Let us pray: Dear Savior, how comforting it is to know that You have loved us so much that You chose us to become Your disciples here and now. You always make the right choices. You don’t make mistakes. So that means that we are doubly blest and terribly special to you—all based on Your love. You have told us that: “Love never fails.” Indeed, Your love for us in this regard hasn’t failed, and we’re awed by that fact. Thank You dear Jesus! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR LOVING LORD!
Text: John 15: 16: “You did not chose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
How many different choices did you make this last week? 100’s? More like 1000’s. You chose when to get up each day. You chose what to wear. You chose which route you’d take to work. You chose to speed up or slow down on the way. You chose what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—not to mention the snacks. You chose to bite your tongue when someone said something stupid. You chose to look outside to see the flowering trees. Choices abound each day.
How many of those choices were wise and how many were ill-informed? How many choices do you make that you regret? Why did I go out with that loser? Why did I consume so many calories at dinner? Why did I impulsively buy that do-dad and put it on my credit card? And after your friend pestered you about nothing for the 9th time this week, you wondered: why did I ever adopt them to begin with?
Every one of us is a sinner. That means we all have faulty judgment when it comes to life. Most of the time it doesn’t really matter that much. After all, who really cares if you wore that gaudy shirt or that too short skirt to work? But the fact is, it does matter sometimes and matters a lot. Having that extra drink before getting behind the wheel matters. Ignoring medical advice matters. Over-spending matters. Not telling your spouse that you love them and then showing it matters. All such things have consequences that are hurtful in various ways. In view of all this, our lesson is a breath of fresh air. For when it comes to our eternal soul, we don’t have to struggle with making the right choice or worrying
whether or not it will come back to haunt us. Listen again to the words of Jesus: “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”
Like you and me, Jesus is fully human, too. He also made choices every day over what to eat, wear, where to go, and what to do. But unlike us, He never ever made a bad choice because He is also the Son of God. That’s what we mean when we call Him True Man and True God. These two natures were inseparably joined together when He was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary. Now, people didn’t always agree with His choices. But that’s because the rest of us are sinners and Jesus wasn’t. So, we see the disciples disagreeing with Him on various occasions when He spoke about His upcoming death on the cross. They tried to dissuade Him from going to Jerusalem when they knew it was dangerous. Recall His rebuke of Peter on such an occasion with those words: “Get behind me, Satan, you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man.” And thankfully Peter did!
Jesus’ greatest choice was to leave heaven, come to earth, and suffer and die on a cross to save us from ourselves and the clutches of evil that we all too often choose to follow. He chose the path of the cross. He chose death and resurrection to save our souls. And here He also tells us that He has chosen each of us, personally, to become His child and heir of heaven through His gift of faith. Amazing is the only word to describe it and even that word doesn’t fully describe it all.
What He’s getting at here is what we call in the church, the doctrine of election. St. Paul fleshes it out more fully in some of his epistles, but basically it says this: In eternity, before the world was created, before time was created, God looked across the vastness of the future timeline, spied you, and decided: “I love that person so much because of my Son’s work in saving them that I’m going to elect them, choose them, to be my disciple.” It for this reason and this reason alone that you were called to faith, baptized, raised in the church, came to believe, and now are blest by God Almighty! It is all because of Christ and God choosing you out of pure love for His Son’s work in saving you. So, when it comes to our faith, as in all things, to God alone belongs all the accolades and glory!
We cannot wrap our heads around any of this. It’s just beyond our comprehension. No, we must simply accept it and believe it. When you do, life is easy, frustration and worry fade, and whatever comes along, well, you can cope with it because you know God’s in your corner and more! The problem occurs when we try to explain it in human terms and try to operate on His plane of existence just as we do on our own.–That being the thought that we did something to cause Him to choose us.
Listen carefully and you’ll hear people from countless denominations put forth that line of reasoning. “I’m a good person so God will reward me in this life and beyond.” First mistake there is that you’re not a good person, you’re a sinner. And since God demands perfection in every aspect of your life, blessings are never a result of personal choice. Then there’s: “I chose to believe in Jesus.” That really sounds good. But it is heavenly robbery! It steals from God’s glory. And it breeds a lack of true Christian confidence. Don’t you make faulty choices all the time? How do you know that you really made the right choice in believing in Jesus if it was a product of your own abilities? You don’t. No, far better to stick with the Savior’s own words: “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” Again, He never makes bad choices.
So, where does all this choosing come from? What’s the impetus behind it all? That’s simple, yet awesomely profound: God’s grace. It’s all a result of God’s undeserved love for you in Jesus Christ. And once that thought sinks into our skulls, and after we’ve gotten past being blown away by it all because it’s so opposite our thinking, the only thing left is to let it burst from our hearts in true thanksgiving. Or as our lesson says: “but I chose you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”
Not much of what we do in life really matters in the eternal equation. Our job, our possessions, our hobbies, our looks—100 years from now none of that will matter. What will matter is bearing fruits of faith for His glory. How many souls can you reach and change with the grace He has placed into you? How much kindness can you promote? How much Godly truth can you instill? Every person you meet might well be a soul that God has chosen who is waiting for you to lead them to that blessed reality. These are the fruits of God’s grace that will literally forever!
So, my friends, glory in this little passage! Inscribe it on your forehead and on your heart. It takes all fear away and replaces it with joyous wonderment! “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you!” Hallelujah! Amen