Faithlife Sermons

Ephesians 1:4-6 - Presdestination: When God Chooses You

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 501 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

PREDESTINATION: WHEN GOD CHOOSES YOU

Ephesians 1:4-6

The book of Ephesians is broken into 2 parts. The first 3 chapters give us the position of the believer.  In chapters 1 to 3 we are not asked to do anything.  Paul just states what is true about us.  Then in chapters 4 to 6 he discusses how we ought to act. That is why chapter 4:1 begins with the word "THEREFORE." Because of who we are, therefore this is how we are live.

Outline of Ephesians

Chapters 1-3                 Chapters 4-6

Doctrine…                   Duty

What You Believe…   Affects How You Behave

Privileges…                 Responsibility

Blessings…                  Conduct

So in 1:3-14, tells us that the Church is made up of 3 key ingredients.

Spiritually, it takes 3 ingredients to make a Church. And you will find these 3 ingredients in Ephesians 1:4-14.  Do you know what the first ingredient is?

The first ingredient is predestination, found in verses 4-6. What do you think the second ingredient is?

The second ingredient that makes up the church is redemption, found in verses 7-11.

The third ingredient making up the church is the Holy Spirit, found in verses 12-14.

Today we are going to look at the first ingredient predestination.   Predestination – where God chooses who is going to be saved.

Now we have a tendency to back away from the word election or predestination.  But not so with God.  The word election occurs 20 times and predestination occurs about 5 times in the Word of God. 

The word is used only with reference to God’s plan or purpose.  Predestion is a very hard doctrine to understand.  And if you are having trouble understanding predestination and free will you are not alone.  Look at what he apostle Peter said about Paul’s writings.

2 Peter 3:15-16
15 …our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
16   as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Sometimes someone will ask me, "Do you believe in free will? Yes, I do.  And do you believe in predestination?" Yes, I do.  Someone else will ask me, "How can you believe in both, their opposites?" I believe in both, because the Word of God teaches both.  But I do not understand both.  The Bible teaches the absolute sovereignty of God in predestination, but it also teaches that man has the ability to make a choice. Jesus said,

John 6:37
 “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

And again Jesus said, "Matthew 11:28

Matthew 11:28
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

A church was discussing predestination and free will.  The argument grew so heated that sides were drawn and the church broke up into two fierce factions. But one church member not know if he belonged to the free will group or the predestioned group.  At last he made up his mind to join in with the predestination crowd.

When he tried to push his way in, they asked, “Who sent you here?”  “Nobody sent me,” he replied, “I came of my own free will.”  “Free will!” they fairly shouted at him. “You can’t come in here of your own free will.   You belong with the other group.”

So he turned and went toward the free will group.  When he tried to join them, someone asked, “When did you decide to join us?”  “I didn’t decide, I was sent here,” he answered.   “Sent here!” they were horrified. “You can’t join us unless you choose to by your own free will.” And so he was excluded from both groups.

Predestination and free will are a paradox. And only God can resolve it. Now if you could understand predestination and free will you would be smart as God. And if you were as smart as God, then you would not need God.

The following illustration of God's sovernity and human responsibility: I liken them to two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down.

With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes; fully confident those in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, are one rope.

                                                            Ephesians 1:4-6
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love    5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,   6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


The doctrine of predestination is never presented in Scripture as something to be afraid of, but always as something for believers to rejoice in.

The reason that Paul the apostle says in verse 3,

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

There are seven elements in predestination.

                        

1ST -- There was a Sovereign Selection.

 

Look at Ephesians 1:4

Ephesians 1:4-6
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him…

Notice in verse 4 the word “CHOSEN.” – it means to choose out for one’s self. 

Somewhere in eternity past God chose to people to be in His kingdom.

Before there was time, before there was a solar system, starts, and galaxies God choose us to be in his kingdom. 

Now let me ask you a question.  Did God choose us because we were so good?  Or did God choose us because we smelled good or looked so good?  Absolutely not.                         

The writer of this book, the book of Ephesians, Did God choose the apostle Paul because he was so good?  Not at all.  Look at 1 Timothy 1:13 and see how Paul described his past.

