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March 21, 2018 6:39 pm
Harvest messages are brought to you by harvest partners receive free email daily devotions were to become a harvest partner, please visit us firstname.lastname@example.org. The title of my messages why God shows you imagine for a moment if you could know the future if I could have a superpower.
I don't know if I would really want this one in particular, but imagine for a moment if you knew the future you knew everything that was about to happen. You knew you would both play in and win the next Super Bowl. You know what you do, how your favorite show was getting in. You knew who was going to be elected to office. You knew how the stock market was going to go okay if you had this knowledge do you think it would affect the choices you would make will of course it would, because, well for starters you would make wise choices based on the facts. If you knew that if I walk in the street a giant truck is coming. You probably wouldn't walk in the street at that moment if you knew the stock market was going a certain direction. What stocks should be bought. Were you could make the most money. Most money, you would probably choose the right stocks.
I would think, and so consider this, God knows the future, and not only does he know the future, but he has a plan for the future. Think about this when Jesus walked this earth. He knew everything about everyone he had their number.
He knew their thoughts about sometimes Jesus would say to people. What are you thinking this in your heart. So if you were hanging around Jesus he could read your mind so you couldn't even think about thought without him knowing about it.
So he knew all things and here's what's amazing he chose Simon Peter, and yet he knew that Simon Peter would fail him.
In fact, Jesus said to Peter, Peter, Peter, Satan is been asking for you to be sifted as we but I have prayed for you that when you fail, you will return again and strengthen your brother so Jesus was not only predicting the fall of Peter but he was predicting the return of Peter as well. I bring this up because sometimes it looks like God chooses losers, but God knows the big picture, and he knew Peter would come around. That brings us back to Esther. She was chosen by God, handpicked by the Lord to literally not only save her nation. But really, in effect, to save the Jewish people know when we last left Esther a bad moon was rising, the villain of the story came in emerges on the scene and now he has come into power. As you recall, the king is put him as second in command and not only that but the king is given to him in his signet ring that would be like giving someone your credit card or giving them your passwords. Payment had access to all the power of the king, and he hatches this wicked plot to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. Why was we discovered together. Haman was an avowed enemy of Israel descended from the Amalekites king. A gag was spared and the egg Haggai were a race of people, and Haman wasn't a gag guide so he had a blood feud with Israel, and of course our good friend Mordechai and Esther were Jews so they would be on his hitless now with this plan was to give Esther three starting in verse five when he came and saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect. He was filled with rage he had learned of Mordecai's nationality, so he decided it was not enough to leave answer Mordechai alone and said he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes that would be the person empire so he's in power.
He wants to wipe the Jewish people out and he gets the Kings approval.
You know the Jewish people just celebrated pure a program and it's it's really a celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people as recorded in the book of Esther and Prime Minister Nittany all goo I just spoke here in the United States and he talked about that and talk about a new threat. Now it's not Haman.
Now it's a lot who wants to eradicate Israel a Ron who is literally threatened on multiple occasions occasions to wipe Israel off the face of the map. So this is nothing new. These threats against Israel and against the Jewish people in general. So Mordechai attaches wind of this plot and so he be in a government official himself sends word to Esther saying you've got to do something. Meanwhile, Esther is living in the literal lap of luxury there in the palace of the king, she was included in isolated and knew nothing about the plight of her people.
So Mordechai I is standing outside of the walls of the palace cupboard in sackcloth. He's in morning.
Because of this threat against the Jews in an someone notices him and says they Esther your cousins outside not dress very well week. He looks pretty unhappy.
Jesus will send him some new clothes and and they sent them simple. Talk about missing the point altogether and so now Mordechai needs to tell Esther what's really coming down. I have to say this reminds me a little bit of some people in the church you know we can be isolated in our little Bible Bible in our holy huddle and we don't really care all that much about people that don't know the Lord were thinking well that's the problem.
Why should I put it doorhanger on their door. Why should I give them an invitation. I know what I'm going to church Easter Sunday. I know I'm saved. I know where I'm going. When I die young, but wait, you can't just stand around in indifference while people are dying without God. God is put you where you are for such a time as this. Just as surely as God put Esther where she was for such a time as this. Remember our cousin Mordecai said to Esther when she went to the palaces that knew Queenie's head. Don't tell anyone your Jewish but now he saves time to step up your game. You need to play your hand and declare of who you are and do something to save your people. That brings us to Esther chapter 4. Look at verse 13, Mordecai said to Esther, don't think for a moment that because you're in the palace, you will escape when all the other Jews are killed if you keep quiet at a time like this.
Deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from of some other place. Would you and your relatives will die, but who knows perhaps your made queen for such a time as this very interesting statement that Mordecai makes to Esther. Here's what we need to remember, God does not need us sometimes Evergreen will say God needs us. The reason God created humanity is because he was lonely up there in heaven wanted some companionship nonsense God doesn't need anything or anyone but having said that, it is true that God wants us it is true that God loves us. It is true that he longs for relationship and friendship with us. Now here's a question. Can God reach lost people without us candy.
Yes, but does he want to reach lost people without us know because the Bible says, how will they hear without a preacher and how they preach unless they are sent. How beautiful are the feet of those are bring good tidings of peace. So here's what Mordechai said Esther girl listen if you don't act on this God will raise up somebody else. But don't think you're often look here because of you will die along with the rest of your fellow Jews did it ever occur to you that you are where you are because God put you there for me. Did it ever occur to you that cranky neighbor that that difficult to deal with coworker other person do you come into contact with on a regular basis could be your mission field. Did you ever stop and think about praying for that person by name and frame for an opportunity to engage them in a conversation to lead them to Christ. And so she was chosen by God and we been chosen by God that brings us to Ephesians pop over there really quick. Ephesians chapter 1. Why did God choose us. How many of you believe you been chosen by God raise her hand up much good. Why do you think God shows you we here's the answer to Ephesians 1 verse four just as he chose us before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestined us to adoption. You might underline those words adoption to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Listen to this before the world was made before sin came in. God shows you to be with him through all eternity exhibit.
How do you know that because Jesus said you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you another question that comes to our minds when we read that as well. But why, why would God choose me what goodness or merit. Did God see in me that he would choose me as his child. I hope you're not disappointed by my answer. None. There was no goodness there was no Meredith it's not even because you are lovable. The fact is, he shows you despite you. Despite your sinfulness. Despite my shortcomings, he chose us, despite our high opinions that we hold of ourselves. God's choosing had nothing to do with our value per se. It was based on his love. Why did God choose us the answer is the same reasoning chosen nation Israel, the Lord said to Israel, he didn't set his love upon them or choose them because they were more in number than other people, for they were the fewest Lord, chosen because he loved the that's why he chose Israel. That's why he chose you because he loved you and he loves you.
Is it what I don't understand that will join the club who understands just rejoice in it and that brings up the subject of predestination. By the way, the greatest theological minds have grappled with predestination for hundreds of years, and settle it right here right now because I have it all figured out. Not just kidding.
I don't but I'll take my best shot at how I see it I it's been said, quote try to explain election. That's predestination of the word for try to explain election and you may lose your mind try to explain it away. You may lose your soul." So how does God predestined us. How does he choose us. What is the basis for that choice. Some who would identify themselves as Calvinists or being reform would say it, irresistible grace, irresistible grace is the teaching that no matter what you think you cannot resist the grace of God.
It's a done deal is decided in eternity, irresistible grace. You couldn't say no even if you wanted to buy the web disagree with that. And then there's even what might be described as double predestination, which means God has chosen that certain people go to heaven and certain people go to hell.
He's chosen that you have no choice in the matter.
God just decided on whatever basis he chose you're going to heaven heaven, hell, hell that's a personal by the way the meaning LOL heaven heaven. I reject this teaching completely.
By the way, and a part of this is also limited atonement, which means Christ only died for the elect. In other words, Jesus only died for the ones that he predestined he only died for the chosen ones you have nothing to say in the matter. No listen, this is incorrect because the Bible clearly says that God loves all the world. Christ did not just die for the elect. He died for the world.
