No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!
GOD IS TO BE PRAISED
FOR HIS SHARING WORK
Intro: For several Sunday mornings we have been moving through Paul’s astounding song of praise to God. Let me take just a moment to recap the truths Paul has been sharing with us.
In verses 3-6, Paul praises God for His sovereign work in our lives. He reminds us in verse 3 that God is good! God’s goodness translates into His blessings upon our lives. He demonstrates His blessings upon us by showering us with His blessings. Among those blessings is God’s work in salvation. He made us a part of His redemptive plan. This results in us being adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters; in having our lives changed by His power; and in our being accepted by God. That is a valid reason for praising the Lord.
In verses 7-10, Paul praises God for His saving work. He reminds us that God sent His Son the Lord Jesus Christ in to the world to redeem us from our sins. Through His precious blood we are redeemed by grace and forgiven of all our sins. God, in His great grace, opened our eyes to our lost condition; He made us aware of what Christ did for us when He died for us on the cross, and then He saved us by His amazing grace. To top it off, God did everything I just mentioned, and more, just because it brought Him pleasure. That is another valid reason for praising the Lord.
In the text before us today, Paul tells us that God Is To Be Praised For His Sharing Work. In these verses, Paul turns his attention to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In these verses, we will not only see that God has provided a way of salvation and has revealed that plan unto us; we will also see that God has opened the treasure houses of Heaven and He shares everything He possesses with His redeemed people.
As we consider the truths revealed in these verses, we will see yet another reason why our great God is to be praised. As the Lord gives liberty, I want to share these truths with you today. I want to show you why God Is To Be Praised For His Sharing Work.
I. THE PLACE OF
GOD’S SHARING WORK
(Ill. God’s great gifts, His salvation and His blessings cannot be found just anywhere. Paul reveals the location of all the wonders of the Almighty. He tells us where God’s blessings are found.)
A. They Are Found In A Person – God shares His blessings with a select group of people. Verse 11 begins with the words “in whom”. The “whom” Paul refers to is the Lord Jesus Christ, v. 10. God’s blessings are found in a faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Everyone in the world, both saved and lost, enjoys some of God’s blessings. Air, water, food, life, the world, etc, are given to all men. Jesus Himself reminds us that, “he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust,” Matt. 5:45. Those common blessings end at the door of salvation. Those who come to Jesus by faith become the partakers of God’s best blessings.
When we are saved, we are adopted into His family. Our sins are forgiven. We are promised a home in Heaven. Our lives are changed and we are made into new creatures. Our heavenly Father promises to abide with us, to supply all our needs, to love us and to bless us.When we come to the Son, we are given everything that belongs to the Father, Rom. 8:17. Having Jesus puts into a place of blessing. Do you have the son? (Ill. Estate auction and the painting of the son. http://prorege-forum.com/ messages/781.html)
B. They Are Found In A Plan – Paul says that we have “been predestinated according to the purpose of Him Whoworketh all things after the counsel of His Own will.” When we hear the word “predestinated” we automatically recoil from it. In our minds we link predestination with sovereign election and we shrink away from those doctrines. In fact, some people are so hardened against these doctrines that they refuse to hear them when they are preached. You would not believe the difficulties that have come my way just because I preached on election from verse 4. But, just because we do not understand everything that election and predestination encompass does not change the fact that they are true, biblical doctrines. In fact, verse 11 makes a clear statement about the sovereignty of God. It says that God “worketh all things according to the counsel of His Own will.” Either that verse means that God controls all things, even salvation, or it means nothing! Either it is true or it is a lie. I prefer to believe that God knows what He is talking about. As Paul said in Rom. 3:4, “let God be true and every man a liar.”
The word “predestinated” simply means “appointed or destined”. It refers to plans that God the Father made for His people sometime in the past. When we speak of election, we are talking about God choosing some for salvation in eternity past, v. 4. When we speak of predestination, we are talking about God’s determination that those who are saved will experience certain things. Election has to do with salvation; predestination has to do with sanctification. Election has to do with God’s choices; predestination has to do with God’s changes. Election has to do with eternity; predestination has to do with time.
God predestinated every event in the life of every child of God so that we will experience a changed life here, v. 12, and an eternal life with Him hereafter, Psa. 37:23. All God is saying is that we are headed somewhere!
While we are here, all the events of life are ordered by the Lord to make is more like Jesus, Eph. 4:13, Rom. 8:28-29. God saved us to make us like Christ! When we leave this world, God has predestinated us to live with Him for eternity in His home in heaven. That is biblical predestination.
Paul goes on to tell us that God performs this predestination “according to the purpose of Him Whoworketh all things after the counsel of His Own will.” The word “worketh” speaks of “ongoing, energetic activity”. It is the picture of a God Who is actively, energetically involved in assuring that His purposes are fulfilled and that His will is accomplished. God has a plan! He is working that plan every single second of time.
God has determined that His people will be with Him where He is, John 14:3; 17:24. The word “counsel” refers to “God’s determined purpose that cannot be changed”. The word “will” speaks of “God’s desires”. God desires that His people will obtain an eternal inheritance in Jesus Christ. So, God orders every event in life to see that everything works out like He wants it to. He is pulling all the strings of life. He is manipulating every event. He is behind every blessing and He is behind every tragedy. All the events of life serve to accomplish His plan.
Being a part of God’s eternal plan is the only way to enjoy the best of His blessings. Are you a part of His plan?
C. They Are Found In His Pleasure – Verse 11 says that God does these things “after the counsel of His Own will”, or “desires”. Verse 12 and 14 refer to “the praise of His glory”. Paul is telling us that all the blessings we enjoy in Jesus Christ, whether they be heavenly or earthly in nature, come to us through the heart of a God Who takes delight in blessing His people. He is good to us simply because He wants to be. He blesses us because it brings Him pleasure.
As I have stated before, I do not comprehend how God could receive pleasure from saving the likes of us. I do not understand how He receives any joy from blessing our lives like He does. But, He does! Of course, the Bible indicates that God even found pleasure in sending His Son to die for our sins, Isa. 53:10; Heb. 12:2.
I say, “Hallelujah!” I bless His name that He loved me when I was a sinner and that He saved me! I praise His name that He put me in His plan before the foundation of the world! I glorify Him that He saved me and continues to bless me in spite of my foolish ways!
Anyway, all the things we have in Jesus Christ are ours simply because it brings God pleasure to give them to us. It pleases Him to work His will in the world and in our lives so that we will eventually end up where He saved us to go! For that, He deserves our praise!
I. The Place Of God’s Sharing
II. THE PURPOSE OF
GOD’S SHARING WORK
(Ill. All of God’s blessings arise from our relationship top Him through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. They come to us solely in His good pleasure. If you are in Jesus, you are candidate for God’s blessings. If you are not in Him, you need to be saved. If you will come to Jesus, you will become a candidate for the blessings of God as well.
Having told us where the blessings of God originate, Paul now tells us something about the purpose of God’s saving work. These verses reveal two of God’s purposes in His saving work.)
A. To Reveal His Glory Through Us – In verse 12 Paul says, “that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.” In other words, God saved us to reveal His glory through us to a lost world. When the world sees the saint of God, they see a living, breathing testament to God’s saving power.
Later in this book Paul will tell us that “we are His workmanship, created in Jesus Christ unto good works, which God hath foreordained that we should walk in them,” Eph. 2:10. The word “workmanship” translates a word that means “a work, or that which is made”. We get our English word “poem” from it. It refers to an artist’s master work; the crowning creation of all his ability and talent. God points to those He has redeemed by His grace and He says that we represent the pinnacle of His power. Our lives are to be living testimonies to the glory of God’s saving power through Christ Jesus, Phil. 1:27. You see, the world is watching! That is why Paul describes our lives as a book read by the lost, 2 Cor. 3:1-3.
When the world reads our lives, what do they learn? Do they learn that Jesus Christ changes every life He touches? Or, do they learn that He makes no real difference in the lives of men? When Paul uses the word “trusted” in this verse, it is in a tense that suggests an ongoing trust that alters the life of the one trusting. It is a once for all trust that changes everything. When you place your trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, you are changed, 2 Cor. 5:17. That change will manifest itself in a new life and in a continual desire to live for the Lord. The child of God may not be perfect, but the child of God will be different and it will show, until the day they leave this world!
When they read us, they should see people who are different. They should see people who are Spirit-filled and who live every minute under the direction of Almighty God. They should see a people who walk different than they do; who talk different than they do; who think different than they do; who are different than they are.
What do they see when they read your book? God saved you for His glory;does your life bring Him any glory?
Now, having said that, it should cause us to lift our voices in loud and long praise when we stop to consider what Paul is saying here. He is telling us that you are saved in Jesus and blessed like you are, just because it brings glory to God. He is glorified in your salvation! He is magnified because you do not have to go to Hell! He has redeemed you and it brings Him honor. Let that soak in for a minute!
B. To Reveal His Gifts To Us – Part of God’s purpose in saving us is for His Own glory; another part has to do with God revealing His grace through our inheritance in Jesus. In verse 11 Paul says, “we have obtained an inheritance”. The word “inheritance” refers to “something assigned to another; a heritage.”
Everyone here has a heritage. Whether it is good or bad, godly or evil, we all have a heritage. The way we talk, think and interact with our world is determined by our heritage. Some of you have a godly heritage and you need to thank God for it. Others have a heritage you would rather forget; leave it with God and look forward and not back.
