Have you ever stopped to ask yourself the question, “How does God view you?” How does God look at you? When I say view you, how does He look at you personally, and how does He look at you collectively?
[Roy Holladay] You know, we sometimes wonder how God could love us with all of our faults, all of our weaknesses, our frailties, and our shortcomings. Because we know ourselves we know how short we fall on occasion. Have you ever wondered, does God really love me? How could He love me with the problems and the difficulties that I have?
And especially when you go through a severe trial, have you ever asked yourself, “Where’s God?” You know, you’re looking for help, you’re looking for intervention, and you have these thoughts. Sometimes they’re doubts. We know where those come from but they creep into our minds.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself the question, “How does god view you?” How does God look at you? When I say view you, how does He look at you personally, and how does He look at you collectively? Now we know collectively we’re talking about the church as a whole but individually each one of us is a part of the body, and each one of us is a member, so how does God look at us individually?
There are many places in the Bible where God talks about His people, how He sees us, what He thinks of us, what He’s doing with us. What our future is all about. Where we’re going, and we want to cover a number of those scriptures today to take a look at that because I think when you stop to think about it, about what the Father is doing, and His Son, Jesus Christ you will see that God has a special concern for all of us, for all humanity as far as that is concerned.
So when we get down on our knees, and we pray to God, and we’re crying out, thanking Him, going through a trial, praying to Him, asking for strength, asking for help. What does He think?
When you’re going through your daily life, and you’re having to face the culture around you, and the struggles that you have in dealing with that. What does God think of what you’re doing? How does God view us?
Well, you and I have been called now. We are extremely privileged to be among the first fruits, to be among those that God is calling at this time, and I think you’ll find that there’s great comfort and encouragement that God gives us and offers us in the scriptures.
He doesn’t want us to doubt. Doubt is one of the greatest undercurrents that undermines faith. When you have doubt, and you have fear, you know, that undermines our faith. God wants us to have utter conviction, total reliance upon Him and His Word.
There are exhortations in the Bible, in the scriptures, that I think are extremely uplifting and encouraging. First of all though, let’s go over to the book of 1 Corinthians 1:26 1 Corinthians 1:26For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
American King James Version×and 27 here, and I want you to notice, we’ll read this as a preface as to what we’re going to go through here today.
1 Corinthians 1:26 1 Corinthians 1:26For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
American King James Version×- …you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
V. 27 - But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. I think we need to keep this in mind always, and especially as we go through the sermon today.
You and I are sitting here today, not because of anything we’ve done, not because of who we are, not because of our greatness, not because of our talents, skills, abilities, anything of that nature. We don’t deserve the credit, God does.
He calls. No one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him. God is the one that opens our mind, reveals knowledge to us, brings us to repentance, gives us His Spirit, and He says He hasn’t called the great of the world. And so that applies to the vast majority of us.
God, out of the billions, stop and think about it, seven billion people on earth today. Out of the billions, God looked down and said, “I want that man. I want that lady.” And He chose you out of all the billions, and when you think of only a few thousand, tens of thousands, maybe a few hundred thousand in God’s church worldwide, scattered around. God chose us, and He didn’t choose us because, again, of our greatness. It’s only through His mercy and His grace that we sit here today, and that we are God’s people.
God chose us because, specifically we weren’t anything, and He wants to show the world, He wants to show those who think they’re something, think they have ability and talent still that He doesn’t need us. That He can accomplish His great purpose without their talents and abilities, and they’re going to have to come to the point in the future to understand that. As verse 29 says,
V. 29 – “that no flesh should glory in His sight (presence). Nobody would say, “Well, this work was accomplished because of me, who I am, my abilities.” I don’t know of any billionaire yet that God has called. I’m not against it. I just don’t know of any.
Now here in verse 9 of chapter 2; just a few verses down here in my Bible we read this.
