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The Gift Of Predestination Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
June 30, 2023 1:00 am

The Gift Of Predestination Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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June 30, 2023 1:00 am

Salvation is more than just a ticket to heaven when we die. From before creation, God predestined Christians to redemption and salvation. In this message, Pastor Lutzer notes two facts in Ephesians 1 about God choosing people unto life. Since we don’t deserve His grace, is God’s choosing of us arbitrary?

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Salvation is more than just a ticket to heaven when we die. Christ has given believers many wonderful gifts that accompany that salvation. Today, we take inventory of what each believer has through the work of Jesus. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line.

Pastor Lutzer, tell us about the first gift believers receive having trusted Christ as Savior. Well, you know, Dave, the word predestination makes us jump into the deep end of the theological swimming pool. But I believe very deeply that the purpose of creation was redemption. That's why the Bible says that we were chosen in Christ from before the foundations of the world.

And someone who believed very deeply in the doctrine of predestination was Luther. And this is the last day we're making my book available entitled Rescuing the Gospel. It tells the story of Luther and other reformers. It speaks about these conflicts. And at the end of the day, what it does is inspire us to go deeper in our walk with God. Now, for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. At the time of the Reformation, the waters parted, so to speak. You have the great division between Catholicism and Protestantism. What were the issues? How were the issues fought?

What are the consequences? Rescuing the Gospel, 1-888-218-9337, or go to rtwoffer.com. The Reformation changed everything. Peter Dinica was a Russian evangelist who was converted here at the Moody Church before this building was built, when there was a tabernacle alongside where the church is today. He left Russia in 1898 and got on a ship and came to America. Before he left, his mother made him a bag and really a box full of food so that he'd have enough food for the journey. What she did is she took a lot of bread and she dried it so that it wouldn't rot, and that was part of it. The food was so heavy that someone else actually carried it onto the ship for him. As the voyage began, he began to look through the window to see all the people in the dining room and how wonderfully they were eating. And he'd go back to his room and he'd have his bread and his water. The sailors made fun of him and they said, you know, if you help us in the kitchen, we'll give you food. So he helped in the kitchen and got some food and basically worked for his food across the ocean.

He says that it was not until the last day of the voyage he learned that three meals a day were included in the price of the ticket. I think that's the way we are as Christians. We forget the fact that he who spared not his own son but delivered him up for us all, the Bible says, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? The intention of this series of messages is to emphasize some of those all things that come along with faith in Jesus.

Sometimes we think we are spiritually poor when God says please understand all that I have given to you in Christ. And today we're going to begin with the difficult doctrine of predestination, which means exactly what you think it means, that God predetermines what happens on earth and he predetermined you and your salvation as a believer. You know, it's a very difficult doctrine in some regards, but what we have to do is to remember, as one person said, explain it, you might lose your mind, explain it away, you might lose your soul. So here we are. It's a doctrine with a lot of mystery.

I'm going to be scaring up a lot of rabbits that I'm not able to shoot, but at the end I am going to answer some questions that will be in your mind. There is a story about theologians who are having an argument about this, and throughout church history there have been arguments about this. So they decided to get into their various camps. Over here you have those who believed in predestination. Over here you have the people who say, we believe in free will. Well, there was a man who didn't know how to make up his mind and so he decided to go over to the predestination crowd and they said, why are you here? He said, I came of my own free will. They said, you don't belong here. He said, you go over there. So he went over to the free willers and they said, why are you here? He said, I was sent here. They said, you don't belong here because you're only supposed to be here by your free will.

So the poor man was left in the cold. You know, before I begin this message, what I want us to do is to encourage every one of you to listen. You may be a teenager here today. Please listen because God may be calling your life and you may be somewhat skeptical and we're glad that you are here. We have diverse people watching here, of course, at the Moody Church and all over the world and by radio and so forth. Please listen carefully. This is so important that I'm actually going to ask that we pray one more time. I want you to bow your head and let us take a moment to acknowledge God's help in this marvelous doctrine of predestination. Let's pray. Father, we ask that you might open our eyes, that we might see wondrous things in your word. We pray in Jesus' name.

Amen. The passage of scriptures, Ephesians chapter one. Years ago I've written on this doctrine. In fact, one of my books has four chapters on it. I didn't refer to that as I was preparing this message. And then this week I speed read a book on predestination.

How do you speed read you? You take passages of the book that you think of are particularly applicable. But Friday morning I decided, you know, I'm going to put all that aside. I'm just going to open the text and see what it says. So here we are. Ephesians chapter one, that glorious passage where it says this, and for our purposes we have to actually begin in verse three. Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.

That's what we intend to do in this series of messages. To isolate some of those spiritual blessings in heavenly places. Verse four, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him.

Just that far for a moment. That word choose he chose us in him occurs 22 times in the New Testament. Seven of those times it refers to God choosing people onto life. You look at the text and you realize here that we are talking about two facts that are given to us in this verse. Fact number one is that God made the choice. God chose us in him before the foundation of the world.

He's speaking now about those who either have believed on Christ or people who are going to believe on Christ. God chose us and a second fact is it was done before the foundation of the world. Before God spoke the stars into existence. Before angels flew in the courts of heaven and were created. In eternity past God knowing all things both actual and possible chose us in Christ because it was never God's intention to save anybody apart from Christ.

Just think of it this way. Obviously redemption was part of God's plan from the very beginning, right? I mean some people say oh you know God hoped that Adam and Eve wouldn't sin and then they messed it up and God says I've got a mess to clean up here. I'm going to send Jesus. Well that was a part of his plan from before the foundation of the world.

It's an expression that relates to eternity past. Now some of us haven't been chosen for much of anything, right? I remember how difficult it was for me in grade school because whenever they were choosing teams to play softball or some other sport I was always the last to be chosen. I was not a great athlete and it hurts to be passed over. You may be passed over in your job but think of this God choosing us. Now you say was it arbitrary?

Was it like a lottery? Did God blindfold himself and say here's a big jar with all these numbers I'm going to go down and I'm going to see who I choose. Obviously not.

Obviously not. And the reason for that is because God had to create an entire context where you would be born, who your parents would be, all kinds of contingencies regarding who would share the gospel with you. It was not an arbitrary choice and you say well it was based on foreknowledge. God foreknew who was going to believe. Many people think that but if you look at the word foreknowledge in the Bible in the New Testament it never refers to simply knowing ahead of time.

It really means to forelove. Like it says in Amos, you only have I known of all the people of the earth. Of course God knows everyone.

Of course God knows all things. But it wasn't based on foreseen faith. It was based on God's choice.

You say well what was the basis upon which he did the choosing? Good question. The Apostle Paul struggling with that in Romans chapter 9 gets to that point and basically says, I'm sure he says it kindly and this is a paraphrase, keep your mouth shut.

That's the answer. He says we're now at the edge of mystery and God has not revealed that. So we have to accept that the potter has power over the clay to make one lump to honor another to dishonor. So we stand in the sovereignty of God and we allow God to be God and we don't understand it all.

We also know that the choice was personal. He calls his own sheep by name. Do you realize that God didn't learn a single thing about you when you arrived here on the planet earth and were born? God didn't say, oh I was wondering what he was going to look like. So sort of a surprise to me that he only weighs seven pounds.

I was thinking that he'd be more than that. Listen, God hasn't found out one thing about you since you arrived that he didn't know in eternity past and he knew your name before your parents decided what to call you. He knows his sheep by name.

Imagine that. You know, to know somebody by name, it's a way of honor. I know that I've disappointed many people because I'm not very good at remembering names. Some of you, God bless you, you've been so kind. I've asked your name many times.

Could I just throw in a parenthesis? The reason for that is when I hear a name, I don't remember it. When I see it written, I see it in my mind's eye and I remember it more easily. But God, so what if Pastor Lutzer doesn't know your name? Sorry about that, but you're known by God from the foundation of the world.

It was a personal choice. So God chose us in him that we might be blameless and of course ultimately blameless in Christ, but we have to hurry now. We get to the word predestination and that of course is there for us. This word predestination occurs six times in the New Testament. Four times it refers to people being predestinated to eternal life. You'll notice it says in verse five, in love he predestined for us for adoption through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will. And that actually shows why God did what he did according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the gloriousness of his grace with which he has blessed us in the beloved. Oh, so much in this passage. Even that phrase blessed us in the beloved, I wasn't going to say anything about it, but it's the same expression that Gabriel used for Mary. Hail Mary, you have found favor with God. God has graced us full of grace in the beloved one. But let's look at that word predestination.

It means to predetermine as we've already emphasized. And the fact is that we're predestined to the adoption of sons. Now, in this series of messages, I intend to preach an entire message just on sonship, becoming a son and daughter of God.

So I'm going to skip that. We're going to come back to it in a different message. I'm going to hurry on and notice that the word redemption occurs there in verse seven. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. How much did God pay to redeem us?

It's a slave image here of buying a slave out of the marketplace. How much did God pay? What about all of the opulence of Rome, past and present? What about the pyramids of Egypt, the gold of the pharaohs?

And you see the crown jewels in Vienna and also in Munich of all of the great kings and queens. How much did God pay? Well, the Bible says that he paid something else, for we were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. That was the price of redemption.

