Sermon shared by John Stevenson
It was in the spring of 1844 when the young German scholar made a most remarkable discovery. His name was Konstanin Von Tischendorf and he had been traveling through the Middle East. He came one night to an old Greek Orthodox monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. Knocking upon the door, he was invited in by the Russian monks who lived there and invited to spend the night.
It was bitterly cold in the desert and the monks has baskets of old dry cordwood and vellum to throw into the fire place. Tischendorf was warming his hands at the fire when his eyes caught sight of one of the pieces of vellum and he did a double take. This particular piece of vellum had writing on it. Tischendorf had benefited from a classical education and he recognized the writing as a part of the Greek Bible. He began digging through the baskets of refuse and came up with 129 pages of what was to be the oldest manuscript of the Bible to be discovered up to that time.
The monks could see that he was excited and they became cautious. When he asked if he could take the manuscript with him, they allowed him to take only 43 of the 129 pages. The rest of the manuscript was sent to mother Russia where it remained until after the Communist Revolution. It was not until 1933 that the Russian Communists, having no use for old copies of the Bible, agreed to sell the Codex Sinaiticus to Great Britain for a price of 100,000 pounds - one of the most expensive books in the world.
Buried treasure. The term fills us with images of glitter and gold. What is your most treasured possession? Your house? Your car? Some sort of family heirloom? The Lord has a treasured possession. It is YOU.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation -- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7-14).
Although it isn't clear from the English translation, the Greek text of Ephesians 1:3-14 is made up of one very long run-on sentence. Paul started this sentence in verse 3 with the phrase: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..." Then he proceeds to tell us what God has done. He does not stop to take a breath, but continues on until the end of verse 14. He cannot stop talking about God. He speaks of all three members of the Godhead. The Father who planned our salvation from eternity past; the Son who accomplished our salvation on the cross; and the Spirit who signed, sealed and delivered us in our new relationship.
We are also described in this passage. We are pictured as the recipients
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