Thursday, August 17, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon ULTIMATE CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE ]


We learn in Ephesians 3:1-11, among other reasons, that Paul was appointed by God to be a minister of the gospel to make known to the church and all mankind a mystery that had been hidden from mankind from Adam to Moses and from Moses to Christ, some four thousand years. We are distinctly told it was not made known in other ages and generations. For the first time it was revealed to mankind by the apostles in the first century of the Christian religion. It is called the mystery of the gospel, the mystery of Christ, the mystery that has been hid in God from the beginning of the world, the mystery hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ, and in Ephesians 3:11 the mystery is called the eternal purpose of God. The mystery involved the eternal purpose of God in creating our universe, the heavens and the earth and mankind upon it. It is called the eternal purpose of God because He formed this purpose in eternity before He created mankind and the world we live in. He had some very important plans for mankind that He had pre-appointed to come to pass before He created the earth and put man upon it. This mystery was not something unknowable, but something that was unknown to the human race till it came to light through the apostles in the Christian age of the world. It was not revealed to mankind from Adam to Moses or from Moses to Christ, but it has now been made known in the Christian age wich bega in he First Century A.D. I believe that Epesians 3 reveals the ultimate cause of the universe. A careful study of Ephesians 3 and Colossians 1 reveals that this mystery, God's eternal purpose, consists of at least three parts, three accomplishments, three important developments, and three blessings He would bestow on the human race. All three of these matters were predestinated and pre-planned sometime in eternity. The three accomplishments were the blue prints of the universe, the DNA of mankind. the ultimate reason God brought the universe into existence.. I would suggest that these three designs reveal to mankind the "Ultimate Cause of the Universe." Let us briefly examine these three blessings predestinated, pre-appointed to come on mankind and the angels of heaven.


Part one I of God's eternal plan for the human race was the Unification of all mankind into one body of religious, loving and peaceful people by means of the Christian religion. Carefully study Ephesians 3:2-6 , in the New Kings Version: "If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already by which when you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men , as it has not been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets: that te Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel." This mystery is that through the gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. Briefly stated, the first part of God's Eternal Purpose is that through the Christian religion the Gentiles would become heirs together with Israel, members together in one religious body, the Church of Christ, the Church of God, and sharers together in the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Part 1 of God's eternal purpose was one world, under one God, under one religion, with peace, happiness and salvation for all. Before the creation, God had always planned to establish one religion on earth for all nations, and that religion was the religion of Christ.

Before the coming of Christ there was little or no unity among the nations of the world. There was no religion or anything else that could unite the human race. In the pre-Christian world dictators enslaved the Gentile nations and ruled them with an iron fist. Jews would have no dealings with Gentiles. Jews hated Gentile, and Gentiles hated Jews. But the word of God says, "Christ is our peace who has made Jews and Gentiles one, one new man." That was one aspect of God's eternal purpose for mankind, and He planned to do this before the world was created. That is why both Gentiles and Jews should have no opposition whatever to the Christian religion. This was God's plan. One part of the mystery hidden for ages and generations was that God in the Christian age, the final age of human history, would make of Jews and Gentiles one new man, a new kind of race united in peace through Jesus Christ, God beloved Son. . God's designed plan was bring a sense of unity, oneness and brotherhood to mankind which had never existed before. This was a predestinated event and was determined to happen before the cosmos was created. This involved abolishing the Jewish religion and establishing the Christian religion as predicted in Jeremiah 31:31-34. God used thousands of Jewish Christians to accomplish this plan in the first century A.D. However, most of the Jewish nation did not know, and does not know today, that it was always God"s plan to replace the Jewish religion with the Christian religion. For this reason most Jews have rejected the religion of Christ. According to the book of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel Israel disagreed with God for 1500 years under the law of Moses, and they ended up in Babylonian captivity for 70 years. For their disobedience in rejecting the Christian religion, God allowed their temple to be destroyed; and they have not had a temple to worship in since. No one tells God what to do; He does as He pleases. Since this great mystery has been explained by God Himself, neither Jews or Gentiles should reject the Christian religion.

Permit me to say one more thing about Part 1 of God's eternal plan. The first aspect of this mystery has been partially fulfilled. The Christian religion was established in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost Day after the death and resurrection of Christ, 33 A.D. . Thousands and thousands of Jews became Christians throughout Palestine in spite of the terrible Jewish persecution of the first century A.D. The performance of miracles and wonders done in the first century A.D. were far greater than any done in Egypt, and far greater than the wonders that authorized the Jewish religion. Great miracles and wonders were performed not only in Palestine but also among the Gentile nations by Christians. This proved that God abolished the Jewish religion. Moreover, add the evidence that the Christian religion conquered the Roman Empire, destroyed the religion of idolatry and about 300 A.D. the Christian religion became the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, in the 21st century, the Christian religion now exits in all nations of the earth. Thus God has partially accomplished Part I of His eternal purpose, and the Christian religion has brought great blessings to mankind. Truly the knowledge of God and Christ has covered the earth as the waters cover the sea as predicted in Old Testament prophecy..


