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Sermon #28 — Ephesians Sermons
Title: “The Exceeding Riches
Text: Ephesians 2:7
Subject: The Riches of God’s Grace
Date: Sunday Evening — December 27, 2015
Readings: Mark Daniel and David Burge
Our text tonight is Ephesians 2:7. I am going to preach to you, as God the Holy Ghost enables me, about — “The Exceeding Riches of His Grace” (Ephesians 2:7).
(Ephesians 2:7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
This verse of Scripture makes it plain that Paul fully expected the gospel of the grace of God to be preached in the ages to come.
· He did not expect the world to come to an end very soon.
· He knew that the gospel of grace must be preached in every part of the world.
And Paul was assured that there could be no improvement made upon the gospel. This man was fully persuaded that the very same gospel that Christ preached, the gospel that turned the world upside down in days of the early church, would be the gospel that God would use to gather his elect from the four corners of the earth in all future ages. I think that Paul is also telling us that, as this gospel has been the means of saving men throughout the ages, it will be the theme of our songs throughout the ages of eternity. — Compromise always involves three things…
· Change of Music
· Change of Methods
· Change of Message
Eternity itself will not improve the gospel. When all the saints are gathered in heaven, they shall still talk and sing of the wonders of love revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. As we walk the golden streets of the celestial city, we shall stand before the listening crowds of angels, and principalities, and powers, and think it our greatest joy to tell what the Lord has done for us by “the exceeding riches of his grace.”
The gospel of God is unalterable. Paul did not anticipate the removal of this ancient landmark. He knew that many false teachers and false religions would rise up to pervert the gospel. But, he also knew that God would preserve his truth throughout the ages.
The gospel of Christ has the same power today that it had in the dawning of the church.
· It is still the battering ram of the church against the gates of hell.
· God has shown in the ages gone by, and he will yet show in the ages to come, that the gospel of Christ and him crucified is “the power of God and the wisdom of God!”
· We dare not cease to proclaim the mercy of God as it is displayed in the sin-atoning death of his dear Son. We have an innumerable company of witnesses, from the church of the Old Testament, from the Apostles, and in all the years of this Gospel Age, all of which testify unto us that Jesus Christ is “able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him.”
These infallible assurances strengthen our confidence, and inflame our hearts. So that, we are bold to say with the Apostle, — “As much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel…For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
God has used this gospel to save multitudes of sinners. These multitudes of converts in the days of old stand as monuments to free and sovereign grace. They show us that there is salvation for sinners. They possessed everlasting salvation. The gospel declares salvation accomplished and that this salvation can be the portion of sinful men. It may be had upon the terms that God has laid down, simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. The saints of old obtained it by faith in Christ, and so may we. Doubt should be put out of question. Every needy, trembling sinner should flee quickly to the refuge of mercy in Jesus Christ. Many have fled to him and found mercy. Surely we can do the same. He has never rejected any. Certainly he will not reject us.
“Come humble sinner, in whose breast
A thousand thoughts revolve;
Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,
And make this last resolve.
I’ll go to Jesus, though my sins
Like mountains round me close;
I know His courts, I’ll enter in,
Whatever may oppose.
Prostrate I’ll lie before His throne,
And there my guilt confess;
I’ll tell Him I’m a wretch undone
Without His sovereign grace.
I’ll to the gracious King approach,
Whose scepter pardon gives;
Perhaps He may command my touch,
And then the suppliant lives!
Perhaps He will admit my plea,
Perhaps will hear my prayer;
But if I perish, I will pray,
And perish only there.
I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know,
I must forever die.
But if I die with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
This were to die (Delightful thought!) —
As sinner never died!”
The God of all grace has saved to the uttermost all who have come unto God by him. Therefore sinful men ought eagerly and unquestionably come to Christ at once, and put their trust in the Lamb of God who alone is worthy to be trusted. Then will God’s purpose in this text be accomplished, that in the ages to come it should be made known by all who have received his kindness, that there are riches, exceeding riches, super-abounding riches of grace for poor sinners in Christ Jesus. Here is a royal subject — “THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF His GRACE.” Edwards, Whitfield, and Spurgeon might have preached the gospel better than I preach it; but they could not possibly have preached a better gospel. For I preach to you “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Proposition: All who have ever been converted stand as monuments to this truth — God’s grace is rich, free, and kind in Jesus Christ for all who trust him.
Divisions: As I speak to you on “THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF His GRACE, I will show three things from my text.
1. God’s purpose in grace
Paul has spent all of his efforts in the first two chapters of Ephesians to show us that salvation is altogether a marvelous work of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ. He has described for us the rich blessings of grace, the power of grace, and the condescension of grace. And he has shown us the marvel of grace in giving us a spiritual resurrection. — Now he will show us why he has spoken so much about God’s grace. It is because God has determined “in the ages to come” to show the exceeding riches of his grace by us.
The grace that God has shown to his people is an encouragement to sinners. The salvation of these Ephesians stands out as a remarkable example of God’s grace.
The salvation of the earliest Christians is a pattern of God’s grace to encourage sinners everywhere and in every age to trust him.
Paul’s own conversion was a pattern of God’s grace to all future ages (1 Timothy 1:16).
(1Timothy 1:16) Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Paul was guilty of horrid crimes of self-righteousness; but he obtained mercy. And God saves all sinners just like he saved Paul (Acts 22:14).
(Acts 22:14) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
· He was chosen.
· He was redeemed.
· Christ was revealed to him.
· God’s will was made known to him.
· He was called.
The grace that God has shown to his people sets forth his glory in salvation.
“Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.” (Psalms 106:8)
The grace of God that has been shown to his people should be the singular subject of the pulpit. The gospel of grace is to be preached fully.
The gospel of Christ is the life and strength of the church.
And the grace that God has shown to his people will be the theme of eternal worship (Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10; 7:9-10; 19:1).
(Revelation 1:5-6) “5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
(Revelation 5:9-10) “9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
(Revelation 7:9-10) “9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
(Revelation 19:1) “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:”
“Grace ‘tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to mine ear;
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.”
2. God’s provision by grace
My text speaks of “the exceeding riches of his grace.” Here our English language is poor compared to the Greek. In the Greek you can readily see how that Paul stretches his mind to the utmost degree, searching for words suitable to describe the riches of God’s grace. It is as though he said that it is God’s purpose to show the super-abounding, excessive, overflowing riches of his grace. I could heap up more adjectives; but it is impossible to show the extent of Paul’s meaning in the English tongue.
God’s grace has bestowed upon us a rich treasure of mercy. — “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” How shall I describe the grace of God? It is beyond me. Let me just show you some tokens of his grace.
· He gave us to our homes.
· He molded our dispositions.
· God restrained you from vice.
· Even to those who ran the course of iniquity to greater depths, God’s grace kept you from going farther.
· God’s grace preserved us unto salvation (Jude 1).
· He graciously received us as sons (1 John 3:1-2).
· He spoke pardon and peace to our hearts.
· He has instructed us in his Word.
· He has guided us in his ways.
· He upholds us.
· He restores us.
· He preserves us.
Does anyone ask, “What has God done for us in grace?” We might better ask, “What has he not done for us?”
The grace that we have received at God’s hand has been rich grace indeed!
· It is higher than our sins, for it brings us to the throne of the Most High.
· It is deeper than our sins, for it has reached to the depth of man’s depravity, and brought up jewels for heaven.
· It is wider than our sins, for it has removed them as far as the east is from the west.
· As for the length of God’s grace, it is from everlasting to everlasting.
There is a beginning to man’s sin; but there is no beginning to pardoning love!
Soon, blessed be God, my sins shall come to an end. But his grace is everlasting!
Is there a sinner here in need of mercy? Do you need God’s grace? Come to Christ, the Fountain of God’s exceeding rich grace. Your sins are not so great as God’s mercy in Christ. — Come to Christ! Come now! Come without delay!
“Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity,
Joined with power;
He is able, He is willing; doubt no more.
Come, ye needy, come and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
And true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh,
Without money, come to Jesus Christ and buy.
Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He give you; ‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.
Come ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and mangled by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, sinners Jesus came to call.
View Him prostate in the Garden;
On the ground your Maker lies!
On the bloody tree behold Him,
Hear Him cry before he dies,
“It is finished!” Sinner, will not this suffice?
Lo! The incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood;
Venture on Him, venture wholly;
Let no other trust intrude;
None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good!
Saints and angels, joined in concert,
Sing the praises of the Lamb;
While the blissful seats of heaven,
Sweetly echo with His name.
Hallelujah! Sinners here may sing the same.”
God’s exceeding riches of grace have been fully manifested to us.
Christ comes to you just as you are, in your alienation and in your enmity, and brings everything you need in his hands.
The more we learn how his grace works, the richer his grace appears.
Ever since our conversion the Lord has held on to us by his grace and never ceased to be gracious.
3. God’s place for grace
Perhaps the most blessed thing about the exceeding riches of God’s grace is this: — It is shown to us through Jesus Christ. The place of grace is Jesus Christ. We see his precious blood on every blessing of grace he has bestowed upon us.
“There’s ne’er a gift his hand bestows,
But cost his heart a groan.”
All things come to us through Jesus Christ. He is the golden Channel of eternal love, the Window through which grace shines, the Door by which it enters. Look at the kindness of God toward us through Christ, and never cease to praise him!
His kindness is demonstrated in all of his work for us.
Has he not dealt with us in kindness?
“In ages to come” heaven’s endless glory the Triune God will show to wondering worlds “the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus!” — Imagine that!
(Jude 1:24-25) “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.”
Children of God, we shall never know. until we have reached the eternal glory, our debt to the exceeding riches of his grace. Then we will stand before God to the amazement of all creatures!
“When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.
When I hear the wicked call,
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.
When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.
When the praise of Heav’n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters’ noise,
Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.
Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit’s help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.
Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Savior’s side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.
Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight’s gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! Bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.
When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I’m captive led;
Oft I fall—but still arise—
The Spirit comes—the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! Bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.
Oft the nights of sorrow reign—
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns—
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! Bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe.
(Deuteronomy 30:19-20) “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days.”