Summary: Who wouldnt like to be an heir of a vast business empire worth billions? To have enough money to have whatever you liked and never have to worry about anything? Yet a material inheritance fades in comparison to the incredible spiritual inheritance of e
An Awesome Inheritance
Who has heard of Lachlan Murdoch? He is the heir of vast media Empire, which his father Rupert Murdoch built up over many years. He is worth billions.
Who has heard of Paris Hilton? The first I heard the name of Paris Hilton I thought it was a hotel in France. Actually, although there is a Paris Hilton which is a hotel in Paris, there is also a person named Paris Hilton and there is a link. You see Paris Hilton the person, is an heiress to the vast Hilton Hotel empire which her great grandfather and grandfather built up. In fact, when Paris Hilton is mentioned in the papers, her job description is given as heiress and socialite.
Who would like to be an heir? Who would like to have an inheritance? Would you like to inherit a Hotel Empire? A newspaper empire? To inherit millions, if not billions of dollars?
You wouldnt have to worry about tomorrow. You wouldnt have to worry about paying the bills.
Well, today I want to tell you that if you are a Christian, you are an heir! You have an inheritance! And it is an inheritance of something much better than a hotel or media empire.
Todays passage is Ephesians 1:11-14 and it talks about our inheritance! This passage is framed by words about inheritance. In the NIV, in verse 11, it says, In Him we were also chosen. However in the Greek the word has a richer meaning than just chosen. If you have a look at the footnote it says, In Him we were made heirs. The New King James Version does a better job of translating this word in this particular instance. It says, In Him also we have obtained an inheritance. This is what the Greek means: we have obtained an inheritance. And at the end of the passage, in verse 14, it speaks again of our inheritance.
This passage is therefore about our inheritance and it tells us about our inheritance!
It tells us many things about our inheritance!
It tells us about
1. GODS CHOOSING
2. GODS INCLUDING
3. GODS PROVING
of our inheritance.
First, let us look at GODS CHOOSING.
But to understand Gods choosing, we need to understand the context in which Ephesians was written. Ephesians was written to a mixed audience of Jews and Gentiles. Ephesians deals with the relationship between the two groups and we find this especially in the second half of chapter 2. But he starts talking about it here as we shall see.
Because even though Paul was writing to a mixed audience, they all knew that the promises of God came through the Jews. They knew that it was the Jews who were chosen by God. Paul was Jew. Jesus a Jew. The Gospel had spread from Israel to them. Jesus death and resurrection occurred in Jerusalem, in Israel.
And Paul here uses language here that is very common in the OT. He uses the language of inheritance. This passage uses the same words for inheritance that are used in the Old Testament to describe the inheritance that God has for Israel.
Lets have a brief survey of the use of this word and of this concept.
We need to go way back, to Genesis 15, where we find the Abrahamic Covenant. This was a covenant God made with Abraham about 4000 years ago. It was a promise of descendents and land which would be a lasting possession.
NIV: GE 15:7 He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."
It is not so clear in the NIV, but in the New King James, it more accurately translates the word inherit:
NKJV: 15:7 Then He said to him, I am the LORD, who obrought you out of pUr of the Chaldeans, qto give you this land to inherit it.
As we read the Old Testament we see that it centres around Israel as Gods chosen people. Frequently the language of inheritance is used, and this is the same term we find here in our passage in Ephesians.
Abraham lived in Canaan, but he did not possess it. He did not own it. But later his descendents did own it. This was the fulfillment of that promise. However the Israelites Abrahams descendents lost it again through disobedience and were exiled to Babylon and other places. They returned to Israel after 70 years of exile in Babylon.
At the time of Jesus the Jews did actually live in the Promised Land. However, they didnt have possession of the land. It wasnt theirs. They and the land were under Roman occupation. Zealous Jews wanted to kick the Romans out. They wanted to regain possession of the land. And in fact they were expecting Jesus, the Messiah, to do that, to kick the Romans out. Even his closest disciples expected this, as we see in Acts 1:6: