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God’s Eternal Purpose

by Julius Hovan

Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program

It is a pleasure to join you by way of this radio broadcast today and to bring good news about our wonderful Lord Jesus, to share the gospel and to hope we can be an encouragement to you wherever you are.

We are living in very treacherous and difficult times. All across the world the economy is under stress. Politics is in turmoil. Wars are raging. And the moral problems exist beyond our comprehension, and we need to look someplace for some hope.

It is my understanding that in the city of Milan there is a cathedral and on that cathedral there are three doors and over each of those doors there is an inscription. On the right hand door there is a wreath of flowers carved into the wood and this inscription is there. “All that pleases is but for a moment.”

On the left hand door there is carved a cross and a crown. And the inscription says, “All that troubles is but for a moment.”

And then in the center door the saying, the inscription, is this. “Nothing is important save that which is eternal.”

Think about those three statements as we introduce this message, if you will. All that pleases is but for a moment. How well we know that to be true. We get a new car. We get a new house. We get a new suit. We get a new whatever. We get something that we think will please us and then in a little while it is old. It is wearing out and the pleasure of it is passing away and we look for something else.

Oh, all that troubles is but for a moment. All of us, if we have any age at all, have been through a variety of troubles, the death of a loved one, a terrible illness, a financial loss, some sort of stress. But, inevitably, that trouble wanes and by the help of friends and hopefully the help of God the terribleness of that trouble, the sorrow, the difficulty, the stress, they pass away and time moves on and we continue our lives.

But then that third inscription is the one we want to center our attention upon. Nothing is important save that which is eternal. The holy Word of God, that which we know as the Bible, which reveals to us the God Jehovah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, it is he himself who is eternal.

And I would like to share with you in this brief message today these three simple facts. Let’s look, first of all, at God’s purpose in redemption, that is, in our being purchased out of the slave market of sin, that problem that every human deals with and must face in their lives. It is important and it is eternal this thing we call redemption, this thing that comes because Jesus has come into our lives.

And so what is God’s goal in this thing we call salvation or redemption or when we respond to the gospel we learn about what Jesus has done. What is God’s purpose? It is, first of all, that we be conformed to the image of the holy Son of God. As God is eternal, so his Son.

And so when we are born again by the Spirit of God and become members of the family of God and are children of God, the God goal for us is that we are more and more like his Son day by day.

Paul expresses it clearly this way in Romans chapter eight verses 29 and 30.

“For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he, that is Jesus, would be the first born among many brethren. For whom he foreordained them he also called, and whom he called them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

What great news there is in that brief passage of Scripture that God’s goal for us is to be like Jesus, to be brought from sinners to saints, to come from being enemies of God to be children of God, being more and more, day by day like the Lord Jesus. He calls you to that purpose.

If you are a Christian today that is his goal for you. If you do not know Christ as your Savior and Lord, the gospel story, the gospel message, the death of Jesus goes out to you and through that God is calling you that you might be saved and forgiven of sin and be made a child of his.

And so he issues the call. The call comes through Words of Life radio broadcasts like this one and in many other ways.

And then the Scripture says he justifies us. He takes away that sin, even though we are sinners and sin has been and is in our lives in a sense. God sees us as if we had never sinned.

And, oh, then the verse closes and says he will also glorify us.

One of my favorite passages, as written by the great old gospel writer John, is in the book of 1 John and chapter three verses one, two and three.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called children of God and we are. And for this cause the world does not know us because it does not know him. Beloved…”

And he repeats it now for emphasis.

“…we are children of God.”

Now listen.

“And it is not yet made manifest what we shall be.”

Well, what are we going to be? We are already children of God. Listen to the rest of it.

“We know that if he,” that is Jesus, “comes,” if he will be manifested, if we see him, “we shall be like him for we shall see him even as he is.”

God’s goal for us when he redeems us, when we are saved out of the slave market of sin is that we become conformed to the image of the holy Son of God. And that process goes on through our lives and then it turns out that in the time when Jesus comes we are able to enjoy the glory of God in our lives.

And so God’s purpose for you, if you are Christian, his purpose for you, if you will come to Christ, is that you will become more like Jesus Christ.

But, secondly, God wants to inform us by the holy Scriptures of God. That process goes on and it is through the reading of the Word of God, it is through meditation on the Word of God, it is spending time in that Word as it comes into our minds, into our hearts, changes our will, that dramatic change comes about. And we not only have information, but as we will see for our third point, there will be transformation.

The apostle Paul wrote to a young man named Timothy and he said, “Timothy, from a child you have known the holy Scriptures.”

Timothy was taught as we learn in that passage of Scripture, by his mother and by his grandmother. What a great blessing it was and he himself became this great man of God to whom the apostle Paul wrote.

Listen to the reading of that 15th verse in 2 Timothy chapter three.

“And that from a babe you had known the sacred writings.” What are they able to do?

“…that make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Timothy had learned about the gospel. He had learned about the Lord Jesus through his mother and through his grandmother, through their teaching and through their example. And what a difference it made in his life for all of eternity.

