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Sermons: Tarentum, by Robert Johnson
The Sovereign Will Of God
I. Missionaries Closing The Door To Heaven: Protestant Reformed Church
II. Our Sovereign God Wills That Man Make A Choice!
III. Our Sovereign God’s Expressed Desire and Love For All Men:
IV. The Potter And The Clay: The Truth:

Introduction: Calvinism versus Free Will?
A. There is a great need for God’s people to know the difference between Biblical truth and the many errors which may cause men to lose their souls.
2 Tim 4:1-4: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
B. Today, I want us to discuss a false teaching which greatly troubles me: Calvinism and the Sovereign will of God.
1. It troubles me because it not only rejects the truth, but slanders the Biblically stated character and love of God, making Him a respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34,35)
2. It troubles me because it makes God the creator and director of evil.
3. It troubles me because it portrays God condemning men, women and children to hell and denying them any hope or way to be saved from their sins.
C. The word “Sovereign” refers to one possessing supreme power and authority, unlimited in power or control.
1. Certainly the Bible does teach that God is all powerful, ever present and deeply involved in the daily affairs of the world He has created.
Psa 24:1: "A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
Acts 17:28: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."
2. But though God works in the world to bring about His divine purpose and will, this does not mean that everything that happens in this world is pleasing to God or His will.
3. God has created a world in which freedom is a real possibility.
4. “His permissive will provides for human freedom and the laws of nature.”
D. Today we will examine the claims of some modern Calvinist missionaries and then examine the will of God as revealed in the scriptures.

I. Missionaries Closing The Door To Heaven: Protestant Reformed Church
A. We have been recently studying with several men who have dedicated themselves to spreading the word to the world that Calvinism is truth and God does not allow all people to choose to follow Jesus and receive salvation:
1. I am reminded of the words which Jesus spoke to the Pharisees:
Mat 23:12-13: "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
B. Let us examine some statements in the booklet, “God’s Sovereignty In Salvation” (Protestant Reformed Mission).
1. They say if God does not get everything He wants and if He does not control every single detail in this world, then He is not sovereign.
“For it is impossible to conceive of a sovereign God whose will and purpose can be frustrated by those over whom He rules. If the will of the ruled can in any way change or thwart the will of the ruler, then the ruler is not sovereign.”
Isa 46:9-10: "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (p.4)
“His will is so sovereign that He has determined just exactly what comes to pass in this world. God has determined and appointed absolutely everything. Even the smallest details are comprehended in His will and purpose.” (p. 5) (Even the socks we wear??? Question asked missionary).
2. They believe man has no say and no choice whatsoever in whether he is saved or lost.
“It can not be that man is the one who determines, by his own will, whether or not he will be saved. Certainly man must seek God, love Him and serve Him out of a willing heart. But ultimately, since God is sovereign, salvation must depend solely upon His sovereign choice. For He is the infinite Creator Who has the right and power to do with His finite creatures exactly what he pleases--even with respect to our eternal destiny.” (Then mentions Rom. 9:21-23, Potter and clay--One of their backbone prooftexts!). (p. 6).
“Oh indeed we choose God, but only after He has chosen us and grants us the power to choose Him.” (p. 7)
“Since God sovereignly predestinated the life of every man (some to glory and others to destruction), it cannot be that God’s predestination is based upon man’s choice--his faith and repentance...For that would make man’s choice sovereign rather than God’s choice. That would make God’s predestination depend upon man’s will.” (p. 7,8)
“Predestination...cannot be based upon man’s work--not his good nor his evil, not his faith nor his unbelief. Both election and reprobation are unconditional. Predestination is the sovereign and free choice of God alone.” (p.8)
“God did not choose anyone to salvation and glory because He saw beforehand that they would believe and repent of their sins.” (p. 7)

3. They believe that God does not love everyone; He only loves the elect, and He makes sure they are save and that everyone else goes to hell.
“God’s love cannot be some powerless emotion that would like to see all men saved, but does not have the strength to accomplish that desire. God’s love must be an effectual power that not only wills the salvation of its objects (election), but actually does save them...God’s love does not sit around watching its objects go to hell and do nothing about it. If God loves you, then He saves you. (p.9)
“Because He loves His people, He must effectually draw them out of their sin and death and into the glory of His everlasting salvation. His sovereign love will not allow His people to be damned. There are no objects of His love in hell at the present time, nor shall there ever be any there. How cruel would His love be if it did not will to save its objects from hell, and how weak if it could not save from hell.” (p.10)

