Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-11 Sermon Title: God Supplies our Greatest Needs Sermon Text: Ephesians 6:23-24 Memory Verse: Ephesians 6:24 MAIN IDEA: Respond to God supplying our greatest needs with an incorruptible love for Jesus. God Supplies Our Need for Truth God Supplies Our Need for Peace and Love with Faith God Supplies Our Need for Grace Therefore, Love the Lord Jesus Christ NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." This manuscript is provided as a courtesy and is not intended for publication. The audio and video message differs from the manuscript. Thanks for understanding.
Introduction: Closing a letterThere are many ways we may close a letter. We may say, “kind regards, very truly yours, good wishes, take care, cordially,” or “later alligator.” We may put great thought in how to close the letter or we may put no thought at all. The Holy Spirit inspires the Apostle Paul to close his letter to the Ephesians with words of great encouragement, wisdom, and spiritual depth. He writes: Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. (Eph. 6:23-24) These words represent grand, sweeping theology. They are not simple words communicating, “take care,” or “have a nice day,” rather, they speak of the glories of salvation. The readers have memorable words of importance; words such as peace, love, faith, and grace. And, they know they are to love Christ with an incorruptible love. The main idea of the message is this: MAIN IDEA: Respond to God supplying our greatest needs with an incorruptible love for Jesus. God is the source of all that is good. As James writes, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (Ja. 1:17). We are people with great need, and God supplies our need. Let’s begin with the first point, which is:
God Supplies Our Need for TruthGod’s gifts of peace, grace, and faith begins first with His gift of truth. In other words, His gift of truth must first be received and believed before He gives any other blessing of salvation. People have an innate, God-given craving for truth. We need truth. This week, our government is holding hearings with public testimony because of a need for the truth. We send our children to school so they may learn the truth. Every culture and civilization seeks the truth. In the ancient city of Ephesus, people worship Artemis. Their life revolves around worshipping a false God. They are ignorant of the One True God. They do not worship Him or give Him thanks. They are people who go about life, blind to the truth of God and His goodness. They need the truth. The citizens of Ephesus are like the people of today. Today, people believe life is good. They do not know they are in condemned enemies of God. They are blind to the truth and believe the Bible is just another fairy-tale. Today, people need the truth. Eternal life begins with truth. The Creator of the Universe needs to reveal to us the truth about life, our needs, how to live, where to find joy, and how to be satisfied. God is the One who knows all truth. God, as it may be said, has cornered the market on truth. In 53ad, God sends His ambassador, the Apostle Paul, to Ephesus. Paul brings God’s word of truth and proclaims it to the people of Ephesus. Some do not believe. But, many do. Those who believe, become the children of God. Paul describes their experience in this letter. He says, “after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him (in Christ) with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14) A church starts and thrives in Ephesus. People no longer worship a false God. Life has meaning and purpose. They no longer believe the lies and deception of the enemy. Now, they worship the One True God and His Son, Jesus Christ. They burn millions of dollars of books on the occult, and they melt idols made of silver. In doing this, the Ephesian saints become rich. They are not rich by the standards of Ancient Rome, but by the standards of the heavenly realm. They have the greatest of all possessions; Christ and eternal life. They sing songs of joy. They look at the world differently. They no longer live as pagans, but as holy children of a holy God. The truth of God is a rich possession. In ancient Ephesus, and today, those who do not have the truth have no idea of their need. They think they have everything, but without God’s truth, they are destitute and live in deception and falsehood. It doesn’t matter how much money is in your bank account, how many stocks you own, or if you have vacation homes in the greatest of locations, if you do not have God’s truth, you are poor, wretched, and dead. Two years after his arrival, the Apostle leaves Ephesus. The years pass, and over time, the Ephesian saints fall away from the truth and become deceived. They allow lies and temptations to lead them away from truth. God is gracious and, once again, God sends the truth. His Spirit inspires Paul to write a letter that will breathe fresh truth into their mind and heart. The letter returns the Saints to the pillar of truth, so they may stand firm in the Lord, and be strong in the power of His might. The all-wise God sees through time. He knows our need for the truth is the same as the Ephesians. God preserves the letter for us. We have the word of truth God sends to Ephesus. It strengthens us so we may stand firm with the Ephesian saints. How amazing, that a letter written to a church by a man in prison in the first century, proves incredibly valuable to us today. The truth of this letter changes the Ephesians and it changes us. How invigorating it is for our soul to learn:
- God chose us from the foundation of the world, (Eph. 1:4)
- We receive every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Eph. 1:3)
- We are adopted children of God, (Eph. 1:4, 5)
- We receive redemption and the forgiveness of sins, (Eph. 1:7)
- We have a shared inheritance with Christ, (Eph. 1:11)
- and the surety of God’s pledge, guaranteeing all this, is the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13).
