Summary: Ephesians 1 tells of our measureless riches in Christ from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This sermon tells us of those riches Paul says emanate from the Father.
Blessings from God the Father
Ephesians - Live Like You Really Are
March 18, 2012
POWERPOINT: There is a PowerPoint presentation for this sermon available by requesting it from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 1
Illus. – Her name was “Hatty” Green. She came to be known as “America’s Greatest Miser.” When she died in 1916, she left an estate valued at over $100 million.
But strangely, she lived a life of absolute poverty. She ate cold oatmeal because it cost money to heat it. Her son suffered a leg amputation because she delayed so long in looking for a free clinic that his case became incurable. She was wealthy, yet she chose to live like a pauper.
Does this sound strange to you? Well, it really shouldn’t, because there are multitudes of Christians like that today. They have measureless riches in Christ, and yet they live like spiritual paupers. These are the kind of Christians Paul wrote the Letter of Ephesians for.
In our series through Ephesians, we began with an introduction to the book in verse 1; then spent two weeks looking at those marvelous words “grace and peace” in verse 2. Then we looked at the “elephant in the room” in verse 4, the doctrine of election, which we’ll look at again briefly this morning in its context of chapter 1.
Today I want you to think about what Paul says in verse 3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
Here is the theme of Ephesians: that God has blessed those who are His “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Now note this carefully: All of these blessings are PRESENT possessions of believers “in heavenly places in Christ,” as verse 3 says. “Heavenly places” in Ephesians is literally “the heavenlies” and refers to God’s realm in heaven in contrast to this sinful realm on earth. Although here on earth believers still sin, fail the Lord, are sometimes hypocritical and do not fully live up to God’s standard, in the heavenlies, because we are “in Christ,” our position before God is everything that Christ is. That is…just as Christ is chosen, has all the full rights of sonship, and is accepted by God, perfect, holy, and blameless, so are we before God in heaven. It’s a hard idea to grasp, but all our blessing in Christ are PRESENTLY ours in our position in heaven before God.
Well, what are these wonderful spiritual blessings Paul refers to here? In verses 4-14, Paul outlines several of them for us. A close examination of these verses shows that some of them flow from God the Father, some from God the Son and some from God the Holy Spirit.
Today we want to think about the blessings we have from GOD THE FATHER (verses 4-6), and over the next two weeks we’ll consider the blessings from the SON in verses 7-12 and the blessings from the Holy SPIRIT in verses 13-14.
Verses 4-6 tell us of three marvelous blessings from God the Father to us who are saved:
I. NUMBER ONE, GOD THE FATHER HAS CHOSEN US IN CHRIST – Verse 4 – “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
I don’t have time to preach the whole sermon on election I preached before, but I believe that election, or God’s choosing, does not concern one’s eternal salvation. Rather, Paul says that God’s people—the church—are collectively chosen “in him”—that is, “in Christ.” JESUS is “the chosen one” and when a person trusts Christ for salvation, he or she enters into HIS chosenness just as they enter into His crucifixion, His resurrection, His ascension, and His victory and exaltation in heavenly places.
What a truth, that by being joined to Christ in salvation, we partake of his chosenness! But that chosenness was for a purpose: verse 4 goes on to say we are “chosen in him…that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” The reason God chose a people out of the world—His body, the church—was so that they would be two things: holy and without blame.
Now, this isn’t a statement about a condition we achieve or aspire to by our effort. Rather, it’s a statement of the PRESENT state of believers “in the heavenlies in Christ.” Later in Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul said that Jesus gave himself for the church that he might sanctify it, or set it apart unto God and that he might present the church to Himself as “a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle…but that it should be holy and without blemish.” All who are “in Christ” are part of this universal body and thus are already positionally perfect, holy, without blemish before God, because we’re “in Christ.”