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Redeemed #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
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June 12, 2024 12:00 am

Redeemed #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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June 12, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. Thanks for joining us as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. Don begins a new message today, so without further delay, let's join him right now in the Truth Pulpit. I invite you to turn to the book of Ephesians for our time in God's Word in preparation for the Lord's Table. If you've never been here with us on a communion service, we let the Word of God speak and then we respond by taking communion. We celebrate communion about six times a year every couple of months, roughly speaking, and it's always a special time. This tradition of having communion on Thanksgiving week is one of my favorites at Truth Community, to be honest with you.

I always look forward to it. And to just be able to do this in the regular flow of our teaching is precious indeed. I'm going to read from Ephesians chapter 1, verses 3 to 8.

I'll try to keep things simple here this evening. As Paul is praising God, you could say he's giving thanks to God for the riches that are ours in Christ. And we've been looking at this text over the past two Tuesdays. It begins in verse 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the beloved.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight. There's so many ways to look at this passage in verses 3 through 14. It's an explicitly Trinitarian passage. Paul speaks of the Father in verse 3. He speaks of Christ in verse 5. He speaks of the Holy Spirit in verse 13. All of the blessings of salvation flow to us from the triune Godhead.

You could look at it that way. The goal, the ultimate goal, the final goal of salvation is that God would receive glory from his people. You see it in verse 6. To the praise of his glorious grace. In verse 12, to the praise of his glory. In verse 14, to the praise of his glory.

It's interesting how there's a threefold reference to the members of the Godhead and a threefold praise that parallels that. We've been looking at it in terms of the different terms that Paul uses, the different pictures, the different doctrines that he teaches us about the nature of salvation as it is applied to us who God has saved and drawn to himself. We looked at the doctrine of election in verse 4, that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. The matter of your salvation in the counsels of God was settled before God created the heavens and the earth. There was no possibility that having been chosen by him before the beginning of time that you could ever be lost.

You had to be saved in time, but the outcome was assured because God had determined it before the beginning of time. And notice in verse 5 that all of this, salvation, blessing, was God's idea. This is not something that man came up with.

This was not something that man worked out and does on his own. It's something that God has done, and that's why all of the praise goes to him. You see in verse 5 that this predestination unto salvation is according to the purpose of God's will. It was God's will alone that was the determinative factor into whether we would be saved or not. The exercise of our faith, our repentance, our movement toward God is all secondary and in response to what he originally did. It's not something that we initiated on our own from our dead and sinful hearts. You see that also in verse 11, that in him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. Look at those threefold words.

There's a theme of three is prevalent here this evening, isn't it? There in verse 11, God's purpose, God's counsel, God's will, with the result that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. I remember many, many years ago in a church long ago and far away, Nancy and I had not been married very long. There was a special music number and a very talented singer, a sweet young gal at the time, as far as that goes. But the lyrics of the song struck me, and I've referred to them from time to time over the course of my ministry. I don't remember all of the lyrics. I just remember the chorus and the emphatic nature of the chorus speaking about salvation, mind you, said, I made my choice and my choice set me free.

I think about that. Beloved, I hope that none of you would ever want to sing a song like that, that none of you would ever think like that in speaking about your salvation, to stand on a platform and sing. I'm not being very unfair to the writer of that song to sing praises to yourself about what you did, your choice and what you did made you free.

Oh, the thought of that is just should just be abhorrent to every true believer. Salvation. There's nothing in Paul's writings here as he praises God in that 202 word in the Greek text, single sentence from verse three to 14. It's one sentence, 202 words, all praising God. There's nothing in that talking about the power, the glory of the choice of man. It's all about the wisdom and the power and the goodness and the love and the mercy and the counsel and purpose and will of God. And that's why God gets the praise. And so we realize that God has done something on behalf of us. God has done something for his people that they could not do for themselves, that we could not choose on our own. And because we recognize the goodness, love, mercy, patience and kindness of God in what we're going to celebrate here at the table, our hearts are full, not of ourselves. God forbid that our hearts would be full of ourselves when we come to the Lord's table, but rather our hearts would be filled with what God has done.

