Posts Tagged ‘election’

“Come, Follow Me!” – A Gospel Journey

 Come Follow Me

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To follow Jesus Christ means:

  1. We are chosen by Him

After Jesus temptations in the wilderness and preaching begins…

Matthew 4:19* And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (“Come, follow Me!” means His call is effective and He equips us)

John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” (Present active imperative – it is a direct command to Philip to follow Him)

Jesus speaks about those who are really His, and Who the real Shepherd is…

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (God chooses us we do not choose Him)

  1. We are to deny and die

While Jesus deals with many crowds and a centurion…

Matthew 8:21-22 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (The spiritually dead bury their own dead, while the spiritually alive follow Christ, and preach the Gospel – when God regenerates the one He calls, they become spiritually alive.) cp. Luke 9:60

There are two types of followers:

  1. Those that are chosen
  2. Those who are fans or groupies

Matthew 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Taking up your cross is not a metaphor; it means to be willing to deny yourself and die for Christ)

After speaking to the crowds and Pharisees, Jesus explains…

Mark 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Following Christ means giving up all you have and all you are)

Now look at verses 28-30:

“Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

After doing many miracles and healings, Jesus sees Levi…

Luke 5:27-28 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi (who is Matthew), sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.  (When God calls us to Himself, the call is irresistible. {Note: Greek imperfect active tense meaning Matthew began at once to follow Jesus and kept following Him}

After feeding the 5000, Jesus explains what it means to follow Him…

Luke 9:23** And he said to all, “If anyone would come (present tense) after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (God calls us to denial of self {i.e. totally reject ourselves} and to death, i.e., take up our own cross – daily.)

     3. We are never to look back

Luke 9:59-62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (There is a reluctance to break from the world system; whoever looks back to the world is not appropriate for the Kingdom of God)

  1. We are equipped to serve and multiply

Jesus explains to Andrew and Philip that He must be sacrificed and glorified…

John 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (We must follow Christ before we can serve Him)

Jesus tells Peter of his responsibilities…

John 21:19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” {Greek describes a union of a particle with a word; You, Peter, follow me!}

John 21:22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (In this verse, John uses a primary pronoun; You, Peter, keep on following me!)

Jesus is saying here that:

  1. Our main concern is to follow Him.
  2. There are areas of the disciple’s life upon which we exercise a proud and presumptuous curiosity. Jesus reproves all that curiosity.
  3. Jesus assures us that He will take care of all His true disciples, and that we should not be unduly concerned about anything or anyone else.
  4. To follow Him means we should go forward to whatever He calls us to, whether persecution or death – not envying any other person, and anxious only to do the will of God.

5. We are to possess certain “qualities” – 2 Peter 1:1-10:

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

The idea here is not making sure that we retain our salvation by doing something, but the fact that we do possess salvation! Peter says; “doing these things,” testify that we are indeed followers of Christ.

To recap:

There are five ways to illustrate what it means to follow Jesus Christ in the Gospels.

To follow Jesus Christ means:

  1. We are chosen by Him.
  2. We are to deny and die.
  3. We are never to look back.
  4. We are equipped to serve and multiply.
  5. We are to possess certain “qualities.”

For the audio message only: Come, Follow Me

Potter & Clay

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” (v. 21).

See – – Romans 9:14-24

If only some people are predestined to be saved, then it logically must follow that other people are not. The doctrine of predestination to salvation is called the doctrine of election, and the doctrine of predestination to damnation is called the doctrine of reprobation.

There is some mystery in these doctrines of predestination, but as we have said before, if we don’t say that God predestines all things, we don’t have a God at all. If He is not totally sovereign, He is only a “big man” like Zeus or Baal. At the same time, there are some things we can say about the doctrines of election and reprobation, and we need to say them.

First, the fact is that all mankind is in sin and rebellion against God. God does not have to elect anybody. When God chooses to save a sinner, He puts forth an action to save that person. God works to create belief in us. This contrasts with the doctrine of reprobation. God does not put forth an effort to cause people to sin. When God chooses to bypass a sinner, He does not work to create unbelief in that person’s heart. Rather, God simply lets him go his own way.

Thus, second, we say that election and reprobation are not “equally ultimate.” In election, God powerfully acts to change a person from a sinner to a saint. God does not act to change a saint into a sinner. Election is an act of God; reprobation is simply the reflex of that action, the fact that God has not elected everybody.

Third, we have to say that God’s action of deciding to save some is simultaneously a decision not to save others. The decision to save is called election, and the decision not to save is called preterition. Since this is one action, it can be seen as two sides of one coin, and “equally ultimate” in that sense.

But, and this is most important, when God implements election by calling the saints, He saves us apart from anything we have done. When God implements preterition by reprobating the wicked, He does not do anything to them; He simply leaves them alone. In this important sense, the work of God in condemning the wicked is not the reverse side of His work in saving sinners.

Many people are put off by the things we have discussed today. Read Romans 9:19–21. Notice how Paul deals with those who objected. The bottom line of Paul’s reply is this: We must bow the knee to God. He has decided not to save everybody, and we have no right to criticize Him. Can you agree?

Shared from www.ligonier.org.

cyril-lucaris-patriarch-of-constantinople
Cyril Lucaris (Kyrillos Lukaris), Patriarch of Alexandria (1602-1621) and Patriarch of Constantinople (1612, 1620-1623, 1623-1633, 1633-1634, 1634-1635, 1637-1638) a martyr within the Orthodox Church, occupies a remarkable position in Church history. His treatise “The Confession of Orthodox Faith” is a mere episode, and passed away apparently without permanent effect, but (like the attempted reformations of Wyclif, Huss, and Savonarola) it may have a prophetic meaning for the future, and be resumed by Providence in a subsequent form. He truly desired the Eastern Orthodox Church to experience reformation.

The Confession of Orthodox Faith (1629)

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Cyril, Patriarch of Constantinople, publishes this brief Confession for the benefit of those who inquire about the faith and the religion of the Greeks, that is of the Eastern Church, in witness to God and to men and with a sincere conscience without any dissimulation.

Chapter 1.

We believe in one God, true, Almighty, and in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Father unbegotten, the Son begotten of the Father before the world, consubstantial with the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father by the Son, having the same essence with the Father and the son. We call these three persons in one essence the Holy Trinity, ever to be blessed, glorified, and worshipped by every creature.

Chapter 2.

We believe the Holy Scripture to be given by God, to have no other author but the Holy Spirit. This we ought undoubtedly to believe, for it is written. We have a more sure word of prophecy, to which you do well to take heed, as to light shining in a dark place. We believe the authority of the Holy Scripture to be above the authority of the Church. To be taught by the Holy Spirit is a far different thing from being taught by a man; for man may through ignorance err, deceive and be deceived, but the word of God neither deceives nor is deceived, nor can err, and is infallible and has eternal authority.

Chapter 3.

We believe that the most merciful God has predestined His elect unto glory before the beginning of the world, without any respect of their works and that there was no other impulsive cause to this election, but only the good will and mercy of God. In like manner before the world was made, He rejected whom He would, of which act of reprobation, if you consider the absolute dealing of God, His will is the cause; but if you look upon the laws and principles of good order, which God’s providence is making use of in the government of the world, His justice is the cause, for God is merciful and just.

Chapter 4.

We believe that one God in Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to be the Creator of all things visible and invisible. Invisible things we call the angels, visible things we call the heavens and all things under them. And because the Creator is good by nature, He has created all things good, and He cannot do any evil; and if there is any evil, it proceeds either from the Devil or from man. For it ought to be a certain rule to us, that God is not the Author of evil, neither can sin by any just reason be imputed to Him.

Chapter 5.

We believe that all things are governed by God’s providence, which we ought rather to adore than to search into. Since it is beyond our capacity, neither can we truly understand the reason of it from the things themselves, in which matter we suppose it better to embrace silence in humility than to speak many things which do not edify.

Chapter 6.

We believe that the first man created by God fell in Paradise, because he neglected the commandment of God and yielded to the deceitful counsel of the serpent. From thence sprung up original sin to his posterity, so that no man is born according to the flesh who does not bear this burden and feel the fruits of it in his life.

Chapter 7.

We believe that Jesus Christ our Lord emptied Himself, that is He assumed man’s nature into His own substance. That He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the ever virgin Mary, was born, suffered death, was buried, and risen in glory, that He might bring salvation and glory to all believers, Whom we look for to come to judge both quick and dead.

Chapter 8.

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ sits on the right hand of His Father and there He makes intercession for us, executing alone the office of a true and lawful high priest and mediator, and from there He cares for His people and governs His Church adorning and enriching her with many blessings.

Chapter 9.

We believe that without faith no man can be saved. And we call faith that which justifies in Christ Jesus, which the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ procured, the Gospel published, and without which no man can please God.

Chapter 10.

We believe that the Church, which is called catholic, contains all true believers in Christ, those who having departed their country are in heaven and those who live on earth are yet on the way. The Head of that Church (because a mortal man by no means can be) is Jesus Christ alone, and He holds the rudder of the government of the Church in His own hand. Because, however, there are on earth particular visible Churches, every one of them has one chief, who is not properly to be called [head] of that particular Church, but improperly, because he is the principal member of it.

Chapter 11.

We believe that the members of the Catholic Church are saints, chosen unto eternal life, from the number and fellowship of which hypocrites are excluded, though in particular visible churches tares may be found among the wheat.

Chapter 12.

We believe that the Church on earth is sanctified and instructed by the Holy Spirit, for He is the true comforter, whom Christ sends from the Father to teach the truth and to expel darkness form the understanding of the faithful. For it is true and certain that the Church on earth may err, choosing falsehood instead of truth, from which error the light and doctrine of the Holy Spirit alone frees us, not of mortal man, although by mediation of the labors of the faithful ministers of the Church this may be done.

Chapter 13.

We believe that man is justified by faith and not by works. But when we say by faith, we understand the correlative or object of faith, which is the righteousness of Christ, which, as if by hand, faith apprehends and applies unto us for our salvation. This we say without any prejudice to good works, for truth itself teaches us that works must not be neglected, that they are necessary means to testify to our faith and confirm our calling. But that works are sufficient for our salvation, that they can enable one to appear before the tribunal of Christ and that of their own merit they can confer salvation, human frailty witnesses to be false; but the righteousness of Christ being applied to the penitent, alone justifies and saves the faithful.

Chapter 14.

We believe that free will is dead in the unregenerate, because they can do no good thing, and whatsoever they do is sin; but in the regenerate by the grace of the Holy Spirit the will is excited and in deed works but not without the assistance of grace. In order, therefore, that man should be born again and do good, it is necessary that grace should go before; otherwise man is wounded having received as many wounds as that man received who going from Jerusalem down to Jericho fell into the hands of thieves, so that of himself he cannot do anything.

Chapter 15.

We believe that the Evangelical Sacraments in the Church are those that the Lord instituted in the Gospel, and they are two; these only have been delivered unto us and He who instituted them delivered unto us no more. Furthermore, we believe that they consist of the Word and the Element, that they are the seals of the promises of God, and they do confer grace. But that the Sacrament be entire and whole, it is requisite that an earthly substance and an external action concur with the use of that element ordained by Christ our Lord and joined with a true faith, because the defect of faith prejudices the integrity of the Sacrament.

Chapter 16.

We believe that Baptism is a Sacrament instituted by the Lord, and unless a man has received it, he has no communion with Christ, from whose death, burial, and glorious resurrection the whole virtue and efficacy of Baptism proceeds; therefore, we are certain that to those who are baptized in the same form which our Lord commanded in the Gospel, both original and actual sins are pardoned, so that whosoever has been washed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are regenerate, cleansed, and justified. But concerning the repetition of it, we have no command to be rebaptized, therefore we must abstain from this indecent thing.

Chapter 17.

