Summary: God, according to His love and grace, sovereignly elects us to be adopted into His family, to make us part of a special people, and to shower us with every spiritual blessing in His Son Jesus Christ.
THE SUPREME MYSTERY – THE BODY OF CHRIST
ACT I: Foundations Of A Supreme Mystery – Identification
1.THE SUPREME MYSTERY: ESTABLISHED & REVEALED
I think it is safe to say that we would all like to have a deeply satisfying life. But how, in the midst of all the junk in which we live and must wade through, is this absolutely and consistently possible? There is an old Chinese proverb that attempts to tackle the human striving for happiness:
You want to be happy for one hour – get drunk
You want to be happy for three days – get married.
You want to be happy for eight days – kill your pig and eat it.
You want to be happy forever, become a gardener.
I’ve been trying to pick up gardening as a hobby and let me tell you, it’s not always a bed of roses. There’s bugs, maggots, thorns, dirt, stones, unpredictable weather, sore back, creaky knees, and unreliable tools to deal with as well.
In fact, this Chinese proverb is a perfect example of the limits of human wisdom when it comes to finding lasting happiness and fulfillment. In fact, dare I say it’s something like a Chinese dinner. No matter how much you take in or how good it ’tastes’, you’ll still end up hungry again in two hours!
So, where do we go?
THE WORD: READ EPHESIANS 1:7-14
GRACIOUS REDEMPTION (vv. 7-8)
1. In Christ (v. 7a) “In Him we have redemption through His blood”
What exactly is redemption? The word literally means to “buy back” or to “ransom.” In the first
century this term was commonly used to refer to buying back someone who was sold into slavery: “to liberate by the paying of a ransom in order to set a person free.”
Likewise, Christ, through the payment of His sacrifice of His sinless life, bought us back from our
slavery to sin.
“Blood” is the price Jesus had to pay to set us free. It recalls both the OT Levitical system for the
symbolic removal of sin and how Jesus’ perfect sacrifice is a present and permanent redemption.
Illustration: In a city on the shore of a great lake lived a small boy we’ll call ’Keith.’ Keith loved the water and sailing. So much so that he spent months with his father designing and making his very own beautiful model sailboat. One day, while Keith was sailing his boat at the water’s edge, a sudden gust of wind blew his boat far out into the lake and out of site. Keith returned home distraught and deeply depressed. Day after day he would return to the lake looking for any sign of his lost boat, but never did find it. Then, one day, as he was walking through town he saw his treasured boat! Even though it was sitting in a store’s display window with a grand price tag on it, he knew without any doubt it was the one he had made with his father. Excitedly, he ran into the store and declared he had come to re-claim his boat. The owner informed Keith in no uncertain terms that he had bought the boat for good money from a local fisherman and that if Keith wanted it, he’d have to buy it! Being hand-made, the price was enormous. Nevertheless, Keith went about day after day doing everything and anything he could to earn the money to buy back his boat. Finally, after great sacrifice, Keith had enough, returned to the store, and bought back his boat. At last, holding his precious boat in his arms, he said with great joy, “You are now twice mine – because I made you, and because I bought you!”
2. Forgiven by Grace (v. 7b) “the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the
riches of His grace”
Only the guilty can be forgiven. We only appreciate our forgiveness to the extent that we recognize
our guilt. Our trespasses (or sin) is any offense or “falling aside” in respect to God, His design and
His will. Do we honestly see our true selves as Paul did when he proclaimed himself, “the chief of
Furthermore, we can only celebrate our forgiveness as we also realize our utter inability to redeem
ourselves. Forgiveness comes ONLY by God’s grace. And there are NO greater riches than this!
If we are not eager, even compelled to constantly celebrate God’s grace of forgiveness, then truly we
do not recognize just how deep is our sinfulness and how rich is His sacrifice and grace given
undeserved to us!
Illustration: There is a story of a girl in the South during the days of slavery. She was a beautiful, ebony girl being paraded and prodded on the slave block to be sold. A man well known as a cruel and brutal slave owner began to eagerly bid on her. Every time he would bid, the girl would cringe and a look of horror would come over her face. Another plantation owner, who had a reputation for being very good to his slaves, entered the fray and won the bid. After paying the agreed price, the man began to walk away and the girl followed. Her turned to her and said, “You misunderstand. I didn’t buy you because I needed a slave. I bought you to set you free.” Stunned, she simply stood there for a moment and then fell to her knees exclaiming, “Why, I will serve you forever!”