Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 13. Exposition on Ephesians . Super duper blessed in Christ (Part 2) Election 1

. Super duper blessed in Christ (Part 2) Election 1

Series in Ephesians - Sermon 3

SUPER DUPER BLESSED IN CHRIST (Part 2)

SEEN IN THE ELECTION

 

We turn this morning to our second sermon in the Super Duper Blessed part of our study in Ephesians, and I need to warn you that what we are going to look at is not easy stuff, so fasten your seatbelts as we look at chapter 1 verse 4 to the first part of verse 6.

Ephesians 1:4-6 (ESV) “4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

I reminded you last week that we are the ‘body of Christ’ which is a metaphor that so beautifully explains the church. We are one with Christ, enjoined to Christ, members of Him and members of one another. In my first sermon which we called the ‘appetiser’ I also reminded you that in the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul gives us the theology of the body, and in the last three chapters he gives us the practice of the body. Oh how my desire is that the church will be the church that Jesus intended us to be as our final goal according to Ephesians 4:13 (ESV) “13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,…” Church family, this by the way is a sermon in itself that we will get to, but if we can summarize that which is maybe our supreme goal, it would be to bring all of our members to:

  1. The unity of the faith.
  2. The knowledge of the Son of God.
  3. To mature manhood,
  4. To the stature of the fullness of Christ.

 

To achieve that, we saw last week that we have been blessed with all the ‘pneumatikos’, all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places to achieve that. Do you realise that we are a manifestation of Christ in this world. Each one of us are called to give testimony to Jesus Christ. Paul says: “until we all attain…” Do you realize that if one member is not aiming at these goals, that the body of Christ is partially paralyzed?

 

A few weeks ago we looked at all the ‘Biblical One Another’s, and for the body to function fully all have to join forces to make it happen. When we don't do corporately those kinds of things that we are called to do, we cripple the body, consequently the manifestation of Christ is untrue and the world does not have a proper understanding of Christ or Christianity. As I said last week, this is all part of the master plan of God, and this was started in eternity past, even before creation or before anything or anybody existed. You were plugged into Christ for this purpose. Just imagine, you and I were part of God’s plan before the world began, and we are part of His eternal plan and will live with Him in His house forever. What an incredible thought. The question though is this. Is the way I am living now, a preparation for that day, or does it not matter to me that I am part of the body of Christ?

 

Now, as we continue in verses 6-14 we are going to see this Masterplan unfolded. We will firstly see, God’s election, which is where we are going to get to today and next week, then we will see the outworking of our redemption and then we will see our glorious inheritance.

 

Today we get to the topic of election. Sadly this is a topic where there is a lot of division on. If you are a strong humanist you battle with the doctrine as you put your focus on man, and his role in salvation. Now, I want to invite you to relax. Listen carefully, study the Scriptures. I cannot complete this part today, as it is so critical to understand, as this is the very first facet of God’s unfolding plan in our redemption. If you don’t understand this, you will always water down your privilege of being a child of God. Now, if you walk out after 2 weeks, and say that you still do not understand it that is fine. Be patient with yourself. Just remember that there are things you will not understand as we saw in our first sermon of this series, that there are certain secret things that belong to God.

 

1. The doctrine of election.

We will be looking at 7 parts of the doctrine of election from the text before us. Number 1 is the longest and we will battle to get through it today and then the other 6 we can complete next week. We will see 1) the method, 2) the object, 3) the time, 4) the purpose, 5) the motive, 6) the result and then 7) the reason or the ‘why’.

 

1.1 The method.

God had a method by which He chooses His children, let’s call it sovereign selection.  Ephesians 1:4 (ESV) 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love.” Let me give you another translation to help with some words. Ephesians 1:4 (KJV) 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” The words ‘even as’ or ‘according’ links up with verse 3. God is to be blessed because He did it, He chose us and He did it accordingly.

