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February 7, 2023 9:00 am


Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 7, 2023 9:00 am

There are a lot of things in the Bible that are hard to understand. In this introduction to the “Love Incorruptible” series from Ephesians, Pastor J.D. explains predestination.


Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Before the world was ever established, God knew you and He loved you. There has never been a time in eternity that God did not know you and did not love you. For as long as you have been in existence from eternity past, He's known about you, He has cherished you, and He has planned to redeem you and to save you. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian, J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. You know, there are a lot of things in the Bible that are hard to understand. And today, as Pastor J.D. kicks off a new study through the book of Ephesians called Love Incorruptible, he begins by looking at the concept of predestination. He's helping us see that while some things are not meant to be fully understood, we can know this for certain. We were chosen for the glory of God. Be sure to stay tuned to the end of today's program to learn more about our brand new resource, a Bible study to go along with this current teaching series.

You can give us a call at 866-335-5220 or visit us at for more information. Now here's Pastor J.D. with a message he's simply titled Chosen. Today we start a study on the book of Ephesians. I do want to give you a little theological, a little warning this weekend. I hope that you brought your theological big boy pants with you because in this chapter we are going to wrestle with one of the most difficult, one of the most difficult but perhaps most precious of all biblical truths. This is so important and so difficult and so just mind-blowing that I've actually tried to commit it to memory. Do you mind if I try it out on you?

I'm only like 80% sure I can do this but can we do that? Paul's prayer beginning in chapter 1 verse 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places 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 of 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. In him we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace which he has lavished upon us with all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in himself things in heaven or things in earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance according to the purpose of him and Jesus loves you.

And so um hold on a minute here we go. Having been freed oh no not yet not yet. 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 so that we who were the first to trust in Christ might be first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also having heard the word of truth the gospel of your salvation and believed in him were sealed with the promised holy spirit who is the guarantee of the inheritance until we acquire possession of it amen and amen. That is the verse uh there we go so not quite but I'm working on it. That is by the way one long sentence in the Greek language 202 words a sentence that theologians love and English teachers hate. One long spirit inspired run on sentence.

But I love it which is why it's been so awesome to have it bouncing around in my heart. In fact here's my challenge for you and it's a big one. What if over the course of this eight week study through the book of Ephesians what if you memorized that one long sentence not you don't memorize it in Greek but memorize it in English.

I think it's two sentences in English. These 11 verses verses three through 14 all right starting right now go okay. A few things that you should know about the book of Ephesians. First the book of Ephesians is considered to be Paul's theological masterpiece because Paul packs everything essential for you to know about the Christian life into six short chapters. If you understand if you understand let me see here if you understand these three pages of the Bible right here if you understand those you will be a theological ninja master okay you really will if you just master those three pages and dudes by the way chicks totally dig that if you get to be a theological zen master you should you should do that if you're single. The first three chapters are filled with truth about who God is and what he has done in the gospel. The last three chapters offer some of the most practical instruction you're going to find anywhere in the Bible on things relating from marriage to forgiveness to conflict management to family to workplace relationships even dating and a host of other day-to-day issues. But that is partially where people begin to read the book of Ephesians wrongly.

They treat it primarily as a book of doctrine part one and then a practical guide for living part two. But Ephesians was written first and foremost as a letter a survival manual to a church that was trying to exist in a very hostile environment. You see Ephesus was one of the most impressive and most intimidating cities in the ancient world. It was on a seaport right at the intersection of Europe and Asia which made it one of the the primary trade hubs of the of the Roman Empire. It was cosmopolitan and multicultural. It boasted one of the largest libraries in the world actually ever in history and so a lot of the most prestigious scholars in the world at the time lived there. Religiously it was all over the map.

The city housed 50 different temples including the largest temple in the ancient world dedicated to Artemis one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sexual immorality there was literally an industry. Most of the temples offered some kind of prostitution as a part of the worship ritual. So people would always say what happened in Ephesus stays in Ephesus unless it's contagious and then you carry it around with you for the rest of your life.

But that's what the city was known for. All this to say is it was not a Christian friendly environment which is what makes the letter so timely and so relevant for us because I know that many of us feel like we are in environments that are not friendly to Christianity. For some of you that is your school. For some of you that is your workplace.

