Summary: We were predestined to be children of God before the creation of the world. We were redeemed at Christ’s expense, and the Holy Spirit seals us for all eternity.
The Work of the Trinity
Scripture References: Ephesians 1:1-14
Other References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
a. Yesterday we went to see The Passion of Christ. I have never been touched or moved by a movie like I was by this one.
b. Pastor Stanley mentioned before the movie started that a study group at their church had been discussing the things in the movie that had touched them the most. I would like to take a few minutes this morning and do the same thing.
c. I will start. There were so many things in the movie that touched my heart, but there were a couple that touched me more than others.
(1) The scene where Jesus fell and Mary ran out to Him, with the flashback to when He was a child and fell really touched my heart. It made the human side of Jesus more realistic to me.
(2) The continued beatings got to me pretty bad, but after all He had been through and before they placed the cross upright, the scene where they turned the cross over so they could bend the nails over where they wouldn’t come out really got to me.
d. Let’s take a few minutes for each of you to share how the movie touched you.
e. The biggest thing The Passion did for me was to drive home just how much God has done for me and on my behalf. When I revisit those things, I have to ask myself, “What have I done for Him lately?”
f. Read Ephesians 1:1-14
2. We Have Been Blessed. (v 3)
a. What we saw in The Passion yesterday was the culmination of a plan designed and put into place long before any of us were born, long before the world was even created. We were blessed even before we existed.
b. Paul begins this passage by stating that we have been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. The breakdown of this verse shows that we have been provided everything we need to survive as Christians.
(1) When?—eternity past
(2) With what?—every spiritual blessing: Refers to every spiritual fortification needed for spiritual life.
(3) Where?—in the heavenly realms: Implies the blessings are spiritual, not material; heavenly, not earthly; eternal, not temporal.
(4) How?—in Christ.
c. The spiritual blessings we receive are because of or on the basis of the work of the Trinity: God blesses believers because of the Father’s electing, the Son’s dying, and the Spirit’s sealing.
3. We Were Chosen before We Existed (vv 4-6)
a. Read vv 4-6.
b. Verse 4
(1) Paul explains that we were predestined or chosen to be His children before the creation of the world.
(2) The spiritual blessings we receive, that Paul mentioned in the last verse, are because He chose us.
(3) Though it is an act of grace, based on His will, a person is responsible to believe. “God chose you to be saved…through belief in the truth.”
(4) Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13—But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
c. Verse 5
(1) Why were we chosen or predestined?—To be the adopted children of God through Jesus.
(2) The emphasis of predestination is more on the what than the who in that the believers’ predetermined destiny is their being adopted as full-fledged sons of God through Jesus Christ, the Agent of the adoption.
(3) By adoption we are brought into the family and are given the same rights as a child who is born into that family.
d. Verse 6
(1) The ultimate goal of God’s election is that we, as believers, will praise His glorious grace.
(2) Since salvation is all of God’s grace, Christians certainly should praise Him for it! That is why we were chosen: to give Him praise.
(3) “In the One He loves” stresses the expression of God’s love to His Son.
(4) Herein lies on the “spiritual blessings in heavenly realms” we receive—God the Father loves His Son; and believers, being in the Son, are also the object of God’s love.
e. Our election or predestination is not simply for salvation, but for holiness as well. By sin, we lost the privilege of fellowship with God. By God’s grace—in Christ—we are restored as His children.
f. Let me tell it like this:
A man had a strange dream one night. He was in Heaven and saw a large arch through which the redeemed were entering. Over it was written the words, “The Elect of God.” He walked around to the other side, facing earth. On that side he saw written above the arch, “Whosoever will may come.” Those who hear and answer the gospel call are the elect of God.