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GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. The title of our lesson is: “God’s Eternal Purpose.”
B. When finite man thinks of something being “eternal,” it is difficult to comprehend.
1. Without beginning and without end (Where did God come from?)
2. Lasting forever
3. Unchanged by time
4. Deathless, undying, imperishable, indestructible
C. The Almighty God of heaven had an “eternal purpose.” Paul wrote about it in his brief epistle to the Ephesian church (Eph. 3:8-11).
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly placed might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1. In this text, we learn what God’s eternal purpose is.
2. In fact, we are told at least eight things about God’s eternal purpose in these four verses.
I. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE IS TO BE PREACHED
A. Preaching is the method that God has chosen to reveal His eternal purpose to mankind (I Cor. 1:21; Rom. 10:14).
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolish-ness of preaching to save them that believe.
B. Paul had been commissioned by God to preach the eternal purpose “among the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15; Gal. 2:7).
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
C. Paul tells us that the purpose of his preaching was “to make all men see.”
1. Preaching is to open the eyes of one’s understanding.
2. Preachers need to do all they can to make the message simple, plain, and clear.
D. Throughout the book of Acts we find Paul preaching about God’s eternal purpose (Acts 14:22; 19:8; 20:25: 28:23, 31).
II. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE IS A TREASURE
A. The eternal purpose of God falls within “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).
B. Riches involve something that is extremely valuable. Riches involve something of great wealth.
1. God’s eternal purpose is of great wealth to the spiritual man.
2. Sadly there are many today who do not think God’s eternal purpose is worth anything at all.
C. Paul also describes these riches as unsearchable.
1. Men can study God’s eternal purpose. They can research it. They can test it. Yet, they will never fully comprehend its massive worth.
2. Like God’s judgments and like His ways, His eternal purpose is “past finding out” (Rom. 11:33).
D. It we had the time, we could spend several minutes discussing two of Jesus’ parables that would tie into this point.
1. The Parable of the Hidden Treasure in A Field (Matt. 13:44).
2. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (Matt. 13:45-46).
III. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE INVOLVES FELLOWSHIP
A. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery” (Eph. 3:9).
1. Strong (2842): partnership, that is, (literally) participation or (social) intercourse
2. Thayer: fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse.
C. God’s eternal purpose unites man, that is, brings him into a friendly association with others.
1. I Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. The eternal purpose of God bring us into fellowship with
a. God (I John 1:3)
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
b. Man (I John 1:7; Eph. 2:12-22)
1) One new man (Eph. 2:15)
2) One body (Eph. 2:16)
3) Fellow citizens (Eph. 2:19)
4) Of the household of God (Eph. 2:19)
5) A temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:21)
6) A habitation of God (Eph. 2:22)
IV. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE WAS A MYSTERY
A. In Ephesians 3:9, Paul speaks about “the fellowship of the mystery.”
1. Strong (3466): a secret
2. Thayer: hidden thing, secret, something not obvious to the understanding
C. There was a period of time when God’s eternal purpose was hidden.
1. Paul notes that it had been hidden “from the beginning of the world.”
2. It was hidden in the Patriarchal Age and in the days of the Mosaic Law.
3. During this time even angels desired to look into the things that God was doing (I Pet. 1:12).
D. In the Christian Age, however, the mystery is revealed. It is no longer hidden. God’s eternal purpose can be known by all (Eph. 3:3-5).
How that by revelation his made known unto me the mystery, (as I wrote afore in few words; whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ,) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
1. God’s revelation in the New Testament clearly reveals unto us what the eternal purpose of God is.
2. In fact, in our very next point we learn exactly what it is.
A. We have briefly looked into Paul’s text about the eternal purpose of God.
B. Thus far, Paul has not revealed it unto us. He will do this in the next lesson.
C. He has definitely made us desire to know what it is.
1. He wants it to be preached.
2. It is part of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
3. It involves fellowship with God and with man.
4. It once was a mystery, but now it has been revealed.