Maybe even your family. I know that for some of our church planters around the world who listen in each week they are literally in places where it is illegal to live out your Christian faith. So we are going to dive into this book because it's going to show us how we can not only survive but thrive in those places. Okay here we go verse three Paul opens up the letter with a concept that many of us find difficult and that concept is predestination. In verse four Paul says God chose us in him before the foundation of the world and then throughout the chapter he repeats like verse five he predestined us for adoption verse 11 he predestined us according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the council as well which I know immediately raises all kinds of questions for us such as like questions like what about free will or why would God choose some people and not others and those are great questions and we're going to deal with them in a minute but first let's just ask what exactly is Paul teaching here and then why is he teaching it because see let me give you a little ground rule for approaching your Bible. This doesn't just apply to this text it applies any time you're studying the Bible there are some things about God that you're never going to quite fully understand. The Bible tells us that in a verse that really helped me personally when I was struggling with a lot of the the questions that get raised in passages like this one and the verse was Deuteronomy 29 29. The verse says this the secret things belong to the Lord our God but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever that we may do all the words of this law now notice that there is a distinction the first thing that you got to acknowledge is that there are some secret things there's a there's secret things and there's revealed things there's a distinction between them and our responsibility Moses who wrote Deuteronomy tells us our responsibility is to believe and obey what is revealed not to try to figure out all that is hidden and by the way that there are some things that remain hidden really aggravates a lot of theologians who insist on having it all figured out but I would just remind you that we're talking about God so it shouldn't surprise you that there remains a realm which your mind can scarcely understand much less explain I mean imagine trying to explain quantum physics for a four-year-old or imagine somebody trying to explain it to you okay just because you can't explain it fully or comprehend it fully doesn't mean it's not true right and then the question I often ask you is well which do you think is greater what do you think is greater the gap between a four-year-old's understanding in yours as an adult or the gap between yours and God's take whoever's the smartest person here in the summit church whoever scribe we got at least probably two people in here that score perfectly in the SAT take that person and compare their understanding to that of the almighty God of course the gap is greater between theirs and God's between ours and a four-year-old so of course there's things that we're not really going to be able to comprehend so we approach this subject understanding that we are delving into realities that our minds can barely grasp sometimes I we read passages like this one and we think wow that is that is really really deep but I feel like when we say that we're like the 10 year old boy who runs out into the ocean and as far as he can get he gets about 20 yards out there and a wave comes over his head and he's in six and a half feet in water and he's like oh it's so deep out here and you're like man just like you know a couple miles out that direction it's going to go from seven feet to several miles deep that's what happens when we get into passages like this one we think how deep it is but just keep in mind our subject matter is God so again here's the questions I want to focus on what exactly are the scriptures saying here and then secondly I want to ask why does God tell us these things what exactly are they saying and then why does he tell us these things first verse four notice when it says that we are chosen verse four we are chosen in him when before the foundation of the world that is an awesome thought before the world was ever established God knew you and he loved you there has never been a time in eternity that God had did not know you and did not love you for as long as you have been in existence from eternity past he's known about you he has cherished you and he has planned to redeem you and to save you sometimes people think that this verse means that God simply just knew beforehand who would choose him as if he looked down the corridors of the future and he said oh I see JD's going to choose me and I know the future so I'll choose him back but that is not what this verse says it says he set his love on us and chose us before we were even a twinkle in our daddy's eye from verse three onward when the process of our salvation begins to verse 14 when it's over God is the one taking all the action remember I told you it was one long 202 word sentence that sentence has 48 pronouns two-thirds of them belong to God there are 24 verbs or action sequences in that sentence God does 20 of them and only four of them we do verse three God blesses verse four he chooses verse five he predestines and adopts verse six he bestows grace for seven he redeems and forgives verse eight he lavishes verse nine he makes known and he purposes verse 10 he unites together in Christ verse 11 he works verse 13 he seals listen to the four that we do we listen we receive we believe and we hope isn't that beautiful you say what part of salvation are we responsible for you did all the sinning and Jesus did all the saving you're listening to summit life with JD Greer to learn more about this ministry including becoming a monthly giver known as a gospel partner visit you know the book of Ephesians shows us how God's eternal plans can impact our darkest hours the strength that we need to overcome opposition obstacles and spiritual oppression is found in the amazing love that God has for each of us and the unchanging purposes of God for us to go along with this new teaching series we've just begun we have a new study to share with you that travels right alongside us through the book of Ephesians it's called your place in God's plan jump on board right away and take these messages to a deeper level by reserving your copy