My notes have been reformatted here, but I hope the content is helpful and God-glorifying in our lives together.
Monument Hill Church
“To the Praise of His Glorious Grace, Part II”
Ephesians 1:4-14 Page 976
August 26, 2018
Pastor Tom Clemmons
“We were made to display the all-satisfying beauty and greatness of God by savoring him as the supreme treasure of our lives.” Help us to Grow in Grace together!!
WELCOME of Guests/Connect Card/
Scripture Reading is: Ephesians 1:1-14 (976 in the Chair Bible)
Last week I introduced the Book of Ephesians by saying that the Apostle Paul wrote this circular letter to new Believers churches in and around Ephesus. Paul’s joy in the Lord overflowed into words of praise to the glorious God of His salvation. Writing from his imprisonment in Rome, he had a passion to share God’s eternal plan for everyone – Jews AND Gentiles…so we are focusing on what Christians should believe as he unfolds the glorious riches of His grace found in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Remember, a key theme throughout this book will be :
“You have received supernatural grace for the glory of God, so therefore, LIVE in supernatural UNITY to the glory of God.” Look at that closely…
You and I, Christian, received grace…unmerited favor…for the glory of God…and when you and I realize that God would love us so much to guarantee our salvation…we cannot help but LIVE a new supernatural life…because He has changed us, and we live this new life together as Christians UNIFIED around WHAT? the Gospel of Jesus Christ…we have the most important reality right…we live by faith in Christ, unified around a mission to bring Glory to God.
Please listen carefully, yes, I said we are to be unified in and around the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and now I am preaching on Election, which has historically been one of the most divisive Biblical doctrines throughout church history. :o)
Church, it does not need to be divisive at all, because the Bible, which IS God’s word, clearly teaches that God is Sovereign, that He elects his family members in love, and that we are responsible to repent of our sins, believe the Gospel, and bear witness to others that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
As we jump into verses 4 through 6 this morning, may I ask you a question? Are you teachable? I was 33 or 34 years old when a few dear brothers showed me clearly that Election is a beautiful doctrine which has powerfully propelled them and missionaries and evangelists to go to the hardest places in the world to speak the Gospel because God can save anyone. But our minds, if not led by the Spirit of God, try to rationalize, “Well, if God is Sovereign and has Elected His people, He doesn’t need me…and to that, I graciously and authoritatively say “He does NOT need you” …if you think He does, then you think too highly of yourself and perhaps that’s why you may not believe in the Biblical Doctrine of Election. (and it’s not all your fault, as we all have grown up in a secular culture which says you and I are the center of the universe - that you’re Number 1! Well if you’ve been told that lie all your life, it is very loving for me to burst that sinful bubble. Life is not about you. Life is about knowing God and loving Him and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and loving others by telling them about Christ. Please hear this: our God is not a needy God…but in His LOVE He chose you, Christian, you didn’t earn your salvation nor deserve it, because before you were in Christ, you were in and of the world, spiritually dead in your trespasses and sin, more lost than you could imagine…and you were a slave to sin, and man-centeredness and selfishness…your heart was hard and dark…the Bible affirms all of that ( The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 ESV) Everyone needs a heart transplant! A New heart?!
But in LOVE our passage said, in LOVE He predestined you to be holy and blameless, child of God…and that is GRACE…not cheap grace but costly grace…and you can’t have grace without Election….let me unpack this Biblically…with Bibles open and minds and hearts open to hear from God’s Word, let’s learn some Biblical truth that can revolutionize your life and bring you great joy and peace in finally believing that God is God - and you and I are not. As Jonathan Edwards once said, one day I fell in love with the Sovereignty of God.” Me too. One day I hated the idea of God’s Election and the next I loved the sweet loving, Biblical doctrine of Election. That was over 20 years ago. Thank God for a teachable spirit. Let’s hear God’s Word again:
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. (ESV)
Paul praises God here that God CHOSE US in Him, that’s in Christ, BEFORE the foundation of the world…. Do you know what God is teaching us in His inspired Word here about Election…he is teaching us that GOD CHOSE us in Christ before the foundation of the world. The Greek word ( for chose is Ex -el- lex’-uh-toe) 3rd person singular HE CHOSE...Show interlinear.
Yes, praise God He chose us because I wouldn’t have chosen Him first! He Chose us and the Greek word for Predestined is (Phonetic Spelling: (pro-or-id'-zo) means Predestined… (Interlinear again??) . I don’t fully understand why He did that but I know what His Word says...it says that we SHOULD BE HOLY AND BLAMELESS BEFORE HIM…IN LOVE…..He predestined us for adoption into His Family… Praise Him again!
Now do you consider yourself this morning to be holy and blameless before God? That you haven’t sinned, you are perfect? Let me help some of you with an answer….you are not holy nor blameless for all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…if you claim to be without sin you are a liar…1 John:1:10 says 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
BUT GOD CHOSE us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him…not sinner not liars… We need Someone who can forgive our sins…
And His Name is Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God.,…and the verse right before 1 John 1:10 is this:
9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Either Christ will has paid for your sin and sins or you will. You and I deserve punishment…you and I deserve Hell, and someone had to take our place...stay with me….
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. (ESV)
God’s word says that if you are a Christian today…you were predestined to become a Christian…chosen before the foundation of the world…and this was a loving act of God…according to His WILL….to the praise of his glorious grace…which cannot be earned by any works at all….right? So His election of his people was and is a loving act…and those of us who have been saved by His grace alone have therefore obviously been elected…chosen by God…and the means by which you heard the Gospel and repented and believed were determined by God…because none of you saved yourself….the person who shared the Gospel didn’t save you either, HOWEVER that beautiful person was God’s appointed means for you to hear the Gospel, be convicted of your sinful condition or total depravity before a holy God….and the Spirit of God convicted you of your sin and drew you to repentance and faith!
Now, there was a lot there…l think it will be helpful to define some terms and then show you why election is Biblical and glorious and essential for everyone to understand:
Election is a demonstration of the sovereign love of God in knowing, choosing, saving, and safeguarding particular people to be members of his family forever, apart from any merit or credentials on the part of those chosen.
Wayne Grudem captures this well in his Systematic Theology:
The doctrine of election tells us that I am a Christian simply because God in eternity past decided to set his love on me. But why did he decide to set his love on me? Not for anything good in me, but simply because he decided to love me. There is no more ultimate reason than that.
It humbles us before God to think in this way. It makes us realize that we have no claim on God’s grace whatsoever. Our salvation is totally due to grace alone. Our only appropriate response is to give God eternal praise. (687)
The godly bishop of Liverpool, England, J.C, Ryle wrote that:
The true doctrine of Election I believe to be as follows.
God has been pleased from all eternity to choose certain men and women out of mankind, whom by His counsel secret to us, He has decreed to save by Jesus Christ.
None are finally saved except those who are thus chosen. Hence the Scripture gives to God's people in several places the names of "God's Elect," and the choice or appointment of them to eternal life is called "God's election."
Those men and women whom God has been pleased to choose from all eternity, He calls in time, by His Spirit working in due season. He convinces them of sin. He leads them to Christ. He works in them repentance and faith. He converts, renews, and sanctifies them. He keeps them by His grace from falling away entirely, and finally brings them safe to glory. In short God's eternal Election is the first link in that chain of a sinner's salvation of which heavenly glory is the end. None ever repent, believe, and are born again, except the Elect. The primary and original cause of salvation, is God's eternal election.
But pastor, I was brought up in a church, perhaps even my own parents, who didn’t believe in Election. ((I’ve heard it all before, “If God Chooses some to be Elect and not others, well that is unfair at best and evil at worst…and I don’t want to worship a God who is not loving.” I want to help you today by showing you that God is loving in choosing His children. Much more loving than you and I.))
I know that The doctrine of Election is a difficult one for many people. I want to be gracious here, as I used to reject this doctrine myself, but then I saw it all over the Bible. Yes, People struggle with the justice of the idea that God chooses some for salvation and passes over others. Some people argue that it is a matter of God's foreknowledge. God knows in advance which people are going to choose him, and therefore he responds by choosing them.
The Bible, however, is clear. God's love for his chosen people existed long before their birth, all the way back to the foundation of the world (here in Eph. 1:4-5). God does not love us because he foresaw we would love him. Rather, we love God because he loved us from the first
16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,1 but on God, who has mercy. Rom. 9:16.
Apart from God’s electing grace, you and I would never choose God because we are born sinners, totally alienated from God…the Bible says there is none righteous (Romans 3:10)…that means none - so we need any and all righteousness to come from outside of ourselves…we are incapable of saving our own souls…our will is fallen and sinful and we will always choose sin UNLESS God calls us by means of the Gospel of His glorious grace in Christ.
I will say this several times: The problem is not with God’s election of His people,
the problem is with people who elect not to believe in God!
JC Ryle, godly pastor in England in the 19th century wrote that “The same inspired Bible which reveals this doctrine of Election is the Bible which contains the words, SLIDE: "Why will you die, O house of Israel?" "You will not come unto Me that you might have life." "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (Ezek. 18:31; John 5:40; 3:19.)
The Bible never says that sinners miss heaven because they are not Elect— but because they "neglect the great salvation," and because they will not repent and believe. SLIDE: The last judgment will abundantly prove that it is not the lack of God's Election, so much as laziness, the love of sin, unbelief, and unwillingness to come to Christ, which ruins the souls that are lost.” (Old Paths, Election, p. 7) GREAT little book! I encourage you to read it if you have more questions on Election than I can answer in one sermon…or two…or three.
But what we really need to know about Election is whether it is taught in God’s Word or not? That should settle it. I also have more from that Election chapter by JC Ryle where he convincingly says that the Bible clearly teaches God’s election of individuals.
SLIDES: Is Election in the Bible, or is it not? Does the Bible speak of certain people as God's Elect, or not? Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ says, SLIDE: "For the Elect's sake the days shall be shortened." (Matt. 24:22.) "If it were possible they should deceive even the Elect." (Mark 13:22.) "He shall send His angels, and they shall gather together His Elect." (Matt. 24:31.) "Shall not God avenge His own Elect?" (Luke 18:7.) Hear what Paul says. SLIDES "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." (Romans 8:29- 30) "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's Elect?" (Rom. 8:33.) "God has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." (Ephes. 1:4.) "Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works—but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." (2 Tim. 1:9.) "God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." (2 Thess. 2:13.) SLIDE: Hear what Peter says, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:2.) "Give diligence to make your calling and Election sure." (2 Peter 1:10.) I place these eleven texts before my readers, and I ask them to consider them well. If words have any meaning at all, they appear to me to teach most plainly the doctrine of personal Election. Now, are you ready to answer the question…
Does the Bible really teach election in other places…than Ephesians 1…yes!
Yes, this Biblical truth of God choosing a people to display His glory is not new. We know that God chose the world for His glory. He chose Abraham to bring a blessing to the nations in Genesis 12:1–3
The Call of Abram
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (ESV)
God Chose the nation of Israel that they might be a light to the nations. (Deut 7:6-8, 14:2, and Isaiah 42:6-8)
God chose Jacob and God chose the prophets….
God chose His Son to save His elect, to redeem His people.
Jesus chose each of his 12 disciples to bear fruit and multiply:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (ESV)
Very clear in Scripture that God regularly chooses His people for His mission…He chooses individuals for His family…to be His adopted sons and daughters. If you’re a child of God, then praise Him that He chose you. If you are not a child of God, then repent today…surrender your life to Christ, believe in Him and follow Him…and make your calling and election sure…. (“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).
Our statement of faith says this about the Biblical doctrine of Election:
Full text of Article 5: God's Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31;25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2
Let me briefly detail 4 of the blessings of Election for you” (( JUST SAY THE FIRST LINES mostly) TIME??
