The Bible in its wisdom unfolds the story of God the Father making the way for the Bride to be found for God the Son. There’s a story line that follows the Lamb and the Blood He would shed. The Magi of the East brought myrrh as a gift, a spice related to death, because it had been determined before the foundation of the world that the Son would give His life for the Bride. (Ephesians 25-27)
Speaker(s): Pastor Justin Schaller
6:30 PM on 12/8/2019
P. Justin Schaller –
Good evening. Where do we start? That’s the question. Ephesians. 5:25, I thought this was Christmas! Vs.
26-27. Great to be here tonight. It’s an honor to be able to stand in front of this church and
share from the Scriptures, the Bible. It’s always fun preaching here. It’s a real blessing. To start
off, who likes stories? You like stories. We like stories, don’t we? Did Jesus tell stories? He told a
lot of stories. When you are with a little child, the way he learns is reading stories. Cliff the Big
Red Dog, Fancy Nancy, etc.
These stories have meaning to them after you pay attention. I’ve been learning like I’ve never learned reading these to my daughter! Sneaky wisdom! As human beings, we are made for stories. In our lives, very much so we are always looking to connect the dots what happens to us. We love to come to a conclusion why we went through what we went through. Now I see and we tell a story to ourselves. We are in the image of God and he is the
greatest storyteller. The Bible is a history book but unlike any other, it starts before time and
ends after time. God is telling an unfolding story.
The theological term is God is progressively revealing his truth to us in Scripture. I asked P. Scibelli what he preached on this morning and he said Genesis. 3:15. We see this Messianic promise that comes in. Christ already has a plan and has the story figured out. God is the director of the play and I can decide to be in it or not. If you
read the book of Ecclesiastes, and it’s been a debate why it’s in Scripture because it’s filled with
despair and darkness.
There is a preacher saying vanity of vanity all is vanity. The thing about it
is it’s a wisdom book and written in its day and was a popular style of writing. Literary
pessimism. You would take something obvious to the natural and try to explain it. Two phrases
in Ecclesiastes that shows the difference of what the author is trying to say. Vanity and vanity
all is vanity under the sun and in chapter 3, he uses this other phrase, under heaven. When you
read this book you see the distinguishing message between these two statements. Ecclesiastes. 1:14, Ecclesiastes.
3:1, under the heaven.
Two different phrases “under the sun” and “under heaven.” I want to try and explain it and bring it together for an application for us. Under the sun. When the author in 1:14, all the works done under the sun are vexation of spirit. It means it’s futile. Ever been on a computer and typing away and feeling the flow and then something happens, and your computer turns off? Where did it go? Can I get it back? Is it in the cloud? Autosave? You turn
your computer back on and it’s gone.
That was a waste of time. You play basketball, Coach Lynch, and they are not really in the game. Is there a point to this? Is there a purpose to all of this? I would say the world is trying to make a purpose for all the vexation of spirit the are going through. I labor and labor for 20 or 30 years and have to say at the end of it, it meant
something. The author of Ecclesiastes is saying what was done under the sun is nothing but
vexation of spirit and futile. If you watch a sporting event or NFL Sunday night football, there is
always a story line.
A player broke his left ankle and he pushed and pushed and there he is on
the field tonight. Yes, I love that story. He scores 30 touchdowns in a year but what does it
mean in reality? It doesn’t mean anything. Yes, they won but in two weeks training camp starts
and they have to start all over again. What was that about? Let’s go through it again. Ernest
Hemingway wrote truth in the sense that he wasn’t ashamed to express what he thought. He
ended up going down into his kitchen and took his own life while his wife was in bed.
He wrote a book taken from the book of Ecclesiastes. He concluded all is vanity and vexation of spirit.People can go through life and think it has meaning under the sun. Many of us have gone
through times we say, is this what life is? Suffering and vexation of spirit? This is vain. I was
talking to one of the guys in our church yesterday and he said I don’t get it at the end of the
book. In the middle of the book in Ecclesiastes. 3, there is another story going on. It’s not determined or
produced by us. It’s a story under heaven. God is not under the sun.