God Supplies Our Need for Peace and Love with FaithPeace, and love with faith are a package. We receive them because we believe in the message of truth. Romans, 5:1-5, speaks well on this topic (scripture reading). It says, because we are justified by faith, we have peace with God. Faith is the door to the kingdom of peace. We move from being targets of God’s wrath, condemned enemies of God, to His kingdom of peace. Unless we hear the truth of God, we do not know we are His enemies (Rom. 5:10) and our disobedience makes us objects of His wrath (Jn. 3:36). Wrath is a very strong word for being angry. God is very angry over sin. He is so angry; He will punish those who sin against Him with eternal punishment. The only thing which keeps wicked people from experiencing God’s wrath right now is God’s sovereign timing. It is not a matter of if, but when. His wrath may come at any time. There is not a person strong enough to resist and stand up to God’s punishment. There is none who is innocent and undeserving of His punishment. The fiery pit of hell is prepared and ready. God’s angels stand ready. God is ready. There is nothing standing in-between God and sinners condemned as His enemies. The only people spared from God’s wrath of eternal punishment are those who believe the message of truth. Ambassadors of God proclaim the ministry of reconciliation, “Be reconciled to God. Beg for His mercy. Believe in salvation through His Son. Flee the wrath to come.” God’s children hear those words and believe them to be true. Faith in God’s message grants peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The saints of God no longer dangle over the fiery pit of hell, ready to fall by the command of God. They are at peace with God. God delivers us from the kingdom of destruction and brings us to the Kingdom of His Son; the Prince of peace. As citizens of His kingdom, we have peace with God and we are to live at peace with one another. We are to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). As citizens living in subjection to the Prince of Peace, we are to daily shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:16). We are ambassadors proclaiming the ministry of reconciliation. When God supplies peace, He also supplies love with faith. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 6:23) Our faith comes as a gift because of God’s love: God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:4-5). We are spiritually dead, enemies of God, but because of God’s great love, He makes us alive in Christ. Salvation is because of God’s great love. God adds to His love, our faith. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9) The “it” in the phrase, “it is the gift of God,” refers to the entire phrase; “by grace you have been saved through faith.” Our faith is a gift of grace (Ro. 12:3). “Love with faith” is from God. Those who boast will say, “I have faith.” The humble will say, “God gives me faith. My salvation is undeserved.” We must remember what Scripture says about our spiritual condition before salvation. All people are spiritually dead. Everyone lives according to the lusts of the flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind (Ephesians 2:1-3). Before salvation, no one understands, no one seeks God, no one does good, and there is none who has a fear of God (Romans 3:10-18). Give God the glory for salvation. He supplies peace, and He supplies love with faith.
God Supplies Our Need for GraceFor us to understand the magnitude of grace, it is helpful to know the difference between mercy and grace. Mercy is not punishing someone who deserves punishment. God is merciful to remove the punishment we deserve. Grace is unmerited favor; receiving something we do not deserve.
- Mercy makes us so that we are no longer enemies of God. Grace adopts us as His children.
- Mercy removes the stain of sin. Grace clothes us with the righteousness of Christ.
- Mercy forgives a debt we cannot repay. Grace grants us an inheritance in Christ.
- Mercy keeps us from the lowest depths of hell. Grace makes us alive, risen, and seated with Christ in the heavenly places.