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Our Great Salvation: The Plan

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
September 12, 2022 4:43 pm

Our Great Salvation: The Plan

The Verdict / John Munro

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September 12, 2022 4:43 pm

Dr. John H. Munro September 11, 2022 Ephesians 1:1-14

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Tonight, we begin this series on Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and I've given it the general title, Our Great Salvation. And on these Sunday evenings as I preach through this Lord willing, I don't want to give necessarily a verse-by-verse exposition.

I want to move out fairly quickly and to give more of a general overview of our great salvation, as presented by Paul here in Ephesians. Now, I'm not going to refer much to the background of the letter to Ephesians for a couple of reasons. One is that if you look, and I trust you're opening your Bibles now to Ephesians, if you look at the opening verse, Ephesians 1, it reads as follows, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus. Now, I don't know in your Bible, but mine has a footnote regarding about some of the manuscripts omitting the phrase in Ephesus.

And I looked into that, and it does appear that many of the better manuscripts omit these verses, and there may be different reasons why that is the case. It's been suggested by some that this letter would be read not only by the church at Ephesus, but other churches in the area. And so it may be Laodicea, Colossae, and other ones as well, because as we read this letter of Ephesians, different from letter to Colossians and Galatians for example, there is no reference by Paul to any particular situation in the church at Ephesus. So it doesn't seem to be written for a particular purpose to correct, for example in Galatians, a false understanding of the gospel. In Colossae, there was a false doctrine circulating and Paul addresses that. Here it seems to be more general and presents these wonderful truths which applied to these churches in southwest Asia Minor, southwest Turkey as we know it, and come to us today.

So I'm not going to refer to all of the background. You could read about it in Acts chapter 12. We do know Acts chapter 19 rather.

We do know that Paul spent at least two years in Ephesus and was very active in that area. So we're going to look at the first 14 verses, and I've headed it, Our Great Salvation, The Son. These 14 verses which I'm going to read could be read like a hymn. Paul is laying a rich theological foundation of the gospel.

Notice how he begins. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Two of the outstanding words of the Christian gospel, grace and peace. And Paul is going to give an exposition of these. He's going to talk a lot about grace, salvation by grace and living by grace. And he's also going to address this great subject of peace. Two of the essentials of the Christian faith.

Two great things that we need. We need, you need, I need, the grace of God, and we need the peace of God. And Paul is making it very clear that this grace and peace doesn't come from ourselves, it's not manufactured within us, but it comes from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. And in these verses, the first 14 verses, we're going to consider salvation from God's perspective.

Grace and peace are from God our Father and the Lord Jesus. And it's interesting to compare this letter, which is deeply theological, particularly the first three chapters, with Paul's letter to Romans. When Paul writes to Rome, he begins with the sinful condition of men and women.

We thought of that this morning. All have sinned and come short with the glory of God. Here, Paul doesn't begin with the condition of man, sinful man, but rather he presents the Gospel from the divine perspective. He's going to first deal with our great salvation, and then in chapter two, he's going to deal with sin. There's different ways as we present the Gospel to people. Jim has encouraged us this week through 9-11 to reach out to people, and as we're doing that, haven't you learned that with different people, there's different approaches? And that we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we know the person.

Who is this person? Where are they in their spiritual journey? And so there's not just, as it were, one ABC formula that we apply across the board, because even Paul, as he presents the Gospel, is doing it very differently here in Ephesus, in Ephesians, compared with Romans. One of the things I love about these opening verses is that Paul is dealing with a great panorama of salvation. He's dealing, as we shall see, with our salvation before the foundation of the world, and then he's going to present the fullness of times.

He's dealing with salvation from eternity to eternity, and he's covering it in a wonderful broad sweep. Now, verses 3-14 are really one large sentence with three parts. Each part ending to the praise of His glory, or if you look at verse 6, it ends to the praise of His glorious grace. Verse 12, the first hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. The end of verse 14, to the praise of His glory. So you've got three main sections in these first 14 verses, and an understanding of God's plan of salvation produces an outburst of praise and worship by Paul.

