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  • Pastor Jacob Marchitell

Ephesians 3:11-13

Originally given on 05/23/2021

Last week we looked at verses 7-10 and saw that God gave gifts to His children, and when we use our gifts, it helps others.

It builds the Church

It causes us to grow and be healthy

The other Christians in my life, using their own gifts, helps me draw closer to God

Helps me know him more and more

Helps me withstand the attacks of the devil and his demons, who are watching me


When im wounded and hurt by the events of my life that have left me suffering, I can look to my brothers and sisters in the faith, and the Gifts that God gave them, can help me.


And then we have our verses this morning.


Ephesians 3:11–13


[11] This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, [12] in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. [13] So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.


Prayer


God has an ETERNAL purpose in mind.


He is working, in all of His churches-----

In all of His villages

In all of his towns

In all of His countries

Across His entire world


BECAUSE everything in the world belongs to Him, and He can do with it as He pleases----


He does.

He isn't a slothful and lazy God


He didn't set His plan in motion like a spinning top, and then sat back and watched it bounce and careen everywhere


He is intimately involved in everything that is going on down here.


He isn't atop some golden throne, watching the events of His world happen.


One of the ways he is involved, is the gifts he gave to His children…….


And our first verse here, shows us one of the reasons WHY he is involved.


Look at verse 11.

“This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,”


#1) Everything God does------or doesn't do ------- is according to His own will and purposes, and His will and purposes are ETERNAL.


God is working, here and now ----- at Christ Community Church of Clyde, NY


He is here, now, in this very room, living within the hearts of the repentant, and involved in their day to day life.


Romans 8:28 says:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


Whatever it is you are going through in your life right now----- no matter how dark or hopeless it may seem----- if God is living within your heart ------ if you have repented of your sins and believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then EVERYTHING will work together for your good.


There is a greater and grander purpose behind everything that happens in this world, and for those who love God-----it all works together for good.


God sees your situation, and He calls to you ----- repent and believe


If you already have repented and believed ------ He calls to you, to take comfort in His eternal embrace


There is no situation so dire that God is not still in control---

There is no set of circumstances, no matter how dark, that God does have have in the palm of His hand----

There is no nation, so powerful, that they can stand against----


There is nothing in all of reality that can sway or influence the ETERNAL purposes of our God


----------


God has an ETERNAL purpose for His world

God has an ETERNAL purpose for His children


When He gave gifts to His children----

To use to strengthen His church

To use to strengthen and support their siblings

To use to declare the glory of God to the very demons


He had an ETERNAL purpose in mind.


The things we do, here and no in this life ----- matter in eternity


Can we see beyond the scope of our day, let alone our life?


Yes we can plan and plot and guess and estimate about the effects of our choices ------ but it is still unknown to us until it happens


---------------and even when the outcome happens, we can still be dumbfounded and confused by how one thing led to another!


This weekend, for a lighthearted example ------- Ill be going camping on lake ontario with my family.

We have plans and the choices Im making this week, im assuming will have a specific outcome

----

----

----


But it is all a guess. Its based on things yes, its not a shot in the dark, but it is still a guess.


James 4:13-15

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”


God’s purposes are ETERNAL and He never fails to bring them about.


He doesn't intend to do something, and then comes up short


He doesn't set out and make a plan that is dependent upon us acting and living the right way, and when we sin and fail and mess up------- God has to scramble and come up with a “Plan B”


There is no Plan B for your life.

God’s purposes for you and for His Church and for His world, are ETERNAL


The failings of our life-----

The bad things of our life----


If they were our own fault or not can not prevent God from fulfilling His ETERNAL purposes


God factors in our stupid----- when He moves to unfold His purposes in our life.


If we make this bad choice or that bad choice----

If someone makes this bad choices against us or that bad choice against us---

If this happens of ir that happens----


God’s purposes remain ETERNAL


If a Nation passes this law or passes that law----

If a famous Pastor does this or does that----

If a celebrity does this or does that----

If a politician does this or does that----


Nothing can not prevent God from fulfilling His ETERNAL purposes


#2) Because GOD’S PURPOSES ARE ETERNAL we can have boldness and confidence


Look at our verses again.

[11] This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, [12] in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.


We hear these kinds of things, about God being all powerful and eternal--------

About God being there for us

About other Christians supposed to be being there for us

About God being intimately involved in everything that happens in this world


But sometimes it doesn't sink in ---- right?


We hear the words of the Pastor

We hear the words of the Preacher

We see the inspirational message on our social media

We say the prayers-----

We even read the Words, word for word in the Bible…..


But when we leave the church---

When we close the Bible---

We go home ------- were still hurt ------ were still afraid ------- were still lonely

Were still sick

Our loved one is still gone

This situation in my life is absolutely dominating every thought

Every emotion is being controlled

Every feeling is subject to the whim of this thing I have going on in my life, and I cant see around it


If that is you----

If that applies----


All that it means….is that you are a human.

You are normal.


You see, one of the tricks and lies of the devil is to say that all the things we read about in Scripture, or hear the Pastor say on a Sunday morning……..apply to everyone else, except me.

They are the normal people who work their way through a problem and come out with a solution, but me…..im some kind of leftover exception that is different, so all those things cant work for me.


“All the people I see in my life are going through this or that, and I don't see them struggling in the way that I struggle…….so I must be some kind of hopeless case.”


That right there, is precisely why we don't let things go unsaid.

If you are struggling, tell your brothers and sisters in the faith.

Tell the other christians that God has placed you amongst….about the trials and temptations of your life.

Confess your faults to them.

Show them you are weak without God


----------


Because God’s purposes are ETERNAL we cannot say that our life is good or bad based on our current situation.


Yes things may be bad for you now----

But you are going to live for an eternity


Yes you may be sick now -------------------------but you will live forever.

Your loved one may be gone now -------------but they will live forever.


Your life may be being held together by the strings youve pulled from your own heart, and you don't know how many you have left to pull from yourself, before you cant hold everything together anymore------- but you are going to live forever.


And if you have repented of your sins and believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ….then that eternity will be lived in the presence of the God of the universe.

Him who is clothed in unapproachable light will be your joy forever


And He is the one who does not rise and fall and change and get affected based on anything in this world.


That is what Verse [12] is talking about when it says: “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him”


As we read in Chapter 2 …. Our faith is a gift from God.

We didn't earn it

We didn't work for it

We didn't check off a list of boxes, and then God rewarded us for our careful study


It was a gift.


And because it came from Him -------- in spite of our failings and shortcomings ------

We can be bold and confident towards Him.


Hebrews 4:16

[16] Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


Hebrews 10:19 & 22

[19] Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, …. [22] let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.


Are you hurt? Don't just tell others, ------------ Tell God

Are you afraid? Approach the Throne

Are you frustrated? Are you scared? Are you hungry for righteousness?

Do you want to see change in this world?

Do you want to see change in your life?


Tell Him!

Get it off your chest

Lament and cry and give voice to the emotions and feelings He already knows you have, but are keeping bottled up inside of you.


We can approach God with BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE through our faith.

That is why He gave us faith

Yes to save us

But to help us along the way in the few years we get to spend down here.


To give us power // To give us strength

To direct us// Support us // Guide us


To allow us to approach Him with BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE


Before Jesus died and rose again, the presence of God rested in the Ark of the Covenant, and it was kept separate from everyone else, in fact------anyone unworthy would die as soon as they entered the holy place…..


In fact…….In the Old Testament, theres a story in 2nd Samuel about a man named Uzzah who simply touched the Ark of the covenant, and was immediately killed…….


But now…… the curtain has been torn…..

We have direct access to the God of the Universe


He doesn't want some limp wristed ----

Sunken chested----

Weak willed -----

Cowardly and sorry excuse for a human.


BE BOLD

BE CONFIDENT


If you are shy and soft spoken, be the boldest and most confident soft spoken person anyone has ever seen.

Do not let your sin and mistakes and leis from the enemy that you aren't loved by God ---------stop you from approaching Him


Do not let your failures, no matter how deep or dark they may have been, ever stop you from running to His throne and crying out “God I need you”


“God Ive failed”

“I hate this”

“I hate myself for doing this”

“Im hurt” “Im lost”

“I'm surrounded by a wicked and degenerate culture who hates you and and who celebrates evil----”


“Im broken and angry and confused and scared and upset and hurt and alone and I see no way in which anything good will ever happen God I need you!”


And ----- He------ will ------ answer ------- you


Approach the throne of God----

Open your Bible----

Fall to your knees in prayer----

Confess your weakness to one another----

And boldly approach your king with the confidence of a child of God.


----------


You see, when God gave you the gift of faith to begin with, and then gave you the gifts needed to do the work He has set out for you------


All to strengthen others // Strengthen the Church // And grow closer to Him

He knew you would need to be bold and confident.

He knew that, because He knows that living for Him, puts you at odds with this world.

With this culture

With people who hate Him


Like we talked about at the beginning, God has an ETERNAL purpose for this world.

For His Church

And for His Children


And when we are living out every word of Scripture----

When we arrange our lives and the lives of our families around what Scripture teaches,

----we will butt heads with this world.


Not just coldly proclaiming the truth as an excuse to be a jerk to people living in sin----

Not using the Gospel as a bludgeon to make ourselves feel holy and better than someone else---


But honestly living out everything that scripture teaches.

Being gentle and bold -------- at the same time

Being unmoving and humble ------ at the same time.


Standing up for what God says about marriage and sexuality

While treating people kindly


Standing up for what God says about the slaughter of the unborn

While treating people with compassion


Standing up for God says is the government's role

While not giving in to rebellion


Yes there is a time and place for the righteous anger of God to flow through our words and deeds….

But that doesn't mean we ever stop being humble and kind while it flows….


----------


You see, when we live like that------- letting everything in Scripture manifest in our lives----

We wont fit in.

There may even be some Churches where we wont fit in----- but you wouldn't want to be in those Churches anyways.


When we never lean to one side or another, but walk that tightrope of what Scripture teaches------ we will be at odds with this world


We need to be BOLD AND CONFIDENT because of what our last verse this morning says.


[11] This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, [12] in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. [13] So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.


As we've talked about several Sundays before today, Paul is writing this letter to the Christians in Ephesus…..from a prison cell.


And not only that, he is letting us know that the government sanctioned persecution he is experiencing…..brings glory to the Church.


We could devote an entire month of Sermons to the subject of persecution, so we won’t dive too deep, but in closing, what Paul is saying here, is that when the governments of this world persecute Christianity ….. it brings glory to the Church.


Every time that governments have tried to stop Christianity ----- it spreads.


Every time a law is passed that binds and inhibits our ability to express the Gospel ------ more Churches are started


Persecution grows the Church and spreads Christianity.


When the Romans fed us to lions, others saw our devotion to Christ, and God used it to save them.

When the early Christians were able to run away, they filled foreign countries with churches and God moved

Persecution brings glory to the Church


We need to be BOLD AND CONFIDENT because the persecution that the early Christians faced…..was not something excluded to only the 1st Century.


It has happened ever since.


Every century, the saints of the most high God have declared the reality that Christ is king….and have faced the repercussion of that belief.


We have been segregated--

Ostracized-- Hunted-- Arrested--

Our homes get invaded--

We stand before Judges--

And we are found guilty.

Not guilty of sin or immorality

But guilty of not obeying their wicked and evil laws


----------


I doubt that now, in the 21st century, we will be fed to lions, but the persecution that has been a constant for the majority of the Church, which American christians have avoided, is coming for us.


In 1949 there were only about 4 million Christians in China

Their churches could only preach and teach what the government allowed---

And those that disobeyed, were arrested and killed

So the Christians would meet in secret---

They would meet in homes under the guise of English lessons and use the Bible to do so


And if their government found out, they would raid your home, burn your church and burn your bible


If they wouldn't deny Jesus, they would be imprisoned by their government, and even killed.


But now, in 2021 ------- after all the efforts of the Chinese government, Christianity is growing.

In fact, Christianity is growing and spreading faster in China than anywhere else and there are up to 67 million Christians.


Persecution spreads the gospel.


----------


In the past few months, three Pastors in Canada have been arrested for holding Church services.


Dragged into the street--- Handcuffed--- And arrested.


Pastor James Coates, of Grace Life Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta

was arrested for holding Church services, the military surrounded his church, built a fence around it, and forced them to hide and gather in secret.


Pastor Artur Pawlowski of Street Church in Calgary, Alberta

Who lived as a Christian under the communism of Poland, and who kicked police out of His Church during Easter, was arrested in the middle of the street.

And after his refusal to obey their wicked laws, those who oppose him...burned his house down.


And most recently


Pastor Tim Stephens, of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta

Was arrested, in front of his wife and children, for holding Church services in direct violation of the Canadian government.


The persecution of the Saints brings glory to the Church.


----------


I’ll close with this, and then invite you all to stand for the singing of the Doxology


Acts 5:17-29 says this:

17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.


Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. 25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.


27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.


What are you willing to endure for the Gospel?


Has the soft and squishy freedom of American Christianity…...made you timid and weak?

When the government is acting unjust and wicked----waht will we do?

Will we take to the streets and riot and burn?

Will we storm government buildings?


Or will we quietly and boldly preach the truth that Christ is King, and we must obey Him rather than any other authority.


It is only because of our faith, that we can BOLDLY & CONFIDENTLY rest in the unfolding of God’s sovereign and eternal purposes.


Doxology


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