Now, follow us carefully. It's very important that we understand that God would have never given us his son and had him die on the cross unless God loved us as much as he loved his son. If God loved us any less than he loved his son, he'd have never put his son through that, shedding his blood. But Jesus said thou has loved them even as thou has loved me, and it's that reason that God was willing to pay such a high price.

We might argue and say that really he overpaid, but that's God's price. I like what Luther said, and I want you to follow it carefully. Luther said God loved us not because we are valuable, follow carefully, but we are valuable because God loves us. In other words, even our value, which is so high on God's Dow Jones Industrial average that he's willing to send his son to shed his precious blood, even our value is conferred to us by God.

We do not have it innately. And so here we have the redemption price. By the way, is there any sin in your life that you love more than God after all that God has done in our lives and that he has paid such a high price? The text tells us that he has lavished grace upon us in the beloved one. And the beloved one was willing to die on the cross and shed his blood as the redemption price to buy us out of the kingdom of darkness and put us into the kingdom of light. So we are chosen, we are predestined, and then also God wills. Now the word predestination occurs again in this passage.

It goes on to say that God has made known unto us, I'm in verse nine, the mystery of his will according to his purpose. There it is again, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him, things in heaven, things on the earth. Jesus is sometime going to unite, he's going to tie all the loose threads together. And he is going to put all of his enemies under his feet, he is going to rule, and all things are going to be under the feet of Jesus.

Now we don't see that yet, do we? The book of Hebrews points out that that's a day that is coming. And so we have been predestined again, it's using the word according, verse 11, to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. That's as far as we're going today because the ministry of the Holy Spirit is the next message in this series, and that's the text that we'll be referring to among many others.

And so, why all this? We are to be to the praise of his glory. I remember reading that as a boy, in fact, I memorized the book of Ephesians probably 35, 40 years ago or more. Boy, that sounds like a long time, but it goes quickly. And I always thought in my mind, yeah, someday when we're in heaven, we're going to be to the praise of his glory. Yes, of course, but I believe it begins here on earth. Let me simplify your life a little bit, okay?

It's not about a lot of things that you're worried about. You may find that you are promoted to the praise of his glory. You may find that you are demoted. Somebody else has taken a place that you know right well you should have, and you're suffering with injustice. Why? To the praise of his glory. You look at some people who have no use for God, and they're living long lives, and you are young, and you love God, and you find out that you've got a disease or some kind of an illness, maybe even a terminal illness. Why that?

It's to the praise of his glory. You say, I lost some money in the stock market. Yeah. I know one man who says that he made so many bad investments that if he were to buy a cemetery, he's convinced people would stop dying. Yeah, well, you know, so that's what my life is about.

That's what I'm worried about. Uh-uh. You exist to the praise of his glory. It's not about all of these other things that do impinge upon us, and they all have their own sense of importance, but at the end of the day, it's all about God.

And listen to this promise. Since we exist according to his glory in the text talk about the fact that he works all things after the counsel of his own will. I hope that you take out time to read these texts more carefully. It really is all about God, and it says that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Called according to his purpose.

God takes all things. And then you know what the next verse says there in Romans chapter 8? It says, whom he foreknew, he predestinated. You notice foreknowledge again, but whom he foreloved, he predestinated to be conformed to the image of his son, and those whom he predestinated he called, and those he called he justified, and those whom he justified he glorified.

It's all done. I'm going to be preaching about that in this series, God willing. Well, my friend, this is Pastor Luther, and I need to emphasize that one of the great reformers who believed deeply in predestination was Martin Luther. He wrote a book entitled The Bondage of the Will.

Fascinating. Today is the last day we're making available a book entitled Rescuing the Gospel, the Story and the Significance of the Reformation. I wrote this book because I discovered that there were many people who had heard about Martin Luther. They knew about the 95 theses that were nailed on the castle door there in Wittenberg, but they had never read so much as a single one of these theses. What did he write?

Why was the impact so huge? Why were these theses spread throughout Germany, and what was the political fallout, and the implications of what it's like when every believer becomes a priest? And the priesthood as it was in those days dissolves. What does that mean? As I like to emphasize, for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours, and I sincerely believe it will help you in your walk with God. You will be informed. You'll be able to discuss these issues.

You will have stories to pass along to your children, stories of courage but also stories of failure, and it will be an encouragement on your journey. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com. Of course, as you know, RTWOffer is all one word.

RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book Rescuing the Gospel. From my heart to yours today, I want to thank you so much for your support of our ministry. It's because of people just like you, Running to Win is heard around the world.

We're in 20 different countries in four different languages and continuing to expand. The same gospel that brought about the Reformation is the same gospel that still changes lives today. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Believers can be sure that no event in their lives can take place outside of God's knowledge and plan. Next time on Running to Win, more about the gift of predestination. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-30 02:12:22 / 2023-06-30 02:21:11 / 9

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