Part two of the mystery hidden for ages and generations was the enlightenment and further education of the holy angels in heaven. Listen to the International Version on Ephesians 3:8-11, "Although I am less than the least of all of God's people, this grace was given me to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery which for ages past was kept hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His holy purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." What an honor to mankind that the Creator is using the Christian religion to further educate the unfallen angels in heaven. One reason this world was created was to create a new race of creatures through Christ, and bless them with happiness and salvation and thereby honor Himself. But another reason He created mankind was to further educate faithful angels who did not participate in the rebellion of Satan and his fellow angels of heaven. In rejecting this divinely revealed truth, an unbelieving world is challenging the mind of God revealed in the Bible. God had more in mind than human h creatures when He created the universe. He also had the obedient, holy angels of heaven in mind. The Christian religion is one of their lesson-books. The word of God says that they desire to look into the things of the Christian religion, and they all rejoice when one person repents and becomes a Christian. They are fascinated by what is going in the Christian religion. God is using the Christian religion in some way to help beings far better than humans. I feel sure those holy beings are trying to understand how one of the Divine three was willing to humble Himself and become God's Son in th flesh and submit to a humiliating, disgraceful death on the cross for sinful, lowly human beings, while at the same time no forgiveness is available to Satan and other fallen angels. . We all are trying to understand it.

However while millions of unbelieving people of earth scorn the claims of Christ, His salvation and all that belongs to it, the highest intelligent beings in the heavenly world regard the sacrificial death of Christ with profound interest and amazement. God wants them to study what He is doing on planet earth, and they are learning about some of he attributes of God they did not know existed. The precise line of thought is this. God, from eternity, had a plan or purpose to put Jew and Gentile on precisely the same footing , but it concealed for many ages centuries until He revealed it in the days of the apostles, when He appointed the apostle Paul, His minister, to announce it for the first time in history. One purpose of this whole arrangement was to enlighten the holy and mighty angels; in heaven regarding the manifold wisdom of God. Such wisdom profoundly interests them.


Part three of the great mystery is the unification of mankind and angel-kind. This truth is set forth in Ephesians 1:9, 10. The New International reads, "And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the time shall have reached its fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ." I am in agreement with those commentators who understand the things in heaven to refer to the unfallen angels and all things on earth to the redeemed inhabitants of earth. Long before God created the universe and placed man on the earth, God purpose was to form a united kingdom of the holy unfallen angels in heaven and the restored, redeemed Christians on earth in one united family, and to gather this whole body together in heaven under Christ as its head.. The one hope of Christians is to live in heaven, and that means we will live together with the angels. Jesus stated that the saved people of earth will be as the angels and there will be no marrige in heaven. It was God's purpose to unify heaven and earth from eternity, and this may well have been the ultimate cause for the creation of the material universe. An unbelieving world is in total ignorance of the origin of the universe and to them death is a plunge into darkness. Why God wanted to do this is not revealed, but it will be done to th eternal  Glory of God and to the eternal happiness of all saved people of earth. Some have supposed that the saved people of earth will take the place of Satan and the fallen angels who were cast out of heaven. One thing is certain; the complex of heaven will be changed forever when the unfallen angels of heaven and the saved people of earth will live together in one harmonious family in heaven. The unification of angel-kind and human-kind was a part of God's eternal purpose and was hidden for ages and generations but made known through the apostles in the Christian religion. This object of this plan was to produce harmony out of angels and men. This is the great object proposed by the New Testament plan of salvation. It is to eventually bring into existence one glorious and eternal kingdom in the heavenly regions under the Headship of Jesus Christ, and it shall included all the holy beings of heaven and all holy beings on earth. You remember that Jesus said that in heaven we shall be like the angels. We shall be among them and like them in some respects.

This part of the mystery which has been hidden from the creation to the first century A.D. has not yet been accomplished. There is now discord between God's heavenly family and God's earthly family. Man is separated from God and from the holy inhabitants of heaven. Unrenewed, unconverted and unsaved men and women have no sympathy with the feelings and work of angels. They have no desire to be associated with them. Nothing could be more unlike the angels, their character and work, than the customs, feelings, laws, and habits which prevail on earth. But the object of the gospel plan of salvation is to restore harmony between the heavenly family and the earthly family and eventually bring them together ito one united family. It was part of God's eternal purpose and design in creating the material universe and place man upon it, to gather out of the human race a people suitable to be united with the angelic family in heaven. That is Part three of the mystery hidden in God from creation till the first century A.D. It may be that the angels did not know about this plan until it was revealed through the New Testament revelation. These great plans, laid out in eternity, led God to create the material universe, create another race of creatures to become the inhabitants of heaven. Without the earth and the existence of earth creatures, God could not have accomplished the three plans He devised.

If the Christian religion concerns and interests the most intelligent beings who exist, and they desire to look into the things of the Christian religion, and if this religion is bring together God's family in heaven and God's family on earth, surely we human beings should treat the faith once given to the saints as worthy of our highest thought. I marvel that such secrets were ever made known to mankind. Moreover I marvel at the human race in refusing to believe in such a wonderful future for mankind. All refuse to accept God's offer will not be missed the heavenly world, but it will most certainly come to pass.

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