today call 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or visit us online at thanks for being with us today now let's get back to our teaching once again here's Pastor JD you say well why did he choose me what was it about me that made him choose me was it my potential did God look it down and say oh hey he's gonna make such a great Christian man he's got such good debating skills or she's got such crazy leadership skills I gotta have them on my team and so I'm going to draft them on my team was it our potential not at all in one of the most beautiful and mystifying passages of the old testament when God begins to explain to Israel why he chose them instead of other nations this is what he says it was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord said his love on you and chose you for you were the fewest of all peoples it is because the Lord loves you in other words it wasn't your potential I didn't choose you because you were great Israel the only reason you became great is because I chose you you said well I know maybe it was that deep down I wasn't as sinful as other people and God saw deep down that I had a good and teachable heart well that's not true either again look at Deuteronomy Deuteronomy 9 verse 6 know therefore that the Lord your God is not giving you this land good land because you have your righteousness because you were a stubborn people in other words yeah it wasn't really your good heart either actually your heart was harder than most peoples God didn't look down and say you know I know there's still some good in that one I'm going to save them that's a scene from star wars that's not the gospel no you had no good in you at all in chapter 2 Paul explains you were dead in your trespasses and sins dead means dead they're not levels of dead there's a scene in a great 1980s movie called the princess bride one of the great 1980s movies where indigo montoya indigo montoya and andre the giant all right are distraught because their hero wesley is dead and so they remember this they take wesley's dead body to the wizard and the wizard says oh no reason to fear boys he's only mostly dead and then he works some kind of magic on him and revives him now that might be good entertainment but it's bad science and bad theology there's no such thing as mostly dead you're either dead or you're not jesus didn't go around jerusalem you know kind of looking around graves and thinking hey there's still some life left in that one i'm going to raise him from the dead when he showed no when he showed up to raise Lazarus from the dead he made sure he waited four days jews believed by the way that on the third day is when your spirit they thought your spirit would hover around your dead body for about three days just to see if a miracle happened and if not then they go to heaven so he waited four days just so there would be no question at all that the man was dead that is the kind of people jesus raised from the dead and people that were really and totally actually dead god didn't choose us because we had spiritual life in us he didn't choose us because we were lovable in fact chapter two paul is going to tell us that our sin had made us god's enemies we were sons of disobedience and objects of his wrath and i know that people say well yeah i made some mistakes like everybody but i'm still mostly lovable what you are underestimating is the sinfulness the disgustingness the hideousness of sin jonathan edwards the old puritan theologian used to say that the slightest sin has an infinite amount of hatefulness in it so that sin that sinfulness of sin outweighs whatever loveliness the creature possessed so yes there are lovable things about us but the hideousness of our rebellion against god so outweighs those things that we are classified as god's enemies so what was it then about you that caused him to choose you that's the mystifying part i mean you see that phrase back in deuteronomy seven eight we kind of went right over it he said it was just because the lord loved you it was because the lord loved you love doesn't really have an explanation why did god love you it was just because he loved you i think of it the way that i often explain my love for my kids to my kids i think i've told you before about all three of my girls used to stay in the same room and so i'd go in at night and as i was kissing them good night and leaving you know i would say i would say um hey girls why does daddy love you does daddy love you because you're beautiful and one of them um would say no i'd train them this so they'd say no um but we are beautiful and i'm like that's exactly right and does daddy love you because you're smart no no but we are smart that's right does daddy love you because you're going to make great leaders one day no but we are going to make great leaders when that i was like right why does daddy love you and one of them would say because we're your daughters love doesn't really have an explanation it's probably one of the only relationships in my life where i've understood a little bit of what it means to love like god's love it's just a taste i don't love them because they're lovely i just love them you see most areas of love in our life we love because of the loveliness of somebody right i mean that's i see that when i do weddings sometimes every bride looks awesome on her wedding day i've never seen i've never seen a bride in all the weddings i've ever done i've never seen one that didn't look awesome i've never been standing up at the altar and the back door open and going like bro you seeing that i'm not sure you want to know they all look awesome and you can tell why he chose her that's how we love we see loveliness and we attract to it but there's something you get and a taste of parental love that goes beyond that i don't love my daughters because they're beautiful if they cease to be beautiful it would not lessen my love for them one bit there's a love that we get a taste of and how god loves us before we had ever done good or bad before the foundation of the world god said his love on us i love charles spurgeon who's the british pastor in 1800s you love how he said i have no questions that god chose me because i'm quite sure that if god had not chosen me i should never have chosen him and i'm sure that he chose me before i was born or else he never would have chosen me afterwards he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me for i never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love so i feel like i'm forced to accept this doctrine i love my seven-year-olds um or my she's not seven anymore a couple years ago she was seven her um understanding of this we i can't remember how this subject came up in family devotions it's not what we sit around talk about all the time um but it came up and i was explaining well we just the night before watched together as a family like the voice remember this you know that show and you know in the voice when you got these judges that have their they're in these chairs with their backs to you and you start singing if they like what they hear then they'll you know hit the little thing and the chair will spin around and in big letters under the chair it says i want you i want you on my team and my seven-year-old says dad you know what it's like it's like we were on the voice show and god spun his chair around before we ever started singing he said i want you before i even hear your voice i choose you not because of something in you i just choose you because i choose you you said well doesn't that violate my free will no the bible says his choice is never against our will but it's always in concert with it in some places god says i chose you before the foundation of the world but in other places jesus would say whosoever will make up jesus explained how it works in john 6 44 when he says nobody comes to me unless the father draws him our choice and the father's drawing go hand in hand the word for draw there in the greek word is hulkuo it carries the idea of a desperately hungry man that is being drawn to food that is what god does with us he creates a hunger in us to know jesus and that hunger draws us to jesus of our own free will just like if you were starving you're going to be drawn to food you see our problem was not that we wanted to choose god and we couldn't our problem was that deep down none of us wanted to choose god we preferred to rule ourselves and be the center of our own universe our wonder was all out of whack that's what it means to be spiritually dead so what god does to the preaching of the gospel and in the power of the spirit what he does is he changes our hearts so that we begin to hunger after god you said well why didn't god choose everybody that's a big question but let me just say two things first keep in mind that god is not obligated to extend salvation to anybody what's fair is that we all perish that any of us have a chance to receive forgiveness is a free gift of undeserved grace but second listen to this this is the part of this discussion where a certain amount of mystery sets in listen because scripture never presents never never presents a lack of god's choosing as the reason why somebody didn't come not once it's always back on that person for example matthew 23 37 jesus talking oh jerusalem jerusalem how often would i have gathered your children together as a hen gathers a brood under her wings and he didn't say but you know i just didn't sovereignly choose that so you know tough cookies no he said but you weren't willing i wanted to you didn't uh uh second peter three nine the lord is not willing that any should perish he's not willing that any should perish but he wants all to come to repentance the last verse of our bibles or the last section of our bibles ends with this truth whosoever will may come i've told you it's entirely your choice the last voice you'll hear as you step off of the earth and rejection of god into hell is his voice saying you don't have to do that you can choose then i realize that there's a mystery there but here is what we know is revealed if you're a christian it's because god chose you if you're not it's because you have chosen to reject god and the lord is not willing that you should perish he wants you to come to repentance and he said if you will just come are you chosen in one sense you're the one that has the power to decide that if you choose to repent and believe in jesus then you're chosen the choice is entirely yours i'm so thankful that we are chosen you're listening to summit life with pastor jd greer so jd today we just began your series through effusions called love incorruptible can you help us out by giving us the big picture of this letter from paul yeah you know molly sometimes people like to think that um like deep theology and practical living are two different things but what paul shows you in effusions is that what you think about god and what you understand about what he's done in the gospel and how you understand you has the most profound impact right on how you live yes as with many of paul's letters the key word in the book is going to come right in the middle of the book where where paul transitions from three chapters of explaining who jesus is and what he did to what that means for how you ought to live how you ought to see yourself how you ought to see others and the whole theme of it is that there's an incorruptible love of god toward us and there are unchanging purposes that he has for us so to go along with our teaching here on summit life we got a new study that we want to share with you that'll help you work alongside us through the book of effeasance it's called your place in god's plan it's going to help you even further connect some of these great truths to your practical life it's eight sessions that explain and apply effusions to our lives as church members and individuals it's great for personal study but it also has a leader guide if you want to take a group through it so get yours at today yes like pastor jd said this guide is perfect for individual bible study or for small groups to study together we'd love to get you a copy of this study of effusions called your place in god's plan and it comes with our thanks when you donate to support this program summit life is kept on the radio and online by listeners like you so when you tune in you've got another listener to thank for the message and you can extend that gift to someone else by doing your part to keep this program going give today and remember to ask for your copy of the effusion study book call 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or you can donate and request the curriculum online at i'm molly vinovich inviting you to join us wednesday for part two of the message titled chosen right here on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-07 10:39:48 / 2023-02-07 10:50:17 / 10

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