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Ephesians - Part 3

"Praise The Lord! - Part 2"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2000 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

Ephesians 1:3-6
  1. Praise The Lord For Blessings (verse 3)
  2. Praise The Lord For Election (verse 4)
  3. Praise The Lord For Predestination (verse 5)
  4. Praise The Lord For Christ (verse 6)

'Preach The Word'

Christian friend, do you know the full extent of the love of God for you?
Ephesians chapter 1, Ephesians chapter 1, and true to form we're not getting too far this evening - only another two verses - but filled and packed with gospel truth that we can't ignore, and it would be criminal to skip over it just to get a passage finished. So let's read these verses together, and let's take note - this is important - that you take note of every single word that you find written here. Verse 1: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the well-beloved".

We've looked at verses 1 right through to verse 4, and we're going to look this evening at verses 5 and 6. If you have your handout with you from last week (maybe you don't, but maybe you got another one on the way in) you'll see that we only dealt with two of the points on that handout, and we're going to deal with the last two - verses 5 and 6. Now, let's read these verses again to get into our minds what we're going to be studying: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the well-beloved".

One of the first revelations that we get of God is as the seeker. If you turn to the book of Genesis this evening, and chapter 3 and verse 9 - and we were thinking about the fall of man where the image of God in the creature was defiled - and right there when Adam sinned, and when Eve sinned, God knew what had happened. You remember there we see the first picture, as it were, of the saving God who is the seeker God. We read in Genesis chapter 3 and verse 9 these words: 'Adam! Where art thou?' - 'My child Adam, where are you? Where are you hiding? Where have you gone to? What have you done Adam?'. In commenting upon the question to his Bible class a teacher once said: 'You can never be a preacher, boys, if you read this verse as though God was a policeman. Read it as though God were a broken hearted father looking for a lost child'. Isn't that what it is? The heart broken of the Heavenly Father as He looks down upon His creature, upon the one He lavished so much love upon. He gave him charge over all the universe to name the animals - to be given charge over and rule over all of creation - but he lost it! And in his pride, and in the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, he fell and he did what God told him not to do - but, oh, how it broke the heart of God!  F.B. Meyer says this, speaking of God's heart: 'God's heart is as true and tender as the heart of the sweetest, gentlest woman that ever pressed her child to her bosom. Nay, all the love in all women's hearts together compared to the love of His heart is as a glowworm's torch compared to the sun at noontime'.

Oh, the love of God! A preacher remarked once about when Mary and Martha sent Jesus their message concerning their dying brother Lazarus, and you remember that message - it wasn't: 'Lord, he loveth thee', but the message was: 'Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick'. It's not our imperfect love that keeps us close to Christ. It's not our terrible failing, faltering love that makes the difference where salvation is concerned, but it is His perfect - the love of God. Oh, I'm sure you can think of many verses this evening in the word of God from Genesis to Revelation that describe - maybe chapters, maybe whole books - that typify the love of God. John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son' - what a verse! What about Romans chapter 5 and verse 8? 'God commendeth His love' - He demonstrates, He shows, displays His love - 'in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us'.  The hymnwriters knew what the love of God in Christ was.

'There is no love like the love of Jesus,
Never to fade or fall,
'Til into the fold of the peace of God
He has gathered us all'.

'Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free.
Rolling like a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me.

Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love.
Leading forward, leading homeward
To my glorious rest above'.

He doesn't get taken up with the details and the intricacies of the theological issues, but he gets taken up with what a great God he has!

Christian friend, do you know the full extent of the love of God for you? Because Paul, as he wrote this book and as he traces the whole plan and map of salvation from election in salvation, to predestination, to adoption, to glorification in the future - the consummation of all things, the whole plan of salvation - and because of the wonder of it all he falls and he sings this song of praise to God! That's what this is! He doesn't get taken up with the details and the intricacies of the theological issues, but he gets taken up with what a great God he has!

Therefore we see first of all: 'Praise the Lord for predestination!'. I want you to see this - look at verse 5 - now, we have to read verse 4 to understand verse 5: "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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will".

