Summary: Two-fold: first, to recognize that the relationships/inter-connections within this church family are first and foremost a product of the redeeming, providential work of God the Father. Secondly, the result of this reality should be a response of celebra
Scripture Text: Ephesians 1.3-8
Aren’t families a funny-thing!?! They come in all-kinds of shapes-and-sizes ~ …each with a different-personality-and-style!
For-example, you’ve got Ray-and-Deborah Barone (of Everyone Loves Raymond), …on the other hand, do you remember Archie-and-Edith Bunker (of All in the Family), …or, there’s Ward-and-June Cleaver (of Leave It to Beaver), …not-to-mention, your family! I suppose that families are as different as the people who make them up!
Winston Churchill once said:
"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills."
He may have been talking about the Allied Forces, fighting in World War II, …but there’s a lot of us that feel-as-though he’s talking-about our families!
Family-life is a mixed-bag! It can be one-of-the most-rewarding experiences of our lives; …and, at-the-same-time, it can be one-of-the-most frustrating!
And-my-guess is-that we have a variety-of-experiences represented in the sanctuary, this-morning. Some of us would say that your family was incredibly supportive and affirming. Others would say that you never-quite-felt that you never-quite measured-up.
This morning, I invite you to bring all your experiences of “family-life” and put them on the table. Put them on-the-table so-that the Holy Spirit can help you see them for what they are. Put them on-the-table ~ …don’t put them-on, like sunglasses, …because sunglasses “color” the way that we see things…
But-I-invite you to place all your joys and frustrations, …all your experiences of family-life, …put it all on the table, …don’t hold any of it back because… God wants us to hear-a-word about family-life.
But, He doesn’t-want us to-necessarily think of our family-experiences. Let me give you a silly-example: …If your dad was a-lot-like Archie Bunker, you should not think of Archie when the Bible says God is your Father! And, if your family is as dysfunctional as the Barone-family, …God doesn’t want you to think of them when Scripture talks-about the family of God!
Now, those may be silly-examples, …but you-see the-problem when we think-about God’s-family: …from the standpoint of how our-family operated! There’s a difference. But… The Holy Spirit will help us sort-through our experiences to-see what may-be a stumbling-block to our expectations and our hopes for what a church family is to be like.
When we study Scripture, we need to ask ourselves a couple of very-important questions. 1) What truth does this tell me about God, me, the church, and/or God’s will? 2) In light of that reality, what am I to do, or how am I to respond?
Now… when it comes to this passage, …it’s packed-full of truths and realities ~ …stuff that God says is-so, …and stuff that God has-done, …and stuff that we can bank-on! And before we can answer the question of what’s a church to be like, …we’ve gotta get our brains and our hearts wrapped-around these realities.
What’s the first truth, …the first reality that this Scripture puts-out-there?
Verse 3 says:
God… has blessed us with every spiritual blessing… because we are united with Christ.” (NLT)
Is that not beautiful!?!... And here’s what we’ve gotta-get ~ this is true no-matter how we feel!
The bottom-line question is not: Do I feel blessed?; …but, the bottom-line is: Am I united with Christ?... If you are united-with-Christ, …then God is blessing you!
To be united with Christ is another-way of saying that your heart is bound-to-Him; …or-that you have received Him by-faith; …or-that He has taken up residence in your heart. Basically, …these are the things that happen when we confess our sins and receive the gift of forgiveness. If you’ve taken that step-of-faith, …then you have-entered into covenant with the Lord and your heart is bound to Him. And if you are-bound, …united with Christ, …then the flood-gates are open for God’s blessings to pour upon you!
This is the first truth that we’ve gotta-get-ahold-of. God has blessed you; …God is blessing you ~ …whether you feel it, or-not, …whether you see-it, or-not!
That’s good-stuff, …Amen? And don’t-ya-think we should remember it ~ …especially when we’re feelin’-like-dirt?; …and-when the people in our lives seem-to-be tellin’ us that there’s nothin’ good goin’-on in our lives!?!.. Not true!!!
God is with us and He’s blessing us in tremendous-ways. There’s more-to-life and living than what we see! Sometimes we just don’t see things for the way they really-are. We are blessed by God because our hearts are united with Christ through faith.
II. Loved & Chosen
The second bed-rock-truth this passage states with absolute clarity is this:
“God loved us and chose us in Christ.” (NLT)
He loved you-and-me. He chose us-all. How do we know this is really-real? ~ Well, that’s what John 3.16-17 is all-about:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”