Summary: God thinks so much of you that before time he commanded certain things be done for you, so be confident.
When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Ephesus, that city had one major claim to fame. It was the site of the enormous temple of Artemis. This was a building known throughout the ancient world, and it was a great draw-card for tourists and pilgrims – it was a real money spinner.
In their temple worship, the Ephesians looked back in history and spoke of a meteorite that fell from the sky and was eventually shaped to form the idol which stood in the temple of Artemis.
Paul, on the other hand, looked back beyond history, into the origins of the universe. And right there at the beginning of time he saw God skilfully and purposefully planning for the coming of the church!
And like any great architect would, God has set our the specific materials he wants to go into his construction.
You see, you and your church matter so much to God that at the beginning of time, he commanded that certain things be done for you. And he did this because you – the church - are his construction, and you’re very special to him.
So what are the building materials God planned for you, his church?
Well first, you are so special to God that he planned one God for you to worship.
1. ONE GOD FOR YOU TO WORSHIP (v3)
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
(Ephesians 1:3a CEV)
God is jealous for you – he’s not jealous of you – but he is jealous for you. God is not willing to share you with anyone! Take a moment for that truth to sink in.
What an amazing thing to be loved by God like that!
And it’s been this way right from the beginning. When God gave us the ten commandments he said ...
You shall not bow down to [idols] or worship them; for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God (Exodus 20:5a NIV).
Jealousy is often depicted in our day as an ugly emotion. But God’s jealousy for you is far from ugly.
You are his. He made you. You are precious to him. And he will pursue you with absolute zeal.
And the colour of God’s jealousy is not green, it’s red. God does not get possessively “green” with envy when you give him second place in your life. God turns “red” with protective anger. He is fiercely defensive of his relationship with you. Like a husband would be for his wife, or a wife for her husband. God is unwilling to share you with anyone.
And God’s jealousy is for your benefit. It is a blessing to be loved by a God who will guard you, and who will not tolerate any waywardness in case you get hurt.
You are so special to God that he has planned one God for you to worship. And he’s done this because it’s the only way you will gain true security and genuine confidence in life.
2. ONE WORLD FOR YOU TO LIVE IN (vv3-4a)
Next Paul says, You are so special to God that he has planned one world for you to live in.
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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-4a NIV)
The question is, how are you choosing to live in the world God has given you? And there are two ways.
a) The Way of our Society
Society says there is the “Welcome to the real world” way of living in God’s world. This is the dog eat dog world. This is the world where there is no God and you are just an animal and so am I – we’re just one link in the food chain.
Which reminds me, I once saw a sign in the window of a burger joint that said, “You didn’t claw your way to the top of the food chain just to eat Tofu!”
I guess that’s no surprise because this burger joint was in the middle of the most worldly place you could think of – in Beverly Hills where people are just dripping with the trappings of the world.
But this is the first, most basic way we can choose to live in the world God has given us – at an animalistic, material level.
b) The Way of the Spirit.
That’s the way of society. But then there’s the way of the Spirit. You see, Paul says here in Ephesians that ...
God ... has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (1:3)
What he means is simply this ... there is a realm of experience that is quite separate from this world.