Summary: We have every reason to praise God because of the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. 1. In Christ we have been chosen to be holy and blameless 2. In Christ we have a destiny to be God’s children 3. In Christ we have forgiveness through His blood
Joys of Being in Christ
7 Reasons to Celebrate our Life in Christ
Intro: We are planning to take a tour through the book of Ephesians over the next few weeks. Ephesians was written by Paul while he was in prison and offers a wonderful picture of what Christ has done for His Bride, the Church. Many scholars believe that Paul wrote Ephesians with the idea that it would be shared with several other churches around the region. It does appear to be the type of letter that would serve that purpose since it lacks personal references and greetings to specific people.
-In chapter 1 we will be looking at the 1st 14 verses today, focusing especially on vv. 3-14. Paul was famous for stringing lots of sentences together the way your English teacher told you never to do. In fact, verses 3-14 are all one sentence in the Greek language, but have been broken up into sentences so we can understand them in English.
-Paul appeared to be enjoying himself when he wrote this letter. In fact as Paul writes about all that God has done for us in Christ in these first 14 verses, one scholar states that they were written in a state of controlled ecstasy. There are 3 main sections in this passage covering God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each section ends in an expression of praise to God (6, 12, 14) for what He has done for us in Christ.
-A young boy happened upon an old man who was fishing in the mighty Mississippi River. Immediately the lad began to ply the aged fisherman with a myriad of questions as only young boys can do. With the patience of the ages, the old man answered each query. Suddenly their conversation was interrupted by the shrill whistle of the majestic River Queen paddling relentlessly down river. The sight of the ship gleaming and splashing spray in the sunlight caused the surprised spectators to stare in awe and appreciation. Then above the noise of the paddle wheel was heard a small boy’s voice calling across the water; "Let me ride! Let me ride!" The old man turned to the boy and tried to calm him down explaining that the River Queen was too important a ship to stop and give rides to little boys. The young child cried all the more, "Let me ride!" Old eyes bulged in disbelief as that great ship pulled for shore and a gangplank was lowered. In a flash two young feet scampered up and onto the deck. The ship with its new cargo safely on board began to pull back into the main stream. The old man continued to stare after the ship. Then a shock of yellow hair appeared above the rail. It was quickly followed by two blue eyes, button nose, and cherub lips. "Mister, I knew this ship would stop for me. The captain is my father!" (Sermoncentral.com)
-Well, the Lord of the universe is our Father, and He has taken notice of us and blessed us by placing us in Christ. The phrase “in Christ” or “in Him” appears at least 10 times in these verses. Sometimes I fear that we take our position in Christ for granted. My hope is that after today’s message we will be encouraged to the point of expressing praise to God for all He has done for us by placing us “in Christ.”
-Paul introduces this letter by celebrating this relationship we have in Christ. Let’s look at his introduction in vv.1-3:
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 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.
-Let’s go ahead and take a look at 7 Reasons to celebrate our life in Christ.
1. In Christ we have been chosen
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
-The only way we can be holy and blameless in the Father’s eyes is to be in Christ. This phrase “in Christ” is used numerous times in Paul’s writings to express the relationship a believer has with God. If we are in Christ, then we are also in the Father and in the Holy Spirit. It speaks of our standing with God. When God sees us He sees His Son Jesus because we are in Christ Jesus.
-And the reason we are in Christ is because we have been chosen by God.