This is the sermon for Sunday, October 9th, 2011.
Unless noted, all Scripture is from the ESV.
Bless God part 11
How do people become one of the “select few.”
This is the 11th sermon in our series entitled, “Bless God.” In this series we are looking into God, hell, heaven, and the chief end of man.”
We are in the question portion of the series – endeavoring to answer many questions that are being asked in the Church today.
Today we will endeavor to answer the question, “How do people become one of the ‘select few?’”
This question is one naturally asked after it is determined from Scripture that only a select few will make it to heaven. Let’s endeavor to answer this question from the Scriptures this morning.
You don’t become a member of this ‘select few’ by works on your part.
Romans 3:20 – For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Many try to be justified and find favor with God through Law-keeping. But Paul is clear that no will be justified in God’s sight by keeping the Law; for the purpose of the Law is not justification, but the knowledge of the fact that we are sinners.
Romans 11:5-6 – 5So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
How is the remnant chosen by God? Not on the basis of works on our part, but the grace of God Himself.
Galatians 2:16 – … yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Since no one is justified and becomes a part of the ‘select few’ be works of the Law, how then does one become a member?
A message must first be preached – and that message is the gospel.
Romans 10:14-17 – 14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
In our day of making our services palatable for ‘seekers’ we have watered down the Gospel and are pursuing the lost totally opposite of the way that Paul and others within the Scriptures present it. First off, there are no ‘seekers’ according to Scripture. Faith is produced supernaturally – notice verse 17: “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing the word of Christ.” Disciples are not produce by our music abilities; our media prowess; our skits and fun and games; or trying to meet felt needs. Disciples are produced by preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. It is as this good news is preached, that the Holy Spirit begins to truly produce faith in sinner’s hearts so that they may turn from their sin and believe the Gospel and be saved from the wrath of God. That is why the most important part of our service is the preaching of God’s word. We have in our culture forgotten this truth unfortunately.
Now let’s look into Romans 8 for the remainder of this sermon. We want to look at a passage that is often called, “the golden chain of redemption.” For in this passage Paul reveals how we become part of the ‘select few.’
The golden chain of redemption.
Romans 8:29-30 – 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Let’s begin unpacking this text.
- Foreknowledge – Many people think that this refers to God knowing who would come to Him and who wouldn’t before the foundation of the world and then based on this knowledge, God would elect someone to salvation. And I used to believe this as well. But this is really an incorrect few of what true biblical foreknowledge actually is. John MacArthur in his notes in the “MacArthur Study Bible” says it better than I ever could. Let’s look at it and then look into the Scriptures for examples of this defined foreknowledge. “Not a reference simply to God’s omniscience – that in eternity past He knew who would come to Christ. Rather, it speaks of a predetermined choice to set His love on us and establish an intimate relationship – or His election.”
Genesis 18:19 – For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
Amos 3:2a – You only have I known of all the families of the earth…
Romans 11:2a – God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.
- Predestined – This is the predetermined plan of God. His predetermined plan is that those He foreknew would become like Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-6 – 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 as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:11-14 – 11In 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, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In 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, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
- Called – This calling takes place as the Gospel is preached and proclaimed. It is the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit.
2 Thessalonians 2:14 – To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Justified – This is where we who are guilty sinners are declared righteous in the sight of a holy, just God, as if we have never, ever sinned. Again, let me quote from the MacArthur Study Bible. “This legal or forensic term comes from the Greek word for ‘righteous’ and means, ‘to declare righteous.’ This verdict includes: pardon from the guilty and penalty of sin, and the impartation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer’s account, which provides for the positive righteousness man needs to be accepted by God. God declares a sinner righteous solely on the basis of the merits of Christ’s righteousness. God imputed a believer’s sin to Christ’s account in His sacrificial death, and He imputes Christ’s perfect obedience to God’s law to Christians. The sinner receives this gift of God’s grace by faith alone.”
Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Glorified – This is the future promise of being in the presence of our Savior for eternity. God will continue to work in us, making us more like Christ until Christ comes again.
Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
How do we become of a member of the ‘select few?’ Not works of righteousness on our part, but trusting in the work and the person of Jesus Christ.
 John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible (ESV) Kindle edition location 123142.
 John MacArthur, The MacAthur Study Bible (ESV) kindle edition. Location 122492. Study note from Romans 3:24.