Sunday, September 6, 2009

Who Chose Whom?

This morning I spoke from Ephesians 1.3-14 on the subject of God's Sovereignty and Human Freedom. Here is the basic content (Listen to the Message).

5 Principles from Ephesians 1.3-14
  1. God Chose Us and Predestined Us (v. 4, 5)
  2. God Chose Us According to His Will (v. 5, 9, 11)
  3. God's Purpose is His Glory (v. 6, 12, 14)
  4. God's Will is Comprehensive (v. 11)
  5. We Hear the Gospel and Believe (v. 13)

Some Key Quotes

William Barclay
It would not be so wonderful that we should choose God;
the wonder is that God should choose us.

John Chadwick
I sought the Lord,
And afterwards I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him,
Seeking me!
It was not that I found,

O Savior true;
No, I was found by Thee.


  1. Question: When God gives us the gift of faith, is it possible to reject it? Because if we can't reject it once he offers it to us, then we never really had a choice...and if we didn't have a choice then how is God glorified?

  2. Praise God for preaching truth.

    Sanctify them with The Word, The Word is Truth.

    All Glory to God Alone,

  3. Hi Jeremy,

    I enjoyed listening to your sermon on Monday. I'm still thinking about it, which is a good thing.

    I'm mostly thinking about the word "glory," and what it means for us. Often in teachings, glorifying God comes in the context of what we should avoid (lifestyle choices, I mean.) I'm wondering, when looking over what Paul wrote, if it's bigger than that.

    In verse four, Paul says that God chose us to be "holy and without blame before Him in love." So it's not just 'clean living' he's talking about here. Clean living is part of it, but it's held together by something deeper--it's the force behind the Grace, I mean.

    I guess the danger, to me, is to start seeing God as attention-hungry. I find this thought pretty troubling. I also don't think it makes much sense, logically, when considering the life of Jesus. If God wanted attention, he would have given Jesus more fanfare. But this also throws a curve-ball in my perception of what God's glory means for my life.

    Do you have any thoughts on this? Sorry if I'm taking too much of your time.

  4. Did I say your sermon was on Monday? I meant Sunday, of course. Ha.

  5. Jeremy,
    Your sermon on Sunday was rather troubling to me. I had always dismissed Predestination as something only devout Calvanists believed. Seeing Predestination so explicitly laid out in Ephesians made me reconsider everything I'd ever known about God.
    "How could a loving God choose some people for eternal life, and condemn others to an eternity in hell?"
    "What is God's criteria for selecting? Is it random? Are the elect just the lucky few?"

    I remember not being able to sleep sunday night because of this topic. I kept reading Ephesians over and over, furious at God. I was starting to doubt my relationship with God completely.

    I couldn't get these thoughts out of my head all day monday. Finally i went back to the notes i took during the sermon and read, "Rest in the Sovereignty of God." This gave me comfort. I then went back through Ephesians and found, Ch 3, v. 19 "And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge." So even though i don't understand predestination I am going to try and trust that God really is good, and that everything he does is just.

    I'm looking forward to next weekend

  6. Sorry it's taken me a little while to respond.

    To the first reply- I will address this issue (having a legitimate choice) in Sunday's message. Thanks for the question! If you're not at OBF, you can listen at by Sunday night.

  7. Nora,

    Consider this: why is seeking glory a sin for humans? Isn't it because we are taking glory away from God? God, the most glorious Being in existence. Since God is the most beautiful, wonderful Being it would be contradictory for Him to to avoid receiving glory. It is in perfect harmony with his nature to receive glory because He is the only One worthy of it.

    I think there is also a misunderstanding of what it means to "give God glory." Far from actually adding anything to His glory, we are simply acknowledging what is already true. He does not need our worship, but He recognizes that He deserves it and that it is best for us to acknowledge His greatness.

    One significant passage is John 4, where Jesus says that God is seeking worshipers to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Jesus did not say that God is seeking worship (as if He needed it), but that He is seeking worshippers (people) to come to experience how great it is to worship God.

    So ultimately, God receiving glory is for our good and the only appropriate expression towards the One who alone is worthy.


  8. For the final reply (about struggling with God's sovereignty), I think you arrived in the right place!

    What we do know is that God is sovereign and that He is good. Might not always make sense. Might not look fair, but after all He created us not the other way around. And he loves us. How could we ask for more than that?

  9. Hello again.

    Thanks for taking the time to think about my question and answer me.

    Maybe the reason that I have a hard time with the glory concept is because it’s so much associated with the human picture of someone going after their own glory. A dictator, or heartless politician--someone who doesn’t care about whether he steps on other people’s toes to get power (and make money), leaving everyone behind, etc.

    I really like what you said about “acknowledging what’s already there.” This makes complete sense. I’ve also been talking to my uncle about this (he teaches a Bible study I attended in Detroit), and he had an interesting thought that goes along with yours. He said that he likes to think of the time when Moses asks to see God’s Glory. God hides him in a rock and says “I will let all my goodness pass before you.” To quote my uncle directly, “Somehow God’s Glory always has to do with his goodness.”

    So like you said (wonderfully), “God’s glory is for our good.” It’s also for our neighbor’s good, so I like to think of giving God glory by showing mercy (because he is merciful), and loving those He put into my life (because He first loved me).

    Anyway, great stuff to think about. Thanks again.