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January 14, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Sam Horn begins a series entitled “Grace Relations” with a message titled, “The Basis of Grace Relations” from Ephesians 2.
Welcome to The Daily Platform, our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were beginning a three-part series called grace relations. Today's message will be preached by Dr. Sam Horn, who was a BJ your seminary professor and is also pastor at Palmetto Baptist Church in Piedmont, South Carolina. I ask you take your Bible to see the book of Ephesians chapter 2 and the topic of her week is grace relations.
I thought about how to address this and maybe the best way to do that is to tell you a story and I trust the story will be an encouragement to you and will set the stage for what were going to talk about today out Ephesians chapter 2 story began in 1785. In fact, on December 7 of that year when a young minister of Parliament, a member of the House of Commons went by night to have a secret meeting with an old pastor in London. The pastor was named John Newton he had come to see Newton because he had grown deeply convicted as a young minister of Parliament that he had squandered the first years, the early years of his time in Parliament and he was in anguish about what he should do with the remaining year. Should the Lord give him as a public servant in the House of Commons were not real sure what Newton said to him in that meeting. Whatever Newton said it made a an indelible impact on the life of this young man. One year later on October 28, 1787, he wrote these words in his journal. God Almighty is set before me. Two great objects. The suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners and morals within weeks of writing that statement in his journal.
He presented a motion in the House of Commons for the abolition of the slave trade. Later he would introduce the second motion that would go beyond just abolishing the slave trade, but rather would make slavery itself in England illegally would abolish slavery in England. This would be a battle that would rage for the remaining 46 years of his career's motion to abolish slave trading that first motion was defeated 11 times before it finally passed in 1807. It wasn't until 1833 that his motion to abolish owning slaves in England finally passed three days before his death by now.
Sure you know who I'm talking about because his name is on the screen. William Wilberforce gave his entire life to these two things, the abolition of the slave trade in England and the reforming of morals among professing Christians in England. What arrested Wilberforce should also arrest us and what arrested him was the horrific treatment of fellow image bearers who came from a different continent that his own linking from Africa and to skin was a different color than his own.
He saw this, and rightly so, as a great moral evil before God and all you have to do is go back and look at the history of that unfortunate in we can trade in for economic reasons. More than 12 million Africans would be sold in European slave traders who under the harshest and most inhuman conditions transported them across the Atlantic Ocean to both Europe and the Americas and resell them who had not died in the process is called the Trans Am Atlantic slave trade.
There was an additional 9 million Africans who suffered the same horrific treatment and fate by those who transported them across the Sahara to the nations that we now know as the Arab world and what is not as well-known as this that many of these Africans who were sold into slavery had been first captured and then sold by other African tribal leaders who were either at war with each other or who consider other tribes less valuable than their own. Doesn't take very long for us to hear something like this. And there's something that rises up in us and we would look at this and say this is an unbearable brokenness in an unspeakable moral evil that was committed by every people group involved.
What arrested Wilberforce and what drove him is this that many of those who were involved in this work, professing Christians who would have considered themselves to be in good standing before God.
They were so horrifically and inexcusably ignorant of what God actually said about what they were doing that they saw no incompatibility in what they profess to believe about God and what they actually were doing to his image bearers were created in the image of the very God.
They claim to worship at the heart of all of this, we could say was the sinful belief that the color of a person's skin, the ethnic people group to which a person belong either enhanced or diminished his value in standing as a human being created in God's image and this wasn't limited to Wilberforce's time and to the evil that he saw happening in the continent of Africa.
This is been going on in human history. For a long time to give you some examples. During World War II, 6 million Jews were exterminated simply because they were 1.2 million Armenians were killed in the genocide of 1915 3.3 million people from different ethnicities in the Soviet Union died under the brutal regime of Joseph Stalin 6+ million Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos, Indochinese parish at the hands of the Japanese military between 1937 and 1945 and more recently, 1.1 million Rwandans lost their lives in the brutal genocide of 1994 and it hasn't stopped this enmity runs deep. This hostility and brutality that is broken and fractured human relationships is been going on since Genesis 4 when one brother rose up against another brother in solution. The idea in our day. That is come to stand for all of this hostility and enmity that results in such brutality.
Is this the believing that the and ethnicity. The nationality and the skin color of a person either enhances or devalues their intrinsic worth as a human being created in the image of God and therefore becomes the basis of either including or excluding that. So let's be clear, as we consider grace relations this morning. If I don't value you as an image bearer of equal worth and stand before God or I failed to give you the respect God demands we give to image bearers created in his image that I've sinned against you and more importantly I've sinned against God, and while we can lament all of the genocides that we just listed and all of the things that have happened there are many many ongoing expressions of this hostility and this enmity that is broken and divided and shattered human relationships, and so how are we going to resolve this.
What are we to do with recipients of the grace of God as we live and have our being in the cultures and societies and among the nations of the day and I would suggest either. That's really the topic of the week grace relationship.
How does grace impact all of this and I think before we can answer that question well and by well I mean, thoughtfully, intentionally and biblically before we can answer that question.
Well, I think we have to understand more things in here. The four things in him to catch them in the framework of something that you have been hearing your entire time you've been here the student body at University and that is in the biblical worldview that is presented by the writers of Scripture is the first thing we have to understand this was not how God designed humanity to function when we consider divine design and we go all the way back to creation, we discover that all humans are the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve in this sense, there is only one race on the human on the planet.
The human race. We read in Genesis 126 and 27 that Adam was made in the image of God and that Adam's sons and daughters were born in his likeness in Genesis chapter 5 verses 13 and because they were born in Adams likeness and Adam was in the likeness of God. All of his children, all of his descendents all humans on the planet are image bearers who are equal in word and standing before God, and therefore must be treated with appropriate respect by all other image bearers. This is the point to Genesis chapter 9 verses five and six. Furthermore, by the time you get to know and his three sons all the different ethnicities and nationalities and languages are likewise comprised of image bearers who have descended from Noah and his sons, from whom all the nations and the tribes in the ethnic groups are descended. That's the point of Genesis 918 and Paul in the New Testament sums it up this way. In acts 17 and he that is God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined the allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. When you start looking at God's original design. When you go back to creation what you discover is that in the marvelous plan and stunning design of God, humanity would exhibit a common unity.
They all came from the same man the same ancestor Adam and a beautiful diversity.
Many languages, many nations, many tribes so that brings us to the question what happened in the short answer to that but the profound answer to that is sin. Sin alienated man from God.
In Genesis 3 and it alienated man from man in Genesis 4 and as a result of sin. By the time you get the song to all the nations on the earth are raging against God and their raging against each other. So what happened to this beautiful design of unity and diversity was sent the fall. There's a second piece of art will be sin created deep enmity between God and sinners and between sinners and sinners in this alienation and hostility is evident in every direction vertically with God horizontally with others at every level between nations and ethnicities and people groups and languages and even individuals and by the time we get to the New Testament.
Truly, there is no peace on earth and there is no goodwill among men, so that's the first thing we need to understand. Secondly, this is not how God will leave matters. By the time we get to the end of our story in Revelation chapter 5 verses nine and 10, the unity, the beautiful unity on the magnificent diversity is represented by all of image bearers who have been gathered and summoned around the throne and are praising God. Listen to their praise as they stand around the throne, and they worship the one who created them and purchase them and redeem them. This is the restoration piece of our biblical worldview. Let's go back to the fall for the third thing we need to understand this hostility and alien on a net alienation on earth is only a symptom and a result of a much deeper and more devastating alienation and have in Ephesians chapter 2 verse one and two and three say this way, you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air in the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
The real problem between the broken relationships on this planet comes from a massive alienation, and a massive brokenness in our relationship with God and that brings us to the fourth thing we have to understand and that is this God determined to resolve all of this hostility and all of this enmity and all of this alienation on earth and in heaven. Through the work of an anointed appointed champion, a Messiah, his Messiah, and by the time Paul writes the book of Ephesians, he knows who that Messiah is his name. Listen how Paul describes the work of Messiah. God says in Ephesians chapter 1 verse nine he has made known to us the mystery of his will according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ.
What purpose a plan at the end of time.
At the fullness of time to do what to unite the idea there is to read gathered to reunite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth and Ephesians chapter 2 is the story of how God did this through Christ. In Ephesians chapter 2 verses one through 10 Christ resolves the massive alienation that happens between man and God by triumphing over the powers the evil powers. This prince of the power the air they can read about early up in chapter 2 God has triumphed over him and put him to open shame and transferred people out of his realm into the realm into the kingdom of his son.
He has resolve the alienation between God and man and you find out about that in chapter 2 verses 1 to 10 and then in verses 11 to 22, we discover that Messiah didn't just solve the broken relationship and alienation between God and man. He resolve the relationship, the horrifically broken relationship between the sons of Abraham and Moses and the sons of Adam and no he resolve the relationships that were hostile between the sons of Abraham and Noah are Moses. Rather, the Jews and everybody else all the nations of the world. The Gentiles peoples and that's the story of what we see in Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11 through 13 and he did it in three ways. The first thing he did, and if we can understand how the gospel resolves all this we have to recognize that Christ dealt with the actual reality and true reason for the hostility between the two groups. Look at verse 11. Buses remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh called the circumcision by what is called the circumcision which is made in the flesh by hands. Remember that you were and then you list five things and we could take all five of those things and use one word alienated you or excluded viewer, the ultimate outsiders and the reason you were ultimate outsiders was because of the wall that had been erected. Listen to how he talks about it you were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel strangers to the covenants having no hope and without God in the world why because there was in verse 15, a law of commandments expressed an ordinance. The law of Moses and this law was a dividing wall of hostility, and if you were a Jew you believe that your nearness to God was in fact the result of a law that God given to Moses and that belong to you and anybody outside of your tribe anybody outside of your ethnic group was far and there was a wall in the very place where God chosen to represent his presence on earth. In the temple that told every single Gentile, you cannot come here. In fact, if you cross this wall the temple police the Levites will slay you. So when you walk by you and said you shalom. There was no shalom for Gentile because of that will and what stunning is that the Jew never really understood that that wall also created a massive alienation between him and God. The apostle Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 3 when he says to the people who were under the law, the Jews, that every mouth will be silent in the whole world, including them will be guilty before God. In other words, there is a massive unscalable while not just between Jew and Gentile. But between God and his image, until we realize that we will never understand how grace relations work in the minute we understand that we understand that it doesn't matter if we're Jews who think were near or if we're Gentiles who did you think are far were all in the same boat. We are all alienated from God by the very same thing by a wall of hostility, a law of ordinances and expectations that condemns us and that we could never fulfill that brings us to the second thing that God did, and that is this he restored shalom through the work of Messiah. He resolve the enmity and removed the hostility Messiah did what neither group could do he remove the enmity and broke down the wall of hostility. How did he do this he did it by perfectly meeting every ordinance every expectation every demand he rendered a perfect obedience for his entire life. That's what the Scriptures mean when he says he experienced he learned obedience and that obedience that he rendered earned for him a perfect righteousness, and all of that obedience and all of that righteousness was credited to us and then he did something else even just tear down the wall of hostility and the dividing wall that kept us away from God he broke that wall down and removed the hostility that exists between us and condemnation by becoming our sacrifice voluntary substitutionary sacrifice that produced an atonement that fully satisfied the wrath of God.
And now there is nothing between us that can separate assess what Paul said in Romans chapter 8 who or what will you be able to separate us from God not think the wall of hostility has been removed, the wall of hostility has been removed. The third thing that happens in verses 19 to 22 is is Messiah now extends shalom to an entirely new group of people as you start looking and if he did. Chapter 2 verses 11 all the way down through verse 17 we see two groups of people we see a group of people that are near and those are the Jews, and we see a group of people that the Jews think are far off from God. Their outsiders, they are all the other nations, they are the nations in Psalm two that were raging against God and his Messiah. All of these nations are outside and pauses. Let's look at both groups visited the Jews had all these nations the Gentiles and they are all outsiders. They are all alienated by God and Messiah came and he tore down the wall of hostility, and he remove the alienation and now God is taking people from this group and is taking people from this group and he is making a new group. He came to preach peace, shalom to this group and to this group listen to how Paul says it for 17 and he came and preached peace to you who are far off and peace to those who were near for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the father. Look at verse 60 or verse 50. He abolished the law commandments expressed in ordinances in order that he might create in himself one new man in place of two is not that each of the Jews and the Gentiles and melded them together so there isn't any more Jewish nation or Gentile nations using something very different me saying I'm taking people who were in this ethnic group and people in these ethnic groups and bringing them together and I'm actually creating a second race. There is one race and were all part of that race because of our descendent from where descendents from Adam, but there is a second race a new race and in order to be in that race. You have to be born again you get in that race.
Just like you got in the first race you got in the first race because you were born as a son of Adam. You get in the second race because now you are born again as a son of the second and there are people from every nation and every language, every tribe, every ethnic group who are in that second race. Just like there are people in that and the differences that these people who were far off when they were members of Adam's race had been brought near to the second and there described in amazing ways.
Look at verse 19 to 22 these people now have the responsibility to reflect their new humanity.
Their new race created by Christ were ethnic enmity and hostility have no place. There is a vertical peace with God for all humanity. Ephesians 213. There is a horizontal piece between men from every ethnicity and there is a brand-new blood bought community formed by pinks belonging to the Prince of peace, who model peace to the nations, and they are described as fellow citizens and members of the household of God, and they are a holy temple in which the very presence of God dwells. So you want to know the basis for grace, relations is not what William Wilberforce did in legislating what he was able to legislate as wonderful as that was the real reason why relations are transformed by grace because of what Messiah did so how does that show up and you're likely to be three things as we close that you should take home with you from a message like this.
First of all, determine to display this wonderful piece that God is given and made for you in every corner of your life just determined to let that piece rate.
Secondly, determined to cultivate and display this gracious piece by loving and respecting every image bearer you encounter throughout your life. All the hostility all of the brokenness, all of the division and the distancing and the inclusion and exclusion of other image bearer based on their ethnic origin for the skin color of their skin. You should reject that you should render loving respect and gracious kindness to every image bearer you encounter in the relationships of your life, and finally sees every opportunity to proclaim this piece to those who are in desperate need of it throughout your life using your life. Use your vocation to display and promote and advance the peace that Messiah may, and that you know joy.
Truly great relationships are wonderful thing and you know what they feel like because you have them from God, Lord, thank you for our time for the way in which we can look at your word together and speak on a topic that Lord is front and center in many many places in our culture and our society and everybody has an opinion and everybody has an idea about how to resolve it or how to deal with it and we come to Ephesians 2 and all of those ideas take a backseat to the amazing thing that you did when you sent your son, the Prince of peace.
To make a piece and you've extended that payments to the nations, and we sit here today from every nation, every ethnic background, every language, every tribe, commonly bound together in our love for you and in the faith once delivered to the saints that we enjoy. So Lord help us to reflect that piece was to enjoy that payments and help us to remote that peace to those who need Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon, which was part of the series called grace relations preached by Beecher you seminary professor Dr. Sam Horn listen again next week as we continue this series on The Daily Platform