Sunday, January 23, 2011



Pastor Rick Jackson

There is a great tendency among people of all ages to want to be part of the “in” crowd. Studies have shown that people will say what they know to be untrue to not stick out. Some people will go to great lengths to be part of the “in” crowd. There are “In” crowds and there is THE “In” Crowd.

Interestingly enough in the Greek, verses 3-14 are all one sentence. Giving us one very full sentence concerning the “In” crowd.


One of the reasons people want to be a part of the “In” crowd is for the benefits. Here the benefits are ALL spiritual blessings in Christ!


One of the reasons people want to be a part of the “In” crowd is to be “chosen”. What a thrill to be picked. With being picked comes responsibility. Stan Lee wrote that “With great power comes great responsibility” but remember, Lee writes fiction. Luke 12:48b declares truthfully, For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Of course there are those who wish to make an issue of "chosen" here as if free will has no part in salvation. Remember the account in Judges 7 where Gideon is told by God he has too many soldiers. In verse 3 God says, Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

Here you have God’s sovereignty and man’s choice working in complete harmony. But God stills tells Gideon he has too many warriors so in verses 4-7 recounts:

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.

Here again you have God’s sovereignty and man’s choice working in complete harmony. Who decided to drink a particular way- the men or God? The men. Who decided which group would go with Gideon? God did. When it comes to salvation who has the choice to trust Christ or not trust Him? Who decides where people go depending on their choice? Free will and the sovereignty of God in perfect accord.

A former member of one of the three churches I have pastored was somewhat of a hyper-Calvinist so we’ll call them HC for our purposes here. HC had a real problem with free will [i.e., for some reason HC believed free will took away God's sovereignty]. After a message I preached I got a note from HC. Here are HC's comments and my response.

John 6:44 the Father draws us

John 10:29- the Father gave us to Jesus

We cannot be saved apart from God drawing us. Since God is drawing He is the one (sic) choosing us for salvation.

Of course. But who does He draw? Here's the answer according to John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. God draws all to salvation according to that verse and not that verse alone.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
Many other verses teach the same.

If we are the ones choosing then where is the Sovereignty of God?

Where it always is... in Him! God in His Sovereignty gave man a choice. If you think about it, to say that God cannot give man a choice is to limit His Sovereignty. God can do what He wants. That is what Sovereignty is all about and God gave man a choice (many choices actually but one choice when it comes down to salvation). God's Sovereignty is intact because He, in His Sovereignty, chose that whosoever trusts Christ will be saved and whoever rejects Christ will be lost. God, in His Sovereignty, gave man free will- the ability to choose, as in "choose you this day whom ye will serve..."

My viewpoint allows God the Sovereignty of giving man a choice. HC’s interpretation limits God and says He cannot give man a choice. In which is God really Sovereign? If I as a parent took my youngest child to her favorite fast food place (Taco Bell) and said choose anything on the menu and I will get it for you. Does my giving her a choice take away my parental sovereignty? NO! Of course not. I, in my role as a parent gave her the choice without giving up one iota of my authority or, if you will, "sovereignty" and gave her free will in the matter. Why cannot God do the same? Of course He can and furthermore, I believe the Bible teaches He did!

Election doesn't mean salvation- it means chosen- angels were chosen, Jesus was chosen, we are chosen to be saved and to serve Him.

Interesting... HC said Jesus and angels were chosen but then says "we are chosen to be saved..." so he locks in his pet interpretation. Why didn't he do the same when talking about Jesus and the angels? Because that would be silly. It's silly to not be consistent too. Christians are chosen to serve God as are the angels and Jesus. That's consistent. All those who trust Christ are chosen to be Christians. That's also consistent. God has always given man a choice. Since Adam & Eve. Man must face the consequences of his choice. But a choice he has.

We choose to be saved in response to God's loving and kind offer of salvation or we reject it. Christians choose to serve God or they don't and they pay the price. Else why would Joshua say, And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.


One of the reasons people want to be a part of the “In” crowd is to be accepted. To be accepted in the Beloved is to be adopted. Adoption Biblically was more than just being a part of the family, it was to shoulder the responsibility of a family member.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
Galatians 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.


compares with 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

God chose to save those who trust Christ. He predestinated all who trust Christ to become like Jesus. He chooses for all His children to serve Him.

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