Focus – Are we as humans predestined?
(Show RL Promo clip) How many of you are familiar with the ministry of Round Lake Christian Camp? In my humble opinion Round Lake rocks! Here I go again dating myself but I have been going to Round Lake as either a camper or a faculty member since the mid 70’s. And why do I do that? One word – FOOD! Believe it or not but RL camp food is really good! Actually that one word is JESUS! This camp is all about Jesus and having fun in the process! Being at Round Lake as a teenager helped me sort through who Jesus really is in my mind and heart. At Round Lake I listened to people like the late Darrell Sprunger, Tommy Oaks and Steve Shirtzinger preach about what it really meant to live for and serve God.
Westerville Christian is highly involved in the ministry of this camp. Spring Family Campout is May 28 – May 31st. Go to www.roundlake.org for more info. Here are a few recommended weeks of camp – Nick Ballard is on the camp faculty for a Middle School week at RL the week of July 4-9. Lisa Davis & Becky Medley are leading a three day camp for incoming 3rd & 4th graders either July 25-27 or July 28-30. Steve Palmer leads a BB camp for girls (July 24-27) and boys (July 27-30) on lodge side. Now if you are an incoming 5th & 6th grader do I ever have a week for you! Jay Hoffman and I are leading a 5th & 6th grade week – the dates are July 11-16. The camp asked me several years ago to describe a typical 5th & 6th grade week of camp. So I sent them this… In one word AWESOME! Camp is a blast! You swim. You meet new friends. You get to dive into the Word of God! Caring adults make the week fun and safe! We swim, boat, do crafts, play ball, swim, hear God-inspired teachers and speakers, eat healthy camp food, swim, have campfire devotions, jump off the water trampoline, worship, play carpet ball, go fishing, and stay up late. And did I mention SWIM? Camp is amazing – primarily because people come to Jesus. Did you see those baptisms in the video? There’s nothing better on the planet than being at Round Lake on a Friday Night watching 25 kids accept Jesus as their Lord & Savior! OR IS THERE? There’s a teaching that’s been floating around church circles for years that says, “God determines those who are saved and those who are not saved.” Inotherwords, God opens the salvation door for some and slams the same door shut for others. Man - Is that true? Apparently one of our students was wondering as well so this person turned in a thought provoking question when we surveyed them several months ago for our FOCUS series. Tell us your questions about God. Here’s this teenager’s question. Are we as humans predestined? Like do we even have a choice to go to heaven? (Dude sounds like he’s from California) This morning we’re going to dive into the stirring topic of Predestination – oh this is going to be fun! The Bible has something to say about this subject and when studying a subject I always like to start with a definition – You will find a definition in Acts 4. Turn to Acts 4:23. Do you need a Bible? I knew ahead of time that you would need a Bible today so we bought a few extra– I’m just jerkin your chain folks – just raise your hand and a Bible like this is yours to keep. Also – please fill out your yellow communication card. Communication is important. That’s also true of the Bible. The Bible wasn’t written to create confusion. The Bible was written not only to communicate our problem – that we are lost in sin, but to communicate our solution – THAT Jesus paid the price for sin once and for all. So trust him, put your faith in his word. Peter and John are two examples of men who put their trust in the Son of the Living God. These two have just been released from jail. A massive “thank you God” prayer is being prayed. Look at what God communicates through Luke. (Acts 4: 23-28)
That word “beforehand” is the word proorizo – pronounced /pro·or·id·zo and it means: /“To predetermine, to decide beforehand or to foreordain.[i]/ So what did God predetermine? He predetermined that mankind would fall away from him and yet he made us anyway. Free will shouts God’s great love for us! KFC predetermined the people would love their double down chicken sandwich. Fried Double Down has 540 calories, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1,380 mg of sodium or ½ day of salt. There’s was a guess. Now what did God decide beforehand? A way out! A solution for our sin. He put the plan of redemption – how you and I would be bought back/rescued from our sin into motion before the world was created. Now what did God foreordain – that Jesus would die. Look again at Acts 4:28. God decided that Jesus would die. Herod and Pilate just carried out what God had already put into motion. Let’s answer this teen’s question. Are we as humans predestined? The answer is YES but let the Biblical definition sink in. God said yes to the plan not the person! God predetermined the plan not the person. When it comes to predestination think of two arenas. The first arena is predestined for service and the second is predestined for salvation. Jesus helps us see both in Acts 4:28. Find