Derek reveals the vastness of our inheritance in Christ—all that belongs to Him is ours. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to teach us about the riches of our inheritance in Christ. As heirs of this inheritance, though, we must lay claim to these benefits and receive them by faith from the One who loves us.
Our theme this week is Extravagant Love, a theme which will bring you into a new dimension in God, both in appreciating God and in responding to Him.
I’ve been sharing with you that the love of God for humanity is to be measured by the price He paid for our redemption. To illustrate this we looked at the two parables in Matthew 13, of the Treasure in the Field and the Pearl of Great Value. In each case, the purchaser gave all he had and the purchaser is a picture of Jesus. The treasure, God’s people collectively. The pearl, each individual soul.
Then in my talk yesterday I showed how the picture presented in these two parables was literally fulfilled in Jesus. Not only did He give up His heavenly throne and glory and prerogatives and privileges, not only did He leave behind Him all that He had owned on this earth, but finally, to redeem our souls, He poured out His soul unto death. For our life, He gave His life. And He did this in the way it had been predicted in the Old Testament, He did it by pouring out His blood. The Old Testament reveals that the life of the soul of each living creature is in the blood.
In fulfillment of the types of the Old Testament, the blood of Jesus was shed in seven successive stages just as the High Priest had sprinkled the blood seven times in the Holy of Holies before the Ark of the Covenant on the Day of Atonement. This is the sevenfold shedding of the blood of Jesus as portrayed in Scripture. First, in the Garden of Gethsemane, His sweat became blood. Second, in the house of the High Priest, they struck Him in the face with fists and with rods. Third, after being before Pontius Pilate, He was flogged with a Roman scourge. Fourth, His beard was pulled out. Fifth, thorns were pressed into His scalp by the soldiers. Sixth, His hands and feet were pierced with nails. And finally, after He had actually died on the cross, His side was pierced with a spear and there came out water and blood. He literally gave Himself. He poured out His life, all He had for our redemption.
Today I’m going to speak about what we receive in Christ, through redemption, our limitless inheritance. I want to affirm that not only was God extravagant in the price He paid to redeem us, but He is equally extravagant in all that He gives us in Christ.
We look first of all at a passage in Romans 8:15-17. Paul is writing to Christians about what is available to us through our faith in Christ. He says:
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him [that’s by the Spirit] we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ [Abba is Aramaic or Hebrew, corresponding to the English word ‘Daddy.’ So we’ve come into that relationship of intimacy with God the Father whereby we address Him as Abba as Daddy. The Spirit of God Himself giving us this assurance and this confidence. And Paul goes on about what the Spirit reveals to us of our position in Christ.] The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. [The Bible tells us that, but the Spirit of God reinforces, personally to each one of our hearts the truth of Scripture. We are God’s children. And then Paul goes on in the next verse to explain what is involved in being God’s children.] Now if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
So when we become God’s children, then in line with the normal procedure in the human race, being children we are heirs. We heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Of course, there’s one condition stated, if we’re willing to share His sufferings. That’s one of the conditions of being a co-heir with Him, we share the inheritance, we also share the sufferings. You remember I spoke about the pearl, how it was the product of suffering. It’s important to understand what it means to be co-heirs. It doesn’t mean that we each get a little fraction of the total inheritance, but it means that Jesus, as the first Son, has the whole inheritance and we share the whole inheritance with Him. Each one of us has a right to the entire inheritance which is the inheritance of Jesus. You see, the law of God’s kingdom is sharing. We don’t each grab our portion, but we all share together all that God the Father has and all that Christ the Son has.
Let’s look at what Jesus says about this inheritance and how we can know about it in John 16:13-15, speaking about the coming of the Holy Spirit:
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. [We couldn’t grasp this without the Holy Spirit.] He will bring glory to me [Jesus goes on] by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine.”
So all that belongs to the Father belongs to the Son, and the Holy Spirit will reveal to us all that that is. And we are co-heirs, so all that belongs to the Father and belongs to the Son, also belongs to us. But remember, that it’s the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, that’s the administrator of the inheritance. If we aren’t in good relationship with the Holy Spirit, if we don’t receive the revelation of the Holy Spirit, if we don’t walk in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we can be, in theory, children of a king, but we can live like paupers and beggars because we are not entering into the inheritance. But the inheritance is all that God the Father has and all that God the Son has, they share together and we share with them. That’s the fullness of what God has bestowed upon us in Christ. He’s not stingy, He’s not petty, He’s not legalistic, He’s extravagant.
We look now at another scripture which also speaks about the extent of our inheritance, just a little further on in the same chapter of Romans 8:32:
“He who did not spare His own Son, [that’s God, or course] but delivered Him up for us all, [that’s the price that God paid] how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
Let’s pause and consider the implication of those words. They are all so powerful. When we receive Christ, then with Him, apart from Him we receive nothing, but with Him God freely gives us all things. What a tremendous emphasis there is on the scope of the inheritance and on its absolute freedom. We can’t earn it. We receive it as a free gift and it includes all things. All that God the Father has, all the God the Son has, we are heirs of that total inheritance when we receive Christ.
And then Paul, again, in 1st Corinthians speaks to the Christians there and he tries to show them how rich they are. And he kind of rebukes them because they have been acting as though they were poor. They’ve been mean and petty and jealous to one another. He says, “You people don’t realize what you’ve got.” So this is what he says in 1 Corinthians 3:21-23:
“So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, [all things belong to you. That’s a breathtaking statement, isn’t it?] whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [don’t get hung up with preachers, he’s saying] or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.”
That’s a tremendous thought, isn’t it? “All things belong to you.” Stop acting in a petty little way. “Stop being so small minded,” he says. “Remember, everything is yours.” Remember it’s freely given to us. We cannot earn it. But it’s important that we ask the Holy Spirit to enlarge our faith and understanding. Remember He’s the administrator. And unless the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us into the truth, these will just be words, they’ll not be reality. It’s the Holy Spirit that makes the promises a reality.
Then I want to close with a passage from the 1 John 4:16, and I’m going to read it in two different versions. The first one:
“And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (NASB)
The second version:
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (NIV)
Notice the opening phrase, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us...” The alternative translation, “So we know and rely on the love God has for us...” I want to point out to you that there are two aspects. One is knowing the love God has for you. The other is believing the love God has for you. Or the alternative translation, relying on the love God has for you.
I want to suggest, that many, many Christians hear in church scriptures about the love of God, they may even believe them, they may entertain them, but it doesn’t become real until we rely on them. Until we really take it seriously that God loves us, that He gave the highest price the universe has to offer to redeem us, and that having redeemed us, He’s made the whole inheritance ours. We’ve got to begin to act like that. We’ve got to rely on that. We’ve got to stop being mean and petty and stingy with other people and with ourselves. We’ve got to learn to be like God, extravagant.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll continue and complete this theme of Extravagant Love. I’ll be dealing with the other side of the coin, how should we respond to God’s Extravagant Love?