October 30, 2016
When writing to the Ephesians, Paul understood that his readers would be distraught that he was imprisoned. Because of this, he reminded them of God’s purpose revealed in time through Jesus, the privilege of the Christian to boldly and confidently come to Christ, and his perspective that this present suffering was for their glory. Alistair Begg guides listeners to take heed of Paul’s words and frame our view of time and history through the revelation of Jesus Christ, to confidently approach Him, and to trust that even in suffering, God’s eternal purposes are being worked out in Christ.
Sermon Transcript: Print
Well, I invite you to turn to Ephesians chapter 3, where our focus this morning is on verse 11 and 12 and 13:
“This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.”
Father, we pray that, with our Bibles open before us, that the Spirit of God will quicken us, illumine our minds, teach us, change us. Accomplish the purposes that you have appointed for your Word, even in these moments now, we pray. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Some of you will immediately recognize these words:
As I was walking down the street one day
A man came up to me and asked me
What the time was that was on my watch.
And I said,
“Does anybody really know
What time it is? Does anybody really care?
[And] if so, I can’t imagine why.”
Depending on your age, you’re saying, “I never heard that in my life,” or you’re saying, “I can’t believe that was 1969, Robert Lamm with Chicago.” It was representative of a view of the world, a view of the world that was not locked in the late ’60s; it remains today. James Taylor, in a recent album, tracks down the same line in a song called “The Secret o’ Life.” Part of the lyric is as follows:
The secret [of] life is
Enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it;
There ain’t nothing to it. …
Now, the thing about time
Is that time isn’t really real;
It’s just your point of view.
How does it feel for you?
Einstein said … he could
Never understand it at all.
Planets spinning through space,
The smile upon your face.
Welcome to the human race.
And on it goes.
Now, does that stuff really work? I mean, how does that help you? Imagine tomorrow morning that your boss tells you you’re late, and you tell him, “I don’t feel late.” And he says, “Well, would you look at the clock?” And you say, “Well, nobody really knows what time it is. Nobody really cares.” Why do we mark everything by time? Where does time come from? Why does time matter?
Now, we teach our children, don’t we, our grandchildren, “Before there was time, before there was anything, there was God”—that time is part of God’s creative handiwork. And time is significant. The Bible speaks about it routinely, doesn’t it? For example, now is always the time in the Bible when the claims of the gospel press in upon someone. It’s always “[Today] is the day of salvation.” Tomorrow is the devil’s day. It’s part of a philosophy that leaves God out of the picture to assume that time is just some kind of construct that is ultimately irrelevant.
Now, when we come, as we have been doing, to the book of Ephesians, we realize that way and beyond any of these sort of trivial expressions in contemporary art, Paul makes it very, very clear that he is dealing with both history and with geography. He is writing to a place—a real place, a wealthy port in Asia, a port that is in modern-day Turkey—and he’s writing at a particular point in time, in the early AD 60s, and he’s writing from a place; he’s writing from the jail in Rome. And he is making it clear from the very, very beginning of his letter… And he begins way back in eternity, doesn’t he? Verse 4 of chapter 1: “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” So he is dealing with matters of history and geography in light of eternity.
And he is pointing out, as we come to verse 11, that God’s eternal purpose has been revealed, has been realized in the person and work of Jesus. And so, in other words, Jesus not only impacts our world in terms of all that he has said and done, but his very existence at a certain point in time has marked time itself. It’s no surprise that when Mark introduces us to Jesus, Jesus steps forward, and his opening line is “The time is fulfilled.” What time? All of time. All that has preceded Jesus to that point, all of the anticipation that runs through the Old Testament, all of the Psalms, all of the prophecies, all of the events of the unfolding drama of the nation of Israel and so on—Jesus says, “That time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is near, at hand. So repent and believe the good news.”
