Derek Prince - You're Christian Because You're Chosen
Now, I want to go on and return to the New Testament, and I want to point out to you that everything that people have reservations about concerning Israel applies also to the church. God in His dealing with the church and He has dealt with you and me in precisely the same way as He’s dealt with Israel. The origin of all that God does is not our goodness, it’s not our merits, it’s God’s sovereign choice. Let me say what I said last night once more. You are not a Christian primarily because you chose Christ. You’re a Christian primarily because Christ chose you. And if Christ had never chosen you, you would never have been able to choose Him.
The origin of everything is God’s will, God’s sovereignty and God’s choice. And this is just as true of the church as it is of Israel. In fact, in studying God’s dealings with Israel we get a very wonderful lesson of how God deals with us. Let me just take a few Scriptures from the New Testament and try and bring this out to you. 1 Peter chapter 1 verses 1 and 2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Capadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. He’s writing actually to believing Jews. That doesn’t come out in this translation but the word that’s translated resided aliens in Greek is Diaspora. I don’t know whether or not any of you are familiar, but Diaspora is the word that’s used to describe Jews living outside the land of Israel. So, it’s an interesting fact that although this letter applies to all Christians, it was primarily addressed to Jewish believers.
Now it says of these people at the end of verse 1: Who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. So, why are we believers? Because God chose us. Why did He choose us? On the basis of His foreknowledge. He knew what He could make out of each one of us. See, once you grasp this fact, your insecurity begins to dissolve. You don’t have to try so hard, you have to believe. You have to accept the fact God chose you. I might not have chosen myself, but God chose me. Why did He choose me? According to His foreknowledge. In other words, God knew from eternity what He could do with me. God knows from eternity what He can do with each one of you. What a relief! It’s not all your effort; it’s not all your struggles.
As Paul says, we’ve already looked, it’s not of him who wills or him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. To me it’s such a joy to present this good news to the church because most Christians today that I deal with have completely lost sight of this fact. You are a Christian because God chose you. He chose you knowing what He could do with you. So, don’t complain about your inadequacies because God knew all about them and He chose you, in a certain sense, because of them. Because God has chosen the weak things, the things that are despised, the abased things, to demonstrate His power in them. Your greatest problem is not that you are not good enough, but maybe you think you are too good.
All right. Let’s go on with this statement. Who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the spirit So, when God has chosen you, His Spirit begins to work on you. And most of us, when it started, we weren’t aware what was happening. Is that true? I can illustrate this very briefly. But when I went into the British Army I started to study the Bible, not as a believer. Because I was seen reading the Bible every day, the chaplain asked me to read the lesson at Pentecost. Well, I was rather proud of my ability to read English and I had studied Shakespeare and so on.
So I thought, I’ll really show them how this should be read. So I mean, I went through it, I practiced the places to pause and breathe. When I got there, my whole body was like a bellows. I couldn’t read three words without gasping for breath. I had no idea what was happening to me, it was humiliating. Do you know what it was? It was the Holy Spirit. You say, Were you born again? No, I didn’t know what it was to be born again. I hadn’t got a clue, I wasn’t even trying to be born again. But, God was moving on me. Why? Because He had chosen me, that’s why. All right. Going on with this. the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with his Blood You see, the Holy Spirit brings you to the place where you encounter Jesus Christ and obey Him. That’s what He did with me.
I read that lesson and may I met Jesus in an army barrack room in the middleof the night at the end of July. But the Spirit of God was already working on me. And He brought me to Jesus. And because it was the Spirit, I obeyed Him, I submitted to Him. And then I was sprinkled with the blood. You understand, the blood is not sprinkled on the disobedient. You have to come to the place of obedience before you come under the sprinkling of the blood. And when you get out of the place of obedience, you’re getting out of the protection of the blood. The blood is not sprinkled on the disobedient. Did you get that message, it’s very important. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all sin. We get out of the light and into disobedience, there’s only one solution: get back under the light.
All right. Let’s look at another Scripture, Romans 8:29–30. Speaking about you and me: For whom He [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed in the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Where does it begin? It begins as Peter said, with God’s foreknowledge. And after God foreknew us, He chose us. He made this choice listen before creation. Before the worlds came into being, God chose you and me. And having chosen us, He predestined us. That is, he planned the course that our life would follow. All this happened in eternity, long before there was a people called Israel, long before there was anything called the church. God foreknew us, He chose us, He predestined us. I’d like you to say that but make it personal like this. God foreknew me, He chose me, He predestined me.
Now, take a deep breath and sigh it out. Relax. That’s right. You don’t have to be so worried and concerned. God has got the situation under control. He’s made His choice, He’s not going to change His mind. And everything in history is working out for the purpose of God. He’s predestined you. I tell people many times, You’re not an accident looking for somewhere to happen. You’re part of God’s eternal plan. See? All this is true of the church but it’s equally true of Israel. If we discard these truths in regard to Israel, we will not retain them in regard to the church. We’ll be the losers, not Israel. All right. Having done those three things: foreknown, chosen, predestined; then He called.
Now, that’s the vital moment in every life, when God calls you. I had no knowledge whatever of doctrinal truth and the gospel and all that. I was just a philosopher. But when this happened in my life, something inside me told me, You better respond now, He may never speak to you again. And I did respond, thank God. I did respond. It was so clear to me, this was the moment that my destiny was being decided. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I just knew this is my opportunity. And thank God by His mercy I took it. Well, once God has called us and we respond, then He justifies us. He acquits us of all sin. Justified means not guilty. The verdict comes down from the supreme court of heaven on your life: not guilty. You were being tried for a capital offense. The mandatory penalty was execution. As you wait there nervously in the court, back comes the answer. Not guilty.
See, Christians have lost the vision of what it is to be justified. It’s not doing the best I can and hoping, it’s being clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness. When God gives us the garments of salvation, He adds something. Do you know what that is? The robe of righteousness. That’s being justified. I’ve said it this way: I am justified means I’m just as if I’d never sinned. You didn’t earn that. I didn’t earn that. None of all our struggles and our religiosity will ever do anything towards that. It happens because God decided it would happen. I want to tell you I’ve come to the place where I trust God to make the right decision. I trust Him more than I trust myself. I’ve made a lot of silly decisions in my life. God has never made one silly decision. You can trust him. Take another deep breath, relax and breathe it out. You can trust Him, He’s reliable.
This is the message, you see, the church has lost the message partly because in its wrong attitude to Israel. God said, The one that touches Israel touches the apple of my eye. All right. Once you’re justified, you’re glorified. I cannot take time to go into this. In fact, I taught on this in the first part of this seminar on Romans. But glorified means you’re on the throne with Jesus. He not only made us alive, Ephesians 2: 4-6 He not only resurrected us, what did He do after that? Who can tell me? He enthroned us and all that is in the past tense. Physically you're seated in Ridgecrest baptist conference centre. spiritually your seed on the throne with Christ. Do you see that? When we talk in those terms, I mean, it’s ridiculous to think we could ever earn that or deserve it or be good enough. We only get it because God decided to give it to us. Really, the best you could do is say Thank you. What about that? Why don’t you just say Thank you.
See, thanking God is the purest expression of faith. When you can’t do anything else, like Jonah in the belly of the fish, couldn’t do anything. When he started to thank God, the fish couldn’t hold him any longer. Some of you owe God about half a billion thanks. It would help you to start paying off. But you’ll only do it by faith, faith in what God says He’s done. All right. One other beautiful Scripture in 2 Timothy 1:9. 2 Timothy 1 verse 9 This is a breathtaking Scripture, in my opinion. I tell people if you’ve never been surprised by the Bible, you’ve never really read it. It’s an astonishing book.
All right. 2 Timothy 1 verse 9, God is the previous verse has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works not on the basis of what we have done but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity. Another translation says before time began. So, God’s purpose and grace was settled for us before time began. Your scenario was written in eternity. All you’ve got to do is play your part. And then in 1 Thessalonians 5: 23–24, one of the Scriptures that Ruth and I recite regularly Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you think you can achieve that by your efforts? And then it says: He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
What do we depend on? The faithfulness of God. Not our efforts, not our righteousness, not our religiosity. What a revelation! It’s breathtaking. You can spend a week contemplating the truths and not even begin to touch the reality that they represent. But you see, if the church ignores Romans 9–11, the church is the poorer, not Israel. God is responsible for Israel. But we lose a major part of our inheritance. We’ve got to go back now. Let’s turn to Romans 9 a moment, sorry excuse me, Romans 9 verses 14–15. What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
You see, God’s justice is settled, it’s unwavering, you can’t change one jot or one tittle. If you want justice, you can have it. I remember I heard a man say once, All I ask for is justice. I thought to myself, God help him not to get what he’s asking for. You can have justice if you want it. God is just. He gives righteousness according to a plumb line, it’s as exact as that. Justice according to a level. There’s not a single variation, not one millimeter out in God’s justice if that’s what you want. But none of us can afford to ask for justice. Romans 6 verse 23, how many of you know what that says? For the wages of sin is death. Wages are what you deserve. If you want your wages, God will not withhold them. Come with your hand out and you’ll get them. But, the wages of sin is death. The alternative is the free gift of God is eternal life. You can’t earn that. You’ll never deserve it. You’ve got to decide, do I want my wages or do I want my gift?
And then Paul turns to the example of Pharaoh. We’re going back to Romans 9 verse 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh [this is from the book of Exodus] For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth. So then, He has mercy on whom He desires and He hardens whom He wills. You say that isn’t fair. God will give you justice if you want it. But if you want mercy, then don’t ask for what’s fair because it’s not. It goes beyond anything you can earn.
Now everybody knows... Let me show you first of all, Proverbs 16 verse 4, that’s a wonderful verse. Proverbs 16:4 The Lord made everything for its own purpose [or His own purpose] I think it´s better. even the wicked for the day of evil. That’s a profound statement. Even the wicked have got their place in God’s plan. And Pharaoh is perhaps the outstanding example. God says, I’ve raised you up because I wanted to show everybody my power in your wickedness. And everybody knows that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. But most people never bother to study the whole record.
I’ve studied it very carefully and you can find the outline there on Page 12 of your outline. First of all, Pharaoh hardened his own heart seven times before God did anything. Then the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart once. Then Pharaoh hardened his own heart twice more. Finally, the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart six more times. But God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart until he had hardened it himself seven times. God said in effect, Well, if you’re going to be stubborn and obstinate, then I’ll see just how stubborn and obstinate I can make you, because I want to demonstrate my power in you. The two words that are used for the heart of Pharaoh are hard and heavy. Hard, I would say, is stubborn. Heavy is insensitive.
So God often lets wickedness run its course to fulfill his purpose. This is very, very important. Do you understand, Why does God allow those wicked people to go on? He’s using them, they’re part of His plan. Even the wicked serve God. That will set a lot of our minds at rest because we look at the injustice and the wickedness in the earth and say, How can God? The answer is God knows all about it, He’s in control. The wicked are also serving His purpose. In Genesis 15 verse 16, God has promised to Abraham that He’ll give him the land of Canaan. But He says, Not yet. Four generations later, I’ll give it to you. And then He explains why, verse 16. He said: In the fourth generation your descendants will return here for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.
The Amorites were already a wicked, idolatrous, perverted people. But He said their wickedness has not yet come fully ripe. When it’s fully ripe, I’ll cast in my sickle and reap them. And your descendants will take this land. So, when you look at things that are happening in the world today just think of that. It’s wicked but it isn’t fully ripe. When it’s fully ripe, God will cast in the sickle and reap. And then we go back to Romans 9 for a few moments, Romans 9 verse 16 I think we were in No we are going to past verse 16. Verse 19: You will say to me then, Why does God still find fault? For who resists His will? In other words, everything is working out according to God’s purpose.
So, nobody, in a sense, is doing other than what God has planned they should do. then you see the question Paul’s answer is a little unsatisfying to some people. On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder Why did you make me like this? will it? Paul says, in effect, God knows his business, don’t try and instruct him. And he compares a human life, as the Scripture does in many places, to a vessel molded of clay. And his statement is the one who molds the vessel is the one who decides what it will be and God is the molder of the vessel And then he says verse 21 Does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? We cannot deny that. What if God willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
When you see the wicked flourishing, think that’s God’s patience. God is enduring that because His purposes are being worked out. Peter said count the longsuffering of God salvation. That’s one of the most amazing things for all of us, is God’s patience, how long He endures wickedness. But He does it for the sake of His elect, His chosen ones. So this is a problem we all face. How can God let that kind of thing go on? The answer is God knows His business. And when His purposes are worked out in His chosen ones, He’ll deal with the wicked. And then we get this beautiful statement here which I just wanted to look at.
In verse 23 God did all this in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. The Living Bible says vessels that God prepared to pour His glory into. That’s you and me. He’s fashioning us to become vessels of glory. When you ask why does God permit that in my life? the answer is He’s making you the kind of vessel that will take His glory.
All right. we’ll just try and finish this chapter very quickly. The end of the chapter is that God extends mercy both to Jews and to Gentiles. Not to Jews only or to Gentiles only but to both. And Paul quotes two passages from Hosea in which it’s clear that God is going to for a time reject Israel. But then he says in the same place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there it will be said to them, You are my people. That’s very important for us to remember because God is regathering Israel to the place where it was said You are not my people that He might declare to them that they are His people. And then in verse 27: Isaiah cries out Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved.
The remnant. God has a remnant whom He has foreknown and chosen, whom He is going to bring through. For the Lord is going to execute his Word upon the earth, thoroughly and quickly. The NIV says the Lord will execute his sentence with speed and finality. And then it goes on to point out that if God had not left Israel a remnant, they would have been totally destroyed and wiped out. And he concludes the chapter by saying The Jews who sought to achieve righteousness by keeping a law, failed. The Gentiles who didn’t know anything about a law and weren’t interested in righteousness, achieved righteousness. This is the paradox. And the Jews failed because they rejected the Messiah, the stone that God had laid on which to build His church. I’ve gone rather quickly through the latter part of that chapter because I’ve got a long way to go in a short time. I trust you’ll be indulgent.