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The Chosen - Part A

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The Truth Network Radio
December 9, 2021 2:00 am

The Chosen - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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December 9, 2021 2:00 am

The Bible says that believers have been chosen by God. What does that mean? What are we chosen for? And what plans does God have for us once we've been chosen? Find out as Skip shares the message "The Chosen."

This teaching is from the series Now Streaming.

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Paul will say later on in Ephesians 1, you were chosen before the foundations of the earth. So before you were born, before God put planets and the biosphere, all that we know in the physical world, God had you in mind, God chose you.

The feeling of being chosen, especially for a team or an award, can be really fulfilling. And today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Skip talks about how God chooses you and calls you to a new way of life, one that brings deep joy and fulfillment. Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you grow your relationship with God as you apply His Word in real life ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the reevaluation of priorities, life choices, and the path forward. This illuminates the question, what do I want out of life? Here's Skip Heitig with some thoughts on priorities.

Don't we all want the life with a happy ending? A life marked by growth, a life marked by productivity and refreshment, and God's touch of blessing and prosperity and maturity upon it. Here's our special offer for this month for those who support this media outreach. The Daily God Book by Skip Heitig, plus playlist, eight CD messages on significant psalms. Start 2022 with Skip's Daily God Book.

And they're both our way of thanking you when you give $35 or more today to help more people connect with God's Word. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to connectwithskip.com. Now here's another playlist sample from Skip. When you pursue Him, when you pursue holiness, happiness tags along.

Call 800-922-1888 to give or visit connectwithskip.com. Okay, we're in John chapter 15 as Skip Heitig starts today's study. There really is a psychology to being chosen, whether you're being chosen for a team or you're chosen for an award or you win a competition. Something goes on in the human brain where the pleasure centers of the brain are flooded with chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. And in other words, you walk away from the experience of being chosen feeling really, really good. And to be chosen is to be valued by somebody.

It's to be appreciated, to be esteemed, to be regarded as important. But to be chosen by the living God is the most ultimate experience you could ever have. I mean, for the God of the universe just to take note of you, let alone choose you to be part of His plan and purpose is the most epic concept.

And that's what I want to talk about today. Now, the whole idea of God making a choice has for some reason become a point of controversy. Believe it or not, God choosing, selecting, pre-determining, we call that election, for God to choose people for salvation is upsetting to some people.

I don't know why it is because I kind of figure it this way. Why shouldn't God be able to do what He enables His creation to do? If He makes you with the ability to choose, why can't God have that same power? You get the option to get up in the morning or not. You can stay in bed if you'd like. You choose what you get to eat for breakfast. You choose what you're going to do during the day. You choose who you're going to marry, where you're going to live, what occupation you're going to have the rest of your life.

You get to make all those choices. Why can't God choose whom He wants, what He wants, when He wants it? And He does, whether we like it or not. Last time I checked, He's throughout the Bible making all sorts of different choices. He's choosing Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees and form a nation, the nation that is formed. He calls My chosen people, He calls My chosen people.

I've chosen you out of all the people on the face of the earth. When it comes to the supernatural world, there are fallen angels and there are angels who did not fall, whom God refers to as elect angels, indicating God has made a choice before all of that happened. Jesus Himself is referred to as the chosen one. Peter said He is rejected by man but He is chosen by God the Father. And then one of the great titles that you and I get to bear is that we are God's chosen believers. And perhaps the one section of Scripture, though we're going to find it here in our text, but the other important salient section of Scripture that talks about God choosing us is found in Ephesians chapter 1. Let me just read a few verses to you. This is Ephesians chapter 1 verses 4 through 6. Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. Now we're going to read in John chapter 15 where Jesus says to His own disciples in an upper room, and they're very disquieted at this point.

They're very discouraged because of some of the news that He has told them that He is leaving. Jesus, I think, sort of leans in almost, I'm picturing it like with His hand cupped over His mouth going, let me let you in on a secret. You didn't choose me. I chose you, and I have appointed you. Now they, of course, remember the day when they did choose Him, when they did leave their nets behind, when they did make a very cognizant choice to put the past behind them and follow this rabbi.

But Jesus said, actually, let me let you in on the real story. You are chosen. Now what you need to understand when we talk about God choosing us and God electing us for salvation, He doesn't do that fatalistically or mechanistically where we're like robots and we don't have any choice at all. In fact, we do. There is a cooperation of God's choice and our choice, not a competition between the two.

They work in tandem together. In fact, in John 3 16, He said, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. So there is an element of human will, human volition, human choice. Or the time Jesus stood in front of Jerusalem and He said, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I wanted to gather your children in the name of the Lord. I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks, but you were not willing. Now what I want to show you in John 15, we're going to look at verse 9 down to about verse 17. I want to highlight for you three choices that God has made concerning those of us who are saved. Three choices. We are chosen for friendship, we are chosen for fullness, and we are chosen for following.

And I'm going to explain each of those and drill down just a little bit. We are chosen for friendship. Let me take you to verse 13 of John 15 where Jesus said, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you.