How did God form the body in eternity past? Very simple. He did in independently, unaffected by anything, based on His sovereign choice, unaffected by the will of man, by His sovereign decree, according to His sovereign will, according to His pleasure that He had purposed in Himself. Verse 11 summarises it nicely. Ephesians 1:11 (ESV) 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,…”

Often people will tell me that they do not believe in election based on two Scriptures. They believe it is us who choose God in the sense of choosing or rejecting salvation. That choice by the way we already made in Adam, so in that sense it is true. We all have sinned and are by nature children of wrath, on death row waiting our final judgement. The two Scriptures however are firstly the one where Joshua said, “choose this day who you will serve …..” Let me remove this one from the picture quickly. Who is it that Joshua is addressing. He is addressing God’s elected people Israel, who are already chosen, but who need to make a few decisions in life about their lifestyle. Is their lifestyle committed to the God who chose them or the dead idol Baal?

The second one they quote is John 1:12-13 (ESV) 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,…” However if you go on and read the very next verse it says John 1:13 (ESV) 13 who were born, not of blood (that is you're not a Christian because you're born into the Jewish race, you can't inherit it.) nor of the will of the flesh (not your works or efforts) nor of the will of man (a mind decision), but of God.” Yes you are the one who believes and receives, but it is because the will of God infected your depravity and granted unto you ‘faith’. By His grace you are born from above. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

If you go back to verse 4 you will see something interesting. The word ‘chose’ there is from the Greek word  eklegomai {ek-leg'-om-ahee}  which meansto pick out, choose, to pick or choose out for one's self or choosing one out of many’.

 

2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV)9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,..” Do you realise that the day you were saved was the day you merely responded to God’s divine decree before the world began, and God by His Spirit drew you for that purpose and planted it into your heart to believe in Him and to receive Him. Why would He do it this way? Was I not created with a free will? Adam was, sure, but you were not created, you were born into the world with your will being that which is in enmity with God. By nature, you run away from God, you move in the opposite direction, and if it was not for God, you would never choose Him. Romans 8:7 (ESV) 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Without God birthing you from above by His Spirit, you are disabled.

I find it amazing when somebody comes to salvation, we congratulate them. Then we should translate this verse: “Blessed be us….” Our praise is to God because He's done it all. Listen, I believe that no matter what arguments we use against election and whether we create an impression that it is man’s choice, but we all actually do believe that it is all of God, because who do we pray to for the salvation of our loved ones? We pray to God. I know there are a lot of verses that teach ‘whoever believes in me will be saved etc.” But the only reason why you can take the step of declaring your faith, which is critical, is because God chose you, God gifted you with faith, He broke down your resistance, He cause you to see the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and for that reason, and that reason only, you believe.  Your believing is a bowing to His sovereign will. We do have a role, we share our faith, we proclaim God’s Word, and then we utterly rely on God to save people, and we prove that by praying for them. We all believe that God is sovereign in all things, which is why we pray, and pray, and pray to God. On the basis of God’s word I want to tell you that He is no less sovereign in salvation.

So, for now. The method by which God began the body was sovereign selection.

Now let me show something to you. There are three kinds of election. And you need to distinguish these in the Bible or you get confused. We don't have time to go through all the verses on this, but I want to share some of them with you. There are three kinds of election in the Bible.

Let me just highlight something interesting before we wrap up this morning. Did you know that there are three kinds of election? For the sake of time, I am going to highlight them without a whole lot of proof texts.

  1. There is the election of Israel as a nation, which is a theocratic election.

This view is beautifully unpacked by Forlines and Piccinili where they look at Paul’s dealing with the doctrine of election. Very simply this refers to God’s choosing of the nation Israel to govern over them in a theocracy, to bless them, to demonstrate His power through them, to cause His name to dwell amongst them and to make the nations jealous because of His dealings with them. He chose them to be a special people to Him. He did not do this because they were righteous or cool for that matter. God, out of His own free choice set His seal upon them. However, we must be careful to note that this had nothing to do with Salvation. That is why Paul can say in Romans 9:6 that not all those who descended from Israel belong to Israel. So even within the election of the nation there was an election of those who would be saved and that's what Jesus meant in Matthew 22:14 when He said that many are called but few are chosen. Within theocratic election you have specific election to salvation.