It’s a staggering statement, isn’t it? Is there any other person that would stand forward on the spectrum of human history and make such a declaration? What is Jesus saying? Jesus is saying that “I am the key to history. I am actually the key to history. You can’t understand history if you don’t understand me. You can’t make sense of the world apart from me. I am the King. I am present to establish my kingdom. It’s going to grow as a result of the teaching of the gospel throughout the world. And one day it will be there in full glorious Technicolor, when the whole thing is wrapped up according to God’s eternal purpose.” When Paul writes to the Galatians, he puts it in the same terms: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.”
All of the events in the history of the world are tied to God’s eternal purpose. Now, think about that for just a minute: behind all the events of world history—all the events of world history—is the eternal purpose of God. God is not working on an ad hoc basis. He’s not working on the basis of contingency. The purpose of God from all of eternity is being worked out. That includes the microcosm of my tiny, little life. That includes the ebb and flow of our lives together as a congregation. That includes the moves and the changes of political history. And it is incumbent upon the children of God to keep their eyes upon the King.
Now, in verse 10—and this was last time—we were struck by this strategic place that the church is given in this program. It was “through the church,” he said, that “the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” As amazing as it is, what God is doing now in local congregations is actually, says Paul, displaying a charcoal sketch, if you like, of a finished portrait which will appear in all of its brilliance and all of its beauty, so that all that is described as taking place in verse 10 is “according to”—verse 11—“the eternal purpose” of God.
So, let’s consider, in verse 11, God’s purpose. Let’s consider, in verse 12, the believer’s privilege. And let’s say a word from verse 13 about Paul’s perspective. Three p’s to help me remember my outline, and if that helps you, then we’re both helped. All right?
First of all, God’s purpose. The church—the existence of the church—serves, says Paul, as a strong reminder to the hosts of heaven that, as we often sing, “death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered.” The existence of the church—people who have been included in Christ, who have become the followers of Jesus, who have been forgiven of their sins, who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, who have been made members of one another—the church in its existence, even a funny church like ours, causes the angels to rejoice and causes the demons to shudder, so that the reality of the heavenly hosts testify to the fact that Jesus has accomplished in time the purposes of God from all of eternity.
That’s why we often go back, isn’t it, to Genesis 3:15 to explain the unfolding story? You remember God says to the serpent in the garden, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. [And] he”—that is, the woman’s offspring—“shall [crush] your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Now, what that’s called in theological terminology is the protoevangelium. It is the proto-indication—the first indication, if you like—in the Bible of the gospel story itself. How is this going to happen? Why is there alienation? Why is there animosity? Why is there war? Why do husbands and wives not get along? Why do the races squabble? Why, why, why? The answer is that underlying all of that is this great battle. And this great battleground is being worked out throughout history. But the promise is that the seed of the woman will take care of the one who bruises his heel. And so, when you consider the cross of Jesus Christ, where all hell is let loose against Jesus, it appears to be that the devil has won, when, in point of fact, he has only bruised his heel.
Now, I know that you know that my mind is capable of funny stuff—funny, peculiar stuff, actually. And I’ve been thinking funny stuff this week, and I just wanted to tell you. It’s partly because I was in Kentucky. I was thinking about demons. And it was because I went down a street in Kentucky. I think it’s called Stills Avenue, in case you want to Google it; I’m sure it’s online. And I have never seen such paraphernalia for Halloween in all my life. I mean, the one out here on 43 is not even in the game. I mean, this street… I mean, I drove up and down it maybe five times, just like that. I thought I would take a photograph; then I thought, “No, don’t take a photograph. It’s… You’re… No.” Anyway, it was… And I thought to myself, “Do these people think that this is all a joke?” And then I said, “No, many of them won’t think it’s all a joke.”
And then I did a little research, and I found that some who clearly know that it isn’t a joke have actually purchased homes on that street so that they can make expression of their conviction concerning death and the dark side of things. I wouldn’t want to overstate it, but that’s the report from the community. So you have, if you were to talk to these people, individuals who would have a very clear understanding of the activity in the heavenlies, a very clear understanding of demonic activity, and the push that there is against the Lord Jesus Christ, as in Psalm 2—in other words, that they would verify, if you like, what Paul is actually saying here concerning the drama that is unfolding.
