Straight to the Heart

 
 
 

Why the Doctrine of Election is So Precious to Me

All that the Father gives me will come to me, . . .

(John 6:37, ESV)
 
This spring break, I was privileged to spend a few days with some of our high school students during their spring retreat. The retreat theme was the sovereignty of God. I was encouraged by the sincerity of our students’ questions and the depth of their understanding. We all have questions when it comes to the sovereignty of God and human responsibility, especially as it relates to salvation. For some, the doctrine of election (God’s free and sovereign decision to choose a people for salvation from the foundation of the world—Ephesians 1:3-6) is a frightening idea, and for others, it’s an abominable thought. Still, we find this truth taught throughout Scripture. So, rather than avoid it, let’s reflect on this precious doctrine because I am convinced that a clear understanding of the doctrine of election should produce hope and assurance, rather than fear and contempt. Allow me to share some of the reasons why the doctrine of election is so precious to me.
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it is biblical.In a display of the Father’s love for the Son, He gives a specific people to the Son (John 6:37). This truth is evident in the testimony of the book of Revelation when it declares that the only ones entering the eternal heaven are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27). John further testifies in Revelation 13:8, that these names were written in this book before the foundation of the world.  In other words, one fruit of the Father’s love for Jesus is our salvation. The Father made a free and sovereign decision to save a people as a gift for the Son and for His own glory from the foundation of the world (see also John 8:47; John 10:26-29; Romans 9:10-16).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it secures my salvation.
Jesus declared that all that the Father gave Him would come to Him and that He would never cast out any who came to Him (John 6:37). Jesus delights in receiving and keeping those whom the Father gives Him because He came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38-40), and the Father’s will is for Jesus not to lose any of the ones that the Father has given Him but that He raise them all up on the last day (John 6:39).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it encourages me to pursue holiness.
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that “God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13, ESV). The Bible assures us that even though now we are only gradually being conformed to the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18), we will at glorification be wholly conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it is the basis for the assurance of my salvation.
Because God gives a people to the Son, and because the Son receives that people and keeps them, I am assured that I will never be cast out (John 6:37), nor perish, nor be snatched out of Jesus’ hand (John 10:28). Can you imagine such assurance?  The God who predestines for salvation (election) will ensure that all whom He calls to salvation will ultimately be glorified (Romans 8:30).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it encourages me to share the gospel and gives me hope for fruit in evangelism and missions.
Not only does the Father give a people to the Son (John 6:37), and not only does the Son receive these people and keep them (John 6:37-39), but the Father also assures that those whom He gives to the Son will come to the Son. It is the Father’s will that everyone believing in the Son have eternal life (John 6:40), and the ones who believe can only come at the Father’s drawing (John 6:44, 65).  Therefore, if the Father gives a people to the Son, and He assures these people come to the Son, then we can be assured that evangelism and missions will bear fruit (Acts 13:48). That truth allows us to find encouragement in our Lord’s words to Paul, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,  for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:9-10, ESV).
 
Finally, the doctrine of election is precious to me because it moves me to make much of God through Christ (true worship) and little of myself (humility).
May we understand election, and may it strip us of personal pride and move us to worship the Sovereign Lord in all His glory and grace.
 

Love,



High Pointe Baptist Church | Regional Fellowships Sunday, March 31 | 5:00 PM

Mark Sunday, March 31 on your calendars now., because it is the fifth Sunday. On fifth Sundays, we participate in the Lord’s Supper in the morning service and meet throughout the Austin Metro area on Sunday evening for regional fellowships.
 
As we continue to grow in number, it adds to the challenge of staying connected as a church. And because we want to continue to grow, not just numerically but, in our love and care for one another, the elders have a burden to make sure all our members are involved in gospel community. Many of you already experience gospel community by meeting together in various ways throughout the week. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, too many of our members still aren’t able to take advantage of the opportunities we offer to experience rich gospel relationships.
 
To live together as a church, speaking the truth in love to one another so that we may encourage one another to grow to be more like Jesus, requiresall our members to be living in gospel community.There are many hurdles to this kind of gospel community, but the most significant is geography. So, to help you connect with other members who live near you, we have established regional fellowships that happen only on fifth Sunday.
 
As mentioned before, our next regional fellowship is Sunday, March 31, at 5:00 pm. Instead, of all of us gathering at High Pointe on this Sunday night, we encourage you to attend the regional group closest to where you live:
  • North Austin – High Pointe Baptist Church (12030 Dessau RoadAustin, TX 78754)
  • South Austin – Home of Bill and Toni Fox (*)
  • Pflugerville / Wells Branch – Falcon Pointe Clubhouse (19015 Falcon Pointe Blvd, Pflugerville, TX 78660)
  • Round Rock / Georgetown / Hutto– Olson Meadows Park (4200 Brushy Creek Rd, Round Rock, TX 78681)
  • Manor / Elgin / Bastrop – Presidential Meadows Amenities Center (12220 Dwight Eisenhower St, Manor, TX 78653)
 
Mark your calendars now, and make every effort to attend your regional fellowship! We pray that this will help you continue to make lasting relationships that will encourage you in your Christian walk.

