Text: Galatians 1: 1-5
Quite frequently in a church service a speaker will ask questions that really have no relevance as to what they are going to be speaking on. The questions are simply ice breakers to loosen people up in preparation for the message. Questions such as: How many are saved this morning/tonight? How many are happy because you are saved? How many are saved and want to go to heaven when Jesus comes?
Now it really doesn’t matter whether you are happy because you’re saved because the truth is, if you received Jesus as Savior, you’re saved whether you are happy or not. Neither does it matter whether you want to go to heaven or not. If you are truly saved and looking for Jesus to come, you will go to heaven. Now these questions are alright I suppose, but the real question to be asked of any congregation is this:”How many of you want to know how to live victoriously in the middle of this present evil age?”
The question that I have to face day-by-day is the following one.How do I commit myself to God in such a way that I can be a child of God holy, blameless, without rebuke and doing the will of God in the middle of this perverse generation?
When we read Galatians the first chapter, we notice two truths of tremendous importance that stand out in our text. Especially in verse four which reads: “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”Christ died for our sins to bring us salvation. We are saved because God the Father put into operation a plan which came through the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son. It is important for us to understand that salvation is not a matter of us finding God, but of God finding us and our responding to Him. When we didn’t have the faintest idea that God was pursuing us –He was. “For the Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
The whole plan of salvation is God intervening in the affairs of men and drawing them unto Himself. Remember when Peter was telling Jesus how much he had given up to follow Him? Jesus had to remind Peter, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” God has chosen us and salvation is our response to what He has already done. So when we got saved we didn’t catch God by surprise. God did not turn to Gabriel and say, “Well look here Gabriel at who just got saved. I would never have believed that could happen.” No, my friend, God had been pursuing you and I for a long time before we surrendered to His Lordship.
But another truth we should be aware of from our text in verse four is why God called us and saved us. He has saved us from our sins for a purpose and that purpose is to deliver or rescue us of this present evil age. The Greek word for deliver (evaire) means to pluck out, to draw out, to rescue. It means not a removal from, but a rescue from the power of the characteristics of this present evil age.When a person is rescued it denotes a person was in a position from which they could not escape. That person was doomed to remain in danger of losing their life or of remaining locked in their need. Unless another person became interested in their welfare enough so as to come to their assistance where they were and save them, the one in need or in danger was lost.
You see that the initiative had to come from the rescuer in answer to the call or plea of help from the victim. For example, the drowning person does not swim over to another one that is standing on the shore and say to them, “Say, I wonder if you’ve got the time to save me from drowning? You see I’m getting ready to go down for the third time.” Now the Lord Jesus took the initiative to rescue us as we called for help, like sinking Peter when he began to sink while walking on the water.
In rescuing us it speaks forth another great truth to us. The rescuer has an interest also in our on-going life after rescue. Jesus is that kind of rescuer. He doesn’t rescue us out of our predicament and then leave us on the shore. No, He continues to work in us and on us long after He has rescued us. Jesus wants us to be fitted into the plan and purpose of God for which we have been rescued. That purpose was purposed for us before the world began.It really is important for us to know that God’s great plan of salvation was not instituted in the Garden of Eden when man fell. Ephesians tells us that even before the world was, before sin came, before temptation came and the fall happened, that God’s plan was already in operation.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Eph 1:3-4) (KJV).
That plan was to have on this earth a people that would serve God out of a heart of love and would choose to follow in the ways of His precepts. Many people believe that God is a reactor. They seem to think that God waits until the devil does something and then God reacts to what the devil has done. No, God is not the reactor, Satan is the reactor. God initiates then Satan reacts. Many people have an idea of a nervous Jesus pacing up and down the corridors of heaven biting His divine fingernails as He watches the Church in action below. “Come on Church -go-go-go. Come on Holy Spirit You’ve got to do something before the enemy defeats us.” But that is not the way it is at all. Jesus spoke with confidence when He said, “Upon this Rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).
The song writer captured it with these words:
|Tis a Glorious Church without spot or wrinkle Washed in the Blood of the Lamb|
Tis a Glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
Do you hear them coming brother thronging up the steeps of light.
Clad in shining glorious garments. Blood washed garments pure and white.
Do you hear the stirring anthems filling all the earth and sky?
Tis a grand and victorious army lift its banner up on high.
Wave the banner, shout His praises for our victory is nigh.
We shall join our conquering Savior. We shall reign with Him on high.
Another question to ask is this. Can Almighty God, by His Word and the Holy Spirit produce a generation of people who in the middle of this present greedy selfish and evil world live selfless Christ like lives? The answer I give is this. Within ourselves and by ourselves it is impossible. But through the Blood, the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit and the Life of Christ dwelling in us—-YES WE CAN! God has been – still is – and will continue producing people upon this earth who will demonstrate a quality of life that can only be lived and enjoyed under the reign of good King Jesus. The wonderful good news that God’s Word brings to us is while we are living in this present evil age we can taste and experience the powers of the Age to Come that will deliver us from this present evil age.
I am not talking about being raptured out of this world. I am saying that God’s power and presence can be so strong in our lives that we can become over-comers in every phase of our spiritual lives. We can be victorious over the world, the flesh and the devil. Hebrews 6: 4-5 speaks of a group of people being enlightened and who had tasted of the heavenly gift. They were partakers of the Holy Ghost, had tasted of the Good Word of God, had tasted of the powers of an Age to Come.
What are the powers of an Age to Come? That age is when God the Son will reign on earth personally. Satan will no longer be free to do his evil work. Peace and righteousness will be the standards of the day. God’s blessings, powers, presence, provisions and purpose will be evident everywhere.The good news of the gospel is this. That even now as a believer who is involved in this present age we are led day-by-day by the Holy Spirit more and more into a Christian walk that places us even now under the powers of an Age to Come.
Day-by-day, moment-by-moment we are being changed mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Our values, motives, ambitions are being altered and reconstructed. We are being re-taught, re-educated by the Spirit of God and by His Word.The Spirit of the living God is taking the powers of an Age to Come and is implanting them each day into our lives right now. So that in the middle of this present age we can enjoy, at least in part, the powers of an Age to Come. In the Age to Come every knee is going to bow, every tongue is going to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:9-11 (KJV)
The more we surrender under the Lordship of Christ, the more we taste and enjoy the blessings of an age that has not yet arrived, the more we say no to the self life and say yes to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to direct our life, embracing and clinging to God’s ways, then we will enjoy peace where there is no peace. We will experience joy where there seems to be no joy. Where there is confusion all around us, we will have direction. While others are being polarized, we are enjoying deep relationships. Where others family life is disintegrating, our family will be drawn together.
I have made a choice to take Christ as the Lord of my life. My choice has been submission to that Lordship, learning His ways and meeting each day’s problems in the power and abilities of the Holy Spirit – not on my own. So what is God doing with His people on this earth. He is producing a company of men and women who live an entirely different way. Their way of life is distinct from the way of life in this world. These people are bringing into their daily lives principles of a heavenly origin. They are putting these Divine principles into practice and obeying them. These principles work on them, in them and for them.
The beautiful thing about this is that God has made this quality of life available to whomsoever will. Come to Jesus and trust Him as your Savior. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).
No one is excluded in Jesus invitation. Are you enjoying the powers of an Age to Come in your Christian experience? You can. You should. It’s your inherited privilege. It’s your covenant right.