Summary: Sermon 1 in Eph series. Christians who do not know who they are in Christ and what they have from God in Christ will not walk in Christ as God has planned that His people should walk. This sermon is an introduction to the book of Eph.
Turkeys, Eagles, Saints and Riches
January 15, 2012
The Introduction was adapted from Coy Wylie’s sermon, “Ephesians – God’s Mysteries Revealed” and most of the third point was adapted from Warren Wiersbe’s treatment of this passage in The Bible Expository Commentary.
I wrote a two verse song to the tune of Be Still My Soul titled Blessing Song, on Ephesians 1-2
TEXT: Ephesians 1:1-3 – “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ
An old American Indian legend tells about a brave who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a turkey. The eaglet hatched with the brood of turkeys and grew up with them. A bird hatched in another species’ nest is known as a changeling. All his life, thinking he was a turkey, he did what the turkeys did…
• He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat like the turkeys did.
• He clucked and gobbled.
• And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground.
After all, that’s how turkeys are supposed to fly. Time went by and the changeling eagle grew very old.
One day, he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
“What a beautiful bird!” said the eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?”
“That’s an eagle—the chief of birds,” the neighbor gobbled. “But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.”
So the changeling eagle never gave it another thought and died thinking he was a turkey.
There have been many who have believed they are something other than what they really are.
Illus. – In the last several hundred years there have been 53 documented cases of “feral children,” children who have been lost in the wild and reared, nurtured and protected by animals. In 1987, a child was found living with a tribe of monkeys in Uganda. When taken to an orphanage, he grunted, squealed, jumped on his hands, ate grass and was very fearful of people. Another boy was observed living with a herd of Antelope over a ten year period. Several attempts to capture him proved futile. Scientists call this bizarre behavior “imprinting.” But what it really is…is an identity crisis.
There are many Christians who have an identity crisis as well. They’ve been so “imprinted” by the world that they don’t know who they really are in Christ or what God has intended for them. They see themselves as spiritual turkeys while God sees them as spiritual eagles! They have been conditioned to think, talk and act like turkeys.
Ephesians is a wonderful book because it was written to reveal to the believer his true identity in Christ, to get us out of the turkey coop and help us to fly like eagles.
Let’s begin our study of Ephesians by looking at Paul’s introduction in verses 1-3.
I. NOTICE FIRST OF ALL THE WRITER OF THE LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS – Verse 1 begins, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…”
The author is Paul, the great giant of the New Testament who says two things about himself:
• Number 1, he identifies himself as “an apostle…”
The word “apostle” (which is the Greek word, “apostolos”) means “one who is called and sent forth on a very special mission.” Paul’s mission was to be a messenger to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles.
When he was saved on the road to Damascus, he was told to go to the house of a man named Ananias. Then God told Ananias to expect Paul, which concerned him greatly since he had heard of the acts of violence Paul had perpetuated against the Christians. But the Lord said this to Ananias in Acts 9:15: “Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings and the children of Israel.”
• Notice also that Paul says that his apostleship was “by the will of God.”
Paul is the only one of the New Testament writers who claims to have been an apostle “by the will of God,” and it’s found at the beginning of almost all his letters. God revealed to Paul revelations about the entrance of the Gentiles into the Christian faith and the sufficiency of grace to save without obedience to the Old Testament Law and because these teachers were so radical and revolutionary, many Jewish legalists questioned Paul’s authority and sought to discredit him.