The purpose of the universe is not centered on man, it is centered on Christ and the display of His glory. And that is where the universe is going. People often think that God's whole purpose in creation and redemption is centered on us, the human race.
And we do play an important part in this plan, but not the only or even most important part. That distinction belongs to none other than Jesus Christ. And on this edition of the Truth Pulpit, as Pastor Don Green continues to teach God's people God's Word, he'll take us further into our series, Secure in Christ Forever. He has part one of a message titled, God's Ultimate Purpose.
Hi there, I'm Bill Wright. And Don, God has really given us a remarkable peek into something almost too marvelous for words. Well, Bill, I'm very excited to open up this passage from Ephesians 1 for our listeners here today. My friend, the message of the Bible transcends what we often think about, which is in the realm of our personal salvation. Scripture displays something far more transcendent. God has a comprehensive plan for all of human history and for the universe. He works everything out for the glory of Christ, and all of the universe will one day work to give honor to him. It's a wonderful concept. Stay with us as we explore it in God's Word today.
Thanks, Don. And friend, have your Bible open to Ephesians chapter 1 as we join our teacher now in the Truth Pulpit. Paul has spoken with eloquence about the nature of our salvation. But now in these verses that we're going to look at, he spans, as it were, he expands the range of the camera. He pulls back and expands the range of the view beyond our salvation to a cosmic design that is completely breathtaking in its scope. And we get lost, as it were, in the wonder of what God has in store for the universe. What is the ultimate purpose of God?
It is at the risk of severe understatement. Understand that the ultimate purpose of God is a whole lot bigger than me and you. It transcends time, it transcends space, it takes in the totality of the reason that he created the universe, and it gathers up everything and everyone that ever has existed and drives it to one culminating climactic point of magnificent glory. And that's what we need to see as we come to Scripture. What is the ultimate purpose of God, beloved?
It is no less than this. The entire universe. The entire realm of what is visible, the entire realm of what is invisible. Things in the past, things now, and things in the future.
Things that we understand and most things that we don't. Things that submit to Christ and things that do not submit to Christ. All of it is going to be gathered up into one great unit and be submitted to the power and glory of Jesus Christ. And all of creation, all of the universe will recognize and bow down to the glory of Christ and honor him for the greatness of his surpassing glory.
It's nothing less than that. And those of us who are redeemed get to be on the winning side of that display of glory, but understand that the purpose of the universe is not centered on man, it is centered on Christ and the display of his glory. And that is where the universe is going. And that's what we're going to see as we look at verses 9 and 10 here. There's three things that we're going to build this message around, and by way of acknowledgement and perhaps a little bit of further introduction, let's just acknowledge that it's not that way right now. Everything is not, in a sense, submitted to Christ right now because there is rebellion in the demonic realm that has not yet been subdued. There is rebellion in the human realm.
We see it on display in the news and the supermarket displays every moment that we move and live and have our being. And there are, in your own heart, desires, sinful motions, sinful affections that have not been brought into perfect conformity with the image of the Son of God. External and internal, visible and invisible, there is a realm of rebellion against Christ that would argue against this great climactic display of his glory ever coming to pass, because we can't even comprehend a universe that is like that because the only environment we have ever known is an environment that is in rebellion against its creator. Well, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is not always going to be that way. What we are walking through now in this sin-cursed, sin-filled environment is a temporary passing phase that is only setting the stage for a greater display of the Almighty conquering power and the perfect display of the glory of Christ. That's what's coming. That's the ultimate purpose of God, and beloved, it will not fail.
Now, I said that there would be three points. Let's take a look to kind of give us a running start into Ephesians chapter 1. I want to take just a moment to give you some scriptures to set in your mind what we'll call in our first point the disorder of the universe.
The disorder of the universe. To appreciate God's ultimate purpose, you must remember how far things have gotten out of hand. And it was like that from the beginning of Adam's sin in the garden. There is rebellion on earth.
And I want to take you to just a couple of passages. Look at Genesis chapter 6 verse 5. Genesis chapter 6 verse 5. Early on in the days of Noah, in Genesis chapter 6 verse 5, after God had placed man in a perfect environment, man snubbed the grace that had been shown to him and sent his way out of it. And the consequences quickly in Genesis came to this.
