Summary: Eighth in a series taken from Ephesians 1, this series delves into the riches that we know through our relationship with Christ.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…
Show personal “artifacts” (at this point, I displayed a number of personal items that had great value to me, but which would have no value to anyone else); “the fair market value of these items is about 2 cents, give or take…"
To you? Worthless. To me? Priceless. They represent the heritage of my days here.
Sheds light on key part of the passage: “because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God.”
God’s good creation:
• Angels in Heaven
• Man, in His image
His heritage, though? Believers!
God has chosen us as His heritage.
Let’s answer some questions about this choice of God this morning:
To “praise our glorious God”
Unifying purpose of history; theme song of eternity: Glory to God in the highest!
Many sub-themes of the Bible:
• Covenant-relationship with Israel
• Future plan for this world/rule and reign of Jesus
Subsumed under the ultimate: God’s glory
His glory is the sum total of His attributes.
When I “give Him glory”, I do so in the sense of praising the glory that is already His…glory is His essence. He gets nothing from me that He doesn’t already have; in fact, His glory is what I am praising when I’m said to “give Him glory”. We went to Waldameer on Wednesday, and I got wet in as many ways as I possibly could—since it was about 95 degrees out! I experience water, but I don’t make it wet; I give Him glory in the same sense, not that I manufacture glory to give Him, but in that I recognizing God for Who He is.
He is to be glorified because He chose to save us. Jews made the mistake of thinking that it was about them—and sometimes we do the same thing, thinking that everything God does, He does for our benefit. No…what He does, He does for His glory; He would be an idolator if He esteemed anything of more worth or value than Himself—ever thought about that? He chose us; praise Him!
God’s method in choosing us
a. Because? “Because of Christ”
Rather than sitting on the bank of Heaven with a happy lemonade in hand, God accomplished through His Son what I could not. When the Bible says that He chose us “because of Christ”, it was God’s anticipation of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross that caused Him to choose to save me; it was through Christ and His sacrifice that God made the way to choose me as His own.
I am who I am because of, and in relation to, Jesus. I was reading just this week about the fact that, for too many Christians, their chief identity is tied to their work, or to their earthly families, or to their nationality, or to something else. No…before I am anything else: husband, father, employee, American, I am a chosen child of God, redeemed in Jesus Christ. My identity in Christ, of which this chapter speaks volumes, my identity as a functioning member of His body here on earth, is first in my self-understanding. How? First, God chose me because of Christ.
b. When? “From the beginning”
The KJV says that God predestined us “according to the counsel of His will”; in other words, this wasn’t a hasty decision, but a reasoned, deliberate choice. Andrae Crouch wrote, “I don’t know why Jesus loved me…” Though it is unexplainable, it is not arbitrary. God has reasons that we will never understand on this earth, but will one day. “All things happen just as He decided long ago”, the Scripture says.
Consider the circumstances of your life. What if you’d been born in a Muslim country? What if you’d been born behind the Iron Curtain, or in a primitive culture such as Irian Jaya? Yet God, in His sovereign working, allowed you to be born in the most Christian nation in history, at least by certain standards. This is true of most all of us in this room; God in His eternal plan allowed you to be born to the situation and station in life that you were, and for most all of us, that played a major part in our eventual salvation…part of God’s plan from the beginning.
But if despite this, you are not yet a follower of Jesus Christ, would you consider this: if with all of the advantages you have, you still choose not to respond to God’s offer of salvation, how will you explain yourself to God when you face Him on the day of judgment?
Nothing that happens in your life is an accident. Nothing happens beyond the control of God. Nothing happens that a loving Father didn’t allow to happen; nothing catches Him off-guard. He is sovereign; He is in control. And a part of His sovereign plan was to decide to allow people to spend eternity enjoy Him and His blessings. And if you are a Christ-follower, you are part of that plan.