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Bonded Together

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
September 6, 2021 2:00 am

Bonded Together

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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September 6, 2021 2:00 am

Join us for worship- For more information about Grace Church, pleas visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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Turn to Ephesians chapter chapter 3 is the word of the Lord reverses one through 13. Paul is instructing the church here in Ephesus about their walk with Christ eyes they're being built up in Christ are being called out as his saints, and speaking to them as citizens and members of the household of God, and so he begins to chapter 30 with these words. For this reason I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles, if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace, which was given to me for you that by revelation that was made known to me than this, the mystery, as I wrote before, in brief by referring to this. When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the spirit to be specific that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace, which was given to me according to the working of his power to me the very least of all Saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things, so that the manifold with wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This is in accordance with the eternal purpose which he carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in him. Therefore I ask you not to lose heart. At my tribulations on your behalf for they are your glory that is spring father in heaven we thank you for the fact that you've given us your word you reveal these things by the Holy Spirit to the apostle Paul in many revealed and then shared them with the church in Ephesus and now with us again we read them again in May your Holy Spirit now open our eyes and our ears to understand more deeply the very rich is that of your grace that an import upon the Jews and Gentiles and all peoples of the earth through the gospel. We pray this now in Jesus name, amen. When you look at the world of value to say what in the world is going on part is that this will hold together that is falling apart and I guess every generation has that that feeling wasn't loud and on through the Ephesians felt like that since they were the Ephesian Christians as they live in a very pagan city and I Paul is coming to them again into a drinker writing them and could to encourage them in their faith, but I'm sure they're struggling with what you do when you when you been culturally canceled. You know you been thrown out on you lost your secure spot on Facebook you when you do when when you put down because you hold specific beliefs that are exalting to Jesus Christ and do not complement the worldly culture will you do with man-made and human design. Natural disasters will you do in your faith is being assailed well.

Some of these questions are being running to the Ephesians mind here in this passage been in Paul is writing to encourage them that they not should not be discouraged because of all the troubles and he reflects on his troubles and he had about the troubles he had loads of troubles that we know as we think about the things that happened in the apostle Paul's life, but he wants that the people in Ephesus and he wants us as Christians to really look at the hardships of others and even our own hardships and be encouraged because good Christ is bringing us through these things. And like the example, the apostle Paul. God brought them Paul through these difficulties so that other people would actually hear the gospel and they would come to faith in Jesus Christ and in other words, even though there these hardships, the kingdom of God is growing and was growing and it still grows. For that reason. So, don't focus either one of the focus on his trials. He wanted them to focus upon what Christ did on what God Christ provided for them in the gospel and so we come to that. This test suite.

We need to realize Paul is trying to encourage the these Christians and the Scriptures encourage us in this.

That is, the church needs to know that the church, the people of God are bonded together to be a witness to the glory of God. That's why we're here. We are bonded together. We are a body of believers were body of Christians who were here for his glory. And that gives us a unique identity in this world. Okay, I one.

This is Christ is a witness to the world okay verse 13 first verse versus 13 divide that you can divide is the verses in the three parts are three points I say for first part talks about Paul's life and his struggles and in his things being revealed to him as an apostle directly by Christ.

The second part is the core of what we will look at tonight and that tell us about the works of God's grace in Christ and that what what Christ has done for us and the status that each of us have together and individually in Jesus Christ.

In the third part source states that the witness that we have the gift of the world and to the angels in heaven. Okay, this is an interesting passage.

You know you can go through the Psalms and you see all these statements and I will give you one okay Psalm 6835 says, oh God, you are awesome from your sanctuary, the God of Israel himself gives strength and power to the people.

Blessed be God, and that is true. That's what we're to do God gives us power and strength, and grace and we are to be witnesses and Brent bless his name. Okay, first of all first part was a look at what Paul was energized. Paul was passionate because he was being sent to the Gentiles with the gospel and I think most of us are Gentiles in your butt. But where the benefactors of the benefit is from from Paul's ministry in the long run. And yet there is a mystery in the gospel that is being revealed to the Gentiles to the non-Jewish world.

And Paul is carrying this around the upper rim of the Mediterranean Sea.

Okay, Paul's own conversion to the Christian faith is a revelation of what that mystery can do. You know, here you have the serious opponent of the Christian church in the very beginning and now he is out pushing the gospel the same gospel be opposed to the Gentile world.