And so we looked two weeks ago at the doctrine of election. Verse four, God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. God chose us, we said, God chose us based on his own will, his own purpose, what he determined for reasons known only to him. He chose some and not others unto salvation. So that if you are in Christ, you are the object of God's special, electing, merciful love before time began. He chose you based on reasons of his own, not because he looked down the corridors of time and saw that you would believe on your own power and then he elected you based on that.

He kind of reverse engineered it as he looked ahead and then decided, well, if you decide for me, then I'm deciding for you. What a low conception of God. What a low conception of salvation to have that God would do it on the basis of what he saw that we would do. And that God, look, what that teaches and look, that's what most people who teach on election will tell you. It's wrong. It's not biblical.

Think of what that does. That turns God into the responder to man rather than man being the responder to God. There's no possible way in any universe that God rules over that that's a right view of anything. It's not possible.

I don't care who teaches it. It's not possible that that's correct. It's in direct contradiction to the clear words of this text.

It's the clear contradiction of what Jesus said to the disciples in John 15. You did not choose me, but I chose you. And so the origination point in salvation that we remember here tonight is what God did, what God wanted. This is what God wanted. We're here tonight because this is what God wants. You're in Christ because that is what God wanted. God chose you for salvation. And you say, well, there's nothing about me that would prompt that. Why would he do that precisely?

Precisely. People misrepresent a high view of salvation, the biblical view of salvation, by saying that it causes people to be proud. Oh, God chose me and aren't I somebody great. That's not at all the biblical picture.

That's not at all the response. It's in a true believing heart. Election is the most humbling doctrine of them all. To realize that there was nothing in me and yet God chose me? All praise to him, nothing about me. It's humbling to realize that I received something I did not deserve and that God wanted that before the beginning of time.

Well, that was two weeks ago. Last week we looked at the doctrine of adoption. Look at verse five with me just by way of brief review. In verse five, Paul says that God predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will. Again, God predestined this. He predetermined it. It was according to his purpose, according to his will. You see the triad again? Predestined his purpose, his will.

There is no room for the pride of man anywhere in this. You can read the text for yourself in simple terms and see it, but what adoption is telling us is that God took you from your former father, the devil, and brought you into his family. We speak to God, our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be your name. God adopts us into his family. He severs the former ties that we had being under the dominion and the evil lordship of Satan. He severs all of those relational ties with the kingdom of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of his beloved Son so that our hearts cry out to him, Father, there is a familiar intimacy with God that we have because he's put within us a spirit of adoption, a recognition, a deep spiritual understanding in our hearts that we belong to him and we can speak to him in those terms.

Dear Father, trusted Father, we speak to him in those terms. I remember one of the very, very, very, very first times of prayer that I had as a new Christian. I could not have been a Christian more than a very few number of months, if not just a few weeks. I was in a small group. They'd broken down into small groups for prayer, and I had never done anything like that before.

I would have been a little more comfortable being in the middle of a pride of lions at that time rather than with people who were praying at the start anyway. But I remember hearing these young people, it was a group of college students, I remember hearing them pray, and it struck me so much that I remember it some 40 years after the fact. I don't remember exactly what they said, but I remember the affectionate, trusting, intimate way in which they spoke with God and how they spoke to him as Father.

And I had never known anything like that. Dear God, bless me, do this, I want this, I want that, God do that, amen, kind of thing. But there was this unhurried affection, this sense of just an evident sense that they knew something that resonated with me, but I had never been exposed to it before. And what I didn't know at the time that I know now is that I was hearing the outflowing of the spirit of adoption in their hearts. They could speak to God like that because they belong to his family. And now, you know, those of us that are in Christ, we have that same privilege to speak to God on terms of intimacy, of knowledge, of trust, that's all from the spirit of adoption, and that God has brought us into his family. He delights in being our Father. I like to think of Christ as our elder brother in heaven. Scripture says that Christ isn't ashamed to call us brethren because we come from the same Father. And so we have Christ, we can think of him, God our Father, Christ our brother.

