Summary: Ephesians 1 helps us remember who we are and whose we are. I am blessed, I am chosen, and I am accepted are just the beginning of the reminders to us as we find our identity in Christ
Who Do You Think You Are?
Blessed, Chosen, and Accepted
Today we begin a new series of messages from the book of Ephesians that will take us into the Easter Season to help us find our identity in Christ.
A.) When Paul wrote Ephesians, there was a phrase that he used over and over again, “In Christ.” In fact in the first four chapters alone, I count about 30 variations of Paul expressing who we are or what we have being in Christ, or in Him, (through Christ, by Christ, etc) and so on.
When a teacher says something over and over that much, it’s got to be important. In fact, in all of the New Testament Paul writes about our identity in Christ over 200 times.
B.) Not only is it that important, but I think he repeats himself that much because we are very apt to forget “Who we are” and “Whose we are.”
C.) Do you struggle to remember? For instance, Paul addresses the church people at Ephesus like this: “to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.”
Do you think that he is just talking to the perfectly faithful Christians? How many would that be? Of course not, what he is doing is reminding them the whole church that though they are imperfect and unfaithful, they must remember their identity is in Christ...that they are covered by the blood atonement of Christ, that God claims them as faithful saints regardless of their faithfulness.
Our identity in Christ is not about our behavior, our standing, or our choices, but in Christ’s perfection.
D.) Do you feel like a faithful saint this morning? Maybe not.
I’m afraid that when we forget who we are and whose we are, we feel unsure and insecure. That leads to wandering and doubts. That leads to compromise, and backsliding.
Then we have an enemy who challenges us and says, “a child of God doesn’t act like that; you couldn’t possibly be a real believer.” Or, “God wouldn’t take you back, you have fallen too far.”
E.) Some of you today are walking in fear that you don’t fit into God’s family. Some of you today are bound by these exact strongholds.
You don’t have to. It’s not who you think you are, it’s who you are in Christ.
Transition: The first chapter of Ephesians lists several realities for the person in Christ. We will consider three of them today:
1. I am blessed.
2. I am chosen.
3. I am accepted.
1.) I am blessed
v.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
A.) Over the last year I’ve really enjoyed talking about physical blessing that the Lord provides for us. And to be sure, the person who is in Christ can expect good gifts in the physical realm, but Paul wishes to remind us of the “spiritual” blessings that we have in Christ.
We may tend to forget what we have in Christ when we look around for the miracles and we don’t see them happening. When calamity comes and our plans fail. When the sickness takes its toll or when our relationships are rockier than ever.
B.) Paul knows all about being disappointed. He is writing this letter to the Ephesians from a Roman prison where he knows he probably won’t leave alive. While he could use some material things, he chose to remind the Ephesians that our most precious blessings are spiritual ones.
C.) I know that many of us want to witness the blessings that are stored up in the heavenlies come down right now to the earth. And we are welcomed to ask God to do so.
But sometimes we need to be reminded that this world is not our home. Our identity is not wrapped up in how many earthly blessings we receive.
What makes us so special is that God has created us a new person. He has given our spirit life that will go on forever. And while we sit in lack of things we want and sometimes need, when we sit in want of freedom, and when you desire better health and more love, you remember that “every” spiritual blessing is yours through Christ.
D.) Spurgeon asked his congregation what’s better?
A new heart or a new coat?... spiritual blessings. “are the rarest, the richest, the most enduring of all blessings.”
E.) I think it’s very possible that when we focus so much on the physical blessings we receive, we are tempted to think it has something to do with our behavior.
“If I’m being good, God’s going to bless me.” That’s not the point Paul is making. He is reminding you that your blessings in the heavenlies are absolutely not given to you on merit.