Now I want you to notice this: many translations take the last two words of verse 4 and start verse 5 with them, and I believe that's the way it should be. So that verse 5 reads this: 'In love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children'. What that does, and what Paul is doing in the Greek is this: he is emphasising the loving nature of predestination. James Montgomery Boice puts it like this: 'Any interpretation of this mysterious doctrine that detracts from the love of God is rightly suspect'. Predestination is rooted and grounded and planted and fertilized, originated in the love of God. It's all of love my friend. Don't have a cold religion whatever you do! Don't have a cold, dead theology! I don't care what spectrum it is or what camp it is - whatever you do remember it's all of love, all! God is simply saying that in love - listen: 'I must get these children - these human beings - out of the mire. I must pull them out', and I say this reverently, He says: 'I must pull my holy sleeve up and delve into the depths of the miry clay and lift them out. I must get them there. I must have these children come before me and they must have everything!'. What love! Is that not why Paul exclaims that, 'He has blessed them' - those children - 'with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ'.

Now, I want you to see this: that the whole of the created universe never knew of these divine counsels of God before the world began. These are the deep, divine thoughts of grace and love toward us - you and me - but no one ever knew about it! If we were born in Old Testament days we would have thought that there was no hope for us: 'We're the Gentiles and God has His own people, the Jews, and it's too bad I was born - it's an accident of birth  - in the wrong race and the wrong religion. There's no hope! We're not in the commonwealth of Israel. We're not blessed, being the seed of Abraham'. But the mystery of God's will to engraft into Himself the Gentiles is revealed in this book! Oh, how we'll praise Him one day for the plan of salvation! Can you imagine? When you get to glory and when you stare into His glorified face, how you'll praise Him when you see Him! To think that He looked at you and He looked at me in love, and He predestinated you and I to be holy before Him! What will it be like? Imagine this: when you're lying on your deathbed - I don't know what'll be wrong with you if the Lord tarries; what you'll die of - but you're lying there. It's the last hours and the cold sweat is coming upon your brow, and you feel that you're being taken, you're being plucked from this scene of time and, all of a sudden, you just drift into the presence of the Lord Jesus. You stand on that shore, and you look at His blessed face, and you see Him as He is. But, oh, to think that He planned that moment from all eternity! It began before the worlds began, it began before you were even thought of. His plan will come to pass, and we should praise Him for what He has saved us from.

Praise be to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for our salvation, for our redemption, our regeneration, our justification and - one day - our glorification!

I was reading this morning in my reading from Psalm 40. Psalm 40: 'I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord'. Do you know, do you really know, what the Lord saved you from? Some of you do because you were dirty, deep in sin, but some of you have been growing up in a Christian home and - we? - we don't really know! Oh, we need to praise Him for what He saved us from, and we need to praise Him for what He brought us to, and what He will bring us to one day - when we get to glory and when we see Him. It's no wonder that Paul praises Him so much in this chapter. If you look at verse 6 he praises the Father: 'To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved'. Who made us accepted in the well beloved? It is the Father. Then you look at verse twelve: 'That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ'. Christ: the praise of His glory! Praise be to the Father for the plan! Praise be to the Son for the execution! And then in verse 14: 'Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory'. The Holy Spirit! Praise be to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for our salvation, for our redemption, our regeneration, our justification and - one day - our glorification! Praise be His name! Can you say it? Praise Him! Oh, give Him the praise whatever you do!

This phrase 'in love', leads to this phrase, 'having predestinated us'. Now what does that mean? We spent some time last week on the subject of election, and this is another frightening phrase. But the point is this: whenever God says in front of it, 'in love', you don't need to be frightened. It no longer becomes a problem, but it becomes - this is what I want you to see - it becomes such a blessing! Predestination, or foreordination - and although it's closely linked in these verses, and in theological books, and right throughout the word of God it's linked with election - and although that's the case they aren't exactly the same. We saw last week that election pictures God's choice, and God's choice alone, of man to salvation. But predestination, it's an advance of this, it's the next stage - because to be predestined  (and the word is 'destination', 'pre-destination') - you have to have a destination that has been preordained. Now I believe that, as we look through the word of God, that destination is not heaven - because that was decided at election - but the destination is a spiritual place of blessing. Turn with me to Romans chapter 8 for a moment - it's important that we understand these things - Romans chapter 8 and verse 29. Paul says, speaking of God: 'For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren'. You see, the purpose of predestination is to be conformed to the image of His Son. You're chosen in salvation in election, but predestination takes that choice a little further to the consummation of it when, one day, you and I will be like Christ. Isn't that an amazing thought? Do you know what this is? Do you know what predestination is? It's the guarantee that if we believe in Christ we know that, one day, we will be completely like Christ. Do you know what it does? It secures our salvation!

