The Mystery of the Gospel

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Ephesians 6:19

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Amen. One day you're going to learn because you're singing so loud, man, it just makes me preach longer.
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So, one day it's going to be like real quiet. I'm really grateful to hear your singing.
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It's just a joke. Grateful that you're gathered here today. I had this thought as you turn into Ephesians chapter 6.
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I had this thought this morning. It's Psalm 14 verse 1 that says,
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The fool has said in his heart there is no God. The Bible has no punches to pull when it comes to atheism.
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It straight calls atheism foolish. The fool has said in his heart there is no
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God. I wonder this morning as you're turning to Ephesians 6 what we would call a person who is not an atheist.
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They say they believe in the resurrection of Christ. But it doesn't have real tangible practical bearing on their day to day life.
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See this morning we come to a segment in Ephesians 6. We still have some work to do with prayer.
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We'll do that in a couple weeks. Remember next week Pastor Randall Easter will be preaching the morning service.
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I'll be preaching during Sunday school hour. Brother Randall Easter will be preaching in the morning service. So it will be two weeks before we pick up the rest of Ephesians 6.
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But what we need to address today is that phrase in verse 19.
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The mystery of the gospel. I thought there would be no better day to examine the mystery of the gospel than on this day.
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The day that we commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
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Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 19. I asked that you would stand. A tradition of our church is we stand in honor of reading
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God's Word. So I'm going to try to pick up a little bit of context.
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I'm going to start all the way back in verse 16. We're talking about spiritual warfare here.
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And so Paul tells the church, in all circumstances, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.
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And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Praying at all times in the
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Spirit with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints and also for me that words may be given to me and opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which
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I am an ambassador in chains that I may declare it boldly as I ought to speak.
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Let's pray. Father, we thank you for this day. This day you've given us one in seven to set aside, to worship, to gather, to rest, to be reinvigorated as it were, to honor
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Christ. God, this day is not just a day about the newness of spring or changing in seasons.
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This is a day that we commemorate the resurrection of Christ. And I pray that this would be made real to our hearts.
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For those in this room that they've perhaps not verbally expressed atheism, but in their heart they've lived practically as an atheist,
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I pray today that you would draw them to Christ. May the church be full of Christ today.
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Oh God, how much do we desperately need revival in our land. We have a wicked leadership in our land.
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We pray for repentance. We pray for someone to share the gospel with our leadership, our president, the vice president.
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We pray that they'd repent and believe the gospel. We pray that we would see others come to Christ in our land.
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We pray, Lord, that you'd send revival out. And even start here with a humble people.
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Lord, humble us and fill us with your truth. May the Spirit of God guide us supremely.
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We pray it all in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated. I think about this text. I think about Christ.
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I'll just mention this. We won't read it. I had it down to read it, but you can just note this. In Colossians chapter 4,
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Paul gives a similar... So Colossians and Ephesians are sister letters. They're similar. And in Colossians chapter 4,
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Paul asked the church, he asked the Colossians to pray that he would share the mystery of Christ.
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And I just want to make a note that the mystery of Christ and the mystery of the gospel, these are synonymous phrases.
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Same thing. So this is why we're gathered today. Not just on Easter, but why we're gathered here on Sunday.
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It is the Lord's day. We gather on Sunday because Sunday's the day the Lord rose again from the dead.
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It is the first day of the week, or sometimes we may call it, it's like the eighth day of the week, right? Because it signifies a new creation.
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Now, mystery in the text, it does not mean unable to figure out or understand.
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It just means unable to understand without revelation. The mystery of the gospel requires the revelation of God in order for us to grasp.
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Now as we've read through Ephesians, six times in this letter, Paul has used the word mystery.
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So let me put it to you this way. In one sense, this little letter to the Ephesians is a summation of the mystery of the gospel.
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Maybe that's why it's taken us three and a half years to go through this letter. But each verse is compacted and wound down tight.
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Each sentence is dripping with the glory of Christ. Now hear me.
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If Paul can say mystery of Christ in Colossians 4, and he can say mystery of the gospel in Ephesians 6, and if these two things can mean the same thing, then hear me church,
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Christ is the gospel. You understand? In one very real sense,
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Christ is the gospel. The gospel, listen to me friends, is not the
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Bible. Probably the biggest answer I get around here when we say, hey, what's the gospel? People say it's the
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Bible. The gospel's not the Bible. The gospel is not something that you...
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I'm just trying to live out the gospel. Bad news, you won't and you can't. The gospel's not something that you do.
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The gospel is not about helping people with groceries. The gospel is
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Christ, truly God, and truly man. Two natures in one person.
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As the rapper Shyland says, 200%. 100 % God, 100 % man.
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Coming forth from God's eternal plan. Conceived by the Holy Spirit.
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Born to a young Jewish girl, the Virgin Mary. Fulfilling the covenants of promise.
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Completing all righteousness. Perishing under the sovereign will of God. What happened on Good Friday was not outside the will of God, it was the will of God.
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Pleasing the Father to crush the Son. Because as the Son is crushed under divine wrath,
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He crushes the serpent's head. He defangs that old snake.
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Completing the promise. Fulfilling the promise of Genesis 3 .15. Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried.
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And on the first day of the week, He rose again in triumph.
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So that all who believe in Him will be justified. That is, just as He received our sins on the cross and paid for them under the wrath of God, so by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, we receive the perfect righteousness of Christ credited to our account.
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Hear me today, providence and guests, your work cannot bring you to God.
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I'm just trying really hard. I just do what I can with what I have. No, no, your work, not only can it not bring you to God, your work actually keeps you from God.
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Apart from Christ. Did you hear what we read in the confession this morning? Now it is both amazing to me and alarming to me to see people hear this message of the
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Gospel and live as though it makes no real impact on their life.
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Yeah, yeah, Jesus got out of the grave. What's on TV today? They twist it to conform to their ideas so that they can add to the
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Gospel or take away from the Gospel as though they get to define Christianity. We see this in a corporate manner and things like the
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Roman Catholic Church. Well, yeah, I got the Gospel, but let me just add all these other things and now they twist it and distort it and lost the
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Gospel. They don't have it. They don't preach the Gospel. But it also can be done in an individual aspect.
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Let me say this as bluntly. I believe I'm saying this kindly, but I'll say it blunt, plain to you, clear this morning.
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Friends in this room, you don't get to define Christianity. You do not get to take what the
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Scriptures say and then make up your own religion and just default to the fact that God is love, therefore
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He will accept whatever way you decide to go. Now, what
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I want to do in this sermon is talk about what the text talks about, the mystery of the
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Gospel. And I want to give you seven aspects of the mystery of the Gospel. The first is, this morning, this
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Gospel message in the Scriptures. So Paul says the mystery of the Gospel. This Gospel message in the
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Scriptures was number one, continually revealed. So Paul talks about that the church would pray for him.
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Now, we talked a couple weeks ago about boldness, praying for boldness. And what exactly does he need boldness in?
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He needs boldness, the text says, to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel. And what I'm trying to tell you in this first point is that the mystery of the
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Gospel was an unfolding mystery. It began in Genesis 3 .15,
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the unfolding. That is, the promise of the seed of the woman to crush the serpent's head.
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As we read the Bible, it was further revealed in the Old Testament through covenants and types and shadows and promises.
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The Old Testament, what is the Old Testament? It's one giant arrow full of 100 ,000 arrows all pointing to Christ.
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The Old Testament is about Jesus. And it points us to Jesus. And then, when we get to the
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New Testament, we see as our confession states, chapter 7, paragraph 3, the full discovery of this
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Gospel was completed in the New Testament. And so when we get to the New Testament, we see the full revelation.
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And now, there is no more mystery. You don't walk around saying, well, I really hope
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I can figure this out. No, no, it's been revealed. Oh God, give us eyes to see.
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Give us hearts to receive. Give us faith to believe this Gospel. It's what the whole
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Bible is about. Secondly, the mystery of the Gospel tells us of creation's restore.
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First, it's continually revealed. Secondly, it tells us of creation's restore. Now this is from Ephesians.
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Turn over to Ephesians 1. Verse 7 says, In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which
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He lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known to us, listen to this, the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which
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He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Him.
