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Sermon #41 — Ephesians Sermons

 

      Title:                                 The Unsearchable Riches

                                                                                                            of Christ

 

      Text:                                  Ephesians 3:8

      Subject:               The riches of Christ in the Gospel

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — June 14, 2016

      Readings:           Bobbie Estes and Larry Brown

      Introduction:

 

The Apostle Paul considered it his greatest privilege was to be the servant of the Most High. To be allowed of God to preach the gospel was to him a cause of joy and thanksgiving. He did not look upon his calling as a drudgery, or required servitude. He went about his work with intense delight.

 

Delightful Labor

 

I have no hesitancy in asserting that every man called, gifted, and sent of God as his messenger, every man allowed of God to preach the gospel experiences the same delight. The burden is heavy. The work is demanding. It consumes the whole of a man. The labor is intense. But I cannot imagine a greater joy than the blessed work of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have the high honor and great privilege of proclaiming to poor, lost, ruined, doomed, damned, hell-bent rebels the mercy, love, and grace of God in Christ Jesus!

 

Were I sent of God with nothing but a stern message of judgment, with no terms of peace from the Throne of Grace, declaring that every rebel must be forever damned, I could not do the work without a weeping, heavy, broken heart. Were I nothing but a messenger of doom, there could be no joy in my work, only sorrow. But, blessed be God, that is not the case! Everywhere I go, I am sent of God with the white flag of peace to proclaim free and full pardon by the precious blood of Christ to the very people who shed his blood!

 

Every man sent of God to preach is sent of God to preach the gospel, to proclaim the message of hope, the glad tidings of salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We proclaim the glad tidings of salvation.

 

Angelic Preachers

 

Once, and only once, the angels of heaven were sent as preachers of the gospel. How did they go about their work? What was their message? — “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.” They were not sent to preach hell-fire and damnation. They were sent to preach heavenly grace and salvation! The glad tidings of great joy were set to music, and announced with holy joy and celestial song.“Peace on earth; glory to God in the highest.”

 

Office Magnified

 

The gospel of Christ is a message of life, peace, pardon, and eternal bliss. It should fill the hearts of both those who preach it and those who hear it with joy unspeakable. Faithful men, like the Apostle Paul, always make it their business to magnify their office as preachers of the everlasting gospel.

Š      George Whitfield looked upon his pulpit as his throne when he stood upon some knoll to preach to the thousands gathered in the open air.

Š      When William Carey was laboring in India, and his son Felix had accepted the office of ambassador to the king of Burma, Carey said, “Felix has shriveled into an ambassador.” The old preacher looked upon the highest office of worldly men as a degradation, if for it, the preacher of the gospel abandoned his noble work.

Š      Paul blessed God that this great grace had been given to him, that he might preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. He looked upon his work, not as a toil, but as a grace.

 

Covet This

 

I admonish every man, whose soul is fired with the love of Christ, aspire to this work. Covet this best gift. May the Holy Ghost call many to the work, and thrust them into the Gospel Vineyard! The harvest is great. The laborers are few. May the Lord of the harvest thrust laborers into his work.

 

Humbled Preacher

 

Paul magnified his office. He was honored by and thankful for the work the Lord God trusted to his hands. His labor and his usefulness exceeded that of his peers (2 Corinthians 11:23). But his usefulness did not bloat him with pride. It broke him and humbled him. — The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks into the water.

 

Abundance of grace is a is the best remedy for pride. Those who are empty, especially those who have nothing to do, usually have a very high opinion of their abilities. Those who are called and used of God, mourn their sin, their weakness, their inability, and their failure. — If you would like to feel how utterly insignificant and powerless you are, if you would know your nothingness, give this a try: try preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ to eternity bound sinners for the glory of God!

 

Illustration: This is the only thing I’ve ever made up my mind to do that I wasn’t able to succeed at.

 

Our Message

 

I know and freely acknowledge my weakness and inability as a preacher and a pastor. I know little about being a preacher and even less about being a pastor. But there is one thing about which I have no perplexity and no question. I am never at a loss about what I should preach. Open your Bible to Ephesians 3:8, and I will show you what every preacher is to preach every time he preaches. This is what every preacher is to preach every time he preaches — “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.” As we read this 8th verse of Ephesians 3, we will be reading the divinely inspired words of the Apostle Paul. I am fully aware of that fact. But as you read this verse of Scripture, as I read it to you, without the least plagiarism, I will be reading to you the words of Don Fortner.

 

(Ephesians 3:8) “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

 

Š      Unto Me” — The Chief of Sinners — Less than the Least of All Saints.

