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Chosen #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 3, 2024 12:00 am

Chosen #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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June 3, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. It is our joy to continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word. Today, Don is continuing with the second part of a message we started last time, so let's get right to it.

Open your Bible as we join Don now in The Truth Pulpit. Now what we want to see this evening in our remaining time, we want to see four aspects of this biblical doctrine of election. And to understand, beloved, as we go through, probably a little bit rapidly now at this point, understand that we're devoting six, eight weeks, Sunday and Tuesday, to cover the whole realm of salvation. So if some things don't immediately click in your mind, be patient, be with us Sunday, be with us Tuesday, listen to the messages again, a time or two or three, and it will come together. I know that the Spirit of God will be at work in our midst and help you, but be patient, and we're not going to try to answer every question that could be asked tonight.

We're just laying out the contours, the outline, the scaffolding, the engineering blueprint by which we'll understand the rest. Four aspects about the biblical doctrine of election for this evening. Number one, the praise for election.

The praise for election. Paul starts this section of scripture. Verse three through fourteen is all a unit. It's one long sentence in the original language. Two hundred and two Greek words all in one sentence.

It's amazing to try to diagram that. But that's important to understand the context of what Paul is doing. What Paul is doing in this broader section of scripture in verse three, he is praising God. He is offering worship to God as he instructs the church of Jesus Christ. And as he gives worship to God, he tells the church of Jesus Christ, this is what you are to do in response to your salvation. This is what you are to do in your understanding of the gift of God in salvation. You're to worship.

You're to worship. And he starts on this note of worship as he exalts God and calls the people of God to join in with him. Verse three, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. What Paul does here in verse three is he states the theme in a very broad stroke. Verse three, he states this theme really, really broadly, as broad and as comprehensive as it can possibly be stated. And then in the subsequent verses, he starts to unpack it. It's like seeing a vast wall mural that's just spectacular in the impression that it makes. And then you go up and you start to look at individual aspects of it and you realize the intricacy of the way the artist has put things together. Here, Paul looks at the whole tapestry as a unit, praises God for it, and then he starts to unpack individual aspects of it as he goes along in the remainder of the passage.

He states it broadly and then he explains. And what we see here in verse three, what we see is that he gives all of the credit to God for the spiritual blessings that we have. And he thanks God.

He thanks God and he blesses his name because God first blessed us in Christ. And he not only did it first, he not only blessed us, he did it super abundantly, he did it abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think. He has given us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

He left nothing out. God came to us, he blessed us with salvation, and he gave us everything, as it were, that he had to give in Christ. So that we are joined together with Christ, we are co-heirs with him, we are a brother with Christ, we have a brother in heaven at the right hand of God interceding for us as I speak. And beloved, I want you to know that's unspeakable blessing. We're co-heirs with Christ.

He hasn't dribbled out a couple of acts of kindness. Out of sheer kindness, sheer love, unprompted goodness, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. And he goes on and explains it. God has provided for us in Christ election unto salvation, adoption into his family, redemption from the slave market of sin, and eventual glory in heaven.

And that's just the broadest of outlines. Beloved, notice, notice in contradistinction to the false health and wealth gospel that is so easily peddled to selfish people in the name of Jesus, notice that Paul is talking about spiritual blessings here. He's not talking about, you know, comparative differences in physical blessings that God gives us. The emphasis that Paul is making here is on the spiritual aspects and the different aspects, the different elements of our salvation.

Election, again I repeat myself, election, adoption, redemption, and eventual glory in heaven. Now why does Paul say this? Paul is giving the grounds upon which we bless the name of God. Blessed be God, someone might say, why do we bless God? Well, why do we bless God as his people?