It's remarkable to be in a family like that, isn't it? Those of you that come from broken homes or have had broken marriages or, you know, perhaps alienated from loved ones, from children or parents or siblings, all of that, well, the earthly relationships may be fractured like that, but boy, praise God, to be in a family like that, God our Father, Christ our brother, the spirit indwelling us, praise be to his glorious name. And yet there's more for tonight, there's more. We saw that we are chosen, we're adopted, and tonight we're looking at the fact that we are redeemed, that we are redeemed, and we see that in verses 7 and 8. We see that these blessings of salvation, as we consider the doctrine tonight of redemption, we see that these blessings of intimacy, of assurance, came at a great, great cost that we did not pay. There was a price paid to save you, beloved, from your sins.

There was a price paid to deliver you from the dominion of the devil. And that brings us to the doctrine of redemption. The doctrine of redemption.

We see it there in verse 7. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight. What is redemption? Let me give you a definition. I'll try to say this slowly so that you can kind of take it in.

If you're jotting notes, that's fine too. But redemption is the act of God in which he delivered us from sin. Redemption is the act of God in which he delivered us from sin based on the price which Jesus Christ paid with his blood.

We sang it in that last song. He who paid salvation's price with his blood and with his life. Christ paid a price for our redemption. Now, how important is the doctrine of redemption? How central is it in our thinking about our salvation? How much does it orient our hearts toward the taking of the elements in communion in just a few short moments?

Well, one writer said it this way. He said, No word in the Christian vocabulary deserves to be held more precious than redeemer. For, even more than savior, the term redeemer reminds the child of God that his salvation has been purchased at a great and personal cost. The Lord has given himself for our sins in order to deliver us from them.

Pretty bold statement. But to this writer, to this theologian, he says that he would esteem the label of Christ as our redeemer even higher than savior because redeemer brings forth to our minds the fact that Christ paid a personal price in order to be our savior. And the doctrine of salvation, as I said earlier, it's humbling. It's humbling. It's gloriously humbling. It's joyfully humbling. It should be humbling to your heart if you're a Christian to remember that God chose you.

You did not choose him. That you were outside of God's family and yet God adopted you into it. God intervened to help you. After all of your sins, your sins of the flesh, your blasphemies, your hatred, your anger, your resentment, your grudges, and, you know, a thousand catalogs of sins like those. And us being like that, dead in trespasses and sins, hostile in mind, alienated, separated from God without hope in the world. But God did all of this to bring us to himself.

There's almost, almost, maybe a preliminary, in a preliminary sense, you almost protest against it. You almost protest against it, saying to God, no, no. In light of who I am, for you to do all of this for me, God, no. That's just beyond too kind. You've lavished too much. It's too much, Lord. And yet you immediately transverse across the no and say, oh, God, thank you. Thank you. Forgive the fact that I would initially even resist.

Just thank you for all that you've done to be so good to me. And so in the doctrine of redemption, Scripture teaches us that Christ paid a painful price for us to receive salvation. This did not just happen because God flipped a switch.

It's not because God took some kind of spiritual eraser and rubbed out your name from the condemnation side and then just wrote your name on the other side without any kind of price being paid to accomplish that. This was a real sacrifice on the part of our Lord Jesus Christ. He really left the glories of heaven above. He really humbled himself to come to earth and to be born of a virgin and to live on this earth for some 30 years with an appearance of an ordinary man and enduring the contradiction of sinners against himself, the hostility of the religious leaders of the day and feeling the burden of human sorrow and weeping over the tomb of Lazarus and weeping over Jerusalem and then going to the cross and his seven words from the cross and handing his mother over to the care of John the apostle. And he said, woman, behold your son and man, behold your mother, all of these things. And yet all of that merely preparatory to the eternal sufferings that he endured in the darkness that followed as God poured out his wrath on him as the substitute for sinners who would believe in him. And you just get lost contemplating all that Christ suffered on our behalf. Think about it from the perspective of Christ, beloved. In the incarnation, Christ left the glories of heaven, the eternal glories of heaven, and came into this world knowing in advance what the outcome of that would be. He knew going into the assignment, so to speak.

He knew going into the assignment that there would be this massive cost that he would pay. Who does that? Who does that?

Who abandons a royal throne for the sake of the rebels of his rule? Who does that? Who is that kind? Who is that selfless? Who is that loving? The Lord Jesus.

He and he alone is like that. Let's talk briefly about this doctrine of redemption. I want to talk to you about the fact of redemption and the focus of redemption here this evening.

The fact of redemption. The language of redemption is drawn on first century culture, you could say. There were many, many slaves in the first century. Human trafficking is nothing new, and slaves belonged to their masters, but they could be set free if someone would pay a ransom price for him, for the slave. The payment of that price that would be given to the owner of the slave in order to purchase that man so that he could be free from his slavery, the payment of that price was called redemption.

It was the necessary expense to obtain freedom, you could say. Now scripture takes that picture and applies it to our salvation. The mere fact that we're said to be redeemed tells us that we used to be slaves. We don't like to think that way. We're far too proud. We're far too independent, especially in our American culture. We're far too independent. The Jews said, we've never been enslaved to anyone.

Americans aren't any better in thinking that way. But scripture tells us that you belong to someone else. You belong to something else. Jesus said in John chapter eight, verse 34, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. You know why you couldn't break your sinful habits before you came to Christ? It's because they owned you.

You didn't own them. You were a spiritual slave to a spiritual principle of sin, and sin wasn't simply something bad that you did. It was an evil force that controlled and owned you. So that scripture likens it to be to slavery, and you acted on your impulses, and you acted on your evil habits without the power to break them. Oh, you might try, you might stumble out of it for a little bit, but like a dog returning to the vomit, there you were returning to your sins. But not just a slave of sin. Scripture says that you belonged to someone else, to someone else, to a personal being who acted as your slave master.

Scripture says in 1 John chapter three, verse eight, that the one who practices sin is of the devil, is of the devil. Now, just between sin and Satan, and being dead in trespasses and sins, beloved, look, we can't look back on our spiritual past as Christians now with any sense of pride or merit or something in us prompting the action of God, because he just had to have us. God would have been just fine in his glorious essence without us. He wouldn't have detracted from the essential glory of his nature to be without us at all.

He didn't need us to complete something that was lacking in himself. And when you remember that you were a slave of sin, just to glance back mentally for just a moment of the sins that marked us before we were in Christ, I know some of you were drunks. I know some of you were slaves to sins of the flesh, others slaves to false religion that you professed, and on and on we could go.

Nothing about that appealing to God. It's a real true picture that you were a slave of sin, and then in a way that you didn't even realize and recognize that in addition to being a slave to sin that you were a slave to Satan himself, the evil serpent who originated the temptations that led to the fall of man, and he was a wicked taskmaster indeed. There you were, a slave. What's going to happen to you in that darkness? What's going to happen to you as you were blind in that dark room with no lights and no windows and dark black chains were wrapped around your soul as an evil black force called the devil that taunted and tormented you at his despicable evil delight?

Where was there any release, any freedom to be had in that condition? That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit, and here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, there is no substitute for reading the Word of God for yourself and spending the time day by day going through the Bible in a systematic way so that you have a full exposure to everything that the Word of God says. It's remarkable the way the Spirit of God works through the Word to minister to our hearts in that way. And to help you do that, we have a couple of different Bible reading plans available on our website, thetruthpulpit.com.

If you would go to thetruthpulpit.com, click on the link that says About. You'll find a sublink there that takes you to two different Bible reading plans that you can choose from. It's free, it's there available to help you in your reading of God's Word, and I know that the Spirit of God will use that in your life if you're not used to reading God's Word on a regular, systematic basis. Make this the day that you start something new and move in that direction, and join us again next time here on The Truth Pulpit as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-12 04:54:51 / 2024-06-12 05:05:05 / 10

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