It's a kind of doxology, isn't it? Because as we reflect on our salvation, if it doesn't produce praise, if it doesn't produce adoration, it means we haven't grasped the understanding of salvation. As we worship God, we reflect on the glory of God. We think of His work as we're going to learn that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all involved, the triune God, are involved in the salvation of one person. So when you were saved, and when I was saved, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all involved in our salvation. In a beautiful harmony in this great plan of salvation, through which, as Paul says, that we're blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Now you say, I don't know if I can take that in, I don't know if I can take it in. That's a promise. That we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. That God is the origin, God is the source, God is the goal of our great salvation and is at work, as we'll learn through reading Ephesians, God is at work in our salvation in the past before you were born. He's involved in your salvation now, presently, and He's involved in the future. Our past, our present, and our future are all captured in this wonderful plan of salvation. Now you say, what are these spiritual blessings?

Well, let's read them. Ephesians 1, and let me read from 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 to Himself 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, making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. 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, so that we who are the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.

I mean, someone should say Amen, or a small Hallelujah. First of all, we're going to look at verses 3 through 6. In our great salvation, God the Father chooses us. The plan of our great salvation is initiated not by us, but by God the Father. Look at verse 4, God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

The plan of salvation wasn't devised during your lifetime. Not only was this ever before you were born, not only was it before you ever did anything, but before the foundation of the world. Before the heavens and the earth were created, God chose us in Christ. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1 verse 9, regarding the plan of salvation, he said, is before the ages began.

Difficult to get our minds around that, isn't it? That God is the source of salvation, and before the creation of the world, God the Father loved His people, loved you and me. John tells us in 1 John, we love because He first loved us. Do you love God? We would say yes, we love God well, but before we ever loved God, He loved us. Jeremiah says we're loved with an everlasting love. Don't marry couples, I sometimes wonder will this love last? And we know that human love sometimes does not last.

Sometimes it becomes sour, sometimes it becomes broken, sometimes it becomes stale. But think of this, that we, through the grace of God, are loved with everlasting love. And look at verse 5, in love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will. The predestination refers to the goal of God the Father's election. Now, when you talk about election, when you talk about predestination, and when you try to introduce that in Christian circles, and you're going to get some fierce and passionate debates, don't you?

Generally, generating more heat than light, and people can get very passionate about the subject. And I've heard people say, I don't believe in election. Don't believe in election? Even as He chose us in Him, how can you not believe in election? I don't believe in predestination. Is your Bible the same as mine? In love, He predestined us for adoption to Himself.

Let me say this. Next Sunday we're going to be talking about pride. It is very, very important as you study your Bible, as you read your Bible, as you respond to biblical preaching and teaching that there is humility. God gives grace not to the proud, you could say the proud needs grace, but the proud wouldn't receive grace.

God gives grace to the humble, and it is essential that as we come to the Word of God, there is a humility of spirit. And election, predestination, let me say very strongly, that these are biblical truths. You say, well, it's difficult to understand.

That's another question, isn't it? There are many truths that are difficult to understand, but we have to accept the authority of Scripture. Let me ask you to turn in your Bibles to Deuteronomy chapter 7. Do you believe that Israel was God's chosen nation in the Old Testament? Absolutely.

Of course it was. Now, why did God choose Israel? Deuteronomy 7 verse 6.

Deuteronomy, the fifth book in the Old Testament. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession.

That beautiful expression, a treasured possession. Out of all of the peoples who are on the face of the earth, Lord, why did you choose Israel? It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord said His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples. Here it is, verse 8. And it is because the Lord loves you.

It's wonderful that God in His sovereign purposes takes this man, yes a pagan, Abram, living in Ur of the Chaldeans, present-day Iraq, and He chooses this man, and He's going to be the father of a great nation. Were the Israelites a particularly holy people? Read your Bible. They were rebellious. They disobeyed God.

They went into idolatry. Why did God choose them? He chose them because He decided to choose them.

He chose them out of love. You say, well, John, that's the Old Testament, right? Let's go over to the New Testament.

Gospel of John, John chapter 15. You ever wonder why Jesus chose Peter and Andrew, James and John and the disciples? Were they particularly spiritual people? Was it because they were particularly holy, particularly close to the Lord?

Not really. Not when you read the New Testament. Here it is. John chapter 15, verse 16. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide. The Lord Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee, Lord willing. Some of us are going to be there in just a couple of months or so, walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and there's a couple of fishermen there. They're casting the nets. Peter and Andrew, come follow me.

Why did you choose them? There are plenty of other fishermen. Here's other ones.

They're mending their nets. James and John, I want you to leave everything. I want you to follow me. On what basis did God choose them? On what basis did God choose you and me? Not because of anything in them, not because of anything they did, but out of God's free, sovereign grace, out of the Father's love. See, in the plan of salvation, God acts first, not us. It is God's plan of salvation.

Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. When we first came to Christ, we thought that we were choosing Christ, didn't we? And in a sense we were. But then we understand as we read our Bibles and as we begin to grow in our faith a wonderful truth, that ever before I chose Christ, He had chosen me. He put me in a particular family, in a particular situation.

He had superintended events in your life whereby you would hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we understand it's not so much that we chose God as He chose us. It's not so much that we were seeking God. In fact, Paul says, no one seeks after God, left to themselves.

We're naturally rebellious. God has to intervene. And the goal of the Father's choice, verse 4, is that we should be holy and blameless before Him. God's plan of salvation is not just to save us, but it's to have a relationship with us, a holy relationship, a blameless relationship. It is, and this is overwhelming, it is to adopt us into His eternal family so that we should be like His Son. Verse 5, in love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will.

Predestined. There's the destiny. What's the destiny? The destiny is to be holy and blameless. The destiny is to be like God's Son. I am predestined to be like, perfectly like Jesus Christ. Will that be accomplished? Yes.

Why? Because it's part of God's plan of salvation. Some of you are looking at me and saying, I'm not sure if that's true. Well, turn to Romans 8. Turn to Romans 8. All of us love Romans 8, 28, and rightly so, we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good. Well, how is it that all things work together for good for believers?

How is that the case? When we mess up? When we stray?

When we sin? How is it that all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose? For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined. Predestined to be what?

What's the destiny? To be conformed to the image of His Son in order that He, Christ, might be the firstborn among many brothers. Those whom He predestined, He also called. Those whom He called, He also justified. That's our salvation when we first come to Christ, but notice this, those whom He justified, He also glorified. So that here in time, if I can personalize this, as a twelve-year-old little boy at a Christian camp, I place my faith in Jesus Christ.

Outwardly, there's nothing sensational. My heart is opened, and I receive Christ, and my sins are forgiven. Here's the wonder of it. That God had chosen John Monroe before the foundation of the world. He said, well, He knew you were going to be a nice guy and a pastor. No, no. That's not the basis.

Of course not. Not only am I going to be saved, I'm going to be conformed to the image of His Son. He adopts us into His family, Paul is saying here, for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ. See, what God purposes will be accomplished. There is nothing in the world, nothing in the whole universe, which can take away the salvation of the true believer.

Why? Because God is at work. It is God's choice. It's God's salvation. God has predestined us to be like His Son.

So we are justified. Now we are all involved if we're following Christ. We're involved in the process of our sanctification that is here and now becoming more and more like Jesus. Are we perfectly like Jesus?

No, we're not yet there. But one day, this is guaranteed that we shall be perfectly like the Son of God because God has predestined us through adoption into His family to be like His Son. That's why we strongly believe that you can't lose your salvation. And the plan of salvation, we are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, chosen, Paul says here, to be holy and blameless, chosen to be like God's Son, blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Now I understand that there's a deep mystery in God's plan of salvation. Can I answer all of your questions in this? No.

Do you know what the greatest mystery is? That God would choose me and not some of you as I do that God would choose you. I'm serious. Why? Why am I a follower of Christ rather than some of the little boys I went to school with? Was I better than them?

No. Why was that? Why is it when I preach the gospel, some people respond and other people don't? Can I explain that?

No, I can't. Is it because some are more intelligent than others? No, it's not to do with intelligence. Is it because some are more naturally spiritual than others?

No, that's not the reason surely. God is sovereign in salvation. God is in control over the entire universe, past, present, and future. Paul says here in verse 11, He works all things according to the counsel of His will. Now God's sovereign choice doesn't rule out human responsibility.

Let's make that clear. An essential part of the gospel is whoever. John 3.16, for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. That response to the gospel is absolutely essential. God's election and human responsibility are both presented in Scripture.

You say, how can that be? Well, look at verse 13. Paul says, in Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, what did you do? And believed in Him. Verse 15, for this reason, because I've heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus.

Where's the other one? Verse 19, yes. What is the immeasurable greatness of His power towards us who believe? So here on the one hand is God's sovereign choice.