Our Lord Jesus dealt with some folks in his day who did not respect God or the Word of God and they would not follow the Lord Jesus and even sought to take his life. And, of course, they eventually did at Calvary. And Jesus said to them these words in Matthew 22:29.

“You do err not knowing the Scripture nor the power of God.”

If we do not know the Scripture, if we do not know the Word of God, error inevitably follows. The result of our scriptural ignorance is we have a lack of power. We have a lack of knowledge and that error has eternal consequences. Eternity, remember, that which is important is eternal. Our soul, our spirit is eternal. And we must be informed by the Word of God in order that we might have that eternal hope.

Paul wrote of that in his wonderful epistle to the Romans in chapter 15 when he said there these beautiful words in verse four.

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime,” that was the Scripture then that Paul had in his day, the Old Testament, “These things were written for our learning that though patience and through comfort of the Scripture we might have hope.”

Things have been written, handed down by God, given to us so that we might have this information, this knowledge. It brings with it comfort and that beautiful word “hope.”

It would not surprise me today if some of you listening to this program are in a situation where you say, “My situation is hopeless.”

But, oh, I would point you to the Word of God and the Son of God and the salvation of God to find the hope that you can find nowhere else. And when God redeems you and saves you, brings you into his family, we find he wants us to be conformed to the image of his Son. He wants us to be informed by the Scriptures that he has given to us. But then the process continues for we find he wants us to be transformed by the Holy Spirit that works in our lives, to be dramatically changed is the process that God is working in our lives through that indwelling Holy Spirit.

Let me remind you of the important words of Paul in Romans chapter eight and verse nine.

“If you have not the Spirit,” that is the Holy Spirit, “You are none of his.” That is, you are not a child of God. You do not belong to him. So it is important that you have that Spirit. God has given it down through the ages. Even in the Old Testament, for example, to Nehemiah.

We read, “You gave your good Spirit to instruct them.”

In the Old Testament the Spirit came upon kings and prophets in order for them to do the work of God. And in the New Testament the Spirit comes and resides, we are told, within us, given as a gift when we are baptized into Christ.

The Lord Jesus had a great deal to say about the Spirit as he prepared to leave and to leave behind his disciples to carry on the work that he himself came here to do.

John chapter 14 verses 16 and 17 gives us these words as Jesus tries to prepare them for his departure. Listen to his words.

“I will pray the Father and he will give you another Comforter that he may be with you forever. Who is this Comforter? The Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, for it does not behold him, does not know him. But you know him for he abides with you and shall be in you.”

What great precious promises those are. And he says in that same chapter in verse 26 regarding that Holy Spirit that he is going to send.

“The Comforter…”

Oh, we need a comforter, do we not?

“…even the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all I have said to you.”

It is the Spirit that helps us know the Word of God that then helps to transforms us into children of God that are more and more like the Lord Jesus. He is our guide. He is our teacher. He is, indeed, our comforter.”

Listen to the words in chapter 16 of the gospel of John as we read beginning there in verse seven, Jesus talking about this.

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I do not go away the Comforter will not come. But if I go, I will send him. When he comes, he will convict the world in respect of sin, of righteousness, of judgment, of sin because they do not believe on me; of righteousness because I go to the Father and you behold me no more; of judgment because the prince of this world has been judged.”

Here is this promise again of the Spirit.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians five and verse 17 that when we come into this faith relationship with Jesus Christ, we become a new creation. That is the message that the apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, for in the book of Acts chapter two and beginning there in verse 38 we find these familiar words.

“He has preached the gospel to them and they heard it and were convicted and Peter said unto them, ‘Repent.’”

Now here was his answer to their question: Well, what are we going to do with our sinful lies and our mistakes?

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ to the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

And so this Spirit that transforms us comes to us when we are baptized into Christ and, interestingly, Acts 5:32 puts it this way.

“We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to them that obey him.”

A faith response to the gospel, to the call of Jesus, is of extreme importance as we think about becoming children of God, as we think about being redeemed and enter the process of becoming like the Son of God.

And in that process, to be informed by the Scriptures of God so that we will know the will of God where that will is revealed for us in the holy Word of God. And in that process, that Spirit we have received transforms, changes, makes us more and more like God would have us to be.

Now just before Jesus left, he gave these words to his disciples. They were worried. They were concerned. They were confused about this leaving. Maybe these words will speak to your heart today as we close this message. Listen to what Jesus says in John 14.

“Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also.”

And then he says in the sixth verse, “I myself am the way and the truth and the life.”

And we might add the word “eternal life.”

“And no man comes to the Father, but by me.”

And so our wonderful Lord Jesus offers this promise to us and he offers the blessing of our coming to him and being born again and going through the process of becoming more and more like him and facing eternity not with a hopeless end, but with an endless hope.

My friends, the call of this gospel broadcast, Words of Life, is that you will respond to the gospel of Jesus and accept him into your heart and life and live for him, filled with the Spirit, and having the joy of the Lord.

May God bless you today is our prayer.

-Julius Hovan lives in Danville, KY  and preaches for the  Bohon (KY) Church of Christ.




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33