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The Blessings we have in Christ
Ephesians 1

This morning we are starting a 6 week series in the Book of Ephesians. As part of our series I'd like to ask you to read the entire book each week, that the Word of God might sink in deep into your mind and heart.

INTRODUCTION

-Written by Paul to the church in Ephesus, a church he founded and stayed at for about 3 years (see Acts 19-20)
-Written from jail (Ephesians 4:1)
-The tone of the letter is very positive. Paul commends the Ephesians as holy people who were faithful to Jesus. Though they lived in a city rife with idolatry and every manner of sin, they had a strong desire to live like Christ and to do what was right in the eyes of God and not of man
-Ephesians is a letter that is full of praise and thanks to God. It exudes joy
-Some key words and phrases in the book include "Grace" "Love" "To the praise of His glory"
-Structurally Ephesians is similar to Paul's other books in that he begins with some theological instruction and then concludes with a series of practical teachings

For our particular focus today we are going to zero in on v.3-14 of Ephesians 1. In these verses (wherein Paul says some pretty "deep" things about God and how He works) Paul shares with us some of the blessings that we have in Christ.

Usually when we think of the blessings of the Lord we think of material things (Health, Safety, provision, the enjoyment of life, the abilities God has given us, etc). In Ephesians 1 Paul doesn't even mention such things; rather he shares with us the "spiritual blessings" that are ours in Christ.

READ EPHESIANS 1

THE BLESSINGS WE HAVE IN CHRIST

As for these blessings and our "wrapping our minds" around them note Paul's prayer in v.17-19a " 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 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 his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe."

Paul prays this way because these blessings and the knowledge of God that is shared with us is so wonderful that he knew that our apprehending of them would take a bit of time and more importantly, the illuminating and revealing work of the Holy Spirit

Note also the end we are to have in mind as the followers of Christ. To know God better!


In and through Christ we have a relationship with God- a relationship initiated by Him, a relationship driven by His love, His desire, His plan, His grace, His mercy. How amazing it is that we can know God and the invitation is that we may know Him Better. To this end we must give ourselves.

THE BLESSINGS WE HAVE IN CHRIST

1. They are in Christ. They are spiritual. They are a gift. We have them in Christ because of the plan, will, love, grace, and mercy of God the Father. We have every single one!

To get in on these blessings one must be in relationship with Jesus Christ- a relationship entered into by the confession of our sins and our faith in Jesus Christ.

2. Our contemplation of the blessings of Christ is to lead us to praise the LORD v.3

3. Chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight v.4

This is pretty big stuff. The Word of God here tells us that before God spoke the universe into existence that He- who knows all things and is Lord over all things- made a decision to save us and bring us into relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

Such is an amazing declaration of the love and grace of God- for we and no person- because of sin, warrants such treatment

Embedded in this declaration that we who name Jesus as Savior and Lord were chosen before the creation of the world is a great statement as to the transcendence of God. Truly the ways of God are not our ways and His ways are higher than ours

Note also that in choosing and saving us in Christ that God the Father has a plan for us -that we might be holy and blameless in His sight. This is also His doing. As ones who in Christ God the Father sees us in Christ, seeing us as righteous in Christ. Such is received by faith.

On a practical level we are called to be holy, to live out our calling and who we are in Christ. We are to find out what pleases God and to seek to do it (Such is determined by the Word of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, discernment, prayer)


4. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ v.5-6

As the followers of Christ we are known by God as His children. He is our Father creatively but more than that He is our Father in a saving and eternal sense. Such is by His initiative, His love, His plan, His pleasure and will, it is for His praise

This act of making us His sons and daughters, was determined before the world was made. As God chose us before the creation of world, so He determined to adopt us as His spiritual children before the creation of the world.

5. In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins v.7-8

Herein we are reminded that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. If not for the perfect once for all sacrifice of Christ there would be no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, no eternal life for us, no hope.

To be redeemed is to have our sins paid for. In dying on the cross and shedding his blood for us as a sacrifice, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment we deserve. He paid the price, setting us free from our sin and the judgment to come. In Christ we the forgiveness of sins and life eternal.

The promise of God is this: "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9


6. We have knowledge of the will and plans of God. A plan culminating in all things being brought together in and under Christ v.9-10

To us the secrets of the Kingdom of God have been given to us (Mark 4:11). To us the mysteries of God and His plan -from Genesis to Revelation has been revealed to us - we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

The culmination of God's plan.....

As we are told in Philippians 2 "Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father" Such is not a new declaration either for it was prophesied in Psalm 2


7. Another amazing blessing that we have in Christ is that we have been made trophies of His amazing grace v.11-12

"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory."

It is a great blessing that God has deemed to take us, creatures so unworthy, so wicked, so lost, and to make us trophies of His grace.***

While, apart from Christ, we had a high estimation of self, our worthiness, our goodness, we were lost in our sins and blind to faults and the darkness in us. We had no conception of the Judgment of God hanging over us for our rebellion against Him and for the wickedness of our ways. We had no awareness of how unworthy we were of the grace, love, mercy, care, forgiveness, and provision of God. And yet, as a display of His great mercy, love, and grace God has purposed to save and draw a people to Himself. This a gift, an undeserved gift, a gift beyond all normal reason- and yet it is the plan of God who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, that praise might come His way.

The only fitting response is the Praise of the Lord

8. As a gift from Christ we have been given the Holy Spirit v.13-14

At the moment of conversion, at the moment we confess our sins and come in faith to Christ for forgiveness, committing our lives to the service of Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gifts us with a spiritual gift for the building up of the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit also serves as deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. The Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit that we are a child of God.

The Holy Spirit helps us to live the Christian life. He intercedes for us when we don't know how to pray. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Word of God. The Holy Spirit convicts us when we sin. The Holy Spirit empowers us, leads us, gives us the right words when we ask for His help. We need the filling of the Holy Spirit.

What a great gift the Holy Spirit is to us in Christ!

CONCLUSION

The amazing blessings that we have in Christ- what is our response to be?

Thanks. Praise. Contemplation. Action: The pursuit of holiness. Faithfulness. Prayer.

Prayer that lines up with Paul's prayer for the Ephesians in v.17-19 "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 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 his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe."