Chosen (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Today, we will start the book of Ephesians. It will be a sermon series that will go right into the theme our youth summer retreat, which we are not revealing at this time.^^
As we go through this letter to Ephesians from the first chapters to the last, we might have in-depth understanding of what it means to be Christians in a very hostile world.
Here is a little bit of facts about Ephesus:
Let us stand for the world we will receive today:
3 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,4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 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 upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making know to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
It is a one, long sentence in Greek. It has 202 worlds that theologians love, but English teachers hate. One long, spirit-inspired, run-on sentence.
So, the first concept that he brings up in the beginning of this letter is “predestination”. We tried to talk about this before when Pastor David was here. Some of you are comfortable with the concept but I am sure for a lot of you, including myself, it is a difficult concept to understand and accept in my brain.
And then I was thinking, why Paul would use such a difficult concept of predestination to encourage or edifying the readers?
Ephesus was a big city with many things and buildings and other religions were so advanced. It is like we bring gospel to North Korea and try to encourage North Korean Christians. First thing you would say is predestination. It did not make whole lot of sense when I was first reading the Ephesians...^^ Believe me, It makes sense^^
So let’s dive in:
Paul says in verse 4, “God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”, In verse 5 “Predestined us for adaption” and verse 11 “Predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will”
First, let me give you a little ground rule: There will be some things that you will not fully understand about God (Deuteronomy 29:29, Secret things belong to the Lord, revealed things belong to us)
If I try to explain quantum mechanics to 7 year olds, or even to you (energy barrier, quantum shift, phase transitional methodology, and such), you will not fully understand. Imagine God is trying to explain things to you? We will not fully understand.
Just because we don’t understand, it does not mean it is not true. Right?
1.What is predestination about?
I will tell you what it is not about: bending your fingers, or picking your noise, or balling up and flicking to your friend next to you.. Or eating what for lunch, or which college I should go to, or what I should study, or which car or home I should buy.. Those fall into the area of wisdom.
What predestination about is YOUR SALVATION, how God loves so much that he would give only son to save you. In fact, the entire Bible is about the salvation and sanctification of human race.
So, let’s go back to our scripture: From vs. 3 when the process of our salvation begins to vs. 14 when it is over, God is taking all the actions!
So many questions.. But lets get to that next week and I would like to leave you with promise of God that we find in Romans 8: 31-39
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i]against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Youth Retreat will be held on 28-30 of July.