Summary: God pours out his grace upon us. Because of this, we have much to celebrate.
Ephesians 1:3-14 “Celebration of Grace”
Imagine what it would be like to uncover priceless treasures and riches beyond your wildest dreams. What would it feel like? What would a person be thinking? How would a person react?
In February 1923, Howard Carter made one of the greatest archeological discoveries in history—King Tut’s tomb. This is what he writes of that discovery.
I inserted the candle and peered in. At first I could see nothing … but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, inquired anxiously, ’Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ’Yes, wonderful things.’
These are some of the treasures that Mr. Carter saw.
Those who have discovered sunken treasures ships like the Titanic, or Spanish galleons report the same feelings and emotions. Those who win lotteries experience the awe, joy and wonder, too.
In our lesson today, the apostle Paul writes about the treasure that is each and every Christian’s. True, it is not a roomful of priceless golden objects, but it is a treasure nonetheless. Paul would even argue that it is a greater treasure than any that could be found on earth. The treasure that God pours into our lives through the cross of Christ is one of the reasons why we can praise God no matter what our situation or circumstances might be.
GOD HAS BLESSED US
We are able to praise God and give him thanks because God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” We might also want physical blessings, but in God’s eyes spiritual blessings are the greater gift; the better gift.
Paul explains that these spiritual gifts are our in the heavenly places, but we still experience a part of them in our lives now. We have a taste of what these spiritual blessings will be.
Paul is not writing about wings and halos when he mentions spiritual blessings. Though he doesn’t directly list what these spiritual blessings are in this passage, we know from his other writings what some of them are:
• An experience of God’s love and grace
• A guilt and shame free life because of God’s forgiveness
• God’s power and presence
WE ARE PREDESTINED AND ADOPTED
We give God our praise and thanks because God has predestined us to be his own, and God has adopted us into his family.
I like the way Eugene Peterson puts it in the Bible paraphrase entitled, The Message:
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
We can argue about degrees of predestination and God’s control or non-control of our daily lives, but there is a certain overwhelming awe in knowing that the God of all creation chose us to be his.
GIVE THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S WILL
God has taken us into his confidence. God has let us find out what his will is for us and for the world in which we live.
God wants all people to experience his grace and love that God has provided for them through the cross of Jesus Christ.
God wants us to be his messengers—his hands and feet—to communicate and convey that love and grace to those around us in word and deed.
In the discovery of God’s will, we understand our “why” of life. Why are we here? Why are we the person that we are?
Sometimes we may doubt the reality of the spiritual gifts that God has given us, or that he really has predestined us to be his own and adopted us into his family. As an assurance—a guarantee—God gives us the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is God’s presence and power in our lives, now. Through the Spirit’s movement in our lives we experience God. In the Spirit we journey forward in faith, with praise on our lips and purpose in our walk.