Text: Eph. 2:4-7

Title: "God's Heavenly Purpose For You"

Subject: The purpose of God in the ages to come.

Intro: The Bible says, "For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:" Philip. 3:20

I wonder what you think you will be doing in heaven? At the end of your heavenly day, when you put down your harp and curl up on a billowy cloud, what activity do you think you will look back on? Maybe you will be a member of the heavenly choir, singing Hallelujahs all the day long? Or, maybe, you will maintain the bright light at the end of the dark tunnel? Perhaps you will help St. Peter at the pearly gates by keeping the line straight or recording the results of the heavenly scales as they weigh the good works vs the bad works of each individual?

The Bible says, "For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:"

Christians love to talk and speculate about heaven. But Christians' perceptions are sometimes not much better than those of the lost. The first thing many expect to do is to renew old acquaintances with loved ones that have gone on before. You will meet them on a grassy knoll, a snow-white cloud, or perhaps by the Jordan River to begin where you left off--never to be separated again. Then, hand-in-hand, they will lead you to your much deserved mansion, "just over the hilltop." After you get settled, you will wander over to the throne room, let the Lord know you have arrived, and sign up for harp duty, pearly gate duty, choir duty, or whatever else is imprinted on your mind. But what exactly do you think that God's heavenly purpose is for you in heaven?

Eph. 2:4-7 -- "God's Heavenly Purpose For You" -- prayer

Note: The Holy Spirit begins this chapter by detailing man's condition before salvation. These conditions are the common lot of mankind, and if you have not yet received Christ as your Saviour, this is the story of your life. Christians, this is the pit from which you were dug--thank God for His shovel!

Read v1-3

1. (v1) First, unbelieving friend, you are spiritually dead! Your trespasses and sins have separated you from God. Though you have physical life, you are spiritually dead because you have deviated from God's way, God's truth, and you have broken God's law. You are a sinner by nature and by choice.

2. (v2) Second, you live according to this world's manner of life, whose author is Satan, and whose spirit works in you to disobedience toward God. You are a rebel and a reprobate. You are not as bad as you could be, but you are as wicked as you want to be.

3. (v3) Third, your lifestyle is geared toward fulfilling the Godless desires of your flesh and of your mind. You are consumed with yourself, and the pleasing of self. There is nothing you won't do for yourself, and Satan makes sure you have plenty from which to choose!

4. (v3) Fourth, by the natural order of things, which are represented by the way you live, which is apart from God and unto self, you have proven yourself to be a child of wrath, or worthy of God's wrath and punishment. In fact, God has already condemned you for your sin and unbelief; you are just awaiting your death for the sentence to be carried out.

"He that believeth on Him [Jesus Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18

Lost friend, you are on a steep, slippery, downward path toward the gaping throat of Hell, without anything or anyone to stop your slide and pull you to safety---unless you can make it to v4--BUT GOD!!

Note: BUT GOD (v4). These two words ring throughout the pages of Scripture to remind us of the great intervening/interupting power of God into the lives of men and women at the moment of crisis and greatest need. Your situation is helpless--but God! Your addiction is endless--but God! Your spiritual life is in crises--but God! Your sins are so vile you can't be saved--but God! Everyone has forsaken you--but God! Your finances are lower than a dessert stream in a drought--but God! You are at your wits end with nowhere to turn--but God! You are fearful of the future--but God! Your heart is broken--but God! Here is help for the helpless and hope for the hopeless--but God!

Our passage gives us 5 examples of God's intervention in our lives, climaxing in God's heavenly purpose for you.

Example #1

I. BUT GOD--WHO IS (v4)

A. You would never had known or believed in God--but God!

Note: There is hope for you because there's a God who is, and who can actually and powerfully do something about your situation! There IS a holy, sovereign God who rules and reigns over your life! Don't be like the fool who said in his heart, 'There is no God." And don't live/think/act like the fool either! Creation says there is a God, the Bible says that God is, and changed lives and circumstances prove that God miraculously intervenes in men's/women's lives! God is alive! God is present! And God wants to be real in your life!

Example #1: But God--Who Is. Example #2:

II. BUT GOD--WHO IS RICH IN MERCY (v4)

A. You would never have experienced true mercy--but God!

B. God is Rich ("wealthy, abounding in resources")!

Note: When you are in need you want to go to someone who can met that need! How does God meet your need? By supplying your need in the exact way and at the exact time that will reveal His all-sufficiency. God does not glorify your need, but His supply! (we spend to much public time on our needs)

C. God is Rich in Mercy!

1. "Mercy" = acts of grace (unmerited favor) toward the guilty and toward the needy

a. Grace is God being favorable disposed toward you, while mercy is grace in action, or God's activity toward you.

"So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." Romans 9:16

b. There is enough to meet your needs. God is not running out! One reason we don't appreciate all that God has done for us is because we have not keep a record of His provision, but He has!!

