You Have Been Chosen
Introduction: God's Sovereign Choice
From the website 'Preaching Today,' I found this story about entertainer Garrison Keilor who recalls the childhood pain of being chosen last for baseball teams. He said:
The captains are down to their last grudging choices: a slow kid for catcher, someone to stick out in right field where nobody hits it. They choose the last ones two at a time—"you and you"—because it makes no difference. And the remaining kids—the scrubs , the excess—they deal for us as handicaps. "If I take him, then you gotta take him," they say.
Sometimes I go as high as sixth, usually lower. But just once I'd like Darrel to pick me first and say, "Him! I want him! The skinny kid with the glasses and the black shoes. You, c'mon!" But I've never been chosen with much enthusiasm.
Did you ever think about the fact that you are so valuable to God he chose you early—with enthusiasm. "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight" (Ephesians 1:4).
This should cause all of us who have trusted Christ to be eternally grateful for God's amazing grace toward us. After all, there are over 7.8 billion people in this world today. To most of them you and I are nothing special. The average person can walk down the street, or go into stadiums full of thousands of people, and they will pass us by and pay practically no attention to our existence. We can be nameless in a crowd who cares little about anything but their own inner circle around them.
Even those who achieve wealth and fame during their lifetime, will quickly be forgotten by future generations. Most of our children's children will never realize that the once powerful even existed, though millions may have envied their position while they journeyed this earth.
Yet none of us will ever be forgotten by God. We were created in His image. Indeed, those who are His by faith in Jesus Christ, were in His thoughts and loved by Him long before we ever drew our first breath.
I. Our Special Position
The universe is so big, and our earth is so small in comparison. And yet it's inhabitants are special to the God who made it all. Especially humanity.
Psalm 8 puts it very well when talking about our God and us in comparison. It tells us:
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
"You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas." (8:1-8).
Man, indeed has a special place in the Lord's creation. Being God's image bearers is no small feat. And along with that privilege, we were also given both rank and responsibility.
However, all that was marred by the sin which Adam committed (Romans 5:12). We, Adam's descendants, are now sinners by birth and by choice.
The perfect holy God cannot look upon sin, and in His righteous judgment, had to punish us for our disobedience. This lead us to a state of being without hope , and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). It could have been the end of the story. However, thank God, he added a few more chapters.
II. God's Choice
Despite the sin that has separated us from a holy God, the believer was chosen by Him. Paul has this to say about us in Ephesians 1:4-6:
"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."
We are now a children of the God and King of the universe, having been adopted into His family. We are heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7). And nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38,39). Believers in Jesus Christ will spend an eternity glorifying the One who made it all possible.
Yet, lest any of us be proud that God would choose us and not someone else for this high honor, we have to remember that we had nothing to do with it. The Bible says that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Scripture teaches us that all the works of righteousness which we could ever do amount to little more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
We who have been chosen cannot think that we are somehow better than others. It was God's sovereign choice, not because of anything we have done, but because of his grace, mercy and love.
We see this in verses such as Ephesians 2:8,9 which tells us:
"For by grace you have been saved by faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast."
Also Titus 3:5 states:
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost."
Indeed, God's choice of us can be summed up by an illustration once given by an American Indian who was asked to summarize God's grace to him.
He took a pile of leaves and an earth worm. He laid the worm in the leaves and set the leaves on fire—at the last minute he lifted it out and said:
'I am the worm. That is the way Jesus saved me!'
And the truth is that all of us are like that worm. We were totally helpless and hopeless to save ourselves. Yet Jesus chose to snatch us out of the fires of Hell.
III. Our New Family
And having snatched us out of that eternal separation and judgment God has taken those whom He has chosen and placed them in fellowship. Mankind was never meant to live alone, and now we have been placed together with other believers. This fellowship of redeemed in this Dispensation in which we are now living is called the Body of Christ, or the Church. Each individual plays a role in the growth of the Church. We are all given Spiritual gifts that serve a vital function for the edification of the Body (I Corinthians 12:1-11).
None of us can say we have no purpose again. And none of us can tell another member that they are unnecessary. Here is what Paul says in I Corinthians 12:18-25 about this subject:
"But in fact God has placed the parts in the Body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other."
We always give a lot of praise to the people who get up in front every Sunday and to those who have the more prominent gifts. However, if the less prominent gifts were not being exercised, the people up front would never be able to do what they do. There is a need for people behind the scenes who clean and decorate the sanctuary, mow the grass, pay the bills and repair the broken equipment in the building. And there are myriads of other things that need to be done. Even if they may appear to magically get repaired and completed, they don't take care of themselves. And they are almost always done by people with the various gifts and abilities with which the Lord has given them.
We were each created to glorify God and serve our fellow believers, as well as others outside the Body, with the gifts and talents our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us. And all of us, acting together, using what has supernaturally been equipped to us, under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit living in us, are a mighty force to be reckoned with.
None of us are what we should be at this point in time. We are all works in progress. But we can give thanks for the fact that God has graciously chosen us. Though we are not yet what we are supposed to be, we certainly aren't what we once were before our salvation.
When God chose and adopted us into His forever family, He didn't just bestow on us what human parents could. To those whom He has chosen, not only did He give His love and resources but He gave us His own nature as well. And, as we grow in Him, that nature becomes more and more pronounced in our lives.
Thank the Lord that He isn't finished with us yet, but will bring us to complete maturity. The goal of His choice of us is to make us like His perfect, sinless and loving Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29; I John 3:2,3). And then, as trophies of His grace, we will bring glory to Him and enjoy Him forever.
Most of us will never be chosen by the world for anything great. But who cares! We, who know Jesus Christ, have been chosen by the God of the universe to be His own dearly loved children. And that is worth more than any honors that we can ever receive on this earth.
Praise God for His amazing grace and mercy that He picked us out of all the billions of people that have existed on this planet. And that choice is forever! We will always belong to Him. What a wonderful and mighty God we serve!
© 2013 Jeff Shirley