 

Grace and peace,
 


Boldly Speaking the Gospel No Matter the Cost

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness…”

(Acts 4:29, ESV)
 
Much of the persecution we face today does not result in imprisonments or executions. It mostly occurs in intimidation, ridicule, and loss of rights or freedoms. Think of all the news accounts over the last few years of Christian business persons who have lost their religious freedom to operate their company, whether small or large, according to their conviction. In the early period of the church, it too faced this kind of persecution, and that is what we find in Acts 4. In Acts 4, the church faces persecution for the first time in the New Testament.
 
One of the lessons we learn is that all persecution, whether great or small, results from a clash of authorities, a clash of kingdoms. You see, God has placed His king – Jesus – on the throne, and the nations rage against God’s king (Psalm 2). And because, as Christians, we are subjects of King Jesus, the nations will rage against us also – that’s the reason for persecution.
 
The question every Christian must face is: When persecution comes, and we must decide whose authority we will follow, Christ’s or the world’s, what will we do? Will we cower under the world’s authorities? Will we retreat and keep silent? Or, will we stand in the name and jurisdiction of King Jesus and speak the gospel with boldness, no matter what the cost? The first biblical account of persecution helps us answer these questions.
 
First, we need to understand that when we speak the gospel with boldness, we WILL be persecuted (Acts 4:1-4).When the temple leaders arrest Peter and John, we are witnessing the clash of two kingdoms, two authorities – the authority of King Jesus versus the authority of the old Jewish temple system. By arresting the apostles, the temple authorities are fulfilling Jesus’ warning to His disciples in Luke 21:10-19. We shouldn’t be surprised by Christian suffering and persecution; this is the norm for faithful, bold Christians (John 15:18-19). BUT, persecution is not the only result of boldly speaking the gospel. We also see that some people will respond to the gospel message (Acts 4:4; also John 15:20).   You see, while persecution is inevitable when we speak the gospel boldly, so is gospel fruitfulness. So, regardless of the consequences, let us boldly share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some will rage against King Jesus and as well as us as His messengers, but others will hear our message and believe. But since persecution is sure, what should we do when we encounter it?
 
Second, when persecuted, we should continue speaking the gospel with boldness (Acts 4:5-22).This may sound counterintuitive, but that’s precisely what the apostles do. Peter and John are arrested, brought before the top Jewish officials, and they speak the gospel with great boldness. Here we see four reasons why we should continue pronouncing the gospel boldly:
 
  • 4:5-10 | We have the Holy Spirit– Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter boldly proclaims Christ and charges the Jewish leadership with killing Jesus. The promise of the Spirit is not just for the apostles, though. It is for all who believe! That’s you, and that’s me. We have the Holy Spirit of God, and we should ask God to fill us with His Spirit so that we may be empowered to be a witness for Christ.
 
  • 4:11-12 | We offer the only way of salvation– While many “enlightened” souls today claim that all roads lead to God, Peter is clear that the only name given by God by which we may be saved is “Jesus” (4:12). If there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ, doesn’t that mean that we should be urgently engaged in the mission to speak the gospel of Jesus with boldness? Shouldn’t we share the gospel with our unbelieving family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances – with anyone who doesn’t know Jesus and comes into our lives? This is what we call evangelism.
 

And shouldn’t we be concerned with the million of peoples around the world who do not know Jesus? Shouldn’t we be engaged in praying for, supporting, and even sending people to share the gospel across cultures to unbelievers? That’s what we call missions.   The fact that salvation is only in Christ means that we should be telling others about Christ as often as possible.

  • 4:13-14 | We have been with Jesus– we can speak the gospel with boldness because we have been with Jesus and taught by Him. Sure, the apostles uniquely were with Jesus, but we too have the Spirit, and Jesus is with us by His Spirit. And Jesus is now teaching us as we commune with Him by His Word. But Jesus is also preparing us now by His Church – through our discipleship interactions with one another, and through the Word ministry of the pastors which Jesus has given to His church (Ephesians 4:11).
 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when unbelievers came into contact with us, they could tell that we have been with Jesus? Because we have been with Jesus, we don’t need a formal theological education to be able to share the gospel. We just need to tell others what we have learned from Jesus in our personal devotions, in our times of discipleship, and in the preaching of the Word.

  • 4:15-22 | We cannot help but testify as to what Jesus is doing in our lives– When we’ve been with Jesus and see what He is doing, we can’t help but tell others! To be sure, our testimonies are NOT the gospel, but our testimonies are our stories of how God is at work in our lives and in our church. Let’s tell others the good things God is doing!
 
  Finally, when persecuted, we should ask God for grace to continue preaching with boldness (Acts 4:23-31). Persecution is certain; so is God’s grace! When the apostles were released from prison, they joined the other disciples and prayed together, asking God to give them more grace to be able to continue preaching the gospel with boldness.
 
May High Pointe be known as a church that walks with Jesus and speaks the gospel with boldness. And may we jointly ask God for the grace to speak the gospel with boldness with all unbelievers we come in contact with. Can you imagine what God might do if all of us together asked Him to give us boldness in sharing the gospel? We will likely experience persecution, but I suspect, we will also experience gospel fruitfulness. Will you join us in asking God for the grace to speak the gospel with boldness, no matter what the cost? May God answer this prayer!
 
Love,
 



Juan Sanchez

Juan Sanchez (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. In addition, Juan serves as a council member of The Gospel Coalition, co-founder and president of Coalición, assistant professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He has authored numerous books, including 1 Peter for You and Seven Dangers Facing your Church. Juan and his wife, Jeanine, have five daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren.
 
    

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