In Genesis chapter 6 verse 5, that the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Turn over to the book of Romans chapter 1 as we accelerate into the modern era, you might say. Romans chapter 1. We're just kind of looking at these passages as bookends. Old and New Testament, very ancient history, and now a declaration of the modern situation.
And you see that there's no difference. Romans chapter 1 verse 28. As we see the disorder of the universe. Romans 1 28. Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, and although they know the ordinance of God that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
My Christian friends, step back and see the big picture and realize that this is disorder of incalculable magnitude. Before creation began, there was only God existing and dwelling in the perfect, intertrinitarian glory, and there was the communion between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the perfection, the unspeakable glory of their being. Imperfect righteousness, perfect love, immutable character, here is God overall, self-existent, perfect and needing nothing. Content, self-existent, that was perfection at the very top of the circle.
And now? And that's a realm that we really can't even enter into. We can just describe it and faintly see it through a heavy mist. But now, look at the way things are now in light of what we just read. There is a universe, there is this human race that is intent on evil continually, that is full of wickedness, Scripture says, all unrighteousness, and then it manifests itself in various ways, in the greed, in the deceit, in the malice, the murder, the immorality, no understanding, doing everything possible to murder this God, who before creation began dwelt in unspeakable perfect glory.
Something is horribly wrong for it to be like that. There is rebellion on the earth. From the race that God created to rule over the earth is in rebellion now against him, and Scripture says that creation groans under the weight of it. Look at Romans chapter 8. We're seeing the chaotic disorder of the universe, and we're seeing that the breadth and the extent of it is vast.
It has existed for millennia like this. And in Romans chapter 8 verse 19, we see that the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God, for the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption. The creation is in slavery to corruption now, waiting for, longing for the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Verse 22, For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. It's as if the very world is trembling and groaning and heaving under the rebellion of man. And there's even rebellion in heavenly places. Look at Revelation chapter 12. We view this from God's perspective and we say, this is all so wrong. A perfect, loving, gracious God looks at creation and finds creation in rebellion against him, collectively and individually. And in Revelation chapter 12 verse 7, it says there was war in heaven. In heaven!
You talk about disorder. Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war and they were not strong enough and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him. There was rebellion in heaven. Satan and a multitude of fallen angels were cast out. They were cast down to earth. So in the realm that we see, there is rebellion.
In the realm that we do not see, there is rebellion through Satan and the demons that were cast out of heaven with him. The universe is out of order. The universe is not what it should be. It should not be this way.
On what possible basis? On what possible defect in the character and goodness of God is there any justification for his creation to rebel against him? There is none.
He is perfect. The defect, the rebellion, the cause of all of this order rests in creation, not in any defect of the Creator. There is nothing in God that called forth rebellion against him because he had never been and never will be anything but perfect, glory, goodness, and greatness on display.
And so, thinking about the circle here with me, it will help you to think of it in a circular way here. So you start at the pinnacle with God and the perfection of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. Satan falls and brings man down with him and rebellion goes and goes. And then at the very bottom, the very basement, the very gutter for an even better expression of it, in the most heinous display of man's rebellion against God, they crucified Christ and said, we will not have this man reign over us. They, as it were, took the cross and tried to kill and extinguish God when he was with them on earth.
And they were there in time. Apart from Christ, beloved, you would have done the same thing. In your sinful condition, your sinful heart, you too would have raised your hand against the Son of God.
In fact, that is the very expression of sin, isn't it? God, I know what you would have. I will not do it. I will do it my way.
Get out of the way so that I can do what I want. The shame of that, the evil in that, is inexpressible. There is great disorder in the universe. There should be no strand of rebellion anywhere against this great God of the Bible. And yet, those are the only strands apart from the redeemed people of God that exist.
Now, that's at the bottom of the circle. But, God. That disordered rebellious chaos is not going to have the final word, no matter how it may look to us right now. Turn back to Ephesians as we come to our second point and we see the disclosure of God's purpose. The disclosure of God's purpose. All of that disorder was simply to set the stage so that we might find the full power of what God has said in his word here in verses 9 and 10. God, despite the rebellion of man, has a greater plan that he will most certainly bring to pass. In fact, even through man's rebellion against him, he is most certainly working to accomplish this great ultimate purpose that we see in the passage in front of us now. Ephesians 9. God has made known to us the mystery of his will according to his kind intention which he purposed in him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times. That is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens, and things on the earth. In light of all of the rebellion and disorder that we just saw from Scripture, what could this possibly be talking about?
