Summary: Life is hard, even for Christians. In those difficult times we can sometimes forget the blessings we have in Christ. But when we start to see the bigger picture and understand how we are blessed in Christ, we can truly live in the joy of those blessings.
Ok, I want to start with a question.
Do you know where you are?
That is kind of a funny question, isn’t it? Because of course you know where you are.
But the reality is, that sometimes, we may not fully understand where we are until we see the bigger picture of our location and the landmarks that identify where we really are.
For instance, have you ever been to the mall?
Of course you have.
Well, maybe you have driven there and parked
and gone into the mall and then shopped and then wanted to leave. Now you know you are at the mall,
and you know your car is parked at the mall, but you have no idea where your car is in relation to where you are. Sure you may know where you parked (by JC Penney) and you may know where you are (by Macy’s) but your perspective is so limited that you have no idea how to get to your car.
You might be walking around like you are lost even though you know you are at the mall. And it is not until you can see the whole picture,
a map that shows all of the landmarks, that you can know where you are in relation to your car and then you know the route you really need to be walking to get to the place you want to be – your car.
Similarly, I think sometimes for Christians, we know where we are in a sense, but we don’t really know where we are in relation to the big picture of who we are in Christ!
Today, I hope to help us truly see who we are in Christ so we can walk in the way that helps us live in the blessings we have in Christ.
We are starting a new series through Ephesians for the summer
We are going to work out way through the entire letter this summer.
Before we begin into chapter 1, I want to go through some background.
This letter was written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome around 60 AD.
The letter to the Ephesians was probably more of a circular letter to be read in several churches in Asia, the first of which was Ephesus.
It was written to be a “summary of his theology in its most practical form.”
The churches has already been grounded in the doctrines of individual reconciliation with the Lord through being justified by faith, they need to learn to get along with each other. They had “unity in their position in Christ; there needed to be unity in their practice in the church, too.” It is intended to get Christians to grow in unity and love for each other.
If there is a theme to Ephesians, it may be “the Church, the Body of Christ.”
Background info from https://bible.org/seriespage/ephesians-introduction-argument-and-outline
So it is my hope that the Lord will use this series to help each of us here at Hickory to be an example of unity and love and that we will truly be living out our motto to Love God, Love People, and Live it Out!
So turn with me to Ephesians 1:1-14 and we are going to learn today who we are in Christ so we can truly know the Blessings we have in Him.
Let’s read Ephesians 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory.