Grace to You

2011 Truth Matters Conference (Session 09)

For all 2011 Truth Matters Conference Sermons, go to:

I want to go back to our theme in this section, how do we harmonize the issue of divine sovereignty, human responsibility with our evangelistic duty...with our evangelistic duty. We are, after all we've learned, ambassadors for Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. We have been given the Word of reconciliation, the message about a reconciling God who has provided a way for sinners to be reconciled to Him. We are controlled, constrained, compelled, motivated and ruled by the love that Christ has for us which love goes to all those for whom He died. We are to go into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature. We are, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:11 to persuade men because we understand the terror of the Lord, divine judgment, eternal hell, all of that. so we know it has been laid upon us to be faithful in our evangelistic responsibility.

At the same time, sometimes we struggle with this reality of divine sovereignty and what it is that we can do when everything is predetermined by God and worked by the Holy Spirit.

Well, the simple answer to the question is God has not only ordained whom He will save, but He has ordained that we in our faithful evangelism would be the means by which He would save His own. To be useful to Him is the purpose in the fulfillment of His sovereign plan, to be an instrument that He can use, to be a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master's use. To be obedient because that brings, of course, blessing, reward in this life and eternal reward as well.

But in trying to harmonize this issue of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, which seems to me to be the number one issue that people who study the Bible grapple with, trying to harmonize that. My answer to that through the years has simply been to clarify the issue because the Bible doesn't really give us a resolution to that because this is something that is beyond us. It is a transcendent reality that is perfectly harmonized in the mind of God but a dilemma for us. Our responsibility is to give God the glory for salvation, and to give our lives to calling sinners to repentance in the ministry of reconciliation.

Now a great illustration of how these two things are juxtaposed against each other, will be found for us in the ninth, tenth and eleventh chapter of Romans. And I have been sufficiently mocked this week for covering only a few verses. So let's see if we can cover three chapters....

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John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry...

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