It does not at all look like the world is on a trajectory where all things are going to be summed up under the pinnacle of Christ, does it? And yet, Scripture tells us here that God has a plan, that he has a purpose, that he has an intention. As you move into verse 9, as we zero in on verse 9, what we see here is an extension in the context of what Paul is saying, we're seeing an extension of God's goodness to his people. We've already seen that he's been good to us in choosing us, adopting us, and redeeming us by the power of his hand, not by the motions of our own heart. Now, now we see that in blessing us so greatly, he has done something of great particular value to those who are the redeemed. He has revealed to us in Scripture, he has pulled back the veil, he has motioned us, beckoned us into the counsel of the Godhead, and said, let me tell you what's going to happen. Look at verse 9. He, meaning God, he made known to us.
God has disclosed this, he has revealed it, he has unveiled something to our understanding that Paul has not just yet said in the first eight verses. Is that just me or did the fans just... it's the rain? Ah, the rain on the roof.
Seems like this happens multitude of times. In Tuesday we get thunderclaps, and now what we got, for those of you that are going to hear this, we're in an auditorium and there is this pounding rain on the roof that just started as I was speaking. And what God, in that providential moment, illustrates for us is, is that he has rained down upon us a disclosure of his will that came from heaven.
There is an unveiling of a shower of mercy that is poured out upon God's people that we could never have called down from heaven on our own. God has made known to us the mystery of his will. Now, to call it a mystery does not mean that it is something that is difficult to figure out, as if we were reading some kind of fictional murder mystery.
I wonder who did it. That's not the meaning of mystery. It's also not a mystery in the sense that this is a secret for the initiated.
It's not that. The idea of mystery in Scripture refers to something that formally had been unrevealed, but now God, in the progress of revelation, has made it known. God has taken that which was not known in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, he has made this known to us. We are on the receiving end of the disclosure of a mystery that was previously unknown. God, part of his purpose to his redeemed people, is that we would know what we are about to see in Ephesians 1, 9, and 10.
Beloved, I don't know how to get you to value, place the proper esteem and price upon what we are about to hear. God has not left us to stumble about in our sin-imposed darkness as if we were a drunken fool bouncing from light post to light post staggering down the street with no place to go and no idea or understanding of our surroundings. God has not done that. God has not left us and abandoned us to that. When he chose us, when he adopted us, when he redeemed us, he brought us into a realm of knowledge and understanding which pleased him to give to his people that we did not deserve, but now we have been given a priceless knowledge about what God's ultimate purpose is.
God has not only saved us, he has revealed to us his plan. Scripture has given us the key to the universe and market. Scripture tells us the outcome of history in such a way that human wisdom could never have discovered. Human wisdom knows nothing about what we're going to see.
Human wisdom could not discover it through the scientific method. This is a realm that is hidden from the rebels of God, but God has freely given it to his beloved family. He has let us in on priceless knowledge.
Look at verse 9 with me. This is the disclosure of God's purpose. He has made known to us the mystery of his will and he did it according to his kind intention which he purposed in Christ. This was according to the good pleasure of God. It made God delighted. It gave him satisfaction. It satisfied what he wanted to do by making these things known to us. With the truth that we are about to see in verse 10, we are on the receiving end of a great gift from God and God is the ultimate cheerful giver and he has given to us a revelation of incalculable worth because it simply pleased him to do that with us. We couldn't call the rain down from the sky. We couldn't call down and say, God, give us, tell us what your ultimate purpose would be.
We have no right to expect that, no right to ask that, no standing to appeal to the court like that. God on his initiative said, here it is. He has disclosed it because it made him pleased to do so.
The universe is in a state of disorder, but by no means is it out of God's control. He's disclosed his purpose, and we'll see where it leads next time here on The Truth Pulpit as Pastor Don Green continues our series, Secure in Christ Forever, with part two of his message, God's Ultimate Purpose. We hope you'll join us then. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit us at thetruthpulpit.com. There you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library. And if you want to go even more in depth, you'll also find the link, Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons, not subject to the time editing needed for radio broadcasts. And by the way, if you're in the Cincinnati area, check out the service times for Truth Community Church, also on our website. Again, just visit thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright. Join us again next time as Don teaches God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit.
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