1 Timothy 1:13
even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor… Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

Paul calls himself the very worst of all the sinners.

1 Timothy 1:15
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

So who did choose before there was time, galaxies and a planet earth?  Sinners, look very closely at 1 Timothy 1:15.  It says, “…that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…”

If you were to ask me, “Do you believe that God is sovereign and he wrote down in the book of life all who would be saved, I would say yes, absolutely I believe that.”  And if someone else were to ask me, “Do you believe that we have a free will in choosing or rejecting Jesus Christ, I would say, “Yes.”  Mankind has a choice.  I believe that anyone who wants to come to can become a Christian. 

But you would say, “Those are opposites.  Do you believe in opposites?  Of course I do. 

The Bible teaches the absolute sovereignty of God, but it also teaches the absolute free will of man.  I do not stand here saying I have it all figured out.  I just know that God’s word teaches both. 

A. W. Tozer attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God's sovereignty and man's free will:  "An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool.  Its destination has been determined by proper authorities.  Nothing can change it.  This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty.  On board the liner are scores of passengers.  These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree.  They are completely free to move about as they will.  They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port.  Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict.  So it is, I believe, with man's freedom and the sovereignty of God.  The mighty liner of God's sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history."

You see, I don’t need to understand it.  God needs to understand it.  And if we understood everything, then we would be God. 

Turn to:

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.   9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Look at John 1:11-13.  There Jesus teaches that we have free will in choosing to become Christians.  But in the same verse Jesus shows that our chose is not based on who we are or what we have done.  Look at John 1:11-13

John 1: 11-13
11  He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,   13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Isaiah 55:1
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.

 

 

Romans 10:13

for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

 

This is the human side of it.  No one will ever go to heaven who does not on their own free will choose Jesus Christ as their Savior. 

A church was discussing predestination and free will.  The argument grew so heated that sides were drawn and the church broke up into two fierce factions. But one church member not know if he belonged to the free will group or the predestioned group.  At last he made up his mind to join in with the predestination crowd.

When he tried to push his way in, they asked, "Who sent you here?"  "Nobody sent me," he replied, "I came of my own free will."  "Free will!" they fairly shouted at him. "You can't come in here of your own free will.   You belong with the other group."

So he turned and went toward the free will group.  When he tried to join them, someone asked, "When did you decide to join us?"  "I didn't decide, I was sent here," he answered.   "Sent here!" they were horrified. "You can't join us unless you choose to by your own free will." And so he was excluded from both groups.

First - the sovereign selection.

2nd -- THE OBJECT OF SELECTION.

Who did God choose to be with Him for eternity?  Look at Ephesians 1:4

Ephesians 1:4
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

 

That two letter “US” refers to those who chose trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. 

Do you get the message? God freely and independently chose “US” to be included in His body the church because He wanted to do it.

Is there anything else that is predestined?  Yes, the nation of Israel has been predestined.

The Nation of Israel was predestined.

Isaiah 45:4
4 “For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me.

Our Good Works are Predestined.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Angels have been predestined.

1 Timothy 5:21
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.

Spiritual leaders have been predestined.

Jeremiah 1:5
 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Someone might say, "If God chooses everybody, what do we have to do with it?" The Bible teaches that we have something to do with it.

A little boy wanted to join a church.  So the church leaders were examining him.  They asked, "How did you get saved?"  His answer was, "God did His part, and I did my part." 

The Bible presents both sides, so just leave predestination or free will where they are. It is not a problem in the mind of God. And God is never the victim. The doctrine of predestined lets God be God, it lets God be the Sovereign God of history.

Someone will still say, "I don't believe in predestination. I believe that everybody is responsible to make their own choice. Well, the Bible teaches that too.

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Romans 10:13
 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How can the Bible say that man has a free choice and at the same time God chooses?  I don't know. I have no idea how they can both be true, but they are. Both are in the Bible.

First - the sovereign selection.

Second – The Object of Selection – Us

3RD -- THE TIME OF SELECTION.