He was commissioned and even though to do this work even though he was so had been previously so opposed to the gospel and if God can change the part of Paul that the resistant Pharisee in a Corsican do the work in the hearts of the Gentile believers and unbelievers. This we see that Paul was sent changing positions. Here he was the one who went and he was the imprisoned there. He was imprisoning Christians and now he is the prisoner of Jesus Christ. Quite a contrast here that he's presenting and that this highlights Paul's restrictions that were put upon him is his being arrested being locked up or maybe would lock down whatever recovery will look at that situation, but he was restricted. He had physical beatings, deprivations, and that but the power of the gospel transformed him, we see the radical Jew become the radical and advocate a Gentile ministry and this is all accomplished by the grace of God which he keeps saying in this passage of Scripture.

It was given to him that he would have this role. It was not what he chose God graciously gave him this role. So Paul is an advocate of what has been revealed. Some things have that work. Some things were hidden. So what was being revealed. Is there something that we don't note well if we look at verses five and verses nine we see what that is. It says that in which, in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to his apostles and prophets in the spirit so there's a lot more being revealed. Now okay verse nine and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things. So some things were hidden and were not clear. But now they have been made clear in what is this his ministry that that was hidden actually was not in. It wasn't totally hidden because we know that there were Gentile believers in the Old Testament a number of people who are in the line of Christ's work were Gentiles, and that came to know faith came to faith in the living God. But God does progressively reveal things to us. We we see that flow in Scripture and believers were learning more more of the depth of God's grace and we're still learning that and we will be learning that into all eternity.

But verse eight describes the mystery and was being revealed. Now Depaul and what Paul is explaining to these Christians in that first century. He says verse eight to me the very least of the Saints, this grace was given, to preach the to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of God riches of Christ, unfathomable. That's an interesting word. We don't use that often but but is something that cannot be measured and you know I fathom is this pretty much stick your arms out at 6 feet and so you put 60 on the cable around the rope and you go and you throw soffit out of the water you can to can tell if you have how shallow the water is and we get about 12 feet you better slow that that's that same ship down due to be in trouble and so there was of the measurement for navigating that Paul saw many times as he was on the ship and he says there is no way you don't have a rope or cable long enough to measure the grace and the love of Jesus Christ for the four people it's and it's we can't comprehend it and I as a human being.

Maybe you decide way.

I'm pretty stingy with my kindness and grace. But God is not stingy. He is abundantly graceful and all the grace that we received from Christ is totally undeserved in we deserve punishment, but grace is a free gift is not forgiveness. Nothing is not a gift is not free is not a gift it off right you get the paperwork that Paul is emphasizing God is brought the grace grace to the Gentile world. Now what is that mystery, more specifically stated in verse six.

This is the core of the of the text here that I'm emphasizing the life he says to be specific that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of hidden the body and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. There were indications all alone that was going to be the case and the effect you know if you think about it every one of us. Every human being on the face of the earth as a descendent of Adam any on the beginning of exit will every human being on the face of the earth today is a descendent of Noah and his his sons and their families. That is true so in a sense, every believer and every nonbeliever has a bleeding ancestor in their past. Okay, so there's something is been null and passed along, but we know that those who have faith like Abraham. Those people who are like him. They are there called the children of God, and they have faith in their counted righteous and they had the sign of circumcision, but the Gentiles they were not circumcised. They didn't have that right it and had ritually and they didn't have that that that concern insipid and some other subcultures but that they were considered excluded from the Jewish faith. Now the mystery this being revealed here and more clearly is that God does include the Gentiles into the faith without circumcision is based on faith, not the outward signs and this is a great truth for the Gentile community there in Ephesus that they see this their learning.

This is a congregation in their courage and so there are three bonding truths that he shares here in verse six, the Gentile and the Jews are believers are fellow heirs in Jesus Christ, we hear that a lot we we were kinda familiar with that but but that is very weighty in meeting so you and I are fellow heirs with believers around the globe. Okay, we understand that an as is as though, however, that we set down with the great lawyer at the desk and he pulls out the last will and testament and he says yes why well you have the receipt so you have a Mercedes and you have a Mercedes Mercedes. Everybody's got a Mercedes.

Okay, everybody gets everything. That's what Jesus does for his heirs everything that he gives to one he gives to all. So we are fellow heirs equal with unmanageable and unfathomable shares that that Christ is prepared for every believer down through history and we will be surprised at the riches that we receive, we are heirs with Jesus Christ.

Romans eight verse 16 and 17 make an us make business a standing statement about the believers and their relationship to Christ. It says this the spirit. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. We as believers are bonded together. We are heirs with him. Okay, so the glue of the bond is referred to many places in Scripture numbers were read to three other scriptures that just reflect that.

Okay, Galatians 47 says therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son than an heir through God. Or she no sons picking the oldest one got it almost everything. So ladies of your sons you get everything okay.

