Praise to God for His Adopting - Ephesians 1:5-6
Ephesians 1:5-6 Praise to God for His Adopting 2020-10-18 By God’s grace, and for God’s glory, we have been brought into God’s family! Last week we dove deep into the glorious doctrine found in vv.3-4, that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless. I hope that you have found that truth to be resonating in your hearts throughout this last week, and encouraging you in God’s love for you, your place in Christ, and your calling to glorify him with holy living. Truly, we are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. But we haven’t yet exhausted the blessings of God. Like climbing a mountain trail, along the way you get glimpses and various perspectives of what lies ahead, but as you continue your way up and up, the views are no longer glimpses, but panoramas. They are even more full of splendor and glory. This morning the Apostle Paul is taking us further up the trail, higher up the mountain. The reality of God’s choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world is indeed glorious, but there are even greater panoramas to be seen. The spiritual realities of what God has accomplished for us through Christ are spectacular and Paul, as our expert guide, will lead us to the realization of these greater glories. By God’s grace, and for God’s glory, we have been brought into God’s family! Passage: Ephesians 1:5-6 We have been brought into God’s family! (v.5) 1. v.5 “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ…” - Now, just like climbing up a mountain trail, there is a little heavy lifting to be done. There are some essentials we need in order to be able to arrive at our destination and enjoy the panorama. This word - predestined - is a big, heavy, theological word. But rather than stumble over it, I hope we can take hold of it and appreciate its beauty. It’s related to a theologically heavy word from last week, but different. That word was chosen. We were chosen before the foundation of the world. Here we read that we were predestined unto adoption. 1. Predestined - This is God’s plan in eternity past, his determination of will, his deciding what he would do. Being chosen before the foundation of the world was God carrying out what he had predestined, or predetermined to do. All throughout the history of the world, God has been carrying out his will, acting on what he had determined to do. So much so that Peter can even say in Acts 2:23 “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” 1. I want you to find some comfort in this, that the world isn’t unraveling or spinning out of control. Times might be turbulent, but God is accomplishing his predetermined will, carrying out his plans and purposes, and achieving the salvation and redemption and adoption of pour, miserable sinners, and making them sons and daughters of the Most High God! And that brings us to this great height, to this place of adoption. DM Lloyd-Jones says, “Our adoption is the highest expression even of God’s love.” 2. 1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” John 1:12–13 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” This isn’t a crusty doctrine or a cold theological peg. This is the warm affection of a heavenly Father who acted on our behalf, for our benefit, despite our miserable state and treatment of him, to overcome our sin and misery through the cross, to change our hearts, to fill us with his Spirit, and then to bring us into his family. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says adoption is, “an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.” 2. We have been predestined for adoption to himself as sons. It’s important that we get this right. Most commentators agree that Paul was deliberate in stating we are adopted to God as sons, because the Roman practice of adoption was in the background. The Romans would adopt sons, and the son would inherit land, wealth, family name, and family honor. In fact, the Romans would typically adopt a son who was already grown, perhaps even an adult, because then they’ve already proven themselves to be of character worthy of adoption. Transition: This is a distinct difference between God’s adoption of us; our adoption is not based on our worthiness, but based on God’s glory. This is our second point this morning. For God’s glory, we have been brought into God’s family! (v.6) 1. v.6 “…to the praise of his glorious grace…” - As I mentioned last week, we see the glory of God as central to this passage; that God has worked in these ways to the praise of his glory. Here Paul puts it, “to the praise of his glorious grace”, which makes it even more pointed. That God would be praised because of the great and glorious grace he has shown, the gracious works he has performed. 1. This is God’s aim in working in these ways which we see in this passage. Chosen for holiness, predestined for adoption, redeemed, given an inheritance, sealed with the Holy Spirit - all so that his glory would be manifested and his name would be praised. 2. In Acts 19 Paul is visiting Ephesus for the first time, and he spends a couple years there teaching and preaching. People are being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit; magicians are being converted and burning books of the occult worth fifty thousand pieces of silver; even the idolatry in the city and the industry supported by it is in jeopardy. Acts 19:23-34. “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” They were worried that their false god would lose glory because the true God was being made known. Even in v.17 we read that, “the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.” Where God is at work, his glory is revealed. Magnificence, beauty, greatness, exalted and extolled, highness, splendor. No other can compare, and he won’t share his glory with any other. 3. This isn’t an egomaniacal God who is looking for affirmation, but the one true God, the holy and righteous God, the perfect and pure God. There is no higher aim, no greater perfection, than God’s glory. Transition: And his revelation of glory to us, and invitation to work for his glory, is all of grace, which is our last point this morning. By God’s grace, and for God’s glory, we have been brought into God’s family! (v.6) 1. vv.5, 6 “In love he predestined us…he has blessed us in the Beloved.” - Everything in this passage speaks to God’s work on our behalf. And there is nothing presented that could lead one to believe that God works as payment to us based on what we have worked for, earned, or deserved. 1. God has transferred us from our former family, with our father the devil, into his family, where he is our Abba, Father. This was predestined before time, but accomplished in human history. Galatians 4:4–7 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” 2. This work of God, making us members of his family, is an exceeding grace. God could have saved us and left it at that. He could have saved us and made us slaves. Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” But he saved us and made us sons and daughters of the Most High God. Adoption is all of grace! 3. Again, we see that this blessedness we receive, like that which we saw last week, comes to us through the Beloved, through Christ. This is nothing we can take credit for, nothing we can claim as having earned it. It is all of grace, brought to us by the work of Jesus on our behalf, the Beloved Son of the Father. At the baptism of Jesus, as well as the Transfiguration, the Father made clear that this was his Beloved Son, and he was well-pleased with him. Now we are rewarded based on the status and accomplishment of Jesus. We are loved as Jesus is loved; unbreakable, incomparable, unmatched and unfading. It is all of grace. Conclusion: I hope that as we’ve reflected on these two verses this morning, and the great truths contained in them, that your hearts have been encouraged and your understanding of God’s great love for you has been increased, even multiplied. Consider what it means this week that you are a son or daughter of God, and where that puts you in standing with God and in relation to each other. Consider the praise that is to be given to God because of this marvelous work, this highest expression of God’s love toward you.