Š      Is this Grace Given” — “We have this Treasure in earthen vessels!

Š      That I should Preach!

Š      That I should preach among” you!

Š      The Unsearchable Riches of Christ!

 

It is the high and holy calling of every gospel preacher to relentless proclaim to poor sinners — “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.” That is my subject tonight and my subject always, wherever I go. — “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.” It is every preacher’s responsibility “to preach Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” I do not know what God will do for our generation. But this I know, if God blesses anything to the souls of men for their eternal good, it will be preaching Christ and him crucified!

 

I pause to ask again an interest in your prayers. Pray that God the Holy Ghost will be my Helper as I endeavor to preach the gospel to men, not that I may win the applause of men, but that I may win their souls to the Savior.

 

This evening I desire to preach to you that old, old story that we love so well, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and he grace. My subject is cast in the words of my text — “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.”

 

Proposition: The Lord Jesus Christ is full of riches indescribable; more than that, he is full of riches beyond imagination for all who are united to him by living faith.

 

Divisions: I want you to see three things in my text tonight.

1.    A Glorious Person

2.    A Generous Portion

3.    A Gracious Purpose

 

A Glorious Person

 

1stThe gospel of God is the revelation and declaration of a glorious person; and that person is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. — It is the great joy of the gospel preacher to declare unto men the unsearchable riches of Christ. The glories of Christ, whom once he persecuted, were Paul’s one and only theme. All that he had to say was contained in the fulness of that one word — “Christ.” All that he aimed at was the glory of Christ. This noble apostle did not labor for ceremonies, nor creeds, nor orthodoxies, nor denominations, nor philosophies, nor parties. He did not make any effort to exalt any man, or the church as a whole. His soul’s desire was to exalt Christ. And his engrossment with this solitary subject did not place the slightest restriction upon his thought or preaching. He looked upon the glories of Christ’s person as being full of riches unspeakable. He had a deep insight into the truth which he preached. It was his delight to find within the person, offices, and work of Christ veins of thought he could never exhaust. He found depths of more than golden treasure which no research could fully explore. — I long to be enamored with the gospel in this fashion, absorbed with it, and entirely carried away with this glorious Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his accomplishments. May it please the Holy Ghost to use my feeble tongue to set forth our mighty Redeemer in clear language.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is glorious in his essential Person. Perhaps there is no text of Scripture which more distinctly sets forth the Person of our blessed Redeemer than that found in 1 Timothy 3:16“And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

 

Everywhere in the Scriptures, the Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of and worshipped as God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Romans 9:5; Acts 20:28; 1 John 3:16). — I do not pretend to understand the mystery of the sacred Trinity; but, with all of our hearts, we believe in and worship God in the Trinity of his Sacred Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (1 John 5:7). — Jesus Christ is God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, in every way one with and equal to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Others may make him merely a great man, or an angelic creation, but we worship him who is himself God, and no other. We behold in the blessed Savior deity itself. — “In whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

 

Christ is the Creator, without whom was not anything made that was made. — Christ is the Preserver of all things, by whom all things consist. — Christ possesses all the attributes of divinity.

Š      He is eternal.

Š      He is immutable.

Š      He is omnipotence.

Š      He is omniscience.

Š      He is omnipresence.

Š      He is justice.

Š      He is faithfulness.

Š      He is holiness.

Š      He is truth.

Š      He is goodness

Š      He is grace.

Š      He is mercy.

Š      He is love.

 

Even while he was here upon the earth in our humanity, Godhead was evident in him. The winds knew him and were silent at his command. The waves knew him and kissed his feet. The angels worshipped him and ministered to him. Devils worshipped him, feared him, obeyed him, and fled from him. Diseases were healed by his touch and his word, for both his touch and his word were omnipotent. The dead lived at his command, for his voice was the voice of the Almighty. He was God, even while to mortal eye, he was only the carpenter’s son.

 

Today, he has put aside his garments of servitude, and laid aside the towel wherewith he washed his disciple’s feet, and all power is given to him in heaven and in earth. He is now crowned with universal sovereignty as God (Colossians 2:9-10; Revelation 4 and 5).

 

Jesus Christ is the revelation of God (John 1:1-3, 14-18; 1 John 1:1-3). — Either Jesus Christ is himself God, or he is an imposter and deceiver of men’s souls; and all who worship him are guilty of idolatry. Away with such arguments. God has spoken and Christ is God!

Š      He was worshipped as God in the Old Testament.

Š      He was worshipped as God in his earthly ministry.

Š      He is worshipped as God today.

