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Election Joy 2 [9-20-20]

Here's where we left off last week:

The Father, before we even existed, before the world existed, says to the Son, "I am going to redeem sinners and I'm going to do it for you. I'm going to do it for you."

That is the doctrine of election.

Which leads to a question: Why would God do that? Because He loves the Son. As John 17:25-26 says:

"O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

We see here how Jesus celebrates the mutual love he has with the Father. As that eternal love is expressed in the perfect relationship of the Trinity, the gift from the Father to the Son is a redeemed humanity. To die on the cross for our forgiveness is the crown jewel…it is the ultimate gift…that is an expression of the love of the Father for the Son, to give the work of our salvation to him.

Let's pick things up with marriage customs in Jesus' day. How are arranged marriages analogous to election?

Before we do that, here's a reminder of what the Bible says about God's glory. These things are intimately tied together.

I once listened to a woman, who writes worship songs, describe how inspiration for a certain song came to her. She had a dream. In the dream, she was worshiping, looking up to God. God was standing over her, with outstretched arms. Underneath each armpit {her words, not mine} was a large mirror. And as she looked up, worshiping, she saw herself reflected back from God. That was the inspiration for a song she wrote. I can assure you, we will never sing such a song.

Contrast that with 1 Timothy 6:14-16:

{Keeping} the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

As one commentator put it, "It is impossible for mortal eyes to bear the brightness of divine glory." {Matthew Henry} Yet this songwriter has the audacity to claim that, given a glimpse of God, she saw herself reflected back. Amazing…and not in a good way.

Here's the relationship between 1 Timothy 6 and election. It is an overwhelmingly glorious thing to consider this God who alone is immortal, dwelling in unapproachable light, has condescended to choose us as one of His own…to save us. As we've written it down before, you might want to write it down again:

God's sovereignty is expressed through His electing grace.

You make note of the key words there, and you will spend much

appreciated time this afternoon reading all you can about that. Beats watching some sports match any day of the week.

Back to the relationship between election and the metaphor of marriage.

2000 years ago, it wasn't unusual for fathers to choose brides for their sons. {Side note - Lori and I were watching an episode of "House Hunters"; the couple, with two kids, had immigrated from India. Theirs was an arranged marriage!} In Jesus' day, fathers would arrange marriages for their sons. And so here, in election, we see something at work that people would understand. Remember, as the Bible spells it out, the Father made a promise to the Son. The whole of salvation comes from God. It is all about His own purpose and it is granted on behalf of Christ. So here's how we understand election. The Father says to the Son, "I am going to redeem sinners and I'm going to do it for you. I'm going to do it for you."

The church is called the Bride of Christ. And for a reason. As an expression of His love for the Son, God determined that He would give to His Son a redeemed humanity. Let that hit you. How did God redeem us? How did God save us? Through the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. His suffering and death was the way by which the Father brought about this glorious gift for His Son.

Follow that thought to the 6th chapter of John. This chapter is foundational to our faith. In John 6:37, we read, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." Every saved person is a gift from the Father to the Son. The Father determined before the foundation of the world that He would give to the Son a bride, and that bride would be a redeemed humanity. The Bible tells us that the name of every redeemed person would be written down in the Lamb's Book of Life. Think about that. Before the foundation of the world God knew what He would have to do for our salvation. That tells you three things…the depth of the Father's love for His Son…the depth of His love for us…and the depth of our depravity.

Here something else you might want to write down:

Every saved individual is a part of that bride.

Before the foundation of the world God knew the saved were part of the Bride of Christ, so every person who comes to Christ is given to Christ by the Father. Election is a staggering and glorious truth.

Just look at John 6:44:

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

You can't understand the gospel unless it is given to you by God to understand. You can't repent…you can't believe. It's a divine grant. Later, verses 64-65 say, "'But there are some of you who do not believe.' (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.'” We have nothing to do with it.

