In today's sermon, Pastor Burke (Ortega Presbyterian Church) spoke about how God refreshes us in the means of grace. He was talking primarily about the Lord's Supper and how eager Christ was in celebrating this last meal with His disciples. Christ wanted them to remember what He was about to do for them, dying for their sin so that they might be united to Him and the Father. Christ also reminds us that we should utilize the means of grace, why?
Because we are weak, our faith is weak. Sin come again and again, just like it did to Christ. When Christ was being tempted by Satan and He obeyed God and did not sin, the Bible says "And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)
Satan was going to come back to tempt Christ, just as he comes back to tempt us. He does not stop. He looks for an opportune time to come, (usually after a spiritual high) That's why we need the comfort provided by the means of grace. When we fall, and are despondent over our failure to the Lord, what brings us back, even as the devil is telling us how evil and dirty we are, what brings us back is usually the Word, either hearing it preached or reading it ourselves. Thank God that He knows our weakness and has provided every means for us to recover when we fall and to gain strength to continue the battle. Keep this verse in your heart and you will understand that the will of God is for you to get up every time you fall. (His steadfast love and never-ending mercy is what picks you up).
"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall,I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me." (Micah 7:8)
Now continuing Chapter 3, Of God's Eternal Decree
5. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory(i), out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto,(k) and all to the praise of his glorious grace.(l)
(i) Eph. 1:4,9,11, Rom. 8:28-30, 2 Tim. 1:9, 1 Thess. 5:9
(k) Rom. 9:11, 13, 15-16, Eph. 2:8-9, see Eph. 1:5,9.11
(l) Eph. 1:6,12
6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means therefore.(m) Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,(n)are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,(o) and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation.(p) Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.(q)
(m) 1 Pet. 1:2, Eph. 2:10, 2 Thess. 2:13
(n) 1 Thess. 5:9-10, Titus 2:14
(o) Rom. 8:30 see Eph. 1:5, 2 Thess. 2:13
(p) 1 Pet. 1:5
(q) John 10:14-15,26, John 6:64-65, Rom. 8:28-39
7. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.(r)
(r) Matt. 11:25-26, Rom. 9:17-18, 21-22, Jude 4, 1 Pet. 2:8, 2 Tim. 2:19-20
8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,(s) that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. (t) So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God;(u) and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.(w)
(s) Rom. 9:20, Rom. 11:33, Deut. 29:29
(t) 2 Pet. 1:10, 1 Thess. 1:4-5
(u) Eph. 1:6, see Rom. 11:33
(w) Rom. 11:506, 20, Rom. 8:33, Luke 10:20, see 2 Pet. 1:10
The doctrine of predestination is biblical - and if any would see themselves as estranged to God and think that they are among the unelect - you must repent and ask God to forgive you and accept you in Christ, as you place your trust in Jesus Christ and only in Jesus Christ - pleading with the Father His own Word to Him: "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." (John 6:37)
These things are serious matters - they deal with eternity, there is a degree of soberness to them, yet there is also joy as stated above, for in knowing that is God who is the One choosing,and He has chosen you - there is assurance - that that brings joy as as I indicated at the beginning of this study - if God has chosen you - you will continue in your faith although it be weak - you will get up every time you fall - God has promised that you are His, you will conform to the image of Christ, and you will bear spiritual fruit, and God will be driving it all with His Spirit - God has spoken it, it will come to pass - because promises made by God, become promises kept by God. Rejoice in that.
"so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)
This is the One who guards, keeps our souls - to His Glory!
Next time we will look at Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator