But God (Ephesians Sermon 9 of 54)
August 30, 2015 | Andy Davis
Adoption, Grace, Fullness in Christ
A Soul Hanging in the Balance
Well, that was a very moving story from Walter and it's amazing how God works in grace, and I have my own story to tell, this morning, not exactly like his, but a year before I came to Christ, I almost drowned in Lake Winnipesaukee. I went with my fraternity, it was up in New Hampshire, I went with my fraternity from MIT, and we went every early September to a camp there, and we would work on the camp, and then we would play in the afternoon and have a good time, and I took this small sunfish out sailing in Lake Winnipesaukee and that was a pretty bold thing for me to do. Some would say pretty stupid because I've never been sailing before, but I thought I could handle the sunfish, evidently not. It was a very, very windy day, there was a lot of chop on the lake and I was flying along in this sail boat when suddenly I hit a significant wave, and got thrown from the boat. And I immediately swam back, like you're supposed to do to the capsized boat. But then I noticed that the center board a little piece of wood from the center had floated away and I was afraid that I, you know, I was going to lose it, so I made an almost fatal decision, at that moment. I left the boat with no life preserver and swam out to get the center board. And I grabbed it and then turned around and the boat was now twice as far away from me as when I'd first swam away because the wind was blowing it away from me. So I began swimming with one arm around this board and the other just plowing through the water and I wasn't even keeping up with the boat. So then I let the center board go and just started swimming and started to feel inside my heart a rising panic and I swam for a little while and I said, "I am not going to look at the boat," because I was getting discouraged. And I just swam and swam and swam and swam and swam for a long time, and then I looked up and the boat, I had only made up half the distance to the boat, and I was getting very tired at this point. Then something strange happened to me at that moment, I went under the surface of the water because it was very choppy, and windy, and I was starting to panic and I just wanted to get my wits. So I just kind of went under the water and at that moment, this strange thought came to me. I started to decide if I wanted to live or not. It wasn't a suicidal thought. I was just tired and I just wanted to decide if I would make the effort to live and I decided that I did. I was going to give everything that I had to stay alive. Again, I was not a Christian at the time.
Little did I know that at that particular moment, spiritually my soul was hanging in the balance between Heaven and Hell. So I was not a believer, I was close to death and I was not ready to die. And so I just swam and swam until I really felt that I couldn't swim anymore, and there was the boat and I reached up for the boat, but it was hard to hold on to it. It was very slick and wet and I couldn't grab hold of it. At that moment, some arms reached down and pulled me dead weight outta the lake, it was a guy on a motor boat, he had seen my plight and he pulled me out. I don't know his name, I never saw him again. He might end up having been an angel, I'm not sure, because I didn't see the boat much after he brought me to shore towing the sailfish behind. I don't know anything else about the guy, but I know that I was almost dead and almost condemned as a sinner. But God stepped in and intervened. Just like he did with Walter, so he did with me and he would not let me die at that moment. It would be another year before I came to Christ. A year of rebellion, a year of fighting the Gospel, a year of saying no, but God would not let me die. And I stand before you today a trophy of God's sovereign grace.
