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Our Heavenly Father Ephesians 1 3-6[1]

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Our Heavenly Father

 Ephesians 1:3-6

June 19, 2005

Sermon

INTRODUCTION

TODAY IS SPECIAL NOT ONLY BECAUSE IT IS SUNDAY, BUT ALSO BECAUSE IT IS A TIME THAT WE HAVE SET ASIDE TO HONOR FATHERS.

There is a story that goes

IT WAS GRADUATION DAY AND A MOTHER WAS TRYING TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THEIR SON IN A CAP AND GOWN, POSED WITH HIS FATHER. "LET'S TRY TO MAKE THIS LOOK NATURAL," SHE SAID. "JUNIOR, PUT YOUR ARM AROUND YOUR DAD'S SHOULDER."  THE FATHER ANSWERED, "IF YOU WANT IT TO LOOK NATURAL, WHY NOT HAVE HIM PUT HIS HAND IN MY POCKET?"

IN PREPARING FOR THIS MESSAGE I MUST ADMIT I HAD QUITE A STRUGGLE ALL WEEK LONG. AS I MENTIONED THIS TO MY SON JUSTIN HIS STATEMENT WAS “BECAUSE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR DAD?”

AS I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT QUESTION I HAD TO FACE THE FACTS THAT TO A CERTAIN EXTENT I DID HAVE A

TODAY OUR TEXT IS FOUND IN EPHESIANS 1:3-6 AND I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK TO YOU THIS MORNING ABOUT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.

SOME OF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME ON FATHER’S DAY BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF YOUR FATHER.

OTHERS NO LONGER HAVE A FATHER BECAUSE THEY HAVE PASSED AWAY OR ABANDONED YOU.

BUT PAUL SHOWS US WHAT KIND OF FATHER WE HAVE IN HEAVEN.

IN DOING THIS HE MENTIONS FOUR THINGS THAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US AND WHY WE CAN CALL HIM FATHER.

YOU CAN CALL GOD YOUR FATHER ...

Turn with me to Ephesians 1:3-6

Ephesians 1:3-6 NIV

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he[a] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

1.      BECAUSE HE HAS BLESSED YOU (VS 3)

In verse three of our text I would like us to notice three things that Paul mentions concerning the blessings from our Heavenly Father.

First, notice the source of our blessings.

Paul says, "blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ".

As children of God our blessings come from God the Father, through Jesus Christ.

Secondly, notice the scope of our blessings.

Again Paul says, "who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing".

Today we hear a lot about how rich people are physically or materially.

Not to long ago a young man was given one million dollars because he was able to make a basket from half court.

While it is highly unlikely that any of us will ever become millionaires, as children of God we are wealthier than millionaires because we have been blessed with "every spiritual blessing".

God's spiritual blessings are far more valuable than anything material.

Lastly, here in our text we can see the sphere of our blessings.

Paul tells us that the sphere of our blessings is "in the heavenly places in Christ."

The unsaved person is primarily interested in earthly things, while the Christian's life is to be focused on heavenly things.

As children of God the Bible says that our:

Citizenship is in heaven- Philippians 3:20; "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;"

Name is written down in heaven- Luke 10:20; "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

Thoughts should be focused on heavenly things- Colossians 3:1,2; "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

2.      BECAUSE HE HAS CHOSEN YOU (VS 4)

The second thing that our Heavenly Father has done for us is found in verse 4.

Paul tells us, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love"

Notice this verse says that our Father "chose us."

The word "chose" is used in various ways within the Bible.

Luke 6:13- Jesus chose the apostles.

Acts 6:5- The church chose seven deacons.

It literally means, "to select" or "pick out".

In this reference it  means that God selected us or chose us as sinners for salvation and service.

John 15"16; "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and {that} your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you."

Notice in this verse two things about God's choice.

First, notice when He chose us.

Paul says that it was "before the foundation of the world".

Matthew 25:34; "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Revelation 13:8, "And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, {everyone} whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain."

Second, notice why He chose us.

Again Paul says, "that we should be holy and blameless before Him".

1 Peter 1:14-16; "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts {which were yours} in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all {your} behavior; because it is written, "\You shall be holy\, \for I am holy.\"

Colossians 1:22; "yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--"

3.      BECAUSE HE HAS ADOPTED YOU (VS 5)

The third thing that our Heavenly Father has done for us is adopt us.