1) Election eliminates boasting because Election means that salvation is solely from God. As Paul says here in Ephesians 1…
*He chose…He predestined…He has freely given…and all this is to the praise of His glorious grace.
Only Election gets rid of all grounds for boasting. There is none righteous on our own, no not one! (Romans 3:10) We who boast, boast in the cross…boast in the Lord! ("Let him who boasts boast in the Lord. 1 Cor 18:31 ) SLIDE
2) Another blessing of election is That Election gives assurance of salvation. But what if it was the other way around? Suppose our works played a part….well, then our eternal salvation would be as unstable as we are…we might be safe at one moment and lost the next, based on our merits or lack thereof
If you’re his son or daughter, if you are a child of God, God predestined that you would be before the foundation of the world…and He was sovereign over the means to save you.
3) A Third blessing of Election is that Election leads to Holiness. Some people not well-grounded in their Bibles say, “Well, if I am elect, then I guess I will be saved regardless of what I do or don’t do…so I’ll sin all I want to.” Several problems with that sentence and unbiblical worldview…First, verse 3 says that election leads to holiness…so if you still are enslaved to sin then you may be Elect but not yet regenerate or saved…because once the Spirit of God indwells a Believer, a truly born-again Christian, then your “wanter”, Your desires, your heart, has been changed and you will no longer be satisfied in your sin,,,,you see, election to salvation and election to holiness go together..
I like what John Stott says about this, He said “Far from encouraging sin, the doctrine of Election forbids it and lays upon us the necessity of holiness.”
Let me take that a step further…church, if you are not growing in Christlikeness or holiness and you have no desire to grow in holy living, you are either not born again yet… or not elect…you are still in your sins…you must be born again, as Jesus said in John 3:7:
“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” Jesus Christ
Church the beautiful doctrine of Election leads to Holiness…after God saves you, then, you will desire to please Him and rid your life of sinful pride and ugly self-centeredness.
4) and lastly, let me blow some of your minds…Election promotes evangelism….before I embraced the Doctrines of Grace over 20 years ago now, and particularly the Biblical doctrine of Election, I believed like many do, that “if God is going to save certain folks anyways, then he will save them without me.” Well, if you know your Bible it doesn’t work that way. He does Elect and just because He elects, it does not negate the fact that He chooses the means by which He calls His elect to faith. One of the means that God uses is the proclamation of the Gospel to sinners BY THOSE of us who already believe -- Look at 1 Corinthians 1:21:
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (ESV)
Dr R.C. Sproul famously said that: We must never underestimate the importance of our role in evangelism. Neither must we overestimate it. We preach. We bear witness. We provide the outward call. But God alone has the power to call a person to himself inwardly. I do not feel cheated by that. On the contrary, I feel comforted. We must do our job, trusting that God will do his.
Again, church, The problem is not with God’s election of His people,
the problem is with people who elect not to believe in God!
Election leads me to share the Gospel with everyone, even you today. The Spirit led ne to share the Gospel With two men this week. Bring up a spiritual discussion and see where God takes it! We must tell the Good News. Tell someone that God can save you! He can save anybody, the hardest person who is mean to people daily and the nicest person who also sins every day not knowing or acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. They both need to be saved. Is either Elect? I don’t know and neither do you! :o)
And because we do not know who God has elected, we believe that He uses us as the means, the Spirit-filled means of witnessing to His grace and glory!
and I guarantee you this…
When you pray for others to come to Christ, to be saved by God’s amazing Grace, you pray like you believe in Election. Or else you don’t pray, and thus prove to yourself that you treasure this temporary world more than God. PAUSE………
But I know most Christians pray, so let me repeat, do you pray for people’s salvation? Do you spend time asking God to save souls?”
I would venture to say that you do pray for lost souls. Do you pray for God to save a friend, your neighbor, your co-workers, your family members, like a mom or dad, your wayward son or daughter, your grandchildren?
SO, When you pray for the salvation of a loved one or friend, who are you praying to and what are you asking Him to do?