Now when did God choose individuals for Himself? Look at Ephesians 1:4.

Ephesians 1:4
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

 

We were chosen before anything ever existed.  We were chosen before there was such a thing as time, or starts or galaxies.  God had it all planed out before the world began. 

 

1 Peter 1:18-20
18   knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
19   but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.   20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

Many a man that got married thought that he had chosen the young lady who became his wife only to find out after the wedding that she had first chosen him.

First - the sovereign selection.                                                                             

Second – The Object of Selection – Us

Third – The Time of Selection

4TH -- THE PURPOSE OF THE SELECTION.

Do you know what the purpose is?

Ephesians 1:4
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

The word “BLAMELESS” means without blemish, without stains.

Someone says, but I still sin, I have some spots of sin.

 

Illustration of dress with a spot.

Doesn’t that make you want to bless and praise God.

 

 

First - the sovereign selection.

Second – The Object of Selection – Us

Third – The Time of Selection

Fourth – The Purpose of the Selection

 

5TH -- THE MOTIVE FOR THE SELECTION.

 

Ephesians 1:4-5
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love   5  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

Do you know what motivated God to choose us?  The motive behind predestination is God's love.

And what does John 3:16 say?

John 3:16
 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Why does God love us so much? Because "God is love" (1 John 4:8b).

 

A pastor of a church in Boston met a young boy in front of the sanctuary carrying a rusty cage in which several birds fluttered nervously. The pastor inquired, "Son, where did you get those birds?" "I trapped them out in the field," the boy replied "What are you going to do with them?" "I'm going to play with them, and then I guess I'll just feed them to an old cat we have at home." When the pastor offered to buy them, the lad exclaimed, "Mister, you don't want them, they're just little old wild birds and can't sing very well." The pastor replied, "I'll give you two dollars for the cage and the birds." "Okay, it's a deal, but you're making a bad bargain." The exchange was made, and the boy went away whistling, happy with his shiny coins. The pastor walked around to the back of the church property, opened the door of the small wire cage, and let the struggling creatures soar into the blue The next Sunday he took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate Christ's coming to seek and to save those who like the birds were destined for destruction. The difference was that Christ had to purchase our freedom with his own life.

First - the sovereign selection.

Second – The Object of Selection – Us

Third – The Time of Selection

Fourth – The Purpose of the Selection

Fifth – The Motive For the Selection

6TH -- THE RESULT OF THE SELECTION.

Ephesians 1:5

 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

God doesn't say, I'm going to allow you to be servants in my kingdom, or I'm going to allow you to be friends in my kingdom. No, God says, "I'm adopting you into my royal family.

A little girl attended church for the very first time.  As she approached the church she noticed the large cross that was on top of the church.  When she saw the cross she said, “Look, daddy, there is a plus sign on top of the church. 

And that is exactly what happens when you become a Christian.  You gain.  It’s all pluses.

Do you know what adoption means?  Adoption means leaving one family and joining another.  In adoption you leave behind all that was involved in the first family and assuming the name, the characteristics, the resources, and the history of another family.  

 

7TH -- THE REASON FOR SELECTION.

Ephesians 1:5-6
5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

The reason for everything that exists in the universe is that God may be glorified. That is the ultimate reason for everything that exits.

The reason God chose the body before the foundation of the world, the reason he predestined it, the reason He did it all by Himself with no human will or help, is that the glory might be all His.

The owner of a photographic studio tells the story of a college boy who came in with a framed picture of his girl friend. He wanted the picture duplicated. Therefore it had to be removed from the frame. In doing this, the studio owner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph. It was written by the girlfriend: "My dearest Tommy: I love you with all my heart -- I love you more and more each day -- I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity." It was signed "Dianne" and contained a P.S.: "If we should ever break up, I want this picture back." We who have been baptized have professed our love for God and for others. We belong to Christ -- there can be no "P.S." in our life for God. We can never break up with Him -- we are His -- We belong to Him . . . and we belong to Him forever.

Tom Myers

Related Media
Related Sermons