Regardless of the kind of heritage we have behind us, every saint of God has a marvelous inheritance in We are promised peace, love, grace, wisdom, eternal life, joy, victory, strength, guidance, power, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness, truth, fellowship with God, spiritual discernment; those and countless other good things come from God, James 1:17.
While we have all the great blessings God can provide here, we have even greater things waiting on us in eternity. In Eph. 2:7 Paul tells us that God will use the endless ages of eternity to reveal the glories of His grace unto us. Peter says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,”1 Pet. 1:3-5.
So, every day we live in this world God demonstrates one of His purposes as he blesses us here. Then, when this life is over, we will go to be with Him in His Heaven, where we will enjoy His presence and the place He has prepared for us there, John 14:1-3; Rev. 21:4. I would just remind you that we are the children of God and we are His heirs. In fact, we are “joint-heirs”, Rom. 8:17. This means that He will not receive His inheritance apart from us! The Lord’s future glory is wrapped up in His church. We will be given our inheritance together!
I. The Place of God’s Sharing Work
II. The Purpose Of God’s Sharing
III. THE PROMISE OF
GOD’S SHARING WORK
(Ill. When we are in Jesus Christ, we are in a place where we can enjoy the great blessings of God. He shares His blessings with us. He does it for His Own glory, and He does it to reveal His gifts to us in Jesus Christ. God’s sharing work holds many blessings for us.
In these verses, Paul not only talks about the place of God’s sharing work and the purpose of God’s sharing work, but he also talks about the promise of God’s sharing work. Paul tells us about the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing us to Jesus Christ for salvation and in His work in our lives after we are saved.)
A. It Is Seen In His Saving Work – In verse 13 Paul says, “in Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth…” In this short statement, Paul talks about the way God saves sinners.
I make no excuses or apologies for the way I believe regarding election and predestination, but while I believe God is sovereign in salvation, I also know that man is responsible to believe on Jesus. Paul tells us that we must “trust” in Jesus, after having heard “the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation.”
When the Gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the lost sinner and draws them to Jesus. When that sinner responds by looking to Jesus by faith salvation is the result.
My friend, if you want to miss Hell and go to Heaven; if you want to enjoy the great blessings of our Lord; if you want all that God has to offer in Jesus, you must do it God’s way. Let me tell you what you need to do.
You must believe the Gospel. What is the Gospel?
· Here it is, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” 1 Cor. 15:3-4.
· Here it is again, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification,”Rom. 4:25.
· Here it is again, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16.
Not only must you hear the Gospel, you must believe it. If you can believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again from the dead, you can be saved by trusting what He did at Calvary. If you will trust Him, He will save you! Here is His promise, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved,” Rom. 10:9. Have you believed the Gospel?
B. It Is Seen In His Sealing Work – When a sinner believes in Jesus and is saved, verse 13 says that they are “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”. When Paul says we are sealed, he is referring to the ancient practice of sealing letters or other official documents with a wax seal. Hot wax was placed on the document and a signet ring pressed into the wax. The sealed document carried the authority of the person who owned the seal.
This practice is very suggestive of what God does in the lives of His children when He saves and seals them. The seal of God’s Spirit in a believer’s life signifies at least four great truths.
· It Signifies Security – When an ancient king placed his seal on something it represented a decree that was secure and unchangeable. When Daniel was placed in the lion’s den, a seal was placed on the door so that no one would dare try to change his fate, Dan. 6:17. When Jesus died they sealed His tomb to prevent the disciples from coming to move His body, Matt. 27:66.
When God saves a soul, the Spirit of God moves in and takes up residence in that new believer, Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20. When He comes in He sets His seal on the believer and promises us eternal security in Jesus. The seal of an earthly ruler might be broken, but the eternal seal of God upon a believer’s heart will never be broken or removed. (Ill. 1 Pet. 1:5; John 10:28; John 6:37-40)
· It Signifies Authenticity – The seal of an ancient king testified to the authenticity of the document to which it was attached. In 1 Kings 17:8-14, Jezebel forged letters in the name of Ahab commanding the men of Naboth’s village to have him put to death. The letter was filled with lies, but since they bore the King’s seal, they were authentic and they were accepted and carried out by the elders of that village.
When God saves a soul, the presence of the Holy Spirit in that life declares the authenticity of that believer. The presence of the Spirit says, “This life is mine and they are a citizen of my Kingdom.” When the Spirit of God is in you, there will be an authenticity about your life that will be missing otherwise, Ill. Acts 4:13.
· It Signifies Authority – The seal of an ancient king carried great authority. When the king made a decree and sealed it, it was unalterable. When Haman convinced King Ahasuerus to make a decree that the Jews could be killed, Queen Esther was distressed because she knew that the decree was unchangeable. Even after Haman was hanged, the decree was still in force, Esther 8:8-12.
