1. As Paul prayed about the condition of the church at Thessalonica, he had much for which to be thankful, They had a faith that worked, a love that labored and a hope that gave them patience - 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
2. He also took consolation in knowing their election by God - 1 Thessalonians 1:4
3. In some way, these Thessalonians had become part of God's chosen people - 1 Peter 2:9-10
4. Just as the nation of Israel had been chosen by God - Deuteronomy 10:15
5. Several questions come to mind regarding the Thessalonians and their election by God
a. When did God make His choice?
b. Were the Thessalonians chosen individually, or as part of some general choice?
c. Was their election by God final, was it impossible for them to lose their privilege of being God's chosen people?
6. And how might the answers to these questions relate to our own election by God?
1. The act of picking out, choosing.
2. It is related to the idea of being chosen
3. Means to pick out, choose, to pick or choose out for one's self
B. THE TIME OF GOD'S ELECTION
1. God made His choice before the foundation of the world - Ephesians 1:4
2. Just as with Christ Himself, who was foreordained before the foundation of the world - 1 Peter 1:20
C. THE OBJECTS OF GOD'S ELECTION
1. When God made His choice before the world began
a. Did He chose certain individuals to become His elect?
b. Or was His choice more general in nature?
2. Two popular answers to this question:
a. The Calvinist believes (incorrectly) that this choice was:
1) Individual (only certain select individuals have been chosen)
2) Dependent solely upon God's gracious and mysterious will, without any foreknowledge of good or evil on the part of those selected
3) Unconditional and final (there is no possibility of apostasy)
b. The Armenian believes (incorrectly) that this choice was:
1) Individual (certain select individuals have been chosen)
2) Based upon foreknowledge of those souls who would respond to the gospel and persevere in the faith
3) Unconditional and final, in the sense that God already knows those who will persevere to the end
3. Paul says simply that God chose us in Him (Christ) - Ephesians 1:4
a. This means the election by God is to be general, not particular; not corporate, not individual
b. To refer to the body of Christ, the church as a whole, which God chose for His divine and gracious purposes He planned to carry out in Christ
c. Just as Israel (as a nation) had been chosen by God to receive His blessings
D. THE PROCESS OF GOD'S ELECTION
1. How did the Thessalonians become part of God's chosen people?
2. Paul explains in his second epistle - 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
a. through sanctification of the Spirit
1) Here we see God's part, the sanctifying work of the Spirit
2) This the Spirit did through the truth, or Word of God, which He revealed through the apostles - John 16:13; 17:17; Ephesians 6:17
b. and belief of the truth
1) Here we see man's part, as the Thessalonians heeded the Word of God
2) Therefore when they heeded the preaching of the gospel, they were saved, and as such became God's elect!
c. This God accomplished by calling them through the gospel - 2 Thessalonians 2:14
Today, when a person heeds the gospel of Christ, they are sanctified (set apart) by the Holy Spirit as a result of believing the truth. According to God's choice made before the world began, all who obey Christ become part of that great body of the saved in Christ, God's elect! But is their participation in the blessings of the elect final?
A. GOD'S ELECTION IS UNCONDITIONAL
1. God's election or choice was general
2. He chose to save people in Christ
3. That choice is unconditional and final
a. There is no way anyone can be saved without Christ
b. As Jesus Himself said, no one can come to the Father except through Me - John 14:6
c. As Peter would later say, there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Acts 4:12
B. OUR ELECTION IS CONDITIONAL
1. Whether we as individuals remain in the body or church, (God's elect) is conditional
2. We must be diligent to make your calling and election sure - 2 Peter 1:10
a. Just as Israel (as a nation) had been chosen by God to receive His blessings
b. But individually, the Israelites also had to make their calling and election sure
c. Remember the many Israelites who became God's elect at Mount Sinai, but died later in the wilderness!
3. Thus we find many warnings in the Scriptures to remain faithful
a. Or fall just like many did in the wilderness - Hebrews 3:12-19
b. Or come short of our heavenly rest, like they failed to enter the Promised Land - Hebrews 4:1-3, 9-11
4. Jesus Himself warned His disciples
a. Be fruitful, or be cut off! - John 15:1-6
b. Be faithful, to receive the crown of life! - Revelation 2:10
1. It was the faithful and fruitful lives of the Thessalonians that gave Paul confidence concerning their election
a. Their active faith, love and hope - 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
b. Their reception of Paul and the Word - 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
2. But whether they remained part of God's elect was not final
a. If it was, why even bother to worry about them? - 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 5-6
b. As long as they remained faithful, Paul was comforted - 1 Thessalonians 3:7
3. Dear friends and brethren, what about us...?
a. Are we included among God's elect?
1) God's choice regarding salvation is still sure and final
2) Only in Christ Jesus is there salvation!
3) Through the gospel, God is still calling people
4) Obey the gospel, and you will be set apart by the Spirit to become one of God's chosen!
b. Are we being diligent to make our calling and election sure?
1) Are we faithful and fruitful in our service to Christ?
2) Will we persevere to the end, or fall short of our heavenly rest?
3) Hebrews 3:12-14
-- Don Treadway, July 2009 --