again verse 28. (Read 4:28-30) Jesus is God’s holy servant. I’m thinking a pivotal servant, but none-the-less a servant. The Bible makes it clear that for God to initiate the plan of redemption he would call people to serve. The first obvious example is Adam. God made Adam – Adam had no say in this. It appears to me he didn’t complain or question that God made him. He simply walked with God and became God’s garden caretaker. Another example is the Jewish nation. God will usher in Jesus through the Jewish nation. To create the Jewish nation God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob will eventually move his entire family to Egypt SO God chooses Moses to lead the Jewish nation out of Pharaoh’s hands. Truth is, Pharaoh became a servant of God even though he didn’t know he was being used. I’m curious, right now, has this thought ever raced through your mind? Did God make Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and even Pharaoh serve him? That wouldn’t be fair! Maybe this thought will help. Who is influential to you? Who has utmost authority in your mind? Is it a parent/Mom or Dad? Is it your spouse? Your teacher? Your boss? Your coach? Just name a person! When my Dad was alive. Actually he’s still alive just not here, but when he was alive if my Dad came to me and asked this question, “Greg, I need you to do something for me?” Would I even hesitate? My Dad would never ask me to do something illegal, unethical or immoral OR stupid!” But my Dad is not here - that person today is my wife, my kids – my Mom. Now multiply that a billion times over. God comes to Abraham and in essence says “I need you to do this for me!” And guess what Abraham says – “I’ll do it!” God did not make him do anything, but God knew ahead of time that Abraham would accept the assignment of being the Father of the entire Jewish nation. (That’s also true of Judas) Sometimes I think it would be really cool to have God verbally speak to me and say, “Greg, I need you to do this?” Are you sure about that? Did you hear about a woman who was driving her car on a busy road in West Allis, Wisconsin? It was Friday Night, April 23rd and the woman said she thinks the driver in front her intentionally hit and killed a mother duck waddling across this busy road. But that’s not the whole problem. Behind the mother duck were 14 mallard ducklings. Now these little guys are confused. Where are we supposed to go? What are we supposed to do? This woman stops her car and starts gathering these ducklings and scoops them into her front seat. She then proceeds directly to the Wisconsin Humane Society. She drops off 13 ducklings. About an hour later she hears this “peeping” noise. She takes her car to a mechanic and he takes apart her dashboard finding a 14th duckling. Back she goes to the humane society where apparently the entire brood is doing well.[ii]
I think what that lady did was awesome. She showed compassion. Multiply that a billion times over and God wants you to show compassion especially to people. But showing compassion is time consuming and inconvenient. Most won’t do it! God wants you to be his servant. He won’t force you, but since he knows everything already he knows your response. He is saying to us today, “I need you to do this for me?” DO WHAT? Help people see my son! Why do people need to see Jesus? Remember, when it comes to predestination there are two arenas. Predestined for service – predestined for salvation. CNN asked people to send in a picture of their church message signs. This sign was deemed most popular. Come Hear Our Pastor
He’s not very good, but he’s short! Darrel Brandon is the minister and he stands 5’ 6”. His messages are not exactly short, but he is.[iii] Check out two more! Without the Bread of Life
You’re Toast! & Stop, Drop and Roll Won’t work in hell I admit it. Those two signs make me laugh. But hell is not funny. Hell is real. Why do I believe that? Because Jesus said it’s real! Do you think God would just up and send people to hell? NO – he doesn’t do that. What he did do is establish the plan of salvation. What he did do is send his only son. What he did do is clear away every obstacle so we could be adopted as his children. My father-in-law, Jack Ragan, did a really neat thing. Several years ago we had a family portrait taken. Jeanna was about 2 at the time and Sam had not yet been born. So Jack decided Sam needed to be in our Family Portrait. One day before we came to visit them in Indiana Jack taped Sam’s school picture to the portrait so he wouldn’t be left out of the family.
That’s what God did for us! He adopted us into his family. The Apostle Paul wrote this in Ephesians 1. (Read 3-6, 11) Are we as humans predestined? The answer is YES! The question this morning is not, Will God choose me?” The question is, “Will I choose him?” "I'm prescribing these pills for you," said the doctor to the overweight patient, who tipped the scales at about three hundred pounds. "I don't want you to swallow them. Just spill them on the floor twice a day and pick them up, one at a time.”[iv]
[i] Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G4309