All Things

Ephesians 1:8b-10
October 7, 2018
Abraham Hong

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, dear saints and children who are loved by God, I want you to be thankful and encouraged and full of praise this morning because of who God is and what God has done for you.

Four points.

First. God is wise. And his salvation is where he put on a clinic and displayed the full extent of his wisdom. He chose you before the foundation of the world. He adopted you into his family. He redeemed you through blood. He forgave you by his rich and lavish grace. There is nothing more amazing and beautiful and perfect than God’s salvation of you in Christ Jesus. There is nothing more excellent in its design. There is nothing more wise. Forgive me for the street language, but who can come up with this stuff? Who can come up with the idea that the savior would be one person with two natures, human and divine? Who can come up with the idea of substitutionary atonement and death on a cross? Who can come up with the hope of resurrection and union with Christ? Who can come up with the solution that destroys sin without destroying the sinner? Nobody. Nobody except God. We are guilty of taking God’s salvation for granted. We think that God’s salvation is obvious. It is not. Let us confess as Job did when he said, “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” God is wise. Let us praise God for the wisdom of his salvation.

Second. God is personal. He made the mystery of his will known to us. He made it known to you. This is so heartwarming. There is a story in Genesis 18 when God is about to judge and destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin. But before God does that, he makes his will known to Abraham. And Abraham as a result famously interceeds for the city of Sodom. This is remarkable. The Lord actually said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do….” There was a communion bond, a covenant relationship, a fellowship and dare I say a friendship between God and Abraham. And because of that, God made his plan known to Abraham. The cool thing is that we are Abraham’s spiritual descendants. And God makes his salvation known to us. To you. It’s very personal. You understand the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, you have repentance and faith in him, you are here this morning to worship God. And the reason why is because God made it known to you. Many people in this world do not understand the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ and refuse to repent and believe in him and think it’s foolish to worship God. And the reason why is because God has not made it known to them. Therefore, let us praise God for our communion bond, our covenant relationship, our fellowship and dare I say our friendship with him. Let us praise God for making the mystery of his will known to us.

Third. God had a plan. And his plan was Jesus Christ. His plan was officially announced in Genesis 3:15. But he didn’t reveal everything right away and just get it all over with. Instead, history moved forward. The sun set and the sun rose for thousands and thousands of years. And at many times and in many ways, God make known to his people more and more wonderful information about the promise of his salvation in Jesus Christ. In Genesis we know that God will save a vast nation of people. In Exodus we know that God will save by a perfect sacrifice and by an atoning blood. In 1 and 2 Samuel we know that God will save by providing a perfect and righteous king. In Isaiah we know that this perfect and righteous king would suffer. So things kept building up. Anticipation kept growing. And the fulfillment of God’s promise kept getting closer and closer. But it was all still a mystery. Not a mystery in the sense that it was all a secret. But a mystery in the sense that there was a building up and an anticipation and a promise to be fulfilled. Everything happened according to his purpose and will. And now we are in the last days, in the fullness of time. Jesus came and lived and died and rose again. Redemption has been accomplished. Redemption is now being applied. And now we are waiting for the finality of the fullness of time that we are living in right now. We are waiting for the new heavens and the new earth, a new history and an eternal time and space that will see no more unfolding of anything, no more drama, no more anticipation, and, get this, no more need for a plan. There will just be perfect communion and rest with our God. And our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be glorified. There is no one like our God. Couples usually spend about a year planning for their weddings. College students usually go with the four year plan. Sports teams and athletes usually work with multi-year plans and windows. And people lay out their retirement plans in the span of decades. But God’s plan, God’s plan of salvation, blows past everyone else’s. He planned everything before he even created anything. And then the history of time and space was meant to serve his plan. He’s not working with days or years or decades. He’s working with all of history. And unlike our plans, no one can stop or change God’s plan. And by the way, you do realize that when you make your plans in life, you are borrowing God’s canvas of time and space and history that is ultimately meant for his plan and not yours. Tread carefully. God had a plan. And his plan was Jesus Christ. Let us therefore praise God because of his plan.

