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Series: “The Manifold Wisdom of God”
Title: God’s Wise
Provisions of Grace
Text: Ephesians 1:3-14
Subject: Divine Wisdom Revealed In
The Provisions of Grace
The title of my message is — God’s Wise Provisions of Grace. Our text will be Ephesians 1:3-14. This is the third sermon in a series of messages on THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD. In Ephesians 3:10 the Apostle Paul tells us that the intent of God in saving sinners by the redemptive work of Christ and in the preaching of the Gospel is “that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” I have shown you how that God’s wisdom is revealed in redemption by Christ alone and that redemption as the revelation of God’s glory shows forth His great wisdom. In this message I want to show you how God’s wise provisions of grace display His great wisdom in saving sinners through the substitutionary, redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, His dear Son.
Proposition: Salvation by Christ alone is salvation most worthy of the infinitely wise God, because the salvation He bestows upon us in Christ meets our every need in this world and in the world to come, and does so “to the praise of the glory of His grace.”
Fallen man is a needy creature. We are full of needs. But all the needs of fallen man are fully met in Christ. Whatever we need to make us truly happy and satisfied is in Christ. Every demand of our circumstances, every craving of our natures, and every requirement of our souls is fully met in and by the Lord Jesus Christ and the grace of God bestowed upon us in Christ. — Let’s read Ephesians 1:3-14 together.
(Ephesians 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Divisions: Let me show you four things revealed in the Word of God.
First, every blessing of grace is graciously and freely bestowed upon God’s elect, without condition or qualification. — The grace of God is not for sale. God does not need anything from man. Therefore you cannot buy, earn, or win anything from God, except His wrath. And anything you get from God, other than wrath, must be obtained by free grace alone.
In our text Paul declares that every blessing of God upon His elect is the result of free grace alone. If you are one of God’s elect, if you trust Christ, you have been blessed of God. The blessings of grace I am talking about are…
· Divine, eternal, covenant blessings. — “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us….”
—These blessings come from God.
—These blessings were bestowed in eternity.
—These blessings were given to us in our Covenant Head and Surety — The Lord Jesus Christ.
· Infinite, full, unlimited, spiritual blessings. — “Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.”
—All the blessings of grace have been given to all believers from eternity.
—The blessings of God are spiritual, heavenly blessings. They cannot be measured in terms of that which is material and earthly.
· Mediatorial, unconditional blessings of grace. — “In Christ.”
—The blessings of grace are all in Christ.
—The blessings of grace are all unconditional. —They are unconditional because they are gifts of grace. — They are eternal gifts of grace (Romans 11:29). — They are in Christ.
Second, every blessing of grace, for time and eternity, is the rightful inheritance of every believer (Ephesians 1:11).
(Ephesians 1:11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
That is to say, every believer has a rightful, lawful, indisputable, undeniable claim to everything that heaven and eternal glory have to offer, because everything regarding the inheritance of God’s saints is a matter of grace. — Just look at the blessings named in our text!
Notice the language Paul uses. In Christ “we have obtained an inheritance.” Though we have not yet entered into our heavenly inheritance, we have already obtained it!
· By God’s Decree.
· By the Purchase of Christ’s Blood.
· Representatively (Hebrews 6:20).
· By Faith.
Our mystical, representative and spiritual union with Christ gives us a rightful claim to all that He possesses in glory as our Mediator (Romans 8:17; John 17:22). If ever a person comes to understand the Substitutionary work of Christ, salvation by grace alone, and the basis of our acceptance with God, he will cease to imagine that there will be degrees of reward in heaven! Eternal glory, in all its fullness, belongs to every sinner who trusts Christ.
Third, every blessing of grace, which we enjoy on earth and in heaven, was earned and purchased for us by our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:14).
In verse 14 Paul is talking about the consummation of our salvation in resurrection glory, which he calls “the redemption of the purchased possession.”
· All the fullness of salvation, resurrection, and glorification has been purchased for God’s elect by Christ.
· And the bestowment of this fullness shall be to “the praise of His glory.”
If ever one particle of heaven’s eternal glory were conditioned upon the works of man, before conversion, at conversion, or after conversion, then God could not rightfully claim praise, honor, and glory for it (1 Corinthians 1:29-31).
(1 Corinthians 1:26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Now, in the fourth place, let me show you something about God’s great wisdom revealed in the provisions He has made for His people in Christ.
A wise father makes provisions for his household, both immediate and future provisions. The wiser the father and the greater his abilities, the more certain and secure those provisions are. Our heavenly Father, with infinite wisdom, has devised and, with infinite ability, secures the provisions of His household, for time and eternity.
Being sinners by nature, we stand in need of atonement for all our sins. — Our heavenly Father, in infinite mercy and wisdom, has provided the atonement we needed by the sacrifice of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ repaired the law we broke and paid the debt we owed to it as our Substitute (Romans 8:1-4).
