Summary: the church was divinely instituted to experience the overwhelming love of Christ
THE BIG PICTURE FOR THE CHURCH
3 How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. 4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure. - Eph.1 (NLT)
Imagine this - If we are to ask God in an interview, “what gets you up in the morning?,” what do you think he would say? Read the sport section of the daily newspaper? Coffee? The next big business deal? Making breakfast for the kids?
I think He would say, it’s US!
1. GOD’S INTENTION: God’s MOTIVATED by relationship – loving and choosing us in Christ (v.4)
4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
2. GOD’S ADOPTION ARRANGEMENT: God designed an ingenious way to get us into His family for He knew we can’t make ourselves holy and so He adopted us via Jesus (v.5)
5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ
3. GOD’S PLEASURABLE DETERMINATION: That we belong to Christ and be blessed with His pleasure that was evident even before the world was created (v.3,4,5)
… has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. 4 Long ago, even before he made the world,... And this gave him great pleasure. - Eph.1 (NLT)
We can conclude that God’s will and purpose is to get everyone He loves restored, forgiven and accepted into His beloved family (redemption) through Jesus so that all will be right once again, as Paul wrote in v.9-10 (NLT):
9 God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. 10 And this is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
The climax of all things for all time is when everything comes together in Christ – this is the big picture that will display God’s determination, adoption and intention!
What’s your response to this big picture? Here is Paul’s in Eph.3…
14 When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I FALL TO MY KNEES AND PRAY to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.
2. Overwhelmed individually by the love of Christ
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty INNER STRENGTH through his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home IN YOUR HEARTS as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.
3. Overwhelmed corporately by the love of Christ
18 And may you have the power to understand, AS ALL GOD’S PEOPLE SHOULD, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
4. Believing God is at work through the church that gets His big picture
20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work WITHIN US, HE IS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH INFINITELY MORE than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May he be given glory IN THE CHURCH and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.
I believe we are commanded to make disciples (Matt.28) who’d reflect the big picture God showed us through Christ, that is, to make worshippers out of non-worshippers while being so overwhelmed by His love and believing in His absolute determination to bless the world, which was His intention via the prearranged adoption in Christ of people such as you and I, to display God’s wisdom today in the church for all to see.
Question is - what are we overwhelmed by today? Problems? Stresses? Lack of direction? Tiredness? Unrealized dreams? Failures? Busyness? Money? Or God’s incredible love shown us through Jesus’ work on the cross and the power of His resurrection? Is He being given all the credit with an enthusiastic “now glory be to God!”? Is He being followed not because of requirements we need to get through but because of the fact we know we are a blessed and beloved people of God? Is our service to God, to make us look good, or to make his love known?