There's none of this 'saved and lost' nonsense - and that is all it is: it is nonsense! How could you be saved, and the hand of God come out and catch you and then let go of you again? How could that happen?

There's none of this 'saved and lost' nonsense - and that is all it is: it is nonsense! How could you be saved, and the hand of God come out and catch you and then let go of you again? How could that happen? How could it happen? When you think of the subject of predestination: that you are saved, and the moment you are saved a process begins for you to become like Christ - it has been activated - and that thing was decided before the world began! If it starts when you're saved how could it stop? It can't stop! No man can stop it, my friend, no devil can stop it, no husband or wife can stop it, no father or mother or child can stop it - and I say it reverently today: God can't even stop it, because He willed it! He willed it. That's what predestination is. If election was unto salvation, that we find in the book of Thessalonians, predestination is to bring us, one day, as the children of God into the image of His glorious Son.

Now I want to go deeper into this, because it says: 'Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children'. Now, there was no Jewish custom of adoption, this was a Roman custom where - under Roman law - boys and girls from other families might be legally adopted and granted full rights and responsibilities within a family. But even that Roman adoption, and our Western adoption that we know all so well, is not exactly what Paul is getting at here - it's something totally different. What he is getting at, first of all, is that this is a public attestation of adult sonship and the conferment of privileges belonging to sons who have come to the legal age. You remember the prodigal son: he went before his time out into the big bad world. But when he was going to come to age he would have got his father's inheritance. He would have been declared - it would have been conferred upon him that he was the son of his father; he was declared to be the son at that moment of time. But the spiritual truth that Paul has in mind here far outstrips his illustration within the word of God. Imagine the truth that we know: that we have been brought from the slave market of sin into the family of God. We now can call ourselves the sons, the daughters, the children of God! We've been made [part of] this family relationship, and we might think that that's where adoption stops: that we've been brought into the family. No!

Wonder of wonders, we should be called the natural sons and daughters of God!

Who was the natural Son of the Father? The Lord Jesus Christ. Just like our natural sons and daughters, Christ was by nature the Son of the Father. Who are the adopted sons and daughters? We are the adopted sons and daughters. We're unnatural to God, we're not like Him, we're not like Him in our nature - but the miracle of grace is this: through regeneration and through the new birth (that we were thinking about last evening) we are made the natural sons and daughters of God! You can go down to an adoption office today and you can adopt a child, and that child can become as your own child. Maybe you've other children [but], after a matter of time, you look at the two of them and you see no difference between them. You treat them both the same, and they're conferred with the same blessings, the same privileges, the same name - but no matter how much you love them and no matter how much you bring them into your home, into your family, into your life and into your heart, they will never be by nature [the same]. But wonder of wonders, we should be called the natural sons and daughters of God! That the Holy Spirit of God should enter the heart of a sinner and should so bring life into his bosom that He gives birth to the Holy Spirit of God in that man or woman's life - that they can be called naturally adopted! Biblical adoption! You know, God could have saved us without making us sons and daughters, but He chose to do both. We're not just saved, but the word of God says that we've become co-heirs, co-inheritors with Christ. Listen to Romans 8: 'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together'.

Take a moment, my friend, and savour this thought: as God sees you this evening, He sees you the same as Christ. Paul illustrates it in Galatians chapter 4, if you turn to it. This time he's talking to the Jews and you know that he's trying to explain to them the road that they've taken, and that the law and Moses and the prophets have been the schoolmaster to bring them to Christ. He's trying to show them that they've now to enter into this promise and leave the old behind - of the Jewish laws and rituals - and they've to take on this new sonship, but you can apply it to yourself today. Chapter 4: 'Now I say', speaking of an earthly scene, 'That the heir', the heir of a household, 'as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ'.

We are in Christ - we are rooted, we are grounded, we are cemented, we cannot be extracted, for we are in the double hand of the Father and of the Son; and no man can pluck us out!

We're adopted now but, you know, there's an adoption in the future that the word of God speaks about. But I want you to grasp this - we look forward to that day, but whatever you do don't think that you're not a son of God or a daughter of God now! Listen to the word of God! 1 John 3:2: 'Beloved, now are we the sons of God' - now! - 'and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is'. Paul said it again: 'Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man; the things which God hath prepared for them that love him'. You're a child of God! You're a joint heir with Christ! You're an inheritor of all that Christ has in God! Is it any wonder that Paul could sing in a doxology of praise: 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ'. In Isaiah 22 and verse 23 we read a little phrase that says this: 'a nail in a sure place'. What did Isaiah mean? Well, what I mean and what Paul means is this: adoption is a nail in a sure place. And what Isaiah was saying when he said 'a nail in a sure place' was this: he had, in his mind's eye, the Arab with his tent and a pole in the middle of the desert; and what he would do is he would take a hammer and a giant piece of iron, like a nail, and he would hammer it into that post. Everything that he owned - his baggage, his utensils, his property - was hung upon that nail...a nail in a sure place. My friend, if Christ falls, if Christ fails, everything for you and I is doomed and damned; but praise be His name - it's secure! It's sure! It's a nail in a solid place! We are in Christ - we are rooted, we are grounded, we are cemented, we cannot be extracted, for we are in the double hand of the Father and of the Son; and no man can pluck us out!

This is revolutionary - it should be in our lives. Did you know that Jesus never, ever referred to the Father in any other term except 'the Father'? There's only one occasion when He didn't refer to God as the Father, and that was in the Gospels where He was quoting Psalm 22, and He says 'My God, my God' - but every other time He says 'Father'. Imagine what that was like for the Jews! They'd never heard a man, let alone a Rabbi, speak of God in that way. They'd never heard of anybody praying to God in such an irreverent way (as they saw it). Because this word 'Father': it wasn't a formal word, it wasn't a religious word, it was the word 'Abba' - it was the word of a child to the father. If you want to put it in our day, without being irreverent, it means 'papa' or 'daddy'. What's it like my friend?  I don't know what it's like, and I don't think I'm going to know what it's like for a wee while - but what must it be like for that little child, the first time, to say 'daddy'? Would you say to it: 'You're not addressing me in the right way'? Would you? No. Your heart would go out to that child of your flesh. And when we turn to our God, by our nature in us - the new nature in Christ Jesus - and we address Him as our Father; oh what a heart of love, full of the whole divine, sovereign plan of eternity! And He sees in a human sinner the consummation of His election, His predestination - everything that He has planned is fulfilled in that little word! Abba! Such a close relationship. Do you know that the Muslims have ninety-nine names for God, for the Supreme Being, the Creator? But there is none - not one of the ninety-nine - that resembles the closeness, the intimacy of the Christian's 'our Father'. Not one!

What a great God we have! Praise His name! The book of Romans [chapter] 8 verse 19, says that the creation waits - you don't just wait. One day you're going to be consummated as a son of God, risen from the dead, brought into the likeness of Jesus Christ, but don't think you're the only one waiting on it! The book of Romans says that the whole creation [waits]. Think of this! You might be here this evening and you think you're insignificant, don't you? You're a Christian and you know God loves you and all that, but you think no one notices you. You think that you haven't any gifts and you can't do anything for God, or anything for the church, or anything for your brother or sister - and you think that if you were gone no one would miss you. Listen to this! The whole of God's creation and universe is waiting for the day where you are revealed as a son and daughter of God! The creation waits for the sons of God to be revealed! Hallelujah!

There's no room for human pride there, is there? Some of us are full of it - we're all full of it because we're all sinners, aren't we?

Now let's look at the final phrase in Ephesians and verse 5. It says that we are 'predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will". Listen! The Son - never you forget it - the Son makes you a son! This is God's sovereignty, this is God's plan from all eternity: that He willed - that's what it says - 'according to the good pleasure of his will', that one day you would be like Christ. There's no room for human pride there, is there? Some of us are full of it - we're all full of it because we're all sinners, aren't we? We may have it under control more than others, but it's always there: that little seed of pride. Like the poet said - as we look at God's sovereignty and God's plan of the ages, and how one day nothing to do with ourselves, He will bring us to the image of His blessed Christ and Son, we say with the poet:

'The more Thy glory strikes my eye,
The humbler I should lie'.

