1 Chronicles 26–29ESV
1 Kings 1–2ESV
1 Kings 3–4ESV
2 Chronicles 1ESV
Worship ServiceNovember 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AMIf you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Parkland-First-Baptist-Church-113576415341539
Online WorshipNovember 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AMIf you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Parkland-First-Baptist-Church-113576415341539
- IntroductionWe are week two of the series on God’s Grace in the Church.Last week we spent time learning why we need to study the book of Ephesians.So today open your bibles to Ephesians 1:3-14The word blessing is a word that most Christians are familiar with today.If you were to go the bookstore and look at Christian titles, or listen to Christian radio, or watch Christian TV, you would hear the term used quite often.It is a word that we use, I think, without really understanding what it means.We pray for God to bless someone, or ask His blessings on our effort.Usually we are thinking of a physical blessing.However, God’s blessings go so much beyond physical blessings.In today’s passage Paul first wants to bless God or worship Him for all the spiritual blessing He has bestowed upon us.We see here that there is a whole other world of blessing that God has stored up for His people, not merely earthly blessings, heavenly blessings.As He is thinking of all the things we have received from God, Paul breaks out in praise, exalting the triune God.He starts off in verse 3 with a general topic sentence and then widens out with phrase after phrase to touch on various redemptive themes without even stopping for a period! In Greek this is one long (202 words), complex, and glorious sentence that oozes with God-centered worship.One writer quipped that this is the “most monstrous sentence conglomeration that I have ever found in the Greek language”
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him., 5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ 10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
11 In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory.
13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.Made For PraiseThis passage is so important because we were made to for praise.But we need to right object of worship.There are all kinds of expressions of praise all around us.Korean boy band “BTS”SportsLowe's and next projectOr Bass Pro and the latest fishing gear.These are all good things, but when they take precedent over God they become idols.So we need to remember to keep God first.Idolatry can also happen when we have a faulty view of God.God has revealed Himself in His Word, and worship is a response to that revelation.We are not to worship the God of our imaginations but the God of the Bible.We are required to believe that what the Bible says is true, not that what we want the Bible to say is true.In Ephesus the people had numerous objects of worship, from Diana to the emperor.The question then (and today) is not, Do I worship?The question is, Whom do I worship? Whom do we worship?We should praise the triune God.We should praise Him for who He is and what He has done.Note as we begin looking at this passage, Paul begins with this long sentence with the words “Blessed is the God and Father...”As we read this, we see Paul is so excited that he exalts God for what He has done for us.Again he says, “God has given us every spiritual blessing!”That thought is what causes Paul to go off in praise.Paul, when he begins detailing the various kindnesses that God has shown toward his people, Paul is not simply giving a lecture or writing a textbook.His catalog of spiritual blessings comes in the form of doxology—of worship.I hope that sets the tone for the rest of this chapter.As we discover this list, we ought to praise the Lord for every point!Reasons For Praise: Predestination Verses 4-5A fancy theological word for “He chose us.”This topic can be tough and somewhat controversial.It should not cause any tension, but should inspire awe and worship.We possess these spiritual blessings, Paul writes, not because we first chose God, but because “He chose us” (v. 4).Nor did God choose us because he saw some spark of goodness or potential in our souls.He chose us “before the foundation of the world”—before ever we existed or had any ability to demonstrate goodness or potential!We are set aside for holiness (v. 4), and we are adopted as God’s children (v. 5), not because of any merit in ourselves, but because we were “predestined” for such blessings!Isn’t it something to bless God for that our salvation and its blessings come not based on anything that we do, but solely on His selection.Reasons For Praise: Sanctification Verse 4God “chose us” in order to make us “holy and blameless before Him.”That’s what sanctification means.We are justified and the the process of becoming holy begins.Holiness—conformity to the image of Christ—sanctification!If God has called us to himself, it is so that we might someday stand before his heavenly throne “holy and blameless.”Think about that.God chose us so that we might grow in our character and Christlikeness even now.Sanctification, in other words, is part of the “spiritual blessing” that is ours in Christ.Since, God “chose us” in order that he might make us “holy and blameless,” we ought to examine ourselves according to his word.Am I, as God intends, becoming more and more holy year by year?Have I grown as a Christian?If I am truly a Christian, I ought to be becoming “holy and blameless before Him.”Reasons For Praise: Adoption Verse 5We are chosen to be “adopted as sons” (v. 5).If you are in Christ, you are a child of God—adopted into his family and possessing every right that any child possesses in a good father’s house!Though we know we are supposed to be “holy and blameless,” we often fail miserably.In those moments, what a help it can be to remember that, in Christ, we cannot be just kicked out on the street and disowned.No! In Christ, we are sons and daughters of God!And, as sons and daughters, we know our Father in heaven loves us regardless of our performance or actions!He loves us the way a good father loves his children!And we ought to love him, too—the way a little child loves a good father.Reasons For Praise: Redemption Verse 7Verse 7 says, “we have redemption through His blood.”Kurt Strassner in his commentary says “Redemption” is a slave-market term.In the ancient world, if a person desired to grant freedom to a slave (or if a slave had the wherewithal to purchase his or her own freedom), a redemption price would be paid to the owner of that slave; a sum of money would be handed over in order to redeem that man, woman, boy, or girl from his or her enslavement.Paul says this is what God has done for us!We were enslaved to sin.We were in bondage to our own sinful natures and lusts.And yet our Father in heaven paid the price to set us free.We have “redemption through [Jesus’] blood.”This is why we can now become “holy and blameless” (v. 4)—because we are no longer slaves to sin!Remember temptation is tugging you back toward your old ways.Say to yourself, “In Christ, I am no longer a slave! God paid my redemption price through the blood of Jesus! I am free! And I’m going to live like it! I have ‘redemption through His blood.’ ”Reasons For Praise: Forgiveness Verse 7Not only are we set free from sin’s power, we have also been redeemed from sin’s debts.“Redemption,” Paul says in verse 7, includes “forgiveness.”Strassner again points that an ancient slave, in some cases, might be not only a slave, but also a debtor.The whole reason he or she was owned by another human being was because of a failure to pay some debt.So, if such a person was redeemed, if his or her liberty was purchased, the debt was, at the same time, canceled out as well!This person was now not only free, but also forgiven!And so it is with believers.We owed a great debt to God because of our trespasses (acts committed against individuals, or rebellion) and sins.But “through [Jesus’] blood,” the debt was paid.“Through His blood” we are set free, not only from slavery to sin, but also from our debt to God and from its corresponding penalty!Restitution has been made in full.“Through His blood” we have “the forgiveness of our trespasses.”Do you have forgiveness?Do you know that your sin debts have been removed by the blood of Christ?Reasons For Praise: God’s Plan Verse 9-10These verses are the climactic note of the passage, where Paul says all things will be brought together in Christ.One commentator says, “Syntactically and structurally … [this ‘bringing together’] is the ‘high point’ of the eulogy.”By God’s grace, “He made known to us the mystery of His will” (v. 9).He has revealed His eternal plan to us, and that plan centers on the Redeemer Jesus.What is this plan?It is to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.So there is a cosmic dimension to God’s plan of salvation.Now the universe is divided and groaning for redemption (Rom 8:19–23).Now God’s people groan in this fallen world.Paradise was lost in Adam, but it will be restored in Christ.Stott summarizes this well: “In the fullness of time, God’s two creations, his whole universe and his whole church, will be unified under the cosmic Christ who is the supreme head of both” (Stott, Ephesians, 44).Reasons For Praise: Inheritance Verse 11We have been predestined or chosen not only to adoption and to holiness (vv. 4–5), but also to “an inheritance.”But what is that “inheritance”?Does Paul have in mind the list that we have been piecing together over the last few paragraphs?In other words, are sanctification, adoption, redemption, and forgiveness our “inheritance”?Or is Paul thinking in this verse about our “inheritance” in heaven? Perhaps both!We do have a great many spiritual blessings, even now, don’t we?All of these things will be perfected when our “inheritance” is deeded over in full, someday, in heaven!Moreover, on that day we will see Jesus face to face!We will see the nail prints in his hands and feet, and be with him forever!What an “inheritance”!What a reason to say with Paul, “Blessed be God”Reasons For Praise: Assurance Verses 13-14The last reason for praising God is found in verses 13–14.Paul reminds us that this inheritance cannot be taken away.When we believed, we were “sealed … with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.”The Spirit’s presence in our lives is a seal, an evidence of the fact that we really are God’s people.He is like God’s wax signature stamp on the scroll of our lives, indicating that we are the genuine article, that we really do belong to God.Further, if the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives is evidence that we belong to God, it is also “a pledge” (a promise, down payment) that, since we surely belong to God, God’s “inheritance” surely belongs to us!The Spirit’s presence in our lives—convicting us of sin, illuminating God’s Word, helping us to pray, ordering our daily steps, and so on, brings about an assurance that we really are God’s people and that we will, therefore, surely inherit all the blessings.Let’s Praise GodPaul closes with the note “to the praise of glory.”There is nothing left to do but to join Paul in worship and declare God’s praises to the nations who are not worshiping Him.God the Father has chosen us, God the Son has redeemed us, and God the Spirit has sealed or assured us.Let’s worship our God because we were made for praise.Our hearts will only be satisfied when we praise our God for all our spiritual blessings.
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