Sermon Detail

Strength for the Journey Are You Seeing? (Comprehending the True Riches)

October 08, 2023 | Buster Brown

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places..."  Ephesians 1:15-20

The means of grace are God’s appointed instruments by which the Holy Spirit enables believers to receive anew the empowering presence of Christ and the benefits or redemption in Him.

In order to have strength for the journey (to stay strong in the Lord and to finish strong), we must continually tap into the resources found in Christ.

For this reason (v. 15) → the believer's union with Christ, includes every spiritual blessing In Christ: eternally loved In Christ, adopted as sons In Christ, redeemed through the blood of the cross, forgiveness of our trespasses By Christ, a glorious inheritance In Christ, and filled with the promised Holy Spirit by virtue of the work Of Christ.

Union with Christ is our solidarity/association with Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit and through faith by virtue of which believers continually partake of His saving benefits.

The Battle to See:

Comprehend/seized/overpowered/to grasp (Ephesians 3:18) versus “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

General Principles:

1. Our union with Christ brings joy and energy (Ephesians 1:17; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

2. Jesus is our substitute for sin and our present day Savior. 

“That God should set such a high value on a community of sinners, rescued from eternal judgment and still bearing too many traces of their former state, might well seem incredible or it not made clear that he sees them in Christ, as from the beginning he chose them in Christ. As a consequence Paul prays that his readers might appreciate the extraordinary value which God places on them; he views them as in his beloved Son and estimates them accordingly. And this is true of all who are ‘in Christ’...may we live consistently with this high calling and accept with gratitude and true humility the grace and glory that he has lavished on us.”  Peter O’Brien, Commentary on Ephesians

3. Our union with Christ is indissoluble (lasting; cannot be destroyed).

Q 79: May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?

A: True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 79


1. The inseparable link… 

“The Spirit and Word are inseparable in our lives, so prayer and meditation are inseparable. The fight for joy always involves both. Prayer without meditation on the word of God will disintegrate into humanistic spirituality. It will simply reflect our own fallen ideas and feelings - not God’s. And mediation, without the humility of desperate prayer, will create proud legalism or hopeless despair."  John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God (p. 149)

“(Unchecked and mortified sins) leaves us lame, weak and unable. We don’t just need forgiveness and ultimate deliverance; we also desperately need present help - helps so we will have the will to desire and power to do what is right and good in the sight of God.”  Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies, October 4th

We look to Christ with our ears. The eyes of the heart look through the eyes of the mind as the word of God is communicated. As this happens, we’re continually transformed by the Holy Spirit.

2. …Labor to be amazed.

“The final goal of the blessed life rests in the knowledge of God. Lest anyone, then, be excluded from happiness, he not only sowed in men’s mindsgoo that seed of religion of which we have spoken, but revealed himself and daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe. As a consequence, men cannot open their eyes without being compelled to see him.”  John Calvin, The Institutes 1.5.1 

As we receive the kingdom like a child, we should strive to be continually gladdened by the glory of creation and the absolute wonder of the cross. 

“I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, for at least a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the ‘the child of the pure unclouded brow and dreaming eyes of wonder.’”  Clyde Kilby, Resolution Number 7