4. They believe that Jesus did not die for everyone, only for the ones God loves and plans to save.
“The redemption which Christ merited on the cross if for a particular and definite group of people. It is limited to those whom God loves and whom He has chosen to salvation from before the foundation of the world. Christ did not (emphasis theirs) die for everyone. He died for the elect of God and for them alone...God does not have to provide for the salvation of all and then wait upon man to make the choice. If that were true, then He would not be sovereign...He sent Christ to die, not for all, but for only those whom He intended to save.” (p.13)
5. They believe that even the “elect” cannot decide on their own (without a miracle-regeneration) to have faith.
“It is inconceivable that God would sovereignly plan our salvation, objectively obtain that salvation through the foreordained death of His only begotten Son, and then leave it up to man to appropriate that salvation in and of himself. No, since God planned it, He alone carries out that plan. He sovereignly applies salvation to the elect sinner.” (p.15)
“It can not be that faith and repentance precede regeneration and thus are conditions which must be met before God can regenerate us. Both faith and repentance are impossible apart from the new birth...regeneration is never the result of man’s choice.” (p. 16,17)

6. Of course the root of this false teaching is the belief that man is totally depraved because of the sin of Adam:
“Moreover, the depravity of man’s nature is total. It not only extends to the whole of his being but it makes him totally incapable of any good...He has neither the will nor the power to change his wicked heart.” (p. 17,18)

II. Our Sovereign God Wills That Man Make A Choice!
A. Since Adam, God has created all mankind with the freedom to choose either good or evil:
1. Since God is all powerful and His will always rules, then it would be wise for us to understand that the all powerful God has willed that individuals have a choice concerning their eternal relationship with Him:
Deu 11:26-28: "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known."
Isa 1:19-20: "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."
1 Chr 28:9: "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever."

2. By giving man the freedom to choose, God did not will that disobedience occur, though he permitted the potential existence of disobedience.
B. God in most every case, has established His covenants and relationships with man on an “”if -then” basis (i.e. the promises and blessings of God as well as promises of destruction are based on the choices man makes or how he chooses to live.)
Exo 19:5-8: "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD."
Exo 23:22: "But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries." (Note: Lev 26:13-18)
Josh 24:20-25: "If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. 21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. 22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. 24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem."
Heb 3:13-15: "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”

III. Our Sovereign God’s Expressed Desire and Love For All Men:
A. The Bible clearly reveals that God has a desire for none to perish, but He has left the decision up to each individual and will judge them based on their choices:
1. God created all men and desires that they seek Him and repent!
Acts 17:26-31: "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
2. God wants us to pray for all men and desires that all would be saved by receiving the truth.
1 Tim 2:1-4: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
3. God is “unwilling” that any should perish, but desires all to repent:
2 Pet 3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Ezek 18:20-32: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? 24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. 25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? 26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. 27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. 28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? 30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."

B. God’s love and invitation to salvation is limited to one group of people: “WHOSOEVER WILL."
1. God’s love extends to every person in the world:
John 3:14-17: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
a. By the way, Jesus did die for the sins of every man, even though not every man will choose faith.
1 John 2:2-3: "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."
Heb 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

2. The Gospel is good news for “whosoever” will believe and obey Jesus unto salvation.
Rom 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Mark 8:34-35: "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
Mat 7:24: "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:"
Mat 10:32-33: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Mat 12:50: "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Acts 2:21: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Acts 10:43: "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."
2 John 1:9: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."

John 12:46-48: "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."

IV. The Potter And The Clay: The Truth:
A. Calvinists use the potter and the clay in Romans 9 as one of their favorite proof texts:
1. They greatly abuse its context, for it merely teaches that God can save the Gentiles if He chooses even over the protest of the Jews.
Rom 9:33: "As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
B. What they should do is examine the Potter and the Clay as explained in Jeremiah chapter 18, which is actually very similar in its context and meaning.
Jer 18:6-12: "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. 7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. 11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. 12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart."

Conclusion: Consider Acts 10:34,35

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