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TODAY’S SPEAKER: Eager Avenue Grace Church extends a warm welcome to Gary Shepard. Gary is pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He will conduct both the 10:00 am and 11:00 am services today. Pray for him as he delivers God's Word.
Fellowship Meal: We will be having a fellowship meal immediately following the 11am service.
Television Broadcast: Our Reign of Grace Television program is being broadcast on WFXL Fox 31, Channel 4. The program will air every Sunday morning at 11 AM.
Radio Broadcast: Sunday morning at 9:30am on 98.7 FM –WISK. To hear sermons click here
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." Eph. 1:1
In this epistle we see the Father in the midst of His eternally loved children, the Son in the midst of His redeemed brethren, the Holy Ghost in the midst of the assembly, and in the heart of every living member of the church of Christ. In every chapter you discover the Father with His children about Him. In the first chapter He is revealed as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read the third verse, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will."We can never have anything of a spiritual, heavenly, or divine character apart from Jesus Christ. Thus, before all worlds, in the far back ages of eternal grace, the Father had every one of His children near to Himself, safe in His heart's affections.
In the second chapter the children are described as dead in sins, and far off from God and the pleasures of home. But there they are not left. Dead though they are, GREAT LOVE quickens them together with Christ, and through Christ they are brought nigh and introduced to the Father. Here they, "are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God," (vers. 18,19). We are thus quite at home in His house amongst His children. Yes, just as much at home, and more so, than we frequently are in our earthy home, whatever our relationship there may be. Whenever I enter my own house I have no hesitation in finding a place for my hat, coat, or umbrella. Why? Because I am at home, free and at ease. That is a sweet word in 2 Cor. 5:8: "Absent from the body, at home with the Lord." Here the old man and his associates are not welcome, but shut out from all consideration, while the heart of the child is at home with the Father, quite at ease with Him, glad to be near Him, pleased with the sound of His voice, delighted, delighted with His exceeding great and precious promises, and with the faithful steward of the household, Jesus Christ.
The same relationship and privileges we find in the third chapter. The sons and daughters of the living God are seen blessedly engaged with Him in sweet devotion and holy familiarity. Turn to the 14th and 15th verses, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." That is a most precious and endearing title, "The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ's Father, and since Jesus Christ reveals Himself to me as, "My Brother and my God in one," He is my Father also. "Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." What a blessed thing it is to be associated with the children of God in heartfelt fellowship and pure devotion.
Thomas Bradbury – Preached 1898
THE WONDROUS CROSS
The hymn writer's words came drifting into my mind, "When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride." I thought, what a "wondrous cross" the cross of Christ really is! Not that wooden frame but the One who died on it and what He accomplished in His sufferings and death. Central to time and even more central to eternity is the cross death of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul tells us, "It is God that justifieth.... It is Christ that died." We cannot preach the gospel without our emphasis being on His death and substitutionary sacrifice because it is gospel of "Christ crucified." All God's elect were redeemed "by his blood." Like the apostles, our message is "the preaching of the cross." Christ offered "one sacrifice for sins forever." His obedience was "unto death, even the death of the cross." Not only is His death central to time, eternity and the gospel but also to our worship of God. As we come before God privately and personally, we come through His justice-satisfying sacrifice by that way He opened by the shedding of His sinless blood. That blood applied to our conscience by the Spirit of God gives us peace and rest, cleansing it from all thoughts of salvation by any other way. It is the same with our public worship. We come gathered around the preaching of salvation through Christ's cross death but we also remember His death in the two ordinances God has ordained for His blood-bought people. In water baptism we confess our union with our Savior in His death, burial and resurrection. In the Lord's Table we remember His death as the full ransom price for our sins "until He comes." Oh what wretched sinners we must be that it required God the Son to come into this sin-cursed world, take on a human body in order to do the one thing necessary to save His people! Oh cruel, God-appointed Tree that made the bitter waters of our sins sweet, how thankful we are for your voluntary laying down of your life in our place! As you hung there on that cross, appearing to be unable to do anything, you were satisfying the claim of your own justice against sin as the Surety of all your children. "Amazing love, how can it be that thou my God shouldst die for me?"