Summary: Our inheritance in Christ
God’s Purpose & Promise
Ephesians 1: 9-14
Eph 1:9, 10 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Things brought together under Christ are unified, but only when Christ is the head of things. When people do not submit to Christ and His teachings, there is division (Crack in street)
We live in a divided world. Wherever one looks there is division. Black vs. white, labor vs. management, upper class against lower, Israelite vs. Palestinian, Rep. vs Democrat, - the list seems endless. We have a world full of strife, separation, disunity, tension and discord. The divorce rate seems steady, wars occur and are the main way we tell history. There are broken relationships of all sorts.
We might often reach the point of despair that we feel like one philosopher (Andre Mauris : Barclay) who stated: (earth)
“Why are we here on this puny mud-heap spinning in infinite space? I have not the slightest idea, and I am quite convinced that no one has the least idea.”
This man’s problem is he probably never read the Book of Ephesians and obviously doesn’t know God’s plan for us who dwell on what he called this mud-heap spinning in infinite space.
Our problem is sin. (Cracked soil) Sin separates people from God and people from people. Sin is the great divider and it lurks in the depths of every human heart looking for an exit of expression. Sin can even works it divisive deeds in our own essence.
It was no different in Paul’s time. There was as much division among people then as now. It seems to be a hopeless situation. But things can be different. There is hope, there is reason to rejoice because God has a plan if only we will work it. There can be harmony, kindness, goodness but it come from dedication to Christ.
Paul wasn’t silly enough to think that being a Christian automatically relieved people from division, strife or disunity but he did realize that God’s purpose of unity can and will be achieved in Christ and Christ alone.
Even the early church was a place of division. Jew was divided against Gentile; Greek against Barbarian; rich against poor; the list was as varied as people in the church.
Paul stresses that this is not God’s will. When division happens sin enters into the relationships. (Fists in circle)
The church- every church should strive for unity. This will not be agreement on all issues or even all doctrinal matters but unity on the virtues which we will strive to show each other – love, patience, kindness, respect, mercy, compassion, forgiveness and other attributes that are commanded by the Lord.
The church was and still should be the beginning place for unity; a place where one can be a brother or sister in Christ and not be blood related. We are trying to convince people that having Christ in your heart is more important than having certain amounts of pigment in your skin. We want people to know that where you place yourself in Christ is more important than the place you came from. We are more concerned about the size of your heart than the size of your bank account.
We will NOT promote, support or consider - class envy, income differences, race differences, culture differences or other matters that might have shaped people’s pasts. We are more concerned about what you can become than what you are.
Paul was fully aware that perfect unity was yet a future blessing and at one time in the future – at the end of time- when time emerges into eternity that all things will be unified in Christ. Heaven will not be a place of discord or disunity because God will not allow it. We should strive to be a preview of that unity.
Eph 1:11 (NIV) In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
Eph 1:11 (NASB) also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
Scholars look at this two ways:
1. Paul is saying we have received an inheritance
“ we also received and inheritance.”
2. Paul is saying God has received an inheritance
“ we also were chosen as an inheritance”
If it is the first idea then it is saying we will receive an inheritance from God. That would be salvation and the benefits of heaven. Else where Paul does says this more direct.