Feb 14, 2021 | Lee Becknell
“Understanding the letter sent to the church of Ephesus.” #1. Divine Election and Predestination.”
Text: Ephesians 1:1-14
I heard the story of a man who was experiencing problems with his new computer, so he called the help desk. The computer technician on the phone began using all kinds of computer jargon, which confused the man even more. The man politely interrupted the technician and said, “Could you please give me the instructions as you would give them if I were a 4 year-old.” “Okay,” the computer technician replied. “Son, could you please put your mommy on the phone?”
* We are about to dive into one of the most challenging doctrines found in the Bible, but I won’t be speaking to you as if I were talking to 4 year-olds.
Title: “Understanding the letter sent to the church of Ephesus.” #1. Divine Election and Predestination.”
Theme: “In the New Testament you will find two doctrines in respect to salvation, apparently at odds with one another. Man has complete freedom of choice. “Whosoever will may come.” But the New Testament also affirms, “He hath chosen us.” The debate over Predestination and Election will continue until we have been glorified and God Himself enlightens our new heavenly minds. In our pre-glorified minds, we may not be able to completely harmonize the two, but we can be sure that they are perfectly harmonized in the mind of God.”
* Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon are sometimes referred to as the Prison Epistles, since they were written during Paul’s Roman imprisonment.
* Paul made a brief stop in Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18-19). On his third journey he stayed for about three years (Acts 19:10). Later Timothy will lead the church of Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3).
* The letter was intended to circulate through the churches to teach doctrine. The great theme of the letter is God’s eternal purpose to establish and complete His body, the church of Christ.
* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.
- The need for Predestination and Election.
Ephesians 1:1-5, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 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, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”
* Reformed Theology, which is also known as Calvinism. Teaches that God limited atonement by ordaining every future event before creation and has selected only specific individuals for salvation, based on nothing good or bad within the person. God then changes the hearts of pre-selected people to love Him because His saving grace is irresistible. It is taught that Jesus only died for the ones who had been pre-selected for salvation.
* The school of Arminianism teaches that God sees the future and knows who will respond to the Gospel and be saved. It is believed that God first enlightens the sinner and grants them the same freedom of choice that Adam had in the Garden. A person can freely choose to either accept or reject Jesus. Jesus died for all people, but it only applies to those who respond in faith.
* Now Beloved, if you have read your scripture you know that there are verse that talk about predestination and election. However, there are more than 10 times the verses that talk about ‘who so ever will’ believe shall be saved.
* The world and all those who live in it have a problem. It is called sin and it produces death.
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
* In this short verse we see that we have all earned death by the sin we commit. The last part of the verse tells us that this is one of those 10x verses in scripture that support free will.
Genesis 3:14-15, “The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
* Because of sin, God needed a plan. In Genesis 3:15, you see a hint of Gods plan. This part of the conversation refers to Satan and Jesus. Not the serpent.
* Beloved, what I would like to suggest to you this morning, is maybe what God predestined and elected was the plan of salvation
Ephesian 1:7-10, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
* Not read verse 4, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
* God’s plan was predestined before the foundation of the world.
- The results of Predestination and Election.
Ephesians 1:11-12, “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, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
* Beloved, in these two verses we see that the plan that God put in place results in us obtaining and inheritance (verse 11). It produces hope in Christ. I no longer face eternal death but will have everlasting life and dwell with God for ever and ever.
Ephesians 1:5, “he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”
* We are now part of God’s family. We have been legally adopted and the blood of His Son Jesus makes it binding. Read verse 7.
* Verses 3-14, in the original language is one sentence. Paul is so excited and overwhelmed by what God is doing only a sentence this long can full explain all God has done for us. You cannot read this without realizing how love you are by God and how underserving we all are.
* It is not about God seeing some goodness in us. I read a wonderful testimony by an aged saint who was listening to preachers talk about the doctrine of predestination. She said the following: “Ah, I have long settled that point, for if God had not chosen me before I was born. I am sure He would have seen nothing in me to have chosen me afterwards.”
* The Gospel is not God has chosen some. The Gospel is God has died to save the chosen. Anyone is anyone. God has promised to save all those who come to Jesus Christ.
* When it comes to answering that questions why, am I saved and others reject God? What is the difference between us? I don’t know the answer, that is why God is God and I am not.
- The Trinity is found in Predestination and Election.
Ephesians 1:13-14, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
* God made the plan. Jesus carried that plan out. The Holy Spirit seals the deal.
Ephesians 1:3, “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,”
* Beloved, look again in verse 13, here you will find the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit. Notice that we are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. This seal no man can break. No man can erase. This seal is our guarantee of an inheritance.
* I believe that there is one verse that is the death knell to the whole idea of predestination being the choice of God, to save some and to send some to hell.
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
* I believe that God is reaching down and man is reaching up. Where they meet is the controversy. If God does all the reaching, that is Calvinism. If man does all the reaching, that is Arminianism. Perhaps our hands meet somewhere in between. I am content and secure to say, “Only God knows.”
One preacher told of hearing God’s sovereignty and human free will described as “…two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down. These seeming contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, of one piece.