Gracious Restoration | Ephesians 1:11-14
Topic: Gospel Passage: Ephesians 1:11–1:14
Introduction | Rewind
Good Morning! We regularly preach straight through books of the Bible. We have taken a break for five weeks to do a topical series on particular doctrines of God’s Grace. Specifically, how people are saved by God the Father’s planned grace, through the work of Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is called GRACE, before the beginning to after the end. We are preaching these doctrines out of Ephesians Ch1-2 with the churches in our 3 Strand Network. We have been looking at the difference in how we typically experience God’s grace from our perspective; and compared it to how we see God talking about His planned grace laid out in scripture with a hope we are moving the target from a man/us-centered view of grace/salvation to an explicitly God-centered view. Jonah 2:9 Salvation is of the Lord.
We have covered: Election - God’s choice of people to be saved based on no foreseen merit of their own, but solely on His gracious good pleasure as sovereign king of the universe.
Effective Gospel Call - Proclaiming and someone hearing the attractive message of the Gospel. Regeneration - Being born again as we move from being spiritually dead to alive.
Conversion – repentance, seeing your sin turning from it and placing your faith in Jesus.
Justification- Where we move from being guilty sinners before God, to right legal standing.
Adoption – No longer alienated by our sin we are brought into full membership in God’s family.
Each of these actions describes what in involved in someone becoming a Christian, How God saves.
Last week was Sanctification- Both being clean and being made clean; living lives that look more like Jesus.
Last week was how we grow, this week is how we remain a Christian, persevere and what will happen at the end of redemption.
Perseverance- Sustained faith that actually causes us to remain a Christian, until…
Death – The end of this life and the beginning of the next where we go to be with the Lord.
Glorification- Final removal of all sin when we receive a perfect resurrection body
Ephesians 1:11-14 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Perseverance | How we remain a Christian
Let’s talk about what a seal and a guarantee look like. Daniel Montgomery in his book PROOF talks about the concept of Forever Grace. God is a forever God. That means our sins big and small are forever sins, deserving forever consequence. It also means His mercy, covering our sins in by the cross, and His grace, giving us new life we didn’t earn, are both forever! When God saves someone through His grace he planned to before the foundation of the world (meaning before your were born and before you heard the Gospel, before you experienced “becoming a Christian) and his salvation from sin to full membership in his family is effective and lasting for eternity meaning it saves in this life, though this life, after the end of this life, and forever in the life to come.
We see this in these verses clearly. God predestined people to be given an inheritance by the work of Christ. Those who hope in Jesus, Trust Jesus, follow Jesus, praise Jesus are sealed in salvation by the Holy Spirit. That means our remaining a Christian with authentic saving faith in Jesus is not dependent on the power of our will and ability to sustain ourselves through trial and life, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who guarantees we will receive an inheritance in the end. Let’s talk about what a seal signifies. PROOF says it signifies possession, protection, and proof.
Possession - If you have authentic saving faith in, hope in Jesus, you are owned and possessed by God, you are His. He possesses you and every aspect of life and joy possible. As member of His kingdom and family He instructs us, guides us, commands us, encourages us, and empowers us with a new life capable of persevering in this life in such a way we are able to have our lives be both effective and fruitful for Him.
2 Peter 1:5-10 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
So like we said last week since God has adopted us and “granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, when we talk about our saving faith in Christ and the saving work of Christ words like effort, increasing, supplement, and diligent, are all good right and necessary words to encourage those who have been saved to continue to walk in the good works God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in. The encouragement is necessary because we are not yet perfect and we do sin, we do fail, and we are easily able to fall into ineffectiveness and unfruitfulness. So we are called to confirm our calling and election and practice the new life we have been given. This doesn’t mean Jesus starts our salvation but we finish it. It actually the opposite, our hope in Jesus is he has saved us and he will save us, we will not be cast out.
John 6:37-40 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
God has a will for His people and His will is clear, eternal life. Jesus is on the Father’s mission to save sinners. Those who genuinely turn to Jesus have a seal and guarantee from the Holy Spirit that He will not lose you! If God has you, if Jesus has you, if the Spirit sustains you, you’ll never be lost or taken.
Protection- God cares about His possession, God loves His people, and God will protect His Children. John 10”27-29 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
This is Jesus telling us, He has us. God is greater than any force that could possibly be against you. God’s grace, gift of life, neutralizes the power of sin, your sin, to condemn you. When he talks about the security of those he saves he doesn’t appeal to their character, power, and will but to His own. I give life he says and when I give it is eternal, eternal means you will never perish! We genuinely go from spiritually dead sinners to new creations born again and made alive by God, in Christ, through the Spirit, that is a life that never ends. When Jesus says, no one can snatch him out of the Father’s hand, No one means no one. You’re someone, so you can’t be no one so you can’t snatch yourself out of God’s Hands. But there is a problem.
What do we say about someone who professed faith but nothing in their life looks like they’re a Christian?
Proof - We hear phrase like “once saved always saved” and “Eternal Security” and we think they mean we (or others) can walk in ongoing consistent rejection of Jesus as Lord of our lives while still believing he is the savoir of our lives.
If we have authentic saving faith in Jesus we have been granted eternal life. Eternal life is by nature eternal meaning if Jesus give us life that is eternal it cannot be extinguished. There is some very hard teaching because for those of us that love other people we look to previous external actions as proof or evidence “they were saved” “I know during that phase of their life they were walking with the lord.” “They were in ministry and were successful at it! I know God was using them.” Christianity isn’t a phase and the good news of the gospel is not something that simply fades away. Salvation, being saved from the just wrath of God through the cross, is not a down payment the lets you be repossessed if you don’t pay.