(Romans 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(5) For they that are after the flesh (the law) do mind the things of the flesh (the law); but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded (law minded) is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind (legal mind) is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh (under the law) cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh (under the law), but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead (the body of Moses, the law, is dead) because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Where righteousness is there is life. Where sin is there is death. Christ our Righteousness is Christ our Life!) (11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh (the law), to live after the flesh (the law). (13) For if ye live after the flesh (the law), ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage (legality) again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
When a sinner trusts the Lord Jesus Christ, he receives the atonement of sin by faith (Romans 5:11). Our faith does not make atonement, or even make atonement effectual. Christ made atonement for us. Our faith, the faith God gives us, receives the atonement.
(Romans 4:25) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
(5:1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (6) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
We all, by nature, stand in need of peace and reconciliation with God. — By nature we are enemies to God. Our enmity toward God is altogether unwarranted. And our consciences crave peace and reconciliation. That is the reason man is so inclined to religion. But man can never make peace with God.
The peace of religion without Christ is never lasting peace.
But God has graciously provided peace for us and given peace to us, reconciling us to Himself by the blood of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:11-14; Colossians 1:20-21).
(2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
(Ephesians 2:11) Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (12) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (14) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
(Colossians 1:20) And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Fallen man craves happiness too. — Man has a thirst and craving for real, satisfying joy and happiness, which nothing in this world can satisfy. But our heavenly Father has provided for the perfect happiness of His children.
· The soul of man is of a spiritual nature and must find happiness in the enjoyment of spiritual life. Christ purchased that for us. He sends His[DF1] Spirit to dwell within our hearts so that in the midst of great trouble we are satisfied to know “the Lord is my portion, saith my soul.”
· Man is also a rational creature. We need to learn and know and expand our minds to be happy. God has met that need, too, giving us the Lord Jesus Christ to be the great Object of contemplation, meditation, and study, as well as worship and praise forever.
(Song of Songs 7:10) I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
Our great God, our heavenly Father, has wisely and graciously provided for the satisfaction of our souls in the love of Christ (1 John 4:16-19; Song of Solomon 1:2-4).
(1 John 4:16) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (17) Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (19) We love him, because he first loved us.
(Song of Songs 1:2) Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. (3) Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. (4) Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
Seven Things About Love
1. When you love someone you desire to see the one you love. God has met that need, for we shall see Christ (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2).
2. If you love someone you want to talk with the one you love. God has met that need, for we are allowed to talk to God in Christ heart to heart.
3. You want to live with the one you love. God has met that need, too. — We dwell in Christ. — Christ dwells in us. — And we shall be with him forever.
4. Love wants to share things. — Christ has given me all that He is. — I am trying to give Christ all that I am.
5. Love desires the nearest possible relationship with its object; and God has made us to be one with Christ. — One body with Christ (Ephesians 5:30). — One spirit with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17).
6. Love inclines to conformity. — If a woman loves a man, she seeks to conform to his personality, his tastes, his ways, and his desires. And the believer’s love for Christ makes him seek conformity to Christ. — To His will. — To His nature (Philippians 3:10). — And we shall have our desire (Romans 8:29)!
7. And it is the natural desire of love to do something for the one beloved, purely for the pleasure and honor of the one we love. God has even provided for this. (Illustration: Faith’s Dandelions) We have been made instruments by which God is glorified. — We glorify Christ by faith in Him. We glorify Christ by worshipping Him, serving Him, and serving His people. — And we shall glorify Christ eternally.
Every good thing men naturally crave has been provided for sinners in Christ.
God has provided us with all needed good, both for our bodies and our souls, for time and eternity, in his dear Son (Matthew 6:21-34). “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Our Father has secured good for His children in every condition of life, too. — “Lacked ye anything?” — The household of faith lacks nothing good in any circumstance.
In Christ God has made provision for our bodies as well as our souls for all eternity (1 Corinthians 15:51-58).
“The bodies of the saints shall be raised to life…(your) body shall be raised a spiritual body in incorruption and glory, and made like unto Christ’s glorious body, to shine as the sun in the kingdom of his Father, and to exist in a glorified state in union with the soul to all eternity.” — Jonathan Edwards
(1 Corinthians 15:51) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Yet, we have another need. — Man needs to be qualified for and worthy of all these provisions and the enjoyment of them. — None of us can really enjoy anything fully, if we do not have a right to it, if we are unworthy of it. Certainly, no one is worthy of these great blessings of grace by nature. No one has a right to them. No one is qualified to receive them by nature. But our heavenly Father has taken care of that, too. (Ephesians 525-30; Jude 24-25).
(Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Ephesians 5:30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
(Jude 1:24) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
How great our great God is! By His own infinite wisdom and grace, He has given us infinitely great riches of grace in Christ.
[i] Danville — Sunday Evening — August 17, 2014
Covenant of Grace Baptist Church, North Wilkesboro, NC (08/13/14)
Readings: Lindsay Campbell and Frank Hall