Stop right there. Did you just hear how Jesus put that? You didn't choose Me, I chose you. Now that's not normally how it works. Normally friends choose each other if they're going to be friends.

So this is how it works. Let's say there's an encounter. If there's an encounter between two people, there's three possibilities. Scenario number one, two people meet each other. Let's say it's me and another guy we meet, and right off the bat we don't like each other.

I don't like his personality, he doesn't like my breath, whatever it might be. We just mutually don't like each other. Probably a friendship is not going to occur as a result of that encounter. Scenario number two, I meet a person. I genuinely like him and I think we could get along, but he doesn't like me. Once again a friendship is probably not going to be the result, but if two people meet each other and there's a mutual fondness, a mutual affection, a mutual understanding, that's the basis of a friendship.

It's never one-sided, but here it is. So Jesus said, you didn't choose me, I chose you. And he mentions here, I chose you for friendship. Now first of all, nobody could ever say that unless he was God.

I mean I wouldn't go up to you and go, you didn't choose me, but I'm going to let you be my friend. I mean only God could do that, only God could do that. And so this really speaks to us of his position. He has a greater rank, greater importance, greater influence.

Because of his position as Jesus, as God, he can make that statement. You know it's like that with famous people or political people, somebody who is highly influential. They have to be very careful who they're going to allow in their circle of friends, because people can take advantage of them. And so typically the way it works if somebody's like a king or a prince or a president or a rock star, it's not like you can walk up to that person and say, hey you know what, I think we could really be good friends. They kind of have to let you in. I read an article a while back about Mariah Carey that she has in her house, or I should say in one of her houses, or actually in one of her mansions. She has a level, a floor, where she allows people who are friends, but not really close friends, just okay friends.

They're allowed at that level, but they can't go to any of the other levels where she really hangs out. God says, Jesus said, I have chosen you. So this speaks to us of his position. Also this speaks to us of his election.

And I want to kind of drill down on this idea of predestination just briefly in the election. When Jesus said, I have chosen you, I think he has in his mind the idea of salvation. That's how salvation works.

God sovereignly makes a choice. And I want to take you down to verse 19 because it elaborates just a little bit. Verse 19, if you were of the world, and when you see that word here, he's not talking about the globe where continents and oceans and things exist. He's speaking about the system of this world, the values of this world that are opposed to God.

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. So here's Jesus saying, of all the people that live on this globe and are a part of the world system, I have picked you out of that to be on my team. And then Paul will say later on in Ephesians 1, you were chosen before the foundations of the earth.

So before you were born, before God put planets and the biosphere and all that we know in the physical world, God had you in mind, God chose you. Unfortunately, throughout church history, this has become a talking point, a debating point, a dividing point even, where you have on one side the ardent Calvinist who emphasizes divine election apart from human choice. That's why the ardent Calvinist rarely does true evangelism because after all, if God's going to make the choice, it's going to happen. You can't do anything about it, they're just going to get saved.

But if you're going to get saved, on the other hand, you might have the Arminian who will emphasize human choice over and above divine election. I say both are true. Why argue over that fact?

You know that, right? You know that two things can be true at the same time. It's not like, well, this is true, therefore nothing else is true.

No, there's a lot of things true at exactly the same time. And it's true that God makes a choice and pre-determines and pre-elects, but it's also true that you must make a choice and God will cooperate with your choice. So instead of arguing over this, let the tension remain. It's okay that God chooses and it's okay that you and I have to choose. It's like a suspension bridge.

The reason the bridge stands is because you have two opposing forces holding it together. And by the way, Jesus put both of those two realities into one single verse. Listen to what He said. This is John chapter 6 verse 37. All the Father gives Me will come to Me.

That's divine election. And the one who comes to Me, that's human choice, I will by no means cast out. So think of it this way. If a person is drowning, somebody on the shore throws a rope. The rope itself cannot save anybody. The presence of the rope being there won't help anyone. The person drowning must make a choice to grab a hold of the rope. But a person grabbing a hold of a rope won't necessarily save that person.

There has to be somebody on the shore pulling the rope to safety. So think of it that way. Instead of debating over it, God by election draws us, we by our own choice, grab a hold of the rope. Now, somebody will say, well, it's just not fair that God should choose someone to be saved, implying that He chooses others not to be saved.

That's just not fair. Because maybe God didn't choose me. You know, I can prove to you today that God has chosen you.

Here's how. Choose Him today. Make a choice to follow Jesus.

Go all in today. Make that choice. And you will discover that He has already chosen you beforehand. It's really that simple. You go, well, it's not fair. I don't know if I'm going to do that. Okay, well, maybe you're not chosen.

Well, it's not fair. Well, then choose Him. The idea that God knows in advance who's going to be saved and because He's God can make a pre-elected, predetermined choice does not take away the fact that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord can be saved.

So it speaks of His election. Also, when Jesus said, you didn't choose me, but I chose you, it speaks to us of His affection, His love. You know, God knew all about you before He chose you, and He still chose you.

