“The End of All Ends” (Series: From the Mountain Peak)
Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14
These twelve verses in Ephesians 1 are an explosion of praise that come out of the mouth of Paul faster than he can talk and write. Comprising just one single verse in the original Greek, Paul suspends the rules of grammar for a moment in order to revel in the glory of God in our salvation. From the mountain peak he declares the end of all ends, the final destination to which all roads in history lead: the glory of God. This includes our salvation. Paul teaches us in these verses that we are saved for God’s glory in order to live for God’s glory.
The Diversity of Persons: The Christian doctrine of God makes it clear that there is one God who exists in three persons (Father, Son, and Spirit). Each person is fully God but there are not three gods. Our God is triune, meaning he is three in one. When it comes to our salvation, each person of the Trinity is work. God the Father authors it (vv.3-5), God the Son accomplishes it (v.7) and God the Spirit applies it (v.13). All three persons of the Godhead work in order to secure the believer’s salvation which was authored before the foundation of the world, accomplished on the cross of Calvary, and is being applied to the lives of people presently.
The intricacy and the complexity of our salvation reveal the incredible love of God for sinful humanity. Without hesitation, disagreement or quarreling, all three persons of the Trinity worked together not just to make salvation possible but to actually save sinners. From beginning to end and from start to finish, salvation is fully and entirely in the hands of our God and never in ours. And despite the repelling nature of our disobedience and sin, it was God’s love and not our loveliness that compelled him toward us. If salvation is completely God’s work alone on our behalf, how should we respond?
The Unity of Purpose: Apostle Paul makes it clear that the end for which God saved us is “to the praise of his glory” (vv.5-6, 12, 14). There is no reason after this reason. And because it is God who saves us entirely and completely, we cannot seek to attain any self glory nor try to take partial credit for our salvation. It is right and proper instead to admire the mighty arm of God in saving us. So we will either continue to insist that we are participants in our salvation or will be accept that we are nothing more than mere recipients of divine grace. The reality is that God gets the glory in our salvation because he alone authored, accomplished and applies it to us.
Paul then says that those who are saved now live and exist with a new life purpose: to live for the praise of God’s glory (v.12). All the mundane and ordinary things about our lives becomes royal and regal when they’re done for the glory of the King of Kings. When our purpose becomes his purpose, our lives are repurposed. From the way we work to the way we study, we do all things with the aim of of praising his glory. But it’s not just a matter of what we do but how we do it. Through our attitudes and the postures of our heart, we are able to bring God glory. From the simplest of tasks to the most spiritual tasks, we make it our aim to declare his glory.
Suggested Group Discussion Questions
- What difference does it make, if any, to articulate how all three persons of the Trinity work for your salvation rather than thinking about it simply as, “God saves us”? Was anything surprising, shocking or stirring about this articulation?
- How does it sit with you that God does all things for his own glory? Be honest. What is your response and reaction to this? What would be the reasons this truth is rejected or difficult to accept? Can you articulate why it’s ultimately a good thing for God to do all things, including save sinners, for his glory?
- Do you easily see how the ordinary, mundane things in life can be done for the praise of God’s glory? If there is a struggle, describe it. Why do you think many people only perceive spiritual tasks to be for God’s glory but have a more difficult time believing that ordinary, maybe even “secular” tasks can be done for his glory as well?
- Doxology: Express how this sermon helps you understand, appreciate and worship God more. In what ways has the gospel become more alive to you having read this passage and heard this sermon?
- Response: Formulate a one sentence prayer that’s informed by the passage and the sermon. This prayer should articulate what you desire to walk away and how you want God to apply it in your life. Have a few people share what they came up with.