1 Corinthians 2:9 1 Corinthians 2:9But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.
American King James Version× - …as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." Now sometimes we read right over phrases, and we just don’t think about them. Notice what this verse says, “The things which God has prepared.” What has God been preparing for you, for me? There are things that God is preparing. He doesn’t delineate them all here but God, the Father has been working, and He continues to work.
Do you remember in John 5:17 John 5:17But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work.
American King James Version× – Jesus Christ said, …"My Father has been working until now, and I am (have been) working." A father works, and part of His work is preparing the kingdom, preparing our rewards, preparing to share with us the glory, and whatever it is that He has in store for us. He’s also been working on the “New Jerusalem,” as the Bible indicates. He’s the one who is the contractor, the builder. He’s putting that together, and He is preparing a home for the bride. And He’s getting that ready for us so when the resurrection takes place, the bride comes, they, you know, Christ and the bride have a place to go. And so He’s very busy in doing that.
1 Corinthians 2:10 1 Corinthians 2:10But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
American King James Version× says, “God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.”… Some of these things that He is preparing through His Spirit, by His Spirit power. “For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
Now let’s focus on two words there. “Deep things,” do you know what the deep things of God are? Well, they are things that you and I don’t fully understand and comprehend. Do you fully comprehend what it’s going to be like to be in the kingdom of God, to be a spirit being? To rule, to be able to get around the universe without being limited. To go from here to there as you want to.
Now, we don’t comprehend that. That’s because we’ve not yet experienced the spirit world. We haven’t even seen into the spirit world. You know, God lives in a different dimension than we do, and we haven’t experienced that dimension or seen that world, and yet in the future we’re going to have that opportunity.
Let’s go back to Psalm 145 very quickly here because there is coming a time in the future after the resurrection takes place…, we’ll begin here in verse 3, …that we will be able to experience the kingdom.
Psalms 145:3 Psalms 145:3Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
American King James Version×– It says, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” It is unsearchable; it’s beyond our understanding right now. We don’t understand it. We think we have a glimpse of it. God gives us a glimpse. He helps us to understand it a little. Now, let’s drop down to verse 10.
V. 10 - All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your saints shall bless You.
V. 11 – And they, notice, the saints, this is talking about us in the kingdom after the resurrection. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power. When somebody in the millennium asks you, “What’s God like?”
You can say, “Well, I talked to Him the other day, and let me describe Him. Let me describe the great power, the great beauty, the magnificence of God in His throne room, and the angelic host, the tens of millions who surround His throne.” You begin to describe that so you …shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power.
V. 12 - To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom. You see, that’s going to be a job that you and I will have here in the future. We will be able to do that.
Now, right now God has revealed to us some of the deep things but our minds are so limited on the human level that we can’t really fully comprehend them, maybe you do but I don’t. You know, I think, you think about the glory of God, the kingdom of God, and what it’s going to be like, and we have truly trouble grasping that. I can’t put it into words. My vocabulary is limited, so is yours. My thought concepts are limited. They’re limited to the human level with God’s interaction of His holy Spirit, the spiritual dimension, but we have difficulty.
It’s only through the holy spirit working in us that we can begin to grasp with a limited human understanding what God has in store for us, what He’s planning, what He’s going to do and how He’s going to carry it out.
So with all of that in mind let’s go back to Ephesians 1:3 Ephesians 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
American King James Version×. It says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with (every) spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Jesus Christ.” So we have been truly blessed with spiritual blessings that come with God.
V. 4 – It says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Now notice, that we are to be holy, a holy people of God, and without blame before Him in love.
V. 5 – having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. Now people get all confused about predestination.
The word predestined here simply means “to come to a decision beforehand.” To decide beforehand, to determine ahead of time. What was it that God determined ahead of time? Well, He determined that He was going to call a group of people during this first six thousand years. They are called the “first fruits.” Now I see a bunch of them sitting here before me.