He picked you anyway. So when Jesus said to His disciples around that table that night, you didn't choose me, I chose you, do you think He knew in advance what those disciples were going to do in letting Him down? Do you think when Jesus, for instance, picked Peter, when He said, Peter, follow me, do you think that Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny Him, or did He not know? Did He know or not know? He knew. He knew. He knew it was going to happen. The day He walked up to Judas, He said, Judas, I want you to follow me.

Do you think Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him for 30 pieces of silver? He knew. He knew. When He got James and John on His team, do you think He knew that they would one day want to nuke a Samaritan village, just eliminate it because they didn't like those Samaritans? He knew all those things, yet. Yet, we're chosen anyway.

Charles Spurgeon had fun with this idea. He said, it's a good thing God chose me before I was born. He surely would not have picked me afterwards. So we are chosen for friendship. Another choice God has made concerning us is that we are chosen for fullness. What He has in His mind is a full life. Not just existence, not just survival, but thriving. Go to verse 9.

Let's go back just a ways and dip into the paragraph there. As the Father loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. Abide means remain, stay in, continue in. Abide in my love.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full. That's the idea of fullness. The word is playrao, and it means to be filled to the brim, to the max. It is used in Scripture when you fill a vessel to the very top. It is used of a human being when that person is filled. Say, a person is full of leprosy. It means he has the disease to the extent that he is dominated by it. So when Jesus talks about joy and fullness of joy, it's not like a service emotion of, I'm kind of happy today.

Things are going my way. It's something much deeper and more profound than that. It's the kind of reality that permeates your life and controls your outlook. That's fullness of joy. Listen to it in the Amplified Bible. I have told you these things that my joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be full measure, complete and overflowing.

Now here's what's amazing. In the upper room discourse, which is John chapter 13, 14, 15, and 16, four chapters, Jesus gets His disciples around a table in an upper room, has the Last Supper, and says these four chapters. In that discourse, in that speech He gives over supper, He tells them the kind of news that is breaking their hearts right now. He told them, I'm leaving you.

I'm leaving you, and I'm going back to my Father's house. And they were discouraged. They would be despondent, and He knew it. And yet, there were three emotions that Jesus speaks about in this same speech that He said they could have, they should have, and one day they will have. Three emotions. The first is peace. John chapter 14, He said, Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives.

I give it to you. Peace, number one. Number two, love. In these chapters, He says, I've loved you. The Father loves you. We both love you together.

I'm going to reveal My love to you. Love one another. So, peace and love, and then now joy. I speak these things to you, that my joy might be with you, and that your joy would be full. So, peace, love, and joy.

While He says, I'm leaving, and you're going to really be bummed out. You can and you will one day have peace and love and joy. And last time I checked, that's exactly what the world is craving today. If you ask a person, what do you want in life, they're going to give you the standard answer, I just want to be happy. What do you want for your kids?

I just want them to be happy. You drill down on that answer, and what they really mean is, if I could only find inner peace, if I could only find true love, and if I could only find lasting joy. Jesus said, I'm promising you all to be happy. I'm going to give you the standard answer, Jesus said, I'm promising you all three of those things. You are chosen for fullness.

Now, hold that thought for a minute. Sadly, throughout Christian history, Christianity has not been noticed, seen, regarded as a joyful experience. So much so, I told you this a few weeks ago, when I announced to my friends that I was following Jesus now, a couple of them said, oh, I'm so sorry to hear that.

Because they figured that Jesus would take joy out of my life, rather than inject joy into my life. And think of how Christianity has been represented over the years. Clergymen, traditionally, throughout history, wore black.

That's like the color of mourning, black robes. The music was largely, sounded like funeral dirges, not really happy things. The voices of many preachers were sort of deep and rolling, and God bless you, whatever you do, do not laugh.

Really serious stuff. Oliver Wendell Holmes, I don't know if you know that name, Oliver Wendell Holmes, went on to become the Associate Chief Justice in the Supreme Court of the United States of America. So he had a law profession.

At one time, he was thinking about being a clergyman, a preacher, but he said this, I would have entered the ministry if the clergyman I know didn't look and act so much like undertakers. Who wrote those rules? Certainly not Jesus, certainly not Jesus, certainly not Jesus, certainly not the New Testament. It is time to overturn that by joyful Christianity.

That should mark us. Fullness of joy. It's my personal joy. I'm giving it to you, and you can remain in it.

You can remain in it. It can be your constant experience. That's Skip Heintze with a message from the series Now Streaming. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep this broadcast going strong, connecting you and many others to God's truths.

The world highly values self-satisfaction and instant gratification. But God calls us to a different way of life, one that focuses on loving and serving others. That's why we freely share these biblical messages, to encourage and strengthen you to live the life God has called you to. But we need your help to keep these messages coming to you and others. Right now, you can give a gift to connect others to God's Word. Here's how you can do that. the Connect with Skip mobile app, which gives you access to a treasure trove of Skip's messages right at your fingertips. Find more information at connectwithskip.com slash app. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heintze shares about the special calling God has given you. Connect with Skip Heintze is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-11 09:47:35 / 2023-07-11 09:56:52 / 9

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