Stephen Caswell ©1999
Christ's Blood, Not Ours
This story was told by a girl who was saved by her mother's sacrifice. When she was 5 years old, before factory-installed seat belts and automobile air bags, her family was driving home at night on a two-lane country road. She was sitting on her mother's lap when another car, driven by a drunk driver, swerved into their lane and hit them head-on. She couldn't remember the collision. But recalled the fear and confusion she felt as she saw herself literally covered with blood from head to toe. She then learned that the blood wasn't hers at all, but her mother's. In that split second when the two headlights glared into her eyes, she instinctively pulled me closer to her chest and curled her body around mine. It was her body that slammed against the dashboard, her head that shattered the windshield. She took the impact of the collision so that I wouldn't have to. It took extensive surgery for my mother to recover from her injuries. In a similar, but infinitely more significant way, Jesus Christ took the impact for our sin, and his blood now permanently covers our lives.
Last Sunday we learned why Paul wrote to the Ephesians. He wanted them to know how rich they were in Christ. Paul told them how God had blessed them with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Paul was so overwhelmed by God's grace that he launched into a hymn of praise about God's salvation. All three members were intimately involved in our salvation. Verses 3-6 tell of The Father's Selection. Verses 7-12 tell of The Son's Sacrifice and verses 13-14 tell of The Spirit's Seal. Today we will look at verses 7-12, The Son's Sacrifice. Three things stand out in Christ's work of Salvation.
I. Deliverance Through His Blood - He Saved Us
II. Intelligence Of His Will - He Shared His Plans
III. Inheritance Of His Wealth - He Shared His Riches
a. Redemption Ephesians 1:7 a In Him we have redemption through His blood,
Jesus Christ redeemed us with His own blood. What does it mean to redeem someone or something. In ancient Roman times there were about 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire. Slaves were bought and sold like pieces of furniture. Usually they did not have the money to buy their own freedom because of their poverty. However someone else could pay the price for their freedom. This was known as redemption. This is what Jesus Christ has done for us.
1 Peter 1:18-20 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. All mankind had become enslaved by Satan. We were bound by him in the chains of sin and law and death. But then Jesus Christ came to save us. He paid the debt we owe God with His own blood. Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Buying Back the Boat
One of my favorite stories is the story of the father and son who worked for months to build a toy sailboat. Every night when he came home from work the man and his boy would disappear into the garage for hours. It was a labor of love--love for each other and for the thing they were creating. The wooden hull was painted bright red and it was trimmed with gleaming white sails. When it was finished, they traveled to a nearby lake for the boat's trial run. Before launching it the father tied a string to its stern to keep it from sailing too far. The boat performed beautifully, but before long a motorboat crossing the lake cut the string, and the sailboat drifted out of sight on the large lake. Attempts to find it were fruitless, and both father and son wept over its loss.
A few weeks later as the boy was walking home from school he passed his favorite toy store and was amazed to see a toy sailboat in the window--his sailboat! He ran inside to claim the boat, telling the proprietor about his experience on the lake. The store owner explained that he had found the boat while on a fishing trip. "You may be its maker," he said, "but as a finder I am its legal owner. You may have it back--for fifty dollars." The boy was stunned at how much it would cost him to regain his boat, but since it was so precious to him he quickly set about earning the money to buy it back. Months later he joyfully walked into the toy store and handed the owner fifty dollars in exchange for his sailboat. It was the happiest day of his life. As he left the store he held the boat up to the sunlight. Its colors gleamed as though newly painted. "I made you, but I lost you," he said. "Now I've bought you back. That makes you twice mine, and twice mine is mine forever." Firstly God created man and now He has redeemed him too.
b. Forgiveness Ephesians 1:7 b the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
If redemption speaks of our freedom, then forgiveness speaks of the removal of our sin. Not only did Christ receive the punishment for our sin, He also took the sin itself and nailed it to the tree. God will not hold our sins against us any longer. Christ has also cleansed us from sin with His blood. Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. We are pure in God's sight since Jesus has carried our sins far away. Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
The Scape Goat
A picture of Christ's work was portrayed on the day of atonement. We read about this in Leviticus 16:.Once a year the High priest would enter into the most holy place with the blood of a goat. The blood was offered for the sins of the people. But there were in fact two goats. The first goat was sacrificed for the people's sins. Then the high priest confessed the sins of the people over the second goat. This goat was driven into the wilderness to carry away the people's sin. Jesus Christ fulfilled the roles of both of these goats. He went outside the city of Jerusalem to carry away the sins of the people. Then He died on the cross to bear their punishment for sin. John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! The Lord forgives us our sins for Jesus' sake and He forgets them too. He will never hold them against us again.