Save them, right? Do you ever pray, “Lord, please partially save my son by your grace and by his good works too?” or “Lord, Help the spark of good in him to increase to the point where he assists you in saving Himself?” NO, that’s absurd and unbiblical right? If you pray to God for someone’s salvation, (and I hope you do and also put feet to your prayers and love them and serve them in Christ’s name)…..then, when you pray, you are asking the Sovereign God of the universe to break through the hardness of their sinful heart and show them that they cannot save themselves. You are praying to the One who can break the power of sin, and free them from the bondage of their sinful rebellious nature and give them a new heart!
Yes, God can transform the hardest of hearts, but you can’t! And that’s why you pray….. you are trusting in the Electing Sovereign God of all love and grace and mercy and wrath to awaken a dead heart…a spiritually dead heart to come to life!
I love what Dr. J.I. Packer says about this very issue in his book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, A great book which I highly recommend to all of you, especially those who want to share their faith in Christ more….He says, SLIDE
“Do you pray for the conversion of others…if the answer is Yes, then that proves it, whatever side you may have taken in debates on this (Election) question in the past, in your heart you believe in the Sovereignty of God no less firmly than anyone else. On our feet we may have arguments about it, but on our knees we are all agreed.”
And my prayer, like Charles Spurgeon’s, is that right now, upon hearing the Good News of the Gospel of Christ, that God will save His Elect and even Elect some more” :O)
He is God! Yes, I know that He has chosen his family from the before the foundation of the world…but since I don’t know who is Elect in here, I live like everyone I meet Is Elect of God and just not Born again yet. This knowledge FUELS my passion for Evangelism! How about yours?
Do you love Jesus Christ or are you ashamed of Him? Do you love God, or do you love the world more than Godliness? Yes, choose you this day whom you will serve… and who you will Love and Treasure in this brief lifetime
I will plead with you until my last breath to turn from your sinful rejection of Christ and surrender your life to Him…don’t waste your short life on earth pursuing things which will never satisfy your deepest longings…Only Christ can…Repent and believe this glorious Gospel to the praise of His glorious Grace today!
May we pray?
Lord’s Supper! And Church Covenant renewal
1 Corinthians 1:18–31
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
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. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (ESV)
Professor Tom Nettles of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary…and I can vouch for this man’s biblical scholarship, he wrote this about Election and our evangelical belief in this biblical doctrine, to which our ancestors in the faith readily believed until the early to mid-20th century…DR. Nettles said:
Sinners, justly condemned and God's enemies, when left to themselves persevere in their hostile ways all the way to hell. In pursuance of his gracious purpose, however, God's particular love rests on certain ones to bring them to salvation (Ephesians 1:4, 5; 2:4, 5). "Whom he foreknew (that is 'loved beforehand'), he also predestined" (Romans 8:29).
The confession rightly calls God's saving choice "gracious," for it operates for the good of sinners in spite of their infinite demerit. God's election cannot fail. He administers his decree all the way to the glorification of sinners and to the glory of his beloved Son.
"Just as He chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him." What more glorious end can be imagined than a predestination "to be conformed to the image of his Son?" (He is going to make that happen…our sanctification which is His will according to 1 Thess 4:3)
Election does not contradict the "free agency of man." When a person acts, he acts freely -- or exactly as he is disposed to act. While dead in trespasses and sins, he is a slave to sin. Sin reigns in his mortal body, and he has no desire for righteousness. (God’s righteousness. Christ’s righteousness…not our own)
Regeneration by the Spirit of God shatters the shackles of sin and its tyrannical power by creating such distaste for sin that the sinner repents. The Spirit implants such a desire for righteousness that the sinner turns to Christ, by whose blood and righteousness sinners may justly be accepted.
Thus, the elect person acts freely and in accord with a spiritual sight sovereignly induced by God's Spirit in accordance with God's electing purpose, when God's choice is manifest in the coming of the gospel with power. In this way, election "comprehends all means in connection with the end." (Eph 2:1-8; Rom 6:12, 18, 20; 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 5).