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Christianity 101 (3 of 20)
Election and Evangelism
I Thessalonians 1:4-8
In these five chapters of Thessalonians we have laid before us some of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. I think we are aware of the fact that we are living in a time of religious confusion. Many Christians do not know what they believe. They do not know what the Scriptures teach in many areas. They do not know how to apply the truth of the Scripture to their daily life and behavior.
First Thessalonians is written to a group of people who were new believers at this time. You will find that the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, lays out before us some of these life changing doctrines of the Christian faith. That's why I'm calling it Christianity 101.
Last Wednesday night we stopped on that word, election, in verse 4. We talked a little about the doctrine of election. Paul is saying to these young believers, you have been elected by God. The Bible teaches this doctrine of election. You will find it all the way through the New Testament.
Election is that divine act of God's will whereby He chose to save you before the foundation of the world. Before this world came into existence, before you were born, the Bible says that God by an act of His divine will chose to save you. As a saved person, you are now a part of the elect.
It is a precious truth. It is a wonderful truth. It means that you and I have no part to play in terms of saving ourselves. It means that God did the work of salvation. We are saved, not dependent upon ourselves, we are saved because of what God has done for us. That means you and I have not part in our salvation in terms of earning or meriting that salvation.
It also means that we are very special to the Lord. You have been chosen. Do you remember when you were a kid at school and they were choosing sides? Do you remember how uptight you got about it, wondering if you were going to be selected? When they finally picked you, do you remember what a good feeling it was to be chosen?
Here is a truth that blesses our hearts. To think that we are chosen! That God has selected us! That we belong to Him!
In verse 4 he drops in that word, beloved. We are elected of God. We are the beloved. It is a love truth. It is one of the truths of the Bible which teaches us how wonderful God's love is and how very much God loves us.
Election is a great truth in the Bible. Unfortunately, the doctrine of election has also become a controversial truth. There is great controversy which swirls around the doctrine of election. Churches have been divided over it. Christians have become confused about the doctrine of election. Winning people to Christ, the work of evangelism has been greatly hindered by a misunderstanding of the doctrine of election.
I could take you all over the rural county in Georgia where I came from and show you a number of churches, some with 4 or 5, 6 and 8 members. Those churches are ch ...
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