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In Praise of God's Glory

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in praise of god’s blessing

ephesians 1:3-14


Thank you for your invite… great to share with you this morning… left some literature…. Happy to talk with you about the college over morning tea…

Well, in case you missed it… Yesterday was Christmas pageant day…

·         Anyone there?...    Mexican wave…

And if pageant day signals anything, it signals that the lead up to Christmas is now in full swing!

I’m sure you are just counting down the days…

How is your Christmas shopping going?

·         Are you all done… haven’t even started…

·         Do you even know what to buy?... I can help!

Duracell have just published the top toy survey amongst 200 boys and girls between the ages of 5-10 and their parents and you can go to it online if you want to.

Topping the list is the Furreal Friends Biscuit puppy…

·         a robotic puppy that doesn’t get any older and doesn’t make a mess… obeys six commands and does tricks… only set you bake a mere $400…

Then there is Spike the ultra Dinosaur…

·         remote control with noises, movements and flashing lights… only $250…

Or there is the Girltech Super Studio (Mattel) –

·         a graphic designer computer pad for girls for putting together new looks… that one is only $60… getting nearer to my price range…

Of course we all like presents… well I do anyway…. but at Christmas especially easy to get consumed by them… is it not?

Yet from a biblical perspective, while give thanks to God for the material blessings we enjoy, there are far greater blessings that are unique to us as a community of Christians believers… things that money can’t buy…

And so this morning I wanted to focus our attention on a passage that celebrates those things that we especially experience from God’s hand as Christian believers …

·         Passage read to us a moment ago – Ephesians 1:3-14.

I’ve just called it ….


In vs 3 the passage begins… READ…

Now you might be tempted to think that when Paul speaks about “spiritual” blessings here he is making contrast with material… but I don’t think so…

By “spiritual” here, Paul means all those blessings that pertain to the life of the Spirit of God because we belong to Christ.

That is why these blessings are here said to be “in the heavenly realms” …

·         a difficult phrase to understand and one unique to this letter… 

·         not a contrast between heavenly and earthly, but rather a reference to the fact that these blessings are ours because of the victory of Christ who is now seated in majesty in the unseen heavenly world.

God has given us everything that pertains to the new life of the Spirit because we belong to Christ.  What, then are blessings?

A lot could be said… but I have simply grouped them into three.

So first of all, God has blessed with


Paul describes the process of how this blessing came about in Vs. 4-8…

·         He uses four words to describe it…. chosen, adopted, redemption and forgiveness.

·         First two describe / testify to the reality of our place… second two, the means…

So first of all Paul says that we were chosen by God before foundation of the world and then adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.

Chosen in the past before the world began and then adopted in present time and space through Jesus Christ.

·         Now I know for many people this whole idea of being chosen, predestined etc. causes no amount of angst… mainly I think because the Bible doesn’t answer the sorts of questions we would like it to.

But main point Paul is making here … is simply that our place in God’s family comes purely and simply at God’s initiative and by his grace… so vs 6… read…

·         This place we have in God’s family is not earned in any way… his pleasure… his grace.

We are adopted in… and “adoption” meant in the ancient world what it means now.

·         A child brought into a family with all the rights and privileges of natural born children.

·         Why Paul says elsewhere is Rom. 8 that as God’s children we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.

It is God’s gift to us! But it is a gift that came at great cost!

 è Through the sacrificial work of Christ

And that is where second two words come in, redemption and forgiveness…

They describe in vs. 7 the means through which our adoption was accomplished.

In him (vs. 7) we have redemption through his blood…. the forgiveness of sins.

How do sinful human beings come to be adopted into God’s family…?

Only one way… through the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross… thru his blood… And because of his blood alone, we have a place in God’s family.

It is a marvelous thing!

·         I wonder whether you have ever looked around at each other here and thought … what a weird and wonderful lot… Most churches I have been in are like that!!

·         Often different races… ages…. cultures… backgrounds… all here because we share a common place in God’s family for no other reason than the sacrificial blood of Christ alone!

A little while back I was talking with one of my daughters about how community of God’s people is a blessing we too often (for all its warts) overlook.

·         She had recently been to a wedding of a non-Christian friend … how few people there compared to weddings she was used to among church family….