We’ll Jesus I know you purchased me from my slavery of sin and paid the price by your blood shed on the cross, but I’m going still live as an absolute slave to sin and not pursue holiness at all the rest of my life.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Yes this is scary stuff particularly when we read there are some that were “with us but where not of us.” There is eternal security, but it is not in a past profession of faith but in our present possession of faith.
Phil 2:12-13 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
It means we can ask ourselves some questions about our present spiritual condition to test if our faith is authentic. What we are looking for in ourselves is an authentic saving faith. One where we rest our assurance that Jesus paid it all and that work and payment was more than sufficient in our lives to be empowered to live new lives. It doesn’t mean we will never sin, we will, we do. But in those times what is your response? How do you respond when the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin though God’s word, through godly brothers and sisters in Christ, through your conscience? Are you grieved by your sin the way it grieves God? Do you desire to be free from the sin, do you desire repentance? Is your heart soft or is it hard? Do you dig in, do you begin to believe the oldest lie on the planet that God’s commands are not for you joy and your life but they are because he is not for you. Do you believe there is no consequence for sin? Where is your present hope? Right now, is it the saving work of Jesus or is it in your works, or that you don’t really need to be saved? Is there evidence in your life that the Holy Spirit is working in you? (Fruit of the Spirit). Are you growing in or increasing in qualities we talked about in 2 Peter 1:3-10?
We don’t have to wait till death or the end of our life to have assurance. God doesn’t want us in a constant state of fear and questioning when it comes to our salvation…. Unless that is precisely what he wants for those whose overwhelming pattern of walking away from God. We, you, can simply look back to some glory days of ministry or closeness with God and say we’ve got fire insurance. If you are not presently walking with and trusting Jesus you actually have no assurance. This doctrine is a comfort to those who have genuine faith in Jesus and is a call to repentance and forgiveness to those who do not presently.
Death | the End?
There is an end to this life. We are all fragile, we are all broken, we will all die. Individually in our own hearts, and corporately as the church we need to have a sense of urgency when we talk about the things of God, of sin, of judgment, of mercy and grace through Jesus. People are perishing, slowly from disease and age, quickly from violence and suicide, Some recent public opinion polls say “people aren’t asking any more or wondering what happens when you die” They’re not concerned with heaven or hell.” And the take away for Christians is supposed to be don’t engage with people about death and the afterlife because it’s not “relevant” to them. Guess what, when it comes to life and death they are relevant to everyone whether they think so or not. The question is not do people think these things are important, but are they actually important. Recently our community is paying a little more attention to these issues.
What happens to those of us with saving faith in Jesus? Paul says in 2 Cor 5:8 that to be absent from the body is to be with (at home with) the Lord. Jesus tells the thief on the Cross “Today you will be with me in paradise.” That sounds pretty great! The clear teaching of the Bible does not include a doctrine of purgatory where we’ll wait in some spiritual DMV hoping to have our number called or have Jesus come back. It also doesn’t teach the doctrine of soul sleep where you’re just not conscious until final glorification. There are two options when we die, with Jesus or without him. That means there is not a second chance after death of to trust Jesus. It’s nice to think there is because then we never have to worry about anyone, yet when you look at the mission of the church to spread to the gospel it is always fueled by desire to see people are saved from the just wrath of God and become members and heirs of the kingdom of God.
John 5:28-29 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Glorification | What is after the end?
Death is the end of this life, but there is life after the end. Death has been defeated, in that is does not have the final word for those in Christ, but it has not yet been finally destroyed. There is a day coming where Jesus returns to earth and there will be a final resurrection for everyone. This means glorification, the final step of God redeeming us as dead sinner into full members of his family and kingdom.
Romans 8:29-30 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
This will happen when Jesus Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, reuniting them with their souls and changing the bodies all believers who remain alive, giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own. Grudem
1 Corinthians 15 gives a several specifics of what these resurrected bodies will look like. It is the same chapter as a great exposition of what the facts of the gospel is Paul wants everyone to know what is after the end. There is a ton of teaching in 1 Cor 15, but let’s high light a few things:
After this life we will not be ghosts or on some mystical plane of existence. We will have complete bodies with physical attributes, mind, appearance, and emotions. Jesus came and experienced this world and our bodies so those in Him can experience a new world and a new risen body that resembles His:
Imperishable- Our risen bodies will be eternally perfect with no ability to sin and no chance to decay.
Glorious- We are meant to participate in the Kingdom of God as heir to the King. Our risen bodies will be completely sufficient full citizenship in Heaven. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Phil 3:20-21 Glorious also means they will not be dishonorable or even unattractive. You don’t like the face in the mirror, don’t worry it gets better.
Powerful – We are made to be instruments that magnify the glory of God and steward/experience His creation. Our risen bodies will have unlimited power necessary to accomplish this without fatigue or failure.
These bodies are not super human they are truly human. Our bodies our lives are corrupted with sin, these bodies will not decay. We will be fully restored to what God has always intended for us. This is a hopeful doctrine because it means as our bodies fail us, and they will we know this is now how things will be.
2 Cor 3:17-18 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
We have hope in glorification that when God says in Eph 1:10 he has a plan to unite all things in him. That means other believers we’re estranged with we will be reunited with and our relationships will not be defined any longer by our sins that separates but by our God who unifies.
Romans 8:22-23 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
There is a purpose to all of God the father’s plan, the Son’s work on the cross, the preserving power of the Spirit. The purpose is for us to “praise His glory”. We’ll be presented holy and blameless and that will lead us to praise! Praise is a natural response to things we find joy and happiness in. His glory is great, it is our destination and the journey will lead to our joy!
2 Peter 3:13 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
There is a new heavens and new earth coming, with it are new bodies. Jesus will come back. Trust Jesus.