Sermon #1832 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The Sevenfold Purpose of God
Text: Isaiah 46:11
Subject: The Certainty of God’s Purpose
Date: Sunday Evening — February 21, 2010
Tape # Z-81a
Readings: Merle Hart and James Jordan
The title of my message is The Sevenfold Purpose of God. Some folks will tell you that your pastor has “gone to seed” on predestination and sovereignty; and you might sometimes think I stress these matters too much; but if you will turn with me to Isaiah 46, you will see that the Lord God makes this the thing that distinguishes him from all the imaginary god’s of men.
Proposition: That which specifically distinguishes our God, the triune Jehovah, from all the idols of men, that which distinguishes the true and living God from all the false gods concocted and made by ignorant men is just this: — That which the God of Glory has purposed shall come to pass.
(Isaiah 46:3-13) “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: 4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
Verse 5 — “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? 6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. 7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. 8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.”
Verse 9 — “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
Verse 12 — “Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness: 13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” (Isaiah 46:3-13)
The Lord our God identifies as God and distinguishes himself from all who are called gods with this declaration in verse 11: — “I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” We believe according to the Scriptures that the Lord our God is a God of purpose, absolute and unalterable purpose. Before the world began, Almighty God sovereignly purposed all that ever comes to pass. Nothing in this world is left to chance. Everything is moving toward the predetermined end of God’s eternal purpose with absolute, precise accuracy. Everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by God in eternity.
Let others worship at the altars of “good luck,” “misfortune” and “chance,” if they wish. We worship the God of Glory, whose distinguishing glory he declares in the words of our text. — “I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” There are three women of ill-repute whose names I never speak, except with contempt…
Š Mother Nature
Š Lady Luck
I am here to declare the absolute certainty of God’s purpose. I am asserting that everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by God in eternity. Now let’s look into the Book of God to see if this is so. The Word of God must determine the issue. — “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Š Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Š Romans 9:11: Here Paul tell us that God chose Jacob in everlasting love and rejected Esau in everlasting hatred and that he revealed this fact to the boys’ parents, — “that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.”
Š 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.”
Š Ephesians 3:11: Paul explains here that he preached the gospel to the Gentiles, even the unsearchable riches of Christ, that the manifold wisdom of God in the gospel might be made known unto all men, — “according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Š 2 Timothy 1:9 - “God hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
These five texts which we have read from the Word of God himself tell us five distinct facts about the purpose of God.
1. The purpose of God is eternal.
2. The purpose of God includes all things.
3. The purpose of God has the benefit of God’s elect for its particular design. — Everything that God has purposed is for the ultimate, spiritual and eternal benefit of his covenant people.
4. The purpose of God is immutable and sure. — God says, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10). — “What God does, he has always purposed to do” (A. H. Strong).
5. And in its ultimate end God’s purpose will accomplish the eternal salvation of his people and the glory of his own great name. — “My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.”
I have searched the Scriptures and found seven things God purposed to perform, seven things that must come to pass, because God purposed them from eternity. We are going to look at several passages of Scripture; and the key word in each text is the word “must.” These seven things must, of a certainty, come to pass. They are Divine Imperatives. These things must come to pass, because God has purposed them.
First, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God must suffer and die upon the cursed tree. This is the matter of first importance, so we will look at this first. — The Son of Man must suffer and die upon the cross (Luke 9:22).
“Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.” (Luke 9:22)
The death of our Lord Jesus Christ was no accident. It was not something which came to pass as the result of man’s free-will, or because the Jews would not have him as their King. The Lord Jesus Christ “must” die at Calvary. He said so, — “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.”
Why must the Lord Jesus Christ suffer and die upon the cursed tree? Why must the Son of God lay down his life at Calvary? — I’ll give you four reasons.
1. Christ had to die at Jerusalem, because God had purposed it. — “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23; 4:28).
2. Christ had to die at Jerusalem in order to fulfill his covenant engagements as our everlasting Surety. — Our Lord voluntarily took upon himself our redemption, and he freely laid down his life for us. But having voluntarily agreed to be our Surety, he had to lay down his life for us. His honor and faithfulness demanded it (Genesis 43:8-9; John 10:18).
3. Christ had to die in the place of his people so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Acts 13:29).
Š The Types
Š The Prophecies
(Acts 13:26-29) “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. 28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.”
4. It was absolutely necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to die at Calvary, in order for God to save his people (Romans 3:24-26; John 3:14-17).
(Romans 3:24-26) “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
(John 3:14-17) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Only through the death of the God-man in the place of his people could… —
Š The righteousness of God be revealed.
Š The sin of man be exposed.
Š The justice of God be satisfied.
Š The people of God be forgiven.
Š The love of God be manifest.
Only by the substitutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ could God be both just and the Justifier. Only by the sacrifice of his own darling Son could he be “a just God and a Savior.”
But, the death of Christ, in itself, is not sufficient to save us. In order to save us, the Lord Jesus Christ must rise from the dead. We saw this in Luke 9:22. It is stated again in Matthew 16:21. Our mighty Zerubbabel could not build his church until he arose from the grave.
(Matthew 16:21) “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
(Romans 4:25) “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
A dead Christ would never have been of any value to God or to his people. But when the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead the foundation of our faith was fixed.