The Two Most Important Words in the Bible
And my point, the point of my sermon as was last week, so also this week is to say to all of you who are Christians so are each of you. Trophies of God's sovereign grace. God intervened. And so we come in Ephesians 2:4 to, I think in some ways the two most important words in the Bible, if you understand them properly, "But God.” “But God." Now, I'm aware the NIV starts with, "But because." Whoever decided to be the only English translation to go with, "But because" instead of, "But God", they'll have to live with themselves. But the Greek says, "But God", and every English translation brings it over it's "But God", and it's so powerful because the word, "But", just grammaticality means we were going in one direction and now we're going in a different direction. It captures the sense of a God-centered Gospel, a sovereign grace of His activity in my life and in the lives of every Christian of intervening, interfering, whatever you want to say, of stepping into space and time and saying, "No, it's not going to go like that, it's going to go differently for you." It's a contrast, we're talking about a dynamic God intervening and working in a mighty way, God is the greatest force in the universe, He created the universe, Heaven and earth, and so these words "But God", capture His dynamic activity in the world. And you see them again and again in Scripture, if you know what to look for, they're there again and again. For example, Genesis 7 and 8, the flood of Noah, the text reads this way: Genesis 7:24, and then 8:1. "The waters flooded the earth for 150 days. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the livestock that were with him in the ark and He sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded." Or again in Genesis 41:15-16, Pharaoh took Joseph out of prison and wanted him to tell him the meaning of a dream that he had had. "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it, but I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it. I cannot do it," Joseph said, "But God will give to Pharaoh the answer he desires." Or again, later in the story, of Joseph, we have this amazing account, Joseph, now, that Jacob was dead, his terrified brothers were afraid that Joseph was going to punish them for their wicked actions against him and selling him into slavery, that he wanted to kill him. All of that, they were terrified. And Joseph said in Genesis 50:20, "You meant it for evil but God meant it for good, to save lives as He is doing now.” “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." Or the wise woman of Tekoa to King David. 2nd Samuel 14:14, "Like water spilled on the ground," she said to him, "which cannot be recovered, so we must die, but God does not take away life. Instead, He devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him, but may be reconciled." Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." And then I like this one, Peter and John preaching to the citizens of Jerusalem, "You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. And we are all witnesses of this." There are probably others. Have a fun time going and finding them.
But God intervenes. He steps in and he makes all the difference in the world. He's the center of the universe, everything comes from God, and He alone can make the real changes in your life that must be made if you are to spend an eternity in joy and peace instead of in the torment that we all deserve for our sins.
The Uniqueness of the Christian Message
So, we come to the uniqueness of the Christian message. The only hope for sinners like you and me, the only hope there is, is Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved." There's no other answer than Jesus. And so the Christian message begins with total human desperation. I think about Walter in that room. I think about me in the lake, nothing left, I had no strength left. I could not save myself from drowning but actually spiritually, the text says where it's even worse, talking about human depravity, complete inability weakness, even spiritual death. Spiritual death. The Christian message doesn't end there, however, the words “but God” means that God stepped into our spiritual death into our hopelessness and helplessness. So therefore, salvation comes from outside of us in. It's starts out there with God, and steps into us, that's the Christian message, that's the Gospel. It's God's doing, it's God's work from beginning to end. This is so hard for us, prideful sinners to accept. We as Americans, we're so used to the American dream, the idea where you can be anything you want to be. And so we have this message of, "Believe in yourself, do everything that you can. You can earn it, you can do it, you can make yourself whatever you want to be." Yes, but you can't make yourself a Christian, that you cannot do, you don't have the power to make yourself a Christian any more, than you will have the power at your own funeral to make yourself rise from the dead. You can't do that.
And so this morning, our task is to understand more completely our spiritual resurrection from the dead in Christ, that we'll understand that, and that God will get the glory, more glory than ever before from you, and from me, for our salvation. And we're going to do it based on these amazing two words as a gateway to these three verses of Ephesians 2:4-6. The Apostle Paul clearly asserts that every Christian is an astonishing miracle of spiritual resurrection through faith in Christ. This is true Christianity, this is it. Do you see Christianity, that way? Do you understand yourself that way? And the point of all of this, in the end, is to God alone be the glory for human salvation, to God alone be the glory. As it is written, "Let him who boast, boast in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:31 and as it says three times, in Ephesians Chapter 1, "To the praise of His glory." So we're going to begin where we started last week. Ephesians 2: 1-3 with our condition apart from Christ, we were spiritually dead.
We Were Spiritually Dead (vs. 1-3)
Understanding God’s Grace: The Beginning
Look at the verses, again, verse 1-3, just by way of review. "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient, all of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, and following its desires and thoughts, like the rest we were by nature objects of wrath." So that's what we looked at last week. This is the starting point of understanding God's grace. We vastly underestimate our natural wickedness and sinfulness our condition, and we vastly underestimate God's glory and grace and power and mercy in saving us. And so the idea of this preaching, the idea of study is so that we won't vastly underestimate them as much anymore, and that our hearts will be moved and we will be empowered to worship God and serve Him with grace.
