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Sermon #35 — Ephesians Sermons

 

      Title:                                 Ruin, Reconcilation,

        Restoration

 

      Text:                                  Ephesians 2:13

      Subject:               Reconciliation

      Date:                                Sunday Evening — April 24, 2016

      Readings:           Mark Henson and Lindsay Campbell

      Introduction:       

 

Any sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is taken into union with the Triune God!Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ now, and you will go home one with God! If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will! — Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ now, and you will go home one with God!

 

Ephesians 2:13

 

You will find my text in the second chapter of Ephesians at verse thirteen. — “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” My subject is one that should be precious to every child of God. It speaks of the wondrous grace and condescending love of our heavenly Father. I want to talk to you about nearness to God, reconciliation to God, being “made nigh” (brought near) to God by the precious blood of his dear Son, our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.“But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” If you can remember three words, you can remember the title of my message and my outline — Ruin, Reconcilation, Restoration “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

 

Proposition: The God of Glory, who was justly offended by our sin and rebellion against him, has taken his chosen into a union with himself through the blood of Jesus Christ his Son.

 

My text is a gate of pearl leading into the excellent glory and everlasting grace of God. Happy is the man, happy is the woman who has entered into blessed union with God through this gate. It turns upon two diamond hinges: — “in Christ Jesus,” and “by the blood of Christ.”

 

The wonderful privilege that our text speaks of is that “we are made nigh.” The delightful blessing, however, is ours only “in Christ Jesus” and “by the blood of Christ.”

 

Here is a sea of love, an ocean of boundless peace, a rich fountain of free grace. — May God the Holy Ghost, whose words we have before us, open our hearts and refresh our spirits with the sweet consolation of this text. We who were once separated and far off from God by sin are now “made nigh” in Christ Jesus, by the blood of his sacrifice.

 

Divisions: In developing the doctrine of our text I want you to see three stages of our history that Paul presents to us here.

1.    Ruin

2.    Reconciliation

3.    Restoration

 

RUIN

 

Ephesians 2:13 speaks first of our ruin by the sin and fall of or father Adam. “Ye who sometimes were far off.” Each of us were by nature far off from God, ruined by sin.

 

Plunged in a gulf of dark despair,

We wretched sinners lay,

Without one cheerful beam of hope,

Or spark of glimmering day.

 

How sad our state by nature is!

Our sin, how deep it stains!

And Satan binds our captive minds

Fast in his slavish chains!

 

We were ruined by a fall; but God did not originally create man in a sinful condition. When Adam was created and placed in the Garden, he had a blessed nearness to God.

Š      Adam was created in the very image of God. — He was the only being in creation made in the likeness of God. — He was given intellect, emotion, and will; and thus he was like God. — He had a body like that which God had ordained and prepared for his Son when he would come into the world. — He was a representative man, like Christ.

Š      Adam walked and conversed with God in the Garden.

Š      Adam enjoyed the provision of God’s hand.

Š      Adam enjoyed dominion over God’s creatures.

 

But, Adam sinned against God, plunging himself and all his race into a state of separation and alienation from God.

Š      Adam was our representative before God, so that we acted in him, and were charged with all his deeds.

Š      We were made sinners, made guilty of sin (Romans 5:19).

Š      We were judged guilty and condemned (Romans 5:18).

Š      We died spiritually (Romans 5:12).

 

What does this spiritual death involve?

Š      We lost God’s image.

Š      We lost God’s favor.

Š      We lost all righteousness.

Š      We lost our moral freedom.

 

We died spiritually. — Man was made body, soul, and spirit. When we sinned in Adam, the spirit in man died; and man has been, since the fall, body and soul, without spirit. In the new birth we receive the Spirit of life and are made whole again: body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). — The Lord willing, I will say more about this in a few minutes.

 

Not only were we ruined by the fall of our Father Adam, we were also ruined by birth (Psalm 51:5; 58:3). — By birth, fallen man is far off from God. We were without Christ. To be without Christ is to be…

Š      Without life.

Š      Without righteousness.

Š      Without pardon.

Š      Without peace.

Š      Without light.

Š      Without understanding.

 

We were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.

Š      We had no fellowship with God’s people.

Š      We did not share the blessings of God’s people.

Š      We were strangers to the covenants of promise.

Š      We were without hope.

Š      We were godless.

Š      We were ruined in this world.

 

There are many who oppose the doctrine of original sin, because they do not like being charged with Adam’s transgression. But we all have sin enough of our own, for we were also ruined by choice.

Š      We sin like all other men.

Š      We sinned as children.

Š      We sinned as adults.

Š      We even sin as believers.

 

Reconciliation

 

Second, the Apostle shows us the way of our reconciliation.We are now reconciled to God “in Christ Jesus,” and “by his blood.”

 

With pitying eyes the Prince of grace

Beheld our helpless grief:

He saw, and, O amazing love!

He ran to our relief.

 

Down from the shining seats above,

With joyful haste He fled,

Entered the grave in mortal flesh,

And dwelt among the dead.

 

He spoiled the power of darkness thus,

And broke our iron chains;

Jesus has freed our captive souls

From everlasting pains.

 

O for this love, let rocks and hills

Their lasting silence break;

And all harmonious human tongues

The Savior’s praises speak.

 

Children of God, we are made near to unto God because we are in Christ Jesus. We have a covenant union with Christ.

 

1.    We are in our Savior’s heart from eternity. — In his heart, the Lord Jesus Christ cherished thoughts of love for his people before the world began. — “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with bands of kindness have I drawn thee.” — “As the Father hath loved me, even so have I loved you.”

 

We were all chosen at one time, and our names were written in the Book of Life, beneath the name of Christ our great head before the world was made (Revelation 13:8). — “In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:16).

Š      The same register that records Christ’s eternal Sonship records our sonship. — Destroy his Sonship and yours must perish. But as long as he stands as the Son of God, so must all the elect sons stand.

Š      The name Jesus Christ heads the list in that blessed Book of Life; and until the pen of hell can run through that name, it cannot run through any other.

Š      The Book of Life contains a list of all who shall inherit the celestial city. — We are in that book which is sealed with seven seals of perfection and completion, which none but the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has prevailed to open.

 

2.    We are in Christ’s hand as our Surety and Protector.

3.    We are in Christ’s loins, so that we are in a mystical way one with him. — “A seed shall serve him.

4.    But I must go a step further. — Our text speaks of a real, vital, and present union with Christ. — All who are in Jesus Christ in the eternal and everlasting Covenant of Grace shall, in due time, be in him by a living union. — I know that I am in waters over my head. I have no hope of understanding, let alone explaining this union; but this I know— We are in his very Person! We are wedded to him. This is a mystical and mysterious union, but it is, nevertheless, real and true. Christ and I are one!

 

‘Twixt Jesus and the chosen race

Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,

That hell, with its infernal train,

Shall never dissolve, nor rend in twain!

 

Hail sacred union, firm and strong,

How great the grace, how sweet the song,

That worms of earth should ever be,

One with incarnate Deity!

 

In the moment of regeneration the soul is made alive in union with Christ. — This is a living, vital union. Do you have this union? Without it, all that I have been talking about is only speculative theory.

Š      We are in Christ, like the branch is in the vine.

Š      We are in Christ, like the babe is in the womb.

Š      We are in Christ like the brain is in the head, like the heart is in the body!

 

Are you in Christ Jesus?

Š      Does Christ live in you?

Š      Is Christ your dependence?

Š      Do you believe on the Son of God?

Š      Do you bear fruit from Christ?

Š      Do you love Christ?

Š      Is his presence heaven and his absence hell to your soul?

Š      Are you wedded to him by faith and love?

Š      Do you feed upon the Lord Jesus Christ?

 

Happy is that soul who can say, by faith, “Blessed by God! I am one with Christ! I was in his heart, his book, his hands, his loins from eternity. I know that I was, for I am now in him by living union! I know that I am in him because he is in me. And I know that he is in me because I trust him.” Such a soul is happy, satisfied, and secure!

 

We are made near to God through the blood of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Š      The blood of Christ is the symbol of the covenant.

Š      The blood of Christ is the symbol of divine vengeance.

Š      The blood of Christ is the satisfaction of the law.

Š      The blood of Christ is the putting away of sin. — By the blood of his cross the Lord Jesus made peace for us and reconciled us to God (Colossians 1:20-22). We receive that peace and reconciliation by faith in him (Romans 5:1-11); but it was made by Christ at Calvary (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

 

(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “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.”

 

Our text tells us that we are nigh to God now! — When we stand before God in heaven, we shall not be more near to God than we are now!

 

“A mind at perfect peace with God:

Oh, what a word is this!

A sinner reconciled through blood:

This, this indeed is peace.

 

By nature and by practice far,

How very far from God!

Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him

Through faith in Jesus’ blood.

 

So nigh, so very nigh to God,

I cannot nearer be;

For in the person of His Son,

I am as near as He.

 

So dear, so very dear to God,

More dear I cannot be;

The love wherewith He loves the Son,

Such is His love to me!

 

Why should I ever anxious be

Since such a God is mine?

He watches o’er me night and day,

And tells me, ‘Mine is thine.’”

Horatius Bonar

 

Restoration

 

Third, the Apostle shows us our restoration. “But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh, by the blood of Christ.” — In Christ Jesus we are now restored to God’s image. — We are near to God, and thus restored to God’s favor. — We are now made righteous. — We are now sanctified (made holy). — We are near to God. — What can that mean?

Š      We have Christ.

Š      We are members of God’s kingdom.

Š      We are partakers of the Covenant of Promise.

Š      We have a sure Hope.

Š      We have God himself.

 

Christ is in us and we are in Christ. I want you to see how complete this restoration is. We are now complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10). We have been made whole again by the grace of God: body, soul, and spirit. Turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:23. This is the only place in the Word of God where these three words describing the whole man in Christ are used together.

 

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24) “Rejoice evermore. (17) Pray without ceasing. (18) In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (19) Quench not the Spirit. (20) Despise not prophesyings. (21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (22) Abstain from all appearance of evil. (23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

 

Paul here tells us that the nature of the believer is compounded of spirit, soul, and body.

Š      The spirit is the immortal part of our being, which by our fall in Adam is dead in trespasses and sins, but by the Holy Ghost, in every child of God, is quickened to a new and spiritual life. And being part of Christ can die no more, but is holy and without blame in Christ forever.

Š      The soul is that thinking faculty which man has in common with some animals. The Psalmist speaks of the soul in when he tells us that when the breath of man leaves him he returns to his earth, and his thoughts perish (Psalm 146:4).

Š      And the body, of course, is the mere mass of flesh and bones, this earthly tabernacle that must soon be dissolved.

 

The spirit, before the new birth, like all the mass of Adam’s race, is dead in trespasses and sins. When a sinner is born again by the grace and power of God Holy Ghost, when we are made a partakers of the divine nature, by that sovereign act of omnipotent mercy God gives his elect all things that pertain to life and godliness; and we are “made partakers of the divine nature”(2 Peter 1:3-4).

 

(2 Peter 1:3-4) “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

 

This is what all of that means. — Christ makes sinners whole again. — He completely restores his lost ones! The new-born babe in Christ is born perfect in all his parts. In respect to the spiritual life imparted to the heaven born soul, he is as holy as it ever can be in heaven, perfectly holy (Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 3:9). That new man created in us by the grace of God is “created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). That new man is “Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). “Grow it will in grace,” wrote Robert Hawker, “as a new-born child grows in nature. But like a child in nature, it will have no other nature, but the same forever in which it is new-born.”

 

We are born again, “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (Peter 1:23). But the thinking faculty (the soul) and the body which is nothing but flesh and bones, are not renewed until the resurrection. Therefore, we groan, anxiously awaiting that blessed day.

 

(Romans 7:24) “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

 

(Romans 8:23) “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

 

So I pray with Paul, for you and for myself, that your whole being, spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, being assured...

 

(1 Thessalonians 5:24) “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

 

Application

 

Let us draw near to God continually.

Š      By Prayer

Š      By Praise

Š      Through His Word

Š      By Feeding upon Christ

 

Let us live near our God in sweet communion.

Š      Trust him.

Š      Love him.

Š      Seek to know him.

 

If we are now made nigh by the blood of Christ, now in such blessed nearness to God, let us we should live unto God, let us live for heaven, and not for this world! — O my God, how I long to walk with you!

 

“O for a closer walk with God,

A calm and heavenly frame,

A light to shine upon the road

That leads me to the Lamb!

 

Where is the blessedness I knew

When first I saw the Lord?

Where is the soul-refreshing view

Of Jesus and his Word?

 

Return, O holy Dove, return,

Sweet Messenger of rest;

I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,

And drove Thee from my breast.

 

The dearest idol I have known,

Whate’er that idol be,

Help me to tear it from Thy throne,

And worship only Thee.

 

So shall my walk be close with God,

Calm and serene my frame;

So purer light shall mark the road

That leads me to the Lamb.”

William Cowper

 

Some of you are yet far off. God help you now to draw nigh by the blood of Christ.

 

(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “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.”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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