Here on the other hand are these first century Christians in Ephesus and elsewhere who believed in the Lord Jesus, who had faith in the Lord Jesus. Both these truths, God's election and human responsibility are clearly presented in Scripture. Listen to the Lord Jesus. John 6 verse 37, all that the Father gives Me will come to Me.

That's God's sovereign election, isn't it? And whoever comes to Me, I will never cast out. The Father gives us to the Son, and whoever comes to Me, I will never cast out. Verse 44, no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. There has to be the work of God in the life of that individual, opening their mind and their heart to understand their sin, to understand the beauty of salvation before they ever trust Him. But we have to believe. And you say, well, I can't reconcile these two truths in my mind.

No. One of the best illustrations I've heard was with Spurgeon who said that it's like a door, and you enter the door and above the door are the words, whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And you go through the door and you turn back and you see on it, chosen before the foundation of the world. See, this truth of election is a truth for believers, and to understand that God the Father graciously loves us and chose us before the foundation of the world.

Do you know what that does? It produces great security and stability, great comfort, great humility, great praise that our salvation is grounded in the eternal purposes of God. And whatever the challenges and the difficulties of life, we know that our sovereign Father is at work in our life. He's chosen us. He's predestined us to be like His Son Paul is saying. And the good work He begins in us, He will bring to completion to the day of Jesus Christ, Philippines 1.6. What's the good work He begins? Our salvation. Can we lose our salvation?

No. The good work He begins in it, He will bring to completion. Why? Because of His eternal purposes. And I ask you, my dear brothers and sisters, don't reject biblical truths because you can't understand them. Don't reject biblical truth because you can't in your mind, you think, well this is not fair or I don't understand it and therefore you don't reject it.

Remember, humility is key. God is infinite in His wisdom. God is infinite in His love. God is infinite in His justice. Augustine said, referring to biblical truth, we see the depth but we don't see the bottom.

We understand these truths are deep but we do not plumb the depths. We say with Paul, oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgments and inscrutable His ways. So in our great salvation, God the Father chooses us. Secondly, in our great salvation, God the Son redeems us, as I read in verses 7 through 12.

Salvation is planned by God the Father but it's accomplished by God the Son. We're going to sing in a minute, oh the love that drew salvation's plan, oh the grace that brought it down to man. Did you notice, as I read, that all of the benefits of salvation are in Christ.

That's the center of Paul's theology in Christ. Verse 1, to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus. Verse 3, who has blessed us in Christ. Verse 4, even as He chose us in Him. End of verse 6, He has blessed us in the Beloved. Verse 7, in Him we have redemption. End of verse 9, the purpose which He set forth in Christ. Verse 11, in Him we have obtained an inheritance. Verse 12, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ. Verse 13, in Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in Him.

That's it, isn't it? In Christ and in Christ alone. My salvation is totally in Jesus Christ. God the Father plans it and it is executed, it is implemented in Christ. Verse 7, God the Son redeems us.

The Greeks and the Romans took prisoners of war, became slaves and these slaves could be bought, a ransom could be paid, a price could be paid to the owner of the slave and the slave then released. They were redeemed. Paul uses this analogy for the believer. Once we were captive to sin, he's going to say in the first three verses of chapter 2, we're captive to sin, we need to be redeemed, we need to be delivered. Can we free ourselves?

Absolutely not. How does our Lord Jesus redeem us? He purchases us out of the slave market of sin, verse 7, by forgiving our trespasses. He pardons us from sin's guilt and He sets us free from the bondage and captivity of sin. He accomplishes our redemption through His death and resurrection. Notice the redemption comes about through His blood. He gives His life.

We were singing about that. We thought of that this morning, the Lord Jesus had to die on the cross. The cost of our redemption is the very blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our redemption is in Christ. It is in Him we have redemption through His blood. That the cross of Christ is at the very centre of God's great salvation. This is the great mistake of many churches, isn't it? That the cross just becomes a symbol.

You can't have authentic Christianity without the cross of Christ. The one who creates us, the one who plans our salvation, now redeems us. We turn our back on Him. We go our own way and God intervenes in our life and we are redeemed through His blood. All of this, notice how wonderfully Paul expresses it 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. When Christ redeems us, He does so out of His abundant riches, but He does more.