Because he chose us in love, because he adopted us in love, because he redeemed us in love, because he's taking us to heaven in love. And you say, but I don't deserve any of that. I'm bankrupt in spirit. I'm a sinner against God. I sin today, some might say. And Paul would say precisely, do you see the goodness of God in all of these spiritual blessings given to you when you didn't even deserve it? We give thanks because God in Christ has freely given to us everything that we need for our spiritual benefit. And as a result of that, we ascribe glory to him. And Paul's heart is so full of gratitude to God that 202 words later he's finally done with his sentence. That's 202 words in the Greek text.

I counted them. He's so full that it just that all of the praise and the worship just comes tumbling out. And once he gets started, he can't stop. And so he ascribes glory to him. Look at this is all about giving glory to God. This whole text through verse 14. Look at verse three.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse six, to the praise of his glorious grace. Verse 12, to the praise of his glory. Verse 14, to the praise of his glory. Now, beloved, because and all of this begins to make sense when you say salvation belongs to the Lord. And he's given it to me.

Unworthy me. Well, praise his name. Praise his name. Praise his name. Blessed be the name of God. And as you read through that text, you'll find it's a Trinitarian text.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, all participating in the gift of salvation to his people. It's not just, I mean, you know, I can understand a little bit how Paul just loses any sense of syntactical structure, and it all just kind of comes falling out of his heart. I understand it because there's just so much here. It's not just that God blessed us with salvation. That would take us a long time to explicate.

It's not just that we were unworthy. That would take another long time to explicate. But it's the fact that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the glories of the Trinity, the triune essence of God are wrapped around every aspect of this. And so we just realize that, as it were, I speak metaphorically, we are standing before the great pillar of Shekinah glory and gazing on the glory of God as we look at these things about salvation. And so, as Paul is praising God, he starts by highlighting the fact that God chose us in Christ, and that choice of God becomes the first basis upon which we praise him.

Look at verse 4. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, verse 3, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world. God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

We are dealing with matters this evening of such great, ineffable glory that it does us well to just stop and recognize that. My friends, if you are a Christian, praise God if and that that you are, if you are a Christian, what this passage is explaining to you is that God chose you for salvation long before you ever existed. Before there was a heaven and an earth, God had predetermined that you would one day belong to him in Christ, and that you would be in his kingdom, which means that he made that choice before you had done anything good or bad. Prior to creation, the one true God, the uncreated God, the self-existent God, the mighty God had settled and determined his purpose to bless you in time and in eternity future. Before you had done anything good or bad, the sheer sovereign majesty of his love being bestowed on us when he knew that we were going to be unworthy sinners is just inexhaustible in its majesty. And the fact that God has the sovereign prerogative to do exactly whatever he wants because he created the world, it's his gift of salvation, just adds another ineffable magnificent reason to bless his name.

Such unhindered sovereign majesty to determine the course of the universe, including who would be saved, without having to consult with anyone, without needing anyone's permission, he just does it because it's his to do. And then to realize that from that sovereign purpose, he exercises undeserved love and grace upon us to share all of his riches in Christ with us. What can a man do?

What can a woman do? Except humbly put our hands over our mouths and hush before him and say, these things are beyond my understanding, these things are too great, they are too good for a sinful mind like mine to contemplate, for a sinful tongue like mine to declare, and yet it's true and it belongs to me by grace. Blessed be God. Praise be to the glory of his holy name. Now, the time will come in the next few weeks where we'll talk deeply about the doctrine of sin and total depravity and all of that, but just for now, let's presuppose that we have some inkling, some sense of conviction of sin.

It shouldn't be too far removed from our minds. It wasn't that long ago that we preached on blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God, the spiritually bankrupt who have no claims, no money of their own to purchase salvation and come to God as bankrupt sinners asking for mercy and mercy alone, declaiming, disowning, disavowing any claim of personal merit for salvation. From that perspective of a humbled, chastened, convicted heart, and we hear these things of the sovereign majesty of God in election, the sovereign love of God in election, and we realize, God, salvation is your gift. Why are you good to me?

Why have you been so good like this to me? And the one who truly understands his sinfulness, her sinfulness, should immediately be able to conclude, whatever the explanation is, it can't be anything in me. It could never be about me because there's nothing in my sinful, guilty self that could possibly deserve an earthly blessing from God, let alone the endless eternal blessings that he's given to me in Christ.