Now, I don’t want you to misinterpret this as my big diatribe against Halloween. I want to be honest with you: I like candy, I like stuff, and as a Scotsman, anytime people are giving stuff away that I can walk around the neighborhood and just fill up bags full of it, I’m in. Okay? So if I were not in India tomorrow night, I would be going up the street with my grandchildren, filling up bags. So that’s full disclosure, okay? So I’ve now encouraged one group and really annoyed another group. All right? I’m perfect for this. I can do this with great ease.
So… But here’s what triggered my thoughts, then. I thought, “Well, imagine that the demons are talking to one another.” Right? And so… And you can jump in at any point in the story of the Bible. But let’s just say that they are talking to one another, and they said, “You know, well, it looks like we’re going to shut the whole operation down immediately, because Herod has decided to have a program to kill all the boys under the age of two. And so this incarnation thing,” that they know about from their perspective in the heavenlies, “we’re going to be able to stomp on this immediately, and it will be over. We’ll get him. It’ll be done.” And then, all of a sudden, they realize: no, Mary and Joseph have taken off for Egypt; they’ve escaped, and that hasn’t worked at all.
“But we’ve got him now,” says one. “Judas has betrayed him. He kissed him in the garden; he turned him over. It’s only a matter of time before we finish him off completely. Peter, one of his key fellows, he deserted him. He denied him. He said he didn’t even know who he was. The thing is crumbling. It’s absolutely over.”
“Look at that,” says a demon. “They crucified him. He’s finished! They entombed him, with a big stone in front of it. Oh, how good of Joseph of Arimathea to give him that place, so that we would never see him again. I’m sure it’s finished. Pardon? What, he’s not in the tomb?”
“No. No, he’s out.”
“What do you mean he’s out?”
“Oh, no, he can’t be alive.”
“Yeah! His disciples are back on the game! Peter’s preaching now. Three thousand converted under his first sermon.”
“Oh,” says one demon to the other, “this is no good. This is not going to work. But we’ve got the ace in the hole: Saul of Tarsus. He’ll finish it off. Saul of Tarsus hates that stuff. We can use him. He’ll be perfect. In fact, he’s just set himself the challenge of stomping the whole thing out. What? Oh, he’s a believer now? Oh, this is not going well.”
You see, no matter where or when in history the forces of darkness seek to do their worst, God is accomplishing his eternal purpose. He has revealed this in and through the person of his Son. That is why, you see, the psalmist says that God sits in the heavens, and he laughs. He holds in derision the opposition which is so clearly there from the very beginning of things.
And the Christian believer in Cleveland this morning, reading Paul’s letter to Ephesus, we’re supposed to then take this and bow down under the wonder and the weight of this—that God is actually doing things in his church that sounds the death knell of everything that is opposed to his church, that God actually is saving the most unlikely people, that God is putting together companies and congregations and assemblies that are not made up of a bunch of little self-righteous individuals who are always interested in trying to be nice and proper and so on. No. If you can take the lid off the average congregation and find out what we were, then it will be an amazing testimony to the power of Christ, to the reality of God’s purpose, to the triumph of his grace.
That, you see, is the significance, surely, of 1 Corinthians 6 and the way in which Paul, in addressing the Corinthians there, says to them, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” If you’re unrighteous, you’ll never inherit the kingdom of God. How righteous do you have to be? “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees,” said Jesus, “you will in no way enter the kingdom of heaven.” Wow. That sounds like you’ve got to be perfect.
… the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunk[s], nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
So we’re busted. Then comes this great sentence: “And such were some of you.”
You see, this is the mystery of grace, isn’t it? How did these people find themselves in this position? Because the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins. It is only in Jesus.
