Summary: The amazing grace we receive is that we are adopted as children of God.
Amazing Grace – Ephesians 1: 3 - 14
Intro: This morning I would like for you to think for a moment about what might be the best news you could receive. Good news comes in so many forms. Let me share a few: You’re cancer free and you are cured. / Happy 100th birthday and congratulations on winning the wheelchair marathon. / We have discovered oil under your house. / You’ve been selected to compete on the senior Olympic team. / The IRS has discovered a huge error in your tax returns for the last 7 years and you are entitled to a $50,000 refund. / Congratulations! You’ve just won the mega-millions lottery!
I There are 3 interesting facts about the Greek of the passage this morning: 1) VSS. 3 – 14 is just one long sentence, 2) the past perfect verb tense is used – a past, completed action. 3) the focus is on God’s actions, not ours.
A Wouldn’t it be great to win the lottery? Just think of all the taxes you would get to pay and all the relatives and friends you haven’t seen in decades when suddenly come to visit with outstretched hands. That would just . . . make me want to run and hide.
B There are so many things in our world today that make just feel just like that! We want to run away and hide somewhere, anywhere. Though we have so many material blessings, our lives can still be extremely frustrating and complicated.
C We assume that Paul wrote these words to the small church in Ephesus that was struggling just to stay alive. I can relate b/c I have felt like that in many of the churches I have served over the years when actually, 3 of the churches I have served are now closed.
II Have you ever been around someone who was so bubbly and positive that you just wanted to trip them to see them fall? They are the type that would get us and say, “Oh, silly me!”
A When I read these verses from Ephesians, my initial reaction was much the same. I wanted to yell, “Wake up and smell the coffee!” Things are not that great!
B I subscribe to a small publication called “The Week.” Sometimes when I read it is difficult to believe that God will as written in VS. 10 “bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
C I want to shout at God, “When? How much longer?”
III Go back with me to what I said about there being some interesting things about this passage. The last 2 are important for us as Christians today. If we concentrate on VSS. 11 – 14 we will see why.
A First, we must remember that the verbs used in this passage are in the past, perfect tense. We have already been “adopted” as the children of God. We are part of a holy family. I had a friend tell me long ago that “blood is thicker than mud.” That was her way of saying that family is important when things get mired down in the mud of daily living.
B People who are only children are often told that they were so lucky b/c we could get whatever we wanted. That may have been true in some cases; but, the one thing we couldn’t get was a large family. But, now as an only child in a Christian family, I realize I have many, many brothers and sisters.
C As Christians, we belong to the extended, adopted family of God and that is such a wonderful blessing. Although, just as in normal families, sometimes we don’t get along with everyone; but as my friend would remind us, blood is thicker than mud. We are in this world with all our sisters and brothers in faith.
Concl: The important thing for us to remember is that the amazing grace that we experience as children of God is that we are truly blessed. Our lives are to be led as people who know themselves to adopted as brothers and sisters, graced, and richly blessed with a massive inheritance of love. As recipients of God’s blessings, we are blessed to be a blessing to our brothers and sisters around the world.