Summary: Sometimes it seems like we don’t have much, but in reality, we are wealthy in God, past, present and future.
We are the Wealthy Children of God
How many of you know the story of the Munity on the Bounty? The Bounty was a British ship that set sail in 1787, bound for the South Seas. The crew was sent to plant fruit trees and make some of the islands more habitable for colonization. And they did just that for the first six months on the islands.
When it came time to leave, however, the sailors rebelled. They liked the native girls and the warm weather. So they set Captain Bligh and a few loyal men adrift in a tiny boat. Soon after, the British government sent an expedition to punish the mutineers. Fourteen were captured.
Nine mutineers, however, along with the Tahatian men and women who accompanied them, found their way to Pitcairn Island, a tiny dot in the South Pacific only two miles long and a mile wide. Ten years later, drinking and fighting had left only one man alive--John Adams. Eleven women and 23 children made up the rest of the Island’s population.
Around this time, Adams discovered the "Bounty’s" Bible in the bottom of an old chest. As he read it, God’s love and forgiveness transformed his murderous heart forever. He began to teach the children from the Bible until every person on the island was transformed. And that transformation still takes place 200 years later. In 1988, with a population of slightly less than 100, nearly every person on Pitcairn Island was a Christian.
The Bible is powerful; it transforms people. It answers those hard questions of life: Who am I and why am I here? It changes our perspective and gives us direction.
Now, I know that this summer is busy. You have many things going on. But none is as important as our connection with God through the Bible. So, as we begin this Bible study of Ephesians, I ask you to pray with me and commit yourself to studying this life-changing message with us at every opportunity.
PRAYER FOR GOD’S BLESSING.
The Bible changes us first of all, by reminding us who we are. And Ephesians starts right there. It reminds us that we are the wealthy Children of God.
“What?” you say, “I’m not rich!” I’ve got more bills than bumps on a pickle. I’ve got a mortgage that I will still be paying when my great grandchildren pass away. I’ve got a job that could disappear tomorrow.”
Unfortunately, we so often measure who we are by what we have or don’t have. We are something if we have the hottest car on the block. We are “all that” if we are advertising Abercrombie and Fitch on a nappy looking t-shirt. We have something if our garage is packed full of junk. We are something if we can travel the globe. And if we don’t have, our lives seem so empty. Even when we have, it’s not all we want or think we need. How short-term and shallow we can be!
The people in Ephesus (the Ephesians to whom Paul wrote) probably had similar faults. You will notice that Ephesus was on the coast of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It was a thriving port town of over 300,000 people. It was the most important trade center in that part of the world. It was a city of culture and proud history. Money was everywhere. People talked about it, dreamed about it and prayed for it. It was their life.
That’s probably one of the reasons Paul starts his letter to the Ephesians this way in verse 3: “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. He wants to remind us that, no matter what we have, we are the Wealthy Children of God. We are richer than we could ever imagine – past, present and future.
First of all,
1. We were chosen by God in the past.
Look at verse 4: “For he chose us in [Jesus] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
We were never the kind of kids who planned ahead. We were always clambering to put cards together on Father’s Day; we were in our bedrooms right after worship coloring, cutting and pasting desperately before dad could get in our room. And there was definitely something missing, especially when dad got wet glue on his hands while opening his card.
God’s different. He’s the kind of God who plans ahead. He’s never spontaneous about you. Paul says that he chose you before the Creation of the world. Billions upon billions of years ago, he planned for your arrival. Knowing everything you were going to be and do, knowing about that about that blurry year of college and that rotten relationship and that tempestuous temper, he planned to love you anyway, adopt you and take care of you the best way his infinite mind could dream up.