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Ephesians 1:3-6

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Text for today: Ephesians 1:3-6
Secure Interest:
Many years ago, I met a man who for the purpose of this introduction will remain nameless.
Let’s just call him Jack.
Jack was a longtime professing atheist.
He had lived his whole life having no desire for the God of Scripture, thinking that what really mattered in this life was the pursuit of personal pleasure.
Jack was the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation and from a worldly standard, his pursuit of pleasure was very well taken care of.
He had cars, multiple houses, traveled the world several times over.
Honestly, many would say that this man had it all together.
Yet he was lacking in the area of finding a good wife.
All of the women he had met up to this point in his life were all very shallow.
As much as I would dread saying that all he could find was gold-diggers, that’s honestly the truth of it.
Jack had honestly given up any hope of finding a good woman.
That’s when he met Michelle.
Michelle had been hired as a temp to fill an secretary position at Jack’s company.
On a secular spectrum, they were miles apart.
Not only was Michelle not rich, she was scraping by week after week, often having to call her parents and ask for help.
She drove a broke down old Hugo which never really got her where she needed to go and really couldn’t afford much in the way of living like Jack had lived.
But from the moment Jack met her, both her physical beauty as well as her overall attitude about life was enough to draw Jacks attention.
And Jack was very clear about his desire to pursue Michelle.
Yet at every avenue, Michelle rejected his pursuit.
When the day came that Jack finally asked why, he heard an answer he had never heard before.
You see, Jack had listed off all of his possessions as if it was some sort of dating resume.
But the one thing Michelle needed to hear was never mentioned.
Michelle waited to hear about Jack’s faith.
She knew he wasn’t a believer and therefore, according to her right Biblical understanding, she couldn’t even think about dating Jack.
When he found this out he was shocked!
He had never heard anything like this.
Yet desperate in his attempts at wooing her, he asked if he as an Atheist would be welcome in her Church.
Her response was rather obviously a yes.
In fact, Michelle proceeded to let him know that many who worked for the company actually went to the very same Church.
From the executives at the very top, all the way down to the people in the mailroom.
When Jack heard this, he stood back completely stunned.
You see he had spent many years rubbing elbows only with those in his social status and trying to avoid people he thought to be below him.
Years spent talking about previous purchases and future vacations.
He thought to himself for a few minutes and finally looked at Michelle and said something very important;
“With the difference in economic status and background, what do you all even talk about?”
Her response was quick and firm, “Living this life in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”
Flesh and Blood Scenario
While none of in this room have probably ever been in situations like this, I’ve no doubt that we have some form of this type of thinking in our minds.
Whether it is intentional or unintentional, we probably have these thoughts.
We see someone out in our community while were shopping and as we pass them, the stench of what appears to be a lack of showering enters our nostrils.
We don’t think about the fact that the person we just passed is a person in need of Jesus.
Whether they’re redeemed or unredeemed, they still have a need for Jesus.
Instead we think about how that person is below us.
We become like that Pharisee thumping his chest praising God that he’s not like the other.
We begin looking at the external’s of the person and we establish a form of hierarchy about who is better.
When we watch someone who is obviously “below us” pull up to the Church, is our thoughts about how we can serve this person in the Gospel;
Or do our thoughts automatically wonder over to wondering what this person wants.
Crucial Assertions:
We do this and we don’t even realize that we do it.
It is my assertion this morning that though none of us leave the house trying to be prideful about the life which we have.
Many of us do just that and we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
We stand with our head held high as if there was something special about us.
We are before the Lord people just like Michelle yet we act as if we’re like Jack.
We are the one’s calling home to our father in need of something;
Yet we act as though we have no need, at least among one another.
Determinative Difference:
Yet if we as believers in Christ would take to heart what we find here in this text and apply it in our daily life, each of us would begin to see where we do this and work this portion of our own sin out before the Lord.
Determinative Difference:
And that is my purpose in preaching this text today.
That all of us would examine our hearts to see what is truly uniting us as a body of believers.
Connection to previous sermon:
Now let me connect this to the first sermon from this Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians.
If you’ll remember from a few weeks ago, we walked through the idea of Church authority.
We talked about being skeptical of Church leadership and how to cure this in our hearts.
And we did so by seeing that Authority within the Church is Sovereignly ordained.