Thorough Probing of these Verses
So last week we did a thorough probing of these dire verses. We started with the phrase, "You were dead in your transgressions and sins." Last week, I likened that to, spiritually, your pupils fixed and dilated, so if the EMT shone the light into your eyes, you wouldn't respond to the light. It's unresponsive to spiritual truth. Spiritual death means you're not responsive, that's the nature of that deadness. We were spiritually dead, but we were physically alive. And so the essence of the spiritual death was in our minds and hearts. In our minds the way we thought, in our hearts, what we loved and what we hated. Romans chapter 8 captures the nature of this deadness in our minds, "Those who live according to the flesh have their mind set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their mind set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” We had dead minds spiritually. And then it goes over into the heart, The heart is that part of you that loves and hates. You were attracted to what was evil, and you despised what was good and delightful. It says of Jesus, He has “loved righteousness, and hated wickedness." We were the opposite, we loved wickedness and hated righteousness, so that's the nature of our spiritual deadness, and we were not responsive. Somebody could come and share the Gospel, we didn't care, somebody would read some scripture, it didn't hit us, we were not interested, we had no desire to be in church on Sunday, certainly no desire to read the Bible or pray. We were dead, spiritually dead, even while we lived. And we followed the ways of this world, we were surrounded by dead people, and so, we comforted ourselves in thinking we were fine because everybody else was doing the same things, but we were just following the ways of this world, and we were in bondage to Satan, the ruler of this world spiritually. He is “the god of this age” and he had blinded our minds so we couldn't see the light of the Gospel of the glory of God in Christ, he had blinded us. And he was acting as an angel of light alluring us toward wickedness and sin, could be false religions, false philosophical systems, could be just the allure of materialism, but he had enslaved us.
And we had invisible chains around us, and we couldn't break free. And we were following “the ruler of the kingdom of the air. The spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” And all of us, this was universal, it wasn't just some people, this is everybody. Now, you may say, "What about my sweet little children? What about my little babes? Were they enslaved in following the ways of this world?" And all that. Well, here's what the scripture teaches. All of us died in Adam, positionally. Every human being is seen to be positionally a sinner in Adam, but it doesn't take hold in the individual heart until that person recognizes moral law and especially as coming from God. And that's written in our hearts in our consciences so that as soon as that little child, boy or girl starts to violate their conscience they die spiritually.
So Paul says in Romans 7, "Once I was alive, apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died", and that death takes more and more root the more and more bad decisions that child makes, they become more and more corrupted, it becomes deeper and deeper. So early on it's very, very weak. The hold of sin on them, but it becomes progressively more and more powerful and they corrupt themselves by violating their conscience. That's what's going on in your household right now. You who have little toddlers, you who have little ones growing up they are cute, but you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you? It's going on right before your eyes. And so in the end, give it enough time, all of us also lived among them at one time. And no exceptions.
But God Raised Us from the Dead (vs. 4)
God Raised Us in Christ Spiritually
Well, that was our situation. Now, we need to meditate on this, don't we? I mean I preached a whole sermon on it. I'm going to move on now to verse 4, but we need to know this, we need to understand the nature of our spiritual deadness. We didn't feel it, we didn't know we were dead. But we were. And now, it's amazing, you can even be a Christian and not know just how bad it was. Paul's writing this to Ephesian Christians, they'd already become Christians. And he says, "I want to tell you what you were, you probably don't really know how bad it was." And I tell you, the more you meditate on how bad it was, the sweeter the Gospel gets. Actually paradoxically the happier you get, the more you meditate on these dark things, because we have been rescued from all of that. But God stepped in and would not give us over to Satan into the flesh into the world, and He has rescued us. So we get to verse 4, "But God raised us from the dead. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive with Christ. By Grace you have been saved.” Or simpler, if I could just boil it down. But God raised us from the dead, raised you from the dead. That's what he's saying here.
