Summary: This sermon deals with the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism. It helps us not only see the differences, but also helps us see where we should stand in our relationship with God.
A Story of Two Towns
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
8which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
9having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
10that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
11In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
12that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
John Calvin was a preacher
who lived back in the first half of the 1500s.
There are said to be 5 major points of Calvinism.
#1 Total depravity. That means that every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests
#2 Unconditional Election. That means that God has already determine who will be saved and who will be lost. It’s a theology that is sometimes called “Predestination” or “Election”. In other words, God is able to bring to salvation all whom He intends to save.
#3 Limited Atonement. This means that the atonement through the blood of Jesus is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all.
#4 Irresistable grace. This means the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and, in God’s timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. When God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved.
#5 Perseverance of the saints. This means that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end. This is sometime referred to as “eternal security”.
The opposite line of belief is often called Arminianism.
The founder of that theology was Jacobus Arminus
who lived back in the middle 1500s.
Arminianism holds to the following beliefs:
#1 Humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation.
#2 Salvation is possible by grace alone.
#3 Works of human effort cannot cause or contribute to salvation. #4 God’s election is conditional on faith in Jesus.
#5 Jesus’ atonement was for all people.
#6 God allows his grace to be resisted by those unwilling to believe.
#7. Salvation can be lost, as continued salvation is conditional upon continued faith.
It’s obvious that there are some major differences here!
Most of the Protestant churches stem from the beliefs of these men.
Gospel Chapel is a nondenominational church.
But as the founder of this church,
my beliefs form the core of our doctrines.
So where does that put us in this debate?
Did you have any choice when you got saved?
Or was it something God had already determined?
Can you lose your salvation no matter what you do?
Or is your salvation secure regardless of what you choose to do?
I could preach for hours on these questions.
But maybe a story will help us understand.
Jesus often used stories in His teachings.
This is a story of two towns destined for eternity.
One is about a town that made it and one that didn’t.
The stories are true.
This is the story of what happened in Jacksonborough, Georgia in 1820. Jacksonborough was located north of present day Statesboro in Screven County, Georgia. The book Statistics of the State of Georgia, describes Jacksonborough as a place known for its hard drinking and hard fighting residents.