Š In his resurrection, it is evidently revealed that Christ is the Son of God. — He was declared to be the Son of God with power, by his resurrection (Romans 1:4).
Š The resurrection of Christ assures us that sin is put away and justice is satisfied. — When he was justified in the Spirit, we were too!
Š The resurrection of Christ is sure evidence of his power and ability to save all who come to God by him (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:31-34).
(Hebrews 7:25) “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
(Romans 8:31-34) “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
Here is the third thing that must come to pass, because God has purposed it. — The gospel of the grace of God must be preached throughout the whole world (Mark 13:10). — “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.”
Here we are told that prior to the second advent of our Lord Jesus Christ the gospel of his grace must be heralded throughout the world.
Š To declare to all men the mercy of God.
Š To leave the unbelieving without excuse.
Š For the salvation of God’s elect in every nation. — This is God’s means of grace (1 Peter 1:18-25).
(1 Peter 1:18-25) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 ¶ For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Fourthly, when this gospel has been declared throughout the whole world and before our Lord comes again — All God’s elect must be saved (John 10:16).
God is longsuffering with this world and allows it to stand only because he has in it a people whom he is determined to save. — “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” — All of God’s elect shall be saved. Not one of Christ’s sheep shall ever perish.
Š The purpose of God demands it.
Š The law of God demands it.
Š The satisfaction of Christ demands it.
1. Christ must come seeking his lost sheep (John 4:4).
2. Before any can enter into the kingdom of heaven, they must be born again (John 3:3-8).
3. They all must come to God through Christ, believing that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
4. Their wills must be broken by almighty grace (John 3:30). — When they are turned of God, they shall turn to God.
5. They all must be taught of God, they all must learn to worship the Lord God (John 4:23-24).
Here is the fifth thing which must be done. — All Christ’s foes must be subdued by him. All his enemies must be conquered. The Lord Jesus Christ must reign as King until all things bow to his dominion(1 Corinthians 15:25). — “He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Mediator, is the sovereign Ruler and King of this universe. You must bow to him as Lord, or you must perish. I love those words: — “He must reign!” — He must reign for the salvation of his people (John 17:1-3). — He must reign because he earned the right (Philippians 2:9-11). — He must reign because none shall stop him. — That old, pagan, Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, learned this; and you will too, one way or another.
(Daniel 4:33-37) “The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. 34 ¶ And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”
(Isaiah 45:20-25) “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
(Philippians 2:9-11) “9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Again, the Lord Jesus Christ must come again in power and great glory (1 Corinthians 15:51-58). These bodies must be raised. Once all of God’s elect have been saved and all the purposes of God in this world have been accomplished, the Lord himself shall come, and every eye shall see him.
Š He must come to raise his saints.
Š He must come to destroy his enemies.
Š He must come to create all things now.
Š He must come to reign gloriously.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-58) “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 stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
And, in the last place, I know that, according to the eternal purpose of God we must all stand before the Lord Jesus Christ in judgment. Judgment is God’s strange work; but it is God's work. There is a day appointed by God when all men must be judged.
Children of God, take comfort in this: — The purpose of God shall stand. He shall do all his pleasure. Rebels tremble! You must bow to Christ! You must believe! If you refuse to bow to the Son of God, you must forever perish! (2 Corinthians 5:10; Acts 17:31).
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)
“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)
When everything God has purposed is done, you are going to meet God in the judgment. How will you fair in the judgment?
I want to persuade you to flee to Christ by faith and find refuge in him from the wrath to come. Think, if you dare, about eternity, about divine judgment and about your immortal soul.
Judgment is coming. Soon you and I must stand before the awful bar of God’s inflexible justice. Soon we must meet the holy Lord God in judgment! The appointed Day of Judgment is a matter of certainty. It will come with suddenness, unannounced and without warning. God's judgment will be in exact accordance with strict justice. You will be examined by the eye of omniscience. If the holy Lord God finds upon you one spot of sin, or one wrinkle of moral infirmity, he will pour out upon your helpless soul the terror of his unmitigated wrath forever! When you meet God in that day, if you have not been reconciled to him by faith in Christ, if you have no substitute whose blood and righteousness alone can make you acceptable in God’s sight, you must be damned forever! Your conscience tells you that this is so. God’s holy law warns you of his wrath. His Word points you to Christ and calls you to repentance and faith in him, promising eternal life to all who believe and eternal death to all who believe not. Why do you hesitate? Repent, or perish! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and live forever! Come to him without delay!
This world you so much love will soon be destroyed because it is defiled with sin. All that you have lived for, worked for and sought in this world will vanish before your eyes like a puff of smoke. Then your immortal, sin-cursed soul will stand in helpless terror before the judgment bar of God. The messenger of judgment in that terrible day will be Christ himself, whom you have despised and rejected. — “The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). Today he bids you seek his grace. In that day he will say, “Depart, ye cursed!” Why will you die? Why do you choose wrath and despise mercy? God help you now, oh, may he sweetly force you by irresistible grace to come to Christ and be saved!
Ye sinners, seek his face,
Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
Fly to the shelter of his cross,
And find salvation there.
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