[“Web’s Wednesday Wisdom” is a weekly feature by Webster Hunt here at the 4thDaveBlog. You can follow Webster Hunt on Twitter.]
The man preaching the sermon you will be listening to is my local pastor, Mark Webb. He’s one of those unsung, small-church heroes who diligently does the work of an overseer week in and out, in caring for his people both by teaching them from the Scriptures and by caring for them personally, as he has the means and ability. He will probably not fill a stadium so that people will rush to hear him preach, but he will definitely go to his Master and hear “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and receive his reward with joy and gladness. I thank God for every week that He determines that it’s better for us that he remains.
(PS – as he himself has said, the scripture is clear that there is honor due to the servant who faithfully does the work His Master assigns. I’ll just leave that here.)
The reason I’m bringing him up before I give a few notes on the sermon he preached on Sunday is because he’s MY pastor. He’s the elder responsible for personally teaching myself and my fellow local members the scriptures. He knows my wife and I. He has looked into our eyeballs, he has prayed for us, he knows our lives in part – he has existed in the same space and time as we have on more than one occasion, and knows others who have also done that. He’s the one that I’m supposed to submit to, given he is preaching the Scriptures and leading according to them – and oh, boy does he! The Lord has been good to Grace Bible Church. John Piper isn’t my local pastor. Neither is MacArthur. And no matter how much I enjoy what they write, neither is Dan Phillips nor Frank Turk (who isn’t a pastor, so I guess he technically doesn’t count, but mentioning him without Mr. Phillips would be like mentioning coffee without doughnuts).
This man labors over sermons that are going to affect his congregants. He’s not preaching His hobby horses. In fact, when he was going through Philippians, after preaching the context of that wonderful cluster of verses in chapter 2, namely 5-11, he took two weeks, at the request of the body, to address the Christological aspects of those verses. For us. So that we could learn and be edified. It was not bothersome to remind us of what he already knew, what some of us already knew. It was his honor and privilege for the sake of the sanctification of the Body of believers of our Master, the Lord Jesus, to go through those things again.
So I want to keep with all that I said last week, concerning how anyone can be anything on the internet, and let you hear from the man who shepherds the local body I am a member of.
Its title is “The Father Delivering Up His Son” http://www.gracemessenger.com/index.php?id=1399
As you listen (if you listen) here are some notes I took down to help you think through the text – they’re drawn from , and even sometimes quoted from, the sermon, so let me be clear that these are Pastor Mark Webb’s words and thoughts and working throughs, and not mine – unless I note it. I will say that this is probably the best sermon I’ve ever heard concerning the doctrine of election, and even of limited atonement, because of this over-arching theme:
THAT GOD WILL NOT BE THWARTED IN ACCOMPLISHING WHAT HE SET OUT TO DO.
AND HE DECIDED TO SAVE FOR HIMSELF A PARTICULAR PEOPLE AT THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS.
If you can’t buy those two things, then I doubly suggest you listen and work through this text.
*He’s preaching from Romans 8:31-32, concerning how God did not spare Christ, but rather delivered him up for us.
*Consider these three things in light of that verse:
1) That God is a God of purpose and plan
a) In v31, “these things”, Paul is drawing a conclusion from v28, where we see that for all those called according to His purpose, all things work together for good.
b) In v29, we see that those whom He foreknew He also predestined, also called, also justified, and also glorified. The same group of people at the beginning of the “Golden Chain” are the same group of people at the end – none are lost or gained, all are there, all are completed purposefully.
c) Because God knew in eternity past who was going to be with him in eternity future, you can’t use “foreknowledge” to escape the doctrine of election. Because if God foreknows anyone or anything, that thing is set. If God knows it, it’s going to happen exactly the way He knew it would.
d) Notice he foreknew a “Who” not a “What.
e) Ask yourself, if you’re a Christian, “What was his criteria for saving ME?”
f) Ask, “What did the crucifixion have to do with this plan to save a people?” and then read Acts 2:22- 23. You see it?
In that first part, there are especially two quotes worth remembering:
I) Our responsibility is to God’s revealed will, not His secret will.
II) If you go to hell It will not be because you weren’t elected. It will be because you’re a sinner, rebelling in the face of God. It will be because you refused the grace of Christ Jesus.
2) That He is a God absolutely determined to bring into effect that purpose
a) That God would not spare His own Son, but rather gave Him up, sheds light on the determination of God to save for Himself a people.
b) Note the cost of saving for Himself a people.
c) There must have been no other way to effect His purpose, considering the immense cost to effect His plan, whereby the greatest possession God had, that He would have spared could he have, he delivers up.
d) Why wasn’t there another way?
e) We must consider the problem to see why there was no other way.
f) Sin is the most obvious obstacle, but once we consider what sin is – cosmic treason against a Holy God that cannot look at the least sin with the least amount of satisfaction – we realize that God is the real obstacle. If he could simply overlook sin, there’d be no obstacle. But He will not.
g) The God who cannot look upon the least sin and be satisfied, nor the least sinner, is determined to save those same sinners. Amazing.
h) But to do that a substitute is required – not just any, but one able to suffer, one perfect and Holy, and one of infinite value to equal and satisfy the infinite offense of sin.
i) In all of this, we see that God will stop at nothing to save His people. To affect His plan, the highest possible price He could have paid, He did.
3) That from our POV, God is a God of love
*And honestly, this is the one I forget the most. Yes, definitely, God did what He did according to the council of His own Triune will, and He did it to glorify His Name and the Name of His Son Jesus, but He did it because He loved His people. Keep listening.
a) God thought it good to deliver up His Son, to gain you and me. It’s not how wonderful I am. God gave up His Son to love us, His people. He thought that worth doing. Why?
b) Theologically, He did it for His own glory and purpose. Phenominally, He did it because He loves me. He loves His people.
c) God’s love is not simply more, it’s different. He chose us in spite of us, not because of us.
d) God’s love is based on will, not on emotion. He loves us because He wants to. He doesn’t love because of us, but because He is love. And He decided to set His love upon us and He chose to love us.
e) God’s love was purposed, executed, determined to win and save its object. He will not be denied the object of His love, He will win His people. That’s the love of God. Nothing will thwart Him from securing the object of His love *might I add, even “free will” – He will do and accomplish what He has set out to do and accomplish*.
f) Read Romans 8: 38-39 and see Paul’s own convinced mind as a conclusion of all he’s said so far.
In closing Pastor Webb mentions that for any man, to effect, that the only hope we have is that there is a God who WILL save His people, and whose purposes to do that will not be thwarted.
And finally, for those of you reading who are NOT Christians, remember this:
1) Sinner, do you want a savior (considering the only one is the Jesus you just heard about)? Do you? Well, I’ve got good news… you can have him! *The scriptures promise that, friends.*
2) Lost man: your duty is to trust Christ, not probe the secret councils of God.