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The blessings that we have in Christ. Ephesians 1:3-14
The Blessings we have in Christ
Ephesians 1:3-14

Scripture reading: Acts 19:23-41

This morning, from Ephesians 1:3-14, I want to talk to you about the blessings that we have in Christ.

The blessings that Paul speaks of are meant to lead us to the praise of God.

READ TEXT

Before reading:

Observe that Ephesians 1:3-14 is Trinitarian in nature. The blessings Paul speaks of are from the God the Father, in Christ Jesus, and sealed/guaranteed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Also note that Paul was the founder of the Ephesian church (He spent 3 years in the city). It was comprised mostly of Gentile Christians. Ephesians serves as a letter of further instruction in the Christian faith.

THE BLESSINGS WE HAVE IN CHRIST

1. They are from God the Father. They are heavenly in origin. They are bound up in Christ and a relationship with Him. v.3

By faith in Jesus, God becomes our spiritual and Heavenly Father. We are to address Him as such. Hence Jesus teaches us to address God as Father. "This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven...." Matthew 6:9.

As for His blessings being heavenly in origin; James 1:17 says; "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Further: Jesus came down from Heaven on a rescue mission to save us from our sins.

Every blessing we have is in Christ. Just as every promise of God is "Yes" in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20

To participate in God's blessings, a relationship with Jesus is required-- one that is by faith,

2. We were chosen in Christ before the world began v.4

While hard to fathom - and unfortunately a cause of unnecessary controversy in the church, Paul says; "Here's an incredible blessing" Praise God for it.

This blessing comes with an expectation: That we respond by seeking to live a holy and blameless life.

Recall how Paul in the Book of Romans in chapter 12 he says "In view of God's mercy" and then he spells out for the next 4 chapters how we are to live. Similarly, in light of God's gracious choice of us for salvation and relationship with Him, we are to respond by renouncing the ways of the world and pursuing after holiness-- for as God says "Be holy, as I am holy"

As for controversy: This text is NOT about Calvinism and Arminianism. Paul's point is intended to bring praise to God for His grace in saving us- unworthy as we are.


3. We are loved by the Father v.4b

"In love he..."

John 3:16 says; "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

1 John 4:10 says; "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

In Romans 8:30 we are told that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In Ephesians 3:17-19, note Paul's prayer as it regards God's love "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

The ultimate expression of God's love for us is that while we were yet sinners and in a position of rebellion against God, Jesus died for us on the cross- taking the punishment that we deserve.


4. We were predestined to be adopted as his sons and daughters v.5

To pre-destine something is to determine its future beforehand. Herein Paul tells us that God determined ahead of time that we were going to be his spiritual children. (God's predestination of us and His choosing of us for salvation before the creation of the world are related to each other.)

Again: Paul not saying this to stir controversy. He's telling us this to illicit praise to God for his amazing grace and love.

The result of God's foreordaining work? Spiritual children. Sons and daughters. Children of the King.

The reason for God predestining us

-His own good pleasure and the accomplishment of His will v.5 See also v.11 "Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will"
-His being praised for His incredible grace (for as Paul notes in Ephesians 2-- there is no one who deserves salvation or forgiveness. Rather, before being brought into relationship with Christ we were rebels against God and objects of his wrath. This is why Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast."
-That we might serve as trophies of His grace and mercy

5. Redemption through the blood of Jesus. The forgiveness of our sins. v.7-8

According to God's grace, He determined to send Jesus to Earth on a rescue mission-- to save us from our sins. Such was accomplished by Jesus shedding his blood on the cross and taking upon Himself the punishment that we deserve for our sins-- that all who confess their sins and put their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, may have the forgiveness of their sins and peace with God--- coming to be called the children of God.

Further: This forgiveness, this redemption, this act of love was and is completely undeserved and unearned on our parts. The intended result is this: Our praise of the Lord.

Further: v.13 tells us how we came to be participants in God's family and kingdom: Through the hearing of the word of truth, the gospel of salvation. This reminds me of Romans 10:17 which says; "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ"

What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

How incredible that the penalty that we deserve for our sins has been paid for by Christ

6. Saved, though we are Gentiles v.9-10

In Ephesians 1:9 Paul says; "And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure...."

We of course ask what mystery is Paul talking about. Paul does not leave us in the dark. Read Ephesians 2:11-13 and Ephesians 3:6-9

Further: See also 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Acts 22:21-22 for an explanation of the "mystery" Paul speaks of in Ephesians 1:9-10


To our ears it may seem a bit strange that our salvation is so remarkable- versus God's saving of those who are Jewish. Yet it is a big deal. Jesus first came for the Jews. "First for the Jew, then for the Gentile" says Romans 1:16. However, remember what we just read in Ephesians 2:11-13 and then recall the response of the Jews to Paul when he told them that salvation was for us; Acts 22:21-22 ""Then the Lord said to me, 'Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' "The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!"

For our inclusion in God's salvation work- as Gentiles- we are to praise God for the wideness of His grace and love.

7. We have been given the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance v.13-14

"Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance..." v.13-14

The Holy Spirit is like an engagement ring to us from God-- a promise of the wedding supper of the Lamb.

When we who are the followers of Jesus Christ were born again (John 3)-- the Holy Spirit was given to us. The Holy Spirit indwells every follower of Christ. He instructs us, convicts us, guides into God's truth, empowers us, helps us pray, and gifts us. The Holy Spirit also serves as God's pledge and guarantee that our place in Heaven is secure.


CONCLUSION

Paul's revelation of the blessings that are ours in Christ, is meant to move us to PRAISE

The Blessings that Paul lays out- have aspects that are hard to understand and are way "deeper" than we can imagine.

This explains why we have Paul's prayer in v.17-18 "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,"

In light v.17-18 we would do well to set aside some time to review the incredible blessings in Christ that Paul speaks of.