When God saves and seals a soul, He gives that new believer divine authority. He gives them authority to serve Him in the world. He gives them authority to preach, teach, witness, work and serve Him in the world. When God saved you He sent into the world to serve Himas His ambassador, Eph. 6:20. You have His authority to labor in His field. He has sealed you for that purpose.
· It Signifies Ownership – The seal of an ancient ruler declared absolute ownership. When King Zedekiah imprisoned Jeremiah, Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to purchase a piece of property. The transaction was agreed upon, the price was paid and the required number of witnessed watched as Jeremiah became the rightful owner of the property. The seal marked it as his, Jer. 32:10.
When the Lord saves a soul, He marks that soul as His personal possession. The seal of the Holy Spirit on a life declares that the saved person is God property. His seal lets us know that the transaction of salvation is complete and forever final!
(Note: When a truck is loaded and heads off for delivery, that trailer door is sealed that seal declares that the load within matches what is declared on the bill of lading. The seal testifies to the correctness of the contents within. That seal say, “What is in this trailer cannot be changed.” A broken seal signals trouble.
When God saved you He sealed you. His seal says that you are His and the contents of your soul have been authenticated. His seal declares that what is inside of you cannot be changed. You are His and that can never be undone!)
C. It Is Seen In His Securing Work – In verse 14 Paul tells us that the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives is “the earnest of our inheritance”. He is even called “the Spirit of promise”. The word “earnest” refers to “money that is given in a purchase a down payment which guarantees that the balance will be paid.” If you have ever financed the purchase of a car you know what I am talking about. You gave them some earnest money as your promise that you would pay the rest. When you signed the credit contract, you were promising them that you were good for the rest of the money. So, you started paying it back a little at a time, eventually, when all the money had been repaid, that car became yours.
When Jesus died for us, He paid for our redemption completely, John 19:30. There is nothing left for us to pay. When we were saved, the Holy Spirit came into our hearts as the promise of God that He come for His “purchased possession”. He bought us and He sent His Spirit to live within us to mark us as His property until the day comes when he will take us home to glory. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is proof that we are headed to Heaven! He is the pledge of our future inheritance! That ought to make a saved Baptist shout!
(Note: The word “earnest” has the idea of a “guarantee”. It is the same word used to speak of an “engagement ring”. When a man gives a woman an engagement ring, he is making a pledge to that woman. He is promising to be faithful to her, to love her, and he is promising that he will take her to himself some day.
That is what the Spirit of the Lord promises us when He saves us. He promises top be faithful to us, to love us, and that one day, the One Who purchased us to Himself will come for us to take us to be with Him, 1 Thes. 4:16-17. That is His pledge. That is our guarantee!)
(Note: Noted Greek scholar Bishop Lightfoot of Cambridge said, “The actual spiritual life of the Christian is the same in kind as his future glorified life.” In other words, the way the Spirit of God works in our hearts here, is but a foretaste of what we will have there. It is just a small, tantalizing taste of what we will enjoy when we arrive hone in Heaven. The “earnest” of the Spirit is a down payment with the promise of more to follow!
Do you remember when you were saved and you experienced that sweet sense that all was right with the Lord? Do you remember how the Spirit of God has moved in your heart during times of worship where you were overwhelmed with His presence and filled with a sense of awe? Do you remember the times when you obeyed the voice of the Spirit and God used you in some great way? Do you remember times when you manifested the fruit of the Spirit in some situation in which you would normally have acted in the flesh?
If you remember those kinds of experiences, take them and multiply them by a million and you are beginning to get the picture of how the Spirit will bless us in our glorified state. Right now, we are just getting a taste. When we arrive in Heaven, we will enjoy the entire meal!
By the way, if all we are experiencing here is a taste of what is to come, can you imagine how wonderful it will be to experience everything God has for us? What will the fist few minutes of Heaven be like? What will the first year, the fist decade, the first million years be like? This is just another reason for us to praise the God of our salvation for His grace and blessings.)
Conc: God has blessed us in Jesus Christ. He has opened the vaults of Heaven and given us greater riches in Jesus than we can imagine. We should praise Him for His sharing work.
There are some here today who understand some of what they possess in Jesus. You should bow before Him and thank Him, then rise up and serve Him. One day you will give an account for taking the gifts of God for granted in your life.
There are others who are just beginning to understand what they have. You should bow before Him to thank Him and then you should rise up to serve Him. Being blessed by the Lord brings great responsibility into our lives.
There are some here who have never trusted Jesus for salvation. You need to come to Jesus. You have heard the Gospel, now is the time to believe it and be saved from your sins.
Let us praise our God for His grace and the gifts He gives us in Jesus Christ. He is a wonderful Lord and He is worthy of our gratitude.