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Mercy for the Ages #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2024 12:00 am

Mercy for the Ages #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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June 17, 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 again, I'm Bill Wright. It is our joy to continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word. Today Don is continuing with the second part of a message we started last time.

So let's get right to it. Open your Bible as we join Don now in The Truth Pulpit. And so God's love and mercy is why you were saved.

He's being kind and gracious to you. And now Paul declares, as we continue on in the text, he declares exactly what it is that God had done. Exactly what it is that God has done. We've seen the mercy of God, the love of God as being the motivating reason that he showed us and brought us into his family. Now we're going to look at point number two, the action of God, the action of God. What exactly did God do when he saved us?

Well, beloved, follow me here. If you were dead in trespasses and sins, which you were, and that's your point of need, then obviously God is addressing your spiritual condition at the point of need. If you're dead, if you were dead, what did you need?

Life. If you were dead, you could not generate that yourself any more than the corpse in the casket can pop the lid off and jump out and start dancing. No, if you were dead, then God must have given you life. He must have given life to you, and that's precisely what Scripture says he did. Look at verses five and six. Even when we were dead in our trespasses, God being the subject here, God is the subject of the verb, God made us alive together with Christ.

By grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Now, beloved, I'm going to repeat what I've been saying for weeks, simple language grammar. There's a subject in a sentence that is doing something. There is a verb that recognizes and that expresses the action that the subject performs.

And sometimes there are direct objects who are on the receiving end of the action that the subject did. Now, in the most obvious, clear way, Scripture says the subject is God, we are the objects of the verb, he made us alive together in Christ. We did not make ourselves alive, we did not do something to ourselves, God did something to us in our dead condition in order to change that and to bring us into his family. And so, here in verses five and six, we see the contrast, God is rich in mercy and we were dead in transgressions. There's no room to think that we cooperated with God or that we were joint partners with God in the salvation of our souls.

Stop thinking that way. I don't care how many years it was grained into your head that God did his part and you did your part. You need to repent of that whole false religion that thinks that way.

Dead people don't cooperate with the living. Sinners don't cooperate with God in their salvation. God made us alive together with Christ. And as he made us alive, he imparted to us faith and repentance and all that was necessary to respond to him. As an act of his mercy, not because you and I had a good idea one day that we'd walk the aisle and get saved, because we were tired of the 20th verse of just as I am.

For those of you that lived long enough to remember those kinds of invitations. There's no room to think that we cooperated with God. So what's the action of God? Well, first of all, he made you alive with Christ. He made you alive with Christ.

Look at it there in verse five. He made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. This is the biblical doctrine of regeneration. God imparts new life to the one who is dead in sin. He imparted life to you, beloved, when you were unable to respond. And when it says, as you read on there, he made us alive together with Christ.

There's a parenthetical comment that he makes. He says it's by grace you have been saved. By the undeserved favor of God, when you deserve judgment, when you were dead, while you were dead, before you did anything, God did this. God graciously made you alive in Christ.

And the language in the original text expresses the ongoing results of a completed past action. God did this to you in the past. God saved you in a moment of time.

God made you new. And now, whether it was 40 years ago or whether it was four weeks ago, now you stand and you walk in the afterglow of what God has done. And beloved, as a result of that, I speak to my brothers and sisters in Christ here today to encourage you, to remind you of the greatness of the God of your salvation. As a result of what God has done for you, your spiritual condition now, your spiritual state is completely reversed. Whereas you were dead in sin, now you're alive in Christ. Whereas you were slave of Satan, now you are in the kingdom of God's beloved Son.

Your whole state, your whole condition, your whole spiritual realm has been utterly, completely, 180 degrees reversed by your salvation. And the reason that you're in that blessed condition, my friend, the sole motivating factor was because God, in His compassion, wanted to be good to you. He wanted to be good to you when you wanted Him to go away. He wanted to be good to you while your life was an offense to His holiness. And yet God, as it were, I speak to try to help you understand. God looked and He wanted to be kind to you, fully aware of all of your rebellion against Him and the hardness and the evil and the wickedness of your heart.

Fully aware that you would continue to sin against Him after salvation. But it's like God said, I know all of that. He is omniscient after all. He didn't know all of that, right?