In verse 5 Paul says, "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,"

When we read this verse it is important that we go back to the last two words in verse four.

Paul tells us that "in love" our Heavenly Father has adopted us.

Basically there are three things we need to understand about our adoption.

First, we need to understand the meaning of adoption.

The word "adoption" literally means, "the placing as sons".

Paul says, "He predestined us to adoption as sons."

The word "sons" means, "grown children" not infant children.

Adoption has a dual meaning for the present as well as the future.

The present application of our adoption has to do with our inheritance that we have from our Heavenly Father because we are now his heirs.

A little boy named Timmy was studying about his family heritage and looking through some family pictures with his mother.  They came across a picture of a very handsome young man. "Who is that?" asked Timmy. "That's your father,"  replied the mother proudly. "Oh yeah?"  said Timmy doubtfully. "Well, then who's that old bald-headed man that lives with us now?"

Galatians 4:4-7; "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."

Romans 8:15-17; "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with {Him} in order that we may also be glorified with {Him.}"

The future application of adoption refers to the glorified bodies we are going to receive when Jesus returns.

Romans 8:18-23; "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for {our} adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."

Second, notice the means by which we were adopted.

Paul tells us that this was accomplished "through Jesus Christ to Himself."

If it were not for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus we would never have been adopted.

Third, notice the motivation for our adoption.

We are told that it was "according to the kind intention of His will".

We were not adopted by our Heavenly Father because of some goodness that He found within us, but rather it was because of His love for us.

This leads us to the last thing our Heavenly Father has done for us.

4.      BECAUSE HE HAS FAVORED YOU (VS 6)

In verse 6 we find that our Heavenly Father has also favored us.

Paul says, "to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."

When we consider all of the things that our Heavenly Father has done for us, we find that everything is based upon His grace which He "freely bestowed on us".

God grace is His unmerited favor toward us.  Grace is God not giving to us what we deserve.  What we deserve is His judgment because of our sins.  Instead, of judgment, God gives us grace.

John 1:16; "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace."

Ephesians 4:7; "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift."

1 Corinthians 15:10; "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me."


CONCLUSION

A NEW YORK BUSINESSMAN WHO COMMUTED TO WORK    BY FERRYBOAT NOTICED A NEW PASSENGER ONE    DAY--A YOUNGSTER WITH A SHOESHINE KIT.  THE    MAN SPOKE KINDLY TO HIM AND PAID HIM TO SHINE HIS SHOES. FROM THAT DAY ON, WHENEVER THE    BUSINESSMAN BOARDED THE BOAT, THE BOY ALWAYS  APPROACHED HIM WITH A HAPPY SMILE.  HE WOULD  OFFER TO CARRY HIS BRIEFCASE AND WOULD BRUSH  OFF HIS CLOTHING WITHOUT EXPECTING ANY REWARD.  AFTER A WEEK OR TWO, THE MAN ASKED   THE YOUTH WHAT MADE HIM SO ATTENTIVE. "SIR," HE REPLIED, "THE FIRST TIME YOU MET ME YOU CALLED ME 'MY BOY.'  TILL THEN I DIDN'T THINK I BELONGED TO ANYONE, 'CAUSE MY PARENTS ARE DEAD. BUT YOU'RE SO KIND, AND YOU ALWAYS CALL ME YOUR BOY.  THERE'S NOTHING I WOULDN'T DO FOR YOU!" NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE BUSINESSMAN WAS DEEPLY TOUCHED.  SOON HE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO SEE THAT THE YOUNG FELLOW    WOULD BE WELL TAKEN CARE OF. SINCE THE MAN   WAS A CHRISTIAN, THE EXPERIENCE BROUGHT TO   HIS MIND THE SCRIPTURE THAT READS, "AND I    WILL BE A FATHER UNTO YOU, AND YE SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS" (2 COR. 6:18).  HE THOUGHT HOW BLESSED IT IS THAT CHRIST IN HIS  LOVE HAS TOLD US THAT WE AS BELIEVERS ARE NOT ORPHANS IN THE STORMS OF LIFE, FOR WE HAVE A  FATHER WHO LOVES US.

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