So this is a radical transformation that happens, and I just love 2nd Corinthians 5:17, it says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone, behold everything has become new," that's what happens when you become a Christian, a radical transformation comes over. You're a new creation. Like when God said, "Let there be light," and there's light. When God said, "Let there be a Heaven," and there's Heaven. "Let there be earth," and there's earth. God created you, in Christ. You're a new creation. And we became instantly spiritually responsive. Then, if the EMT shown the light of the Gospel in our eyes, we would see it. And we saw the beauty and the attractiveness of Christ and of the Gospel and of the cross and we were allured to it and attracted to it. We were spiritually responsive, that's what God did and we understood the significance of Christ and His beauty. He became beautiful to us. And we saw the beauty of His tenderness and compassion in dealing with sinners and in His power in showing and displayed in all of His miracles, the incredible things He did, walking on water and feeding 5000 people with five dinner rolls, and raising Lazarus from the dead, after four days and just the things He could do, and then we were amazed by it. And every time we're reading the Gospels there's a new discovery of the greatness of Christ and ultimately His love and laying down His life for sinners like you and me, and the power displayed in His resurrection. We were attracted to these things and our spiritual eyes were opened. That's faith. The eyes of our hearts were enlightened, and we saw it, and we were alive, and we could see how glorious God is in Christ, and we were attracted.
Unification and Freedom with Christ
So, the key concept in all of this, in these verses is a mystical, spiritual union that happens between the sinner and Christ by faith. You became united with Christ. So look at the text again, "But God made us alive together with Christ." See that? In verse 6, "And God raised us up with him," see that? "and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." Now, that's four times in these three verses that this idea of our union with Christ is taught. This is central, and again, it's not something we feel, you know, like feel united with Christ. Well, you didn't feel dead either, but this is something that's true. If you're a Christian, you have become spiritually united to Jesus. You're one with Him. You're one with Him. And so, His resurrection has become your resurrection, His life is your life, His death was your death. You died in Christ, to the Law. How powerful is that? And I mean, specifically, the Law's ability to condemn you to Hell. You're dead to that, it cannot condemn you to Hell. You died to the law in that power and you died to Satan's power as well.
You don't have to do anything the devil tells you the rest of your life. Amen! Isn't that awesome? You can tell him "no," “you can resist the devil and he will flee from you.” You're not one of his subjects anymore. You're not in his kingdom anymore. Those invisible chains that were around you, they have been broken by Jesus. And so, you are alive, you're not dead in Satan's kingdom of death anymore, but you are alive now, in Jesus. And you are mystically or spiritually members of His body, just like every other Christian in the world. We're members of one another and of His body. You have become engrafted into an olive tree, and now you're receiving nourishing sap from it, all these images of union with Christ. So Christ's death once for all, has become your death, and His resurrection has become yours, and His life is now flowing through you, through the Holy Spirit. You're alive. That's what happened to you and me, and that's awesome.
What Moved God: Mercy, Love and Grace
Salvation Glorifies God
Now, what moved God to do all this? Well, the text covers that too, it tells us what motivated God to do it. And we have these attributes, mercy and love and grace. Salvation glorifies God. To the praise of His glory, you know, “praise of His glorious grace.” What does that mean? Well, salvation puts God on display. So because He saves sinners like you and me, God is on display. He's putting Himself on display for everyone to see. So what's on display? Well, nothing in all of the universe and anything that God's ever done so clearly displays His attributes, His nature, as human salvation does. It's the most glorious thing God does is save sinners. It puts Him on display. Now, we've already seen in chapter 1 one of those attributes very, very clearly, and that is God's power. God's power is on display in our salvation. So you remember back in Ephesians 1 he's praying that the Ephesian Christians, "The eyes of their heart would be enlightened, that they would know God better," he prays, "And that they would know the hope of their calling, the riches of glorious inheritance in the saints." And then the third thing is, his incomparably great power at work in us who believe, and then he just takes off on power, he says that power, that “power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all ruling authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but also in the one to come.” "God exalted Christ from the grave to the right hand of power, and gave Him the name that is above every name," it says in Philippians. So there, that's the power of God. Now, that same power is at work in us. That's the transition from Ephesians 1-2. Just like Jesus was physically, so you were spiritually. “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, but God has made you alive.” He's already displayed His power in you. Look at verse 5, "It is by grace you have been saved," do you see that past tense? It's happened now, it's perfected action. It is by grace you have been saved. I'm not denying there's yet more salvation to come, there is, but here he's focusing on your justification, the beginning of your salvation. “It is by grace you have been saved.” He's talking about the power He's already displayed in you by raising you from the dead. “By grace you have been saved.” And so, this power's on display.
