2:3-4:

3. . . God our Savior

4. . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

*This is the paradox of salvation. So someone once said we Baptists pray like Calvinists and preach like Arminians:

-We pray: “Lord, save them.”

-And we preach: “Whosoever will, come to Jesus Christ.”

*A friend of mine once compared the two parts of this paradox to railroad tracks.

-One rail is God’s sovereignty.

-And the other rail is man’s free will.

*You must have both rails, because they are both in the Word of God.

-And you must have both rails or you are going to have a train wreck.

*For example, we must be careful when it comes to predestination, because overemphasizing this doctrine leads to the neglect of evangelism and missions.

*We can fall into the great error of thinking: “What’s the use? Nothing I do will matter.” We can even be deceived into thinking that we shouldn’t try to reach the lost, because God has already saved the elect.

*As someone once said to pioneer missionary, William Carey: “Young man, sit down; when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine.” (3)

*One of the denominations known for strong Calvinism is the Primitive Baptists. When I was growing up in Macon, there was a beautiful, old, brick Primitive Baptist Church just a few blocks up from the Presbyterian Church we attended. When I was home this past summer, I was saddened to see that this old Primitive Baptist Church is now the Islamic Center of Macon.

*This is the great danger of Hyper-Calvinism! -- And God never wants us to forget His Great Commission! We find it in Matt 28:18-20:

18. Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20. teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'' Amen.

*We go, we teach, we preach. But only God can save the lost. As Paul said in 1 Cor 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”

*Only God can save the lost.

-So all of the glory goes to God

-And that’s good, because He deserves all the glory!

III. Christians, we are chosen by God. For another example, notice that we are chosen as children of God.

*God’s Word reveals this great truth to us in Ephesians 1. Please turn over to Ephesians 1 and look starting in vs. 3.

*Here Paul said:

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 should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

5. having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

6. to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

*Christians, we have been chosen as children of God! Verse 5 tells us that we were predestined to be adopted into the family of God. And while it is true that all believers are born again by the Spirit of God into His family, I am also glad that here He tells us we are adopted, because it means we were chosen. The love of a parent for an adopted child is a special, big kind of love.

*My parents didn’t choose me. And there were probably days when, given the choice, my Mama would have said: “No thanks!” But God has the kind of love that He could look at us warts and all, and still say: “I choose you.”

*Believers, we were chosen to be children of God. Again in vs. 4, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Can you see how special you are to God?

*But vs. 7 reminds us that it never could have happened without the cross of Jesus Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

*Thank God for the cross! -- And in vs. 6, praise “the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”

*Let’s go to God in prayer.

(1) John Piper & Bethlehem Baptist Church Staff - 1998 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN -

(2) ibid

(3) F. Deaville Walker, William Carey. Missionary Pioneer and Statesman (1925 ed.; repr. Chicago: Moody Press, n.d.), 54, n.1. See the recent discussion of this event by Brian Stanley, The History of the Baptist Missionary Society 1792-1992 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1992), 6-7.

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