Last two weeks, we have been studying Ephesians chapter 1 and 2, specifically, about the love of God shown though Jesus Christ. We are chosen because God loves us (we are his children), wants us to be holy/blameless (to have relationship with God), according to his will (to build and expand God’s kingdom), and to praise His glorious grace. The main point was God wants to build and expand his kingdom through YOU, which means you are selected to be ambassadors of God to spread gospel to your non-Christian friends. And when you become the salt and the light of the world to expand the kingdom of God that is how God’s grace is praised and displayed.
What is kingdom? It is not a castle, or buildings, or regulations, or sets of rules… God’s kingdom is made of God’s people. Full of Christians, Christ followers.
So, where do we find this kingdom on this earth? Your local church. The church you attend. It is 밀알 church.
So, we are going to talk about the church. And interestingly enough, Paul is talking about the church from Ephesians 2: 11 to 3:13
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:13~22)
Before we dive into what the God’s church is all about, there is important thing that we must understand: Jesus is our peace. (14) We will study what this mean from today’s scripture and how this truth propagates to the true idea of church.
If one of God’s main objectives are building and expanding God’s kingdom, what would our enemy (Satan) do? He would try to destroy and abolish the kingdom, which is church. What would be the main thing that breaks up God’s church? What would divide up the local church? Fights, different ideas, different belief, different preference, different background and cultures…
NOT having the unity breaks up the church.
I want to bring up two points from the scripture today:
Let’s go back to our scripture: In verse 11, Paul said we were gentiles and strangers. Verse 12, we were separated from Christ and alienated from the commonwealth of Israel. In old days, if you want to know God and love God, we had to convert and become Jews.
Jewish people, they still do that, if you want to marry a Jewish, you must have the Jewish wedding and you must be Jewish before you marry. They are so prude of being Jewish and the chosen nation.
The Ephesian Gentile Christians, just like the Korean American Christians, we WERE foreigners to God, without hope and without God in the world.
In verse 13, we are brought near to God by the blood of Christ
In verse 14, Jesus is our Peace and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility
There are 10 foot wall around the Jewish temple separating Jews to gentile. They separate the good from the bad, the clean from the unclean, and the safe from the unsafe…
Here, I just want to think about Paul who is writing these words at that time:
We have “walls” in our minds to separate the “right-kind-of-people” from the “wrong-ones”
I do want to be very careful what I say here. Because God created the different cultures and background for his glory.
When it comes to God, there was only one category of people: SINNERS, as far as God was concerned we were all on the outside of the wall.
In verse 15, it says, He might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.
In verse 16 and 17, we are one body through the cross
In verse 18 and 19, we all have the same access to the Father in ONE Spirit, and we are all citizens and members of the household of God
In verse 20 to 22, Paul is describing what the church looks like:
ii.Only God is the judge, forgive and forget!
ii.Unless God intervenes, person will not change his way
ii.See with eyes of Jesus
No wonder society cannot do it!!
But what the law is unable to accomplish, the power of new life accomplishes in the gospel!
I want to encourage you to move beyond mere awareness of importance of unity.
There are 4 stages:
Many of you will walk away from this agreeing with everything that was said today.
By Grace, Through Faith
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
After last week’s sermon, I know that many of you had many questions about predestination. And I told you it was all about the salvation of human race. At least, from Ephesian chapter 1, it was very clear that God chose you because GOD LOVES YOU and because YOU ARE CALLED TO BE HIS CHILDREN. Remember we had the writing on the screen in BOLD CAPITAL letter. Just like you are, sometimes, pain in the butt to your parents, they still love you.
Deuteronomy 7:8 said God Chose you because he loved you. I hope we made that very clear.
So what was not clear, or had many more questions about the predestination was:
Why doesn’t God save everyone if He loves us all? This is a great question. Before we can answer that, we need to know answer one important question:
What is God’s purpose of saving you? Other than obvious reason of God love you.
So let’s go back to why doesn’t God save you everyone? Well, He does! He wants to build a bigger kingdom THROUGH YOU. That is how God wants to save everyone.
Today’s scripture says about our previous state before we believe God, (v 1~3) We were all dead in sin. Not only we were (spiritually) dead, we followed the course of the world and prince of the power of the air, Interesting choice of the words, it means Satan.
Why doesn’t God just forgive us anyway? HE is loving God after all..
Chris, don’t borrow my car.
We broke the relationship with God and offended God with sins. But God himself absorb the cost of damage through Christ. So all we have to do is believe and receive Jesus Christ.
The key is to believe and receive Christ. That is our job, our choice, our decision.
(v 4~7) While we were dead, God made us alive with Christ by his Grace. And it says only by grace and God’s rich love we are saved. And what else does it say, God raised us with Christ and seated us with Christ in the heavenly places.
This door is your heart. Only YOU can open the door for him.
As you can see, the choice is my our hand, whether to open the door or not.
And there are many people, telling Jesus to go away!
This world we live in right now. Name of Jesus is not welcomed.
But you would care enough and love Jesus enough to ask the question of “ why doesn’t God save everyone?”
That means you have the fire of Jesus inside of you.
Jesus is asking the same thing, “Why don’t you open the door? Let me save you, let me give you peace and strength you need to not just survive but to thrive this hostile world.” “Let me carry your burden, let me carry you though!” Holy Spirit is calling you right now.
Will you receive Christ as your Lord and savior this morning. Just say Yes and let him in.
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.