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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - Chosen For Your Journey

Tony Evans - Chosen For Your Journey

Tony Evans - Chosen For Your Journey
Tony Evans - Chosen For Your Journey
TOPICS: The Triumphant Trip to Glory

We're regularly in seasons of election. The word "election" you're going to be bombarded with, because it will involve a choice related to the political environment. This concept and theological truth is a big deal in the Bible: election. He summarizes it with two words: "Make certain of your calling and him choosing you". The summary word for that is the doctrine of election. We must start off by clarifying some confusion, because a lot of Christians struggle with the assurance of salvation, being absolutely certain of their salvation, because of this verse. He says, "Be certain of your calling and God choosing you". So, for varying reasons, many people live with uncertainty: "Am I saved. Am I really saved"?

Peter does not question the salvation of his readers. In fact, he's absolutely certain that everybody he's writing is already a believer. I mean, look at the passage. He says in this verse, for example, "Therefore, brethren," so he calls them family members. You're brothers. You're part of the family of God. Go back to verse 1. He says, "To those who have received a faith of the same kind of as ours". So you've received the same faith that we have, you believing the same thing we're believing, you part of the family of God. But not only that, he wants "grace and peace," in verse 2, "to be multiplied to them". He doesn't want them to get started, he wants it to be just multiplied, he wants them to have all of it that they can handle.

Not only that, but he says, "God's divine power," in verse 3, "and promises pertaining to life and godliness" has already been made available to them, something you can only say to believers, but on top of that, he tells me in verse 4, at the end of it, "You have become partakers of the divine nature. You got God living inside of you". So there is no question in Peter's mind that he's writing to people who are already saved, yet he tells these people who are already saved to make certain of their calling and choosing. But if they are already saved, why would they have to make certain of something that already exists? It becomes the question.

So let me clarify something. He is telling them to make certain, and his whole speech, if you followed our series, has been on growing spiritually, make all diligence, make sure you're growing, you're growing in your faith. If I'm trying to do all the good stuff, to really make sure, sure enough, that I'm saved, but something bad drops in the middle of it, then maybe something bad happened because I really wasn't saved in the first place, because I was measuring my salvation by my works: "Did I do enough good or did I have enough bad to qualify for me to question whether I'm really certain that I'm saved"? You add to that feelings, "Sometime I feel save-ish, and sometimes I don't," which go up and down, in and out, then your mere emotional makeup can cause you to question the assurance of your salvation.

Let me calm the concerns of any who are here who might be facing this, to clarify, or to someone to whom you are speaking. The assurance of salvation, which he's not referring to here, I'll tell you in a moment what he is referring to, the assurance of salvation is part and parcel, or as we would say in theology, it is of the same essence as saving faith. Now, to help you understand what I just said, let me read, and feel free to turn to 1 John chapter 5. Let me begin with verse 9 from 1 John 5. "If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His son. The one who believes in the Son of God", watch this, "has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he did not believe in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son does not have the life".

Finally, verse 13, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you might know that you have eternal life". So God wants you to know that you know that you know that you have eternal life, and he wants you to know it at the moment you get it, which means it can't be tied to things you do. So you won't have to look to your works, you won't have to look to the good or bad, you will not even have to look to the emotions that you may be having at any given point, because the testimony will be built inside of you that you are a son or a daughter of the living God. Doubt of salvation comes when you're looking to the wrong thing for assurance. If you're looking to your works for assurance, and sometimes your works are up, sometimes your works are bad.

That's why when Jesus talked to the woman at the well in John chapter 4, who had five husbands, and the one she was with now was Mr. Jones, he never told her to change her lifestyle so she could get converted. It was when she got converted that that happened, because she was to look to Christ. The Bible makes it clear that you are not saved by anything you do. The Bible says in Romans chapter 11, verse 6, that you cannot mix works with grace, or else grace is no longer grace. Romans chapter 4, verses 4 and 5, says that you're not saved by works you would do, because if you're saved by anything you could do, that means God owes you something because of the work you performed, and you cancel grace. He says you're saved apart from any work you can do. It is the work that Jesus did on the cross.

So when you are tempted to doubt your salvation, there's only one question on the floor: "Have I and am I now looking to the cross of Jesus Christ as the basis of the forgiveness of my sins and my receiving the gift of eternal life based on the promise of God to give it to me if I came to Jesus for it"? Because if you don't believe that, it says in 1 John, you make God a liar, so you're not believing the gospel. But if you believe the gospel, then the testimony comes inside of you, because it's part of the gospel promise. The question on a promise is how reliable the promiser is. That's the question on the promise. "Is the promiser reliable"? So don't be duped to look for assurance outside of focusing on the finished work of Jesus Christ for the assurance, because it's by grace, it's not by works, that not only you are saved but that you are assured.