Power, the First Attribute
Now, power we use the word in two different senses, maybe many others, as well, but when it comes to a person and their power, think about authority, the right to command, the right to do something. Did God have the right to do this? We were sinners, we'd violated His law. Did He have the right to declare us not guilty in Jesus? Yes, He did. He is the King of Kings, He is the Lord of Lords, and He deals with His justice at the cross, He deals with that, but He has the right to do this, He has the power to do this. There's a second sense of power. Can He do this, does He have the capability to do this? Oh yes, He does. He can raise dead sinners to life spiritually, He has that kind of power. We've already seen the power, but now we're going to see these others, and that is mercy first, and then love and grace.
“Being Rich in Mercy”
So first, mercy, “God being rich in mercy.” So you already heard from Daniel earlier about the mercy of God, and that was a great statement. God's mercy, I think there's different ways. It's hard to distinguish between mercy and grace. I think it's actually in some cases impossible, but one way to look at mercy is that it has to do with human misery and suffering and God has moved out toward the sufferer, toward the one who's miserable and wants to rescue them out of that misery, and take that misery away. So you see, again and again, sick people or tormented people crying out for Jesus, the Son of David to what? Have mercy on us, Son of David. We're blind, we want to have our sight. My daughter is demon possessed, she's suffering greatly, and Jesus has mercy. So, it's a sense of God seeing us like in Exodus chapter 2, where God speaks to Moses and says, "I have indeed seen the affliction of my people, and their bondage by reason of their taskmasters in Egypt, and I'm compassionate on them and merciful on them, and I want you to rescue them out of it." So that's God delivering miserable suffering people from their misery and their suffering. And it says in the text that God is, “rich in mercy.” I mean, He flows in mercy. Just by way of application, can I just say, shouldn't that make us want to be rich in mercy too? Just to look around and see suffering and want to move to it, and alleviate it? I mean, shouldn't you want to find some suffering person today or this week, and go alleviate their suffering some way? That has to do with benevolence ministry, or evangelism or whatever, or even ministry of counseling in the church, but we should want to move toward misery and suffering and be rich in mercy, like God is. But that's what God did with us, we were in Satan's dungeon. We were tormented, harassed and helpless and God “rich in mercy” stepped in.
Another sense of His mercy, and Daniel picked up on this, has to do with forgiveness, where God just doesn't give us what we deserve. We deserved punishment, and we knew it. But God had mercy on us, and did not condemn us, and that you get in the Parable of the 10,000 talents, where the King talks to this man who had owed him 10,000 talents of immeasurable debt. But he wouldn't forgive one of his fellow servants. He hauled him back in, and he said, "Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?" So it's a sense of forgiveness of sins. Now, this is something that God gives at His sovereign grace, He doesn't have to do it. Romans chapter 9 says, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." You can't demand mercy. No one can ever say, "God you owed me mercy." Didn't matter how many people God shows mercy to, it's always sovereign grace, and so God shows mercy or he doesn't, he doesn't have to show it. But what's incredible is, He will show mercy to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus for salvation, and He is rich in mercy.
