Summary: Second week of the Ephesians Series. God designed the Church to Be Christ centered. If we are Christ centered we will speak well of God and fulfill our purpose.

Intro: We said last week that the culture is opposed to the person and principle of Jesus Christ. We must remember that we are chosen in Christ to please and praise God.

We are continuing to clear our thoughts about the church with this powerful theology that encourages us to keep our lives and this church Christ centered. It is when we believe and constantly think that life is God centered that we live Christ centered.

In Colossians Paul gives clear encouragement 3:1-2 “So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.”

Listen to the Message translation of the same verse, “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”

We must constantly check our vision to make sure we are see from heavens perspective. We must constantly pull ourselves back to appropriate thinking about God’s church. If we are to Cultivate His life in Common, we have to remember and refocus Christ as the center.

I. The church is designed to be God centered (praise)

The word translated praise literally means to speak well of, we get our modern word eulogy from this word praise. God blesses us with deeds so that we can bless Him with words. In this 102 word run on sentence Paul makes it clear that the church is to be centered on God. It begins with the blessing of God the Father moves to the redemption of God the Son and finishes with the sealing of God the Spirit. Grace is God’s way of blessing us. We don’t earn it by being good or serving God.

A) God provided for His church so that we would speak well of Him

1) Spiritual blessings

They are spiritual because we receive the blessings and favor of God by His Holy Spirit. All Christians have available to us all. “All” spiritual blessings mean that what is given is sufficient to meet our every need. Physical blessings do not last.

2) In the heavens

The closeness of union to Christ determines the access of our riches in the heavens. This is much more about our abiding in Jesus than it is about the physical place of heaven. The Holy Spirit gives us access to all the riches of God. Jesus is our blessing, He brings the fullness of life to us.

It is not so much about physical blessings. It is about the fullness that God brings no matter the apparent barrenness of our physical life. We are constantly told to get our thinking right about God, ourselves and the church.

Philippians 4:8 (read) What is praiseworthy – Jesus alone is worth us speaking well of.

Proverbs 3:5,6 Don’t trust your own way of thinking

Ephesians 4:17-24 (read) We are no longer to be imprisoned by selfish and earth centered living. (It is earth centered thinking that makes Christians and churches ineffective for the Kingdom of God.)

What are some of the earth centered ideas? That we must have more than our daily basic needs of food, water, shelter. Paul was in chains while writing this letter and broke into praise over what God was doing in his life.

B) God picked His church before creation so that we would speak well of Him

God chose us for His purpose not foremost our pleasure.

1) To be holy

To be different than the world. In Christ we were created to pursue holiness. It is God’s picking us (electing) us that makes it possible for us to walk in newness of life.

2) To be blameless

This is life governed by the blessing of the Holy Spirit. God picked us chose us elected us to become His holy perfect reflections. When we surrender to God we do not become His property we discover that we belonged to Him all along. If we allow the Holy Spirit to take His rightful place and receive the riches of His indwelling presence we will also live as His.

II. The church was designed for God’s Purposes

Why does God pick us to be different? Why does He want His Holy Spirit to live within us and give us a new lifestyle?

A) Transformation – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (read)

Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:8-17 (read) 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (reae)

B) Representation -- Acts 1:8 – witnesses; 2 Corinthians 5:20 – Ambassadors; 1 Peter 2:9 – Priests;

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