This morning, I'd like to have us return to our ongoing series in the book of Ephesians. So, if you would all turn to Ephesians 2, we're going to pick up where we left off. The text that I want to deal with this morning is found in Ephesians 2, specifically verse 18. "For through Him..." We find Who fits this pronoun all the way back in v. 13. It's Christ Jesus. "...been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace." Anyway, He is the subject matter of all these pronouns in verses 14-17. And again here in v. 18, "For through Him..." Through Christ. "We both (Jew and Gentile)..." We both together "have access in one Spirit to the Father."
A Look Back
Now brethren, if we dive in right here at v. 18, it's somewhat like turning on the radio. Have you ever heard Handel's Messiah? It's like coming to the classical radio station and you turn it on and there right at the end, "Forever, forever... Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah..." And then there's the pause, and then, "...hallelujah!" If you've heard that, you turn on the radio, you're hearing the exact same thing that you would have heard if you heard the whole song, and yet, you're not hearing the exact same thing. Because it's different. If you didn't hear the whole song, and you just turned it on right there, it's like singing "And Can It Be." You come to church late and you walk through the door, and they're saying, "My chains fell off. My heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed Thee." You come in right at that time, you can hear the glory of the brethren singing, but if you walk in right at that moment, it's not quite the same as if you sang the whole song from the beginning. That's kind of like what we have going on here.
To dive in right at this place in v. 18, it's like Paul has this whole symphony that he's putting together and he's been building up to this crescendo. You can kind of see it as that. It's like line after line of this music of Paul's symphony has been coming out. And if we jump in right at v. 18, you hear what it says, but brethren, this is the great point to which the Gospel leads us to. He's been piling truth upon truth. Think with me here, I don't want to go back to chapter 1, but just think with me about chapter 2. Dead in trespasses and sins, but God in richness of mercy, in love, what does He do? Even while we were yet dead in our trespasses?
The Love of God
Brethren, the thing that we need to recognize about this, and we heard about the love of God in the first hour. His love, brethren, that love came to us when we didn't love Him. God loved first. Rich mercy. Even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, what does He do? He makes us alive, even when we're dead; even when we were children of wrath like the rest of mankind. We're just living filthy lives, and even if it's moral, even if it's religious, we sought to suppress the knowledge, we turned our back on Him, we were glad to go our own way, and in rich mercy, He raises us up. We didn't deserve it. By grace you have been saved, through faith, and that is not of yourselves. He did this apart from us. What does He do? He makes us alive. He raises us up and He seats us together with Christ. And He makes us the workmanship to where we do good works. And then what He does is He takes us from this condition of being separated from Christ and aliens to Israel, strangers to God's covenants, no God, no hope, miserable... And what does He do? He lifts us up out of that cesspool, and we're brought near by the blood of Christ. And Christ knocks down all the barriers! And He makes peace. And He creates - there's a recreation. One new man in place of the two. And brethren, He kills the hostility on the cross. He reconciles us to God.
Access to the Father
And you see, that's where we've been going. He's been building up, building up, building up. And then you get to v. 18, and what do we have? Brethren, we have access to the Father. What you need to recognize is there's nothing beyond this. What's beyond it? You take the Gospel all the way to us having access into the very presence of God. It's there. And we stand before Him. Where are you going to go further? Are you going to go up? Are you going to look over the fence and say the grass is greener over there? It gets better than this somewhere else. No, you don't say that. This is it. The apostle's been climbing higher and higher and here's the summit of it all: access to God.
Beloved people of God, listen. You know there was a day when our Lord was speaking to His disciples. And He said to them, "Leap for joy!" "Jump for joy!" "Because your reward in heaven is great." You look at the parallel passage in Matthew. We're told this: "Rejoice and be... " Our ESV leaves this out. KJV has it. "...exceedingly glad!" It's not because there's any adjective there in the original. It's because the word for joy here is a surpassing joy! Brethren, leap for joy!
Just stop right there. What are the kinds of things that have made you jump up and down for joy? We're talking about that level of joy. We're talking about the kind where you can't stay on the ground. Where you have to jump! You have to jump up and down!
