Summary: We are all called become mature followers of Christ.
Called In Christ
Text: Eph. 1:1-2
1. Illustration: A pastor received a call from a church that offered him a salary four times what he was then receiving. Being a devout man, he spent much time in prayer trying to discern what God wanted him to do. One day a friend met the pastor’s young son on the street. “Do you know what your dad is going to do?” he asked. “Well,” replied the lad, “Dad’s praying, but Mom’s packing!”
2. Pastor’s, Missionary’s, and Evangelist’s are not the only ones that are called. Truth is, we are all called.
a. Called by the will of God
b. Called to Holiness
c. Called to Faithfulness
d. Called to Receive
3. Read Eph. 1:1-2
Proposition: We are all called become mature followers of Christ.
Transition: Everyone who is a Christian is...
I. Called By God’s Will (1a)
A. By The Will of God
1. When looking at any book in Scripture, there are certain things we must consider.
a. Who wrote it?
b. Who were they writing to?
c. When was it written?
2. Paul makes this really easy. Being an educated man, he was a classic letter writer of his time.
a. LETTERS IN THE ancient world followed a set form. They began by identifying the writer and the readers or addressees.
b. This was usually followed by a greeting and a prayer or wish for health (even in secular letters), then the body of the letter, and finally the closing, which contained any details about the sending of the letter and another greeting (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Ephesians, 37).
c. Paul tells us the he wrote the letter and who he wrote it to.
d. It is generally believed that Paul wrote this letter while under house arrest in Rome around 60 A.D.
3. However, we learn more from Paul’s introduction than who wrote the letter. He tells us that he was "chosen by the will of God..."
a. The word will means "to purpose, generally based upon a preference and desire —(Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon)
b. In other words, Paul is saying that God chose him for a purpose.
c. God doesn’t do anything by accident; He chooses us on purpose.
d. He had a job that needed to be done, and he chose Paul to accomplish that job.
4. Then Paul tells us why God chose him - "to be an apostle of Christ Jesus."
a. The term apostle carried several connotations in the early church, all of which were true of Paul.
b. It referred to someone who had seen the risen Christ, to those sent out by the church with a missionary task, or more broadly to anyone who functioned as an agent or representative.
c. This self-description emphasizes the authority with which Paul wrote.
d. If he was an apostle because of the will of God, what he wrote must be seen as communication from God (Snodgrass, 37).
B. God Chooses Us
1. Illustration: As the golfer approached the first tee, a hazardous hole with a green surrounded by water, he debated if he should use his new golf ball. Deciding that the hole was too treacherous, he pulled out an old ball and placed it on the tee. Just then he heard a voice from above say loudly: "Use the new ball!" Frightened, he replaced the old ball with the new one and approached the tee.
Now the voice from above shouted: "Take a practice swing!" With this, the golfer stepped backward and took a swing. Feeling more confident, he approached the tee when the voice again rang out: "Use the old ball!"
The will of God, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
2. If you are a Christian you have been called by God.
a. John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last (NIV).
b. You are not here by accident but by choice.
c. God has chosen you and called you to be His very own.
3. If you are a Christian you have been hand picked by God.
a. You are not an accident or a mistake.
b. God chose you for a reason.
c. God chose you for a purpose.
4. God has a mission for you.
a. His mission for you is to be yourself.
b. His mission for you is to be His child.
c. His mission for you is to be His ambasador.
d. 2 Cor. 5:20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (NLT)
Transition: We are also...
II. Called To Holiness (1b)
A. God’s Holy People
1. In the second part of verse one Paul indentifies who is writing to - "I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus..."