He redeems us according to the riches of His grace. I remember we had just arrived in the United States where I was at seminary in Dallas. Been there about a year living as students, a little different lifestyle than we'd been used to in Scotland. And I got a call from one of our former clients, a very wealthy man and he said, I'm in Dallas doing business, John, and I'd like to meet with you. And I'm staying at Sassen Sachitel, which was the best hotel in Dallas. And he said, I want to meet you there. So I go down and I said to Goodney, well, you know, at least I'm going to get a good steak dinner out of this. And I go, he was from the city of Aberdeen, they are known to be particularly frugal. And we sat down and this guy was very, very wealthy.

We knew this. And he began by saying, I'll never forget it. He said, it serves you right. You're expecting a big steak dinner. He said, well, I don't know about you, John, but I'm not very hungry.

A cup of coffee will do me. And of course, he paid. He was paying out of his riches, but he wasn't paying according to his riches.

He just wanted some free legal advice that turned out. That's not what God does, doesn't it? When God in His grace saves us, He lavishes, lavishes His grace upon us.

And it is in accordance with His riches. He gives all He has so that we are described as followers of Christ, of being in Christ. It's not just that God gives you a little bit of salvation.

It's not that He just loves you a little bit. It's not just that a small speck of His infinite grace comes on you. He lavishes His grace upon us by redeeming us, by uniting us with Christ, as He says in verses 9 and 12, united in Christ in the fullness of time that nothing can thwart God's great cosmic plans which center in His Son in our magnificent Lord Jesus Christ. Let me hurry with this as we finish third in our great salvation, God the Holy Spirit seals us. God the Father plans our salvation. God the Son implements the salvation by redeeming us.

God the Holy Spirit seals us. Do you see how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all working together in beautiful harmony? All of the benefits of our great salvation are applied to us by God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is very active in our great salvation. It's He who convicts us of our sin. It's He who opens our eyes to our sinfulness. It's He who opens our eyes to understand that salvation is only found in Jesus Christ.

He convinces us that the gospel is, as Paul refers to it in verse 13, is the word of truth, the word of truth. And when we place our faith, saving faith in Jesus Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit indwells us and seals us at the very moment of our salvation. In fact, the indwelling Spirit is the mark of our salvation. Paul says in Romans 8 verse 9, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. If you're not indwelled by the Holy Spirit, you're not a Christian.

This is what God in His grace does. When we're saved, the Holy Spirit seals us and indwells us. And Jesus tells us in John 14 verse 16, the Holy Spirit is with us forever. The Holy Spirit is never going to leave me. The Holy Spirit is with me forever. Now the sealing of the Spirit, contrary to what some people teach, is not a future experience. It's not a second work of grace subsequent to our salvation. I've been asked over the years, not so much recently, but I used to be asked this, you know, have you received the second blessing?

And my answer is yes. And they say, oh, hallelujah. I say, I've also received the third blessing and the fourth blessing and the fifth blessing because I've been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. There are those who think you're saved and then through some prayer and fasting, people praying over you, you are then going to receive the baptism of the Spirit. That's the second work of grace. And then some even believe there's a third work of grace where you get supernatural power for witnessing and so on.

Paul is saying no. All of the benefits of salvation are given to us at the moment of salvation, not that we understand them all, not that we work them out in our life, but we are sealed, which is a mark of ownership and identification, sealed with the Spirit is evidence that now I belong to God. It's God's internal stamp on me. I've been accepted by God. I am in Christ. I am in Him and He is in me, sealed by the Holy Spirit. That's why I've called this the great salvation.

Isn't this wonderful? It's a mark of security. And as Paul says here, it is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of His glory. It's the deposit.

It's the first installment. It's the down payment. It is the earnest. You enter into a real estate deal and the purchaser wants earnest money.

He wants a deposit. It is the guarantee that more money is coming. In Greek, this word here is arabon, which is used in modern Greek for the engagement ring. What is an engagement ring? Well, when people are engaged, young women love to show us their engagement ring. And the engagement ring is wonderful, but the engagement ring is not everything. The engagement ring is telling us that although engagement rings are wonderful and they look beautiful, something better is coming, namely the marriage. It's a foretaste. It's a down payment that something greater is coming. It promises that something in the future is coming which is even more wonderful. Wonderful to be engaged, far more wonderful to be married.

Being sealed with the Holy Spirit, as we are, points to something better, something fuller, something more wonderful that we have an inheritance in heaven which no one can ever, ever take away. God, can I say this respectfully, God never takes the engagement ring back. God never breaks the engagement.

No. Our future inheritance is guaranteed. This is why this plan of salvation is from eternity to eternity, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.

Don't ask me to explain that. I just rejoice in it. Saved, involved in this process of justification, awaiting this future inheritance.

I don't know when I'm going to enter into it and neither do you. But one thing I know that it is guaranteed because meantime I have been sealed with the Spirit. God's stamp is on me that you belong to me John, that you are in Christ, that no one can snatch you out of my hand.

We're overwhelmed aren't we by the love of God. And we think of that, that that brings great joy and great peace and a great foretaste of what awaits us. The sealing by the Holy Spirit begins on the day of our conversion. These verbs there it is, having believed you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. And this sealing of the Holy Spirit which begins at the date of our conversion, ends in our ultimate redemption, our glorification.

So Paul says in Ephesians 4, verse 30, don't grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Am I redeemed? Yes. Redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, my sins are forgiven. Am I fully redeemed?

No. That still awaits that day. But when I see Christ and I will become perfectly like God's Son, that is guaranteed, not because I'm a pastor, not because I'm naturally a spiritual person, but because God in His grace has reached down to me. And I heard the gospel and drawn by the Holy Spirit, I heard the voice of Jesus say, come to me and I will give you rest.

And I didn't know much theology, but I know this, that I came to Him and I found in Him not only rest, but forgiveness of sins and a transformation of life. And this sealing of the Spirit is a guarantee that all of God's promises will be fulfilled in the believer. We are God's treasured possession. If Israel was God's… if Israel God's earthly people were His treasured possession, how much more we are God's treasured possession, and our final salvation one day will be completed. Well, here is the triune, God's plan of our salvation. God the Father chooses us before the foundation of the world. God the Son redeems us and procures our salvation. God the Holy Spirit applies our salvation and seals it in our lives. All of this is grounded in the love of God, a love from all of eternity.

I want you to rejoice. I want you to leave this sanctuary with joy in your heart thinking of this, that God has a plan for your life. God He chose you. Present He is at work in your life, isn't He? Do you see God working in your life?

All of the ups and downs shaping us, molding us, pointing us in certain directions, certain opportunities, closing certain doors, making us more and more like Christ, and we anticipate that wonderful future. He's guaranteed our inheritance all to the praise of His glorious grace. We contribute nothing other than our sin. The old hymn got it right, thou must save and thou alone. If you've never been saved by God's grace, can I encourage you to look to Christ, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to call upon the name of the Lord, to look to Christ who died for you, paid the price for your sin, ask Him to come and to save you and to cleanse you. The promise is true that the one who comes to Him, He will in no wise cast out. Robert Murray McShane, as you know, is one of my heroes of the faith, and he writes these few lines which I conclude with regarding our salvation. He says, chosen not for good in me.

God didn't choose you because you're good. Chosen not for good in me, wakened up from wrath to flee. Paul's going to say in chapter 2, is it verse 3, that we are children of wrath. Hidden in the Savior's side, He's the one that redeems us, we are in Christ. Hidden in the Savior's side, our life is hidden with Christ in God by the Spirit, sanctified that God's Spirit is working to make us more and more like Jesus. Teach me, Lord, on earth to show by my love how much I owe.

Let me read it again. Chosen not for good in me, wakened up from wrath to flee. Hidden in the Savior's side, by the Spirit, sanctified. Teach me, Lord, on earth to show by my love how much I owe. Father, everything we are and have we owe to You. Our salvation is all of You. We think how Jonah says that salvation is of the Lord, and we say that as well.

It's all of Christ. And we praise You that You've blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Some of us have come here tonight and we're discouraged, we're a bit down, we're anxious about certain things, and so we pray that our hearts will be encouraged as we marvel in this so great salvation that You save us, and that Your work in our life and everything You do is for our good and for our glory. So help us to humbly trust You more and more. Help us to obey You. As children, with You the Heavenly Father, that we will be obedient children, and that we, by the way we live, as well as by what we say, may be commending the Gospel. We thank You for our magnificent Savior, for the wonderful Holy Spirit, for You a Father who loves us with an everlasting love. In Christ's name, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-26 08:43:56 / 2023-02-26 08:59:38 / 16

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