As part of Hill City’s current teaching series on Ephesians, I recently preached a sermon called Grace-Fuelled Prayer, based on Ephesians 1v15-23. It’s a fantastic message to both meditate on and to preach, but there was one truth in the passage that stood out so profoundly that it has radically altered the way that I understand and apply the gospel to myself, and will almost certainly affect the way that I preach from now on! In fact it’s made such an impact on me that I thought I should blog about it.
It’s all to do with the subtle tendency that we all have to get selfish with the gospel. Not so much in the sense of keeping it to ourselves, but more in both our understanding and our application of the gospel. I think what I’m trying to say is that when I think of the gospel – it’s always in terms of what I get out of it. Stuff like (in no particular order): Forgiveness, love, hope, peace, joy, grace, mercy, heaven, life abundant, life eternal, Jesus…
And it’s all true and it’s all awesome and it’s all good stuff and it all needs to be preached! But here’s the thing that’s gripping me right now – what’s in it for Jesus? Sure when we have received all these immense blessings that come from receiving the gospel, our hearts can only really respond in one way – passionate worship! But is our worship all He wants? Is it even all He deserves? Check out these verses:
“…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…” (Ephesians 1v18-19)
This is Paul’s prayer for the church – that God would literally open the eyes of our hearts to see not only the reality of our own hope in the gospel (that’s what’s in it for us), but also the riches of His own glorious inheritance in the saints – in us!
What’s in the gospel for Jesus?
That just sounds insane to me, but the Bible doesn’t lie – Jesus isn’t just after our praise – His reward in the gospel is the people He died to save. We were redeemed to give glory to Jesus purely through being His people. His inheritance! Even typing this I can’t help but feel overwhelmed, humbled and awe-struck by that truth. We get Jesus. He gets us – it just feels like He gets the rough end of the deal – but He doesn’t! This was the promise and plan of the Triune God from before eternity – that the Son would die and rise to gain a beautiful bride – promised to Him by the Father and quickened by the Holy Spirit.
“The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalm 2v7-8)
It’s actually all over the Old and New Testaments!
Eternity will not be all about us walking around heaven, wide-eyed, ecstatic, buzzin that we only got to be there by the grace of Jesus and falling face-down in worship every few seconds (although that will be cool!) Eternity will primarily be all about the Triune God rejoicing and delighting in the glorious inheritance won by the Son through the finished work of His own beautiful gospel.
After all it is HIS gospel.
May we never make it about anything or anyone else!