All sinners, because Jesus said for God so loved what the world that he gave his only begotten son over in Romans 516 eight it says when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly doesn't say he died for only the elect for scarcely for a righteous man, one will die perhaps for a good man somewhat dirty life but God demonstrated his love toward us while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us know whether you like it or not. The Bible teaches both predestination and free will. The Bible teaches that God shows you but it also tells you that you must choose Kim it's like this, you're in your car you cruising on the freeway of life and there's an offramp and the offramp says whosoever will let them come.
We've had a lot of people tell you they pull up in that offramp and its chains are life and you just wanted break the routine but week after week, month after month to go out by that offramp illegal what's going on over there. I wonder if I should take that turn and see what's going on. Whosoever will let them come. So one day you pull your car off the offramp to park it you get out. There's a door, whosoever will let him come you open the door you walk in you shut the door behind you and on the other side of the door. It's written chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world. How do you know if you're chosen by God believe in Jesus Christ and you prove that you were how do you find out if you're not chosen, don't believe it's really in many ways up to you. You have a role to play in all of this is a you choose so will you choose him. Spurgeon said it's a good thing shot God chose me before I was born because if he had waited until afterwards he would've changed his mind, but Spurgeon was saying that tongue-in-cheek, which means he meant it sarcastically the practice. God knew exactly who you were a DL Moody, the great evangelist.
Put it this way. Quote whosoever will are the elect. The whosoever won't other non-elect." It's not as though God predestined some people to heaven and predestines others to hell he wants all the believe that you could look at it this way, God predestines every person to be saved. In effect, the devil predestines every person to be damn, man has the casting vote. You decide where you will spend eternity. But when you make that decision and follow Christ. You prove you were chosen is a great you just confuse me even more. I know I didn't say I would make it make sense that I just take a shot at it but but here's what it comes down to. Sometimes people get so wound up in a sort of reformed thinking that they can even say to a person. God loves you because I think what if I say, God loves you to one of the nonelected rent predestined to help so I can't just say God loves you will any theology that would stop you from saying to a nonbeliever. God loves you any theology that would stop you from sharing the gospel is a false theology because biblical theology says to share the gospel.
We just celebrated the life of a man who dedicated everything to that. Billy Graham sharing the gospel and as I pointed out the greatest tribute, we could pay to Billy is due until he did, what ability do he talk to people about Jesus Christ that was his passion and he gave them an opportunity to lead so as to render choice she could just sit in luxury and forget about the problems of the world, or she could put it all on the line and actin and we have a choice to we don't have to share our faith God can see people without us is a story in the book of acts about a guy from Ethiopia that went to Jerusalem searching for God member that story.
He didn't find God. He did get a copy of the Scripture Isaiah by the way. Back in those days with no printing presses. That was quite a gift to give to them but it was probably because he was a foreign dignitary hand lettered by a scribe. The scroll of Isaiah. So he's reading it, trying to figure it out, leaving Jerusalem on his way back home, and meanwhile the Lord speaks to a guy named Philip and says go to the desert and would Philip go to the desert and obedience in the seas. The men from Ethiopia and his entourage and Philip engages in with the gospel. But it's interesting.
An angel of the Lord told Philip to go to the desert to talk to this man. One of the angel of the Lord just go directly to the men from Ethiopia given the gospel because the job of angels is not primarily to deliver the gospel. That's our job. That's what were supposed to do so, God will orchestrate events and put things in place so you can have those opportunities to lead people to Jesus Christ suggest the Bible is filled with the call of God to nonbelievers to believe I Jesus said in John 1126 whoever lives and believes in him will never die. Romans 1013, whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, so the call and the appeal is there. Okay so were were predestined, but what are we predestined for it amazes me.
People will argue about how were predestined or why were predestined, but they won't stop and think about what is the purpose of being predestined and the answer is right here. Ephesians 15 he predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Some of this, God predestined you to be adopted into his family is is very child. That's why he did it because he loved you and he wanted to adopt you heard the story of two brothers were signing up for Little League. They were to write down their birthdates, which they did, but the coach noticed they were both born on the same year, but they were born two months apart. Submit I'm a little confused about you do brothers how can you be brothers will be born in the same year. A few months apart in one of the boys that were adopted go to know which one of you was adopted. They both said in unison. We don't know what you mean you don't know how can you not know which one of you was adopted visible. Our dad said to us he loved us both so much.
He couldn't remember which one was adopted.
