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Blessings in Christ!

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Ephesians 1:2-3

Ephesians 1:2–3 ESV
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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,
We began last week by just an introduction into this letter that Paul wrote to the Christians who were at Ephesus. We discussed that Paul was the author of the letter and that he wrote it while on house arrest in Rome around 60AD.
Tonight we come to verses 2-3 and I want to start off by saying that I really hope you get a chance as we go through this study - to read this letter often. If you read this letter often and really let it soak in - it will be like the best dessert you ever had. You really will “taste and see that the Lord is good”. It’s that good. I promise you.
As we come to verse 2 tonight it’s interesting to note that Paul uses this introduction into almost all of his letters.
1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
He says: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
You might think that is a simple introduction, but for Paul it was his calling card. It was his motto to start his letters.
I won’t spend much time here on this verse 2, but you’ll notice that Paul puts Grace before Peace. There’s a reason for that. Grace always comes before peace. You can’t have Peace without Grace first.
You can’t have the “peace of God” until you have “peace with God”! That’s important. So many people are trying to conjure up peace in their life without a relationship with Jesus. It isn’t possible.
Ok moving on to verse 3.
Ephesians 1:3 ESV
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,

1. Praises go UP!

Notice how Paul begins this section of his letter. After the salutation and greeting, he gets right into it. Look how he starts… Blessing God.
He starts by thanking God, by praising God, by adoring God. He begins this amazing letter by putting us into our rightful place as the worshipper and God as the object of worship!
Lloyd-Jones Quote
"The order is of extreme importance. Because of our wretched subjectivity our tendency always is to concentrate at once on the blessings; we always want something for ourselves."
Isn’t that important for us? All too often our Christian life is centered around us: what we want, what we have, what we feel, what we need, it’s almost always all about US.
When really - it’s all about HIM! It’s all about Him.
Paul starts his letter by giving credit and praise where it is due.
I’m not sure how you begin your prayers, if you have a certain pattern that you follow - but if you don’t - I suggest you start your prayers by adoring God at the beginning. Start praising God for who HE is. Start praising God for what HE has done for you in the past. Then move on to your confession of sin, your petitions, and your desires.
That is always the place to start.
So, after Paul begins by putting God in His rightful place - then he reminds us how much we’ve been blessed.

2. You are Blessed!

If you are a Christian here tonight, God has blessed you with some massive spiritual blessings. I mean some really, really valuable stuff. You need to understand that as a Christian, you are RIDICULOUSLY blessed!
Let me show you in these verses from 3-14 all of the blessings that Paul is going to describe:
Election, Adoption, Redemption, Forgiveness, Inheritance
That sounds like some pretty awesome blessings right!?!?
But what if you are here as a Christian and you don’t realize or use any of your spiritual blessings? What if you don’t understand your blessings?
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter One: Saints Alive! (Ephesians 1:1–3)

She had gone down in history as “America’s Greatest Miser,” yet when she died in 1916, “Hetty” Green left an estate valued at over $100 million. She ate cold oatmeal because it cost to heat it. Her son had to suffer a leg amputation, because she delayed so long in looking for a free clinic that his case became incurable. She was wealthy, yet she chose to live like a pauper.

Eccentric? Certainly! Crazy? Perhaps—but nobody could prove it. She was so foolish that she hastened her own death by bringing on an attack of apoplexy while arguing about the value of drinking skimmed milk! But Hetty Green is an illustration of too many Christian believers today. They have limitless wealth at their disposal, and yet they live like paupers. It was to this kind of Christian that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians.

3. What kind of blessings are these?

Heavenly blessings. Look at the list we described earlier...
Election, Adoption, Redemption, Forgiveness, Inheritance
These blessings are not the type of blessings that you would typically think of. People today speak about blessings and they are typically talking about material things. But this is not material blessings. These are ETERNAL blessings!
They are blessings in the “heavenly places”!
These are eternal spiritual blessings that we will be able to enjoy forever.
We have business meetings frequently and we discuss a lot of different business measurements of success. One that we talk about is “ROI” - Return on Investment. Return on investment is important in business because it shows you how much profit something has made on it’s original cost.
But a term that I learned this week was EROI. “Eternal Return on Investment”
My friends, your spiritual blessings that Paul is describing here are an eternal ROI. They have eternal value beyond anything this world provides.
So - the question to you and me is - what are we doing in our lives that has an EROI, an eternal return on investment?
What are we doing that has eternal significance? How are we impacting eternity?

4. These blessings come IN CHRIST.

Look at two words with me in particular if you will. In the middle of this verse 3, Paul says how these blessings come to us. They come to us IN CHRIST.
These blessings that Paul is referring to are not “general blessings” that we could say apply to all of creation. There are those types of blessings, where God makes the “sun shine on the just and the unjust”. But this is not that. This is a very specific, exclusive blessing that is only reserved for CHILDREN of the King.
Listen to what Warren Wiersbe says on this “in Christ”
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter One: Saints Alive! (Ephesians 1:1–3)

The phrase “in Christ Jesus” is used twenty-seven times in this letter! It describes the spiritual position of the believer: he is identified with Christ, he is in Christ, and therefore is able to draw on the wealth of Christ for his own daily living.

You cannot be a Christian without being “in Christ”. That is where your identity lies now, you are “in Christ”. You are no longer “in Adam” if you will...
I’m not sure how you end your prayers, and I have to confess that sometimes I do this without even thinking of the significance.
A lot of people end their prayers “in Jesus Name” - what is the purpose of that? Well, one of the things it means is that Christ is the mediator of the relationship that we get to enjoy with God. Christ makes it possible for us to come to God. He is the means by which we can “enter boldly into the throne of grace”. We pray “in Jesus name” because it is only by His penal substitution that we can approach God in this way.
I wonder, do we realize what a privilege it is to pray to God and to know that HE listens to us - more than that - that HE cares about us?
Do we understand what an amazing privilege it is?
I had the chance to go to dinner with the CEO of the largest bank in Oklahoma a few months ago. He was interested in my family, in what my hobbies were, in a lot of aspects of my life. We had a very good conversation. I felt it a great privilege to be able to sit at a dinner table with him and talk to him like a normal person would. Knowing full well that there were a lot of people that don’t get that chance.
Well, take that and multiply it by eternity and that is what we get when we are able to step into the presence of God.
To say that we are “in Christ” means that we are a new creation. It means that the old has passed away, and the new has come. It means that we are now destined for glory, when before we were destined for darkness.
I pray that we would know our blessings. I pray that we wouldn’t live like the lady we described who lived as an absolute pauper, when she had millions in the bank.
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