God is in heaven. When man lives his life under the natural sun, and says this is what I’m under, he makes his own story. In reality, there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes. 3:1, this is the amazing thing about our faith.
We realize everything we do matters. You understand that there is a sovereign God that has
created a perfect season and a time and perfect purpose for everything that happens in our life.
Since we are acknowledging we are no longer under the sun but under heaven and under God’s
sovereign rule that he has created.
Vs. 2, 4. If you read chapters 1 and 2, there is vexation of
spirit dancing, vexation of spirit mourning, and vexation of spirit chasing after wisdom under
the sun. When you realize God has created all of it and has a story going on. Every tear is
bottled up. Every time we rejoice, it’s for eternity. Every time I mourn, it’s working for me a far
greater glory. My life is filled with purpose and every moment is filled with eternal purpose. It’s
vexation of spirit in the world. Under heaven, there is ultimate purpose.
This is what I want to share with us. What is that for us? Isn’t that good? Is that true? Does that give me life?
Absolutely. Genesis. 4, I want to string together two thoughts at the end. Follow this with me. It
won’t make sense right now, but it will at the end. If not, there is always tomorrow! Genesis 4:3,
Cain and Abel. A story going on through the entirety of the Scriptures. The story is the Lamb of
God. If you read Genesis 5 and you go through the genealogy in that chapter, it spells out the
gospel. Each name has a definition of what it means.
God gave the gospel through all those names. The gospel is through the entirety of the Scripture. The Lamb of God is most vital to understand. Christ had the most names given to anyone on earth and one of the most amazing
ones is the Lamb of God. Genesis 4:3-7. The offering is accepted before God that Abel gives. A blood
offering is necessary. Cain brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. God didn’t accept it.
God wanted blood. We understand that in Genesis 4. In Genesis 22, Abraham gives up his son because
God requires a sacrifice and then all of a sudden it’s provided by God, a ram in the thicket.
Exodus 12 the sacrifice must be slain so the blood put above the door post. Slain is necessary for the
sacrifice. Leviticus 22:21 character of the lamb must be spotless. In Isaiah 53, the lamb is a human
being. In Jn 1, he declares the lamb and the identity of the lamb is given as Jesus Christ. Peter
shows us and says this lamb was the resurrected Christ. All through the Old Testament it’s
unfolding, and Christ is the fulfillment of the promise but it’s there the entire time.
When this happens and eyes are opened to see Christ was the One from the beginning to be the lamb, it
takes our breath way. This is the story God has written from the beginning. What is the purpose
of the Lamb of God? If we go to Genesis 24, this is a story of Isaac. Rough outline. Abraham is an old
man. He’s stricken in age in vs. 1. God had given him a promise of a son and through his seed a
great nation. Ultimately would come the Messiah or Lamb of God that would redeem his
people. It’s important for Abraham to send out his servant to find a wife for Isaac.
He is struggling in the wife department, and Abraham says I got it. The servant goes out and goes to
the land where they came from. The servant finds Rebekah. She was an awesome woman. She fulfilled everything the servant was looking for in a bride for Isaac. Rebekah agreed to go back,
800 miles or so away. She goes back with the servant it says in Genesis 24:58. Vs. 64-67, Isaac was
comforted after his mother’s death. That’s a great way to find a wife. It’s a picture for us that
the father sent out his servant and had one thing in mind, to find a bride for his son.
The whole purpose of this story is God the Father delights in the Son so much he sent his Son to be the
Lamb of God so he could give to his Son a bride. That’s the overarching story throughout the
whole Scripture. The Son has so much love for the Father and the Father for the Son that this
love between us must be shared or glorified. We are going to go into a sinful world and find my
Son a bride. That bride is going to be without blemish. She is going to be perfect and holy. She is
going to reflect the grace and mercy of her husband.
This is a mystery as it says in Ephesians 5. I read that passage and I say Paul, what is the mystery you are speaking of? A perfect God who is satisfied and content in himself would decide to come into a sinful world filled with wickedness and become a little lamb perfect, spotless, and shed his blood so the wrath of God goes on him
so in the future, we would be married to him so he could love us. It never says women love
your husbands, but husbands love your wife as Christ loved the church.
Rebekah is in a distant land and Abraham says I love my son so much I want to give him a wife. Servant go out into the world. There is Rebekah. As soon as she came into Isaac’s company, Isaac loved here. She is
saying, who is this person? When Christ was here on the earth and with his disciples, when they
were with Christ and heard Christ was going to leave and leave them behind, it was like a
husband leaving behind his fiancé. The angel said, why are you standing there staring? That’s a
silly question. He just ascended into heaven.
Why do you have your eyes up there when you know he told you he’s coming back for you? Ephesians 1:13 he’s given us his Holy Spirit, like an engagement ring. In the days of antiquity, to break off engagement you had to get divorce papers. When you were engaged, you were already married. Jesus gave us this engagement
and said to us you are my bride. We are living in long distance communication, but when you
love someone so much, how many times are you going to pick up the phone and say, do you
have a word for me? I can’t wait until you come back.
You are the lover of my heart. My heart is so full for you because you are my husband and you love me and chose me. When we see what Jesus did for the sake of us being called his bride, it floors us. I need my eyes to behold the
wonderful things coming out of this story. Jesus and the Father have written me right into the
pages of this story. I am the centerpiece of this story. The last time we see this phrase “the
Lamb of God,” we see someone else with him.
John in Revelation 21:9 gets a vision. I will show you the bride, the lamb’s wife. There is going to be a day. It’s coming. It means your story isn’t written by you. You don’t have to worry trying to figure out what your life is about. I don’t have to connect all the dots to figure out why this happened and didn’t happen. I’m under heaven
and the Father has written a great story. In that story, he came into the world to find himself a
bride. I am that bride. In the future we will celebrate at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Jesus
is going to present us as his beautifully, adorned bride.
It’s going to be amazing. When you get married, you are married. It’s an eternal reality expressed here on earth. They are married, committed to each other and how great is our lord, our husband in the sense if he said it, it will
happen. Vs. 9. I will show you the bride. the lamb’s wife. It’s amazing to think Paul said in Ephesians 5 you are without spot or wrinkle. To think there is the Lamb and his blood was shed so our
garments could be perfectly clean.
I love it that our heavenly Father and Jesus our high priest are saying everything you are going through in this life is to purify yourself so there will be a day your glory will be greater. The pain, the suffering is for the sake that Jesus will have a beautiful bride. Do we believe that? Sometimes, it’s hard to believe. I try to figure out my life based on
my own perceptions, what I know and my own situations. I’m so grateful I have a book filled
with wisdom. It is telling me the beginning, the present, and the future.
That future is so glorious. He sent his Holy Spirit into this world to illuminate to us in our hearts and minds who
we are in Christ. The last point is – how are you doing? Okay. I didn’t know if you guys were out
there. Getting lonely up here for a minute! The last point is this. I said this in Fed Hill this
morning. The Holy Spirit can breathe on this for us. The wise men came to Jesus from the east.
They were men that had an understanding probably when Daniel was in Babylon.
These wise men, the magi, were men of the stars and had understanding of times and seasons based on
the sky but also from prophecies that one day will come the Messiah. Vs. 11 it was a time after
Jesus was born because they came into the house, not the manger. Vs. 12 myrrh. The gifts they
gave meant something. Gold represents kingship. Mary and Joseph are watching these men,
probably a great number of them. We give him gold because he’s a king.
We bring frankincense because it represents the incense going up to God. It represents prayer. Always a priest would go in. Prayers offered by the priest. Frankincense represented the priesthood of Christ. Myrrh
always represented when you embalm a body, you would take myrrh and wrap it in the
embalmment to take away the stench. He came here for one purpose, to die. How great is his
love for us that he came for you and me. That purpose extends even greater than that. Not just
free passes into heaven but to make us his personal bride.
The death of Christ is related to Christmas. In Genesis 3:15, he had a plan. The Lamb was slain before the foundations of the world. He was to die to make you and I his perfect bride. Let’s be encouraged by that. We are the
bride of Christ without spot or wrinkle. It’s a mystery Jesus would come here but he did. We
thank you, Lord, for that.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.