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
“And,” he says, “you were like that.” “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Last night, when I was waiting for the game to come on, I was clicking through, and I found Sister Angelica. How many of you know Sister Angelica? You know? Yeah. She’s gone now. Well, she’s gone, but she’s still there, because I saw her last night. And one of the questions that was called into her was—she’s a Roman Catholic nun, incidentally, or was—one of the questions that was called into her was “Well, what about purgatory? And why do we have to have purgatory?” And she said, “Well, because purgatory’s very necessary.” And she said, “You know, you couldn’t… I mean, if you died, I mean, you couldn’t go straight to meet God. You couldn’t go straight to paradise. I mean, think about it. You gotta go somewhere to get cleaned up for the program. You’re going have to have some mechanism so you can get fixed before the big interview.” She said, “That’s why we have that. That’s why it’s necessary. You shouldn’t be concerned about it.”
So, now I’m talking to the TV. I’m talking to Sister Angelica. I said to her, I said, “Hey, Sister, ‘Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.’ The reason that you have that is because you have a faulty view of the atonement. You don’t understand that the ground of our salvation is in the work of Christ, and the evidence of our salvation is in the ongoing work of Christ, in the fruit that he produces in our lives. Because God does not justify those whom he does not sanctify.”
You see how vastly different these notions of what it means to know God and to meet God and to have access to God are? You understand why there was a Reformation? You understand why next year we’ll celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, when God lit a flame in the heart of a Roman Catholic monk named Martin Luther, who was desperately trying to figure out how he could be righteous enough to get in the kingdom of heaven? All of his time in Rome, the special pilgrimage, left him worse than he began, until he suddenly realized Romans 3: “But now a righteousness from God through Christ to all who believe…” And suddenly, the lights went on, and everything changed.
Some of you have come out of that background. Do you understand? What is this amazing gospel, that a fellow who, in the dying embers of his life, turns to the man on the middle cross and says, “Lord, will you remember me when you come into your kingdom?”—and Jesus says, “Well, we can talk about that later. There’s a purgatory thing; you’ve got to go through that. I’ll see you later on somewhere along the road, you know.” No, he said, “Today. Today. Today. Today. Today you will be with me in paradise.” This is the gospel, you see. This is the story. This is what God is working out.
That’s why when Paul writes to Timothy, he puts it succinctly: he says God has “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ … before the ages began.” So at a very base level, if I come back to my demonic host looking on, I imagine that they even look on and see Parkside here—this strange group of people called Parkside Church—and they are able to say to one another, “You know, even that place is showing evidence of the wonder-working power of Christ. Apparently, they’re not too concerned about barriers of race and class and status and education. It would appear as though their union has to do with the work of Jesus.”
Well, I spent too long on that, but you’re used to that. Verse 12: from God’s purpose to our privilege. Our privilege. Look at how verse 12 begins, and look at how it ends: “in whom … in him.” Some of you may be here this morning, and you’re asking the question, “How can I come before God? If God is this holy God, if people were afraid to even come near to the mountain in Sinai—they couldn’t even touch it or they would die because of his majestic holiness—how in the world can you come before God?”
Well, the answer is in the concluding phrase of verse 11, “in Christ Jesus our Lord,” and in the concluding phrase of verse 12, “through our faith in him.” “Through our faith in him.”—Jesus, who is Messiah and Lord of the universe. Boldness, access, confidence “through our faith in him.” Staying with my theme: not through the priestly intervention of someone else. Not as a result of having a supposedly holy man do something holy for you or holy to you. Not as a result of an external rite or a process or any of those things. “There is one mediator between God and [man],” and that is “the man Christ Jesus.” Direct access to him, in him, and through him—not coming to God on the strength of our own merits: “This is what I’ve done; this is what I haven’t done.” Like the Pharisee in Luke: “I thank you that I’m not like this person”—so I manage to make myself feel better about myself by finding some people that I can disregard. “I thank you that I’m not like them. I thank you that I do this, that I do these tithing things, and I do this and I do that.” No. It’s coming to him like the other man, who smote his breast and didn’t even look up to the heaven, and he says, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” And you remember Jesus says, “Which of the two went down to his home justified?” Which of these two characters is the one who enters into the presence of God? Now, the Pharisee would have said, “Well, the fellow who does all the stuff. That’s why we do all the stuff.” Jesus says, “No, it’s this guy. It’s this guy.”
Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to thy cross I cling,
Naked, come to thee for dress,
[And] helpless [come] to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
The Truth For Life building is heading for completion. You can’t go in there right now; neither can I. Because I don’t know the access code. Somebody does. So I need to get access through someone else. You can’t just go walking into heaven. You need someone to open the way for you. The story of the gospel is: someone has opened the way for you.
Cecil Frances Alexander, writing all these hymns for children, hits the nail on the head again and again:
There is a green hill far away,
Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all. …
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven and let us in.
And the wonderful news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has unlocked the gate. He has accomplished in his death a perfect redemption to everyone who believes the promise of God, to the person who says, “I am absolutely without hope and without God in the world.” Well, when you come to him in that way, there is a pardon that he provides.
I wonder: Have you come to him, those of you who listen to me again and again? Have you turned to him in faith? What are you waiting for? What day are you waiting for? Are you planning on doing this on your birthday, or what is your deal? Will you not believe in Christ? Will you not lay down the arms of your rebellion? Will you not believe what he says: that you can’t be so stinking rotten that he can’t save you, or that you can’t be so wonderfully good that you don’t need saved? The privilege of access is in and through Christ.
Finally, the perspective of Paul in verse 13. “So…” “So…” He’s working logically here. The church—verse 10—is the place where God’s manifold wisdom is revealed. This is just what God has been planning from all of eternity, which is now realized in time in the person of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is “in Christ Jesus our Lord” that “we have boldness and access” to God “through … faith in him.” And “so”—and here’s the pastor’s heart coming out—“so I don’t want you to be unsettled, disheartened, fearful because I’m in the jail.”
“I’m in the jail because of you.” That’s really it. When you go back into Acts, we realize that the great hullabaloo that unfolded was because he was saying these things and preaching the gospel to the gentiles, and the animosity of people was such that he was imprisoned for it. So he understands that his suffering is on account of the fact that he’s been preaching to the gentiles.
But look at what he says: “What I am suffering for you … is your glory.” Suffering and glory is a theme that runs through Paul’s writings all the time. I’ll just give you three verses that you can follow up on your own. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed [in] us”—Romans 8:18. In 2 Corinthians and in chapter 4: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay,” so that “the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” All the way down to verse 17: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Therefore, “we [don’t look] to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” And when he writes his final letter to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2: “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
In other words, Paul’s perspective is this: that he was fine with being in the jail. It’s not his first choice, but he was fine with suffering for them, because he had their glory in view—or, as my big brother puts it, suffering is the raw material out of which glory is created. Suffering is the raw material—the suffering of Paul being the glory of the Ephesians.
Now, we understand this on a personal level, don’t we—that suffering may end to the glory of God? But what an encouragement to these believers in Ephesus! I mean, you think about it: they have now taken their stand for Jesus, and their friends and their neighbors are saying to them, “So, now, who did you say you had a letter from?”
“Well, we had a letter from the apostle Paul.”
“Oh, good. Where is he?”
“Well, he’s in a jail.”
“He’s in a jail? I mean, what is that about?” I mean, if you got a thing going here, you don’t expect one of your main guys to be in a jail.
Now, Paul says, “Now, I don’t want you to get downhearted on the basis of that. I don’t want you to start thinking for a nanosecond that somehow or another, God’s eternal purpose has been thwarted by where I am right now. In fact,” he says, “I want you to understand my perspective: that where I am right now, far from being detrimental to the cause, is actually for your glory.” What an amazing perspective! Only God could bring that about.