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Things in heaven and things on earth. This is part of the mystery of the
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Gospel. And that is, in Adam, the first Adam, plunged creation into ruin.
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The last Adam, Christ, has come to restore it. You understand that we currently live in evil days.
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We live in a dark, dark days. An evil age. Listen, I'm just going to say, it's absolutely foolish that the
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President of the United States, there's no coincidence here that he would take
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Easter Sunday 2024 and say, oh yeah, don't forget that March 31st is a day about transgenderism.
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This is the country we live in. This is the dark days we live in. This is the wickedness that we live under.
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But I'm telling you today that the Gospel reminds us, darkness, presidents, evil, does not have the final say.
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Christ rose again from the grave because He is creation's Restorer, and He will restore this creation.
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He has made His people new by their new birth, brought about by the Holy Spirit. And one day all creation will be restored in the new heavens and new earth.
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All things will be united unto the glory and honor of Christ. The devil and his angels and unbelievers will be thrown into the lake of fire and earth and heaven will be one.
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Thirdly, the mystery of the Gospel tells us of a cosmic ruler.
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So if you go a little bit down in Ephesians 1 to verse 20, so the Gospel is continually revealed.
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It tells us of creation's Restorer. Now it tells us of a cosmic ruler in verse 20. I'm picking up in the middle of a sentence, but this is chapter 1, that He worked in Christ when
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He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heaviest places. Now this is where Jesus is in bodily form right now.
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In His bodily, in His human, in His humanity, He is seated at the right hand in the heavenly places.
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Verse 21, Far above, far above, all rule, not some, not most, all rule and authority and power and dominion and above, how many names?
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Every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put not most things, not some things, all things under His feet and gave
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Him His head over not some things, not most things, all things to the church.
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What I'm telling you in that is things seem chaotic now. Sometimes the devil seems to get the upper hand now.
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Sometimes we deal with frustration and sorrow and suffering and tragedy now. But the mystery of the
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Gospel reveals Christ as Supreme and Sovereign Ruler over all.
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All demons. All so -called natural disasters. Every molecule.
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Every virus. Christ is the Cosmic Ruler. All things are under His feet.
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And we painted this above my head because we are committed to the reality that we are not waiting for Christ to be
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King one day. Christ is King now. And we serve
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Him above all other kings and all other authorities. And if any other authority on this earth asks us or commands us to disparage the authority of Christ, we disobey that authority.
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And we obey Christ. Because Christ is the Cosmic Ruler. Now it's odd, is it not, how often you live as though this weren't true.
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Be honest with yourself. It's easy to sit in church on Easter Sunday morning and say
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Christ is King and get a rowdy amen. But how often do you just go off and build your own little kingdom?
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Here's what Christ is doing. Hey, that's great. I'm going to go do this. How often?
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How about this speaking to your heart like it speaks to mine? How often do you worry? How often are you anxious?
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How often do you fail to see this big picture? Friends, we have to believe here at Providence Baptist Church Christ is
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King is not just a motto. It's a reality. It's reprehensible for any church to fail to listen to the
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Son. The church is not a democracy. The church is not a representative republic.
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The church is a monarchy and Christ is King. And He must be obeyed in His churches.
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He must be listened to. He must be submitted to. And the glory of this is
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I'm not telling you that you have to submit to some fallen wicked ruler.
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I'm telling you that you're not submitting to a tyrant here. You're submitting to a good and gracious King.
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As an individual or local assembly it is absolutely foolish not to submit to His rule.
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To be stiff -necked. To go our own way. To try doing things of our own ideas.
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It's so foolish. Just go about your own way as though you'll not answer to the glorious King.
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He is cosmic ruler. Fourthly, continually revealed. Creation's restored.
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Cosmic ruler. Fourthly, the mystery of the Gospel reveals a consummate
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Redeemer. So the text says that Paul wants boldness to proclaim the mystery of the
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Gospel. So we've kind of talked about these big picture ramifications of the
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Gospel. We've kind of zoomed out and looked at the big picture of the Gospel if you will.
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We've talked about creation's restored and that Jesus is the cosmic ruler, but you need to understand this morning at the center of this grand reality is the fact that Christ is the
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Redeemer of His people. Matthew 1 .21 says that she will bear a son and you shall call
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His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.
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Galatians 3 says that He came to redeem us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.
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We've already read it, but Ephesians 1 .7 says in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace.
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How is the just triune God of the Bible going to uphold
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His justice since your sin demands retribution?
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You understand? How can He pardon sinners in mercy while maintaining
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His holy justice? This is what our world needs to understand today. We say things like this.
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Foolish sayings. Love is love, which doesn't mean anything. Water bottle is water bottle.
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It means nothing. Love is love means nothing other than I get to just twist and contort. So if I say love is love, and then
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I twist it and contort it and make it mean whatever I want, and then I go back and I say God is love, now what have
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I said? I've said God is whatever I want Him to be. So we've created this idea of a
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God in heaven who is just okay with our sin, looks past our sin, doesn't care about our sin, but for God to dismiss your sin would make
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Him unholy. For God to be unholy, He would cease to be God.
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So we're thinking through here for a second. How can God forgive undeserving offenders of His law?
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Let me put it to you this way. I think this will really hit home. We live in America.
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One of the beautiful things about the American legal system is supposed to be, that is, the law applies equally to all.
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That's the idea of America. It doesn't matter if you're the homeless person under the street.
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It doesn't matter if you're the person in the White House. The law, hypothetically, applies equally to all persons in this great nation.
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Now is that true in practice? No. No. Why don't you have your son strung out on cocaine and have your son doing some of the things that people in higher power children do and you see if your son gets the same treatment?
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It's not going to happen. Why? Because the law gets bent. The law gets twisted. The law gets ignored for certain people in our country, doesn't it?
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And listen to me, when this happens, when the law gets bent or twisted or ignored or broken, what do you call that?
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Do you applaud and say, praise God for grace? No, you say that's wicked.
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That's not right. That is unjust. So hear me.
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What would it mean for God to look at your sin and to twist the law?
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To break the law? To ignore the law? Friends, it would make
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God unjust. What would we do with a
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God who played fast and loose with justice? He would not be worthy.
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He would be a tyrant. He would be wicked. But herein lies the problem. You are a lawbreaker.
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Now, come on, a lawbreaker? I've made some mistakes, right? I'm not perfect, but nobody's perfect, and God understands.
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No, friend, you've broken His law, right? Have you kept any of the Ten Commandments?
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Have you had something ever in your heart ever above God whereby you didn't love
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God perfectly with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Have you ever ordered your life around something other than God?
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Have you used God's name flippantly? You understand taking the Lord's name in vain is not just using
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His name as a curse word, but also just using it flippantly. You've just vainly used the name of God.
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Have you missed the worship of God ever on the Lord's Day to go do something else?
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Right? Have you ever disobeyed or dishonored your parents in word or in deed or in motivation?
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Have you ever had anger in your heart towards somebody? Have you ever been sexually immoral or had a look at or thought about something sexually immoral?
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Have you ever taken something that's not yours? Have you ever told your employer you worked this many hours when you really only worked that many hours?
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Stolen from your employer? Or have you cheated? Have you borne false witness? Maybe just to make yourself look better.
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You know, I just twisted the story just a little bit to shine the light better on yourself. Or just lied flat out, lied about something.
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Have you ever coveted something? I want that. It's not fair. They got it. I want it. Have you ever done any of that?
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You're batting a thousand. That's just a basic rundown of the Ten Commandments.
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We haven't even really dove down into everything we could, and you've broken all ten.
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You've broken God's law. And He will not bend that law for you.
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He will not ignore that law for you if justice demands retribution.
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It must be upheld. Because God is good. So listen to me today carefully.
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Children, listen to me carefully. Adults, grace is not God forgetting
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His law. Grace is God fulfilling the law for those who stand under its righteous judgment.
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You have broken God's law, and to continue in this direction is to rush headlong into eternal judgment right where you deserve.
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But hear the Gospel today. You did the crime. Jesus did the time.
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You broke the law. Jesus kept the law. And then by virtue of God's eternal and sovereign plan,
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He suffered the consequences due you under the penalty of the cross, under the righteous judgment, under the righteous wrath of God, He fulfilled the law, and then
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He died. These two things were fulfilled. He procured a righteousness for His people, and then
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He suffered their just punishment under the wrath of God on Calvary.
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And then He rose again from the grave. He accomplished redemption for His people, and we know that this is accomplished.
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Because of resurrection Sunday. He rose again from the dead.
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Christ the Lord is risen today! We're saying hallelujah! Christ lives!
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That way, God can be both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ.
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You don't serve a God who ignores your sin or bends the law or breaks the law or forgets the law.
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You have a God who has fulfilled the law in His one and only Son, and then punishes
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His Son for lawbreakers. This is the Gospel. This is the only hope that we have. Flee to Christ.
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We serve a just and good God and gracious to us.
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He is the consummate Redeemer in Christ. If you'll repent and believe the
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Gospel, you may have life. Fifthly, we need to explore this mystery a little bit more.
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The mystery of the Gospel reveals a complete reconciler. So hear me on this.
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This is, wow. Verse 19, And also for me that words may be given to me and opening my mouth to boldly proclaim the mystery of the
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Gospel. So, Jesus has reconciled us to God.
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That's what we talked about in Sunday school. By His life, death, and resurrection. By restoring us to a right relationship with God.
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There's something deeper here. A deeper mystery,
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I should say. Turn to Ephesians 3. Just a reminder. Ephesians 3.
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We've been there. Ephesians 3, 4 -6. Listen to what
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Paul says. When you read this, you can proceed. So I'm in chapter 3, verse 4. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ.
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Which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the
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Spirit. What is this mystery? I'm glad you asked, because Paul says this mystery is that the
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Gentiles are fellow heirs. Members of the same body.
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And partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. God has reconciled
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Jews and Gentiles, but listen, there's more. G .K. Bill is helpful here. He says, the mystery is not that these two groups are merely one community.
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Since that had already been clearly prophesied in the Old Testament. Okay, so let me just pause here.
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And the text says, Ephesians 3 .5, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations.
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So Paul says there's a mystery here that you need to know. It wasn't revealed to the sons of men in other generations.
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What's the mystery? The Jews and Gentiles are one body. So G .K. Bill is saying, this mystery is not that the two groups are merely one community, because that had already been clearly prophesied in the
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Old Testament. Okay, so what is the mystery? Rather, Bill, they are one in Christ. Through Israel.
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Okay, so hear me on this. This is the mystery. In Galatians 3, Paul says that those who are of faith are the true sons of Abraham.
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In Galatians 6, Paul calls the church the Israel of God.
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So here's the mystery. The Gentiles and Jews are joined not by the
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Gentiles becoming Jews and coming under the
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Mosaic Covenant and now becoming one.
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No. Nor are the Jews and Gentiles becoming Gentiles and living under the licentiousness and wickedness and paganism that is in the
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Gentiles. The Jews don't become Gentiles in order to be made one with the Gentiles. And the Gentiles don't become
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Jews in order to be made one. So what is it? It's Christ. You understand.
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It's Christ. The Jews and the Gentiles are reconciled into a new community in Christ.
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The Jews come out from under that Mosaic Covenant. And the Gentiles come out from under their paganism.
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And they turn to Christ and they're one in Him. The church then hasn't replaced
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Israel. That would be dumb. Rather, it is the embodiment and fulfillment of true
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Israel. God's covenantal work with the physical lineage of Abraham is completed in Christ.
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What that means... You've got to be real careful about this watching the news and all that kind of stuff and people get weird about this.
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What that means is in this age, you know what we need to do with the
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Jews? Preach the Gospel to them. Don't worry about Israel.
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That's God's chosen people. No, true Israel is God's chosen people. That's the church.
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What physical Israel needs, what the Jews need, they need us to care enough about them not to forsake them as Romans 11 says, and to take the
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Gospel to them and to plead with them to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ.
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They have no hope in their physical lineage. The only hope they have is
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Christ. Same as Perry County, Arkansas. You've got no hope in your grandparents or your parents' religion.
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You've got no hope by virtue of being born in a godly line doesn't mean you have hope.
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The only hope you have is repenting of your sin and believing the Gospel.
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And God creates one new man in place of the two. Sixthly, the
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Gospel is continually revealed. Creation's restore shows us cosmic ruler, shows us consummate redeemer, shows us complete reconciler, shows us...
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Sixthly, let me mention communion realized. So the mystery of the Gospel is mentioned in Ephesians 5 as well.
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This mystery. He's talking about marriage here, but in Ephesians 5 verse 29 says this,
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For no one has ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does in the church, because we are members of His body.
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Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
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This mystery is profound. And I'm saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
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So hear me, Christ is our husband, and the church is His bride. This is a spiritual analogy.
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We're united to Christ. By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, Christians are spiritually united and joined to Christ.
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And marriage is a physical picture of a spiritual reality. Believers have a spiritual union with Christ.
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And I hope you'll hear me soberingly. False believers can convince themselves that they are in Christ.
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Even while they harbor idolatry and rebellion, what's going to happen to them?
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They'll either fall away in this life, they'll either apostatize, or in the next, Jesus will say, depart from Me, I never knew you, and cast them off to hell.
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But true believers can never fall away. Christ cannot lose them because they are
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His sheep. And more than them just being His sheep, they are His bride. They are united to Him.
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He intercedes for them. He has lived for them and bled for them and died for them and risen again for them.
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And nothing can snatch them from His sovereign hands.
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And by virtue of this communion with Christ, believers draw all spiritual nourishment and power.
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I can't wake up in the morning and live in this godless land. And when you ask my wife, I say, man, the last couple of years,
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I've just been more and more unplugged from things of the world. I'm just so weary of this godless world and the chasing of the idols.
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It just burns me down. It's like I can't wake up in the morning and face another day in this godless age, and yet I can because Christ is in me.
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We draw our spiritual nourishment and vitality from Christ. We can march forward in this dark world day after day after day because Christ is in us and with us and for us and we can and will complete the work
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He has for us because the Spirit of God is in us and He's working in us by the ministry of the
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Word. And listen, because we're born again, because we're in Christ, because we live for Christ, believers love the law of God.
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We seek His glory. We join His church in formal membership. We pursue the advance of His kingdom.
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You can't be married to Christ and the world at the same time. You understand? Some of you need to rattle that around in your mind and heart.
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You can't be married to the world and to Christ at the same time. So who is your bridegroom?
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There may even be some in here that you need to be actually committed to this church. We may be talking about members who you're just playing around with the church and God is calling you today.
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No, you need to be serious and committed. There are guests in this room, maybe there's even unconverted people who right now are coming under the saving influence of the
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Holy Spirit and you're seeing from the text today, you need to be committed to this body. You need to unite with us in formal membership.
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Follow the Lord in believers' baptism. And believer, do not for one second forget this great reality of your union with Christ.
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Draw your nourishment from Him. Live for Him. May your entire life be shaped by this
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Gospel. And now, seventhly, the mystery of the
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Gospel reminds us of a confirmed return. Paul says in verse 20, for which
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I am an ambassador. He's an ambassador of what? Of the Gospel. In change.
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That I may declare it as I ought to speak. So Paul is an ambassador.
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A representative of Christ. And it's interesting to me, is it not, that if this
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Jesus is the cosmic ruler, then why is His ambassador here in change?
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Why are His people sufferers? Right? It's real easy to stand up here and say
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God wants victory for your life. Victory over debt. Victory over poor health. Victory over whatever.
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You're going to get a new basket. But this is not the Bible. God's people are sufferers because suffering precedes glory.
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Romans 8 .18 says this, For I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth competing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.
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Suffer now, glory later. Glory now, suffer later. It's pretty simple to consider.
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Suffering now, glory later. This is seen in the Gospel. The man of sorrows lived a life acquainted with grief, betrayal, ridicule, suffering.
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He was beaten. He was battered. He was bruised. He was crucified. He undertook the curse of the law, the penalty of divine justice.
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He died suffering. Sorrow. Pain. But on the third day, on this day,
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He rose again from the dead. Suffering now, glory later. This is a
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Christian principle, friends, that we need to be all the more ready to embrace. Trial now.
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Tribulation now. Glory to come. In the world, we are strangers and we are sojourners.
