Summary: Understanding and accepting who we are in Christ is foundational to the life of abundance Jesus claimed to grant us.
At the Movies:
Understanding and accepting who we are in Christ is foundational
to the life of abundance Jesus claimed to grant us.
Identity attributes of the Christ-follower:
1. We are favored v.3
2. We are chosen v.4
3. We are adopted vv.5-6
4. We are redeemed v.7-8
5. We are enlightened. vv.9-10
6. We are wealthy vv.11-12
7. We are sealed v.13-14
Opening clip from Spiderman
Turn to Ephesians 1:1-13
Begin a new series today. We’re using the themes of some popular movies to contrast what the Bible says about key issues versus prevailing cultural thinking.
And first out of the box is the issue of identity. Many counselors and mental health experts point to a strong sense of self-identity as a primary basis for mental health.
And the person who should have the strongest self-identity is the Christ-follower! I’ll make this claim and promise: if you know who you are in Jesus, I mean really know down deep in your heart, if it is a settled persuasion, then your mental and emotional well-being will be as healthy and robust as it can be this side of heaven. Your relationships will be richer, your inner peace will be stronger. Your joy will be deeper. Your love for God and people will be incredibly intimate and rewarding. My premise is this: Understanding and accepting who we are in Christ is foundational to the life of abundance Jesus claimed to grant us.
And there is not a more appropriate and fundamental passage in all the Bible to instruct us on identity than what we are going to study this morning. First, let me give you a disclaimer and then another promise. The disclaimer is that there is NO WAY we can plumb the depths of this passage in just one morning. In fact, as I was preparing for this morning, I counted no less than 24 incredible truths that would make 24 amazing Sunday morning studies for us. 24! And I’m attempting to handle this in 30 minutes!! So this is a flyover; a macro look at the passage to whet your appetite to dig deeper into the passage and the amazing life you can have in Christ!
The promise is this: if you will memorize this passage, start this week, memorize the first 13 verses of chapter 1, if you’ll memorize it and bind it around your heart and mind, I promise, I promise that your life, both inside and outside, will dramatically change and improve.
You may know that this passage is just once sentence in the Greek. One sentence. In your English translations, it is usually broken into 8 sentences. But in the original language it is one sentence. I think that one reason the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to write it in one sentence is because the foundational truths in this passage are all integrally linked together. Together they paint a picture of the person who is in Christ and God wants us to get the whole exposure at once.
So let’s stand and read this passage out loud together. Ephesians 1:3-14 (on screen)
As we read through this, undoubtedly you picked out some of the identity attributes of the Christ-follower. I’ve isolated 7 of them for this morning. So listen fast!!
Identity attributes of the Christ-follower:
1. We are favored v.3 (on screen)
Notice that phrase: “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.”
The Greek word for blessed usually means, to speak well of. When we bless God, we speak well of Him. But when God blesses us, He doesn’t speak well of us—He does well for us. He does good for us. He favors us.
This is critical for us to grasp: God is not against us; He is for us. In Christ He has done well to save us and He continues to do well for us in our every day lives.
He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. The meaning is that spiritual blessings are found in heaven and brought to us as we live out our lives with Christ in the center of our lives.
This may or may not include physical blessings like health or jobs. But most assuredly it DOES include the sense that God is on my side and that He highly favors me.
Knowing that God favors me is everything. It changes how I view hardship and adversity. It changes how I see other people who might have more worldly benefits. It changes how I feel about my worth.
There was a lady who used to attend here that when she walked in the door, she’d say, “How you doin’ pastor?” I’d says I’m fine. I’d say, How are you? She’d say, “Blessed and highly favored.” That’s it. Get that straight and life will change for you. Let me hear you say it: I’m blessed and highly favored.”