That's what it means everything we can all share equally fully in the riches of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11 seven talking about Noah's is by faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith and then Peter got that verse and we all kind of work struggle with but really basic of this women are resilient men might would be to arm wrestling, but women are resistant.

Here's the passage okay.

First Peter 37 you husbands in the same way live with your wise and understanding way as someone weaker since she is a woman show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. We fellow heirs together all that Christ is present in the list could go on and on and on the many passes give her that points to this reality of our oneness are bond together is heirs of Christ. Paul is saying the mystery revealed to him as it is, as he as he was resistant to the gospel as he was that this mystery was revealed to him that Jewish believers and Gentiles belonged to the kingdom of God and that should not be divided so the point I want to make here is don't let anything divide you members of the body of Christ we are bonded together as is heirs okay we are body okay. The second bonding truths. Is this is that Jews and Gentiles are fellow members of the church, the body of Christ. Okay Jesus Christ is the head of the church and he is your head if you are a believer. He is your head in his mind and if he is the head of all the church so we, and we profess Jesus is Lord and that's what that means that we are all under him.

We are all members of his body.

The vision says 523. Comparing those two institutions. The church in marriage in Ephesians 523 says for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is the head of the church, he himself being the Savior of the body, but as the church is subject to Christ so so we should be subject Christ. So is showing that the bond we are part of the body not Jews and Gentiles are members of that universal church Christ church.

Romans 1245, Canada share something about that assistant as members of the church as is or just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Paul is building up the church in Ephesus.

He's he's encouraging the church to realize you are a bunch of Gentiles will pull out of all these places in your joining the religion that's connected to Judaism and that you know your hearing the gospel for the first time you belong in the body of Christ, along with the Jew in the Gentile and everyone. Everyone who believes in so we all come from different backgrounds you know you make you do if you got people who okay this person there there backgrounds. It is as an executive. This person is in small business this person was stationed over here this person business and live in this country for X numbers of years you know this person is a teacher.

This person is this and that everybody comes and looks at things from different directions but but in reality we are all brought together into one body, and we all have different experiences and backgrounds, but we are still members of God's body God that is a is only one of you is all he wanted me there are no close wheat we are his members of his church, so we submitted Jesus Christ as our head and we submit to him as King of Kings and Lord of lords, and we grow together in the body of Christ.

Now when it says that we are fellow members of his body. This was so illustrated this morning when we took of the communion where we realize that Christ gave his blood, his body for us to bring us into his family into his kingdom and so we communed with Christ, and we were here communing together. That's what Christ is front paws, trying to teach the people there.

Remember, your identity, your identity is in Jesus Christ, you bonded to him and you. You are now a member of his body. So the third bonding statement here is that Jews and Gentiles are fellow, partakers of the covenant promises historically see that the latter gracefully see the promise of a Redeemer that has been given down through biblical history and through real history since God began it so from Adam to Noah to Abraham and forward we see God's immediate works of grace, as he told Adam and Eve that that immediately that there would be someone who come and crush the head of Satan.

One of their descendents, and gave them that hope and grace and is no was for my we reminded Noah that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, we see that that unfolding there and we see the faith of Abraham and that we believe, like Abraham. There will also be counted righteousness. Abraham was counted righteous. We are fellow, partakers of the promise of salvation through the Messiah, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit confirm that again and again he hit he has many times, Jews and Gentiles are fellow partakers that we don't realize America is is more diverse and more unified than we realize, Americans are but you know when you are at communion with the Jewish conflict in a Gentile conflict. This was intense back in centuries ago, usually contents and so we don't we don't grasp that that the conflict in the depth of resistance that Paul was dealing with.

But you know at Pentecost, as the prophets had predicted the spirit of God as Joel Joel had predicted in 20 between end, the spirit of God was poured out of the church and the people who saw and heard the preaching of the gospel in their different languages. Some understood the gospel and some believed and who were these people multiple groups of people just a few like they were there with the needs who are the Persians who are the Iranians of in their and heritage. The people of Asia minor the people, or of our turkey. They were Egyptians and Libyans in Romans and Arabs and it goes on and on. All these different people hearing them the gospel as these Galileans spoke to them in their own homes. The miracle of the of the work of God, bringing people into his phone symbolizing their right there at Pentecost.