So, a letter from a jail. Because I was thinking again this week about Halloween and Guy Fawkes—which you know nothing about, but Google it and you’ll find out. Guy Fawkes is November 5: “Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason, and plot.” But because I was thinking about that and the attempts to blow up the Houses of Parliament and those who were on the receiving end of persecution in their day, by this convoluted stream I got to Bunyan, the writer of Pilgrim’s Progress. I was reminding myself that he’s one of the saints of old who lines the way; I come behind. I realize that he endured it in his day in the seventeenth century. You know, he was sent to jail for not going to church. That would be a scare to some of you, especially if it was evening church. He had “devilishly and perniciously abstained from coming to church to hear [the] divine service.” In other words, he was guilty of not paying attention to the established church—to the Anglican church and to the Book of Common Prayer. He had held “several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good [citizens] of [the] kingdom.” He was a troublemaker. He was a dissenter. He was a Puritan. They put him in jail for twelve years. Twelve years for not going to church. Wow!
And what did he do while he was in there? Well, he thought; he prayed; he wrote. And most of what he wrote has been buried in the past. Some of us still read Pilgrim’s Progress. And in Pilgrim’s Progress, there is a conversation between Mr. Valiant-for-Truth, who speaks to Mr. Great-Heart. And Mr. Valiant-for-Truth, seeking to encourage Mr. Great-heart to have a great heart, quotes this poem to him. It goes like this. It’s become a hymn.
Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather.
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.
It then goes on—I hope. “Whoso…” Actually, I can quote it without it. But anyway:
Whoso beset in round
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He’ll with a giant fight,
… He will have a right
To be a pilgrim.
Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend…
Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit,
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies [flee] away;
He’ll [care] not what [man] say,
He’ll labor night and day
To be a pilgrim.
God looks from the heavens, and he laughs. Eyes on the King, Parkside. Eyes on the King! God’s purpose will not fail. Our privilege is ours to enjoy. Paul’s perspective is the right one. Nothing is out of control, and nothing will be out of control as long as the ascended King sits on the throne. And of course, you know that he will reign forever and forever.
Father, thank you that your Word really is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Thank you that your promise to your Son was that you would give to him the nations as his heritage. And here we are this morning, and as we think about all of the warfare and the chaos within our world, within the framework even of our own lives and our own country, we’re tempted, Lord, to be downhearted and to be discouraged. So thank you for reminding us that your purpose will be fulfilled, even as it has been revealed and established in Jesus, and that our perspective, when it lines up with the truth of your Word, changes the way we view everything. So we ought to get up and get out and get on. Help us to that end, we pray. For your Son’s sake. Amen.
 Robert Lamm, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” (1969).
 James Taylor, “The Secret o’ Life” (1977).
 2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV).
 Mark 1:15 (ESV).
 Mark 1:15 (paraphrased).
 Galatians 4:4 (ESV).
 Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, “See What a Morning (Resurrection Hymn)” (2003).
 See Psalm 2:4.
 1 Corinthians 6:9 (ESV).
 Matthew 5:20 (paraphrased).
 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (ESV).
 William Cowper, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood” (1772).
 1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV).
 Hebrews 10:11–12 (ESV).
 Romans 3:21–22 (paraphrased).
 Luke 23:42–43 (paraphrased).
 2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV).
 1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV).
 Luke 18:11–14 (paraphrased).
 Augustus M. Toplady, “Rock of Ages” (1776).
 Cecil Frances Alexander, “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” (1847).
 See Ephesians 2:12.
 2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV).
 2 Timothy 2:10 (ESV).
 Sinclair B. Ferguson, Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2016), 219.
 John Bunyan, “To Be a Pilgrim” (1684).
 See Psalm 119:105.
 See Psalm 2:8.
Copyright © 2023, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.