Summary: CHristians have been chosen by God and called to be part of God's plan to make Christ known in and for the world.
Title: Why I Am a Christian
Text: Ephesians 3:1-12
Thesis: Christians have been chosen by God and called to be part of God’s plan (to make him known in and for) the world.
Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles. We are followers of Christ today because God graciously included us in his plan.
On Thursday (December 3, 2013) the Life and Leisure section of The Denver Post ran a Lifestyle special piece stating, “You are where you hang out.” I thought that was kind of cleverly put… not unlike “you are who you hang out with” or “you are what you eat” or “read” or “whatever.”
The author, Sam DeLeo set out to see if Denver night spots, each with a distinctive style or motif or reputation or music, defined its patrons. Do cowboys patronize cowboy bars? Do hippies patronize hippie bars? Do hipsters patronize hipster bars? Do athletes patronize sports bars?
Do people who wear western clothing gravitate to cowboy bars? Do people who wear hoodies gravitate to hipster bars? Do bearded, ponytailed men gravitate to hippie bars? Do men and women who wear jersey #18 hang out at sports bars? (I have little to zip knowledge of what I am talking about but I understand there are hip-hop bars and party bars and probably nerd bars and so forth…)
The author printed some of the interviews he conducted with patrons of area nightspots asking them very pointedly:
• Are you a hipster?
• Are you a hippie?
• Are you a hip-hop head?
• Are you a cowboy or cowgirl?
• Are you a bro or bro-ette?
Most refused to be stereotyped so the author was forced to conclude that all kinds of people frequent all kinds of nightspots for all kinds of reasons. However, I suspect that the author began with a premise that nightspot patrons can be stereotyped. Certain kinds of people frequent certain kinds of places therefore; you are where you hang out.
And when they happened to be in a hipster nightspot, dressed like a hipster and listening to hipster music but denied they were hipsters the logical question was, “Then why are you here?”
We sometimes use the term “homogeneous” to describe groups of people. When we say a group of people is typified by homogeneity we mean they are all very similar… it’s the idea that birds of a feather tend to flock together. You see flocks of geese. Grackles fly with grackles, crows with crows, swallows with swallows and gulls with gulls.
It probably is not too much a stretch to believe that homogeneity typifies most nightspots and unfortunately, most churches. But that is a rabbit trail I am resisting the urge to chase down today.
The fact is, whether you are a cowboy or cowgirl, hipster, hop-hop head, jock, bro or bro-ette, hippie or whatever, you are here. And so if Sam DeLeo were here he might ask, “Why are you here?” “Are you a Christian?” He might even ask, “Why are you a Christian?” He might even ask, “Do you find meaning and purpose in being a Christian?”
Transition: deal with those questions. First of all, I can say, “I am a Christian because I have been chosen and called by God to be a Christian.”
I. I am chosen and called by God, Ephesians 1:1 and 4
“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 1:1
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” Ephesians 1:4
Chosen-ness is a result of God’s grace.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10
A few years ago I had a cyst growing into my spinal column. It was a miserable and painful experience that finally reached the point where it had to be surgically removed. My personal physician gave me a recommendation. But I went online and did a bunch of research and looked into the credentials of a number of surgeons and eventually settled on Dr. Argarwala. We arranged to consult with him.
He proved to be a brilliant but difficult young man. Our initial meeting was off to a rocky start. It was a difficult and challenging procedure. I suggested that I had more confidence in him than he had in himself. Eventually he asked, “Who recommended me to you?” And I said, “My doctor recommended Dr. Hershey but I did my research and I chose you.” Apparently being stuck with a difficult patient is different than being chosen by a difficult patient because from then on we had a very warm relationship.