Summary: As we enter a new year, God's choice from before all years began changes how we make our choices. A) God chose us in Christ. B) God chose us according to his good will. C) God chose us to live for us glory.
Text: Ephesians 1:3-6
Theme: God's Choice Changes our Choices
A. God chose us in Christ
B. God chose us according to his good will
C. God chose us to live for us glory
Season: Christmas 2
Date: January 2, 2011
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/God_s-Choice-Changes-our-Choices-Ephesians1_3-6.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit brings us our Savior is Ephesians 1.
"Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ, as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him, in love having predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ for him, according to the good pleasure of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace which he has freely given us in the one who he has loved.
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
As we end one year and begin another, we look ahead to the choices for the coming year. Many make resolutions or set goals. Many pages have been written on making specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely goals. It can all look quite smart. Yet even our best laid plans can be turned upside down as easily as a plow turns up the cozy winter home of a family of mice. The Holy Spirit led Solomon to write: "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain" (Psalm 127:1 NIV-1984).
That doesn't mean we simply live life haphazardly. But it does mean that we commend our long-term resolutions as well as our day-to-day decisions into his hands, making our plans, goals, and choices in the light of his revealed Word. What does that mean? How do we accomplish that? Let's contemplate this as we reflect back not to last year but to what happened before all years began. God's choice from eternity changes our choices for the year ahead. That's the theme to keep in mind.
A. God chose us in Christ
First, God chose you through Christ. Yes, because of Christ he has lavished every spiritual blessing of the heavenly realms upon you. "But I don't always feel all that blessed." How often doesn't that thought disturb us? We reflect on this past year, and no doubt you can recall several times of struggle, sadness, or suffering. I know that you count your blessings as well, but would you dare to claim that you have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms?
But that's what God's Word reveals here, doesn't it? "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world" (Ephesians 1:3 NIV-1984). Yes, dear Christian, before time God chose you through Christ. So now in time, he blesses you with every spiritual blessing of the heavenly realms, which Christ has purchased and won for you.
How this changes our perspective! Do our feelings of not being so blessed come because we focus on the earthly? Compared to so many whom we see in our community or on the television, we do lack many of the things of this life that others enjoy. But even the greatest things of this earth are pennies compared to the treasures Christ has won for you, dear friend. I'm not only talking about the material things of this earth. Even the immaterial earthly blessings such as success, family, friendship, and health are only pennies compared to Christ. So who is truly blessed?
Are you now ready to say that you have every spiritual blessing of the heavenly realms? Or does the thought come to you that having a stronger faith or more hope or a greater love would be better spiritual blessings? That question does show we're now thinking about the spiritual, but is our weakness of faith, hope, or love due to a lack of God's blessing? I don't think so. Rather, it's to our shame that despite having every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms through Christ, yet we still show weakness in faith, dimness in hope, and shallowness in love.
So what are these spiritual blessings of the heavenly realms which God has chosen to give you through Christ? Verse seven, right after the text, answers that: "In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace" (Ephesians 1:7 NIV-1984). Redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.