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A Planned Atonement

Born to Die  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Welcome (Jason Wells)
Scripture Reading (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Prayer of Praise (Christ Our Peace), Linda Johnson
Angels We Have Heard on High
What Child is This?
Prayer of Confession (Doubt), Chris Berlin
All Creatures of Our God and King
PBC Catechism #49
What is our responsibility as servants?
With God’s help we pledge to cheerfully and regularly give of our time, talents, and treasure to support the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel to all nations.
Pastoral Prayer (Mike Klaassen)
SERMON
Last Sunday Sam preached to us about why Jesus was born to die: our sin really is that bad!
He showed us the sinfulness of sin from Ephesians 2, but if you’re interested in a more recent example consider Christmases at the Boutot house growing up.
Remember, I’m one of twelve children.
Before you think, “aw how magical that must have been to have 12 kids around the tree on Christmas morning!” let me remind you of something I say at every wedding I officiate: 1 sinner, plus another sinner doesn’t = less sin!
There were a dozen sinners around the tree!!!
In all seriousness, Christmas was pretty special in my house growing up, which just meant there were more ways to ruin it.
Sin of peeking at your presents before Christmas
Sin of telling someone what you bought them before Christmas
Sin of waking up too early
Sin of sleeping in too late
Sin of not communicating what we bought for mom and everyone getting her a scented candle
Sin of not smiling in the Christmas pictures
Sin of spitting in the party mix
The cardinal sin: not being grateful for your presents!
There could be lots of reasons for this...
Too complicated
Too uncomfortable (like Ralphie’s bunny pajamas)
You just don’t like it!
What if I told you that we too have received a gift from our heavenly Father, that many of us are tempted to disregard...
Too complicated
Too uncomfortable!
We just don’t like it!
Turn to Ephesians 1:3
About 30 years after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Paul the Apostle is in jail in Rome.
While in jail, he hears good news about the increasing faith and love of a network of churches in Ephesus.
So he writes them a letter. Not to correct any apparent problems in the church, but to instruct them in the truth.
If you were introducing a group of churches to your theology, where would you start?
Paul begins with a doctrine crucial to understanding why Jesus was born to die.
Paul begins with the doctrine of election.
We’re not talking about what many Americans do on the first Tuesday in November, but something God did in eternity past.
Simply put, the Christian doctrine of election teaches that God chooses whom He will save.
Last week we considered why Jesus’ death was necessary—we are dead in sin!
This week let’s consider how Jesus’ death was planned.
Ephesians 1:3-6—Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
God chooses to save some by His grace, for our good, and for His glory!

God Chooses to Save Some...

Watching movie with parents, my mom clicked her tongue when a young lady proposed to a young man by saying “I choose you!” The idea of a lady proposing to a man was just a bit too off my mom.
The doctrine of election is all about choosing. And perhaps you’ve grown up with the idea that we choose God. And to even think about God choosing anybody feels a bit off.
But what matters is not what we feel, but what the Scriptures say.
Ephesians 1:3-4a—Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him...
This section features a litany of blessings we’ve received from God, and Paul begins with the doctrine of election.
But notice who it is who does the choosing. God is the one who chooses.
This is the consistent teaching of the Bible...
God chooses Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
God chose Israel...
Deuteronomy 7:7—It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples
Jesus chose His disciples...
John 15:16a—“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit...”
God chooses all His people...
1 Corinthians 1:26-29—For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
“But I remember choosing! I decided to follow Jesus!”
That’s true!
Don’t be so enamored with election that you deny what the Bible also teaches: that every human must choose to repent and believe!
The doctrine of election doesn’t deny your choice, but it does say God’s choice is prior to your choice. And God’s choice is ultimately decisive in a way that your choice is not.
Imagine Holly and I want to take the kids out to eat and we want burgers. We’ve decided on Red Robin, but we also want to give the kids some options. So we tell them we can sit down and eat at Red Robin where they have TVs, and they can get balloons and onion rings, or we can go to dirty old Hardee’s. Can you guess where our kids would choose?
Now, admittedly, we’ve stacked the deck against our kids so it isn’t a perfect illustration. But you can get the idea. Our decision was prior and decisive. But the kids still really chose. And so too with God.
You must really choose to repent and believe! If you didn’t, you must! If you did, that doesn’t mean that God didn’t choose first!
1:3—. . . [The Father] has blessed us . . . with every spiritual blessing . . .
Those spiritual blessings include the ability to repent and believe!
"You take the first step, God will take the second step, and by the time you get to the third step, you will know that it was God who took the first step." [1]
Take the first step!
God chooses to save some...

…by His GRACE...

Getting chosen for kickball… chose the kids that were tall, strong, fast, athletic. You chose on the basis of something in them because you needed their help to win!
On what basis does God choose His people?
Ephesians 1:4b—...even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world...
By saying “God chose us before the foundation of the world,” Paul is saying we were chosen before we did anything. Before anyone had done anything we were chosen.
Paul makes this point explicitly clear in...
Romans 9:10-12—...when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”
Didn’t God choose me because He looked in the future and saw that I would believe?
1) Not taught anywhere in Scripture!!!
2) Makes our faith the basis of our election!
3) Leads to either pride or despair
Like the kids playing kickball. If you were chosen early, you’re proud! If you were chosen late, you were discouraged!
Pride—I’m wise enough to believe, that’s why I was chosen!!!
Despair—I’ll never have enough faith to be chosen!
You were not chosen because you would eventually believe. You eventually believed because you were chosen!
Praise God for your faith!
Tell others the good news! If God could give faith to you, He can do it to others as well!
Love the way you’ve been loved! Don’t love because of the good you see in someone else. Love unconditionally!
God chooses to save some by His grace,...

…for our GOOD...

Popular saying: "God is a gentleman. He doesn’t go where he isn’t invited and he doesn’t force himself on anyone.”
Would you say that about a fireman? Would you expect him to wait for an invitation? Or would you want him to break down the door and yank terrified children out of the house, even if it was against their will?
The problem with statements like this is they miss the seriousness of our problem! Life apart from Christ isn’t a cocktail party, it’s a burning building! So God graciously chooses to save some for their good!
The text lists two reasons why it is for our good that we are chosen...
Because we’re chosen, we can become who we were meant to be
Ephesians 1:4a—even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
We were made for holiness! But we aren’t holy!
Sam’s sermon
Because we’re chosen, we will be one day be presented before God as holy and blameless!
One objection to election: “if God chooses us solely on the basis of grace, than it doesn’t matter how we live!”
Paul says the opposite. We don’t pursue holiness in order to prove we’re chosen. Because we’re chosen, we pursue holiness! Why?
Because we’re overwhelmed by the grace we have received!
The remedy for sinning, struggling Christians is not first and foremost a lecture or a new rule. What we need is another glimpse of grace!
So let’s consider another reason why it’s good we have been chosen...
Because we’re chosen, we can become children of God
Ephesians 1:4b-5a—In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ,...
We were made for relationship with God!
But because of our sin we are children of wrath!
Because we’re chosen, we have been adopted into His family!
Some oppose election because if God can save anybody He should save everybody.
Do you hold yourself and others to that standard? There are 150 million orphans in the world. How many could you welcome into your home?
Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, the truth is that here in the well-fed West most of us could provide for several and still have some left over. Perhaps some of us can or should do more, but that’s not the point.
We do not rebuke a family for welcoming a child into their home through adoption. We rightly praise them for their love and mercy. They freely chose to use their resources to welcome another into their home.
We can freely choose to adopt some into our homes and not others. Is God less free than we are? Does He not have the same freedom to adopt some?
And God is not a stingy adoptive Father!
Revelation 7:9-10—After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
The Father sent His Son to die so He could adopt a countless multitude of people from every tribe, people, and language. And each of us receive a full inheritance in God’s family!
God chooses to save some by His grace, for our good...

…and for His GLORY.

There’s something more sinister than disregarding the gift of election.
Using your belief in this doctrine as an opportunity for pride!
If understanding election leads you to pride, you don’t understand the doctrine of election!
Ephesians 1:5b-6—...according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
God chose you because He wanted to!!!
Do you feel weak, foolish, low, and despised, Christian? Take heart! That’s exactly why God has chosen you! And if He did not choose you because of some good in you, but because of the good that is in Himself, than there is nothing you can do to become “un-chosen.”
Unbeliever: you can’t possibly be too low for God to choose you!
God chooses to save some by His grace, for our good and for His glory.
On the night Jesus was betrayed…
…as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)
Did you notice the words Jesus used? This is my blood which is poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus was born to die for a particular people. He was born to die for His elect.
How do I know if I have been chosen by God?
Have you repented? Do you believe?
If yes, than you could have only done that if God gave you the ability to do so.
If no, you can do that today. Right now!
In just a moment we’re going to sing a song based on this text.
While we sing, parents please pick up your children from PBC Kids so we can take communion together.
PRAY
Come Praise and Glorify (2 verses)
LORD’S SUPPER
The bread we eat represents Jesus’ body, given to ransom His people.
The cup we drink represents Jesus’ blood, poured out to forgive our sins.
If you haven’t been forgiven, if you’re not a Christian, we respectfully ask you not to take the Lord’s Supper with us.
We invite you to receive Jesus, not the symbol that reminds us of Jesus.
You can ask any one of our pastors about that at one of the tables and we’ll stop what we’re doing to talk and pray with you about what it means to follow Jesus.
If you believe you’re a Christian but you haven’t followed Jesus in believer’s baptism we respectfully ask you not to take the Lord’s Supper with us.
We want something bigger and better for you than a symbolic meal.
We want you to enjoy a life of obedience as a follower of Jesus. And that journey begins with believer’s baptism and membership in a local church.
If you are a baptized believer in Jesus, we invite you to celebrate this meal with us
Sit and pray as long as you need.
Confess sin to God and (if necessary) to others
PRAISE HIM FOR HIS GRACE!!!
When you’re ready, walk towards the front and gather around a table
One of our pastors will pray over you and others with you
Eat the bread at the table, then bring your cup back to your seat
Once everyone has taken the bread, we’ll take the cup together
Please pray with me, then when you’re ready come to any of the tables
After everyone has had the bread...
Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you and be thankful.
Let’s sing together
Come Praise and Glorify
Benediction (Romans 11:33, 36)
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