SOMETIMES, we just don’t see how could ALL things could possibly work together for good – I mean SOME, yes. A FEW sure… but ALL?
• We take Romans 8:28 & compare it with what’s going on in our lives and it’s easy to just not believe it!
• So much can be just downright bad & painful.
• The issues of today can so easily and quickly blind us to God’s Purposeful Plan for our lives.
• But His plan of salvation is wonderful.
• IN verses 29-30 there are 5 doctrines we are looking at.
• We covered the first one already, God’s foreknowledge.
• Since God is omniscient and knows all things, we can trust Him in difficult times because nothing takes Him by surprise!
• Today, we look at PREDESTINATION – Read v29
PREDESTINATION… it sounds like a scary word doesn’t?
• Lit., “To determine beforehand” “marking out & appointing.”
IN OTHER WORDS: God in advance, independent of you, but knowing you, chose you… WOW!
• The Lord has predetermined the destiny of every person who will believe in Him.
Ephesians 1:5 (NKJV) 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Ephesians 1:11 (NKJV) 11 In 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,
1 Peter 1:20 (NKJV) 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
• Chose me & Called me for what? V29: To be conformed into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
SO does that mean we don’t have a choice in the matter?
• Well some have come to that conclusion and have a very stern & stiff view of predestination that I don’t believe is biblical.
• It sounds more like FATE… - That’s not it at all.
• God’s predestination is based upon His foreknowledge.
• Remember 1 Peter 1:1-2 – according to His foreknowledge.
• God who knows all things in advance has chosen those who would choose Him.
• God looked ahead in time and saw who would accept Him and those are the ones he chose, elected, called, predestined.
NOW DON’T LET THE ENORMITY of this glorious truth trip you up and baffle you… it’s a wonderful mystery!
• GOD knows the end from the beginning…
• That’s called God’s omniscience.
• There isn’t one thing that God doesn’t know or needs to learn!
• God knows the whole story before it’s written so in His foreknowledge, He sees the future as if it’s today!
• Theologically we could say, God knows all things both actual & possible, past & present & future, completely, perfectly, simultaneously, and eternally!
• All aspects of the eternal purpose of God are equally timeless!
A SIMPLE PICTURE FOR US MIGHT BE TRAVELING in a blimp, seeing the big picture of a parade down below.
• Those at the sidewalk see one thing at a time pass by them.
• But from up above we see all the floats from beginning to end.
• God knows & sees all and chose us because of his foreknowledge that we chose Him. It’s an incredible doctrine!
• Flip over to 1 Thess 1:4-6
1 Thess 1.4-6 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
• We’re always going to see these go hand in hand.
• God’s choice and our choice. God’s action & our action.
• God’s choice goes with your believing in Him.
NOW: THE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION has become somewhat of a battlefield in the church today.
• For some it’s become a place for arguments & contentions.
• Usually there 2 errors, 2 ditches that we can easily fall into.
• 2 extremes… now understand me, I say this with great respect because there are good & godly people who have fallen into these ditches, these extremes.
#1 – CALVINISM.
• Calvinism is a doctrine based on the teachings of a man named John Calvin, 1 of the Reformers in time of Martin Luther.
• There are 5 basic points that summarize this belief system.
• The word TULIP is used to help remember them:
TOTAL DEPRAVITY, UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION, LIMITED ATONEMENT, IRRESISTABLE GRACE, PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
NOTE: The most troubling extreme is that God has predestined some to be saved and some to be damned.
• The ones predestined to be damned HAVE NO HOPE.
There is this strict idea that God has chosen some & not others.
• That the call of the gospel is only for those that are saved.
• If you’re not predestined to be saved, then it’s too bad.
• What this does is take away man’s free-will & choice.
• I really don’t see that in the Bible or in the heart of God!
LOOKING BACK AT THE GARDEN OF EDEN we have to ask ourselves: Did Adam have a real freedom of choice?
• I MEAN If it’s already predestined that Adam would eat and die, then why include the story?
• If Adam was predestined to commit sin, then he could have turned around and blamed God for the action.
• But sin isn’t God’s fault.