Let's look secondly (or fourthly if you want!) and finally at verse 6. Let's read verse 5 to get the flow, for we find in verse 6: 'Praise the Lord for Christ!'. 'Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the well-beloved'. What does it say? 'To the praise' - look at the first phrase - 'To the praise of the glory'. Did you know that the primary aim throughout all of God's plan of redemption, from election to the total consummation in the book of Revelation - all of it is to bring glory to God and to His Christ? God's glory - His glory - in this verse, is said to be encapsulated in His grace. That's what it says, look: 'To the praise of the glory of his grace'. God's glory! Sure, we couldn't know God's glory if it wasn't for His grace. That's the only way we know it: [from] Him saving us - and it's alright me keeping on saying from the platform: 'You've got to appreciate God and Christ for who He is', but it's hard for us to do. We tend to only appreciate Him for what He's done for us because that's how He's been revealed to us. 'The praise of the glory of his grace': God's glory is His merciful dealings with men in salvation, and we ought to respond to Him in unlimited praise for it.

Do you praise Him enough? Do you? I don't. There's many-a-time I would love to shout 'Hallelujah!', but I'm afraid, sometimes I'm afraid of you. Isn't that right? I'm afraid of what anybody's going to think. 'He's a fanatic! He's lost his head! Shouting in the middle of a meeting?'. What do we praise God for? Do you praise Him in your heart? Maybe you don't have that ability to shout 'Hallelujah' or to shout 'Amen', but do you say it in your heart? Do you respond to God? Do you know what Kent Hughes says? 'Our theology must become doxology'. Doxology is simply a song of praise, that's what we're reading, the whole of chapter 1 is a doxology. And if you have theology, but you don't have a heart full of doxology, you might as well be dead! For you are dead if the truths of God don't warm your heart, and you don't praise God out of an appreciation of who He is and what He has done for you in Christ. Worship is important to our life! It's important to the life of the assembly of God here in the Iron Hall. Do you know why? Because it's the opportunity to express who we are to God because of what He has done for us. That's how you express it! Giving back to God! Blessing God! And men you take note, at the breaking of bread that's how you worship Him: blessing Him, praising Him, worshipping Him for what He has done for you!

Let me ask you again: do you praise God? See when you're singing, what do you do? Do you look around you? Who's got a new hat or a new coat? Or who's got a new girl? Is that what you look at? What do you look at? Do you look at the words?

You know, if you look around our world at any persecuted people, and you look into the history books, whether it be of the church or even take - for instance - the Negro race within the Americas. You've heard of Negro spirituals, haven't you? 'I'll fly away...when I die, hallelujah, by and by, I'll fly away...Swing low sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home'. Do you know where those songs came out of? They came out of the paddy fields, the cotton fields. They came out of the slavery that they were in, with the whipping upon their back and the sweat upon their brow - but they lifted their hearts to praise to a hope that one day they would be free. Many of them were hoping that they would die - get away from this awful world - die, and be taken to glory by the chariot of God. They expressed the feelings, the sentiments of their hearts - how? In song, in songs of worship and praise to God. Let me ask you again: do you praise God? See when you're singing, what do you do? Do you look around you? Who's got a new hat or a new coat? Or who's got a new girl? Is that what you look at? What do you look at? Do you look at the words? Sure, some of us know the words inside-out, we could sing without a hymnbook, but do we appreciate them? Do we look at every line? 'Praise my soul the King of Heaven' - do you take that in? 'To His feet my tribute bring. Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven. Who like thee His praise should sing. Praise Him, Praise Him'. Sometimes I hear sisters say: 'There's not much for us to do in the assembly'. Some of you are poets, some of you are poets and you don't know it! But those that are poets, do you know (whether you're male or female) that there's a great shortage of hymn writing today? Hymn writing of a spiritual kind. Why not employ your pen? Why not employ your heart and your mouth, brethren, to shout 'Amen', to shout 'Hallelujah', to praise the Lord, to pray to the Lord, to bring a word of ministry to exalt the Lord?

But why do we praise Him? Look: 'The glory of his grace' - that's the message - 'to the praise of the glory of his grace'.

'Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all my sin'.

You know, a woman once attempted to assassinate Queen Elizabeth - not our Queen Elizabeth. She dressed as a man-page and she hid herself in the Queen's boudoir - in all the clothes and dresses and garments. But the Queen's attendants would make it their careful chore to check all the rooms before the Queen would go into them. And before they brought the Queen into that particular room, inside all the skirts and dresses in her wardrobe they found this woman and they brought her out, and they took her to the Queen and she begged the Queen to have compassion on her. Queen Elizabeth looked at her quietly and coolly and said: 'If I show you grace, what promise will you make me in the future?'. And that woman looked up and said: 'Grace that hath conditions? Grace that is fettered by precautions is no grace at all'. Queen Elizabeth caught it and, in a moment, she said: 'You're right. I pardon you of my grace', and they led her away a free woman. That's what God's done for you! There's nothing to it on your account! You've done nothing for it - only accept it! You stood there and God, by His grace, wonder of wonders, has given you everything in Christ!

