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True Eternal Security

A New Day  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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True eternal security is rooted in the certainty of God's will, not in your behavior or strength of will.

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Dr. Harry Ironside told of a man who gave his testimony, telling how God had sought him and found him. How God had loved him, called him, saved him, delivered him, cleansed him, and healed him. It was a tremendous testimony to the glory of God.

After the meeting, one rather legalistic brother took him aside and said, “You know, I appreciate all that you said about what God did for you, but you didn’t mention anything about your part in it. Salvation is really part us and part God, and you should have mentioned something about your part.”

“Oh,” the man said, “I apologize. I’m sorry. I really should have mentioned that. My part was running away, and God’s part was running after me until he found me.”

Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Election, Predestination and

Election is God’s deciding who gets on the plane bound for heaven.

Predestination is his charting the route the plane will take, the schedule, the accommodations both during and after the flight, and each passenger’s safety. With God as the pilot of the plane and the plane itself, all who board the plane make it to heaven. Predestination means God himself makes sure the elect actually board the plane. Their response of faith in Christ is like checking in at the gate with a boarding pass.

The gospel call, in contrast, is like advertising for the trip. The church is commissioned to get the word to the whole world. Unfortunately most people treat God’s free offer as “junk mail” and throw it in the trash. However, those whom God has elected to salvation he also moves to accept his free offer. Many are called, but few are chosen. Yet all who are chosen are predestined to end up in heaven.

Can you imagine what it was like to have been the guy who wasn’t there when Jesus fed the 5000? The guy who, for some reason, was too busy to go hear Jesus teach that day - maybe he had business to attend to, or he was taking his kids to the circus, or maybe he just figured that there would be plenty of opportunities to hear the rabbi from Nazareth. The next day, he heard his neighbors talking about the feast of fish and bread that Jesus had graciously provided. “Fish and bread? What’s so great about that?” he asked. “It was all we could eat, and it was free! Man, what if Jesus were king instead of Herod!” I bet that man was at teh
Predestination is his charting the route the plane will take, the schedule, the accommodations both during and after the flight, and each passenger’s safety. With God as the pilot of the plane and the plane itself, all who board the plane make it to heaven. Predestination means God himself makes sure the elect actually board the plane. Their response of faith in Christ is like checking in at the gate with a boarding pass.
Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and take them to heart that, by the patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life. … through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Election, Predestination and

Election is God’s deciding who gets on the plane bound for heaven.

Predestination is his charting the route the plane will take, the schedule, the accommodations both during and after the flight, and each passenger’s safety. With God as the pilot of the plane and the plane itself, all who board the plane make it to heaven. Predestination means God himself makes sure the elect actually board the plane. Their response of faith in Christ is like checking in at the gate with a boarding pass.

The gospel call, in contrast, is like advertising for the trip. The church is commissioned to get the word to the whole world. Unfortunately most people treat God’s free offer as “junk mail” and throw it in the trash. However, those whom God has elected to salvation he also moves to accept his free offer. Many are called, but few are chosen. Yet all who are chosen are predestined to end up in heaven.

The gospel call, in contrast, is like advertising for the trip. The church is commissioned to get the word to the whole world. Unfortunately most people treat God’s free offer as “junk mail” and throw it in the trash. However, those whom God has elected to salvation he also moves to accept his free offer. Many are called, but few are chosen. Yet all who are chosen are predestined to end up in heaven.
The Book of Concord Article XI: Concerning God’s Eternal Foreknowledge and Election

[26] We322 should not judge this matter according to our reason, nor according to the law, nor on the basis of outward appearance. Nor should we have the temerity to search the secret, hidden abyss of divine foreknowledge. Instead, we are to pay attention to the revealed will of God. For he has revealed to us and “made known to us the mystery of his will,” and has accomplished it through Christ, that it may be proclaimed (Eph. 1[:9*, 10*]; 2 Tim. 1[:9–11*]).

[27] However, this is revealed to us, as Paul says in Romans 8[:29*, 30*]: “Those whom God has foreseen, chosen, and preordained, he has also called.” Now, God does not call apart from means. He calls through the Word, which he has commanded us to preach, the word of repentance and the forgiveness of sins [Luke 24:47*]. St. Paul also testifies to this very thing when he writes, “We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5[:20*]). The guests whom the king wants to have at his son’s wedding he calls through servants whom he sends out (Matt. 22[:2–14*]). Moreover, he called some at the first hour, some at the second, third, sixth, ninth, and even at the eleventh hour (Matt. 20[:1–16*]).

[28] rTherefore, if we want to consider our eternal election to salvation profitably, we must always firmly and rigidly insist that, like the proclamation of repentance, so the promise of the gospel is universalis, that is, it pertains to all people (Luke 24[:47*]). Therefore, Christ commanded preaching “repentance and the forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” for it (John 3[:16*]). Christ has taken away the sins of the world (John 1[:29*]); his flesh was given “for the life of the world” (John 6[:51*]); his blood is “the atoning sacrifice for … the whole world” (1 John 1[:7*; 2:2*]). Christ said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11[:28*]). “God has imprisoned all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all” (Rom. 11[:32*]). “The Lord does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3[:9*]). He is “Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him” (Rom. 10[:12*]). “Righteousness” comes “through faith in Christ” to all and “for all who believe” (Rom. 3[:22*]). “This is the will of the Father, that all who … believe in Christ shall have eternal life” (John 6[:39*, 40*]). Therefore, Christ commanded that the promise of the gospel must be proclaimed to all those to whom repentance is preached (Luke 24[:47*]; Mark 16[:15*]).