God has called the “first fruits,” and He presents them that that be done ahead of time. Then it goes on to say, “as He chose us.” So who is it that does the choosing? When you stop and think about it you have been hand-picked by God.
God looked down, and He looked at all of the people in Cincinnati, or in my case all the people in Tennessee when I was growing up. All the people, maybe in Chicago or in New York City, and God said, “I want that one.” Out of how many people here, maybe God calls a hundred but God begins to hand-pick and select, and just like Uncle Sam says, “I want you,” God says, “I want you.” And God is going to give us an opportunity.
Now, stop and think about it. God is the greatest being in the universe. All powerful, almighty, He has all knowledge, He’s the self existing one, All powerful, all loving, and yet He took time out of what He’s doing, and He calls us. Why? Because He’s building a family. He’s got an interest in who’s going to be in that family, and especially the first fruits because first fruits have been called to be, it’s a special calling, a wonderful opportunity that God has held out.
What if your human father was the richest, most powerful man on the face of the earth? Had the highest education, could speak a hundred languages, an IQ of two hundred fifty, and just could wow anyone? You’d think, “Wow! I’ve got it pretty well made.”
But our Father, stop and think about this, our Father is the greatest being in the universe. That’s your Dad. That’s my Dad, and He’s the one who’s called us and given us His Spirit in working through us. So, never take that for granted, saying you have the greatest being as your Father.
Now notice in verse 7, goes on to say, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of sins,…” So, you and I have been redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice. The word redemption means “to buy back in the slave market.” You and I at one time were slaves to sin. We’ve been slaves to the devil. We’ve been slaves to our own nature, and God comes along and He buys us, and He says, “You’re mine now.” We belong to God. We’re His possession but God buys us to become His sons. He wants us to be His sons in His kingdom.
Then, as verse 9 says, “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.” So God has made known to us the mystery of His will.
What is a mystery? I love to read mystery novels, and you know, I’ve read a lot of them, you know, your Agatha Christie’s, and so on. You try and figure out who did it, “who done it,” and you know, you read those but a divine mystery is something different.
The definition of the divine mystery, is “something not previously revealed, and when revealed people live for centuries without knowing it, millennia, and therefore unknown apart from divine revelation.” It has to be revealed to an individual.
Another way they put it, of explaining this. “It is a secret plan.” God has a plan. As far as the world is concerned it’s totally secret. They don’t understand it but God came along and said, “Okay, I’m gonna reveal it to you.” So you and I have the opportunity to be in on the secrets of God, the plan of God, the purpose of God that He’s working out here below not known by the vast majority as they have been kept in ignorance until God calls and reveals it to them. Now notice it says, “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.”
Now as we go through this section, and you’ll find it mentioned in a number of other places, it talks about God’s pleasure. In places it talks about the good pleasure of His will or the will of God. Now this is an extremely important New Testament phraseology because it indicates God’s choice in determination emanating from His desire.
Now that might not mean much but as we go through this I think you’ll begin to see that God has determined ahead of time, and He has chosen, He has a desire, and what is that desire? That desire is to share His life and existence with us. God wants to share with us His level of existence. He wants to take us and elevate us up to the kingdom of God, the family of God, and to share all that He has with us.
We are to become joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Whatever it is that Christ inherited. In the Bible, in Hebrews 1 it says, “He has inherited all things,” and the expression means the universe. And so you and I will become joint heirs with Him, of that.
So God desired, even before the world was created, even before there was a physical creation God’s desire was to share that. The Greek word in verse 5, verse 9, and verse 11 here conveys the idea, notice verse 11. It says, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
The word will here is a Greek word, thelema, I should say, and it means, “a desire that proceeds from one’s heart or one’s emotions.” You start talking about, “What is God’s will?” In the Greek it conveys more than just will or desire. It is primarily an emotional word. God’s will is much more than just what His intentions are. It is God’s heart desire. It’s a desire that flows from His heart.
