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GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. This morning we began a study of “God’s Eternal Purpose.”
B. The apostle Paul wrote about it in Ephesians 3:8-11.
1. This purpose is to be preached.
2. It is a treasure.
3. It involves a rich fellowship with deity and man.
4. It once was a mystery, but it has been manifest for all to see in this Age.
C. Let’s find out exactly what God’s Eternal Purpose is and some more interesting facts associated with it. Again, we turn your attention to Ephesians 3:8-11.
I. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE IS THE CHURCH
A. Ephesians 3:10
To the intent that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places by be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.
1. We mentioned that angels had desired to know about God’s eternal purpose.
2. Paul says that now they can know it. Note, these are the “principalities and powers in heavenly places” that Paul writes about here.
B. The eternal purpose of God is “known by the church.”
1. The church: the body of baptized believers who have been called out the world over which Christ reigns as Head, and in whom the Spirit of God dwells (See I Cor. 12:27).
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
2. The church is what God intended, purposed, and planned before the foundations of the world were laid.
C. There are some people who have a hard time getting their minds around the fact that God’s eternal purpose is the church.
1. They have been taught that the church is not important.
a. The church does not save.
b. It does not matter which church a person belongs to.
c. Attend the church of your choice.
2. In their minds, they have separated Jesus from the church.
a. Jesus is important, but the church is not.
b. Jesus was involved in the eternal plan of God, but the church was not.
c. In times past individuals would say: “Give us the Man, not the plan.”
3. These individuals have never been taught the close relationship that exists between Christ and the church.
1. Jesus is the one who built the church (Matt. 16:18).
2. Jesus shed His blood to purchase the church (Acts 20:28).
3. Jesus is the savior of the body, the church (Eph. 5:23).
4. The church is the body of Christ and Jesus is the Head (Col. 1:18).
5. The church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33)
6. It is through the church that God receives His glory (Eph. 3:21).
7. When Jesus returns the second time, He will be coming for His bride, the church (Eph. 5:27, Rev. 21:2).
II. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE MANIFESTS HIS WISDOM
A. Ephesians 3:10
To the intent that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.
B. If a person will honestly look at the church, he will see God’s wisdom brilliantly shining through.
1. God gave unto His people a kingdom which is not of this world (John 18:36).
2. God gave unto man a body wherein he could be united with his fellowman (Eph. 2:14-16).
3. God gave unto man a temple wherein he can worship God in spirit and in truth (I Pet. 2:5, 9; John 4:24).
4. God has given man a vineyard, a place wherein he can labor and serve the Father (Matt. 20:1).
5. God assembled His people within the church to bring together an army to fight against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:10-12).
6. God gave unto man a family, a place wherein he can belong, a place he can be loved, a place he can be supported, and a place where he can be disciplined and held accountable (I Tim. 3;15-16).
7. God gave unto man a place live so that can be in the world but not be part of the world (Rom. 12:1-2).
C. Who, but God, could have purposed an institution that could completely meet the needs of a holy people in this world and in the world to come.
III. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE IS ETERNAL
A. God has always had the church in His mind.
B. The church, my friends, is not a temporary expedient in the plan of God that was put in place when the Jews rejected Jesus as their King during His first sojourn. The Premillennialists are wrong, dead wrong, and absolutely wrong on this point!
C. The church was always in the mind of God and in the pages of the Old Testament He would expose it from time to time.
1. The ark of Noah was a type of the church.
2. The tabernacle and temple were types of the church.
3. The children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness were a type of the church.
4. The kingdom of Israel under her kings was a type of the church.
5. Many prophesies of the Old Testament had to do with the church (Isa. 2:2-3; Dan. 2:44).
IV. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE WAS CARRIED OUT THROUGH JESUS
A. Ephesians 3:11
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
B. Again, we must stress that Jesus and the church are abound tightly together.
1. Jesus came preaching that the kingdom of God was at hand (Matt. 4:17).
2. He foretold that He would build His church (Matt. 16:18).
3. He taught about the church in those parables referred to as “the kingdom” parables.
4. He died and shed His blood to purchase the church (John 19:30; Acts 20:28).
5. He rose and ascended to the right hand of God and was given a kingdom (Dan. 7:13-14).
6. That kingdom came into existence on Pentecost Day following our Lord’s resurrection (Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4). This was the day that obedient men and women were added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:47).
7. One day, He will return and will receive His bride (Rev. 21:2).
A. Tonight we have briefly examined “God’s Eternal Purpose.
1. That purpose was the church.
2. At one time it was a mystery, but no longer.
3. It was brought into existence by Jesus Christ the Son of God.
4. It manifests the wonderful wisdom of God.
5. It is valuable to mankind.
6. In the church there is a rich fellowship that man can enjoy, a fellowship with God and with other men.
7. It was an eternal plan, not some temporary expedient called “The Church Age.”
B. Tonight, we have preached it unto you. We must continue to preach it until the Lord returns for His church, His precious bride.
C. All men are invited to become members of this fellowship. Remember, Paul said that the Corinthians were “called” into the fellowship of Jesus Christ.
1. That call comes through the gospel (II Thess. 2:14).
2. It tells man what he must do to be saved.
3. Once he does what he needs to do to be saved, the Lord adds him to the church (Acts 2:47).