Part 4

This evening I want to begin with a brief review. I want to begin that review by reading Ephesians 1:3-6.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Please notice in this reading:

  1. In some sense God chose the Christians at Ephesus (and us) before the foundation of the world--prior to creation.
  2. This "choosing by God" is based on Jesus Christ.
    1. Every spiritual blessing from God is in Christ.
    2. God chose them "in Christ."
    3. Our adoption as sons of God was predetermined in Christ.
    4. God's grace is freely bestowed on them (and us) in Christ.
  3. God's objective in Christians: to make us a holy people who are serious about being God's people, who exist to praise God's glory.

My understanding is this: this is a statement of corporate election. God chose everyone who chooses Christ by placing his or her faith in Christ and allows Christ to teach him or her how to live like a person who belongs to God. God does not choose Christians in order for them to live as they please, but He chooses them to learn to live as a person who belongs to God.

  1. Teachers use the concept of corporate election when they grade.
  2. Employers use the concept of corporate election when they use job descriptions to determine hiring.

We accept God's adoption by placing ourselves and our confidence in Jesus Christ. Paul is not talking about placing confidence in a system, but placing confidence in a Savior.

  1. This evening I want you as Christians to see what a blessing that election (being one who is chosen of God) is. In the past we spend a lot of effort trying to declare what election is not, and too little effort declaring what election is.
    1. There are two foundation questions, and we have done a poor job of (a) separating those questions and (b) separating our answers to those questions (we too often interchange our answers as if there is one question).
      1. Question one: how does a person become a part of God's chosen?
      2. Question two: how does a person continue within God's chosen?
      3. Question one has to do with how does a person become a Christian.
      4. Question two has to do with how does a person continue being a Christian.
      5. This evening my focus is on question two.
    2. Consider some critical contrasts:
      1. This is not the situation: a person who was enslaved to evil suddenly becomes a person who has no evil in his or her life.
      2. This is the situation: an unforgiven person enslaved to evil becomes a forgiven person enslaved to God (we are the servants of the one we obey).
      3. This is not the attitude of God's chosen: "I am forgiven so I can continue living any way I wish."
      4. This is the attitude of God's chosen: "God in His forgiveness constantly helps me discover how much evil there is in me, but assures me His forgiveness will continue as I grow more and more like Him."
      5. This is the irony: the closer I come to God, the more I see my evil; the further I am removed from God, the more blind I am to my evil."

  2. I want to focus you on the benefits of being God's chosen by calling your attention to Romans 6-9.
    1. Lets begin with a brief review of those chapters.
      1. Romans 6:
        1. The whole purpose of baptism into Christ was to give God control of our lives.
        2. In each of our lives, we belong to the one we obey--Satan or God.
      2. Romans 7:
        1. Christ is our salvation.
        2. We cannot save ourselves through practicing self-control.
      3. Romans 8:
        1. We must become a person whose life is controlled by God's Spirit.
        2. We cannot be a person whose life is controlled by the physical.
        3. Then there is an enumeration of some of the blessings given to people who are ruled by the Spirit.
      4. Romans 9:
        1. God always has functioned in human relationships by choice or election.
        2. Specific examples are Jacob, Moses, Pharaoh, the potter, and statements from Hosea and Isaiah.
        3. The fact God chooses is the specific reason that He can include people who are not Jews among His chosen.
    2. I want to focus your attention on the blessings God gives the chosen or elect by calling to your attention to several promises in Romans 8.
      1. Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
        1. Remember that we added the chapter and verse divisions for our convenience in citing and finding places.
        2. I suggest to you that there is a direct connection between the person in despair in the last of chapter 7 and the assurance that there is no condemnation in Christ in 8:1.
        3. When we are in Christ God does not "count sins" as we struggle in our weakness, but notes our faith in Jesus as we seek to grow in spirituality.
        4. The Christian is not burdened with an oppressive sense of guilt but with the assurance of God's forgiveness in Christ.
        5. Is there no condemnation to the Christian because he or she has committed no evil in his or her mind, emotions, or body? No!
        6. There is no condemnation because of what God did for him or her in Jesus' death and resurrection.
        7. That is an enormous blessing given the redeemed, the chosen, the elect--no condemnation!
        8. Jesus affirmed this is the reason God sent him into this world: John 3:17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
      2. Romans 8:26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
        1. For the man or woman who dares to be a Christian, a spiritual person, in an evil world, there will be severe struggles.
        2. Sometimes the war between Satan and God involves matters beyond our comprehension, and when we are caught up in those struggles we, in our confusion, do not even know what to pray.
        3. We are assured that God's Spirit, which lives in us, which God gave us at the same moment forgiveness began in our lives, at the moment of baptism because of faith and repentance, intercedes for us.
        4. The Spirit can communicate the heart concerns of the Christian to God in ways that are clear and understandable to God--even when the Christian cannot put into words his or her concerns!
        5. There is no experience we can have as a human that God cannot understand!
        6. That is an enormous blessing given to the redeemed, the chosen, the elect!
      3. Romans 8:28 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.
        1. God can use any struggle, any horrible circumstance, any undesirable situation to bring the Christian closer to Him!
        2. There is nothing Satan can cause to happen to the Christian that God cannot use to the Christian's eternal benefit!
        3. There are two conditions the Christian must maintain within himself or herself for this to happen: (a) love for God and (b) commitment to God's will.
        4. That is an enormous blessing given to the redeemed, the chosen, the elect!
      4. Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
        1. The superior force in all creation supports the Christian.
        2. Nothing bigger than God (or even equal to God!) will ever oppose the Christian.
        3. The proof that God "is in our corner"? His willingness to sacrifice His son!
        4. God's commitment to us is unquestionable--He is our constant Encourager!
        5. That is an enormous blessing given to the redeemed, the chosen, the elect.
      5. Romans 8:33,34 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
        1. If my understanding is correct, Paul declared that Satan cannot accuse the Christian before God as Satan accused Job before God.
        2. God won't hear the accusation! He justified! If God, the superior force, justifies, Satan, the inferior force, cannot accuse.
        3. The enthronement of Jesus assures us that God will listen to Jesus' pleas for us, not Satan's accusations against us.
          1. The resurrected Jesus is enthroned at the right hand of God.
          2. The resurrected Jesus who is enthroned at God's right hand intercedes for the Christian.
          3. God listens to Jesus' intercession and refuses to hear Satan's accusations!
          4. That is an enormous blessing given to the redeemed, the chosen, the elect!
      6. Romans 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
        1. Nothing external of ourselves can force God to stop loving us as His chosen people!
        2. We cannot be kidnapped from God's love!
        3. We not only can endure in God's love, but we can be victorious in God's love!
        4. Why? Because we are so special? We are so strong? No!
        5. It is because of what God's love in Christ Jesus does for us!
        6. That is an enormous blessing given to the redeemed, the chosen, the elect!

You want to be a part of the redeemed, the chosen, the elect! It is our choice to be one of God's chosen! Only the elect have the promises of (1) no condemnation, (2) the Spirit interceding for us, (3) the assurance the God can use anything Satan does to us for our eternal blessing, (4) having the superior force nurturing us, (5) being in a condition where we cannot be charged before God, (6) being in a situation where nothing eternal of ourselves can separate us from God's love, (7) being assured that overcoming is absolutely possible.

These are some of the promises to God's chosen, His elect.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 24 August 2003
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