These are two views regarding eternal security, which actually consists of two topics, Predestination and Election. The one regards God’s purpose, and the other, God’s process.
[1] Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 644–645.
Michael P. Green, ed., Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively, Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989).
It might help you if you remember that there really is a Kingdom of Heaven, and Jesus Christ really is a King. He actually rules, or has authority over, this Kingdom, and we are His subjects.
Daniel 2:44–45 ESV
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
Revelation 11:15 ESV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
That is the “Big Picture.” The world, which since the days of the Fall in the Garden, has been captive to sin and its effects. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from that captivity, through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave.
Romans 8:18–21 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
The Victory of God is certain, as is the eradication of sin from His creation. Our Gospel text takes us from that big eschatological picture to the intimate portrait of how that impacts each of us. Jesus’ words in this passage are a foreshadow of His Words of Institution.
John 6:35 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
These words echo Jesus’ blessing to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness...
Matthew 5:6 ESV
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Just as the physical hunger of the crowd was satisfied by the bread and fish, so those who have the hunger in their spirit for the righteousness of God will be satisfied through the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.
Luke 22:19–20 ESV
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Our Lord has promised you that He is the source of eternal life, that it is the Father’s will that you have eternal life, and that, as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ has the authority and ability to both declare and enforce His will.
John 6:37–40 ESV
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
It is painful to see people perishing because of a lack of knowledge.
Hosea 4:6 ESV
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
We see this fulfilled in our own day, as generation after generation arises that rejects the knowledge of God. Our educational, economic, social and governmental institutions operate as if God no longer cares about His creation. The fear of God has left our hearts. We no longer meditate upon the Law of the Lord, but despise and reject it - so we perish.
Our current state of affairs is “our fault - our own fault - our own most grievous fault.” God has not withdrawn His love, His mercy, or His Gospel from us. It is we, through our refusal to trust in “His exceeding great and precious promises,” who have put ourselves in this predicament of sin, sorrow, and shame. We have lost sight of “the blessed Hope, our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, even as we gather for worship, enjoy access to Gospel music and Christian programming, and declare our hatred of the sins that infect our community and country - at least, the sins that we have judged to be sinful.
Some of us condemn, and rightly so, homosexuality and fornication. Others condemn the dishonoring of wives and the refusal of fathers to bring up their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” with results that have been reported and regurgitated by politicians and pundits, psychologists and police officials.
Children’s Bureau of Southern California, in a recent report, stated that
“71% of high school dropouts are fatherless; 85% of youth in prison have an absent father; 90% of runaway children have an absent father.” (https://www.all4kids.org/2018/06/07/a-fathers-impact-on-child-development/).
While we all have our favorite sins to hate, we also have our “pet sins,” the ones that we cling to, defend and indulge. Whether it be the harsh words that we hurl at one another on social media, the entertainment that we derive from looking at video images that incite our lust, or the hunger for more, simply because someone else has something that we don’t, there is something inside of each of us that doesn’t submit to our will to do better.
Romans 7:15 ESV
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Some say, “why bother to try when you know that you’re going to fail,” or, “everybody does it, so we might as well just accept it.” Deep down inside, until you have hardened your heart and dulled your ears, you will feel the convicting of the Spirit of God, taking the work of Law of God that has been written in our hearts, as God draws us to the Son through the Gospel.
The Body and Blood of Christ is that spiritual medicine that heals us from the disease of sin. He took our sin and judgment into His own precious Body, and with His own Blood redeemed us from the kingdom of darkness. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus delivered us from the power of sin and death; He “makes us to lie down in green pastures; He leads us beside still waters.” At the cross, He gave His life for the life of the world. In Holy Baptism, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ’s death. In Holy Communion, He shares that life with us in the Bread and the Wine, His Body and Blood.
This Gospel is the Talent - the livelihood - that God gives to us, His children, and tells us to “do business until He comes.” We don’t have to be the best at it; in fact, the best thing that we can do is trust in the Spirit of God, given to us in Holy Baptism, to work through us, as it is written,
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
We have been given the ability to resist the devil, and to stand in the evil day, for Christ’s sake and because we are His, not because we are perfect in either understanding or ability, but simply because we are united to Christ in His death by baptism. Therefore the Apostle Paul wrote,
Philippians 3:12–14 ESV
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Confession and Absolution, the preaching of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, and our mutual conversation and consolation of one another, that is God’s process. Through that process we receive God’s exceeding great and precious promises of forgiveness, restoration, and strength. That is God’s purpose, as it is written,
1 Thessalonians 5:9–10 ESV
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
God has included us in that process, Our Lord Jesus Christ poured out the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, to fulfill that which was spoken by Joel:
Acts 2:17–18 ESV
“ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
God has empowered us and does empower us, by the Holy Spirit, both to will and to do for His good pleasure. He has entrusted to His pastors the apostolic task of teaching you to observe everything that our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us. He has given, as a gift to the church, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, “for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.” This is the process by which God fulfills His purpose of reconciling the world to Himself. This is the process by which He has established a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. This is the process by which God saves you from your sins and keeps you from falling, to the praise of His glorious grace.
This is Real - Eternal - Security, that security for which your soul craves in an insecure world. It is yours in Christ Jesus our Lord. You can have that security and you can share it with your neighbor, today, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of Christ.” That word has come to you today, I pray that you receive it, meditate upon it, and grow in it.
As you grow, so will your families grow, so will St. John’s grow; so will Good Shepherd grow, so will the Confessional Evangelical Christian community grow, so will our city grow. As you eat this Bread, you will live, your family will live, your church will live, and your city will live. Without Him, we can do nothing, but, as the Apostle Paul wrote,
Philippians 4:13 ESV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
So let the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
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