 

This great God, our Savior, became a man that he might be the Savior of men. Jesus Christ our Lord is all God and all man. Just as truly as Christ is the eternal God, he is man. He was conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the blessed virgin with a real human body and soul. — See his marvelous condescension (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-7).

 

(2 Corinthians 8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

 

(Philippians 2:5-7) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6)  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7)  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”

 

Š      God was born as a babe at Bethlehem.

Š      He grew in stature and wisdom as a man.

Š      He was tempted as a man.

Š      He has experienced the secrets of our nature. – Pain – Sorrow – Hunger – Thirst – Even Death, when He was Made Sin for Us.

 

I cannot dwell on this any longer; but let it be fixed in your hearts. — He who sits in heaven is there by divine right. He is himself God. And he is there as a sympathizing High Priest, having earned the right by his obedience unto death as the man Christ Jesus.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is glorious in his eternal promises. “All the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen.” — In old eternity our blessed Redeemer entered into covenant agreement with the Father for our redemption.

Š      He volunteered to be our Mediator.

Š      He struck hands with the Father as the Surety of our redemption.

Š      He promised to suffer in our place.

Š      He promised to bring us to the Father’s house.

Š      He promises to save all who come to God by him.

Š      He promises to keep all his sheep. — “They shall never perish!

Š      He promises to provide all our need.

Š      He promises to love us unto the end.

Š      He promises never to leave us!

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is glorious in his excellent performances, too. Behold the Lamb of God descending in the fulness of time to Bethlehem’s manger; and there he lies, a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. See him as he makes his pilgrimage from Bethlehem to Calvary, working out a perfect righteousness for his people. Look again at him, if you have eyes to see, as he is stretched upon the cursed tree between heaven and earth.

Š      See there the venom and hatred of men.

Š      See there the wrath and justice of God.

Š      See there the grace and mercy of the Savior.

Š      Hear his word of forgiveness – “Father forgive them.”

Š      Hear his word of promise – “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

Š      Hear his cry of anguish – “My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?”

Š      Hear his word of suffering – “I thirst!”

Š      Hear his word of victory – “It is finished!”

Š      Hear his word of contentment – “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

 

Look again! — See the crimson tide, for in that fountain our sins are washed away!

Š      Behold the Savior on the third day, early in the morning, he rises from the tomb, conqueror of death and the grave.

 

Š      Redemption is finished!

Š      The law is fulfilled!

Š      Salvation is accomplished!

 

Look once more upon our Savior’s glorious person. — See him if you can. The King ascends to heaven; and there he sits gloriously upon his throne.

Š      He rules all things for us.

Š      He represents us.

Š      He intercedes for us.

Š      He preserves us.

Š      He waits for us.

 

It is this glorious Person we delight to preach. Yes, preach all the doctrine of the gospel, but don’t preach them apart from the Person of Christ. I fear that many make the dreadful mistake of preaching doctrine instead of preaching Christ. Certainly the doctrine is to be preached; but the doctrine is to be preached as a robe worn by the Savior, and never apart from him. The doctrine of the gospel is a golden throne upon which Christ sits as King, not a cold stone rolled at the door of the tomb where Christ is hidden. — Christ himself is the sum of all true doctrine.

Š      Justification is by Christ the Justifier.

Š      Sanctification is by Christ the Sanctifier.

Š      Glorification is by Christ the Glorifier.

 

In preaching, let Christ have no rival! Oh let us so love Christ that we want to hear nothing but that which displays his glory. Let us count any rival to him anathema!

 

If Christ my Lord Himself reveal,

No other good I want;

Only Christ my wounds can heal,

Or silence my complaint.

He that suffered in my stead,

Shall my Physician be:

I will not be comforted

Till Jesus comforts me.

 

A Generous Portion

 

2ndAs I preach to you “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” I set before you a very generous portion for your soul. The old prophet Jeremiah comforted his soul with this blessed statement, — “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” If we can claim Christ as our portion, we shall have desire for nothing else; for those who have him have all. Is this not Paul’s meaning when he says that he was sent to preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ?”

 

Compared with Christ, in all beside

No comeliness I see;

The one thing needful, dearest Lord,

Is to be one with Thee.

 

The sense of Thy expiring love

Into my soul convey:

Thyself bestow; for Thee alone

I absolutely pray.

 

Less than Thyself will not suffice,

My comfort to restore:

More than Thyself I cannot crave,

And Thou canst give no more.

 

Loved of my God, for Him again

With love intense I burn:

Chosen of thee e’er time began,

I choose Thee in return.