What you need to recognize is this: Jesus can see what we can't see. He can look where we can't look. You know what He does? He is God. He's been there from the beginning. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, He is God. And He knows. And He came from paradise. He came from the halls of glory. And He is able to look behind that veil, and come back to us and say, oh, if you could see what I see, you would not be able to remain in your seats. That's the reality of Christianity. If we really knew. Jesus is saying I know what you don't know. And based on what I know, I'm telling you, you ought to be jumping for joy. You ought to be full with exceeding joy. Exceeding. You ought to jump!
What it Means to be a Christian
Christian, do you realize this about yourself? Do you realize the most wondrous, marvelous, magnificent, absolutely unspeakable thing that can ever be had in this world, is to become a Christian? It is not to come into a fortune of an inheritance. It's not that. So often we can judge life by money. And has God blessed me with money or not. Or has He blessed me with some kind of victory or not. Or has He blessed me with some kind of promotion or not. Brethren, to be a Christian; to be a pilgrim, a true heaven-bound pilgrim, this is it. It doesn't get any better. It doesn't get any higher. To be a Christian, that's it! Nothing greater! This is the most privileged, most blessed, most exceptionally exalted position that any son of man could have. And I'll tell you this, we have the red carpet just laid out for us. It's coming right from the throne of God. And He lays it out for us and He says, "Christian, that red carpet... that is red in the blood of My Son. Now, come on. Come to Me. Take Me. I give Myself to you." Brethren, we've won it! We've won the great thing of life. We've won the prize. Have you ever heard the NAS? "The nearness of God is my good." We've gotten the good. Goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives and out on into history.
And brethren, it comes back to this: "Blessed are the pure in heart." And the thing is it's not just that we will see God, it's that we have access to God now. And He bids us boldly approach the throne of grace. You can come. You can walk right into My presence. Greater and greater manifestations of glory right off into eternity. I have access to God. And the thing is, this text says access not just to God, access to the Father.
Brethren, think about this. After all the things I've done, God has responded by doing such things that I could enter into His presence and be accepted and be loved and be treated absolutely contrary to what my sins deserve. I have access to God and you have access to God if we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. And to have access to Him means I have Him. I have God. He's given Himself to me. The door is open. You hear the psalmist, "one thing have I desired of the Lord," he says, "that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and behold the beauty of the Lord." And God says to the Christian, "You have access." "Come behold." "Come enjoy." And we're even commanded in Scripture: Draw near to God. Go. Go.
Privileged Access Now and Always
Ruby and I recently stayed at what they call a flat in London. It was ten stories, the way it went up like this. It was crazy. Just steps going all the way up. We stayed in this place. It was in one of the wealthiest parts of London. Charity and Evan took an Uber to this place and the driver couldn't believe that they knew people who lived here. Brethren, for three days and two nights we had access to this home. And I mentioned this on Wednesday. Right next to where John Wesley was converted at Aldersgate Street. We had front row seat to the church building where Bunyan would preach when he was in London. We were in the middle of the business district. We had access three days and two nights.
Do you realize what the Lord is saying? Come into the house of the Lord, and you have access here right before Me, right before My face. Forever. Not an expensive part of London, close to where Wesley was saved and Bunyan preached. You have access in the very holy of holies. Right where God Himself dwells. You have access. Day or night. When things are going good and not good. When the sun shines and when the clouds are thick. He says, "Dwell here right before Me." And you don't have to go after three days and two nights.
You see, if we went over there now and we were banging on the door, it would be like, why are you here? You're not invited anymore. And God says, you keep coming. This is yours. My Son bought this place for you. You have access.
Someone asked, what is Christianity? What is the church? What's it all about? Oh, how many see the church as something they might do on a Sunday morning, or they might not do depending on how they feel or how late they were up the night before. To some, it's just an automatic thing. They just do it without thinking. It's like a habit. We go to church. It's Sunday, of course. That's what we do. Or, it's some sort of duty. Or, it's some sort of social thing. I hope to see my friends there. Or I'm interested in a girl, hopefully, I'll see her there.