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The world hated Jesus. Right? You hear this. I said this in Sunday school, so some of you it's a repeat.
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If the church was more like Jesus, the world would love Him. Have you read the
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Bible? The world crucified Christ. Why?
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Because they hated Him. Because He brought forth His divine authority over them.
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And nobody wants the authority of Christ over them in and of themselves. It is our reality that we suffer now, but glory is to come.
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We need more Christians, more local churches willing to do the hard things, even if it costs them.
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Even if it costs us friends, reputation, community standing, whatever the case may be.
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Let us suffer with Christ. I'm not saying have a martyr complex. Hey, let's bear
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His reproach. Right here in central Arkansas, in the short term and the long term.
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Why? Because suffering precedes glory. This is true in the short term.
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That is, do the hard things and God brings something beautiful out of it. I believe our church is even a testimony of that.
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But I'm saying choose the way of Christ over idolatry. Bear the consequences.
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Put God's way to the test and see if it's not better for you, for your family.
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Not to just have one foot over here, one foot over here, and just try to balance it all.
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Go all in for Christ. Deal with the consequences and see that suffering precedes glory.
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It's also true in the long term. Christ is coming again, and we really have this decision to make.
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Am I going to shape my entire life around the resurrection and return of Christ or not?
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Is the resurrection of Christ and His return, is that going to be the plumb line by which
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I calibrate all of life? Will I start seeing everything in my life by the reality that Jesus Christ is going to return?
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You've got things in your life that are way too big in your life right now. That's because you're looking at Jesus' return from far away and you're looking at the things in your life right here.
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You need to back up and see the things in your life right now in the perspective of the return of Christ.
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And you need to see that there are certain things in your life right now that are not worth your focus, that you need to repent of, that have become idols.
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Christ is coming back. Listen, for some of you, it doesn't even shape your Sundays.
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The very day that Jesus rose from the dead is left untouched in your life.
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For some of you, it doesn't change your habits in the home. What you listen to, what you allow your minds and your ears and your hearts to consume.
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It doesn't change the things you do with your family. For example, how can the reality of Christ's victory and return not find its way into intentional times of gathering your family around the
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Bible during the week? Reading it together. Singing songs. Praying together.
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Husbands, how about kindness to your wife? Wives, how about respect and kindness to your husband?
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For some of you, this Gospel has not taken root. And how do
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I know? Because it's evident in your plans and your goals and your dreams. You're not considering the
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Kingdom of Christ. You're not considering the church, the advance of Christ's glory to cover the earth as water covers the seas.
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The church in our area, in central Arkansas, and not just central Arkansas, but that's where we live, but in the entire
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Bible Belt, it's just set on the back burner. It's like, man, I've got all this other stuff that's so important and every now and then when
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I can, yeah, sure, I'll throw a little money in the plate at church, right? I'll text the pastor or call the pastor or I'll try to visit every now and then or I'll dabble in the things of religion when
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I can, but really, my real life is... And the things of Christ, they're just so minimal.
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Is that the right response to a resurrected and reigning and returning
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King? Consider these things, please. For some of you, the reality of Christ's Gospel is like Christmas falling on Wednesday this year.
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That is, yeah, yeah, that's true, but what's that do for me today?
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Today, it's only March. No one's thinking about Christmas but you. It's March.
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Today, I'll live in apathy, negligence, idolatry, sin.
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I'll live free today from God's commands. Today, I'll give lip service to Jesus while going my own way.
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Today, I'll compartmentalize my life. I'll treat Jesus like a divorced dad and sometimes on some weekends,
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I'll say hi to Him. But I'm telling you that this is not the
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Gospel that Paul preached. So listen,
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I'm going to prove it to you. And also for me that words may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the
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Gospel for which I'm an ambassador in chains that I may declare it boldly as I ought to speak.
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You don't need boldness to proclaim a Gospel that says just keep loving yourself and your sins and the world.
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What if that was the Gospel? What if the Gospel was... God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
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God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Hey, the things that you're doing, God don't care about them. Go, be encouraged.
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I don't need boldness for that. People want you. They would applaud that.
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What I need boldness for is to say you sir, you ma 'am are going the wrong way and you stand under the wrath of God.
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You're a child of wrath. And hell be to pay literally if you continue to go on this way.
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But God offers pardon for you in the life, death, burial, and resurrection. If you repent, repent, repent, that is turn from your sins, turn from them, and turn to Christ, and bow the knee to Christ as the supreme and sovereign authority of your life, you may have eternal life.
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We need boldness in that. Because that's offensive. The king is coming.
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You are not God, but he is. He has given everything, he has secured everything, he has lived and died and risen again for sinners, and he demands the repentance of the world.
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That you leave the kingdom of this world, that you leave your own false kingship, that you turn from your sins, that you kiss the son, that you come to him in faith, trust in him holy and alone for the forgiveness of your trespasses and redemption from the curse of the law.
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Jesus paid it all. All to him you owe. So let me put it to you this way.
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How long will you halt between two opinions?
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Is bail God? Serve Him.
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Is ball? Serve.
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Is sexual immorality God? Okay. All means.
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Serve. Money? Fame? Fortune?
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Are these things the king of kings and lord of lords? Okay. If so, by all means, serve.
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Self is your king. Are you the sovereign, supreme ruler of this universe?
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If you are, then by all means, go in worships. But if the
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Lord God is God, if the triune God, Yahweh Elohim is
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God, if the Lord Jesus Christ, the conqueror, the rider on the white horse who is conquering, come to conquer and is conquering now, if He is
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God, then you don't have a choice today. You must follow Him. You must forsake these other gods.
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You must turn away from them. You must quit saying, I've got one foot over here.
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You must leave these things and chase after Christ. Give it all to Him. He's worth it.
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He's worth it. He's worth it. He's returning and we will not regret one single inch that we gave over to Him.
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Come to Christ and give it all to Him. Quit lipping between two opinions.
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Live in and with and for the church, this holy band of redeemed rebels marching on to Zion, marching toward the celestial city.
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I set the resurrected Christ before this congregation today. He is every believer's solace and joy.
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He is our life. He is our hope. He is our rest. All in Him. Rest again in Him, dear saint.
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I set the resurrected Christ before this congregation this day. He is the only hope for every unbeliever.
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Peace and hope and restoration and forgiveness and reconciliation.
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It's only found in the resurrected Christ. If you'll today let go of the world and open your hand to Christ.
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Repent. Turn from sin. Trust what Jesus has done. Here then is hope.
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Here is love. Here is redemption. Here is Christ. But here's the warning.
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You preach, you preach, you preach, you plead. Sometimes the
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Lord leaves people to their own foolish desires. And so today, if that's you, the
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Lamb of salvation will become to you a rock of obliteration if you refuse
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Him. Should you refuse Him, the same hands held out to you this day in mercy will grab you by the lapels and according to Revelation 21, they will throw you in the lake of fire.
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So, I'm pleading with my friends in this room. Do not neglect such a salvation.
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Do not refuse such kindness. Do not reject such mercy.
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Come to the risen King, trusting Him alone as your only suitable and all sufficient
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Savior and He will receive you. Christ the
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Lord is risen today! Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Church, what will we do?
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Father, hear this message in vain.
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I pray the Spirit would apply the Word to our needy hearts.
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Some believers in this room need to be encouraged. And I pray that they're encouraged by this
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Gospel. It is finished. Christ is resurrected. They are united to Him.
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They draw their life from His very veins. They are nourished and cherished in Him.
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There are some, even some of my own children, who need to hear that the
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Gospel demands a response. And the response it demands is repenting from sin.
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Coming out from the kingdoms of this world and putting oneself under the kingdom of Christ's Lordship.
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Putting their faith in the finished work of Christ. We know, Holy Spirit, that we are desperate for the regenerating and gracious and sovereign work that You do.
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And so we pray that even now that You are pleased to regenerate hearts. Even now, those who perhaps thought they were saved, even now,
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You draw them from death to life and set their eyes on Christ. And they see Jesus as their only hope, and they run to Him.
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Those who never had a saving experience, that never thought that they were saved, and they see right now, even now, as I pray, they see
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Christ and they run to Him in their heart, trusting His finished work. Lord, we pray that You would work for the glory of Your name.