In this sermon, Pastor Neil discusses the doctrine of election or predestination, based on Ephesians Chapter 1 and other passages in the Gospel of John. Here are some excerpts:

The Doctrine of Predestination

…I can guarantee you that I will not answer or even address every question you may have about election or predestination today. If you don’t believe in the doctrine of election or predestination, I don’t know that I can change your mind by anything I say. I do hope, though, that you will seriously consider what Paul says about it here and what Jesus Himself says about it in the Gospels, in such places as:

  • John 15:16, where Jesus says to His disciples on the night before His death: “You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.”
  • John 6:44, where Jesus is speaking to a group of people who were skeptical andcritical of His message: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him (or her).” Think about that. Jesus is saying that no one comes to Him on our own. You can only come to Jesus and believe in Him if the Heavenly Father draws you to Jesus in His grace…

There is so much more in this passage, and so much more to the doctrine of election… So let me just say two more things very quickly.

Clearing Up Some Misconceptions

First, God’s decision to save you or me or anyone is not about anything of merit He sees in us. It is not because we are any more deserving of salvation than someone else. It is simply a matter of His gracious and loving choice…

He does not choose us, as some people think, because He looks into the future and sees that we will choose to believe and follow Him. According to this view, in His foreknowledge, God knows who will come to Him in faith, and so these are the ones He “elects” for salvation. In other words, we really choose ourselves to be saved. This is not what the Bible teaches.

Second, many people think the doctrine of election makes evangelism unnecessary. If God is going to save certain people, they think, He will save them, whether or not we ever tellanyone about Jesus. That is not the way it works. In the words of James Boice: “The fact that God elects [some] to salvation does not eliminate the means by which He calls (the elect) to faith” (Boice, Ephesians, 19). The doctrine of election was not a disincentive to Paul, the first great missionary in the history of the church.

Our Responsibility

God uses His church, and ordinary people like us, to bring to faith those He has chosen for salvation. It is another mystery. But it does not diminish the privilege and responsibility the Lord Jesus has given us to be the human instruments and messengers through whom He brings sinners to saving faith in Him…

October 14, 2018

Ephesians 1:1-14

Dr. Neil Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)