Worthy Walk Series - Week 1 (Ephesians 1:1-6)
Text: Ephesians 1:1-6 (NKJV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
Intro: From the Broadman & Holoman Publishers on the Commentary of Ephesians I found this illustration interesting; this is a quote from Anders the Author it’s entitled: The Duck That Thought It Was a Dog.
Scientists know that ducks tend to imprint soon after birth. To “imprint” means that they attach themselves to the first thing they see after they hatch, thinking they are “that” thing. This is supposed to work for the duck, since, when they hatch, the first thing they normally see is a mama duck.
This phenomenon backfires, occasionally. Once, for example, a duckling was hatched under the watchful eye of a motherly collie dog. The baby duck took one look at the collie and decided that the dog was its mother. It followed the collie around, ran to it for protection, and slept with it at night. It spent the hot part of the day under the front porch with the collie. When a car pulled into the driveway, along with the dog, the duck would run out from under the front porch quacking viciously, trying to peck the tires.
Some things could not be changed, however. The duck still quacked, enjoyed the water, and flapped its wings. Sometimes it acted like a duck, and sometimes it acted like a dog.
Christians often experience a similar confusion in identity. We have been born into and grown up in a fallen world, so we have learned the ways of the world. We have become like it. When we become a Christian, we are in Christ. We die to the world and are born again, so that, spiritually, we are no longer who we once were. We are told: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Too often, however, we don’t see ourselves correctly. We act like the thing we think we are, rather than what we really are. We believe and try to do the right things; but for the life of us, we cannot get it exactly right. When we least expect it, a car pulls into the driveway of our life; and we explode from underneath the front porch, quacking viciously and pecking at the tires.
Who are we? We aren’t supposed to do that. We’re supposed to be swimming around in clear blue lakes, bobbing for seaweed, grooming our feathers, and laying eggs—not quacking at cars or harassing the cat. In the first chapter and throughout the entire Book Paul helps us to see who we truly are! If we could understand better who we truly are in Christ we would be able to live more consistently like him. That is why the Bible spends so much time telling us who we really are. If we understand and believe it, we will be better able to live it.
Paul opens his letter to the church in Ephesus by likening the church to a body. There is uniqueness in this body that is indescribable! This is a body unlike you have ever seen or envisioned before. This is the Body of Christ! This is the perfect ten; ten is a number of completeness anyway. So why not allow the Christian to be exposed to this mystery and be a part of this perfect body?
Application: Through the ministries of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Christians have been given every necessary spiritual blessing.
1. He Blessed Us: vs. 1-3.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
God had gifted Paul, given him the authority to be an emissary, not for boasting purposes was Paul presenting this, but that he wanted to remind the saints (those who are set apart) to stay encouraged and to continue to be a faithful follower of Christ.
To appreciate this introduction to the Book of Ephesians it is imperative that one sees that the entire Trinity was involved with the creation of the Body. It was planned by the father! Paul prays that grace and peace may be granted to his readers. Grace is unmerited favor, and the grace or favor of God is the source of all good. Peace means well-being in general. It includes all blessings flowing from the goodness of God. The apostle prays to Christ and seeks from him blessings which only God can bestow. Christ therefore was to him the object of habitual worship. He lived in communion with Christ as a divine person—the ground of his confidence and the source of all good.
God called Paul and he accepted the challenge, God calls the church and the believer have we accepted and if we have do we know what our mission is and the message that needs to be forwarded?
“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 the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16
We do not always feel spiritually blessed, as a result, we might wonder if we somehow missed out on these blessings. To make sure we do not misunderstand what he means by every spiritual blessing, Paul spells them out.
2. He Selected Us: vs. 4
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
When did this occur? “Before he made the world.”
Why did this occur? That we might be, “holy and without fault in his eyes.”
We have received the blessing of being chosen by God and adopted by him as his spiritual children. Chose raises the question of election or predestination, a deep and profound mystery which must be handled carefully. The Bible in some places seems to teach that God chooses those who will be saved and at least implies that he does not choose those who will not be saved. On the other hand, some verses seem to teach human freedom and responsibility.
This marvelous choice makes us holy and blameless in his sight. Because we have believed in and received Jesus as our Savior, all our sins are forgiven in him. This does not mean that true Christians never sin. It means our sin is paid for by the death of Christ. Jesus was holy and blameless. We are in Jesus; therefore, we are holy and blameless in God’s sight.
This takes us beyond our understanding, but the final consequence is easy to grasp: In Christ, we have his righteousness imputed to us at the moment of salvation; and the day will come when, standing before God holy and blameless, we will be totally separated, freed, and redeemed from any evidence of sin.
“That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15
3. He Adopted Us: vs. 5-6
5 Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
He made us his full-fledged children by formally adopting us into his spiritual family. In adoption, a child is brought into a family and given the same rights as a child born into that family. God did this through Jesus, and it pleased him.
We have two spiritual blessings from God the Father: We have been chosen and adopted by him to be his spiritual children. He made this choice before the creation of the world with the result that we will someday stand before him holy and blameless. God the Father accomplished this through the work of his Son, Jesus, motivated by his desire to be kind to us and by his desire to receive praise for his grace.
ARE YOU ONE OF THE ADOPTED? Who are you following?
Romans 10:13 “For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
Like the illustration I started my sermon with, you can chose to bark like a dog and continue to be something you weren’t intended to be or you can quack like a duck, walk like a Duck, swim in the water like a duck, and be a duck. God is calling us all to walk the worthy walk. We are to be a part of the body that is healthy not a cancer that needs to be removed.
“That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
There should be no division but should be harmony. He has blessed us, He has selected us and adopted us - let’s quack that! What a body you have an opportunity to be a part of, are you worthy of that walk?
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