Summary: This sermon is part of a series through the Augsburg Confession. Topic Free Will and Predestination. In the sermon is the acronym for TULIP. I also placed a sign over the two exit doors. One says Heaven. The other Hell. Can you choose?
In Jesus Holy Name November 12, 2017
Series: Augsburg Confession Redeemer
AC XVIII Free Will
Text: Romans 8:6-8
“A Beginner’s Guide to Free Will”
The issue of free will and predestination is one that has created endless conversation and discussion in every generation of Christians. Do we exercise choice, or has everything already been decided regarding our eternal destiny.
What do the words Free Will mean? Can Free Will be separated from God’s predestination of believers? Paul is very clear in Ephesians 1 when he wrote:
For God… “chose us in Jesus Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his children through Jesus Christ….”
God’s election to eternal life is always based on His word. “Paul writes: “How can they believe if no one is sent to proclaim the Gospel”? ( Romans 10:14-15) “When you heard the word of truth, the gospel (which is the good news that your sins are erased when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave) you were marked by the Holy Spirit which creates faith in your heart that Jesus is who He says He is. God in flesh. “you see at just the right time when we were still powerless, unable to make ourselves acceptable to God, Christ died for the ungodly.”
In the history of the Christian church, few doctrines have been so hotly debated as the doctrine of predestination.
If predestination is true, what happens to free will?
Are we just puppets on a string, doing what God ordained in eternity past?
Does God predestine some people to go to heaven? If so, does he also predestine others to go to hell?
Why bother with evangelism since whoever is going to be saved will be saved eventually?
Admittedly, these are difficult questions. I don’t expect to answer all them in the course of just one message.
First, from our human standpoint, we have a free will. When you wake up in the morning, you have a choice to get out of bed or to stay in bed. You can put on a red dress or a blue one. When you get in your car, you are free to drive to work or you can drive to San Francisco if you like. Every decision you make is a free choice. By that I simply mean that you do not feel constrained by some divine power that forces you to eat at Burger King instead of McDonalds.
When talking about Free Will…. human beings always choose according to their inclinations. There is a reason you are sitting where you ae sitting. Maybe you don’t like to walk very far. Maybe you want to be near the door to leave early. Maybe it was the only seat available. It was your inclination that had you choose your seat. Maybe it was selfish… that has always been my seat. There is always a reason for the choices we make.
External forces can and do change choices you make. Adam and Eve never disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden until the external force of Satan changed the choice of obedience. The Apostle Paul said… the good I want to do I do not do but what I hate I do….why? because the external force of my selfishness, my sin nature, inherited from Adam and Eve, and even at times Satan..….….. when offering a temptation I am inclined to choose evil …only the external force of the Holy Spirit can enable me to overcome temptation. There is always a battle ….to choose to obey God or obey my inclinations to selfishness.. Ephesians 6
In order to choose good over evil….I must choose to keep in step with God’s Word, for with the help of the Holy Spirit I can obey God. (Romans 8:9-11)
Story of Joseph. His brothers made a “wicked” choice to rid themselves of Joseph. Years later when his brothers repent Joseph said: You meant it for evil but God meant it for good. In other words God’s intention was for good, so He brought something good out of the brother’s evil actions. God was creating a nation based on the promise to Abraham.
There is a difference between civil righteousness which mankind has the freedom of the will to choose to obey or reject. In regards to spiritual righteousness it is impossible for mankind to make himself acceptable to God, or believe in God, obey God, without the work of the Holy Spirit.
Predestination simply means, God chose you first and if he didn’t choose you first, you would never have chosen him.
Before the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind was sinless. They had free will to choose to obey God or disobey God.