 

Whate’er consists not with Thy love,

Oh teach me to resign:

I’m rich to all intents of bliss,

If Thou, O Christ, art mine!

 

We preach a great Savior to great to great sinners. His name is “Mighty to Save.” Look now into the unsearchable riches of Christ, which is the portion of his people.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ has unsearchable riches of love to sinners as they are. Christ so loved the souls of men, that we can only use that word “so” to describe it. There is no word suited to declare the love of Christ for sinners. We see the love of Christ in the way he deals with sinners!

Š      He carried the gospel to the Samaritan adulteress.

Š      He freely forgave the woman who had been an harlot.

Š      He graciously sought Zachaeus.

Š      He spoke tenderly to the woman taken in adultery.

 

Oh how the love of Christ radiates in his reception of sinners! There is no love to compare with Christ’s, for he died in the place of sinners. We were condemned, but Christ took our place. —— Is there anyone here who can tell out the discoveries of Christ’s love which you have found in sweet communion with him?

 

Christ has riches of pardon for those who, trusting him, confess their sin. He has such unsearchable riches of pardon that no amount of guilt can possibly transcend the efficacy of his precious blood.

  • He will never charge a man with sin who is washed in his blood.
  • He so cleanses us from sin that he neither sees nor remembers sin in us.
  • Christ so thoroughly pardons us of sin that he never treats us any the less graciously because of our sin.

 

Christ Jesus has unsearchable riches of peace to comfort troubled hearts.

  • He made peace for us with God.
  • He proclaims peace in our own hearts.
  • He gives us comfort and peace in all our circumstances. — “He is our peace!

 

Do you weep because of sin? Christ has a handkerchief to wipe away such tears (John 14:1-3). — Are you sad because you are bereaved? Christ is a loving companion. — Are you downcast because a friend has betrayed you? Christ is “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

 

Christ has riches of wisdom to guide and direct our lives. Christ has unsearchable riches of joy for those who walk with him.

  • My soul has found more joy in a moment of Christ’s communion than I have found in months of other comforts.
  • The company of Christ is joyful company indeed.

 

Christ has unsearchable riches of contentment, too. The man who can say, “I have enough,” is the richest man in the world. And, my friend, if you have Christ, you have enough!

 

Christ has unsearchable riches of provision for his house.He provides your every need from the abundant storehouse of creation and from the overflowing, super-abundant storehouse of his grace! — Oh, hear me! Hear me! Hear me! — The Lord Jesus Christ has unsearchable riches of grace for all who come to him!

  • He has grace to save you.
  • Justice to make you righteous.
  • Holiness to sanctify you.
  • Mercy to preserve you.
  • And power to perfect you.

 

The riches of Christ are unsearchable; and we shall be yet learning more of their depth and height, length and breadth forever. They shall be best known in eternity.

  • Sinner, come to Christ our King, and have all his riches freely.
  • Children of God, live upon your bountiful Redeemer.

 

A Gracious Purpose

 

3rdThe gospel we preach, as we proclaim to sinners “the unsearchable riches of Christ” displays a gracious purpose.

 

(Ephesians 3:8) “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

 

But it would be of little comfort to your soul if I only told you Christ is rich. Here is the blessedness of his unsearchable riches. He intends to bestow his riches upon sinners (2 Corinthians 8:9).

 

(2 Corinthians 8:9) “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

 

What mercy! What grace! What a Savior!

 

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ,

Wealth that can never be told!

Riches exhaustless of mercy and grace,

Precious, more precious than gold!

 

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!

Who shall their greatness declare?

Jewels whose luster our lives now adorn,

Pearls that the poorest may wear!

 

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!

Freely, how freely they flow,

Making the souls of the faithful and true

Happy wherever they go!

 

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!

Who would not gladly endure

Trials, afflictions, and crosses on earth,

Riches like these to secure!

 

Precious, more precious,

Wealth that can never be told!

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!

Precious, more precious than gold.

 

What kind of riches we have in Christ! — “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ!

  • In him we have sufficient riches. His name is El-Shaddai, God who is enough.
  • In him we have satisfying riches.
  • In him we have suitable riches.
  • In him we have sure riches.

 

In Christ there are such unsearchable riches, such unsearchable riches of grace, that they can never be diminished.

  1. You who have Christ are rich indeed.
  2. You who will not have Christ are foolishly poor; for he is to be had for the asking.

 

What shall we do to have the unsearchable riches of Christ? — Live, O my soul, live upon “the unsearchable riches of Christ!” — “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? There in none upon earth that I desire but Thee.” —— “The Lord is my Portion, saith my soul. Therefore will I hope in him!”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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