God’s Plan in the Epistles

Trey Garner July 28, 2013

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Pauline Epistles: Romans; 1 & 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; 1 & 2 Thessalonians; 1 & 2 Timothy; Titus; and Philemon

General Epistles: Hebrews; James; 1 & 2 Peter; 1, 2, & 3 John; Jude

1 Timothy 3:15 - I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

Colossians 1:9-10 - …we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Formula for the Christian Experience: Know, then do

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Colossians 1:12-14 - [He] has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

5 important subjects discussed in the epistles that will help us to know and do the will of God

I. Redemption

A. Our spiritual condition

Ephesians 2:1 - …you were dead in your trespasses and sins

Ephesians 4:18 - …excluded from the life of God

B. Our Savior’s work

1 Corinthians 15:4 - …that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

2 Peter 3:18 - …Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God…

C. Our response

Ephesians 2:8-9 - by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

D. The results of our faith

1. Rescued from hell

Colossians 1:13 - He rescued us from the domain of darkness

Romans 10:9 - …that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

2. Granted eternal life

1 John 5:13 - These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

3. Made spiritually alive

Ephesians 2:5 - …even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ…

II. Our Savior

A. His character

Colossians 1:15-17 - He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

2 Timothy 1:12 - I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

B. Union with Christ

Romans 6:3-4 - all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 

Romans 6:6 - …our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin

Romans 6:11 - Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus

Romans 6:18 - …and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Philippians 3:8-10 - I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis

III. Our Sanctification

A. The goal

Romans 8:28-29 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son

God wants us to become like Christ. 

B. The process

Ephesians 4:22-24 - that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

1. Put off the old self

2. Renew your mind

Proverbs 14:29 - He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.

3. Put on the new self

IV. The Spirit

1 Corinthians 3:16 - Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Galatians 5:16 - walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

V. The Church

Hebrews 10:24-25 - and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

A. Our Mission

Our mission is to glorify God by winning people to Jesus Christ and equipping them to be more faithful disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

B. Our Service

Ephesians 2:10 - for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 4:11 - for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.

Trey Garner

B.F.A. - Musical Theatre, Texas State University
M.F.A. - Acting, Purdue University
M.Min. - Grace Theological Seminary

Pastor Trey Garner joined our staff in 2001. He and his wife Deb were married that year, and they have two children. Trey oversees our Children’s Ministries, which serves infants, toddlers, and K-5th grade students. He also provides pastoral care for our 8:00 a.m. worship service.

Read Trey Garner's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Garner to Faith Church.