That's the glory of His grace. Look further: 'Wherein he hath made us accepted in the well beloved'. Praise the Lord for Christ! Do you know what that phrase means? The King James Version actually paraphrases it: 'where he hath made us accepted in the well beloved'. It simply means this: that the grace which works such a response of wonderful praise, finds its focus in the person of God's beloved. He is God's love gift to men. He's referred to in Colossians 1:13 as the Son of His love. In Matthew chapter 3 and verse 17 you remember God opened and tore the curtain of the heavens to say: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'.

As we're saved by grace we're going to live by grace, we're going to be raised by grace, we're going to be changed by grace, we're going to be glorified by grace, we're going to rule with Him by grace!

[Do] you know what this paraphrase literally means? Look at the verse: 'This is the grace with which he has begraced us'. This is the grace with which he has begraced us - it's not even a word! But he made it up to encapsulate what he meant: that God has clothed us in all that Christ is and Christ has. That's the amazing grace of the gospel, it's all in Christ! You never forget it, and if you're unsaved you've got to get it! It's of Him, it's not of you - and if you're trying to strive after holiness, Christian, if you're trying to strive after the blessing of the Holy Spirit in your life - forget about it if you're striving! It's all of grace and it's all of Christ. And as we're saved by grace we're going to live by grace, we're going to be raised by grace, we're going to be changed by grace, we're going to be glorified by grace, we're going to rule with Him by grace! 'For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ' - no Christ, no grace. You see God could not have shown grace without Christ. No matter how powerful He is, He couldn't do it, for I am loved, I am accepted, I am blessed only because I am in Christ! Think of this, think of this, as we close - and I must urge you to grasp this. The poet said:

'The love wherewith He loves the Son,
Such is His love to me'.

The love wherewith He loves the Son? Is the love that He loves me? To all the extent, to all its depth, to all its width and breadth and height! To all it's volume and capacity and acuteness! He loves me and He loves Christ no more!

Where are you tonight, Christian? First of all, person, where are you spiritually? Are you saved? God loves you, God loves you! Where are you spiritually, Christian? Are you backslidden? Are you out in the mountains wild and bare? Are you in the far country? Are you eating the dirty food of the pigs, the swine? Where are you? God loves you like Christ! Where are you Christian? Are you in bereavement? Have you the waves of bereavement and sorrow pouring over your head? Listen to the words of God: 'I love you as my Son'. Have friends forsaken you - a husband or a wife? Is it your health that's failed you, or your employment, or your family? Whatever it may be, it is awesome to think that I have, day after day, hour after hour - whether I'm conscious of it or not - the love of the Father for the Son as my portion!

Go home and read the book of Philemon. And you remember that I said on the first week that Paul wrote the book of Philemon almost at the same time he wrote the book of Ephesians - in the same place and the same house that he was held a prisoner of the Roman Empire. Remember that! I like to think (now I can't prove it, but I like to think) as Paul was writing these words, he had Philemon and Onesimus in his mind when he said: 'in the beloved'. Remember what happened? Onesimus had offended his master Philemon, probably even stolen off him. He ran away and all of a sudden he meets (in Rome) Paul, and he's converted - Paul leads him to the Lord. Paul decides to write a letter - the little book of Philemon that we have - to his old master to tell him: 'Look, Onesimus has got saved! I know he's offended you. I know he's done wrong of you but he's been converted'. Listen to what Paul says - and this is what Christ says to God about you: 'If he hath wronged thee Father, or if he oweth thee ought my Father, put that to my account. I will pay it'. Listen to this! 'Receive him as You receive me'. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Abba Father! We thank Thee for our blessed Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for all that we have inherited in Him. And Lord, if we don't praise Thee now as we ought, we thank Thee that there'll be a day that we'll praise Him as we should - when we see Him face to face and tell the story, saved by sovereign grace. We say: 'Glory and honour, blessing and power be unto Him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb'. Amen.

Don't miss Part 4 of 'Ephesians': "Praise The Lord For Redemption!"

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Transcribed by:
Trevor Veale
Preach The Word.
January 2001
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the third tape in his Ephesians series, titled "Praise The Lord - Part 2" - Transcribed by Trevor Veale, Preach The Word.

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