Fourth. Jesus is the meaning of all things. This is mind-blowing. God’s plan was and is to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. This language is glorious. It means that Jesus is Lord over creation. All things were created by him and for him. It means that Jesus is Lord over redemption. He is the head of the body, that is, the church. This language ultimately means that Jesus is the center of all things and that Jesus has ultimate sovereignty and supreme authority over all things. All things were created by him. All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things. In him all things hold together. He is preeminent in all things. All things are under his feet. He has been appointed the heir of all things. And all things means all things, things in heaven and things on earth. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Heaven and earth are the two realms of creation. There’s nothing more than that. Jesus is the meaning of all things. Let us therefore exalt our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters, we ought to be humbled by all of this. Our God, all three persons of our Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Spirit, used a perfect wisdom to save us. Our God made the mystery of his will known to us. We are the recipients of God’s plan in Jesus Christ. The fullness of time happened for our sake. It wasn’t about us. But it was for us. And we are united to the King of all things. We do not deserve or merit any of this. But we have and enjoy all of this. May our hearts be therefore humbled.

Brothers and sisters, we ought to trust God more after hearing all of this. It is a bit strange for us to trust God for the salvation of our souls but then distrust God for all the other things in life. God in his perfect wisdom figured out everything for your salvation from sin and death and judgment and hell. I’m pretty sure he is wise enough to take care of your finances, your school or job applications, your relational issues, and what you eat and what you wear. May we therefore trust God more. For we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Brothers and sisters, we ought to be encouraged by all of this. History is headed to an end. And this time and this place and everything that comes with it - all the suffering, all the persecution, all the trials and temptations, all the sin and death - will not last forever. God’s plan will come to its final end. No one can stop it. May we therefore be encouraged in all of our spiritual troubles and problems right now. The end is near.

Brothers and sisters, we ought to long for God more after hearing all of this. We know that history is moving toward a finality. And our Lord said these words to us in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new.” This makes us want to spiritually drop everything and follow Christ and wait for him. Is there a longing in your heart for the return of Christ? I hope so. This is the big picture. May God therefore give you a greater longing for Jesus Christ.

End


Summary of Sermon

In the beginning of Ephesians, Paul counts our blessings and praises our God. Let us be thankful and encouraged and full of praise because of who God is and what God has done for us.

God is wise. The salvation that he has given to us in Christ displays the fullness and perfection of his wisdom. Let us not take God’s salvation for granted. His salvation is not obvious. Let us praise God for the wisdom of his salvation.

God is personal. He made the mystery of his will known to us. We have a communion bond, a covenant relationship, a fellowship and a friendship with God. Let us praise God because he made his salvation known to us.

God had a plan. And his plan was Jesus Christ. History was used for the sake of redemption. There was a building up and an anticipation and a promise to be fulfilled. And then in the fullness of time, God sent his Son Jesus Christ to live and die and rise again from the dead. Redemption has been accomplished. Redemption is now being applied. And now we are waiting for the finality of the fullness of time that we are living in right now. There is no one like our God. There is nothing like God’s plan. Let us praise God for his plan of salvation in the fullness of time.

Jesus is the meaning of all things. All things are to be united in Christ. This language here means that Jesus is the center of all things and that Jesus has ultimate sovereignty and supreme authority over all things. Let us therefore exalt our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May these truths humble us. May they also encourage us and help us to trust in God and compel us to long more and more for the Lord as we see the Day approaching.

Questions for Discussion & Sharing

The salvation that we have in Christ displays the fullness and perfection of God’s wisdom. It is not obvious. What element of the person and work of Christ strikes you as wise? What parts of God’s salvation are not as obvious as you once thought?

God had a plan for our salvation. And God has personally made known to us the mystery of his will, that is, the good news of Jesus Christ. How do these facts encourage us today as we go through life and wait for the return of Christ our King?

Jesus is the center of all things. In what ways can we grow in our love and obedience to him to have ultimate sovereignty and supreme authority over all things?