Summary: This sermon is about keeping as our life perspective the facts of what God has done and will do for us in Christ.
The story is told of a lady called Hetty Green. She died in 1916 and left an estate with an estimated value of $100 million.. Hetty regularly ate cold porridge because it cost too much to heat it up. Her son had his leg amputated because she took so long to get him proper medical attention because she was looking for the cheapest treatment. Hetty was wealthy but she lived like a PAUPER. She never enjoyed nor benefited from the riches that were hers.
Imagine a second person who lived in a small village around the same period last century. He lived in poverty until one day he found out that he was the only living heir to a distant and extremely wealthy relative. What does he do when he finds out about his inheritance? He buys a set of the finest clothes he can find, and starts a whole new life. When he learns who he is and what he owns, it changes everything for him.
Which of these two people best represent you in your spiritual life? What is your perspective as you live out your life?
In the original Greek the 12 verses, verses 3-14, cascade from Paul’s mouth in one huge and complicated sentence! It’s almost a praise song. It is absolutely bursting with joy and with all that God has done for us.
We could look at these verses from the angle of the Trinity; each member, Father, Son and Spirit and how they work together to bless us.
We could look at it from the angle of those theologically loaded words: blessing, heavenly realms, chosen, holy, blameless, predestined, adopted, grace, redemption, blood, forgiveness, mystery, God’s purpose, the Spirit’s seal, inheritance, God’s possession....etc, etc.
But in order for us to be able to get a handle on this beautiful and complex passage within 30 or so minutes, we’re going to have to simplify! I want us to be able to walk away later this evening with God’s Word ringing in our hearts. I want us to leave knowing God has blessed us Spiritually, Sufficiently and Specially. And I want knowing that to change our lives.
Firstly, God has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing, v3. He has blessed us in the heavenly realms. That’s Paul’s special way of talking about the spiritual world; that world which we, being living spirits ourselves, are part of; that world that currently we cannot see much of with our earthly eyes.
Under the Old Covenant Israel was promised many earthly blessings; wealth, children and good harvests. But under the New Covenant the Church is promised even better blessings – spiritual blessings. Yes, if we seek first the kingdom God will provide all we need. There are material blessings for the Church. But our blessings are mainly spiritual.
Maybe you’ve heard of the advert in the newspaper which read: “Lost. One dog with brown hair and several bald spots. Hobbles on right leg due to being broken when run over by car. Left hip hurt, right eye missing, left ear bitten off in dog fight, no teeth, answers to the name of ‘LUCKY’.”
Maybe you feel a bit like that dog! Maybe we don’t look like what we are! But here in these verses, whatever we may feel about ourselves, God says: this is your name, this is who you are! I have blessed you Spiritually. The eye cannot easily see the spiritual blessings, but they are there nonetheless! And boy, what blessings!
Secondly, God has blessed us Sufficiently. God has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing. He has done this in the past and in the present. He will do it in the future.
It is a past blessing because vv4-5 tell us that he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless sin his sight! What a thought! YOU were on God’s mind before time began. Look at those 3 words, he, us, him. God put Jesus and us together in his mind before creation. Look at those words - in Christ, in him, through him, in him, in him, through his blood, in Christ, under Christ, in him, in Christ, in Christ, and in him! God planned it that you would be united, joined to his Son through faith in Him.
He thought of us as individuals. He knew after you were created you would sin. He knew that after he redeemed you, you’d sin again, and again. But he made up his mind to have you, and to make you holy. It’s a past blessing because verse 5 goes on to say that God predestined us (past tense again) to be his adopted sons. An adopted son in the NT context would immediately have all the same rights as a natural son. Yes, that means that all Jesus has is ours! (Apart from his Divinity.) Paul says God had predestined us for this. He had decided beforehand that this would be our destiny; that through Christ’s work on the cross our destiny would be to become God’s own holy and blameless children!