God is very much aware of what goes on. He's very much aware of our needs, our hurts, our disappointments, and everything else. He's able to give us the courage and the strength to be victorious.
Here in Ohio we have a new license plate that has begun to appear on the automobiles celebrating our Bi-Centennial. Ohio became a state back in March, of 1803. That was 200 years ago. Bi-Centennial year is this year of this year, 2003. It's a red, white and blue plate as you know. Across the very top it says Bi-Centennial year and down along the bottom it says the birthplace of aviation. The Wright brothers of course up in Dayton just to our north which is where they planned and designed the aircraft that they later flew down to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On the license plates now they have allowed people to personalize their license plate with names or little slogans or little sayings and my wife and I have kind of made a little sport out of seeing where the unique ones are so we've been kind of doing a running tally. There's some of them that has their name like Hey Mow or things of this nature but we've been watching them and kind of keeping a little bit of a track record of them. One of them that caught her eye was Hpy Trls, you know Roy Rogers old theme song. Now you can only do a combination of seven letters or numbers so obviously a good bit of abbreviation goes on but from there you get messages like (this is plain out) Pay Cash. I'm sure Mr. Tom Kirkpatrick who bought the sermon here not long ago on paying cash, staying on a cash basis, so it says Pay Cash. Another one is Gud Stuf. Another one was Rlax Dad.
Another one was B Bak 4 U, a combination of letters and numbers. Then there are certain biblical themes. I saw on one Heirs, you know we are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ so it had Heirs on the license plate. Another one was B Joyful. Another one we liked real well Hav Mrcy, that's pretty good when you're out driving. Then another one I liked quite well Blev U Can. It's amazing by abbreviation Believe You Can. But the one that tops them all and we haven't found one yet that we like better than one we saw quite some time ago and it still is our favorite one and it says A Chosn 1, A Chosen One. We got to thinking about them and my wife said what a message that is, why don't you preach on that. A Chosen One. So that's what I'm going to preach on today so if you like it, my wife gets the credit. If you don't like it, I take the blame for it.
So let's think about A Chosen One. You know God is the one who does work all things after the counsel of His own will we do read in the bible. Maybe we should read that together as we get started. Turn over to Ephesians 1, verse 9.
Ephesians 1:9 Ephesians 1:9Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself:
American King James Version×Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.
Now this is God who designed and planned and has chosen certain events, certain things to happen to bring about His purpose.
Verse 10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times
Now maybe that is not quite clear as you read it in your King James. Actually in the amplified bible, which will go on to expand it says:
He planned, that is God planned for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ both things in heaven and things on earth.
God has given us a part in that because it goes on to say:
Verse 11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined (or being chosen or called or selected) according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.
So it sounds to me like God's in charge, God knows what He's doing, God is laying out a plan, God is bringing about that plan and that plan is further amplified here in I Corinthians 15, we're all familiar with that Resurrection chapter but let's notice here something that we should consider right in line with Ephesians I, verse 11.
I Corinthians 15: 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Verse 23: But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
Verse 24: Then comes the end, (here comes the climax of the ages, the consummation of time) When He (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
And any opposing or opposition.
Verse 25: For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
Now He is coming as we well know as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He will rule and reign and the saints with Him for the thousand years in the Millennium and then of course we know what will happen will picture all of this in the Feast which you heard about in the first message, we're going to be picturing that again this year, then will come the end when He will have reigned till He has put all enemies under His feet.
Verse 26: The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
Now when you visit someone like Ed Perry or some of the different ones that we've lost, some of our elderly ones we've lost just over the last few months it makes you realize how great and wonderful and joyous is this very scripture here. Christ will reign; He will destroy all enemies, even death itself and then deliver the Kingdom over to the Father.
Let's notice back in the book of Acts. In the book of Acts we find something here where Peter, after the day of Pentecost, after they went up to the temple to pray here in Acts 3, we find something that goes right in line with I Corinthians 15 and Ephesians I. Here in the sermon and the sermon of course had to do with building right up to what they had done, how that:
Acts 3:13 Acts 3:13The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Son Jesus; whom you delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
American King James Version×The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant, Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.
Verse 14: But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you.
Verse 17: "Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers."
Verse 18: But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, (all the things that the prophets had prophesied about the Messiah coming, about the end time and about the great Messianic period, the reign of God, the Kingdom of God that would come) that the Christ would suffer (and He would die for our sins) as He has thus fulfilled.
But that was in His first coming to deal and pay for sins.
Verse 19: Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
Verse 20: And that He may send Jesus Christ, (the second time, not to deal with sin as we read over in Hebrews but for the saving of mankind) who was preached to you before.
Verse 21: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things (till the times of the great restoration, the consummation of time, the climax of the ages) that God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
Then he talked about how that we must come to listen to Christ and He will be the prophet to be raised up.
Verse 23: And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people."
So we find here that God has a purpose and a plan. He's worked out that purpose and plan since we begin to read of in the beginning back in the book of Genesis, back in the Old Testament.
Actually the word chosen is the Greek word for chosen actually is eklektos. Now the word eklektos means to choose or to select or to pick out for a particular purpose or reason. We know that you've heard over and over that the church, the word for church is ekklesia almost identical to eklektos and it merely means ekklesia which ek out and ekklesia to beckon or summon forth.
So when we're talking about being chosen, a chosen one, we're talking about what has happened through the ages. God choosing this man for this particular job, He's choosing Jesus Christ, choosing the apostles, choosing different ones and now in this end time is actually choosing us to be a people, a first fruits to do a work for Him, that we want to look into.
We could go back to the book of Genesis and look through some of the different ones there. You're very familiar with them. We don't have to go back chapter by chapter and verse by verse, merely just mention to you certain men like when the earth became so wicked that God said it repents Me that I've even made man, I'm going to destroy him off of the earth. But He choose a man, Noah, to be the physical savior of the human race and through Noah and his three sons and three wives would come all of the future generations. So He choose a man for that particular role.
We know after the flood man began to multiply and along came Abraham, totally unaware of what was going to happen but God said Abraham get out of this country where you are and go to a land I'll show you and we read on later in the 13th chapter of Genesis how that he looked to the east and west, the north, the south, all of this I will give to you and your seeds after you. We know that promise passed right on through Isaac, his son, over in the 25th, 26th chapters and then from Isaac came Jacob and it was passed on to him in Genesis 35. From Jacob came the 12, we call them the 12 patriarchs or the 12 sons who became tremendous men. Joseph who became the physical savior, not only to his own family, his brothers and his father, but to Egypt and to all of the countries who would come there for food once the famine had hit. God used that man to show him what was going to be happening and what would come about.
It was from another son of Jacob, Levi who became the man Moses and Moses as you know became the physical savior of bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt over to the promised land that God had promised Abraham. You know and are very aware of the fact that Moses had 40 years of training in Pharaoh's court to prepare him. He had 40 years of desert survival training out with the elements of nature. With that 80 years under his belt, God choose him for yet another 40 years of work to be done and that was to bring the children of Israel through the Red Sea, through the land of wilderness and through the dessert sand and so on until they came to the promised land.
He chose Joshua to take them in and settle them in. The whole book of Joshua is nothing more than settling in of the promised land of the children of Israel.
From there He choose Judges, He choose kings, we are very familiar with the first king when they wanted a king, God whispered as it were in the ear of Samuel and said this is the man that you see coming here. So God picked out the man to be the first king for Israel, Saul. As you know Saul disqualified himself and He told Samuel you go over to the house of Jesse, there is one I have chosen there to replace Saul. You are familiar with it; he came in. Jesse had all of his sons come in one by one before Samuel and God said that's not the one. He thought all the big, stalwart, strong, robust men; one of them surely his firstborn would be the man, the king, the next King up. None of them, he'd gone through all six and finally he said don't you have any more? He said I've got a little boy over on the hill looking after the sheep. He said send for him because we won't rest until he comes and we've done what God has said. He's the chosen one to be the king of Israel.
If you read through first and second Kings, first and second Chronicles, thereafter you read of the series of kings of Israel and Judah and they are all pretty much determined either a righteous king or an unrighteous king, whether they followed in the footsteps of their predecessor, David. He was a good king because he walked in the ways of the Lord as David my servant had. So David was that tremendous one. It was through that David that Jesus Christ was to come.
Let's look over to the New Testament now to Matthew 12 and we'll pick up kind of the chain of events and the history. Let's see what we find here as we come to verse 18. Jesus of course had been healing the multitudes, they followed Him; He healed them all, He warned them not to make Him known.
Matthew 12:16 Matthew 12:16And charged them that they should not make him known:
American King James Version×And He warned them not to make Him known.
Verse 17: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying
Verse 18: "Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen,
Bara, actually in the Hebrew means again to select or to call out. It's just from Isaiah 42.
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
Verse 19: He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets,
Verse 20: A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench ( In other words He's not going to cause any hindrance to anyone.) till He sends forth justice to victory.
Verse 21: And in His name Gentiles will trust."
Jesus Christ as you well know was the one who chose the Apostles, the 12 Disciples and then who were to become Apostles. Let's go to the book of John now and notice what we find here that he says concerning the calling of those. Jesus Christ of course and there are many scriptures that show how He went along picked out James, John, Phillip, Andrew, all of the different ones, even had to pick out the one who would betray Him. Over in John 6, He talks about haven't I chosen the 12 of you but yet one of you will be the betrayer and after praying all night I'm sure it was abundantly clear one of them were going to betray Him but no one knew it until right up to the very end, until that night after these various events, these very words here are spoken and He was betrayed by a kiss from Judas.
Let's notice here some very important scriptures in chapter 15, we read these on the night of the Passover.
John 15:16 John 15:16You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
American King James Version×You did not choose Me (Just like you'd pick out a teacher or ruler. They called Him Rabbi or Teacher.) You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Now why did God choose us? He chose these Disciples, tells them what their role is to be here, they'd go and bear fruit and your fruit remain. Now we know that when He gave them the parting commission there in Matthew 28, verses 18, 19 & 20 and over in Mark 16, verses 15 and 16 when He said go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, teaching them to observe the things I'm commanding you and low I'll be with you always till the end of the age.
So here is Jesus saying, I want you, I've called you to bear fruit. What is God saying to us in this 21st century now? He's calling us. He has chosen us, called us, selected us, elected us to be the called out ones in whom He could work and do a work and spread the gospel, preached the good news to the ends of the earth in whatever way that we possibly can and of course the council is working and looking at those things all the while. Mr. Eddington is presenting to them different things, different plans for even how to spread it more effectively so we can do a work as God's chosen people.
Now He said also, you're not going to be liked by the world He says in verse 19:
Verse 19: If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
But He says I've chosen you out of the world. We're not to be of the world, we're to go into the world with the gospel but not be of the world or like the world.
So how did it begin to happen? Let's look at Acts the second chapter again, we've looked at it time and again but let's notice a word here maybe we had overlooked. Acts the second chapter, the very first recorded sermon; this is by Peter there on the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. He's showing them how that Christ was of course put to death for sin and He said in verse 36:
Acts 2:36 Acts 2:36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
American King James Version×"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Verse 37: Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Verse 38: Then Peter said to them, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Now we can quote that forward and backwards, we've known that, we've heard it this many years. Verse 39, this is the scripture I want you to watch.
Verse 39: For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.
Or choose, select, to do a work and we find it here that they began to preach and teach, and how many received it? It says down toward the end that there were many who continued daily with one accord in the temple breaking bread from house to house. They praised God, they had favor with the people and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved, those who would respond to the call.
We know the parable of the sower there in Matthew 11 talks about the sower going out to sow and some of the seeds fell, the birds picked it up, devoured it, others fell among the stony places, some fell among weeds and thorns, and some fell into the good soil and so that of course had to do with who would respond and let the words fall deep into their ears so they would not turn from the word they had heard. They had to make the choice, they had to make the decision but the call went forth.
We know from John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×that none can come to the Son except the Spirit of the Father draw him, call him, woo him, bring him. We read over in the book of Romans where he says that it's the goodness of God that leads you, draws you to repentance and sitting in this room this afternoon we've experienced that, we've experienced the very calling of God in one way or the other which I'll mention a little bit more in just a moment.
Let's look over in the book of Acts, the 9th chapter. As I said as it was in Old Testament times, God chose different ones at different times. As we come into the New Testament, He chose Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world, to be the Messiah, the Teacher, to select the 12, to chose them, to build the foundation of the church which is upon the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone we read in Ephesians 2:20 Ephesians 2:20And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
American King James Version×.
Now he's going to choose another man. He needs a man who is very schooled in the law, who knows very well what the Jewish mind is like and what it thinks like but he's going to be one who has to make the blend of Jew and Gentile together and later become exclusively the Apostle to the Gentiles. You know the man. Hear we read of him in the 9th chapter of Acts beginning in verse 9.
Remember on the road to Damascus the light fell down, Paul or Saul as he was called Saul the destroyed who's going to become Paul the worked and it says:
Acts 9:9 Acts 9:9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
American King James Version×And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Verse 10: Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."
Verse 11: So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
Verse 12: And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight."
Verse 13: Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.
He's even come to Jerusalem, with credentials, with papers to destroy as many as he can, those who call on your name.
Verse 15: But the Lord said to him, "Go (Go Ananias, don't question me, I've got a job for this man, I'm asking you to go lay your hands on and he receive his sight) "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
Verse 16: For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."
There forward you can read the account of Paul and if there is one man that I really want to see and get to know in the Kingdom of God, it's Paul. Paul, what a tremendous example that he did, he gave of himself and he worked with his hands, provided his needs and preached every Sabbath to the people who would come and listen. Paul was a tremendous example.
Let's notice in the 13th chapter of the book of Acts. There are two or three examples of this chosen one and how it applies to you and me as God's chosen ones today. Paul had been given them a sermon here going through David and all of the things that happened back there to Jesus Christ.
Acts 13:36 Acts 13:36For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid to his fathers, and saw corruption:
American King James Version×For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.
Verse 38: Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man (that is Jesus Christ who came from David) is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
Verse 42: And when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Now just as an aside, a total different subject, but for those who think it doesn't matter which day you keep anymore because the Sabbath was for the Jews, the Gentiles of course were under a new covenant to the Gentiles and we keep any day and we can keep Sunday if that's the one you want to keep.
Let's notice, is that the way that he handled it? He says when the Jews had gone out of the synagogue; the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now here's an ideal time for Paul to say, "You don't have to wait till next Sabbath, we'll just come back tomorrow and we'll establish a new custom, we'll leave the church an example from here on that we can meet on Sunday."
Verse 43: Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them; persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Now notice, we're in the age of grace remember. Continue in the grace of God, what does the grace of God involve?
Verse 44: And the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
Verse 45: But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy: (jealously drove them) and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.
Verse 46: Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; (you remember to the Jew first and then to the Gentile) but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life (you see the call went out, the seed was sown but it all depended how they responded to it and now they're contradicting and blaspheming) behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
Verse 47: "For so the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you to be a light to the Gentiles, (this is quoting out of the book of Isaiah) that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
Verse 48: Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. (Notice the next few words, have you ever thought of it this way?) And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Those who had been appointed are chosen at that time to be a part of the New Testament Church of God and to be the ones who He would use to spread the gospel, they believed. To the Jews, they refused and He turned from them to go to the Gentiles.
Let's notice the end of the 18th chapter. We'll see something here in the l8th chapter of the book of Acts about the calling and the choosing of God. Let's look at about verse 8.
Acts 18:8 Acts 18:8And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
American King James Version×Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household.
Now here was the ruler of the synagogue and the synagogue was close by and right next to the synagogue. But Crispus and of course he would be named later by Paul believed on the Lord with all his household.
And many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized.
Verse 9: Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;
That's what He's saying to us today in the church, we need to speak the word of God, unafraid and unfearful and do not keep silent, let us not be silent but speak the word of God.
Verse 10: for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you (until my purpose for you is ended and of course He would go to Rome and give His life there but not until God was finished with Paul in his work) for I have many people in this city."
Verse 11: And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
And of course there was great growth in that area.
You know back when I first came to Cincinnati, 34 years ago, 35 years ago I guess it's going to be this coming January. I used to come through the cut in the hill, we were growing, I mean we were growing by leaps and bounds. I was down to Kentucky practically two and three days out of the week visiting new prospective members; over in Indiana, visiting new prospective members there. Out to Clemont, Brown, Adams County and as far as our area stretched. People were being called and I would look as I came through the cut in the hills of this scripture; I have much people in this city and how often I thought I'd like to be as Christ said when He looked over Jerusalem, and He said Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem how I'd like to gather you together as a mother hen does her little chicks but you would not. All of these greater Cincinnati, maybe 1-1/2-2 million people. I'd like to get at least 50,000 of you in that riverfront stadium over there and tell you about the word of God and the truth of God, the plan of God but it's not the time. I know you would not. But we did have some very successful campaigns in the area and the America Listen in 1970, July 4th weekend when we had some that came into the Church of God through those efforts when we had 7,000 people gathered into Cincinnati Gardens there in the Norwood area. We had numerous American Listen campaigns or Evangelistic campaigns, other campaigns and the church grew mostly through the radio, television broadcasting and to our Good News magazines and Plain Truth magazines and the correspondence course.
We have a man sitting right in this room this afternoon. Last year at the Feast down in Gatlinburg, my wife and I began to talk with this man. We talked about how we first heard about the church, about the Plain Truth, about the word of God and he began to tell us of the events in his life. I mean, that just seemed to turn the Feast around, it just added that extra dimension and as Dr. Levy was saying a moment ago that inspiration; that inspired us to just have a new look at what God is doing through his purpose and plan and calling and choosing now and to the Holy Days and what they picture all the way to the end. After talking with him I said, would you write me a letter and tell me just the highlights of what you have just told my wife and me?
He did. I wouldn't take anything for that letter. "You see I was born in Alabama in 1950. When I was about 14 or 15 my Uncle showed me the Plain Truth and I liked to look at it, to look at the pictures in it, it was just black and white in those days and began to read the Plain Truth when I was about 14/15. At age 18 I lost track of the Plain Truth. In 1970 when I was 20 years of age, I moved to Cincinnati and I wasn't used to a big city; that was a totally different world then living in a small community down in Alabama. He said in the spring of 1974 (that's almost 30 years ago) he said I went downtown for a walk, just sightseeing; nothing to do except go look around. He said I walked into the convention center; I saw people coming and going and I wondered what was going on. I just walked into this civic center downtown (not the civic center but the convention center) and he said I noticed on the table by the main entry way some copies of the Plain Truth and some booklets and I picked up the Plain Truth and began to thumb through. This was what my Uncle showed me back about 8 years ago. He said a man came up, he didn't remember the man, I don't know the man but the man said, hey, why don't you come on in? He said why I had nothing else to do so I walked in. He said I didn't know anything; my right hand from my left hand, spiritually. I sat down and when the meetings were over a young man came up and began to entertain me in conversation, told me we've got a church here. He said well how do I find out about that? He said let me give you Mr. Smith's phone number. I had a phone call. I'd like to talk with you about the bible, about God, about His truths."
So I arranged to go down and see him. It was a real good visit, I invited him to church, he began to grow, there was a problem though; his work required him to work on the Sabbath. But it just so happened, or did it, he had a rash on his arm from some of the cleaning detergents that he was using in the cleaning. He went to the company doctor. The company doctor gave him some ointment to put on. He asked the doctor, shouldn't I kind of have a break in days so that I give this time to heal? He said sure. He went back to his boss and because he was a good faithful worker, the boss listened. He told him what the doctor said. He said, that sounds all right, what days do you want off? He said, I'd like off Saturday and Wednesday. Now Saturday of course was the Sabbath he needed. Wednesday was bible study and he wanted to be off for that day. The boss says, o.k. those are your days and he got his days off. God worked it out. In just a short while, he was baptized and in about 27 years ago I had the opportunity to perform the wedding for him and his beautiful wife but all this happened in 1994/1995 along in there. Where would he stand? You don't have to know how thrilled I was, he walked right in, didn't miss a service since. God chose him. He responded to that call, he's here today.
Now I hope we can all tell different stories of how God dealt with us. I could tell you those who found the Plain Truth in a trash can and opened it up, found out we had a correspondence course, wrote for it, found out we had a church, wrote for a visit and became faithful members of the church of God.
So God has ways to bring us about where He wants us to be at whatever given time to do His work. So I would like for us as we begin to wind down to look over just 2 or 3 scriptures here in II Thessalonians 2 and here we find Paul explaining to the Church of God in Thessalonica, beginning in verse 13.
II Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, (the people there in Thessalonica, you remember in was in Thessalonica they ran him out of the city, they wouldn't listen, went over to Berea and they were more faithful and loyal in Berea, they received the word and were ready to search the scriptures whether it was so or not as we read back in Acts 17:11 Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
American King James Version×) brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,
Verse 14: to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 15: Therefore brethren, (do we have something to do, do we have to respond, do we have to grow in grace and knowledge? Yes we do.) stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
Verse 16: Now may our Lord Jesus Chris Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,
Verse 17: comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
All prayed for the people that he had been responsible for bringing along to the truth. He said I'm thanking God for you and certainly we in the ministry look back over the ones we baptized, we visited, we buried the dead, we married their children, we've done these things and certainly we remember them in our prayers for they did respond and they are still loyal and faithful to God now.
Let's look at I Peter the second chapter, you're familiar with these scriptures, they're just ones we've read time and again but let's notice beginning in verse 4. Again he's quoting out of the Psalm, he says:
I Peter 2:4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
Yes man rejected Him; that put Him to the stake, they took His life but He was chosen by God and precious,
Verse 5: you also, as living stones, are being built up (we are being built up, keep that in mind, don't have it made yet, we're being built up) a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Verse 6: Therefore it is also contained in the scripture,
"Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Hill will by
no means be put to shame."
Verse 7: Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
"The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,"
Verse 8: and
"A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense."
They stumble, being disobedient to the word to which they were appointed.
But you as Christians; you who do stay loyal and faithful.
Verse 9: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, (not a holy nation upon the earth but a people making up the Israel of God, the Church of God) that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Verse 10: who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Isn't that something to be thankful for and to rejoice and thank God for?
I know we have our problems, I know we have our difficulties to go through, so did Jesus, so did the Apostles, so did the early ones of the New Testament Church and through the ages when they had to run, hide in caves to escape the persecution upon them. Who knows what we will have to do in the end-time before the wrap up is over. But in all of this we can take confidence that He has chosen us for a purpose to be done and He will protect us and see it through even though we have to go through the valley of shadow of death many times which Doris is having to do right now, she and the children but God will see us through it all. He promised He wouldn't put anything on us greater than we're able to bear there in I Corinthians 10 but will provide a way of escape that we can bear up under it and stay faithful and come out at the other side.
Let's notice something in II Peter the first chapter, there again Peter's writing probably not long before the end of his life and he saying that he wants us:
II Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
Verse 4: by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Verse 5: But also for this reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, to virtue knowledge,
Verse 6: to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
Verse 7: to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
Verse 8: For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 9: For he who lacks these thing is shortsighted (who does not continue to grow in grace and knowledge, who does not continue to add to the characteristics that God says add to our life. If we don't have these we're shortsighted) even to blindness and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Verse 10: Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make you calling and election (you're being chosen) sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
Verse 11: for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Yes, the call does go out, the see planted and then what we do with that will depend what our future will be. Over and over we read the scriptures be faithful until death and I will give you a crown of life. He that endures to the end will be saved, he who overcomes will inherit all things and I'll be his God and he will be My Son.
In conclusion let's look at Revelation 17, here is a tremendous scripture here, I would jump ahead to a verse that I will show you how God is working out. God knows exactly what He's doing, He knows exactly what's going on in the Middle East, he knows exactly how the final power play will come about whether it be for oil or for land or for whatever and He knows exactly how the whole situation will finally resolve itself. We've often been told we look to the end of the book and sure enough we come out winners if we stay faithful because God is going to work out all things and He does tell us in Romans 8:18 Romans 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
American King James Version×that He works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, the chosen ones according to His purpose.
Revelation 17:16 Revelation 17:16And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
American King James Version×And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
How come? Because God has a purpose He's working out and because:
Verse 17: God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
God is very much aware of what goes on, He's very much aware of our needs, our hurts, our disappointments and everything else and He's able to give us the courage, the strength to come right to it victorious. Now back up just about 4 verses.
Verse 13: "These are of one mind (the ten horns, it will be the ten kings) and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
Verse 14: These will make war with the Lamb, (no doubt who that is) and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."
Isn't it great to be a Chosen One?