Saint John 5:24 puts it this way. John, which is the book about salvation and assurance, says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, and has passed out of death into life". That's the promise: an eternal life that can never be lost that has absolutely nothing to do with anything you do, be it good or bad. Then what exactly does he mean? Clarify, "Make certain about your calling and choosing you". So he wants you to be sure about something, but it can't be about your salvation, 'cause this whole thing is about you growing, 'cause they already saved.

So let me make the assumption that everybody in here is born again, that everybody on the sound of my voice right now has trusted Jesus Christ as your personal sin bearer. That's not believing that he died for the world, it's believing he died for you. He's not trying to make them who are already saved sure that they're saved. He wants to make sure they are certain that they are fulfilling the reason for why they are saved, because there are many saved people who are not fulfilling the purpose of their salvation, which is their election. In other words, you were elected for a purpose. Remember, he's talking about being useful and fruitful. Remember from verse 8? He says, "For if these qualities are yours," spiritual growth, "and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful".

So look at John chapter 15, verse 16. Saint John 15:16 says, "You did not choose Me but I chose you". Okay, we got election, why? "And appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you". He says, "I chose you to be fruity". Says, "Your salvation is now to be useful to me. Make certain that as a child of the living God, you are useful and fruitful for me". The Bible calls it receiving the grace of God in vain, that is, you've received salvation for free, but you're now of no use to the one who saved you, because you are useful to you. If you are useful to you but you have been of little or no benefit to him, then when you enter heaven, it will be a sad moment, not a glad moment.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him," that he tasted death for every man, so salvation was provided for the whole human race. But for those who respond, he says, "Now that you are in the family, there are expectations, and I expect you to be useful to me. I expect you to be fruitful for me". And remember, usefulness and fruitfulness has to do with that which you do that brings glory to God, that advances his kingdom, and that brings benefit to others in his name. Are you beneficial to God or not? And God has a whole squad of useless kids who wanna be blessed by him but who can never be used by him 'cause they don't have time for him, they don't have energy for him. And it's not that they don't have energy at all. They just don't have it for him. They've got it for them and their priorities.

So he wants you to be sure, but what he wants you to be sure about is the purpose for your election. This explains a verse that's often misunderstood, misquoted, in Matthew chapter 22, verse 14. It says, "For many are called but few are chosen". Now, y'all heard that one, right? "For many are called but few are chosen". Now, the question is, what in the world does that mean? God has a lot of family members who can't be chosen because they're satisfied just to be members of the family. "God, don't expect me to witness, don't expect me to disciple anybody, don't expect me to serve, don't expect me to give, don't expect me to be a blessing, don't expect me, God, because I'm good". He says you are missing the election of your salvation, not to eternal life but your election to fulfilling your divine purpose.

That's why Jesus said when he chose the 12, he said, "I have chosen you," in Mark chapter 3, verse 13 to 14. He says, "I've chosen you to preach the word". He told Paul in Galatians chapter 1, verses 15 and 16, "God has chose me to preach to the Gentiles". He gives the purpose for being chosen. So, you see, election is not to determine your eternal destiny. Election is to determine your purpose. "I gave you salvation. I paid for all of your sins, past, present, and future. And, yeah, you gave me a nod every now and then, but I'm disappointed at you. It cost me the life of my Son to give you eternal life, and I'm disappointed in you". So what God is after is you fulfilling the purpose for your election.

Now, I hear what somebody is saying right now, I can hear what you're saying right now. You're saying, right now, "But I don't know my purpose"! Answer? Something, something. "I don't know what to do"! Something, okay? God will only hit a moving target. If you standing up there waiting for heaven to open up to show you this grand scheme of what God wants you to do, you gonna be waiting a long time. What is there in your hand, what is there in your capacity, what is there in your training, what is there in your interests that would be glorifying to God and good for others? Because God says he will not miss a cup of cold water given in his name.

And so, for me to live my life, you to live your life, for us to live our lives never raising the question or rarely raising the question, "Am I certain about my being chosen in terms of my purpose"? Because on your best day, you're a sinner saved by grace. That's it. On your best day, you are a sinner saved by grace whose job it is to attract other people to this great King, who put you in the window to show him off. And if you're not making certain that that is your agenda, you and I are not living up to our election, and if we're not living up to our election, we are a disappointment to the King. Notice what he says, he says, "Make your calling and election sure," or certain. 1 Peter chapter 2 puts it this way, verse 11: "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation".

It means you are functioning as a Christian because you're growing as a Christian. It means your public display fits your name. Now, notice how he introduces this whole verse, "Brethren, give all diligence," "Give all the more diligence". Now, in verse 5, he said, "Give diligence," but in verse 10, he says, "Give all the more diligence". He ups the ante in verse 10 because of verse 9. See, in verse 9, he says a lot of Christians have spiritual amnesia, they've forgotten what God has done for them, and because you've forgotten the cross, forgotten the payment, you just get used to it. But spiritual amnesia makes you forget the goodness of God to you, not only in saving us but in sustaining us, in providing for us, into giving us what we do not deserve, in forgiving us. He says when you remember the goodness of God in the land of the living, be all the more diligent.

In other words, go after it much harder, not your assurance, go after your spiritual growth so that you fulfill your service, for you are good for the kingdom of God and the glory of God, be a certifiable saint. And he closes with this thought, because he says, "As long as you practice these things, you will never stumble". "As long as you practice these things, you will never stumble". This is a staggering statement and a staggering promise. Remember now, your good works, the good things you do that glorify God and benefit others in God's name, is not tied to your salvation. Those are two separate things.

But he says, "If you will practice these things", so he's not talking about getting saved. You don't have to practice anything to get saved. He's talking about the things of spiritual growth that he was talked about in verse 5 and verse 6. If you pursue spiritual development, your growth, and you do it with all the more diligence, in other words, you're not playing with this thing, you're going for it. You're not finding time. You're making time. "I wanna know you, I wanna experience you, I wanna be transformed by you, and I'm going after you, God. Like the deer pants after the water brook, so pants my soul after you, O God. I'm going for it".

He said if you practice these things, that we've already gone over, you will never stumble. Now, the Greek word for stumble means to be tripped up. It was used of a horse that was surefooted, that didn't trip while running. "If you practice these things, you will never stumble". How many people here has ever been tripped up by the devil? They've been tripped up, okay? If you didn't raise your hand, you're lying. Most everybody, I mean, you got some super saints out there, but most, on some level, been tripped up. According to this verse, the reason why we get tripped up is we stop growing. Now, the reason why Peter could write this is he experienced it.

See, he not writing as some super spiritual person who's never stumbled. He's writing as a stumbler, as a person who messed up, and he messed up pretty big-time because it doesn't get much bigger than denying Christ publicly. The Bible says the rooster crowed at the third denial, and Peter remembered what Jesus said. And the Bible says, "And he went out and wept bitterly," because, watch this, that which he thought he would never do, he did. So he didn't just write this out of a vacuum. He wrote this as a man who knows what it was to trip up, as most people have.

So why does the Bible tell us not that Jesus was cooking breakfast, but Jesus was cooking breakfast for Peter over a charcoal fire? To remind him of what he did. "Remember this fire, Peter? Got a question for you, Pete. Do you love me more than these? You told me you love me more than the other boys. You still love me more than these"? He said, "No, no, no, no". God said, "Do you agape me"? He said, "No, I phileo you". That's Philadelphia. "I'm your friend". "Now feed my sheep". "Now I can use you, now I can use you, 'cause you ain't Mr. Big Stuff no more. You're not thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Now I can use you because you done found your place. You ain't all that and a bag of chips. You're a sinner saved by grace".

So Peter knew from that point on, "I'm gonna keep growing and I'm gonna write this epistle to tell all the saints to keep growing, because if I can get the saints to keep growing, Satan won't trip them up like he tripped me up". And that's why I love this closing verse. Jude verse 24, that's all I have to say 'cause there's only one chapter. Jude verse 24, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in His presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen".

So, I got good news for you. From this point on, 'cause all you got is this point on, you got this point on to get it right, to be useful and fruitful, and to get ready for a band playing when you enter into heaven. That's how it's gonna be. Verse 11 is talking about the folks for whom God's gonna have a band. John is here. Betty is here. Ruth is here. Play the song. "Now unto Him who's able to keep you from stumbling".

Why do you need to know that verse that says the same thing Peter is saying? To whatever time is left, and there is not much left, for whatever time is left, to go for it, all the more diligence, to go for it, to remove the excuses, to remove the procrastination, to remove the "Tomorrow," to remove the "One day," and to say, "Today is the day of I'm going for it so that I don't stumble any more, so that I am victorious over my addictions, over my situations, over my relationships. I'm going for it because he's already paid the price".
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