Stop and think, when you got married. Your desire before you got married was, take a bride, that’s the men. Wives, take a husband. So that was your desire, your heart. So you were in love with each other. Then you get married, and after awhile what becomes your heart’s desire? To have a family, right? To have children – what’s that based upon? It’s based upon emotions and feelings that God has, that God wants to expand His family. He wants to have a family. It’s His heart’s desire to do so.
And so you and I are here in this whole plan of salvation flows from the fact that there was a time when there were only two beings in the universe, the one we know as the Word, the one we know as the Father, the Ancient of Days. Before there was ever a creation, before there were angels, anything of that nature God sat down and said, “You know, this existence we have is so good, it’s so great, so wonderful, I’d like to share it with others.” Now how do we do that?
And then He began to think, and plan, and create, and realized that he had to bring into creation a physical universe, and then He created angels to assist in the process. And then came about the creation, and along with that was the understanding that eventually one of them was going to have to come to the earth and die for the sins of mankind, and Christ was slain before the foundation of the world.
So what motivated God to create the plan of salvation with a heart of love and good pleasure? One where He desired to have us with Him.
Because the Bible says that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” So God gave His son to make this possible. He gave the one thing that was most valuable to Him. When you and I are asked to give up something, or to obey God, and maybe even die for what we believe. Are we doing anything that God the Father was unwilling to do to give His son, and that Christ was willing to do to give His life.
You see, God has experienced it on a much greater claim. So God’s purpose is to bring many sons, many daughters into His family, into glory to share that family life, that existence.
So, how does God view us? Oh, He views us as His children. Let’s notice it over here in Luke 12:31 Luke 12:31But rather seek you the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×– It says, "(But) seek the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” So it’s talking about how we’re not to worry. That if we do what God says that He will take care of us. He will bless us. That’s His promise. Then He says something that is one of the most encouraging statements in the Bible. Notice,
V. 32 -"Do not fear, little flock,…” now why does He say, “fear” because He’s just got through talking about worry. Now you might worry about, you know, if I don’t pay God tithe, and I do this, you know, can I make ends meet? Will I have food on the table? And so God says, “Don’t worry.” He also says here, “Don’t fear, little flock for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Notice, God’s good pleasure, to give us His kingdom.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what makes God happy? What excites God? What really in a sense turns Him on, thrills Him? Well, it is going to be to give His family His kingdom. The moment of the resurrection, when that takes place and just like that, in the twinkling of an eye the resurrection takes place, the dead in Christ rise, and those who are alive rise up to meet Them in the air.
Jesus Christ shows here that one of the things that makes God happy is when His children are going to be in His kingdom, and finally this whole plan that God has been designing, He has created comes to pass.
Another version translates this this way: “Your Father delights to give you the kingdom.” It is His delight to do that. The NIV translates this: “Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” The expression means “to be well pleased” in the Greek.
Remember what the Father said to the Son in Matthew 3:17 Matthew 3:17And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
American King James Version×? He said, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” The exact same words. The Father was well pleased with Jesus Christ, and God says when He looks down that it is His good pleasure for He is pleased to give us the kingdom. Again, this is what the whole creation, the plan of salvation is all about.
There are those who try to picture the Father as some harsh ogre, stern judge, and you know, He’s against us, and yet you’ll find the exact opposite is true. I know there are churches in this world that say Christ can be, well He is full of love but the Father is that harsh, vindictive God in the Old Testament, and they have no idea of the truth on that particular topic.
Now the Bible reveals, “God is love.” That’s what He is. Not that He has it, He is it, and that’s who He is. He’s a loving God. Jesus Christ, basically is telling us here in Luke that the Father has great pleasure, great joy in sharing all that He has with us.
You might remember Psalms 16:11 Psalms 16:11You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for ever more.
American King James Version×. I’ll just refer to it, where it states, “…in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures (for)evermore.” And so, once we’re in the kingdom there will be joy forever, and pleasures forevermore.
What kind of pleasures do you have to make you happy? Eating a nice meal? Drinking a nice glass of wine? Seeing your children growing up, and enjoying their growth and development? The time you and your wife have together? Kissing your wife, kissing your husband? You know, whatever it might be. That’s all on the physical level.
Can you imagine living for eternity, and having joy that is nothing that we have ever experienced in this life, and everything we do we’re just joyful, and happy, and excited, and turned on, and that there are pleasures that God will give to us. God allows us to have certain pleasures on a physical level so that we can begin to grasp a little bit, what? We’re gonna have pleasures in the kingdom. So God wants to share all of that with us.
Now let’s turn back to Malachi 3:16 Malachi 3:16Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name.
American King James Version×. Many of these scriptures we read over a lot and we never focus on them. You know, this is where meditation comes in. Some look at words. Words have meanings. They convey thoughts to us.
Malachi 3:16 Malachi 3:16Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name.
American King James Version×- Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and He heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the Lord and (who) meditated on His name. You know what that means? Sort of scary in one sense. God listens to our conversations. God listens when one saint talks to another saint, and we’re talking with one another. What are we talking about? Is it uplifting, inspiring, encouraging, or you know, are we talking in a way that we should not be. So God listens, and He hears us so we need to make sure, we need to keep that in mind.
If you’re walking around and you realize that God can be tuned into your conversation it puts a little different dimension on it. It’s like the government listening in on your computer, or your phone, or whatever, you know they’re tracking you. Well, God can keep up with us.
Now notice verse 17 – God says, “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” God says that those who respect and who honor Him will become something very special to Him.
The New International Version says this, “that we become His treasured possession.” Another translation says, “My own special property.”
The word translated jewels or treasured possession has the meaning of “something that has great value.” Great value, not just literally a diamond, or an emerald, or a sapphire but something that is so rare that you can’t put a value on it. Another version translates this as: “I will make them my special treasure.”
Now the closest earthly example I can think of this would be the British royal crown jewels. I don’t know how many of you have ever seen those before. Norma and I have seen them on two or three different occasions. They’ve been valued by some people somewhere around twenty million pounds, thirty-nine million dollars, and that’s pure speculation, totally misses the mark simply because they have to be valued for insurance purposes. Now some have said they’re worth twenty billion dollars which seems to be a little high, they’re probably more like three or four billion but they’re priceless. You know, how do you really put a price on them? A diamond in the royal scepter, as an example, the star of Africa is estimated to be worth four hundred million just by itself so, you know, they’re worth millions, you know, whatever you want to put on that.
God says those who respect Him, those who honor Him, those who fear Him on this earth are in the future going to become His treasured possession. They’re going to become something that is so special that they are priceless. You can’t put a price on them.
When you and I are in the family of God and this plan of salvation is over God’s going to offer salvation to every human being who’s ever lived. That family that God is creating will be a priceless family to Him, something totally beyond value, something that He gave His son for, Christ gave His life.
So when God sees us, what He sees are human beings, yes. He sees that we’re flesh and blood. He knows that we make mistakes. He knows that we sin. I mean He knows that we do a lot of stupid things. He also sees and understands what our potential is, why we were created.
As Psalm 103 tells us, that God looks down and He removes our sins when we repent as far as the east is from the west. God says, “Our sins could be like scarlet but now they’re like whitened snow.” Pure, like the snow.
He pities us as a Father pities his child. He knows our frame. He knows that we’re dust. He realizes who we are, and our position. And you know what? He is there in every way and Christ is helping us into the kingdom. They’re not putting logs in our way, creating bumps, sinkholes, whatever you want to think. God is out there saying, “Get with it, go on.” He’s pulling you. He’s helping you. He’s giving you added strength so that you and I can be in His kingdom.