We believe that the other Sacrament which was ordained by the Lord is that which we call Eucharist. For in the night in which the Lord offered up Himself, He took bread and blessed it and He said to the Apostles, “Take ye, eat, this is my body,” and when He had taken the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Drink all of this, this is my blood which was shed for many; this do in remembrance of me.” And Paul adds, “For as often as ye shall eat of this bread and drink of this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death.” This is the pure and lawful institution of this wonderful Sacrament, in the administration of which we profess the true and certain presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; that presence, however, which faith offers to us, not that which the devised doctrine of transubstantiation teaches. For we believe that the faithful eat the body of Christ in the Supper of the Lord, not by breaking it with the teeth of the body, but by perceiving it with the sense and feeling of the soul, since the body of Christ is not that which is visible in the Sacrament, but that which faith spiritually apprehends and offers to us; from whence it is true that, if we believe, we do eat and partake, if we do not believe, we are destitute of all the fruit of it. We believe, consequently, that to drink the cup in the Sacrament is to be partaker of the true blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the same manner as we affirmed of the body; for as the Author of it commanded concerning His body, so He did concerning His blood; which commandment ought neither to be disremembered nor maimed, according to the fancy of man’s arbitrament; yea rather the institution ought to be kept as it was delivered to us. When therefore we have been partakers of the body and blood of Christ worthily and have communicated entirely, we acknowledge ourselves to be reconciled, united to our Head of the same body, with certain hope to be co-heirs in the Kingdom to come.

Chapter 18.

We believe that the souls of the dead are either in blessedness or in damnation, according as every one has done, for as soon as they move out of the body they pass either to Christ or into hell; for as a man is found at his death, so he is judged, and after this life there is neither power nor opportunity to repent; in this life there is a time of grace, they therefore who be justified here shall suffer no punishment hereafter; but they who die, being not justified, are appointed for everlasting punishment. By which it is evident that the fiction of Purgatory is not to be admitted but in the truth it is determined that every one ought to repent in this life and to obtain remission of his sins by our Lord Jesus Christ, if he will be saved. And, let this be the end.

This brief Confession of ours we conjecture will be a sign spoken against them who are pleased to slander and persecute us. But we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and hope that He will not relinquish the cause of His faithful ones, nor let the rod of wickedness lie upon the lost of the righteous.

Dated in Constantinople in the month of March, 1629. Cyril, Patriarch of Constantinople.

TransformedLife

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness ofour God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble…” ~ 2 Peter 1:1-10

If your spiritual life is concentrated only on external practices and traditions, but does nothing to bring about real change, you have gained nothing. Too many people think as long as they keep the fasting rules, do their prayers, and attend the services, they are “good” Christians. Yet if there is no love, no charity, and forgiveness of others, and your life is filled with gossip and judgement, your Christian faith is worth nothing.

Christ condemned the Pharisees not because they kept the law and attended to the traditions of the Jewish faith, but because they did so while filled with pride and arrogance. Without sincere repentance and holiness of life, their encounter with God led to an emptiness of heart.

Because our Christian faith, regardless of it’s expression, is one of tradition and liturgical structure, it is easy to fall into the trap of being nothing more than a Pharisee. Being strict in one’s observance of your “Christian” practices can easily lead to pride and arrogance. If you find yourself feeling better than others and proud of your piety, you have gained absolutely nothing. The external practice of the Christian faith without love, heartfelt humility and repentance leads down the road of spiritual ruin.

The Church is the hospital of the soul, but healing can only come if we can recognize our own need for healing. If your doctor prescribes a medication for your condition but you fail to follow your doctor’s orders, you will not get well. Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross has provided all that you need for spiritual transformation, but healing only comes if you repent of your sins, and place your faith and trust in Him. This begins the healing process.

The goal is holiness (the righteousness of God in Christ) and is the direct result of our having submitted in all humility to a life of repentance. When you do this Christ changes you through the power of the Holy Spirit. If you simply go through the motions of your Christian faith, you are no better off than the Pharisees whom Christ condemned.