Summary: We are rich in Christ, so let's praise the Father for selecting us, the Son for setting us free, and the Spirit for securing our salvation.
Rich Christians (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Thousands of letters sent each year to God end up in a sorting office in Jerusalem. According to the Associated Press, the letters arrive from all over the world in the city's undeliverable mail department.
“We have hundreds of thousands of letters sent either to God or Jesus Christ, and for some reason they come to Jerusalem,” said post office spokesman Yitzak Rabihiya.
In one letter, an Israeli man asked God for 5,000 shekels ($1,000), to ease his poverty. Postal workers were so moved that they sent him 4,300 shekels.
“After a month the same person wrote again to God,” Mr. Rabihiya explained, “but this time he wrote, ‘Thank you, God, for the contribution, but next time please don't send it through those postmen. They're thieves; they stole 700 shekels’.” (The London Times, 10-4-03)
Sometimes we focus so much on what we don’t have, we lose sight of all that we do have. But if we could learn to appreciate what we do have, then we would enjoy life a whole lot more. The fact is we Christians are very rich. We who have put our trust in Christ have vast resources. We have unimaginable wealth that far exceeds that of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Donald Trump combined.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (ESV)
We have a high standing with Christ. We have every spiritual blessing there is! And we have the riches of heaven at our disposal. That’s cause for great celebration! That’s reason for a praise party every day. We have more than won the lottery, friends! We have won the wealth of heaven! Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Instead, focus on what you DO have, and praise the Lord. First…
PRAISE GOD FOR SELECTING US.
Praise the Father for choosing us for his own. Praise your heavenly Father for wanting us to be in his family.
Ephesians 1:4-6 Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (ESV)
God picked us out and gave us a different destiny than we would have had had we not been adopted into his family.
Matt Woodley tells the story of his friend, Andy, who twenty-one years ago, traveled with his wife to a South American country to complete their adoption of a little girl. At the time this country was gripped by corruption, violence, and political chaos. After Andy arrived, they (that is, anyone who could profit from Andy's plight) kept upping the price for the adoption. When he finally threatened to take the matter to the U.S. consulate, a mysterious figure confronted Andy, warning him of vague but dreadful consequences. It was like a spy thriller, except this was real!
But Andy refused to leave without his daughter. The odd thing was that Andy had never even met this girl. She was small and helpless. She hadn't won any awards or aced any tests. He didn't know that one day her smile would light up their living room, or that she'd love their cats and dogs, or that she'd play Mozart on the family piano. For all practical purposes, she was just an orphan condemned to a life of grinding poverty in a far-flung developing country. Even so, Andy stayed there, negotiating with corrupt officials, spending oodles of money, squandering time, and even risking his life to find and win this little girl.
Eighteen years later, Andy and his wife celebrated their adopted daughter’s graduation at a special family meal in her honor. Her name was Maria, and at one point during the meal, Maria unexpectedly stood up and gave a beautiful speech thanking everyone who had helped her find a better life on Long Island. It brought tears to Andy’s eyes, and it all started when he walked into that dangerous nightmare in an attempt to bring her home.
That’s the heart of the gospel: God's loving, daring, persistent pursuit of people like you and me. Like Maria, there's nothing we can do to earn God's love, but he still loves us. And he doesn't want to leave us behind. Instead, in the presence of Jesus, God walked into the “dangerous nightmare” of human sin and pain in order to adopt us into his family and bring us back home. (Matt Woodley, The Gospel of Matthew: God With Us, InterVarsity Press, 2011, pp. 248-249; www.PreachingToday.com)