What a massive contrast to what Paul says here. Paul describes this whole thing. What is Christianity? What is the church? Brethren, this is the big thing. This is it. To have access to God. A people that have been redeemed. A people whose sins have been washed away. This is the genuine thing. This is what the church is all about. It's man being confronted by God, having been made right with God, experiencing God, enjoying God, knowing God. The presence, the face... Having access to God.
How little, how little do people think about this! How little does this matter to people! How little do men value this! Sinful man imagines God to just be so absolutely approachable. In fact, sinful man typically views God as just kind of wringing His hands. "Oh, I just hope they'll come to Me."
The Privileged Few with this Access
Brethren, turn in your Bibles to Jeremiah 30:21. I just want you to read this, and see it with your own eyes, and have it go into your own minds. Jeremiah 30:21 Brethren, do you realize the privilege that we have? Mankind at large is lost. "Few there be that find it." That means the vast majority are on the broad way. And do you know what it means to be on the broad way? Do you know what it means to be the vast majority of mankind? It means they have no access. The way is barred. They cannot come to God. And men know it not.
Look at Jeremiah 30:21. "Who would dare of himself to approach Me?" "Who would dare...?" Oh, men don't think this way. What soft, shallow views they have of the Almighty. "'Who would dare of Himself to approach Me?' declares the Lord." You see what Scripture tells us? Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God. And it's your sins that have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. You know what Scripture says? The Lord is far, far from the wicked. Many of you know this text in Psalm 5, "You are not a God Who delights in wickedness. Evil may not dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes. You hate all evildoers." What you need to recognize - we often quote that: "God hates evildoers." But what you need to recognize is that it is in the very context, it's in the very verse, it's in the very thought of the fact that evil cannot dwell with Him. It's not just that God hates the evildoers. It's because of His hatred, they cannot approach Him. Their sins have made a separation. The way is barred. There is no access.
People out here by the multitudes, they imagine that God is there; God is at their beck and call. Don't you believe that, brethren. And you try to approach Him without the Lord Jesus Christ - if you try to approach Him any other way than by the blood, you have no access. Men imagine they do. But, they don't. And when they speak, God does not hear. They are not in His presence. Oh, I know you cannot escape His presence in one sense, but they have no access in the way that men think that they would have access.
Beholding God’s Face
Brethren, go back to Ephesians now. Go back to Ephesians 2:18. Do you recognize where the Gospel takes us? Do you know - think with me here - if you've been here since the beginning of this series, if you let your mind run. Do you know there's nowhere as Paul is just exploding this glorious Gospel before us - like I said, line after line of this great symphony of the Gospel being played, note after note, chord after chord... nowhere in all the glories of this Gospel does he say, look how wonderful it is that you've been spared from hell. Oh, I know I talked about children of wrath in there, and separated from God, and no hope... I know it speaks that way.
But brethren, Paul is not telling us that the great object of the Gospel is that we might be saved from hell. The great object of the Gospel is positive. It's not that negative. It is that we might behold the face of God and that we might dwell in the house of God. And even more than that, that God might dwell in this very temple of God that is made up with living stones. He's going to dwell in the church. And you know what it says there at the end of Revelation? We're not going to need the sun and we're not going to need the moon. He's going to be the light for us and there's no more temple. Why? The temple was the dwelling place of God. That's gone. As we're going to see right here in Ephesians 2. Where is the dwelling place of God under the new covenant? Brethren, we're being built together into a dwelling place for God. We, the people of God, are that dwelling place. It is man dwelling with God and God dwelling with man, and Him as a Father and smiling on us and us of His household. Brethren, we are going to be able to jump and delight and walk in His presence. And no hint of sin. All washed away by the blood of Christ. We'll be able to play in His presence and rejoice in His presence and worship in His presence. And we will be overwhelmed in His presence and overawed in His presence and filled to overflowing with His beauty and with His glory.