  1. b) There is a vocational election.

This is where God out of His own sovereign choice chooses a person or a group of persons for a specific task. For example in Israel God chose the Levites out of Israel to be His priests. The same can be said for the election of the 12.

There are sometimes when God just on His own sovereign choice chooses a certain person or persons to do a specific task. That also is unrelated to salvation.

The first illustration of it is in Deuteronomy 18 where God chose the Levites out of Israel to be His priests. Because you were a Levite did not necessitate the fact that you were granted absolutely salvation. That was task choice. God called the Levites to a task that was vocational election. John 15:16 is helpful here: John 15:16 (ESV) 16 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.” Again, nothing to do with salvation. Judas was not saved by the way.

  1. c) There is an election to salvation.

This is where God chooses people in a personal way so that they may know Him. This distinguishes all believers from unbelievers. All over the New Testament you will see references to God’s chosen ones, or the elect in the sense of Salvation.

But how does this happen as far as the method is concerned? Jesus Himself summarises it beautifully. John 6:44 (ESV)44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” Why can’t we come to Him unless the Father draws us? Well we saw that in Romans 8:7 where it says that by nature we are hostile towards God. I love the Greek word for ‘draw’ here. It is  helkuo {hel-koo'-o} or  helko {hel'-ko}  which means ‘to draw, drag off, to draw by inward power, to lead, or to impel.’ So it is basically an irresistible force, like a magnet. That is most definitely how I was saved. I was not seeking God, God drew me.

 

Let me just say this in closing for today.

 

God’s election is not actualized in the life of a believer without ‘faith’. But even that faith or the ability to believe is a gift from God. Let me share with you a beautiful verse that deals with both God’s part and my part in one breath. John 6:37-38 (ESV) 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me”. But that is not where the verse ends. He continues: “and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” You have sovereignty, that's God's side. You have human choice, that's man's side. The invitation is for all to come, but not all will. I love the way somebody once put it:  "I sought the Lord and afterwards I knew He moved my soul to seek Him seeking me, it was not I that found my Saviour, no I was found by Him."

Then of course there is the issue of foreknowledge. Some say, God simply knew who would choose Him. People who believe this love to quote Romans 8:29 (ESV) 29 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.” Aha, so He predestine on the basis of foreknowledge, right? Sadly we tend to ignore a verse in context. Read I with Romans 8:28 (ESV) 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This fits with Ephesians 1. He called according to His purpose and those whom He called, He foreknew, and He predestined. Let me also say this which should be helpful. The word ‘foreknew’ does not mean that He simply knew beforehand what will happen. The Greek Word is  proginosko {prog-in-oce'-ko}. The same word without the ‘before’ part is seen in Luke 1:34 where it says that Mary, the mother of Jesus had never known a man –  ginosko {ghin-oce'-ko}. It was a Jewish idiom referring to an intimate relationship. We see the same in Matthew 7:23 where Christ says to those before the throne: “I never knew you, depart from me……” The bottom line is this. They had no intimate relationship. Of course He knew about them. He made them. The same when Jesus says that He knows His sheep and they know Him. We see the same in Amos 3:2 (ESV) 2 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” It does not mean that God did not know about all the other people. It is simply that they were the only people that He has a unique, intimate love relationship with. So all Romans 8 is saying is that God decided to set His love upon us, His affections upon us before the World began. Romans 11 says that He foreknew Israel.

Christian, God set His affections upon you before the World began and He wants you to become like Jesus Christ, the one whom we are joint heirs with. He wants you to love Him right back, because He chose you, and He made you His bride.

So, there is human responsibility and there is divine sovereignty, and without the work of the Spirit in drawing you, you will never exercise that responsibility, and if you exercise that responsibility by coming to Christ, deciding for Him and believing in Him, guess what? He will never cast you out. He will pour all His affections on you and raise you up in the last day.

Next week we look at the other 6 aspects related to election. For today ‘the method’ only.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: 6 March 2016