Sermon #1266[1]


            Title:               Who Will Be Saved?

            Texts: Jonah 2:9 and Romans 10:13

            Reading:       Romans 10:1-17

            Subject:         Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

            Date:              Sunday Morning - December 8, 1996

            Tape #           T-16




It is my responsibility once more to speak to you, eternity bound sinners with immortal souls, in the name of God. I do not take that responsibility lightly. I want each of you to know Christ. I want you to be saved. My prayer and my heart’s desire to God for you is that you might be saved. My concern for you is increased by the fact that we are living in a day of terrible religious confusion. You have all been exposed to conflicting, confusing voices of religion.


I dare say some of you are very confused by all the conflicting opinions about spiritual things to which you have been exposed. Yet, I am sure that some of you are here today because you are concerned about your immortal souls. You have come here seeking the Lord. You want to know God. You want to know his Son and his grace. You want his salvation. But you are confused. You have heard so many conflicting doctrines that you do not know what to believe, or what to do. If you will give me your attention for a few minutes, and God he Holy Spirit will enable me to do so, I want to open the Word of God and answer some questions for you. I hope to clear up some of the confusion that is often expressed by sincere people about this thing called salvation.”


Illustration: The Two Letters I Received This Week

M. Walker and Megan Sanford


I am going to speak plainly and clearly, simply and distinctly. I know that if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound none will prepare himself for battle. If the preacher is not understood, no one will profit by his message.


            With that as the background, I want you to look with me at two texts of Scripture. Both are inspired. Both are in the Word of God. Both were written for our learning and admonition. The first text is…


Jonah 2:9 "But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."


What a glorious message! God saves sinners! Salvation does not in any way depend upon us. It is God’s work alone! Salvation is not the work of man; and it is not the work of God and man. Salvation is of the LORD." We rejoice in that glorious, delightful gospel truth, taught throughout the Word of God.


            Now look at my second text. It is…


Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."


That is good news indeed! Anyone in all the world who calls upon the name of the Lord, who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ, shall be saved. The promise is made without condition, qualification, or exception. If I trust the Lord Jesus Christ, I shall be saved. If you trust him, you shall be saved. It is written, “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.”


            In Jonah 2:9 we have a clear declaration of God’s sovereign grace. In Romans 10:13 we are given a declaration regarding man’s responsibility. Both are true. Both need to be understood. Both must be believed. And both must be preached with clarity.


Proposition: God almighty is totally sovereign in the salvation of sinners; and we are, every one of us, responsible to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.


            These two facts are, as I intend to show you, clearly revealed in Holy Scripture. We cannot believe without God’s sovereign grace. Faith is the gift of God the fruit of his Spirit, and the operation of his grace. Yet, God’s sovereign grace will not save us if we do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.


            Regrettably, there are some who have such a distorted understanding of God’s sovereignty and the doctrines of grace that they become hard, uncaring, and negative in their preaching and in their attitudes. They are opposed to everything and in favor of nothing. Like big wrecking balls, they know how to tear down anything; but they do not know how to build. They are anti-missionary, anti-evangelistic, and anti-responsibility. They seem to care more about debating, defending, and protecting the doctrines of grace than they do about seeing sinners saved by the grace of God. Really, some men preach like they are afraid some of the non-elect might get saved! What a pity! Such a spirit is not of God. It is not the spirit of Christ, or of his apostles, or of the New Testament.


Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"


Romans 10:1 "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."


1 Corinthians 9:22 "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."


            Then, there are others who totally deny God’s sovereignty, his purpose of grace in election and predestination, and the effectual, irresistible power of his grace in salvation. All they can see in the Bible are those words “whosoever will.” They interpret everything in the Bible in the light (or in their case, darkness) of those two words. No matter what you say to them, no matter what text you read to them, their response is, “I believe in ‘whosoever will.’” They preach human responsibility in such a way as to make responsibility mean ability. They make the will of man, rather than the will of God the determining factor in salvation. I detest that doctrine. It is no of God, but of the devil. Lucifer was the first free-willer (Isa. 14). I contend that free-will religion is the religion of Lucifer. It is a doctrine that makes man his own Savior and promotes the worship, adulation, and honor of man’s will, rather than the worship, adulation, and honor of God. It puts God’s will under the dominion of man’s will and makes man to be the God of God!


            In this message, I want us to look into the Word of God and see what God says. Let’s bring both our opinions and our reason in subjection to the Word of God (Isa. 8:20). Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to submit to the Word of God?


            The Bible teaches these two facts. They are as plain as the noonday sun. You cannot deny either of them without denying the Word of God. And you cannot really believe either of them as they are taught in the Scriptures without believing both of them.


·      “Salvation is of the Lord!”

·      “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


            I am often asked, “Who do you think will be saved?” “Do you think this person or that, this group or that, is going to be saved?” My answer is, It does not matter what I think or what you think. The only thing that matters is what God says in his Word.


            In this message I want to answer just one question - Who Will Be Saved? In order to answer it fully and honestly from the Word of God, I have to give you four answers.




            There is such a thing as the election of grace. There are some men and women who were chosen, predestinated, and ordained to eternal life before the world began.


John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."


Romans 8:28-30 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."


Ephesians 1:3-6 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."


2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."


2 Timothy 1:9 "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"


            Election is not salvation; but it is unto salvation, and is as much a necessary part of salvation as redemption and regeneration. Election is the guarantee of salvation. Election is the eternal, unchangeable, unalterable will, purpose, and pleasure of God to save the people of his love. And God’s will must be done. His pleasure shall be fulfilled. His purpose must be accomplished.


            I do not know who the elect are; neither do you; but God does! He knows who they are, where they are, what it will take to save them, and when he will do it. It is not possible for even one of God’s elect to perish. Those who are loved by him with an everlasting love cannot perish in hell under his wrath! Those whom he pedestinated unto salvation cannot perish until God ceases to be God.




            With Paul, I cry, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). I glory in the cross of Christ four these four reasons. It is…


A. A Compassion Revealed (1 John 3:16; Rom. 5:8).


Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."


1 John 3:16 "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."


B. A Covenant Respected (Heb. 13:20-21).


Hebrews 13:20-21 "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (21) Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."


C. A Curse Removed (Gal. 3:13).


Galatians 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"


D. A Conquest Realized (Rom. 8:31-39).


Romans 8:31-39 "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


            The Lord Jesus Christ cannot fail to save those for whom he bled and died upon the cursed tree (Isa. 42:4). The cross of Christ can never be discovered a miscarriage.


We were once condemned and lost.

Now we glory in the cross.

Since Christ’s blood, the crimson tide,

Has God’s justice satisfied -


All for whom the Savior died,

By His blood, are justified!

All for whom He lives above

Shall be conquered by His love!


He who vanquished death and hell

Shall in saving grace prevail!

Chosen sinners, bought by blood,

Called by grace, shall come to God.


Chosen, redeemed, and called by grace,

Robed in perfect righteousness,

The great hosts of God’s elect

In Christ Jesus are perfect.


Glory, glory in the cross!

For Christ count all things but loss.

By our Savior’s death we live.

To Him all our praise we give!


            “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” That means many things; but it certainly means that…


1.    All for whom Christ was made to be sin shall be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21).


2. All who were redeemed by Christ from the curse of the law are forever freed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13).


3. All for whom the Son of God obtained eternal redemption shall have eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12).


4. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son, was not shed in vain!




            I know that there is a general call that goes out to all who hear the gospel. It is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” But there is another call, a personal, effectual, irresistible, saving call. This effectual call, by which life and faith are produced in chosen, redeemed sinners by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit, is both the fruit and evidence of God’s election and Christ’s redemption.


1 Thessalonians 1:4-6 "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (6) And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:"


Psalms 65:4 "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple."


Psalms 110:3 "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."


John 6:37-38 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."


John 6:44-45 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."


John 6:63 "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."


            To be called is to be regenerated, born-again, raised from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit. That will take a little bit more than the power of your free-will. This work of regeneration requires the sovereign power of God’s irresistible grace.


Ephesians 1:19 "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,"


Ephesians 2:1-4 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"


Illustrations:            Mephibosheth!




            All who were chosen by God the Father in eternal election and all who were redeemed by God the Son at Calvary shall, at God’s appointed time, be brought to Christ by the irresistible, saving operations, power, and grace of God the Holy Spirit. And they can never be lost.


Ecclesiastes 3:14 "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him."


·      Not one of the elect can be lost, because election is God’s work.

·      Not one of the redeemed can be lost, because redemption is God’s work.

·      Not one of the called can be lost, because the calling is God’s work.




            There is absolutely no contradiction between that statement and everything else I have said. Faith in Christ is the proof and evidence of the Father’s election, the Son’s redemption, and the Spirit’s call.


Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


We make our calling and election sure by trusting Christ! If you trust Christ, your faith in him is the result of God’s grace in you; and God, who cannot lie, declares that you are saved.


Mark 16:15-16 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."


John 3:36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."


Acts 16:31 "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."


1 John 5:13 "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."


            I am calling upon you, right now, to do what you are responsible under God to do, what only God can enable you to do, yet what you must do. I am calling upon you who hear my voice to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.


·      Not to Seek Him, but to Believe Him!

·      Not to Pray, but o Believe!

·      Not to Feel, but to Believe!

·      Not to Mourn, but to Believe!

·      Not to Do, but to Believe!


            NOTE: Put nothing between yourself and Christ; and let no one else put anything between you and Christ. Anything that keeps you from Christ, or comes between you and Christ is idolatry and damning.


Illustration: The Handkerchief


            Listen to me now. I am telling you upon the authority of God’s Word that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved!


·      God the Father elected you to salvation.

·      God the Son redeemed you and purchased salvation for you.

·      God the Holy Spirit has called you.

·      And you shall not come into condemnation!




            This is what God says in his Word - “Salvation is of the Lord!” “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” You cannot read your election until you believe; but you never could or would believe without God’s election. When time shall be no more, when all things are finished, when all believers are with Christ in glory and all the damned are in hell, this will be the conclusion of the matter to the praise, honor, and glory of our great God… “The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom. 11:7).






Don Fortner



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[1] Also preached at Wichita Falls, Texas (12-11-96).