We are saved because God has chosen to save us. As Jesus said in John 6:37, "All that the Father gives me shall come to me." If you're given, you will come to Jesus. If you are chosen - if you are gift from the Father to the Son, you will walk with Jesus. That's what we like to call irresistible grace.

So here's the heart of the matter. You will be given life, and understanding, and repentance, and faith. As Jesus says in John 6:37, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." Does Jesus say that because there's something so wonderful about us that he couldn't imagine sending us away? Is it because there's something of intrinsic value in the sinner? Of course not. One of the biggest myths of current American religious belief is that we're so wonderful God can't resist us. It's none of that. Listen. The value isn't in the gift. The value is in the giver of the gift. Because the Son so perfectly loves the Father, and because the Father so perfectly loves the Son, whatever the Father gives the Son takes on infinite value because of the giver, not the gift.

I'm sure you have a prized possession whose value isn't in the thing itself, but in your relationship with the person who gave it to you. I have a Bible that was given to me by my mother, with an inscription, the Christmas before she died. I've had that Bible for 44 years. It has no material value. But it would be devastating to me if it were ever lost or destroyed.

Think of it another way. Someone you value and love deeply gives you a gift that you're not particularly thrilled with. Unless you're a horrible person, you would never reject it. How many parents have ever been given a gift like that? Because we have been given to the Son by the Father we become precious to the Son. And Jesus would never reject a gift from his Heavenly Father.

That is election.

This is election. The Father chooses a bride, writes down the name. From generation to generation, those chosen by the Father are given to the Son. As they repent {notice the order of things} and believe, the Son receives them. The Son does not reject them. The Son never loses any of them, but raises them up on the last day. Here's the progression of things…election leads to repentance which leads to sanctification which culminates in glorification. And none of this has anything to do with any value we think might be in us. We become precious because the Son cherishes the gifts of his Father.

Some of you might remember an old children's song - "Jesus Loves the

Little Children":

Jesus loves the little children All the children of the world Red, brown, yellow Black and white They are precious in His sight Jesus loves the little children Of the world

Jesus died for all the children All the children of the world Red, brown, yellow Black and white They are precious in His sight Jesus died for all the children Of the world.

Jesus rose for all the children All the children of the world Red, brown, yellow Black and white They are precious in His sight Jesus rose for all the children Of the world

One thing the song leaves out. And this isn't a criticism of the song, simply a recognition that you don't start out teaching children deep theology. But the reason these children are precious to Jesus is because of election. We are precious in his sight because the Son cherishes the gifts of his Father.

Make no mistake. Election is a destroyer of pride. It produces nothing but humility. Remember, humility isn't thinking less about yourself. Humility is thinking about yourself less. You aren't a follower of Jesus Christ because you're smarter or better or wiser than others. You are a follower of Jesus Christ because you were chosen to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Charles Spurgeon called the doctrine of election the most stripping doctrine in the world. Here's what he said:

I know nothing, nothing again that is more humbling than this doctrine of election. I have sometimes fallen prostrate before it when endeavoring to understand it, but when I came near it and the one thought possessed me, God has chosen me from the beginning unto salvation, I was staggered by that mighty thought and from the dizzy elevation down came my soul, prostrate and broken, saying, "Lord I am nothing. I am less than nothing. Why me, why me?"

How's that for crushing pride? Obviously you don't start children out on Spurgeon. You start them out on "Jesus Loves the Little Children." But sooner or later, we all have to advance to a Spurgeon-like understanding of election.

There's more we could say. Let's end with the God-exalting nature of election. Election gives all the glory to God. It declares that all things…truth …belief in the truth, repentance from sin…the power for obedience to the gospel…all these things come from God. Not from us…not from us…so all glory and honor and praise goes to God.

And that's why we worship. And that's why we have never ending joy.

Election plants in your heart overwhelming joy. Our eternal security has

nothing to do with our abilities or talents or sense of goodness. It is all

God's doing…and so we are flooded with joy.

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