This blog is a continuation of last week’s message at Eastgate Baptist from our latest series, #LifeInChrist
As we have been sharing over the last two weeks…we can see a great display proclaiming the beauty and mystery of God’s gifts to those who have placed their faith in Him. When we try to bring an understanding of our identity in Christ…we must come to grips with our adoption story. Two weeks, I wrote about Life in Christ as declared in the Scriptures. They certainly speak of this life better than I could ever write…but they proclaim that Life in Christ is found in the gracious identity from God and they lead to a glorious outcome through God.
Today it is my hope that we discover further what our adoption story reveals about this Life in Christ…this gracious identity and glorious outcome…from and through God Himself.
The Letter to the Ephesians from the Bible states this in 1:7-12 [nasb]…
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
Now to gain understanding from the Scriptures in their context which brings the greatest applications and the relevance of God’s Word to our lives…I encourage people to ask 4 major questions…
- What do the Scriptures say? This is important so that we don’t lose the details of each intentionally inspired word. My personal opinion is that this is one of the reasons for seeking a close word-for-word translation. (BTW…No English translation is perfect.) It is also helpful to look at thorough commentaries and/or a good Bible Study software when difficult or confusing scenarios arise. (multiple ones if available).
- What were the results of this revelation in their specific time and place? God specifically chose the time and place in which He revealed His Word for a reason…if we are going to understand the relevance of His Word today…we can’t skip what it meant then because these are inseparable for how it still applies to us in our present circumstance. Once again… thorough commentaries and Bible study softwares are quite helpful in this cases. It is also useful to have a a group of Bible believing, Bible seeking, & Bible studying friends to grow with in your understanding of the Scriptures. This is one of the reasons why I believe a Bible-teaching church and growing through small groups is so essential to maturing as a disciple.
- What applications are carried forward from then to now? This is where the living and active nature of God’s Word gets planted in us not for mere entertainment, enlightenment, or encouragement…but to transform our lives in every arena. This can be tough to grasp and we will need others to help us walk through this process.
- What am I willing to do about what God reveals? This means responding to who God is, what God says, and what God does. Worship is the responding of man to God. We have not truly worshiped until we have responded to Him as He is. True worship that honors God and is the type of worship that He honestly seeks (John 4:23-24) is that which is of spirit and truth. It must start with God, respond to God, and be honest with all that God which also exposes the truth of who we are and the motives behind how we approach Him.
So, what can we learn here in Ephesians?
We can take note of a few things here. The letter was written most likely as a circuit letter between 60-63 A.D. while the apostle Paul was in his 2nd (and final) imprisonment in Rome under the reign of Nero. He is writing to a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in the city of Ephesus. He is trying to help the readers (listeners) understand their identity in Christ and the expected outcome of a disciple through Christ.
So… What does our adoption story have to reveal about our Life in Christ?
III. Adoption Reveals A Picture…
- Check out my blog from last week for more on this point.
II. Adoption Reveals A Provision…
- God’s Gift of Redemption – this is the costly gift.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” v.7
This ransom frees us from slavery and imprisonment. God gave of His richest and most precious treasure to display His glory and to bring about our good. Before placing our faith in Christ, we were considered slaves to sin and in debt. There was nothing we could earn or achieve that would free ourselves from this debt. Christ gave us the only remedy and ransom available and more than able to clear our indebtedness…Himself.
- God’s Gift of Forgiveness – this is the freeing gift.
Forgiveness of trespasses…the removal of guilt, shame, and eternal punishment. We no longer bear the weight of such sin. We have been cleared of our debt of sin and we have also been pardoned of our death sentence for sin.
- God’s Gift of Wisdom & Insight – this is the elevating gift.
God provides in Christ the completeness of the Christian for both the eternal and the practical. We have been given wisdom which is the provision of the knowledge of the eternal and heavenly things in Christ. We have also been provided insight, which is the knowledge of practical things for Christ. The scriptures tell us that Christ also provides in this gift…the mystery of His will. The Christian is able to gain an understanding into the mind and will of God (we won’t know everything…but we will begin to see with greater clarity and discernment…the very nature and direction of God).
- God’s Gift of Inheritance – this is the eternal and fulfilling gift.
We obtain an inheritance and future in Christ. We live daily in the present and ongoing into eternity as the inheritance of Christ.
III. Adoption Reveals A Purpose…
There is an eternal purpose that comes from Jesus and takes hold of our earthly present all for Jesus.
“to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.” v.12
- The worship of God is about responding to Him appropriately.
- The worship of God is about the revealing of Him abundantly.
May you know Life In Christ…
By His Grace. Through His Gospel. For His Glory.
The topics discussed are taken from the sermons during the Worship Gathering at Eastgate Baptist.
To listen to this sermon or other past messages…please go to this link.