Brethren, this is it! This is the great object of our salvation. Brethren, it's nothing less than this. It's nothing short of that. That is the fullness. We need to recognize: access to God. Access. But notice this, notice what or Who is involved in us having access to the Father. Read the text with me. "For through Him (that's Christ), we both (Jew and Gentile), have access in one Spirit to the Father." Through the Son of God we have access in the Holy Spirit - the one Spirit - to the Father.
We might call this Trinitarian access. The whole Godhead's involved in our having access to the Father. Brethren, what we have before us is one of the great Trinitarian statements of Scripture. And I have a feeling that if you have studied the verses and the portions of Scripture that most readily capture the doctrine of the Trinity, if I were to venture a guess, I would say this is one of the least known of all of them. Yet all three Persons are here. This is one of the great Trinitarian statements of Scripture. Make no mistake about it, the doctrine of the Trinity is not artificial as many would claim it to be. It's not some invention of the minds of men or devils. The doctrine of the Trinity is that teaching of the Christian faith which really sets Christianity apart. Catholicism. They may not speak this way, but they give us a quadrinity. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and mother.
Or think about Islam. I actually pulled something out here from their Koran. Now somebody that actually owns the Koran and read the Koran might take issue as they often do with any kind of translations from it, but basically, this gives you the idea. They say to affirm the Trinity, hell will be your home. And this is a rough quote from the Koran itself: "To say Allah has begotten a Son, indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous. At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they should invoke a Son for Allah. For it is not consonant with the majesty of Allah that he should beget a Son."
You want to know the truth? The mountains are ready to rejoice and the trees to clap. Did you hear that in Isaiah 55? At what? At the very exaltation of Jesus Christ to redeem a people for God. "Ho, everyone that's thirsty! Come to the waters!" Where are the living waters? Christ said to the woman at the well, "I have those living waters." Brethren, Islam says it's monstrous.
How about Mormonism? Joseph Smith said that "if God is Trinitarian, that is a strange God - a monster." Mormons believe Jesus is created and that both Father and Son are men of flesh and bone and cannot be considered one. JW's, most of you know, they affirm Jehovah to be the only God and Jesus Christ is created, He is not Jehovah, rather a created being. Large segments of the Pentecostal charismatic movement, this Oneness Pentecostal, do you know what they believe? Yes, they will say they believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but they believe that it is one person and that these are different modes or different manifestations of one person. Not three Persons. They baptize in the name of Jesus, not in THE name - singular - of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hinduism: polytheistic. Millions - whoever came up with that number? Who knows? But 330 million supposed gods.
The Uniqueness of the Trinity
Brethren, it's the doctrine of the Trinity that causes Christianity to stand apart from all the rest. We believe there is one God. Not three. We believe there is one God. Brethren, why do we believe that? We believe it because Scripture affirms it. Isaiah 44:6 "I am the first and I am the last. Besides Me there is no god." There's one. And we believe that this one God is a being Who - I know the term subsists - He exists as three distinct Persons: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Why do we believe that? Why do we believe that God is three distinct Persons? Because that's what Scripture teaches. Do you know what I mean by distinct persons? Three distinct centers of consciousness. That's what we mean by different people. Are they all the same Person? Just different titles given to the same Person at different times? No way. Why don't we believe that? Because brethren, Scripture shows us three separate Persons interacting with each other. The Father sent the Son. Does that mean He sent Himself? No, it does not mean He sent Himself. Scriptures says that the Father loves the Son. Scripture says that the Son loves the Father. You know what Jesus said? Jesus said to His disciples, "It is more profitable for Me to go and be with My Father, than for Me to stay, because if I go, I'm going to send the Comforter to you." That is absolutely ridiculous nonsense if He's saying I need to go to Myself and it's more advantageous for Me to go to Myself so that I can send Myself back than having Me remain with you. That's ridiculous. That's nonsense.
The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus Christ. The Spirit descends on the Son. The Father says, "This is My Son, in Whom I'm well pleased." Jesus says that when the Spirit comes, He will glorify Me." Brethren, these are three distinct Persons. Jesus said that I go to be with My Father. The Spirit is the promise of the Father. You have three Persons interacting with each other.
