To be saved by God is an amazing thing. First of all, it is beyond our own goodness–I don’t care how much self-righteousness you think you have.
Second of all, it is beyond our own power–you and I are too terribly weak to save ourselves.
Lastly, it is beyond our will. Let me put that into plain English: apart from God, we do not want any part of God. In other words, we couldn’t save ourselves and quite frankly, if it was left up to us, we wouldn’t save ourselves.
You might say, “That is insane.” And I will reply back to you, “I know, right!” Once you know the gospel and you are saved by Christ, you might spend a lot of your time why it took, seemingly all of your life, to finally go to God.
And a lot of us just chalked up to, “Oh, I was too stubborn” or “I just wanted to do my own thing.”
But what if, just what if, you were a sinner deserving of the just wrath of God. And because you were a sinner apart from the grace of God, you were dead in your trespasses.
And if you were dead in your own sins, would you have the ability, the power, the freedom of the will, the life to actually choose God and live to God?
We too were once led astray. We were also dead in our trespasses. We were once vessels made for the wrath of God.
But God alone took away that status and gave us a new life.
2 Timothy 2:20–26 (CSB)
20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also those of wood and clay; some for honorable use and some for dishonorable.
21 So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels.
24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient,
25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.
26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
Here are big facts: we did not choose God but rather God chose us:
1 John 4:10 (CSB) Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
John 15:12-17 (CSB) “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 17 “This is what I command you: Love one another.
Just as you did not choose God initially, so also you don’t get to go your own way. Think about that. If it was left up to us, we wouldn’t choose God on our own power. But if we did, then we would be fooled into thinking that I can have God and something not-God. Jesus said you cannot do that.
Matthew 6:24 (CSB) No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Exodus 20:1-6 (CSB) Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. 3 Do not have other gods besides me. 4 Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, 6 but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.
The good news is that God had to do everything in order for you to be saved by God. The fact that you can obey God now out of a pure heart is because God saw you, God loved you, God sent his Son to live and die for you, God gives you his Spirit, God makes his home in you, God gives you his heart, his righteousness; God adopts you; God makes you look like his Son; God carries you all the way home.
Before God created the heavens and the earth, God was laying his affections upon you.
If that is the case, what does that mean for our lives.
20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also those of wood and clay; some for honorable use and some for dishonorable. 21 So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
Chosen by God: while you were still a sinner
Ephesians 2:1-5 (CSB) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!
Titus 3:3-7 (CSB) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 5 he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.
Romans 5:8-9 (CSB) But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath.
Let’s stick this all the way home. And not that Paul is acting alone here. The Holy Spirit inspires Paul to quote both Moses and Jeremiah in Romans 9:
Romans 9:18-24 (CSB) So then, he has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 You will say to me, therefore, “Why then does he still find fault? For who resists his will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor? 22 And what if God, wanting to display his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And what if he did this to make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory—24 on us, the ones he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
You might not be ready for that.
But here are facts. You can hear this and call it the stench of death because how dare God do as he pleases.
Or you can hear this and think this is the fragrance of life! If I finally obey the gospel commandment by Christ to give over my wickedness, my depravity, and my sin to him so he can give me his righteousness, I shall be saved?
And then Paul responds to you by quote the prophet Hosea and Isaiah as he goes on in Romans 9:
Romans 9:25-29 (CSB) As it also says in Hosea, I will call Not My People, My People, and she who is Unloved, Beloved. 26 And it will be in the place where they were told, you are not my people, there they will be called sons of the living God.
27 But Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, Though the number of Israelites is like the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved; 28 since the Lord will execute his sentence completely and decisively on the earth.
29 And just as Isaiah predicted: If the Lord of Hosts had not left us offspring, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.
And if you are having problems with what Paul is saying, then you are definitely having issues with Jesus Christ:
Matthew 13:24-30 (CSB) He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from? 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he told them. “‘So, do you want us to go and pull them up?’ the servants asked him. 29 “‘No,’ he said. ‘When you pull up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but collect the wheat in my barn.’”
You have two choices in this life to live your life: go your own way or lay your life down to Christ so by the power of the Holy Spirit, he will bring you back to actual and to the fullness of life.
22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
Chosen by God: now we get to chase after God
Are you saved by God? How do you know? Do you love God? Do you want to obey God? When the Spirit convicts you of your sins, do you instantly repent and confess of your sins?
Hey, I was right there with you–even as a fresh Christian. I wasn’t saved until I was 32 years old. Do you think 32 years is enough time to do a whole lot of sinning? Do you think that I have done such evil vile things that I couldn’t bear repeating? I was so ashamed and guilt ridden. And hey, even as a Christian, I was sexually immoral–just as I was delivered out of porn, I couldn’t shake the only coping mechanism and addiction that I have ever known since I was 8 years old. I was terribly ashamed. But God was patient and kind to me and he washed me with grace. He never condemned. He just kept rescuing me.
And now, by God’s sheer grace alone, I can freely and quickly repent of sin.
I know I come on this channel and ask you time and time again, “Have you repented? Has God given you the gift of repentance in a sin that you keep holding on to? If not, does that not scare you? Have you asked God why?”
But I know in my own life, God was kind and patient with me. But all sin leads to death. Do not waste a moment just giving over your sin to Jesus right now. Just give it over. If you believe and trust in Christ, your sin doesn’t even belong to you–it belongs to him. Give it over!
So, pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, and do so with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Don’t do this alone. God has saved us to himself and to others. And I know the church is messed up. I know the church is infected with wolves. I know it is hard to trust other people. But trust in Jesus and pray that God will send his beloved sons and daughters your way so you don’t have to live this live on your own.
- Norman story + Mighty men prophecy
23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels. > 24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.
Chosen by God: now we get to serve God
Preaching through 1st and 2nd Timothy is like repeating a broken record. Stop getting into arguments on social media.
I don’t know what the exact answer is–whether you invite the person you are disagreeing with out to coffee or what, I don’t know but you know what isn’t the answer: using your keyboard to stir up a mess. Just stop it.
You know what you should be doing?
gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness
This is just not for pastors. This is for all ministers. This is for all the saints–you and me:
Ephesians 4:11-13 (CSB) And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
Who does the work of the ministry? You and me.
In other words, this is the Great Commission of Christ for everyone to go everywhere and tell everyone about his good news that God loves them so much, to repent of their sins because the kingdom of God is now.
But why minster? Why proclaim? Why disciple?
25b Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
God was kind and gentle and patient with you and me to believe and trust his Son.
God will be so kind to others so that maybe God will give the same gift of repentance so that they can believe and trust His Son.
If we are holding on to sins, would you give us the gift to repent so we can let go of our sins, give them over to your Son who bled and died for me, so that we would live to you forever and ever. Amen.