Today I taught sixth, seventh, and eighth graders the doctrine of predestination. Not an easy task by any means. During my prep work I searched the net, but didn't find many helps out there. So I thought I would share my lesson plan here. Perhaps someone in a similar position might be assisted.
Terms we use to talk about God’s having planned everything in advance. You may note that most of them are used in Scripture.
What does this doctrine mean for me?
Did God cause the school shootings that happened in Connecticut?
Depends on what you mean by "caused." Yes, he willed it to happen and permitted the evil man to shoot those children. But he did not cause it in that he made the man pull the trigger. We may not understand how it all plays out, but we do know this: 1. God can never cause anyone to sin because He is too holy. 2. Man does have a free will where he can make choices. So, therefore, we understand that this evil man did this terrible thing by his own free will yet all the time was doing all according to God's decree.
Read Acts 2:22-23. The most heinous act of all time, the crucifixion of Jesus. These men were guilty for having killed him of their own volition. Yet, at the very same time, Jesus was delivered up according to the direct plan of God.
Does God care about the “little things” of life?
He sure does! Some people say that God is in charge of the big things, but doens't care about the little things. This isn't true. Every big thing is connected to many little things. They say that world history was changed by a grain of sand that was caught in Oliver Cromwell's system and a mosquito that bit Alexander the Great. Another way of looking at it might be like this...
For lack of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For lack of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For lack of a horse, the commander was lost
For lack of a commander, the battle was lost.
If God has already planned everything that will happen, why should we pray?
It is sometimes said that prayer doesn't change God, it changes us. That is true. Prayer is designed to be a "means of grace," that is, a way of growing in faith and grace. As we pray we express our dependence upon God and grow to be more dependent upon Him.
We also need to remember that God has ordained our prayers. More than that, He has ordained that our prayers be used in the outworking of His plan! Somehow our prayers are "powerful and effective" and will effect the course of events in history!
How does the Bible present the doctrine of predestination?
Romans 8:28-30 tells us that it is a...
...a doctrine that provides comfort. It reminds us that God is working all for our good and nothing--not one thing!-- can make it otherwise. No matter what ill may come to us, God is using it to further his purpose in our lives. Ultimately, we are given the assurance that we will be glorified on the last great day and nothing can keep that from happening.
Ephesians 1:5-6 tells us that it is a reason to...
...praise God. Because our salvation is so wrapped up in the Lord and not owing to our own initiative, God ought to be given all worship and adoration.
2 Timothy 2:10 that we should be encouraged to...
...evangelize! Some think that this doctrine would prevent our evangelism or stifle the desire for it. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Since we know there are some who are elect, we work diligently to bring the gospel to them! God has, after all, ordained preaching as the means of retrieving the lost!
Acts 27 and Philippians 2:12-13 give us the encouragement to ...
...work hard! Paul knew the boat was ordained to survive, but that didn't keep them from laboring to keep it so. Paul also knows that it is "God who works in us to will and to do his good pleasure." And that serves as the motivation for us "working out our salvation."
Far from giving us a lazy spirit or an attitude of a sluggard, the doctrine of predestination gets us moving!
This doctrine also has to do with the eternal destiny of men
Election means that God...
...God has chosen who will be saved. To elect someone means you chose them (like choosing teams for a game of kickball).
Matthew 24:22-24; Eph. 1:4, 11; Rom. 8:30
Reprobation means that God...
...God determines who will go to hell. God chooses to save some, but he chooses to pass over others.
Jude 4, Proverbs 16:4, 1 Peter 2:8
In all, the doctrine of God's decrees tells us that all of our life is in the hands of a sovereign God. As history unfolds, we see the workings of His hand and the wisdom of His glorious plan.
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