Summary: As Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians, he tells us four things that we are in Jesus Christ. We are blessed, chosen, adopted, and sealed in Jesus Christ. The sermon also has suggestions for illustrations.
There are many times in life in which your standing affects what you say. For example, if someone who is better than you, at let’s say bowling, really beats you and then tells you that you are actually really good (although you had a lot of gutter balls), you can feel insulted. Or, when a single person hears from a married person or one in a relationship, the words, “don’t worry, you’ll find someone” their words can feel like salt in a wound. When the healthy person tells the sick person, “you’ll get better”, or when the couple with children tells the barren one, “you’ll have kids,” one can feel aggravated because they aren’t in the same situation!
However, one’s standing doesn’t have to have a negative effect. If investors from the show Shark Tank, like Kevin O’ Leary, Mark Cuban, or Lori Greenier, give you business or financial advice, you listen. If someone like Vincent Van Gogh were to give you a pointer on your painting, or if Mark Twain gave you a writing tip, you would again, listen. In these instances, their standing and credentials lend weight to what they say. You listen because of who they are.
This summer, we are going to take a look at the book of Ephesians. In this book, we hear who we are, and we are many things. This letter is written by Paul the Apostle, and his standing carries much weight. As he writes the letter to the Ephesians, he is sitting in jail. Things couldn’t be any worse for him. He is locked up, alone, abandoned, and waiting for his trial. He isn’t writing this book when things are good and grand. Keep that in mind.
On the other hand, Paul has personally experienced what he is writing about. Paul has been a Christian for over 25 years now as he writes this book in 60 A. D. When Paul says who you are, it carries much weight. More than that, he tells us who God says you are in Jesus Christ. And who you are in God’s eyes is much more than anything our siblings, significant other, child, friends, bullies, or ex may say about us. What God says about you is what ultimately matters. This morning, God tells us four things that we are in Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul.
Paul begins his letter by saying that you are blessed. And again, remember Paul’s circumstances. He is not sitting on a beach or riding high, but is locked up in a cold, dark, and damp prison. He is sitting shackled in prison. He writes these words with chains on his hands and feet. He says, in Jesus Christ, you are blessed!
But that might be a strange thought for us. It can be challenging to see or realize that. Perhaps you are struggling with a sickness, or maybe nothing in life is going according to plan. It could be one thing after another coming your way. But maybe things are fine, and “normal.” Wherever you find yourself, Paul says that in Jesus Christ, you are blessed. Let me explain.
In the 1800s there was a woman named Hetty Green, and she is famous for being the richest woman of that period. She was worth 4.5 billion dollars. She was a great investor, and always wore a black dress that she would change when it would wear out. This earned her the nickname, “The Witch of Wall Street.” But Hetty Green isn’t just famous for being rich, she is famous for being incredible cheap and stingy. Although she was rich, she never washed her hands because that would use soap and water, which cost money. She ate cold oatmeal, and drank cold coffee, because it cost money to heat them. She kept her work in briefcases and suitcases so she wouldn’t have to rent an office that was even in a building that she owned. She once spent all night looking for a lost stamp, and sadly, when her son broke his leg, didn’t take him to the doctor. When she did, it was at the free clinic, and she wasn’t served because she was so rich, and he eventually lost his leg due to a lack of treatment. Point being, she had it all. She had more than enough, but literally, was not willing to spend even a penny!
Paul says that this is not like God at all. God has it all and He gives it all. He says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”. Paul says that you are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. This is real! These blessings through the Holy Spirit are not imaginary or illusions. They are in the heavenly places, for you! God doesn’t hold them back or in. He doesn’t say, “I have over 2 billion Christian. I can’t just give these blessings out. You can have some, but not all. I gotta spread them out.” He is not like Hetty Green at all. He gives them out.