• He created a perfect world and Adam & Eve had a real, bona fide choice. Adam could choose to eat or not eat!
• AND SINCE then, man has had a choice to relate to God or to not relate to God, to accept or reject Jesus as the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.
OTHER EXTREME OR DITCH WE FALL INTO is known ARMINIAMISM
• Arminiamism is a doctrine based on the teachings of Arminius.
• He taught man made all the choices apart from God completely.
• The most troubling extreme is that since man chooses Jesus, he must continue to choose Jesus or he will lose his salvation.
• So that you can be saved and lost, saved & lost, saved & lost.
On the one hand GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY & man has no free will.
On the other hand, MAN’S FREE WILL & God loses his sovereignty.
THE TRUTH is in the middle. The Bible doesn’t pigeon hole itself and fit into a nice little package.
How the FREE WILL OF MAN cooperates with the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD is a mystery. We can’t fully figure these things out!
• There are a lot of mysteries that make me stand in awe of God!
• I want to search them, and learn them, and understand them.
• And I hear the Lord whisper in my ear: Isaiah 55:8-12
AND SO WHAT DOES THE CHURCH DO WITH MYSTERIES OF GOD?
• Argue about them. Fight over them. Dig in their heels
• Instead of being in AWE of them, many are at ODDS by them.!
• I’m a Calvinist. I’m an Armenian. I’m 5 points. I’m 3 points!
Well, after much thought, study, and prayer, I’ve concluded:
• I’m a Christian and I want to be used to saved souls!
• I want to preach the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ and help folks grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
APP: I know there are things in the Bible that I just don’t fully understand. God is so much bigger than me!
• It causes me all the more to trust Him and lean upon Him in every area of my life that I don’t fully understand!
NOTE: Don’t let God’s predestination trip u up… BUT INSPIRE YOU!
• The FREE WILL OF MAN & THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD are 2 truths held in tension. We need them both.
• Very much like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco relies upon that tension in it’s span to remain standing!
• Know that you’re called, your chosen, you’re saved.
• You’re predestined to be conformed into the image of Jesus!
• Rejoice in your relationship with Him and look for ways to grow in His grace and His knowledge!
John 7:37 (NKJV) 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
Revelation 22:17 (NKJV) 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
John 3:16 "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.
SO… the door is open to “WHOEVER IN THE WORLD” believes in Him would have & receive everlasting life. Then down in 3:36
John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
• So the door is open for you to believe or not. That’s the choice.
• If U believe, you’re saved. If U don’t believe, then you’re lost.
NOTE: NO one has ever asked to be saved and been refused because they were not predestined to be saved.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NKJV) 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
God sees you right now and He knows whether you will or have accepted Jesus Christ and for the forgiveness of your sins.
• If you will or have, then He has predestined you according to His foreknowledge.
• He knows your heart and knows what you will do.
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV) 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
• You can send yourself to hell by not choosing Jesus and not accepting His gift of salvation!
THE Bible never teaches that God chose some to be damned.
• God doesn’t allow man to blame Him for going to hell.
• God’s sovereignty doesn’t trample on man’s free will.
• And by the way, they both exist… let me show you a few places.
Acts 2.23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
Acts 13.48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
WE HAVE TO HAVE a free will in order to have fellowship with someone. God didn’t make us robots. We’re not controlled by fate!
• God’s sovereignty is flexible in operation as He adapts Himself to the condition of human hearts. He condescends in order to love!
Trying to grasp the beauty of this doctrine, someone once said that over the door into heaven is written “Whosoever will”… but once you go through, it says, “chosen from the before the foundation of the world.” Isn’t that cool?
The question then is: Have you walked through that door?
• The call of salvation is to everybody.
• I would walk through that door if I was you!!!
• The whole truth of predestination, election, the sovereignty of God is all for our comfort and encouragement!
For the believer you can look back and say, I’m saved, I’m chosen, I was elected, God foreknew me, predestined me…
• I’m safe and secure in Jesus Christ.
John 10:28-29 (NKJV) 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
And for those who aren’t saved, Jesus is so good. He will save you if you call upon His name.
• He accepts you and whosoever will, let him come.