Think about it for a moment. God owns everything. If you look at the description of the New Jerusalem just one thing we will know how it will be in the new heavens, new earth in the future. It describes a new city made out of glimmering, shining gold, beautiful gemstones all around the base, different levels, pearls for gates, and you go on. You look at it.
God is, if you want to compare it to today, is a super millionaire, billionaire, trillionaire, or zillionaire. I don’t know if there’s such a word. You know, He owns everything. He makes Donald Trump look like Donald Duck (laughter) when it comes to wealth, and nothing in comparison. And God says, “And He looks at all of that. What is the most priceless thing that He owns, that He has, and it’s His family.” It’s you, it’s me, and we don’t necessarily think of Him that way today. It’s pretty amazing when you realize what God has in store for all of us.
Now let’s notice, there’s another section in the Bible that many times we read right over. So let’s go over here to 1 Peter 2, and I want you to notice, we will begin here in verse 9.
1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
American King James Version×- We find that, “… you are a chosen generation….” Who is a chosen generation? You are. We are a chosen generation, “…a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” That’s what God tells us.
V. 10 - who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Let’s back up and take a look at that. It says, “We are a chosen generation.” Again, we have been selected. The word chosen means to be selected or marked out for favor or special privilege. And what a privilege it is to be a first fruit today. Of all the billions who have ever lived, and I don’t know how many billion that might be but I’ve heard estimates of maybe forty, fifty billion. Out of all those billions how many has God called? And yet I see a few hundred of them sitting right here that God has called now. We’ve been chosen. We’ve been selected. And who did the choosing? Again, the greatest being in the universe did, God, the Father.
Now notice: it says, “We are a chosen generation.” Generation means a family or a race. In the Old Testament God chose a family, a physical race, called it the twelve tribes of Israel, and He worked through them today, and God has chosen His spiritual family, and He refers to us as spiritual Israel. So we are spiritual Israelites, the church of God, the family of God.
We’re also a royal priesthood. Royal priesthood simply means a kingly priesthood. In God’s kingdom, in the millennium, the role of king and priest will be together, and so it talks about we are experiencing and learning how to rule, and we’re learning God’s law, and we’re going to teach both. You’ll find the priest taught the law, made it clear to the people. And so God is going to teach, He’s going to have us teaching and ruling in the world tomorrow.
We are called a holy nation. You and I have been set apart to serve God. We are a holy people, that’s what the word holy means, to be set apart. I don’t know if you think of yourself as being holy. We know that we do things that are not but God looks at us, and He’s dealing with the people who have been hand-picked, selected by Him.
We, as a group, have been set apart for sacred service to God, to serve Him. That’s what God sees when He looks down at us. And then we are His own special people. The King James version says peculiar. Naagh, sometimes we are peculiar. You are, not me. (Laughter) Sometimes we all act peculiar. You know, in a way, but the word doesn’t mean peculiar. It means that we are His special people, or we belong to Him. We are His possession. We have been bought and paid for by Christ’s sacrifice, and we become a part of His family.
Then notice, that we might proclaim the praises, or proclaim His wondrous deeds as other translations say, or show forth His virtue. We are to show forth the virtues of God. They’ll see us, they’ll see God. They’ll see God’s attitude. They’ll see God’s approach in action.
You see, God has called us out of darkness as it goes on to say, and we used to live in darkness. God has called us out of that so that we can walk in the light.
V. 10 says, “who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” Before our calling we weren’t anything.
You remember what I read back in 1 Corinthians 26, 27, and 28? God has called the weak of the world. Well, God has called us, and we are now the people of God, the family of God. We were nobody, and God is working with us to be a part of His family.
Now let’s notice, let’s back up to Ephesians 1:1 Ephesians 1:1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×, and we read here something that is often misunderstood in this world, this society.
Ephesians 1:1 Ephesians 1:1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×, where we read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:” Paul started many of his letters, “To the saints,” like at Ephesus, or to the saints in Rome, to the saints in Corinth, or to the saints in Philippi, and so on.
He wasn’t writing to dead people up in heaven. He had committed three miracles, and then declared a saint. No, he was writing to a congregation of church members in various cities made up with people just like you and me, and they were made holy.
You know, the root word for saint. It comes from the word sanctify, or to be set apart which means also to be made holy, and so we’ve been set apart by God to have a special relationship with God, or to be dedicated to God. The word saint can also have that definition. I think it was the Oneida Greek Lexicon says that you and I can have a special relationship that others don’t have because He is our Father.
We’ve been set apart for service to God, and God has called us to be a part of His work today. God considers us His own. So brethren, God has called us, He’s working in us, He’s working through us as His people.
Now let’s notice something else that maybe we read right over and never stopped to think about it. Let’s go over to the book of Ephesians 5:28 Ephesians 5:28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
American King James Version×. Now this is a section you’re all familiar with. It talks about marriage, right? You know, a man how to love his wife, the wife how to submit to her husband.
Ephesians 5:28 Ephesians 5:28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
American King James Version×says, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”
V. 29 - For no one ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Now notice here he’s talking about the church.
V. 32 - This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. So what is Christ’s attitude towards the church? He nourishes it. God nourishes us. We are the bride, and just as a husband nourishes, meaning, the word nourish means to feed, to look after. He takes care of the physical needs, food, clothing, shelter, and a husband works to provide for his family, takes care of them. So God nourishes, or He feeds us. And He feeds us through the scriptures. He feeds us through the scriptures every Sabbath when we come here and we hear sermons. He feeds us through the literature and all that we read where we begin to see God’s plan unfold. So our diet is based on the scriptures, on the Word of God that God gives us and He teaches us.
Then notice He also cherishes us. The word cherish means to care for. It’s a word that was used in the Greek to talk about a bird sitting on a nest cherishing the little birdlets, a little bird’s eggs. Taking care of them, looking after them. So it is with God. God looks at us, and He cherishes us, He cares for us.
It’s not a matter that God looks down on us and, “Okay, you stumbled, you made a mistake.” What does the book of Proverbs say? You know that a righteous man may fall seven times, and look what happens. He gets up. He keeps going, and God is there cheering us on. In fact, He has sent the Holy Spirit, the paracletos which walks along with us. It’s by our side. It’s like a runner running, about to quit, and somebody comes along the inside of the track and says, “You can do it. You can make it. Don’t quit. You’re getting close to the finish line. Keep going! Keep going!” And he encourages him. “I’ll walk inside here with you.”
So it is with God. He gives us His spirit to encourage and strengthen us. He cares for us, and everything that we do. So do you look on the fact that God has sent His Son, the spirit of God to be there along with us? To, in one sense take our hands, go right with us, to help us, to encourage us, to inspire us, and Christ looks on us as a bride. He wants us to be fed, taken care of, cherished, loved.
Now, there’s one more set of scriptures I’d like to read. Let’s go over to 1 John 3:1. The reason why I want to read this is because here we find something that God very commonly expresses through the whole Bible, and especially in the New Testament.
Notice 1 John 3:1 1 John 3:1Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
American King James Version×- Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!... We are the children of God. …therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
V. 2 - Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, what we’re going to be in the future, but we know that when He is revealed, when He comes back, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, as God is.
“No man has looked on the Father,” Christ said. And no one can look on God and live because of the glory of His radiance, so right now, the Bible says, “We are the children of God.” You are but in the resurrection we will be the born children of God, the resurrected children of God, the spiritual children of God at that time, and we will be like God.
What is God like? What is Christ like? We will be like Him, and it says, “We shall see Him as He is.” And we will be capable of that because we’re now are a part of His family. So God wants to share that with us.
Words cannot describe what that’s going to be like. When the resurrection takes place you are made immortal. We don’t have time to go through immortality here but the Bible says, “God only has immortality.”
There are two words in the Greek for immortality. One just means that we won’t be subject to decay. The other one has a little stronger definition. In Vine, describes it as having certain traits that only God possesses. Now whatever that means, that God is going to give us immortality. We will have eternal life. We will be the children of God, the family of God forever.
God is going to give to us the whole universe as we will see. I wish I could explain that in such a way that it would just be so clear but we don’t understand fully until we’re there. Now everyone who has this hope as verse 3 says within him, “… purifies himself, just as He is pure.” So there’s an obligation on our part. We’re to be like God, and then in the resurrection, with an immortal spirit body, and we’d better begin to grow today, overcome today, start changing, become like God so that we can be in the resurrection. Now is the time that God has given us to develop character.
Why do we go through this experience now? So that we can develop character. God wants to come with every one of us to the point to where He can know as He did with Abraham. Remember with Abraham when Abraham was about to offer Isaac, and in his mind he’d killed his son, and the night was coming down.
God said, “Now I know!” How does God know that we will never deviate, never turn from His way? We have to go through the experiences of this life resisting the wrong, doing the good so God will know, and every one of us will be in the kingdom after God has worked with us and can say, “Now I know. I know what they will do.”
Let’s go to Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
American King James Version×, a familiar verse here. We read, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” So if we have God’s spirit, and that spirit is leading us and directing us we are His sons.
V. 15 – “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’.” You see, we have received God’s spirit, and we call out to God as our Father, “Abba, Father.” Our Daddy, it is a term of endearment that He is our dad, our Father, and we cry out to Him.
Paul is saying that we have a relationship with God, with our Father, that is not based on fear or terror because we’re afraid of God as being terrified of Him but rather we have a loving relationship. There is a fear, yes. It is a healthy respect and regard toward God and His way, and we know what He can do. But God wants us to reciprocate in the same way.
Now notice, Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version× - And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. And you and I have been called according to His purpose, His plan that He’s working out here below.
V. 29 - For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,…
So we’re made in God’s image to start with but we’ve got to be made into the spiritual image of God. …conformed to the image of His son, that we might be the firstborn among many brethren.
V. 30 - Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. And we will be glorified spiritually in the future.
V. 31 – “What then (He says) shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Stop and think about that. If God’s on your side, which He is. You’re a family member. Who can be against us? Well, there may be those out there trying as He explained but He is with us.
V. 32 - He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
V. 33 - Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
V. 34 - Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
V. 35 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Who’s going to get between us and God. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? See, none of those can separate us from God.
V. 37 - Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. So God said it doesn’t matter what problem, what trial you may be going through, what difficulty we might be faced with. He says, “Nothing will separate us from Him and His love.” We can be conquerors. We can overcome all these things.
V. 38 - For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
V. 39 - nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So there’s nothing that can separate us from God except ourselves if we do not yield to God. So God says you may go through trials and tests. Nothing created, you know, if we rely upon God is going to separate us from God.
So brethren, let us deeply appreciate what God is doing with each one of us individually, and how He views us, what He sees in us. He sees us as a royal priesthood, a holy nation. A chosen people. A people being prepared for rulership in the kingdom of God.
So as we go this week back home. As we, you know, go about our jobs, and as we march into the future never forget who you are, and what God is doing. Think about what God sees when He looks at each one of us. Realize Christ looks at us as the bride of Christ. God looks at us as His children, His family that He is in the process of preparing.
We need to change. That’s our part. We need to be developing Godly character. We need to be growing in grace and in knowledge. We will stumble. We will fall but God knows us. He knows that we’re human. He knows our frame. He pities us, and He’s willing to forgive us. He’s willing to give us the strength, to realize that if we’re going to be in God’s kingdom it’s not because of something we’ve done. It’s by His grace, by His grace, and His merit.
So we need to see ourselves for what we really are. A holy, sanctified people in the process of becoming a member in the family of God. We are to be God’s special treasure.