“Because of the Great Love with Which He Loved Us”
Secondly, because of, “the great love with which He loved us,” the love of God. Isn't it a stunning marvel to you that God could love someone like you? I mean, it should amaze you. It's like, "No, actually pastor, you don't know me, I'm something actually." Yeah, you're something. You don't probably see yourself the way the Scripture sees you, the way the Law sees you, the way God saw you apart from Christ, but here's the thing, “God set His love on us while we were still sinners.” Well, maybe it's a different kind of thing than the way we use the word love. I actually don't think it is. Now we use this word, ”love,” a lot, don't we? You know, husband loves his wife, parents love their children. You know, a child loves ice cream. I do too, actually. A photographer loves a great action shot. A sightseer loves spectacular scenery or a sunset. A fan loves it when his team wins the championship. All of us love to be praised and encouraged. Alright, well you're saying, "What do all those uses of the word love have to do with it?" It's the same thing, only just infinitely greater. Love has to do with a heart attraction that results in cheerful sacrificial action. That's what love is. God is attracted toward us, even in our sins, and then is cheerfully sacrificing and giving for us. That's what love is. And that's what God did, he moved out toward us. He is passionately attracted to us as a husband is his wife and jealous over us. He is lovingly doting over us, the way a father is over his children. Protectively nurturing, the way a mother is with a nursing infant, all of those things are in the heart of God. And He “set them on us before we were even born, before God created the world,” because of His great love for us in Christ. And it moved Him to be generous and give us Jesus on the cross for our sins and then to give us a kingdom which we can't even imagine how beautiful and awesome it's going to be. To give us all of that, cheerful generosity, sacrificial action, that's love.
“It is By Grace You Have Been Saved”
And then finally, grace, and I'm not going to spend hardly any time on it today, because we'll get a second chance at it. Paul actually just kind of interrupts himself, he says, "It's by grace you've been saved, you know that, right?" He's going to come back and develop it more fully in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it's a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast," so we'll get to grace. But it's just infinitely more than just simply unmerited favor. It's infinite, blessing given to those who deserve infinite curse, that's the grace of God. Those are the things that God put on display. That's what motivated God. And what did God do to us?
Seated with Christ in the Heavenly Realms
Well, “He seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Look what it says in verse 6, "He raised us up with Him," spiritually raised up, "And seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Again, note the verb tense. This is a done deal. If you are a Christian, you are spiritually seated with Christ at the right hand of Almighty God. That just blows my mind. You think about that, it's like, "Wow, we are at the right hand of God through our union with Christ." What does that mean? Well, it means a number of things. It means absolute security. You know how secure you are at the right hand of God? Satan's arm is too short to reach up there. He can't get you down from there, no one can snatch you out of the Father's hand, or out of Jesus' hand. You're at the right hand of God, you are safe, spiritually. How secure are you at the right hand of God? Well, what else does it mean?
We Have Access at God’s Right Hand
Well, it means access, you have access to God. You get to call Him “Abba, Father,” and bring all of your mess, and all of your problems and all of your issues to Him any time you want, and He will welcome all of your prayers anytime, you have access to God through Jesus Christ, through a new and living way, open through the body of Christ, you have access now that you're at the right hand of God, in Christ. And you have honor, it's a place of honor, you're honored to be there. Jesus said in Revelation 3:21, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne." So Jesus went out and won the victory of the battle and He gives you the honor, "Come and sit with me at the right hand of God." How awesome is that? A position of honor. What else do you get? Well, you get wisdom. Think about the Queen of Sheba, remember how she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom? She was blown away. It says in the Hebrew that, "The breath was taken out of her," she couldn't even breathe because of how awesome Solomon was.
And she said, "How happy must be all of your servants who just get to stand around and listen to your wisdom." Jesus said very quietly, later on, "Someone greater than Solomon is here." We get to be at the right hand of God, and listen to His wisdom, the rest of our lives. How do you do that? Read the Bible. Through the Holy Spirit, He will speak wisdom into your hearts, you get to listen to Him be wise in your life, the rest of your life. It's a position of wisdom. It's a position of joy, you get to be joyful there. Psalm 16:11 says, "You will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand," it's a pleasureful place to be at the right hand of God. God's a happy being. Everything's under control up there. Feels like it's not under control down here, but even that's under control. God is sovereign, He is happy, He is delighted. And, “at the right hand of God, is eternal pleasures forever more.”
Fellowship at God’s Right Hand
And finally, it's a position of fellowship. You get to just have a relationship at the right hand of God. You get to have a relationship with God, a friendship with God. Remember how God called Abraham His friend. Well, you're His friend, you're His son, you're His daughter. You get to have fellowship with Him. I think about John 17:24, Jesus said, "Father, I want those whom you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory." Well, see my glory is awesome, but just a step before that, “I want them to be with me.” I want them to have fellowship with me, I want to have a relationship with them. Father wants that too. And so, the right hand of God is a place of fellowship, as well.
Marvel at God’s Goodness
Alright, applications really quickly. First, will you just marvel with me at all of this? Just marvel at God's goodness. Rejoice in this, celebrate, worship God for these things. Understand how spiritually, frankly, you were just like I was in Lake Winnipesaukee, you were drowning, you were dead, you were gone, and God reached down and pulled you out of the deep and gave you life. He saved you. So just marvel at that.
See Believers as Miracles of Grace
And secondly, just understand that you are a miracle of God's grace already. God's already displayed His power. Understand how much power God has shown in your life that you're a Christian, that you actually believe these things. Marvel at that, and then extend that to your brothers and sisters, each one of them are miracles of God's grace. Celebrate what God's done in a brother or sister, that will melt away unforgiveness and bitterness. It will melt away the divisions that can happen between people. Just understand, they are trophies of God's grace, just like you are, and be humble and energetic in evangelism. Our job is to get out and take these words and share them in this community. We need to preach the Gospel. We do need to live out the Gospel so that our preaching isn't undermined, but we need to proclaim these words. But just like Elijah on Mount Carmel with the animal there, the sacrifice and the wood, and all that, it's all there, but they're waiting. Elijah's waiting for what? Fire from Heaven, right?
Only God can convert a sinner. So go out in the college campus, go out in the workplace, go out in your neighborhood, go out and interact with people you didn't even know you're going to meet. And you can do all of the arranging and you can preach the Gospel, but the fire has to fall from Heaven, and it will, if God wills. He has that power. So understand evangelism and missions that way, that's what's going on, the sovereign grace of God. Parents as you're raising your kids, the fire has to fall from Heaven. It's not behaviorism., BF Skinner, it's not that. It's that you can preach the Gospel, you seek to live it in front of them, but they have to be converted by sovereign grace, pray for it and teach them that that's what has to happen. Marvel at these attributes of God. Marvel at His mercy. Marvel at His power, marvel at His love. Focus on these things and His grace.
Believers, Meditate on Your Union with Christ
Cherish each one and meditate on your union with Christ. I think we need to understand that more. It's a kind of a hard thing to grasp. His death is my death, His life is my life, I'm united with Him, “I'm with Christ in the heavenly realms.” We need to ponder that mystery of our union with Christ more. It's not easy to understand, but we need to ponder that. And let's rejoice more in being seated at the right hand of God, take those six things that I listed, the fact that you have access to God and that you have security and access and honor and wisdom and joy and fellowship, all those things. And just feed on them, pray more, intercede more. You're at the right hand of God through Jesus, intercede, pray for it. You have access, you have influence through prayer. Alright, all of that is for Christians.
I'm going to finish by just appealing to you who came in here today unconverted, though I hope you're not still unconverted. I hope that as you heard the Gospel clearly proclaimed to you today, something moved inside you and your pupils were no longer fixed and dilated. You're like, "I see it, I see that I am a sinner, I see that Christ is a savior, and I call on you, Jesus to save me. And I ask that you would forgive me of my sins and I ask that you would restore me to fellowship with God. I want to be in the family of God." Call on the name of the Lord and He will save you.
Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for this time that we've had to study these amazing words, these incredible verses, and I want to just thank you for the Gospel, I want to thank you for saving each of my brothers and sisters that are here. Thank you for saving me. Father, I pray that you would do a work of sovereign grace around us all the time with other lost people. Help us, O Lord, to see them be safe, help us to be bold in evangelism in preaching the Gospel. And Lord help us to be rich in worship this week. Even as Daniel and the team leads in closing song, help us to just sing by the Spirit of our thankfulness to you, in Jesus' name, Amen.