I couldn't possibly deserve it. And where it leads us, why is God, why has God been good to you and saving you, beloved? There's only one answer. Whatever the reason is, it rests in him. It's something about him and his goodness, not you or me and our goodness, because we don't have any goodness to offer to him. God, salvation is your gift. That's the praise for election.

If you need to get up and take care of things, feel free. Point number two, the proof of election, the proof of election. Beloved, as we're teaching these things, I fully understand and realize that a lot of people don't like this doctrine. A lot of people hate it. A lot of independent Baptist preachers will call it heresy. Some of you have come from those kinds of backgrounds, had someone ask me recently about attending an independent Baptist church that thinks Calvinism is heresy. Do you think that's a church I should attend? I said, no, I don't.

I think you should get out of there as quickly as you can and not look back. Not everyone likes this doctrine. I get that. But Scripture teaches it often and throughout Scripture. God chose the nation of Israel, not because they were great and mighty, but according to his sovereign purpose, they were small and insignificant. God chose Abraham, called Abraham out.

God chose David, the least of the children of Jesse. And on and on you could go in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, we see this idea of unconditional election woven throughout the fabric of God's Word. You cannot take out the doctrine of election as we've described it here. You cannot cut it out of the Bible and have anything left except something that looks like one of those cheap, cheap pieces of snowflake artwork that people have cut all up and you look at it and there's just holes everywhere.

No. Unconditional election is woven in the fabric of God's Word. Let me just show you a small handful of passages here. John chapter 15. John chapter 15. John chapter 15, verse 16. Jesus is speaking to his 12 disciples in the upper room, or the 11 that are left after Judas defected. And what he says applies by extension to those that the disciples would lead to saving faith in Christ as well.

Look at what he says in verse 16 of John chapter 15. He said, you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you. I chose you. Subject, verb, direct object.

Direct object being the one that's on the receiving action of the action in the verb. I chose you. You did not choose me. If you're a Christian, it's because God chose you, not because you chose God. We'll talk about that more later, Acts chapter 13, verse 48. Acts 13, verse 48.

It says this, Acts 13, verse 48. When the Gentiles heard this, the message of the gospel, that Christ would save them too, without them having to become Jews first. When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. Before they heard the gospel, there were those that had been appointed to eternal life.

When they heard the gospel, they believed in response to the gospel and in response to that prior appointment that God had made before the foundation of the world that they would receive eternal life. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 13.

We read this. But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord. Well, Paul, why should you always give thanks to God for us? Why would you give thanks to God for us? He gives the reason, because. I give thanks to God, Paul says, for you because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

You see it? It's the same order. Subject, verb, direct object. Subject, God, who's doing the action of choosing and the direct object is us who believe. One more in 2 Timothy chapter 1, verses 8 and 9. In verses 8 and 9, Paul says, Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling.

Once again, beloved, subject, verb, direct object. God saved us. God called us to a holy calling. And on what basis did he do it? Not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.

It's all there. What did God do? He chose us. Why did he choose us? Not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and will. When did God do it?

He did it before the ages even began. This is revealed truth. This is not something that you can figure out through general revelation. This is not something that the mind of man can reason out in its fallen condition.

This is a revealed truth. God saves us. And then as we come to Scripture, he has given us in Scripture the explanation of the miraculous transformation that took place in our hearts when he saved us. How did this happen?

What were the forces at work? We come to Scripture and Scripture alone to find this, and what we find is it wasn't anything I did. It wasn't because of anything God saw that I would do. It was according to his purpose that he chose me in Christ. Beloved, God is the moving cause in salvation.

He is the initiating cause in salvation. If you are a Christian, if you have believed in Christ, understand that you believed in response to his prior choice of you. He did not choose you because you would believe. You believed because he had previously chosen you before you had done anything good or bad. In other words, election was unconditional.

It was based on the purpose of God, not because one man was better than another. Think about it. This is really important, and I'll say a few more words, and then we'll close and we'll leave the second half of this message for next week. Think about it this way. Oh, this is just so critical. We saw, didn't we, in Ephesians 1, four different times it says, Blessed be God, salvation is to the glory of his grace, to the praise of his glory, to the praise of his glory.

Four different times. We saw that it's before the foundation of the world according to his purpose and all of it. I mean, this is just abundantly clear, and it's all to the glory of God. Now imagine, let's assume for a moment that what a lot of other people say about this is true and that God chose us because of something that he saw in us. He looked down the corridors of time. He saw that we would believe and that others wouldn't, and so he chose us. He looked down the corridors. He saw that we would believe, and then he elected us based on our belief that he foresaw.

What does that do? That totally dismantles the glory of God in salvation, and it dismantles the glory of God in the doctrine of election, and it injects a reason for man to boast over against other men and even boast against God if you hold to that unthinkable position because the electing choice on that understanding that God looked down the corridors of time and saw that someone would believe and said, I'll choose him. Election then becomes based on what man did, what man would do, and it's no longer to the glory of God. Man has a reason to boast because God saw I would have faith, and therefore he chose me. My foreseen faith forced the hand of God, and he had to choose me.

Others got left out because they weren't as good as me. They didn't believe like I did. God left them behind, but he chose me, and it interjects this unthinkable, deplorable, nauseating element, controlling element of human pride in it so that man is now boasting in what God did in the gift of God.

It's unthinkable, and I'm sure in a room like this that there are some of you that have still been thinking about these matters like this. Let me encourage you two things. Go back to the Word of God. Read it for what it says, subject, verb, direct object, and ask for the Holy Spirit to help you understand and illuminate it for you, and once the Spirit grants you the understanding to know the true nature of salvation as Scripture explains it, do this.

Repent of the way that you used to think about it and how you used to take glory for your own salvation. The whole teaching of the Bible on this is to exclude the boasting of man, not of works lest any man should boast. And the foreseen faith view of election invites men to boast.

It teaches men to boast. God chose you because you were going to be so good as to believe in it. He didn't know beforehand, exercised omniscience, looking down the corridor of time, saw it, said, oh, man, look at Austin, man, look at him believe.

I'll go with him. Rather than Austin looking back toward eternity and giving glory to God, that God chose him when he had nothing to offer him. By sovereign grace, sovereign love chose him for God's own purposes. Now, others will say, you've heard all of this, these kinds of objections. Some stated a little more articulately than others. Some people will say, but that's not fair. That's not fair. What about those that were not chosen?

What about them? How can God do that? That isn't fair. That objection forgets two really critical things, among others. That objection forgets the very place where we started, that salvation belongs to the Lord. Salvation does not belong to man to determine how it should be distributed according to the distorted biases and the distorted prejudices of man to determine how it should be divvied out. It's not ours to decide. It belongs to God.

It's his gift. He gets to decide. If he had decided that only one would be saved, he could have done that and been perfectly just. He could have decided that no one would be saved because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He could have rightly judged everyone, and there wouldn't have been a single voice raised against his justice and his righteousness. Not one. Not one righteous voice.

Salvation belongs to the Lord. It's his to do with entirely what he wants. That objection that it's unfair because they don't have a chance, it ignores the biblical teaching that all men are corrupt. All men are enemies of God. All ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. It ignores that all men have suppressed the truth and unrighteousness. It ignores the fact that they don't even honor God for how he's revealed himself in creation.

By what basis, beloved? By what basis does anyone dare to make accusation against a holy God that he is unfair in what he does with that which belongs to him? On what basis does a guilty man accuse the judge of unrighteousness because he didn't just outright pardon him on no basis?

