Intro. Paul has painted the black backdrop of your life before meeting Jesus Christ. Dead unto God because of your trespasses and sins. Walking according to the course of this world that is being directed by the prince of the power of the air. You were one of the children of disobedience, as you lived just to fulfill the lusts of your flesh and mind. You were by nature a sinner, destined for the wrath of God.
I. "BUT GOD WHO IS RICH IN MERCY."
A. As God caused His goodness to pass before Moses He proclaimed-
And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
B. In Psalm 85
David by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote:
For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
The LORD [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will he keep [his anger] for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
D. The reoccurring theme of Psalm 118
is that His mercy endureth forever.
E. Jonah was reluctant to go to Nineveh for he knew that God was gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.
F. Micah tells us that God delights in mercy.
G. He is not only plenteous in mercy but it endures forever, here the apostle declares that He is rich in mercy.
1. In chapter 1:7 he speaks of the riches of His grace.
2. In chapter 3 he speaks of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
3. In 3:16 he speaks of the riches of His glory.
II. "FOR HIS GREAT LOVE, WHEREWITH HE LOVED US."
A. The first manifestation of His mercy toward us that Paul mentions is in His great love for us."
1. In chapter 3:18,19 Paul is praying for them that they might be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ that passeth knowledge.
2. If we only knew, or could comprehend how much God loves us.
3. This is often a hard concept for us to grasp, because we know ourselves so well, we wonder how God could love us.
4. His love for us is not prompted by some lovable characteristics in us, but by His nature of love.
5. His love for me is not the result of something in me that prompted Him to love me. He loves me for His own reasons.
B. He has manifested that love toward me in the sending His Son to take my sin, and die in my place.
2. Romans 5:8
, "But God commendeth His love toward us."
3. John 15:13
"Greater love hath no man than this."
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
C. This love for us existed, "Even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins."
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
D. The next manifestation of the riches of His mercy toward us is in His making us alive with Christ.
1. We were dead in our trespasses and sins.
2. Now though His mercy toward us, He was made us alive unto Him through Jesus.
3. We talked of the two biblical definitions for death, so are there two definitions of life.
a. The Bible speaks of physical life.
b. It speaks of spiritual life.
c. In John 6:63
Jesus said, "It is the Spirit that makes alive the flesh profiteth nothing."
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
4. "For by grace are you saved."
a. The mercy of God and the grace of God are often coupled together, though they are different.
b. Mercy is not getting what I deserve. Dead in my trespasses and sins, living after the lusts of my flesh and mind, I deserved Hell.
c. Grace is getting what I do not deserve. "I certainly do not deserve salvation, I do not deserve to have this glorious life in Christ, but God by His grace has given this to me."
E. The next manifestation of the riches of His mercy and grace is seating me together in Christ in heavenly places.
1. In the previous chapter Paul spoke of the great power whereby Christ was raised from the dead, and made to sit at the right hand of God in heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers.
2. Now he declares that by the grace and mercy of God He has raised us up together in Him that we might sit with Him in these heavenly places.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
III. "THAT IN THE AGES TO COME HE MIGHT SHOW THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE AND KINDNESS TOWARD US THROUGH CHRIST JESUS."
A. Remember back at the beginning of this section in chapter one, as Paul is blessing God for all of the spiritual blessings that are given unto us in Christ Jesus?
1. Here it is through Christ Jesus that God is going throughout all eternity be revealing to us the exceeding riches of His grace and kindness.
2. God's love, goodness, and grace is so vast, that it will take all of eternity to reveal it.
B. Throughout the ages to come.
1. The Bible begins with the words, "In the beginning God."
a. How far back that goes is beyond our limited capacities to comprehend.
b. It is back to the eternal past.
c. The Hebrew word for everlasting is literally the vanishing point.
d. That can go backward, or forward.
f. Here Paul takes it forward. "The ages to come."
2. The Greek word for eternity is aionius, pros ton aionius ages through the ages.
C. What is going to be happening throughout these ages to come?
1. God is going to be revealing to us the exceeding riches of His kindness and grace toward us through Christ Jesus.