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God's Sovereignty, Our Salvation

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:04:32
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God in His sovereignty has ordained suffering
It reveals our brokenness
It exposes our idols
It displays our hope
God uses suffering for our good and the good of others
That good- Making much of & being made more like Jesus
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
How is Paul so sure? What gives those “in Christ” this confidence
Remember this was a letter ( No Chapters, Verses, Headings)
Just finished - God uses suffering for the good of those “in Christ”, this is an encouragement for those “in Christ”
Moves to the reason of His confidence
Begins in Romans 8:28
He doesn’t finish until the end of Romans 11
Romans 11:33–36 ESV
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
We must not miss the weight, the worth and the worship of God
There is going to be discussion/debate within these verses
But Paul’s purpose is to spur us to Worship, to stand in AWE
God’s Unsearchable Wisdom and Knowledge (Complexity)
God’s Power and Authority (Sovereign over all things)
God’s ferocious love and devotion to........HIMSELF
We must not forget God is ultimate, this is HIS story
If He was not completely devoted to Himself....idolatry
This is good news.
Salvation comes so that the mercy and grace of God is exalted
Foreknown, Predestined, Called, Justified, Glorified
SO Christ would be the firstborn, (supreme/glorified)
Death/Burial/Resurrection - Savior
Conformed to His Image - Our Treasure, Our Goal
Do Not Miss - Sense of Mystery, Awe, Weight of it all
Paul is writing from the “Divine Perspective”
A glimpse of God’s redemptive plan, from God’s viewpoint
Not Dry Doctrine, Not “busy work”, this should stir our affections

Paul’s sure foundation is placed upon God’s unbreakable chain of salvation.

These passages are typically taught one of two ways. (much debate)
Disagreement about the word “foreknew” (Simplified)
God looks into the future, and seeing those that would respond to Him by faith, elects those people to salvation
God knowing that the heart of man is dead unresponsive to God, elects for Himself a people to salvation, and in grace grants them faith to believe.
I want you to know there are different views on this text
This issue is open Handed - (divorce, alcohol, dress)
It is OK to disagree and debate (in love)
It is OK to have questions and concerns
My prayer is that this will spur us to deeper study, awe of God
I am what is traditionally known as a Calvanist
I preach from a Calvinist view (especially the next three chapters)
Feel free to come discuss, and ask questions… in love
There will be questions and objections
Many are addressed in 9-11, hang on be patient
Borrowing from Kevin DeYoung as the “why Calvanism”
The paradox of Calvinism is that we feel better by feeling worse about ourselves, we do more for God because we see how He’s done everything for us, and we give love away more freely when we discover that we have been loved and saved by free grace.
In Scripture, we see a God who is holy, independent, and unlike us. We glory in God’s goodness, that He should save miserable offenders, bent towards evil in all our faculties; objects of His just wrath. We rejoice in God’s electing love, which He purposed for us before the ages began. We are grateful for God’s power, by which He caused us, to be born again and enabled us to believe His promises. We take comfort in God’s all-encompassing providence, whereby nothing happens according to chance, but all things—prosperity or poverty, health or sickness, giving or taking away—are sent to us by our loving heavenly Father.
We find assurance in God’s preserving grace, believing with all our might that nothing—not even ourselves—can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We delight in the glory of God and in God’s delight for His own glory, which brings us, on our best days, unspeakable joy, and on all other days, still gives purpose and order to an otherwise confusing and seemingly random world.
What draws people to Reformed theology is the belief that God is the center of the universe and we are not; that we are worse sinners than we imagine and God is a greater Savior than we ever thought possible; that the Lord is our righteousness and the Lord alone is our boast.
Now that that cat is out of the bag, let’s dig into our study of the end of Romans 8
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Notice, we call these a chain because of the 5 links...
Foreknew, Predestined, Called, Justified, Glorified
English Majors - This is a conditional clause
Think Cause/Effect, or If/Then
They are a series of connected, yet isolated events
Predestined is not justification, but the justified are predestined
If you are called, then you are justified…not maybe but certainly

The first link in our chain is that of foreknowledge.

Foreknew - Here is the big debate
Used in Scripture as - Known, or Foreknown
Is this God seeing future events (and responding to man’s will)
Or, is this an intimate knowing in eternity past
Yes, God knows/sees all events (Omniscience)
But this is a special knowing :
No need to add: “Forknew those who would believe”
There are two types of “knowing”
Informational - Facts, Observation, Surface
Relational - Intimate, Close, Approval
George Washington vs. My Wife
Psalm 1:6 ESV
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
God knows about the way of the wicked — leads to judgement
God knows the way of the righteous — approval, love, relationship
Matthew 7:23 ESV
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
He knows they were lawless, but He doesn’t “know” them
Genesis 4:1 ESV
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”
An intimate, loving knowledge
Genesis 18:16–19 ESV
Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
God is about to judge Sodom
Shall I hide this from Abraham?
I have chosen him, same word translated known him
God chose Abraham to be the Father of Israel, in this choosing there is a deep personal relationship between God and Man

Foreknowledge is God choosing to set His love on us in a personal way. To be foreknown is to be fore-loved.

The second link in our chain is our being predestined.

A lot less debate about what this word means.
It is to set a destination
The idea behind the word is a ship marking a destination on the horizon and setting sail to reach it.
God has set our destination - to be conformed to the image of His Son
We will look more at this, but for now...
The end result: we are going to be glorified (destination)
So we can already begin to see that..
God has set His love on us
God has a destination for us (plan/purpose/working towards)

Predestination is God setting both an end and a means to that end; our glorification.

The third link in this unbreakable chain is our calling, this to is a particular, effectual call.

God commands all people to repent
Matt 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
Acts 17:30
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent
Here we see that this calling, leads to (will result in) justification, so it must be a particular, effective is cause/effect
Only those who are compelled, drawn by God can respond
We lack the ability of our own will.
Eph 2:1 - We are dead in our trespasses and sin (unresponsive)
Rom 3:10 - None righteous, no one seeks God, no one understands
Our hearing, our responding (by faith), is God’s gracious gift
1 Thessalonians 1:4–5 ESV
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Not only in words, but in power and the moving of the Holy Spirit to conviction
Acts 16:14 ESV
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
We see God opening the heart to be receptive to the gospel
2 Timothy 2:24–25 ESV
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
Again we see God granting repentance
We hear preachers say all of the time that it is not by coincidence that God has brought us hear to day, and they are absolutely correct. The Bible teaches that our God is Sovereign and He sets up pre-appointed times that He can draw people unto Himself.

The fourth link in our chain is our justification, to be declared blameless before God.

Justification is not an isolated event, but it is part of the whole plan of God’s purpose.

Paul’s point here is that God is working all things in our lives to bring those “in Christ” to their current condition. Those who are justified MUST FIRST, be foreknown, they must be predestined, and they must be called by God, and they will be glorified.

The fifth link in the chain is our glorification.

Glorification is our God set destination where we will be made like him.

- To image the Son is to Image the Father
Colossians 1:15 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
This is happening now, even as we age and march towards death
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This glory is that we would become more like Jesus...
Morally - That we are killing sin (no to sin, yes to God)
Characteristically- That we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit
Physically - That one day we will be gloriously restored (body/spirit)
Paul is saying this as an encouragement to Christians
We can look down the chain
We were loved before the foundation of the world
God has a predetermined plan for our lives that cannot be compromised
God has drawn us to the beauty of Jesus so that we no longer stand condemned.
We can look up the chain
Our suffering is temporary
Our struggle is temporary
One day we will will have everlasting joy and freedom in Christ
So with this assurance, how does Paul respond?
Romans 8:31–39 ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul begins to worship the Sovereign God who has set His love on Him
God is so dedicated to His own glorious plan of redemption that He sacrificed His OWN Son, so that we could be declared righteous.
Romans 1 - The grace I have and the faith I have been given to proclaim is all for the glory of God
God owes me nothing, under ,no obligation,He has no need
Every breath I breathe I am using His is all His
I was born so self-centered and rebellious that He would have every right to me and all humanity to Hell
That this God has SET His love on me
That this God KILLED his OWN SON for my sin against Him
That He thinks so Highly of Himself, that He is so good, right and perfect that He is will ing to go to the cross, die and save me so that I could experience His glory…and worship Him...
Not of duty, not out of fear, but because of
So what in the WORLD can separate us, from THIS?
Not my sin (It is paid for)
Not my guilt (I am forgiven)
Not my shame (I am loved)
Not my doubts (He is my rock)
Not my conflicts (He is my peace)
Not my fears (He is my strength)
Not persecution (He is my shield)
Not sickness (He is the great physician)
Not hunger (He is the bread of life)
Not Death (He is the Risen King)
Martin Lyod-Jones calls the end of Romans 8 “logic on fire”
Think! Are you afraid? You aren’t thinking! Are you worried! You aren’t thinking! Are you feeling guilty? You aren’t thinking! See the logic of free grace and justification! These arent dry doctrines they are life itself. And if you aren’t living with overwhelming assurance and power, you haven’t really fully understood them.
This unbreakable link should be comforting, it should remind us of the love that has been lavished on us in Christ. It is fitting to end with a verse from the Song of Solomon, an allegory of God’s love for His people...
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine...
This is how we can know, absolutely that God is working ALL things together for the good of His people.
If you are not His, if you have not surrender to Him as Lord, can you hear Him?
Do not put this off, come…all who are thirsty come, all who are weak and weary come…come right now, just as You are
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