Jeremiah 31:34 “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” This verse from Jeremiah speaks of the new covenant that God has made through Jesus Christ. The New Covenant applies to Israel but many of these blessings flow to the church. The New Covenant has accomplished forgiveness of sins. The Old Covenant only covered them.
Conscious Act of Forgetting
Clara Barton was never known to hold resentment against anyone. One time a friend recalled to her a cruel thing that had happened to her some years previously, but Clara seemed not to remember the incident. "Don't you remember the wrong that was done you?" the friend asked Clara. She answered calmly, "No, I distinctly remember forgetting that."
Deliverance involves both redemption and forgiveness. Christ redeemed us from Satan, sin and the law. He then cleansed us once and for all that our sins might never come between us and Himself. Unlike people, When God forgives He forgets too. His deliverance is perfect. His deliverance was costly. But to us it is completely free. Paul says that God has done this according to the riches of His grace. Grace is God's undeserved favor. That is why God can save to the uttermost. His grace is abundant. He can forgive all sin. Romans 5:20 But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; Have you received God's forgiveness yet? Have your sins been removed by the blood of Jesus Christ? God's grace is abundant toward you. But if you refuse God's love, mercy and grace, you will find His wrath is just as abundant! God's grace has also abounded to us since He revealed to us the:
II. Intelligence Of His Will - He Shared His Plans
a. Mental Understanding Ephesians 1:8 Which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
God's grace has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence. Why has God given us this understanding? So that we might understand His plans for us and the universe. The word wisdom means knowledge which sees into the heart of a matter. God has revealed to His people what He plans to do in eternity. He has shown us His plans. Prudence means understanding that leads to right action. Because we understand God's plan we know how to live appropriately.
b. Mystery Of His Will - Cosmic Restoration
Ephesians 1:9-10 Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
What are these plans that God has revealed to us? Paul calls it a mystery in verse 9. A mystery is not something that is eerie or terrifying. In the Bible a mystery refers to a sacred secret unknown in the past but now revealed. The church was a mystery not revealed under the Old Covenant. God has revealed to us His great plan for the universe and Paul describes it in verse 10. God is going to bring all things together in Christ. The word translated gather together in one means to bring together under one head or ruler. Jesus Christ will rule over all creation. He will gather together His elect people from both Jew and Gentile, along with His holy angels into one kingdom. Then He will reign in peace. Many believe this refers to the Millennial reign of Christ.
Living Under Sealed Orders
If you've ever been in the military, you know about traveling under sealed orders. Your orders say go to this point and fly to this place, or take the boat to this place. You open your orders, and they tell you where to go next. This is what God has done in Christ. He has revealed to us part of His wondrous plan for the ages. Up until now these had been sealed orders. But He has let us in on the secret. God has shown us many details of this in the Bible, especially the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 15:22-28 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
The fullness of times hear means at the right time, the right season. The word time here is not chronos from which we get chronology which refers to the passing of time. But kairos which means time in the sense of an appropriate season. When the time is ripe, Jesus Christ will come again and set up His kingdom. The overarching theme of Scripture is not man's salvation although this is an important part. The main theme of Scripture is the kingdom of God. When Satan lead a rebellion against God he in fact set up an opposing kingdom. God could have destroyed him then and there. But He didn't. Why? If He had God would have demonstrated His justice and holiness. But God allowed this opposing kingdom to continue for a time that He might show us the ugliness of sin and the greatness of His love, mercy and grace. Jesus Christ alone has proven that He has the character right to rule the earth. Adam and Eve didn't have it and neither has any other person since. Satan proved that he didn't have it. Only Christ can rule with wisdom, power and love. God has shared His secret plans for the ages with us. But he has also given us an:
III. Inheritance Of His Wealth - He Shared His Riches
a. God's Will
Ephesians 1:11 a In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him,
I use God's Will here in the sense of a last will and testament. God has given an inheritance to all believers. Again this blessing is centered in Christ. When Jesus Christ reigns over all creation, we will share that reign with Him. God's will is that His children might share His wealth. We will share the glories of heaven with Him. Israel received an inheritance from God through Abraham. Now the Church also receives an inheritance though Jesus Christ Abraham's seed. Some commentators feel that the meaning of this verse is that we have been made an inheritance for God. The verb is passive, so this translation is possible. Both ideas are true in Scripture. God has provided an inheritance for His people. And God has given the Church to Jesus Christ as His special inheritance. Ephesians 5:26-27 That He might sanctify and cleanse her [the Church] with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Sharing the Father's Riches
"I once heard a father tell that when he moved his family to a new residence where the accommodation was much more ample and the substance much more rich and varied than that to which they had previously been accustomed, his youngest son, still a very little boy, ran around every room and scanned every article in sight, calling out in childish wonder at every new sight, 'Is this ours, father? And is this ours?' "The child did not say 'yours,' and I observed that the father while he told the story was not offended with the freedom. You could read in his glistening eye that the child's confidence in appropriating as his own all that his father had was an important element in his satisfaction.
"Such, I suppose, will be the surprise, joy, and appropriating confidence with which the child of our Father's family will count all his own, when he is removed from the comparatively mean condition of things present and enters the infinite of things to come. When the glories of heaven burst on his view, he does not stand at a distance like a stranger, saying, 'Oh God, these are yours.' He bounds forward to touch and taste every provision those blessed mansions contain, exclaiming, as he looks in the Father's face, 'Father, this and this are ours!' The dear child is glad of all the Father's riches, and the Father is gladder of His dear child."
b. God's Work Ephesians 1:11 b who works all things according to the counsel of His will
God's plans are not frustrated by sinful men. He accomplishes His divine will even though it may seem to be frustrated at times. God has the power to bring it to pass. Everything God has spoken will come to pass. He made His plans in eternity past but brings them to fruition when the time is right. God's sovereign will means that He will save men and women for Himself and give them an inheritance. Whether or not you receive His grace depends upon your choice!
A God Who Can Shake the World
During an earthquake, the inhabitants of a small village were very much alarmed, but they were at the same time surprised at the calmness and apparent joy of an old lady whom they all knew. At length one of them, addressing the old lady, said, "Ma'am, are you not afraid?" "No," said the woman, "I rejoice to know that I have a God who can shake the world."
c. God's Worship 1:12 That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Paul now states the purpose God has for his people. They should bring praise and glory to God. Creation should worship it's Creator, He is worthy. God is honored in the presence of human beings and angelic powers when men and women, redeemed from sin, live in accordance with His will and display the family likeness which marks them as His children. God made man in His image that He might receive glory from His creation. But for the most part man has dishonored that image and marred it. Nevertheless God's purpose still remains the same. He desires that we should bring glory to Him.
Praise to God
Saint Augustine said, You awaken us to delight in your praise; for you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
It is said of Thomas Pett, the miser, that his pulse rose and fell with the funds. He never lay down or rose that he did not bless the inventor of compound interest. His one gloomy apartment was never brightened with coal, candle, or the countenance of a visitor, and he never ate a morsel at his own expense. Of course he made money, for he gave himself wholly to it, and we ought not to forget the same single-mindedness and self-denial would make Christians rich toward God. What is wanted in the service of Christ is the same unity of purpose that has ruled all men who have won the object for which they lived. He who makes God's glory the one and only aim before which all other things bow themselves, is the man to bring honor to his Lord.
Why should we praise the Lord? Because He alone is worthy. Ponder of His marvelous plan of salvation. We have seen part of this today as we have looked at The Son's Sacrifice. He gave His very life to save us. There were 3 things that the Christ has done for us.
I. Deliverance Through His Blood
a. Redemption. Jesus Christ paid the price our redemption with His own blood. We are free from bondage to Satan, sin and death. Are you thankful for the Lord's redemption?
b. Forgiveness. Christ not only freed us He has forgiven us all our sin. Our sins have been taken away. God will never hold them against us. He has chosen to forget them. Have you received God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ? Have you asked Him to deliver you? He longs to!
II. Intelligence of His Will
a. Mental Understanding God has given us understanding of His secret plans.
b. Mystery Of His Will This plan is to reconcile creation to Himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will rule over all for God the Father. He will unite all the elect into one kingdom.
III. Inheritance of His Wealth
a. God's Will The Father has provided His children with a rich inheritance. His will is generous. We will share the glories of heaven with the Father. What grace, what love. Are you excited about this? You should be!
b. God's Work God's plans will come to pass, because the Lord is sovereign, He is powerful.
c. God's Worship This is the chief end of man. We were created to bring glory to God. We will never be happy or fulfilled until we do. Because of God's great grace toward us the very least we can do is to praise Him. Our lives should glorify our gracious God who saved us. Are you bringing glory to God? Are you living for your Savior or yourself? Real joy and fulfillment only comes as we serve Him.
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.