Then again, the Jews and Gentile were there unity in oneness and bonding the folk of the Lord was confirmed by the multiple works of the Holy Spirit among the Gentile hears this and whether the reports of Paul and Barnabas brought around back to the church in Jerusalem, yet interrelated silence when environments and mean John Mark analysis with the Barnabas and sizing up apartment but they will bring back the news that Gentiles are coming to faith in Jesus Christ and you become an issue become a boiling point in the early church. How can we actually have people who do. I don't know the Old Testament are not circumcised. How can they be members in the kingdom of God. That was a boiling point so in acts 15 versus 711 hit 7 to 11. Here's what the was Peter said as he preached there that day, after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, brethren, you know that in the early days, God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe in God and knows the heart testified to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he also did to us and he made no distinction between us and them cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing up on the neck of the disciples, a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear, but we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in the same way as they also are and so when the when the people became came to faith in Christ and they receive the Holy Spirit and they were blessed by God profess their faith in Christ. The Gentiles did circumcision was out the door. The point was they have been bonded and brought into the to the body of Christ and in they are now partakers of the covenant promises that God had been making all the way through from Abraham own fruit. They are members of the body of Christ as so saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. That's what makes us heirs that makes us members of the body and that makes us partakers of these eternal promises of God you look at chapter 1 verse 13, Paul makes the statement, he says 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. All the God of been promising down through the ages, were being fulfilled right there.

And Paul is assuring these Ephesians, who were not there Pentecost he's assured this is really true is true is true now and so it was confirmed that Pentecost was confirmed that the Jerusalem Council that we become Jew and Gentile become one body in Christ, we partakers of the promises of God and were sealed by the indwelling person of the Holy Spirit. So you and I were here today are bonded together in Jesus Christ, we too are fellow heirs lead to the body of Christ, we too are partakers of all these eternal promises that God is made so do not let the world divide you the world of energy, real quick. It will pit the economic group against economic group, it will pit ethnic group against ethnic group.

It will pit male male males and females against each other. It will do all kinds of things it can do to confuse you to confuse me, but we are one. We are the body of Christ purchased by his blood, but more than that. We together are a cosmic witness to the heavenly powers and rulers. If you look at them in verse 10 it says were brought to the submitters mystery is been revealed as is made known. It says so that so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

The wisdom of God is going to be made know what God's plan. All through history is going to be name wrong which is which is the gospel. Romans 11 verse 33 of following it says this of the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable his ways for who has known the mind of the Lord to become his counselor who has first given to him that it might be paid back to him again for from him and threw him into him are all things to him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. So it's hard to imagine the multiple blessings in the wisdom of God.

These work out this plan of salvation down through time, but it is really true. We're witnesses to angels in heaven.

Your thought about something that you and we are witnesses leaders believers give testimony to heaven itself.

Yes, we can give glory to Christ through good times and bad times. As Paul was saying he was getting glory Christ through his sufferings.

But when the heavens angels in heaven.

See that you are living for Christ in you speaking of the glories of Christ and just giving testimony to God's goodness here on this earth. They rejoice there saying that witness not read back up a minute, what was said in Hebrews 12 of this cloud of witnesses, there that that point time we're looking at the cloud of witnesses in there watching us right and so we see all the people of faith, down through time there there there and there watching us and we're watching that we're remembering we should live faithfully like they are. But now he's showing another dimension.

All the angels in heaven are watching us and what we do and how we live brings glory to Jesus Christ and the angels in heaven praise God for what he sees God. God working in our lives. In doing and how he's using us as he used Paul in the use of the people down through time so angels in heaven see and they hear your witness and they give praises to Jesus Christ. So that's the role that we have as is called out Saints as his holy people. So when the fallen angels in them somebody debate did the fallen Angel see this or you know is it just the good angels in heaven. Well either way there is the witness because Dante Santos says the world rages and it does rage those people who see the glory of Christ, they that they resist Christ. Even if it's a good witness and that's what Paul was saying there. Even if your witness is great for the Lord in that in first Peter four. He says so as you live there for the will of God for the time already is passed is sufficient for you to have carried out the desires of the Gentiles having purpose. A course of sensuality, less drunkenness, arousing drinking parties and abominable things and all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess dissipation, and they malign so your witness can be malign by those who are resisting the Lord but to the angels in heaven. They are praising God for what you are in Christ and who you are in Christ we are witnesses to a fallen world. Moreover, we are witnesses.

The angels in heaven and bring glory to Christ's to the body of Christ is here for that purpose. We are bonded together as heirs, as members of the same body and his fellow partakers of the same promises we God's people. We should live that way and our bond together is not for our own glory is for the glory of Jesus Christ. That's why we're here on this earth.

That's why he's called us out of darkness into his light. That's why he's purchased us with his blood and given us life so praises beat Jesus Christ is for father, we thank you for the fact that you have given us identity that is not of this world and identity in you that the world cannot take away since we are your children and father, we praise you for the fact that you love this. This way the foundation of the world and you love us this way. Even now, oh father, give us tender hearts toward you, and let us glorify you. Today we ask in Jesus name

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