Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

The predestination of God is the final resting place of our hearts against the uncertainties of life.

Scripture: Ephesians 1:11-14

Sermon Notes:

  1. The goal of all things is that they would be united in Christ in heaven and on earth. Our lives are meaningful because creation is ordered after God's meaning and purpose. All of life is religion; nothing is outside the authority of Jesus.
  2. Because we're adopted into the family of God, we have nothing to fear but God Himself.
  3. To understand the gospel and our place in it, we need to see the big picture view of what God is doing in history.
  4. The assurance we have in Christ is that all the grand things consequential to the gospel are actually ours.
  5. When a believer hears the Word of truth and is sealed by the Holy Spirit, this is a work of God and therefore it is certain.
  6. We have been chosen in Christ as heirs of all He possesses. Israel was God's heritage and received particular promises regarding the Land. As the new Israel of God we enter into this privilege.
  7. Before time began God marked out His people, composed of both Jew and Gentile in Christ. Having received the promises of the gospel, believing Gentiles are equally heirs of the blessings of Christ.
  8. The sealing of the Holy Spirit accompanies the hearing of the Word. By the laying on of hands the believers in Ephesus received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7).
  9. We believe on Christ, and are assured of our redemption, adoption and inheritance by the guarantee of the Holy Spirit.
  10. The Holy Spirit is the down-payment of the rich kingdom blessings God has promised His people.
  11. The doctrine of predestination is misused 1) by turning it into a pure abstract, speculative doctrine of fate, and 2) by reimagining predestination to mean little more than God anticipating my decisions and acting accordingly.
  12. Scripture tells us that our salvation is rooted in the eternal purpose of God. The doctrine of predestination is a mystery.
  13. It is not our place to unravel the mind of God. God's ways are not ours. There is no analogy of being between man and God.
  14. Everything in the cosmos, including your thinking, is bound by the creation order of God. As creatures, we cannot step outside the limits of the creation order. 
  15. God is not bound by His law for creation, or by our categories of thought.
  16. We can know about God through His covenantal activity, but we cannot know God in the essence of His being.
  17. When God identified Himself to Moses as I AM, He claimed to be the source of all definition (Ex. 3:14).
  18. Theological students think they can resolve the mysteries of God’s being. Calvin said that the one who indulges in such audacity and insolence will enter a labyrinth from which there is no exit.
  19. Man cannot work out the order of decrees in the mind of God; therefore, we need to adopt a kind of learned ignorance.
  20. Contemplating God's works, not seeking to probe His depths, is the right posture (Psalm 131).
  21. The knowledge of God's decrees is relational, mediated to us through His covenant.
  22. We need to surrender our hearts and minds and humble ourselves in order for the doctrine of predestination to bring comfort to us (cf. Psalm 139).
  23. The predestination of God is the final resting place of our hearts against the uncertainties of life.
  24. God calls us to obey him (election) or else (reprobation); those who continue in rejection of God abide in condemnation (Jn. 3:18).
  25. Many godly saints wrestled with the question of whether they were elect because they vainly attempted to probe the mind of God.
  26. The Spirit is the pledge of the electing love of God upon us. Nothing can pluck us from the hand of Christ (Jn. 10:28).
  27. Where you stand in Christ today settles the fact of your election. We are justified and elected by faith in Christ.
  28. The question of your election is settled in the question of how you respond to Christ’s summons in the gospel.

Application Questions:

  1. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s assurance?
  2. What is the consequence if our salvation does not find its root in the eternal plan of God?
  3. Identify two common errors with respect to predestination.
  4. How do David's meditations in Psalm 131 and 139 inform our approach to the mysteries of God, such as the doctrine of predestination?
  5. How can we be assured of our election unto salvation?