I told that story to my wife and she said how can a father be so stupid as if you're missing the point.
It's because the father love the boys will, and we been adopted into God's family. Notice the verse says in verse five. According to his good pleasure that were predestined to adoption by the pleasure of his will. God is happy to have done this for us.
You know when you have kids, how many of you have children, Regina Ricky, how many of you have grandchildren vision.
It's different when you have grandchildren is not, you know, because the role of a parent is to raise a child to be responsible to teach them what right and wrong are two to help them develop a work ethic. Most importantly, to to show them how to have faith in Jesus Christ. The role of a grandparent is to build the child was sugar give them toys have found that I'm exaggerating but the point is that a grandparent can be more indulgent that a parent can be.
It's sort of the reward we get for parenting and as a punishment on our children for the misery they brought us as we return their child to them full of sugar right but but you know I do things for my grandkids because I want to because I know always was apparent to do your homework go to bed brush her teeth so II commitment safe. Who wants to go get ice cream and buy a toy what they like that idea. That's my good pleasure. I enjoyed it because I enjoy seeing them have a good time. I figure you know them enough responsibilities and it's not like I only for them was sugar. We have wonderful talks together about a lot of wonderful things but we have good food, what were doing it as well. You know, but the ideas that this is my good pleasure. And it's God's good pleasure when he adopted us into his family. Me think about that adoption. I don't know about you but I was adopted. That's right got my name Lori I never knew my biological father effective found out later in life that the guy my mom told me was my dad was in fact not my dad at all and and so I did track down my biological father.
Years later, after my mother died. The problem was he had senility was setting in.
And he didn't remember my mother. You didn't really know why wasn't so it was a little underwhelming to say the least. But the one man of all of my mother's husband's and she had seven and a lot of boyfriends in between the one man that she did me like a father should treat a son was a gentleman name Oscar Lori and he cared for me and he disciplined me and he tried to teach me right from wrong and it was heartbreaking to me when I was a little boy was taken away from him because I always regarded him as my dad one of my great joys in life. As I was able to go back to the East Coast where he lived and tracked him down to my young adult years when I was just starting to pastor and I was able to share the gospel with them and lead him to Christ, so that was a great joy to the thank you for what you did for me.
And now, let me sort of return the favor little bit of the Lord, but that altogether.
But to be adopted is a great thing because you're really chosen your chosen by the person by the parents and God's chosen us to be his adopted children. I mean, the Bible uses different pictures to describe is like a slave out of the open market and that's what the Bible says you've not received the spirit of bondage like a slave but one of adoption where why you cry all the father to.
Here's a picture here in the slave market you're chained up on no one's bidding on you. No one wants you and Jesus comes and says I'll take this one. NLP retail is even bargained for you your so grateful to a big purchase.
He looks like you'll be a nice master.
He says okay I'm your new master affordable master. I'll follow you wherever you want me to go okay good, let's go to the courthouse wife, because I'm now adopting you as my child. That's what God did for us.
It took us out of the slavery of sin and adopted us as his own child.
That's why we have so much to be thankful for.
We were chosen by him and here's something amazing. Look at verse six of Ephesians 1 to the praise of the glory of crook of his grace by which he made us accepted in the beloved. I want to tell you something that may blow your mind right now. Also over the question how many of you believe that God the father loves God the son, raise your hand if you believe he loves the son. Okay, now here's something I want to tell you, God the father in heaven loves you as much as he loves Jesus Christ his son. Did you know that. So don't ever doubt that God loves you is a will. What is that based on all that's based on the statement of the Lord himself and what is the real Lord's prayer found in John chapter 17 verse 22. He says of the father, may they experience such perfect unity at the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me like I stand accepted in the beloved. The Bible says what is Amy I stand in Christ. With that, I'm not worthy. I don't deserve it and never deserved it. You'll never be worthy. Bottom line, God shows you God for gave you God adopted you and you stand in Christ love as much as the father loves his own son on the cross. God treated Jesus as if he had personally committed every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe though we committed none of them let me say that again on the cross, God the father treated Jesus as if he had personally committed every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe though he never committed any of them.
That's called the doctor and the substitution lesson. He died in our place, our substitute. God punished Jesus as though he lived your life that we might become the righteousness of God in him. So he gave his life for my life and that is why I have this position with God. Jesus lived to the age of 33 years old wanted to live here on this earth 33 years old. Jesus could have done everything came to do literally over the weekend. We could've just ascended from heaven died in the cross rose from the dead done deal.
All good, but he walked among us as a man for all those years before he began his public ministry, which was relatively short, want to be doing because he lived a perfect life.
He was righteous in every way, and he passed every single test, 33 years old. My granddaughter Stella and Lucy were talking to me a while ago and they said Papa that's what they call me.
How do you want to be when you're in heaven and people ask how will we be in heaven is like your because of it. If you make it to 99 you want to be 99 in heaven. Probably not right. You want to be three in heaven. Probably not.
So I said I don't know I say 33. That's a good eight and I said, by the way, that was the age of Jesus than my granddaughter Stella said what I was the age of my daddy Christopher is in heaven.
Our son Christopher went to be with the Lord when he was 33 years old and then she thought about it for a moment said there must've been a reason that that was interesting. And then Lucy said to me, I want to be too when I'm in heaven. I said you want to be to what you want to be too. She said because I miss the old me that's Lucy and Stalin. And that's all right there.
Those comments are not trying to be a psychologist here for a moment, but you know I don't know, dad.
You had already told you I didn't have a dad said no point of reference. To speak of except for Oscar Lori which was pretty short-lived.
Actually about maybe when you think of a father you would a distant father and uncommunicative father. Maybe an absent father. Maybe a cold father. Then again, maybe what is super affectionate father, a loving father and nurturing, supportive father. I don't know but whatever father you had on this earth. I just want to the no that your father in heaven is better even if you had an awesome day and or maybe you had yeah maybe you had a horrible dad.
I don't know.
But your father in heaven is perfect. And he loves you and you been made, accepted in him.
Listen, God put you are for a reason God is a plan for your life. God put Esther where she was for a reason.
We need to find that reason and we need to do what we can to bring honor and glory for the Lord is two things we can do with our lives. We can chase after the empty promises of this world and just waste them and many do they waste their entire life. Or you can say I want God's will.
I want to discover God's plan. I want to take the position is given to me. Whatever it is wherever it is and leverage it and use it for his glory. Let me close with this. How do you know if your chosen by God will as I said earlier, believe in Jesus Christ and you approve that you are. I would assume everybody here would already be a Christian but I don't think we should always assume that it's possible there's someone here who is never asked Jesus Christ to forgive them of their sin's possible that one of you is here at this study in your thinking. I'm not really sure if my sin is forgiven. I mean I want to think that but I'm not sure about what I would like to be. Listen, remember this, Jesus died on the cross for your sin, and he rose again from the dead and now he stands at the door of your life, and he knocks and he says if you hear his voice and open the door he will come in doesn't say it's all predetermined and you have nothing to say about you can do about it. You can open the door. You could not open the door. Yes he could be resisted. If on an irresistible grace.
It is irresistible grace. That is why the Bible says harden not your heart if you can hear his voice, so you do have a choice in the matter. A big choice, but if you want to prove your chosen by God, I urge you to believe in Jesus Christ right now and if you're not sure that you do. I like to give you an opportunity to do is we Bari had some prayer. It's overhead to write everybody praying father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for each of our sins and and he paid the price for our sin. He stood in the gap for each and every one of us the Lord we are so thankful for that. And then he rose again from the dead and now Lord, we know that you offer your forgiveness to anyone who would believe so. I pray now for anybody here anybody watching or listening wherever they are, that they don't know you yet. Help them to come to you.
Help them to believe in you.
Now we ask our heads about and her eyes are closed and were praying. Is there someone here that would say, I'm not sure if my sin is forgiven. I don't know absolutely that I will go to heaven when I die I want to be certain that my life is right with God. I want to know that my sin is forgiven. If that's you, if you would like Jesus Christ to come into your life forgive you of your sin or if you fall away from the Lord, you need to come back to him again just pray this prayer with me right now is pray the simple prayer Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner but I know you're the Savior who died in the cross for me, and rose again from the dead, Lord. I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and my Lord is my God, my friend in Jesus name I pray, amen