Today is the last day of the Southside Lectures. It’s been a great week. I’ve been edified by the powerful preaching from my fellow-laborers, Roger Shouse, Kenny Moorer and Don Truex.
But I’ve also been encouraged by the fellowship of the brethren who have come to worship, learn and grow. The association with God’s people this week has ennobled, uplifted and fortified my spirit.
It seems fitting that my final lecture this morning is on “The Wisdom of God’s Eternal Purpose. Here’s a synopsis of what I plan to share from Ephesians 3:10-11.
“to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord”
(1) God’s wisdom is manifold. It’s many faceted and multi-colored. It is variegated. Diverse. And diversified. It’s so above the wisdom of man that we cannot comprehend the greatness of God’s wisdom.
(2) God’s wisdom was carried out in Christ. God’s purpose and plan was accomplished in Christ’s coming. It’s all about Christ! That’s why the Bible says to please God, we must be “in Christ.”
(3) God’s wisdom is made known by the church. Really? That’s what the text says! In an age that diminishes and denigrates the church, the Bible teaches the church is an expression of God’s wisdom.
(4) God had a purpose. Creation is not an accident. We’re not here by happenstance. Christ’s coming was not ill-conceived. And the church was not an after thought. Everything God did was purpose-driven!
(5) God has a purpose for His people.
- To be a member of His Family. There are many metaphors in the Bible for the Christian. We are called Sheep. Soldiers. Servants. But none is more understandable or more accurate than the idea of family.
God wants to be our spiritual Father (2 Cor 6:18). Jesus Christ desires to be our elder brother. We are called to be family (Eph. 1:19). And we are born into this family through a spiritual birth (John 3:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:22-23).
We enjoy community and communion. We share a special relationship with God and each other. And we find a place to belong.
- To be a magnifier of God. The Psalmist said, “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.” (Ps. 34:3). Paul said he desired to magnify God in his body either in life or death.
There is an inborn urge in each person to worship. If we don’t worship Jehovah God, we will find something else to worship. It might be a job. Family. Money. Sports. Or even ourselves! But God wants us to worship Him.
- To be a model of Christ’s character. This is the personalized goal of discipleship. God wants every believer to grow up and become like Christ. Peter penned “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:”
While learning is important to spiritual growth, maturity is measured more by lifestyle. Character. Integrity.
- To be a minister to others. God expects us to use our gifts, talents and opportunities to benefit and bless others. The Bible says, Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (I Pet 4:10).
In Bible times every member was a minister. The idea of just THE MINISTER in a church is not really Biblical. Elton Trueblood once wrote, “If you are a Christian, then you are a minister. A non-ministering Christian is a contradiction in terms.”
- To be a messenger of His love. God is love. And he wants us to be like Him. And to share his message of life, light and love with the world.
Make God’s purpose your passion. Your pursuit. Your priority.. Then the epitaph for your life can read as it did for David that “…he served God’s purpose in his own generation…“
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman