Chosen before the Foundation of the World

Steve Viars April 14, 2013 1 Peter 1:1-9, 17-2:12

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Please Note: the full transcript is available in the Manuscript link above.

2 Timothy 2:1-5 - I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

4 principles to help us appreciate God’s sovereign place in the salvation process

I. The Doctrine of Election is Intended to Be an Encouragement when Times are Hard

A. The background of Peter’s writings

B. You may feel similarly yourself today

Psalm 119:71 - It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.

C. God wants you to remember how long He’s loved you

II. The Doctrine of Election Gives Us an Opportunity to Flex Our Theological Muscles

A. Understand that this principle is taught in many places in the Word of God

·   I Peter 1:1-2 - …chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father...

·   1 Peter 1:3 (NASB95) - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

·   1 Peter 1:15 - but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

·   1 Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

·   John 15:16 - You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

·   Acts 13:48 - When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

·   Acts 16:14 - A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

·   Romans 8:28-30 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

·   Ephesians 1:4-5, 11 - just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

·   Romans 9:15-16 - For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

B. Yet the Bible also teaches that the gospel offer is both universal and legitimate

·   John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

·   2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

·   1 Timothy 2:3-4 - This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

·   Revelation 22:17 (KJV) - And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

C. Always keep in mind that human beings are completely incapable of saving ourselves or initiating the process

·   Isaiah 64:6 - For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

·   Ephesians 2:1 - And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

D. God’s Word frequently emphasizes His complete sovereignty over the affairs of men

·   Isaiah 46:10 - Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure”;

·   Ephesians 1:11 - also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

E. God exercises His sovereign will in a way that allows human beings to exercise their will and for which they will legitimately be held responsible

·   Genesis 50:20 - As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

·   Acts 2:22-23 - Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

III. Learn to Love, Trust, and Prefer a God Whom You are Incapable of Completely Understanding in This Life

A. The transcendence of God

·   ­Isaiah 55:8-9 - For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

·   1 Peter 1:8 - and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

·   1 Corinthians 13:12 - For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

·   1 John 3:2 - Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

B. Especially as it relates to God’s working with other people

John 21:18-22 - “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them…So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 

IV. Let This Doctrine Encourage and Stimulate You Today

A. Enjoy being part of God’s redemptive team

1 Peter 3:15 - but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

B. Trust God to effectively hoe His patch while you faithfully hoe yours

 


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Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video