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Included in His Will #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2023 12:00 am

Included in His Will #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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Jesus Christ does not ascend to glory and leave His people behind. He brings us with Him. He selected you according to His purpose so that He could share His victory with you.

That's what we're going to see here. You know, it's no small thing to be included in God's will, even if His ultimate purpose is greater than our well-being. And on this edition of The Truth Pulpit, as Pastor Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word, he'll help us gain greater appreciation for God's unmerited favor as we continue our series, Secure in Christ Forever.

Hi, I'm Bill Wright. And Don, what should we be on the lookout for in this upcoming message? Well, Bill, we are going to see something truly remarkable in two ways. One is the remarkable plan that God has for all of the universe. He's directing everything that has ever happened and ever will happen to bring an outcome that results in great glory being brought to Jesus Christ. That's remarkable.

It's wonderful. And yet there's something even personally wonderful for you as a Christian, my friend. It's that God has included you in that plan. We're going to see that today from God's Word. Stay with us as we do. So, friend, have your Bible handy as we join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit. Let me welcome you once again to Truth Community Church as we turn our attention to God's Word. And I would invite you to turn to Ephesians chapter 1. There are many people visiting with us today.

We're so glad that you're with us. And we want you to know that we've been studying verse by verse through the book of Ephesians. And you're joining us as we come to verses 11 and 12 of chapter 1. I think it's fair to say that the past few weeks of our teaching have utterly enveloped us in the glory and the power and the wonder and the love of God. Scripture tells us that by the power of a triune work rooted in the eternity past, working its way out in time and culminating in eternity future, God has chosen us.

God has adopted us. God has redeemed those of us who are in the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is a spectacular wonder to contemplate the multifaceted nature of our salvation.

But there's more to it than just that. And one of the things that we saw last week is that God's ultimate purpose in the universe so far transcends our individual salvation that we need to understand that the whole purpose of history, the whole direction that everything in the universe is moving toward, is the crowning glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. One day, Christ will reign supreme over the entire universe. He will be acknowledged by friend and foe alike that he is Lord.

There will be no question of his conquering rule, his majestic sovereignty. And we praise him greatly for that. And we look forward with great anticipation to that day when our Lord Jesus Christ is alone the focus of the universe and he is thoroughly glorified according to the great worth that he intrinsically has.

As believers in Christ, our affections belong to him alone. And we want not our glory. We want not our success.

We want not our best life. We long supremely for the day when the one who chose us, adopted us, and redeemed us is set on his rightful place on the throne of the universe and all of creation acknowledges it and gives him glory. Because only then will the final, ultimate, bottom-line aspiration of our heart find its fulfillment. The glory of Christ with all distractions put away.

That's what we're living for. History is moving toward a one-point pinnacle where Christ is on display and glorified and everyone and everything acknowledges it. Creation cries out, you are Lord to the glory of the Father. And that will be the purpose at the bottom of God's purpose in the universe.

In a message, in a realization, in an acknowledgement that needs to ring out in this narcissistic, selfie-taking world in which we live, the purpose of creation is the glory of Christ, not the glory of man. And that's the day that we're living for. That's what we want to see come to pass. And when that happens, when Christ is on the center of display, not us, we will be most joyful. And we will realize that we recede in the background. He must increase.

We must decrease. And the culmination of that great verse in John chapter 3 verse 30 will be in that final day. And that's the purpose, is for Christ to be glorified. Now, as we continue in our study of Ephesians 1, we're going to see that God has still more splendor in this passage for us to understand and adore. And what should be happening as you walk through this series with us, as you hear the Word of God week by week by week, and it's so important to hear it week by week by week because there's a cumulative impact of it all, what you should be finding is that your affections are increasingly centered on Christ, and the things of this world are growing strangely dim.

It's just not as important to you as it used to be. That as you see the purpose of the universe as the glory of Christ, that your heart is shaped and fashioned after a desire to worship Him, to love Him, to be faithful to Him, to obey Him. That's the only way that a redeemed heart could possibly respond to these things, is that as Christ is lifted up to the pinnacle, that your heart is drawn in that same direction. If you find your heart cold and indifferent and somewhat bored by these things, let me assure you that you have never been born again and that you're not a Christian, and that you need Christ to do a saving work in your heart because Christ is the focus of everything and a true believer loves it that way.

And what we're going to see is going to make us love it even more. Look at verse 9 of Ephesians chapter 1 with me as we read it together. Grateful to God that He has revealed Himself in His Word and that we can read the very Word of God in our own language.

What a precious gift we hold in our hands. The Word of our Creator speaks to us now in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 9. He 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 Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined, according to His purpose, who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

In Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to our redemption as God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. Now, beloved, after what we saw last, we can just summarize briefly in the past few moments, realizing that the universe and the ultimate purpose of history belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, and recognizing that it belongs to Him, and He rightfully will claim the glory of every created thing at His feet one day. It is of inexpressible wonder and majesty to realize that after seeing the purpose and the flow and the direction, the certain current of human history summed up in Christ, what we see in these two brief verses, verses 11 and 12, is that Paul is now emphasizing that you and I who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are going to be included in that final glory. The majesty of the purposes of God are inexpressible.

There is an ineffable glory about what God has decreed to occur, and the ultimate purpose for which it comes. It is of incalculable wonder to contemplate the focus of the entire universe directed to the Son of God. And yet, what Paul is saying in what we're going to see is that you and I who belong to Christ are somehow going to be included in that final glory. In other words, Jesus Christ is going to subdue the entire universe under His feet. Jesus Christ is going to be receiving the worship from His people and the acknowledgement of His supremacy from His enemies. All of that is going to be true, it's all going to be focused on Christ, and He deserves it. And yet, in what must be one of the most precious truths in all of the Bible, Christ is going, by the power, the exertion of His power, Christ is going to subdue the universe without forgetting you and me in the process. You and I who belong to Christ, while Christ is exercising His dominion, He is going to bring us along and not forget us in the process. Little old you and me, with a whisperer of a lifetime on a rock in the galaxies, you and I are going to be there, and not only are we going to be there, we're going to belong there because that's the way Christ wants it, because He purchased us with His blood so much that He bought us at the cost of His own life because He wants us to be there. That is His purpose. I don't know how you ever begin to put that into human language to express the majesty of it.

How can you ever get your arms around it? That the one who has power over all of creation, the one who causes nations to rise and fall, has his eye on the sparrow and I know that he watches me. And that He is going to bring those of us who belong to Christ with Him, as He is displayed on the theater of the universe having glory, He redeemed us so that we would be there with Him on His side, under His command, the unique objects of His saving love.

How do you express that? Well, we're going to give it our best but feeble shot here to talk about it. We're going to talk about the prize, the purpose, and the praise today. The prize of our redemption. Here's the wonder of it. This must make you love Christ.

It must. This must drive out every other competing affection in your heart and say, this is what is alone worthy of my deepest heart affection. Jesus Christ does not ascend to glory and leave His people behind. Christ rises to glory and He brings us with Him. He selected you according to His purpose so that He could share His victory with you.

That's what we're going to see here. Look at verses 10 and 11 with me. This is God's purpose. He purposed it in Him, verse 9, with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times. This will be the climax of history, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

That's what we looked at last time. Everything visible, everything invisible. All of creation, all of humanity will acknowledge the glory of Christ and bow down before Him. And all of His purposes will be accomplished without fail, without exception. Things in the heavens, things on the earth.

That's what we looked at last time. Now, follow the train of thought. In most of your Bibles, there is a period after the word earth or however it's translated there, and the translators have introduced a new sentence. That's okay, but it's really just a continuation of the same flow of thought.

There's no actual break in the sentence in the original language. So everything's going to be summed up in Christ, and the idea is this, in whom, that is, in Christ, also. Also.

Notice that word. He's adding something additional to bring forth and to evoke our praise. He's bringing forth something additional beyond what He's already said so that we would praise Him even more to the glory of Christ. How could you go beyond summing up everything in the pinnacle? What could possibly be added to that?

Well, what could be added would be the gracious, loving, merciful, kind, saving intention of God toward His people. When you realize the great climax of history, if you're thinking rightly at all, you understand, wow, I have no business being there. I mean, think about trying to walk into a formal state dinner at the White House. You know, you need credentials and you got a clear security and all of that, and the heads of state are there, and most of us will never be invited to an event like that where the world leaders congregate together and do whatever they do in those hidden times. They can have it as far as I'm concerned.

I've got Christ. But you don't belong there. You're not invited there. You're not part of that power group. You don't have the money to buy your way in there.

You don't have the position to force your way in. You know, most of us are going to go home to modest houses in Kentucky and Ohio. We don't have any business in the White House. I don't care. I don't care, because what's here in front of us in the Scriptures is so far surpassing, and yet those of us who don't belong at a state dinner in the White House belong at the climax of the universe because of the gracious saving intention of Christ toward us. We could go to a state dinner and be turned away.

You don't belong here. We can go to the climax of the universe. We will go to the climax of the universe as believers in Christ, and we'll belong there. Christ, as it were, will say, of course, come, my people, come.

This is my victory, and I share it with you. It belongs to you at the climax. In Him, verse 10, In Him also we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to His purpose, who works all things after the counsel of His will. Verse 10 shows us the cosmic plan. Verse 11 shows us that believers are included in it. Verse 11 shows us that no one can lay a claim of demand, a claim of entitlement upon Christ. What we see is that the sovereign of the universe is so gracious toward his people that he includes them in a place where they don't belong by their own deserts, by their own rights, by their own merit. When it says that we have obtained an inheritance, it's a word that only appears here in the entire New Testament.

It's interesting, it comes from a word group that's related to the making of decisions by the casting of lots, or the rolling of dice would be the modern equivalent of that. But here it's not an arbitrary result from a lot that is being cast. We have obtained this inheritance. There is a decision that has been made in the halls of heaven.

Look at verse 11. We have obtained this inheritance. We are on the receiving end of a glorious gift.

Why? Because it has been predestined according to the purpose of God, who works all things after the counsel of his will. God, brothers and sisters in Christ, has assigned to you a portion. He has assigned to you a share in that great ultimate triumph that Christ will achieve at the end of time. What this verse is saying, when it says, in him also we have obtained an inheritance. We also, meaning we believers in Christ, which is who this is directed toward.

Those of us who love Christ now. God not only has a plan for the universe, he has a plan to include you in the outcome. You are part of that plan. The one who can orchestrate the movement of nations to accomplish his will has looked upon you, if you're a believer in Christ, and said, I will include you in that plan.

I want you there. You are on the receiving end of a gift from me, and it pleases me to do that, God. That is the way that God has dealt with his people. The prize is a gift that will bless you throughout all of eternity. We'll not only see the climax of everything submitted to Christ, we will enter into the eternal state with him and enjoy this in unbroken, unfolding of ages in ways that we cannot begin to comprehend.

Oh, brothers and sisters in Christ, Christianity is not primarily about this life here on earth. This is a temporary passing mist of smoke compared to the eternal glory which God has appointed for us to receive by the unlimited measures of his grace and mercy toward his people. That's what our inheritance is. This is our prize. This is what comes next, ultimately for us.

And look at it. God set this in motion in advance. He determined this ahead of time.

We'll talk about this more in a minute. He didn't sit around to wait to see what you would decide to see if this would happen for you. He predestined it.

Look at verse 11. It says, "...we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined, determined beforehand, marked out for this grace ahead of time, according to his purpose, who works all things after the counsel of his will." To be predestined is to be marked out beforehand. God appointed you to receive this blessing before he created the world. He marked it out. This was what he determined to happen.

It was his desire. And here we are, enjoying the blessings of salvation now as a very small down payment on a much greater inheritance, a much more glorious prize that we are going to receive. Listen, if you could see, if I could see by comparison how great that glory is going to be, we would instantly understand that nothing in this world matters by comparison. Nothing matters in comparison to this great gift that we are still yet to receive, because the final outcome of our salvation, all of our earthly joys and sorrows, are going to be completely swallowed up in what is still to come. And if you're a believer in Christ, it belongs to you.

It is certainly going to come to pass, because God determined it ahead of time. And that's the prize. And my friends in Christ, it is supremely important for you to understand why you are in that privileged position. It is of massive significance and consequence for you to grasp something about what underlies this precious future that is ahead of you.

And Paul did not leave it open to speculation. The prize of our inheritance is magnificent indeed. To be included in God's will, in spite of our own lack of merit, is counterintuitive.

But God is greater than we can even imagine. Pastor Don Green will present Part 2 of his message, Included in His Will, next time on The Truth Pulpit. So be sure to tune in as we continue our series, Secure in Christ Forever. Right now, though, here again is Don with news of a special resource. Well, my friends, as we wrap up today's broadcast, I just want to say a quick word about the tremendous pressure that our culture is bringing against biblical morality. Even Christian leaders are starting to waffle on these most basic issues of biblical truth and righteousness. But God's Word has not changed, and I know that you, if you're a familiar listener to this broadcast, you want to stand firm on this issue just like I do. Well, what we want to do is put into your hands our series titled The Bible and Homosexuality. It's available by CD or by free download, and my friend Bill is going to help you find it right now. Just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com and click on Radio Offers to learn more. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright inviting you back next time as we teach God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-08 04:53:39 / 2023-05-08 05:02:06 / 8

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