·         Or I wonder if you might have heard Ian “dicko” Dickson’s comment (Aust. Idol fame) about Guy Sebastian’s wedding… “most uplifting wedding he had ever been to”

·         The community of God’s people, for all its problems, shares a peace, a forgiveness, a joy, and a fellowship that the world knows nothing about…

·         You share that here … we share that with God’s people wherever we go … anywhere in the world… because of the redemption and forgiveness we have in Christ… because we have been adopted into God’s family…

A place in God’s family … don’t often reflect enough upon the wonder of it… not Paul… at the top of his list!!

It is the reality of this first blessing that leads to the second.

Because we have a place in God’s family, we have also been blessed with


Vs. 9… READ….

God has made known to us mystery of his will… “us” refers to =  all Christians as it does in the earlier verses…

·         “Mystery” in Paul’s letters is technical term which doesn’t mean “mysterious” as you might think… but just the opposite… something once hidden but now revealed…

So God’s plan for the future is now been made known… and given to us.

What is that will and plan.

It is in the terms of vs 10 to

è To bring all things together under Christ

·         … all things… in heaven… on earth… whole universe… under one head… Jesus Christ.

God’s will is completely centred in Christ… no plans exist outside of him…

We may not know what is going to happen in the next minute… day etc.

But, friends, we know what is going to happen … and we know the main details of that plan also because they are revealed in the rest of God’s word.

Paul in fact goes on to say in chapter 3 that he was given the special privilege, as an apostle, to preach about this great mystery in Christ.

This is similar to privilege I have, along with the other staff at the Bible College of SA.

·         For in a real sense the ministry of the college is a specialized ministry of equipping people to proclaim as the apostle did… the mystery of his will…

·         Equipping men and women to be better able to serve and bear witness to the glory of God’s grace in Christ… and the future that God has planned for those who belong to him.

What a privilege to teach about God’s will… whether here on Sunday… in a Bible study during the week… or in a specialized way at the College.

Yet it is just as great a privilege for all us here today to read God’s word… to learn from it…to be trained to effectively minister it to others…

·         Whether here in the local church or in a more specialized way…

·         The incredible privilege of having access to the knowledge of God’s will.

Human beings have such a fascination for knowing the future don’t they…. horoscopes etc…. latest predict compatibility your partner by names….!!

But, friends, we know the truth… the future…

·         not because of our intelligence… but because of God’s gift… his blessing… a knowledge of his will… what peace and assurance that brings!!

And this leads on to the third blessing to come from this passage.

One might be tempted to think that first two blessings have to do mainly with future, not the present, Paul makes it clear that a place in God’s family and a knowledge of his will are both something we experience now because we have been given


In vs. 13-14 … READ

“you” here refers to the Gentiles as well as the Jews…

Some blessings take time to receive and experience… don’t they?

·         Many years ago now when I went to US to do further study… accepted year before… had a place.. no experience

·         Or sometimes like a trust fund.. 18, know that name on document but have to wait till 25!

Not like that with God… we already taste what will be ours together with Christ …

è Through the deposit of the Holy Spirit

The “deposit” to which Paul refers you see is like the deposit on a house…

·         When pay deposit… move in… home is yours… live in it… experience it…

So, friends, the place we have in God’s family is not just a fact but an experience…

·         Pray to one we call, abba, Father… to a God who loves us and answers our prayers…

·         We experience the peace, freedom & joy that come from his forgiveness and acceptance.

·         Share friendship and fellowship with people never known before at deep level because they share the deposit of the Spirit…. we belong to a community of God’s people.

·         The things that we learn from God’s word… knowledge of his will, not just head knowledge… something that affects all we do… way we live…. Peace and hope we have.

Why is that? Because God has not just told us about the future.

He has given us a taste of it… a foretaste of our inheritance… that inheritance we share with Christ as adopted co-heirs with him!


So it is now surprise then, that in the rest of this chapter vs. 15-23 Paul turns towards thanksgiving and prayer.

For this reason, he says in vs 15… READ vs. 15-16…

And what he prays for is that these great blessings God has given us..

·         A place in his family, a knowledge of his will and a foretaste now of all that is to come…

·         That these blessings may be realized more and more in our daily Christian life as we devote ourselves to God’s family, dwell on his will and live by his Spirit.

So that, brothers and sisters, as we approach another Christmas – our celebrations may not just be about the material things with which we are blessed great as they are in our part of the world, but much more than this…

That we may celebrate the spiritual blessings that have been poured out upon us… the riches of his grace… which have been as vs 7 says… freely given to us in the one he loves – Jesus Christ out Lord.

Let us pray.

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