What about election?
SEPTEMBER 12, 2022
What about election? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that’ll make you free? Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end. And I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re in the middle of a very long study in the book of Acts. And we’re up to the 16th chapter of Acts, versus 11 through 15. So, if you have a Bible and if you’re driving, forget it, you just keep your eyes on the road. You scare me to death anyway, but if you’re in a place where you can get a Bible, you might want to open it to that 16th chapter, as we look at an old friend of mine, her name is Lydia. And Lydia was the first convert in Europe. And, she’s an amazing lady and I’m going to show you some things about her. Before we do that, it’s my practice on Monday to pray before we study. So, let’s do that. Father, when we look at Scripture, we’re thankful for the people that you’ve told us about, their warts, their good, their bad, their faithfulness, and the ways in which you use them. Father, thank you for being honest with us. If you had only given us halos and sweetness and light and obedience, we would just be discouraged, but you’ve told us the truth about your people. Great sinners in need of a great Savior, and we praise you and thank you for that. You know everyone who’s listening to this broadcast, and you know the hard places and the soft ones, you know the laughter and the tears, you know the pain and the joy, and you’re sovereign over every bit of it. And not just sovereign and powerful and a Ruler and a Creator and a Sustainer. You told us to call you Father. And we praise you for that, good and kind and wise and patient and faithful and generous and gentle. And it goes on and on. And so, our Father and our God, oversee us as we study your word, apply it to our minds, and make us thinking Christians. And then to our hearts, don’t let us go cold with doctrine and then put it in our vocal chords, in our hands and feet, cause the world needs to hear the laughter of the redeemed. And as always Father, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins, there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay. Let me read to you this text. I read it to you once and introduced it to you a little bit last week. This is what Luke writes.
Setting sale from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul. And when she was baptized, with her household, she besought us saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
Oh my. She’s there. And then she’s gone. We don’t read much more about her throughout the Scripture, but we see the beginning. And the beginning is glorious. So, let me show you some things about this particular text and this particular woman. And the first thing that you ought to note about her, is that our text says the Lord opened her heart. She didn’t open her own heart, the Lord opened her heart. Look at Acts 16:14.
And the Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul.
In Matthew 11:17, Jesus says.
All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows the Father, except the Son and any to which the Son chooses to reveal Him.
I could read Acts 4:27 through 28, Ephesians 1:11, Romans 9, II Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 1:4 through 5. This is not a little theme. I mean, this is everywhere in the New Testament. I remember years ago when I was just learning what the Bible said, and the doctrines that it taught, I’d been a liberal, just this side of wacko. I thought I was an intellectual and Jesus smacked me upside the head. And things began to change and the people in the church I was serving got a brand new pastor. And I was a brand new person. Sometime after that, I went on an around the world trip to visit missionaries. Once I started believing the Bible, I decided it’s not an option, world missions is a commandment by God and I taught it, but I didn’t have any passion, a friend of mine said. Said, I’m going to send you around the world. And so, with two other people, I went to countries all over the world, doing nothing but visiting missionaries. I ate stuff, I never would’ve eaten at home. I listened to languages, I didn’t understand. And I went to places that felt dangerous. And I met some of the earthiest, most godly, most committed people I’ve known in my entire life. And they were involved in world missions. There was a scholar who was one of the three guys that went and his name was Sam Rowen. He’s in heaven now, but I loved him a lot and he was a cross-cultural professor and he helped me breach the culture divide that I was experiencing all over the world. And I was also reading the Bible and learning things. And I said to him, Sam, I have just encountered a God who was sovereign over salvation. I think it’s called election. And I don’t like it. I don’t believe it. I think it’s unfair. And I just wanted you to know that and he laughed and he said, Steve do something for me. We’ve got a lot of time on airplanes and in certain countries, get your Bible and read the Book of Acts twice. And then when you finish the Book of Acts, come back and we’ll talk about it. And so, I did exactly that. And when I finished reading the Book of Acts twice, I went to Sam and said, okay, the Bible clearly teaches it, but I still don’t like it. It doesn’t seem fair to me. And he said, that was the first step on the road to submitting to God. And once you make that step, then it becomes a lot better. And so, I decided God was God, I didn’t get a vote, He decided everything including salvation. And even if I didn’t think it was fair, it was taught. And it was quite clear in Scripture. Now, what I’m going to do, and I don’t have time today, but I’ll do more of it tomorrow, is to tell you how I deal with that particular doctrine. It’s a family secret, but it’s an important family secret. Do you know something that’ll make you arrogant, when you, and you have to watch it all the time, is to understand that before God hung the stars in the sky, before he hollowed out the valleys and created the mountains, he thought about you, he knew your name and he called you to himself. That means if he did that before you did anything good or bad, he will not love you more, if you do good or love you less, if you do bad because he made up his mind about you a long time ago. And you say, well, Steve, that’s cool and all, but what about my freedom? What about the responsibility that I have to make a decision? What about when in the church, they have an invitation and people come forward to come to Christ, is that meaningless? Does that mean anything? Absolutely not. And as I said, we’ll talk about it tomorrow, but right now you need to know that you are free and God is sovereign. He knew your name before you were born. He’ll never let you go. And God is God and good all the time. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown, leading us deeper into Acts chapter 16, introducing us to a woman named Lydia and the idea of election. It’s a big idea and we’ll continue unpacking it tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us then. So, here’s something you don’t need me to tell you, religion can make people weird. It can make us weird, if we’re being honest. And when we’re being religious, instead of living in the grace we have, it can make it challenging for unbelievers to see Jesus. Well, Steve spoke about this in a sermon called Grace in Freedom, based on Matthew 12:1 through 14. It’s a powerful message. And we put it on a CD that we would love to send to you, for free. Get your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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