And somebody says, OK, there are three Persons, but we don't believe that They're one God. Yeah, but here's the thing, Scripture tells us there's only one God. And Scripture tells us that all three of these Persons are God. You say it does? Yeah, Philippians 4:20, "To our God and Father be glory forever and ever, Amen." The Father is God. "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Is the Son God? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Thomas: "My Lord and my God!" Romans 9:5 "Christ, Who is God over all, blessed forever, Amen."
You say, OK, we see it. The Father, the Son... what about the Spirit? Well, you remember what Peter said to Ananias. He said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? You've not lied to men, but to God." The Spirit at the end of 2 Corinthians 3 is called the Lord. Thomas calls Christ Lord. The Father is called Lord.
Why do we teach the Trinity? Because Scripture attests to it. That's why we go there. The proud unbeliever says, how can this be? How can there be one God yet three Persons? How can God forsake God? Did Jesus not hang on that cross and say, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" How can God forsake God? Listen, we will say this, this stretches our minds and beyond our minds. We don't have an answer for everything. There is mystery here. But, you cannot possibly understand your Bibles until you understand that there is a Trinity. You cannot possibly understand Christian doctrine, Christian teaching, until you come to grasp this doctrine and believe it; and if I could say it this way, bow to it. Humble yourself before it. It's proud men who say I cannot understand it, so it cannot be. As though what? Your brain and your reasoning faculties are God? As though they're the ultimate in what truth is? As though that's the standard? You being able to figure it out?
Brethren, Ephesians 4, we're going to get there very quickly, but turn over there. Notice chapter 4:4. "There is one body and one Spirit." You see, that's what we're being told. "Through Christ, we both have access in one Spirit." We may need to look at that in a future message. Why one Spirit? There's significance to that. One Spirit. "Just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, Who is over all, and through all, and in all." Brethren, this Trinitarian concept just comes at us over and over again in Scripture. Brethren, I desire that we be gripped by it.
Comprehending the Trinity
You know what? There may be things that stretch our mind. You may look and say, well, if Jesus is God - well, He is God - in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Scripture repeatedly - there are eight verses in the New Testament that specifically ascribe the Greek term "theos" to Jesus Christ. He is God. The mighty God, Isaiah says. You say, but how could He not know the time of His second coming? Brethren, there is mystery. How could He be a young man growing up and increasing in wisdom? Brethren, there's mystery.
There is mystery. But this is what Scripture teaches and so we bow to this. And I'll tell you this, that as we seek to study this and ponder this and know this and delve into the depths of it, brethren, it is in this truth that our worship will expand and grow and be full of awe and glory and majesty in this church. The more we recognize these three Persons and Who they are and this great Godhead, this Triunity in being that we call Yahweh or Jehovah. The great Three-in-One. We sing these songs that go from Father to Son to Spirit. Do you ever notice them? We sang one today. Or we sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy." One of the great Trinitarian hymns. Brethren, as this fills our worship, we will find there to be a glory as we regard the three Persons as Scripture regards Them. We must try to grasp this.
We must worship the true and the living God in this fashion: Three-in-One. Brethren, do you know this? The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Father. The Son is not the Spirit. The Spirit is not the Father. You say why does Jesus say that I and my Father are one? Yes, but Scripture also says a man and a woman who are married are one. And it also says that we together, Jesus is praying that we would be one as He and His Father are one. Unity does not mean we're exactly the same person. My wife and I are one, but we are not the same person. That concept exists in Scripture.
Now can we fully comprehend? Because at the same time, Jesus could say My Father is greater than I. You say, there it is, He can't be God then. Yes, but in the same way, my wife and I who are equal in being heirs of glory, there's a role variance, and we know that. Scripture says that Jesus called God His Father making Himself equal to God. There's an equality between these three Persons. But there's a diversity in the Godhead of roles. But brethren, what you need to comprehend is this: When you get saved, all three Persons put Their eyes straight on you. And They work together to bring you right to the very heart and presence of God.
That's what this verse is telling us. This Triunity is interested in you. And They've set their affections and Their love on you to bring you. Brethren, if you read, there are such statements that are said, about the Father having a love for us that it's the same as the love that He has for His Son. And Jesus prays not just for our unity between us, but our unity with Them, even as the Father and the Son are one. It's as though there's this glory to be revealed to us or for us, it says in Romans 8. We get pulled right into it. We get pulled into the very love and the very presence of this Triune love and unity and harmony. All three Persons working together through Jesus Christ.
You think about Him. The equality that He had with God. It says there in Philippians 2. He found it a thing not to be grasped. When you think of Him letting go of His equality with God, that doesn't mean that He then drifts over in not being equal. The idea is He didn't grab hold of His equality with the Father and say because I'm equal, I will not empty Myself. I will not humble Myself and go to the cross. I will not endure the contradiction of sinners. I will not endure the shame. It wasn't something to be grasped. He let go. Not of His deity, but His rights in being deity. And He emptied Himself. Why? So that that red carpet could be rolled out. He endured the shame of the cross. He endured men hanging Him naked on a cross. He endured men to inflict suffering and pain on Him. And He was willing to put the cup that God would serve up for us and for our sins, and He became sin. That's what He did to make way, to make access. It's in one Spirit, or, by one Spirit.
Now it's very interesting. I look at maybe 10 or English translations. About half of them said, "in the Spirit," half of them said, "by the Spirit." Even you go back to some of the earliest, back to the Geneva and to the Tyndale, one says "in," one says, "by." There's a difference. "In" is locational. "By" is instrumental. Is this saying that it's being in the realm of the Spirit positionally that I have access? Or is it saying that the Spirit is the Agent? Probably both. Because to be in the realm of the Spirit is to be under the influence of the Spirit. In the Spirit. The Spirit is life because of righteousness, we're told in Scripture. The Spirit is life. The Son - He paves the way, by the shedding of His blood. It's through the blood of Christ that we enter the holy of holies. Where does the Spirit come in? The Spirit breathes life into us. We're no longer that old dead thing.
Can you imagine throwing a dead corpse before God? Our sins - they were vile, they were disgusting. What's happened is Christ has washed them away, and the Spirit has given us life. We're no longer that old dead thing. We're now alive. We're new creations made in the image of God. Righteous. Holy. That's what Paul says about the new man.
You say, it doesn't seem like the Father's actively doing anything here. But don't see Him as passive. Because you need to remember this: God so loved... that He sent His Son. You don't want to see God as being passive in this. You also don't want to see the Son or the Spirit twisting His arm to let us into His presence. It is the Father Who sent the Son. The Spirit is the promise of the Father.
Do you remember back earlier? "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He (this is the Father) chose us in Christ, that we should be holy and blameless..." Remember those last two words? "...before Him." You see, the Father does this that we might be "before Him." The whole Triune Godhead is all actively involved. Christian, have access.
Do You Know This Reality?
And the question is, do you know this? And are you enjoying this? Is this what your Christianity is all about? You have access! If this is not what your Christianity is, oh, I don't want to leave you hopeless, but you need to go to God and ask Him to save you and give you this. Because this is it. This is the heart and soul. This is the reality. This is the all in all of Christianity. It is to have God. It is to come into His presence. It is to behold Him. It is to have the manifest expressions of the love of God that we heard about. You have access. That is a privilege that the vast majority of mankind does not have. Or has ever had. To be a Christian... it doesn't get any better than that. Because to have God. That's it. That's the prize.
And the only reason, brethren, we are too used to drinking from the broken cisterns. Those who have ever truly drunk from these cups that are to be found in the very presence of God, there's nothing more satisfying. You don't want to move on. In this world, we taste... OK, what's next? That's not the way. Jesus says you drink of these waters, you're not going to thirst anymore. And the thing is, as Christians, you're bid, Come. Drink. Eat. Be satiated. You have access. Are you enjoying this? May God help us all to.
Father, we thank You, for such realities as this. Lord, I pray that my brothers and sisters would know this reality to the full, more and more. We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.