No. The way that people respond to the doctrine of election exposes their own guilty hearts. To accuse God of unfairness is unthinkable. Shall not the God of all the world, the judge of all the world, do right? Only a sinful heart could accuse God of unrighteousness in giving a gift that belongs to him to whomever he wants. That's unthinkable.

It's truly unthinkable. And if you've been thinking it, you need to repent of that kind of thinking. And it also ignores the fact that, you know, we're all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. No, beloved, that God saves anyone testifies to his abundant grace, undeserved favor upon those who deserve judgment instead. That God saves many testifies to his super-abounding grace upon creatures that had nothing to offer to him, that had nothing to his intrinsic glory. God, in love and kindness and mercy, has chosen to shower, to deluge undeserved grace that we will benefit from and enjoy throughout all of eternity, we who are guilty sinners who deserve nothing but judgment on our guilty heads. That he saves any testifies to grace. That he saves many testifies to abundant grace. My friends, my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ, here and through the camera, that he saved you, if he saved you, should bring you to praise. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see. It was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved, how precious that grace appeared the hour I first believed. When we'd been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun. Next time, we'll look at other things that we can see from this text, the power of election, the purpose of election.

For now, we're content to have seen the praise for election. It's all to the glory of God, the proof of election. It's woven throughout all of Scripture, and our hearts are humbled before the glorious majesty of a sovereign God who owns salvation to dispense as he wills and a God who gave it to sinners and gave it to us to the praise of his glory. Let's pray together. Gracious God, holy Father, loving Lord, sovereign spirit, we ascribe all glory to you and declaim any merit of our own. We pray that your spirit would illuminate our hearts and enlarge our hearts to understand these things and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. If we have been misled by prior poor teaching on this issue, Father, cleanse it all away. Renew our minds after the truth and help us to see that this is for your glory and it's actually strengthening and ennobling in our Christian lives.

Father, we can't speak for everybody here, but we can speak for many in what I'm about to say. We don't want any credit. We don't want to boast in ourselves. We want to boast alone in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord. We want to boast alone in your goodness. We want to boast and proclaim you. You must increase, O God, and we must decrease.

And this doctrine of sovereign unconditional election points us in that direction. Father, I pray that as we look at these passages in Ephesians 1 and Ephesians 2 over the next several weeks, I do pray, Father, that your spirit would fall upon us with power and with power upon those unbelieving, darkened, closed hearts that you would open hearts, open eyes, open minds to understand that they might see and believe. And, Father, we would see the proof of your power with us and the proof of your blessing upon the gospel of Jesus Christ that you would give us evidence of that in the salvation of souls and what comes and follows.

But, Father, even if you don't, even if there is no visible result to any of this in December, in days and months and years to come, even if there's absolutely no visible result whatsoever, we will continue to preach this glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. We will continue to praise you because your word reveals it to be true, and that is enough to elicit our unconditional love and loyalty, whether we see anything externally affirming to what we do or not. We love you. We honor you. We exalt you as God. And we plead for the manifestation of your power, not for our sake, not for our glory, but for yours alone. Father, testify to your own approval of your own gospel by the fruit that you bring forth in days to come, even upon some hearts inside this room this evening.

We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts.

Well, thank you, Bill. And my friend, I want to let you know of a special ministry that we have at thetruthpulpit.com that's very near to my heart. We have a ministry to those who are in prison.

And in the nature of life, sometimes we have loved ones that go astray and find themselves behind bars and spending significant time in incarceration. Well, we have a ministry to them. We send them transcripts of messages that I've preached from The Pulpit of Truth Community Church. We do it on a weekly basis.

They get mail every week. If you have a loved one in prison that you would like to have us reach out to in that way, do me a favor. Go to our website, thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Click on the link that says About, and you'll see a dropdown menu that will take you to our prison ministry. You can fill out the form, and we'll be happy to respond and then join in with you in ministering to that one who is outside the normal course of society. So that's thetruthpulpit.com, the About link for our prison ministry.

That will do it for today. We'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-03 05:04:58 / 2024-06-03 05:17:45 / 13

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