Summary: Who I am is not defined by what I do but who I relate to, beginning with God as my heavenly Father.
KNOWING WHO I REALLY AM – EPHESIANS 1:1-14
Christmas and New Year bring into focus just how much the vast majority of us value our relationships more than anything else. This is a continual source of either our joy or our pain – For at Christmas time we become acutely aware of the pain of relationships we have lost – sometimes through bereavement or family breakdown. And at the same time we celebrate and enjoy the relationships we value.
In fact, our relationships are more important to us than any anything else.
Example Evidence for this, if we need it, can be found in such things as the last messages sent or spoken by those who knew they were about to die in the 9/11 plane crashes. The final messages were all expressions of love towards those they had meaningful relationships with. No-one left a last message to make sure their car was serviced regularly or about maintaining the service contract on the central heating boiler.
I would go further and say that if we were to ask the question, ‘Who am I?’ we would not find the answer to this by looking at our possessions or to our career. The answer lies in our relationships.
Now that we have reached the dawn of a new year and a new decade we might how can we make the most of the future God has given us?
A good place to begin would be by giving some thought to our relationships = in our ‘be-ing’ rather than our ‘doing’; in who we are becoming rather than what we might achieve.
And what better place to begin than by focusing first and foremost on our relationship with God as our Father. And what better part of Scripture to begin with than Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:
READING: Ephesians 1:1-14
How have you begun the New Year?
• Some of us have begun the year with resolutions.
• Others have rededicated themselves to Jesus Christ as Lord.
• Some of us are looking for guidance
• Others for answers to prayer
THESIS The best way to begin is to focus first of all NOT on what we will choose to do BUT on our relationship with God as our Father.
For in this way we may learn not only who we are but also who we can become.
1. WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED BY THE FATHER WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN CHRIST
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.
What does this mean? And how does it apply?
John Stott says of this text: ‘every spiritual blessing is a phrase which may well mean ‘every blessing of the Holy Spirit’, who as the divine executive applies the work of Christ to our hearts.
Paul gives some examples of these in here:
Forgiveness, redemption, sonship and salvation, and later in the letter he unpacks this even further including the gifts the Holy Spirit gives.
These blessings are Trinitarian: We have been blessed by the Father with every blessing of the Holy Spirit in Christ.
But the main practical point that we should understand is that these blessings are ours NOW.