He knows all of that. And yet there was something transcendent in which He, born out of motivations from His own character, said, yeah, but I want to be good to Him, to her. I want to be kind. He wanted to be kind to you. He wanted to show mercy to you because that would please Him if He could do that. What God is like that? What God is like that? Only the God of Scripture.

Only the Lord Jesus Christ. Because remember, beloved, remember that this wasn't just something that He kind of waved a magic wand and made happen. This was carried out and purchased for us at the cost of the Son of God leaving heaven, becoming man, walking the face of the earth for thirty years and offering up His perfect blessed life and shedding His precious blood for the payment of the price of redemption to wash you from your sins.

God didn't just... Oh, the limitations of my tongue. The Lord Jesus Christ poured Himself out for us. He gave up the glories of heaven. He lived as a man stricken with poverty.

Indeed, Scripture speaks about it that way, doesn't it? He became poor so that we could become rich. What God is like that?

A God of mercy, a God of grace. And so He made you alive together with Christ. The preaching of the gospel came and somehow as the Word of God worked in your heart over time, God made you new, imparted the ability to believe, made you a new creation in Christ.

Behold, the old things passed away, all things have become new. And as you read on, you realize that it's not just that God made us alive in Christ. Look at verse six with me. He didn't just make you alive in Christ, He raised you up with Christ. He raised you up with Christ. Verse six, and raised us up with Him. So there you were, dead in sin, captive to Satan and your own sinful corruption.

And God comes and He raises you up out of that. Scripture tells us to think about our union with Christ, that what happened to Christ is something that we share in and we participate in by His grace. Christ died, He was buried, He was raised with resurrection life, with resurrection power.

He had a new position after His resurrection, new life after His resurrection, you could say. Now, what Scripture says is that in like manner, Christians have a new spiritual life as the sons of God. We have been raised up to something that we did not have before. We were physically alive but spiritually dead. God made us alive in Christ and now by the same power that raised Christ from the dead has raised us up to new spiritual life and we share in the very resurrection life of Jesus Christ Himself because He's given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Listen as I read Colossians chapter 2. Colossians 2 beginning in verse 13. And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him having forgiven us all our trespasses.

By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands, this He set aside nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in Him. You were dead. God made you alive. You were a slave of sin and Satan. God released you, delivered you from that prison and now you've been raised up with Christ to share in the life that He has. And so when He raised you up, He forgave all of your sins. Past, present and future, you're counted righteous in the sight of God.

Your sins buried in the depths of the sea, to use a metaphor, separated as far as the east is from the west. He gave you the power, the ability to function spiritually, to respond to Him, to read His Word with understanding, to pray with intimacy, to have spiritual power to serve in the body of Christ. None of those things did you have before you were a Christian. He freed you from the demonic powers that held you captive.

And so you're raised up to a new life, a new position, a new power that you never had before. And God did that because He wanted to. And He wanted to because He's a God of great love and rich mercy.

And He chose to shower you with all of that. And so how can we respond with anything other than gratitude? How can we respond by saying, Lord, I've sought you with my inner man.

I've sought you. I love you. I worship you.

And yet I realize that even the best that I have to offer you isn't enough to be worthy of all that you've given and shown to me. And so He made you alive. He raised you up with Christ. We see also that He seated you with Christ in heaven. Look back to Ephesians chapter two here. Look at the end of verse six, chapter two, verse six in Ephesians. He seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

What God did for Christ, He's also done for you. God raised Christ from the dead. Christ ascended into heaven where He's at the right hand of God, interceding for the brethren. And Scripture says that He's raised you up and seated you in the heavenly places with Christ. Now, Paul obviously is not speaking geographically here. We should not think about this in spatial dimensions because obviously Christ is in heaven where we cannot get to right now. We do not see Him with our physical sight. He's removed from us as He said to the apostles, I'm going away.

I'll send the Helper, but I'm going away. And so we shouldn't think about ourselves as being somewhere where we're not. We're all physically still on earth, not in heaven. And so what does it mean that we're seated in the heavenly places in Christ? Well, the great theologian, biblical commentator, the Princeton theologian from the 19th century, Charles Hodge, who taught at that seminary for 50 years or more, Charles Hodge said this, he said, the heavenly places is that state of purity, exaltation, and favor with God into which His children are even in this world introduced. Purity, exaltation, favor with God. Now, I'm expanding on what he said.

