Summary: Just as Paul wanted believers in Ephesus to know who they are in Christ, so too we need to know the answer to that all important question “who are you?” Understanding our identity in Christ is essential to living in Christ because how can you live in Chri
LIVING IN CHRIST – Who Are You?
Ephesians 1:1-14 NIV
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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. 4 For he chose us in him 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 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. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory.
How many of you enjoy the classic ‘who done it’ mystery programs? One of my favorite old time shows was “Murder She Wrote” with Angela Lansburry. Anybody remember that program? Lansburry played an elderly novelist who wrote murder mysteries but then used her intuitive sense to solve actual murders that took place wherever she happened to be. Now what is not to like about a crime fighting grandma . . . except that I wouldn’t want to spend much time with a grandma like that because everywhere she goes people end up dead?
The murder mysteries of today have come a long way since the days of “Murder She Wrote,” “The Rockford Files,” “Colombo,” “Hawaii-5-O,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and the like. What TV drama’s used to leave to the imagination, shows today portray in graphic detail. Not only is the violence of the crime shown with bloody detail, but we are even taken behind the senses and into the investigative process of autopsies, DNA testing, and so much more with shows like, “Bones,” “Law and Order” “CSI,” and it’s spin-offs “CSI-New York” and “CSI-Miami.” These shows take the ‘who done it” to a whole new level with the question ‘who are you?’ These ‘Crime Science Investigators’ often begin with an examination of the victim to discover their identity, and then through the magic of scientific investigation they identify the criminal behind the crime. It really is amazing what mysteries they can solve in an hour!
This morning I want to encourage you to set up your own CSI unit. Call it “CSI-Garrettsville,” “CSI-Windham,” “CSI-Hiram,” “CSI-Nelson,” or “CSI-wherever you live.” No we don’t have a murder to solve, but we do want to answer the question, “WHO ARE YOU.” Do you know your identity in Christ? Do you know who you are? CSI will give you the answer.
This morning we will begin a journey together through the book of Ephesians called “Living In Christ.” Through out this short letter Paul emphasizes the reality that as believers we are living our lives in Christ. The theme of our oneness in Christ is among the highest and most important truths in the Bible. And sadly for many believers it is also perhaps one of the least understood truths. Again and again Paul comes back to this all important theme of what Christians have and are in Christ. Just as Paul wanted believers in Ephesus to know who they are in Christ, so too we need to know the answer to that all important question “who are you?” Understanding our identity in Christ is essential to living in Christ because how can you live in Christ if you do not know who you are in Christ?
Over the next several weeks I want to challenge you to read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians every week. Let me encourage you to also get a notebook, not just to have handy for sermon notes, but use it as your read this letter to write out your questions and watch as the Holy Spirit leads you into all truth by showing you the answers to your questions. This short letter divided into six chapters has every important doctrine of the church included within it. If you were to rank the New Testament books in order of their importance Ephesians would have to be at or near the top of the list. The more you know and understand the letter to the Ephesians, the better you understand who you are in Christ. That’s our goal: “Living In Christ.” So together we are going to camp out in Ephesus and find out who we are in Christ. So let’s get to it as today we answer the question ‘who are you?’ by setting up our personal CSI.