And we can know who these men are on the basis of the Love and the Care which they have for us.
Now I want to make the connection from that sermon to this sermon.
Not only is the authority in the Church Sovereignly ordained.
Where am I in the outline of the book:
But what
PNP and Theological Principles:
PNP with Theological Principles:
From the text we’re looking at today three aspects of our faith and how they should impact our daily lives.
The first point is that all Glory and honor belong to the Lord!
The second is that we are to be always thinking outside of this physical life.
The third is that what binds the Church together is nothing besides King Jesus.
Restate PNP:
Body of Sermon:
Once again, from the text we’re looking at today three aspects of our faith and how they should impact our daily lives.
I. All Glory and honor belong to the Lord!
a. God is worthy of our praise regardless of our life situation.
Look with me at verse 3 here. (Read)
As we begin to look at this first point, I want to speak very openly and personal with us as a Church this morning.
It is very easy and very common in this life to become broken and trodden down concerning our life situations.
Now all of what I’m about to say applies to the Christian so you’ll need to keep that in mind.
Paul very clearly by way of context is addressing only believers.
And because of that our focus here is going to be very explicitly laid out for the Christian.
As we who were once dead in our trespasses and sins can attest, there is a form of religious freedom which is found in having redemption in Christ.
Yet even as a Christian, this life can be hard!
Actually, I think that most of the time, our lives are explicitly harder than others because of our convictions about certain aspects of our life.
Whether it be not willing to go into debt for something that we truly need, or not taking that opportunity to get ahead by cheating just a little.
Our conscience will not allow us to do those little things in life which most unbelievers are willing to do in order to get ahead.
And often times because of this, just from this aspect our life can be difficult in many ways.
Yet because God has set apart our life in the ways which he has, this makes things much more difficult.
And it’s difficult for a reason.
You see the unbeliever out there has no desire for Christ and therefore he has no reason to be knocked down a peg or two in his thinking.
But for the believer, this is a constant in our lives.
There will never come a time where we as redeemed persons do not have a need to be knocked down.
And the reason for this is that we always have a need to see the glory and honor that the Lord is owed.
We have a desperate need to see just how much glory can rightly deserves.
And the best way for this to happen is that as Christians, we get knocked down a peg or two every year.
It removes from us this sense of self-sufficiency which we all have and it causes us to look upon Christ and Him alone for everything.
And the truth of the matter is that even though we know this, we don’t often live this out.
Instead we go about living with this mentality that says don’t worry, I got this.
Bring it on, I’ll find victory over this on my own!
The truth of the matter though, Biblically speaking, you will never do this on your own.
And that is by design!
It’s to knock you down and show you your position before the Lord.
Not only is the unbelievers position before the Lord like that of an Ant at the feet of a Giant.
But for the believer it is even more so!
For the believer, God has looked past all of your sin and redeemed you in spite of your sin and rebellion before Him.
For the Christian as you bow at the feet of a Giant, you begin to see His stature, the smaller you become.
The more you begin to see that while as an Ant before Him he should have squashed you.
Yet instead He redeemed you and offered you new life in Christ.
And He did not do so blindly.
He did not look down the corridor of time and see that you would ultimately come to Him so He chose to bless you.
Look at Verse 4;
“Even as He (God) chose us (everyone who is and will be redeemed in Christ) before the foundation of the world (that is before anything existed. all the physical universe, space, time, matter and everything), that we should be holy and blameless (us, these people who God knew would actively run into rebellion and sin against Him at every opportunity) before Him.”
This was the plan of the Lord and praise God that this was His plan.
And at every corner of our life, He is going to show us that He is worthy of all praise.
He is worthy to be praised.
Regardless of our situation.
God being worthy of praise is not dependent upon the situations which we may find ourselves.
Whether the day is glorious or if its full of dread;
He is worthy to be praised.
I want to show you one final point here before I move us into
This moves me to the next point.
II. We are to be always thinking outside of this physical life.
a. Notice what Paul says here at the very end of the verse.
“Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,”
Notice the context of what Paul is addressing here.
He is spending this portion of the letter exalting the name of the Lord.
Yet at the very same time, Paul clearly lays out a distinguishing line concerning humanity.
Now I know that I am guilty of saying this next statement in probably to many situations.
I just know that my intention is normally to elevate Christ and de-elevate us.
Yet what I find right here in this passage perplexes me at times.
Our salvation is secondary in the Gospel as far as purposes of the Atonement are concerned.
What I mean by that is that Christ dying upon the cross was not done solely with our redemption in mind.
As I’ve said before, our redemption in many ways is secondary.
The primary purpose for Christ hanging upon that tree at Calvary is to put on full display the glory of God.
Every attribute of God is found hanging upon the tree of calvary.
His wrath is on display in that Christ was punished for sin.
His Mercy was on display in that we have the recorded testimony of the events transpiring and know the purpose behind them.
His Grace was on display in that the wrath of God was poured out onto Christ for those who do not deserve it.
And His love is displayed in that Christ went to that cross to begin with.
And in the work of Christ, I think we can see that fully.
Yet, sometimes I focus so much on that aspect of the cross, that I forget about the implications of the Cross for those who believe.
So I what I want to do for a moment is put on display in your minds not only the glory of God revealed at Calvary;
But I also want to show you how we should view one another.
Look at the text for a second to see what Paul says about us.
You and I have been blessed beyond measure with every spiritual blessing.
In the Father taking this divine work on the part of King Jesus and applying it to us, we are now bestowed with something unthinkable.
He tells us that we have been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
You and I have been removed from the wages of sin and the conquering power that they have over us because of Christ.
We’re going to be talking about you and I as believers.
Because on a Spiritual plane, they have been defeated.
But we are not the focus here.
Now right here in the text is where things get pretty awesome.
Verses 3-14 are actually one big connected sentence with no breaks, commas or pauses in thought going through them.
At least that’s we should understand them.
And as you read through them you begin to see a pattern emerging from the text.
In verses 4-6 you find the Fathers electing of a people.
In verses 7-12 you find the Son redeeming those the Father has chosen.
And in verses 13-14 you find the Spirit sealing the believer.
And many people would like to keep the passage just like that as it removes any form of God’s absolute sovereignty.
They want the Holy Spirit to stay in verses 13-14 and in our english translation, that is really the way that it is written.
Instead the entire focus is upon God
The problem though is that is not how Paul wrote it.
His theme of no breaks in the text leaves an implicit characteristic showing the work of the Spirit in the whole process.
Let me explain what I mean.
Our condition prior to the Father electing, the Son redeeming and the Spirit sealing is what?
Dead in Adam.
Spiritually dead!
We may live long lives but internally we are as dead as our forefather Adam is corrupted.
Now that we’ve been brought to life in Christ, that old man has been put to death and we have risen to life with Christ.
And in our being redeemed, we have been given the inner workings of the Holy Spirit.
That old guiding nature has been cast aside and the new has been put in place.
And that new life-guiding factor is always pointing us away from this world.
It is always pointing us to that which is heavenly.
We have been given the Holy Spirit by the Father in the Son.
And as such no blessing has been withheld from us in that heavenly realm.
We have come to a fullness of life in Him.
And what we’re encountering here is only one of the first of several instances where the Apostle Paul begins to introduce this idea of the heavenlies.
All of which will tie back to the theme of Christ being exalted over the sin and death which was once triumphant in this life.
So let’s begin by asking a couple questions here of this text.
What is Paul meaning when he uses the term, heaven?
Many commentators would argue that Paul was trying to reference the sky or the heaven of grace where eternal life is already recieved by God’s grace.
Others would point to the final state of the redeemed known as the heaven of glory.
Yet Paul means nothing of the sort.
Instead what Paul is pointing to is a spiritual reality.
It’s this plain around us where the principalities and powers are at work.
This area where by Christ’ very nature, He is reigning supreme over.
Yet not only is He reigning supreme, according to 1:20 and 2:6, we are right there beside him.
Listen to these verses:
Ephesians 1:20 ESV
that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 2:6 ESV
and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Both of these verse speak very explicitly concerning the nature of the one who has been redeemed.
And each of us, if we are redeemed in Christ Jesus, that is where we ought to be focused!
Every step we take ought to be thought out with the idea of our own spiritual reality in our minds.
We should not be thinking merely of heaven as some long awaited utopia that we’ll one day get to be a part of if we can do things right.
Instead, our thoughts should realizing that this is who we are now!
Now with that in mind, I want to bind the last point with this point for a moment.
III. The third is that what binds the Church together is nothing besides King Jesus.
a. Since what binds us together is only King Jesus and each of us are to be living with the eternal in our current mindset, how are we to react to one another?
I want to take just a moment and go back to our introduction of Jack and Michelle.
Those two people had absolutely nothing in common!
If they were to sit down together and try to have lunch, very little conversations could be had with one another.
Jack could tell of his 2k dollar dinner the night before while Michelle thinks about how irresponsible Jack is.
If Michelle tried to explain eating Ramen with boiled eggs in it to change the flavor, Jack is going to have no idea what she’s talking about.
There is quite literally nothing that would bring them together and bind them together.
This is because Michelle is trying to live her life in Christ, while Jack is trying to live his life on his own.
Look with me at verse 6.
Ephesians 2:6 ESV
and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
In the Beloved.
In the Agapao.
That sweet man of endearment.
It’s all about Christ!
Christ Jesus, the God who humbled Himself and became a man.
Removed Himself from His heavenly dwelling to take on corruptible flesh.
To put on Himself the stench of death and wonder around for 30+ years being accosted by those who should have groveled at His feet!
To humble Himself in such a way that he would allow unregenerate men to taunt Him, beat Him, spit on Him, mock Him with a crown of thorns and ultimately nail Him upon the cross of calvary naked and shamed like you would some common criminal.
Yet all of this was nothing in comparison to what God inflicted upon His own Son.
Jesus, part of the divine trinity.
Never having a need to be stained with the filth of sin became sin for you and for me.
Humiliated Himself to secure the forgiveness for all who would call upon His name.
For the first time in all of eternity there was a chasm within the Divine while Jesus hung upon that tree.
And yet, you and I have the audacity to make the Church about us!
We have the audacity to look down our nose at fallen humanity like there is something special about us!
None of this is about us!
We are blessed in that we get to know King Jesus and by His Grace we are elevated far above anything we deserve.
We are seated with Him in the grandest of places!
Given an eternal reward that rightfully belongs to Jesus alone.
Now you might be thinking, Cory I never do anything like that.
Whether you like it or not, everyone in this room is guilty of that.
When was the last time you spent time with someone outside of your “social class?”
When was the last time you looked at someone so extremely different from you and didn’t offer up some form of criticism whether verbally or mentally?
You see we all do this.
We like to form our own little social cliques even within the Church.
Though it may not revolve around finances or social status, it revolves around something and I can promise you it probably isn’t Christ!
I can say this because in order for the sole pursuit of the Church to be Christ, you have to work harder than you have ever worked in your life!
And far too often most of us are way too adamant to just come to Church on Sunday morning, get my little Bible fix for the week and then go home.
In order for Christ to be the central theme and focus of the Church, it takes the Church functioning as a Church!
Not merely the leadership running things but the whole body, collectively functioning together with one purpose in mind, revolving around one theme.
It is far too easy for us as the Church to sit quietly on the sidelines and watch everyone else do the ministering.
Let everyone else be the ones who are reaching out.
It’s far too easy because we would rather gather together around our own commonalities.
I believe this, this and this.
If you fit into this little theological box that I have developed in my head, awesome!
You and I can go along ways together.
We central the Church around our own selfish desires and this isn’t right!
What binds this Church together should never be our preference or conviction concerning attire.
Our preference for this class of people or that class of people.
Instead, what should bind this Church together is King Jesus.
Not our opinion of Him.
Not our love for him.
Not our love or our zeal for Him although those will be produced.
But instead, what binds the Church together is that collectively, He made us the objects of His grace in the Beloved who is Christ Jesus.
Now I want to bind this together for us as we draw to a close.
When each of us as individual Christians live our lives thinking outside of this mere physical moment, and we instead live focused on that principal of the heavenly places;
We will begin to bound together around a common theme and that theme is nothing less than King Jesus.
And when these two aspects of our life is placed together, we will truly be able to point all Glory and Honor to the Lord.
The second is that we are to be always thinking outside of this physical life.
The third is that what binds the Church together is nothing besides King Jesus.
Restate PNP:
Restate Structure:
Resecure interest:
Vital Transition:
Vital Assertions and questions:
Closing appeals: Forceful Obedience encouraged and disobedience rebuked.
The Purpose: What now
Clinching Element of Persuasion:
The Gospel:
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