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Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
"God has a Plan for You"
1. Quote from "Yes, God has a Plan for You" (Bragwell).[i]
a. Predestination of Calvinism, pure and simple. (The doctrine that God in His sovereignty chooses certain individuals to be saved.)
b. "...that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul".[ii] (Wikipedia)
2. Predestination in its broadest conception is the doctrine that because God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and completely sovereign, he "from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass," (Westminster Confession).[iii] (1646, Church of England; Reformed...Presbyterian...Evangelical)
a. Martin Luther (1520): "free will is really a fiction...with no reality, because it is in no man's power to plan any evil or good. As the article of Wycliffe, condemned at Constance, correctly teaches: everything takes place by absolute necessity."[iv]
b. Applied to general life issues. Example: "God has a plan for Katy to marry Frank, for Carrie to marry Fred. God's plan is that John will work at Wal-Mart and Jim will be the president of bank." Scripture?
3. cf. 1 Cor. 7:39 nullifies God making every choice for you.
4. Bible passages interpreted as per Calvinism and not contextually, Prov. 16:9; Psa. 37:23; Jer. 29:11; Rom. 8:28.
5. "Does the Bible teach that God micromanages each life in this manner? If so, then it would seem that He has made a mess in some cases. Or, does the doctrine that "God has a plan for you" apply only to those outcomes we deem to be favorable?"[v]
I. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU: TO USE YOUR FREE MORAL AGENCY TO FEAR HIM AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, Eccl. 12:13.
A. God Created Us All with Free Will and Moral Agency, Gen. 2:16-17; Josh. 24:15.
1. Consequences come with our choices. Plus, the choices of others often impact us, Gen. 2:17; 3:16-19.
a. cf. Lot, Gen. 13:11.
b. cf. Israel, Deut. 28:1-2, 15; 30:15-20. God is the source of blessing and cursing (v. 2, 20).
c. cf. The upright, Psa. 119:173... but, 119:161 (persecution comes).
B. God Has a Plan to Save Sinners in Christ, but the Sinner must Choose to be Saved, Acts 2:40; 22:16; Rom. 1:16.
C. God has a Plan to Give You Spiritual Blessings in this Life, although it will Include Some Suffering, Mk. 10:29-30 (Eph. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:12).
II. GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU ALLOWS FOR "TIME AND CHANCE" IN THIS LIFE, Eccl. 9:11-12 (1).
A. The Events of Life are Common to Us All, Eccl. 3:1-15.
1. Cannot specific the acts of God with certainty (without revelation).
2. Enjoy life and choose to fear God (14).
III. GOD'S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE ON EARTH IS ABOUT ETERNITY.
A. God's Plan for Us Involves the World to Come, Titus 2:9-14.
This passage teaches us that God’s plan for all is that each one:
a. Be saved (grace bringing salvation has "appeared to all men").
b. Live a good life in this present world.
c. Deny "ungodliness and worldly lusts."
d. Live "soberly, righteously (justly), and godly.
e. Looking to Jesus’ return in hope.
2. Are we living for "here and now" or for eternity? [vi] Matt 6:19-21
B. "All things Work Together for Good", Rom. 8:28-30.
1. What is the "good" here? "Conformed to image of Son":
2. Foreknew (2 Tim. 2:19), predestined (to conform to image of Christ), called (must answer call), justified (faith in Christ), glorified (reward, 2 Tim. 4:7-8).
3. cf. Paul, 2 Cor. 11:23-31. (God's plan for Paul reached into eternity.)
4. His choices, Christians' prayers and God's answers, Phil. 1:12-20.
a. Paul's choices to preach, appeal to Caesar, etc., 1:12.
b. His choices affected choices of others, 1:13-18.
c. Prayer moves God to act in His providence, 1:19.
d. Paul's hope propelled his boldness in life and death, 1:20.
1. God's plan for our lives: Eccl. 12:13-14.
2. God's plan is that you choose to live by faith, obeying His Son Jesus.
3. God's plan is to sustain you through life as you live for eternity, 2 Cor. 4:16-5:2.
4. God works His plan as you choose to obey Him, Phil. 2:12-13.
[i] "Often when one's life seems to have dealt him a severe blow or disappointment, we hear folks offering comfort by saying, "Everything is going to be fine because God has a plan for you." The idea being that God has predestined each person's life according to a plan that he has for each person. So if something goes wrong with your life - marriage, career, education, vacation, friendships - it is because you were trying to go against His plan for you. Don't worry, God is just molding you according to a better plan He has for you." (Edward O. Bragwell, Sr., "Yes, God has a Plan for You", The Reflector, Aug. 2015)
[ii] "Predestination", Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination
[iii] Theopedia, http://www.theopedia.com/predestination
[v] Bragwell, op cit.
[vi] "One of the problems with a lot of preaching in congregations today, it mostly addresses how to live in this world so as to solve the problems and relieve the hurts of this life. It is mostly about improving the quality of life here. Who can deny that denying ungodliness and worldly lust along with living soberly (treating ourselves right), justly (treating our fellow man right) and godliness (treating our God right) results to some extent in making this world a better place to live? But that is not the ultimate reason for living right as a Christian – it is the hope for the next life that prompts one to live in such a fashion. It carries us through the hard times as we live as we should in the present world. That hope is not for a utopian society on this earth, but for life after our life here has passed and this present world is no more – to live with Jesus forever." (Bragwell)
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: September 11, 2015