I'll let you know when I get back to the quote. The purity of Christ, the exaltation of Christ, the favor with Christ, that Christ enjoys at the right hand of God, we share in that, we participate in that. Now, continuing the quote from Charles Hodge, Christians belong not to the earth, but heaven. We are within the pale of God's kingdom and have in Christ a title to its privileges and blessings, end quote. In other words, we are in Christ, but we have the title deed to heaven itself because that's where Christ is, and we have a right to be there. We will be there one day because that's what Christ purchased to secure for us. In the meantime, we share in that position of favor with God. One day we will enter into the heavenly places for real. And keeping in mind the first three verses of Ephesians 2, the heavenly realm compared with where we used to be. Christ lifted you from your prior evil realm to a position above the wickedness that once enslaved you.

You once were dead in trespasses and sins. Christ has lifted you out of that. And the same spiritual life in Christ is the life that is at work in you. And the grace of God, the power of God have given to you, my Christian friend, have given to you a disposition toward God, affections for God, power with God, from God, that is utterly foreign to a non-Christian.

It was utterly foreign to your prior life in Christ. You are joined to Christ in a vital relationship that is often called our union with Christ. Our union with Christ. Let me give you a definition of this that comes from another great theologian, Louis Burckhoff. What does it mean that we are in union with Christ? We're united with him. Union with Christ is that intimate, vital, and spiritual union between Christ and his people in virtue of which he is the source of their life and strength of their blessedness and salvation. Let me read that one more time.

I know some of you try to take these things down. Union with Christ is that intimate, vital, and spiritual union between Christ and his people in virtue of which he is the source of their life and strength of their blessedness and salvation. Beloved, Christ has life within himself.

He didn't receive it from anyone. He has life. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is life.

He is strong in and of himself. He is blessed in and of himself. He is the source of God's salvation. And in him, the blessing and the power and the life that he has, he shares it with you. You are joined with him, and you draw upon the same life and power that he has within himself.

That's a picture of our union with Christ, a sense of what it means that we are raised with him in the heavenly places and seated with him. We belong to him. We draw upon him. We, as it were, as Christ uses this picture in John chapter six, we have eaten of him and drunk of him. His life has been imparted to us, and we draw upon that as we go through.

That's what we have. That's what God has done. Why did God do it?

It was the mercy of God, point number one. What has he done, the action of God? He made us alive together with Christ. He seated us in the heavenly places. He raised us up with Christ.

And now, point number three. As wonderful as the mercy and love of God are, as wonderful as the action of God is in doing what he has done, making us alive, raising us up, seating us in the heavenly places, as wonderful as all of that is, arguably, there's something even better. Certainly, without argument, there is certainly still more to come that helps us understand the ultimate purpose, the ultimate goal that God had in mind. That brings us to our third point, the purpose of God, the purpose of God.

We've seen the mercy of God, the action of God, and now the purpose of God. Why did he do it? His mercy. What did he do? He made us alive together in Christ.

What was he thinking? What was the plan that he had in mind? Now, remember, those of you that have been with us, we have been studying how to build a Christian mind. One of the things that we said, and this is where you start to see these things come together, with very great power, and why it's so essential to be under the teaching of the Word of God on a consistent basis and not just drop in and out as it's convenient to you.

Because these things matter, and these things change everything. Understand, remember that when we were talking about the power of God, the sovereignty of God, we talked about the decree of God, that he established a purpose for all of world history before the world was even created. And what follows on the heels of creation is God in his providence working all of that out to accomplish it. And in the decree of God, he established the end of all things. He had a purpose in mind.

We're not living in a random universe where we're subject to human political forces. We are living in a world that God has determined the end from the beginning and is working out everything in between so that it accomplishes exactly what he wants in the end. We'll see it all fulfilled.

He'll be given great glory as a result of it. And, beloved, the purpose for which God showed his mercy to you in making you alive together with Christ is included in that decree. The purpose of God, this is an aspect of that greater decree of his. Now, salvation freed us from sin, forgave us, secured for us a place in heaven.

We have the title deed. That's all wonderful. But, beloved, you could say that that's not even the main point. It's not even the main point. What we see and experience and know here on earth, not even the main point. Look at verse 7. Look at the purpose clause. Look at the purpose clause, verse 7. So that God made you alive while you were dead in transgressions, so that there was a purpose to what he has done here on earth in your life.

There was a purpose that he had in mind that goes beyond anything that we see or experience right now. We're only in the vestibule, beloved, of salvation. We're in the outer lobby.

We're waiting to get into the main auditorium where the real display takes place. We're standing in line waiting for something far greater, verse 7. So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. You see, beloved, the purpose of God in saving you the purpose of the mercy of God on you was eternal in nature, unending in nature. His purpose, which we have yet to enter into, is that when we enter into eternity we would see with infinitely greater understanding, infinitely greater response, infinitely greater perception how great his mercy is, how great his love is to be in the abode of God, to be in his presence, to see the crucified and risen Christ face to face and to be there and for that to be home with all evil banished, all sin gone, all the enemies of God banished and cast away so that there is only the perfect love, the perfect righteousness of God, undiminished, unhindered by sin and time that we would be there and that we would see that and give glory to him for it.

Who can understand these things? Who can proclaim majesties like that? We're going to enter into eternity and the things that by the Spirit of God we know truly now, we appreciate now, we're going to find that it was a tiny drop of a portion of an ocean of blessing that awaited us when we entered into heaven. And somehow in the unfolding ages of eternity we are going to infinitely more comprehend the goodness of God, the greatness of Christ and extol him for the love and mercy to be in such a realm of perfect bliss, joy and contentment that we never deserved, that we never could. The point that I'm making so weakly here in this moment is that the purpose of God is eternal in nature when he saves a soul. And he has design of eternal, profound blessing that goes beyond all that we could ask or think.

Beloved, successive ages of eternity, whatever eternity is like, I realize to talk about unfolding ages is to inject an element of time where time doesn't exist. But how else are we in our feeble mental condition going to have something to grasp it by when we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we'll have no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun. The unfolding, rolling ages of eternity will not be sufficient to declare the glory of God for such unprompted generosity to us. The glory will never dim. It will never get old.

Scripture says it's reserved in heaven for you. It will not fade away, 2 Peter chapter 1. We won't get tired of this.

We get tired of everything here on earth. We won't get tired of God in eternity. There was a song that Steve Green used to say, our hearts will never tire of God and God alone. Better stated, our hearts will never tire of Christ and Christ alone. How could we get tired of the love that he showed for us? How could we get tired of the majestic glory of his countenance when we see it? How could we get tired of whatever that perfect countenance will be as he looks on us with love and says, as it were, says, welcome home, enter into the joy of your master. The glory will never dim.

The majesty will never weaken. We praise him now. We'll praise him much, much more effusively and effectively in heaven.

And we'll do it forever. That's why God saved you. He wanted you to be there. He wanted you to be a part of that. He wanted you to share in the riches of his glory. While you were dead in transgressions, while you were an enemy, while you were helpless, God said, I want you to have that.

Come to Me. And with omnipotent might, He drew you to Himself to make sure that you would not miss it. He didn't leave it to your flimsy will, your nonexistent will to do anything good.

He didn't leave it to that. God, by mercy, exercised omnipotent power to draw you to Himself to secure that eternal future for you without fail. My friend, if somehow you are still on the outside looking in at that kind of grace, Christ calls you to repent and to believe in Him, to make this your own. My friend, there is nothing in God that hinders you from coming. God invites you. God welcomes you. God has given you this, however long I've been speaking, opportunity to realize the riches of salvation. And Jesus Christ says, Come, drink of the living waters. It can be yours for free. If you walk out of here without Christ, it's not on Him.

It is not on Him. All that we've heard today is offered to you freely. Come to Christ and be saved, every one of you, and share in the eternal outworking that will one day be ours in glory. Let's pray together. Father, we extol You for Your grace. Father, either let us walk out full of gratitude or let us walk out in repentance. Don't let there be a remainder walking out condemned.

In Christ's name, amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, thank you, Bill. And just before we close, my friends, I just want to let you know that this podcast is made possible for you by the generous support of many friends of our ministry.

We're grateful for that. And if you have supported us, I want to say a special word of thanks to you for all that you've done to make this possible. And if you would like to join in the support of our ministry, you can do that so easily by going to

That's You'll see the link to give, and you can add your support to the others who make this possible for us. Thank you for whatever you do and whether you give or you don't give.

Know that our love and prayers are with you. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together here on The Truth Pulpit. 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 / 2024-06-17 04:54:05 / 2024-06-17 05:05:18 / 11

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