Example #1: But God--Who Is. Example #2: But God--Who is Rich in Mercy: Example #3:

III. BUT GOD--WHO LOVED US (v4)

A. You would never have experienced real love--but God!

B. "Love" = sacrificial love, highest expression. It is love, not based on anything you might return, but springing entirely out of the Giver. God does not love you for who you are, or what you have, but in spite of who you are! (You are not jiving God! He knows you!)

1. It is an attribute of God, or a characteristic by which we can recognize and know God. Its purest, highest, most sacrificial form is only found in God.

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16

2. It is great ("many, much, large"). There is enough to meet your highest, widest, deepest needs. God is not running out! It seeks the best for you.

3. It had to be sacrificial. Because of the depth of the depravity of your sin nature, because of the enormity of your past sins, because of the wickedness of your present sins, and because of the abundance of your future sins, the only way for the wrath of God to be satisfied on your behalf was through the sacrificial death of God, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them..." 2 Cor. 5:19

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" 1 Peter 3:18

4. It is directed.

a. "For God so loved the world..."

b. "God loved us."

c. "He loved us even when we were dead in sins."

Example #1: But God--Who Is. Example #2: But God--Who is Rich in Mercy: Example #3: But God--Who Loved Us. Example #4:

IV. BUT GOD--WHO QUICKENED US (v5)

A. You would never have experience fulness of life--but God!

B. "Quickened" = made alive/given life. Despite being dead (separated) in our sins. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"). The lot of man is to be dead in your sins, but the power of God can raise the dead and make them alive. You CAN be made alive! And Christian, you can act alive!! You can breath spiritual air, you can make spiritual decisions, you can eat spiritual food, you can give spiritual gifts, and you can think spiritual thoughts!

1. How does God quickened or make alive?

a. By grace (unmerited favor). You don't deserve it and you have done nothing in God's sight to merit it. God's grace granted it. Take advantage of God's grace!

b. By salvation or deliverance (from the just penalty of your sins being laid on Jesus Christ on the cross). Christ's death provided it. Take advantage of God's salvation!

2. On what basis does God give live?

a. Together with Christ ("made alive with Christ")

1) Christ is alive!!

"Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." John 14:19

2) Quickened us. You are alive, because Christ is alive. Take advantage of Christ's life!

Example #1: But God--Who Is. Example #2: But God--Who is Rich in Mercy: Example #3: But God--Who Loved Us. Example #4: BUT GOD--WHO QUICKENED US: Example #5:

V. BUT GOD--WHO RAISED US (v6)

A. You would never have experienced Resurrection life--but God!

B. "Raised" = to ascend, rise

1. Raised up (when God raises you you are going up, not down!)

a. The Christian life is an elevated life, because we take on the likeness of Christ. Do you really think that this world epitomizes the best that there is?

2. Raised (resurrected) together in Christ

a. As Jesus Christ was raised from the dead--so will we be

"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses." Acts 2:32

b. As Jesus Christ was raised from this world--so will we be

"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11

C. Raised to Sit (as if we are already there)

1. Not to recline, but to reign in heavenly places. (here we see the truth of the saying that "God saves sinners from the guttermost to the uttermost")

2. Together in Christ

a. As Jesus Christ ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father--so will we sit in heavenly places

Note: Friends, the only thing this world is going to give you is trouble! The only thing that God is going to give you is grace, mercy, love, life, and a place in heaven. Which one are you putting your faith in today?

VI. GOD'S PURPOSE FOR YOU IN HEAVEN (v7)

A. That you Begin to live like it now. "Ages to come" may refer from this time period onward and throughout eternity.

1. Christian, are you living now like you will be living then?

B. That you dwell there eternally (you have a permanent home)

"...that where I Am, there ye might be also." Jn. 14:3

C. That God might show His grace Toward You

1. God will show what it means to be the recipient of His unmerited favor. We mistakenly think that salvation, and all its benefits, is directed toward us, but, instead, it is for the glory of God. But, praise God, we get to lick the bowl of God's glory!!

a. Christian, God wants to show His grace in you now!

D. That God might show His kindness ("integrity, goodness")

1. Might we say, "mercy," those gracious acts of God for our benefit? Those too, are not primarily for your benefit, but for the glory of God.

E. That Jesus Christ might get all the glory

1. Everything we are, everything we have, and everything we gain is all because of the Lord Jesus Christ! It is through Christ and because of Christ

VII. FIVE SUGGESTIONS TO PUT INTO PRACTICE:

1. Determine to begin today to live as you will throughout eternity

2. Determine to become a mirror of God's grace in your dealings with others

3. Determine that the reflection of God's grace in your life will overshadow other's faults and failings.

4. Determine to be kind and merciful to others, as God has been to you.

5. Accept no glory for your actions, but direct each statement of gratitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

Concl: What will you be doing in heaven? God will be showing in you His grace and kindness because of Jesus Christ. What should you be doing on earth? First, come to God in repentance, placing your faith and trust in the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, begin to show forth the grace and kindness of God toward others. Led a changed life--changed by the power of God!
 

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