A Celebration of BlessingsEphesians 1: 3-14 New Ontario Driver’s License: Minister of Transportation St.Catharines MPP - Jim Bradley • “…more difficult to commit identity theft .”
Identity theft is big problem: • 1,800 identity theft complaints from Canadians every month. • 2009 – 11,095 victims in Canada ~ $10M As Christians, we can also be guilty of “identity theft” Christians have been given an incredible new identity in Jesus Christ. • His Church: United in Passionate Service • One body…One Spirit…One Lord…One faith Ephesians 4:4,5
“In Christ” we are united together 1 Corinthians 6:17 [NIV] – “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” Our unity is about a common purpose in LIFE Unfortunately we let things creep into our lives that rob us of the joy of our identity “in Christ” Satan tries to steal our joy in Christ The World tries to steal our joy in Christ
We rob ourselves of our joy in Christ by forgetting the rich blessings we have been given Ephesians 1: 3-14 This passage is filled with praise to God. v.3 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… v.14 – …to the praise of his glory. v.6 – to the praise of his glorious grace. v.11 – for the praise of his glory
This entire passage is an expression of WORSHIP! Worship to God for the amazing riches – the blessings we have because of our very identity in Christ We celebrate those blessings: • The Source of Our Blessings • The Scope of Our Blessings • The Sphere of Our Blessings
1. The Source of Our Blessings Ephesians 1:3 [NIV] – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. James 1:17 [ESV] – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Everything good in this world comes to us as a gift from God.
We have confidence that when God promises to give you everything you need physically and everything you need spiritually He will do what He says. Romans 8:16,17 [ESV] – “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Paul says we are fellow heirs with Christ.
2. The Scope of Our Blessings Ephesians 1:3 [NIV] – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Our blessings are SPIRITUAL blessings. Ephesians 2:19 [ESV] – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
This celebration of blessing is an overview of God’s salvation plan a. Past: v.4 - Before the creation of the world God, in His divine foreknowledge – chose us to belong to Him v.5 - He predestined us to be His adopted children through Christ God knew in eternity past who would respond to the gospel and chose them to be adopted into His family
b. Present: v.7 – we have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus so that our sins are forgiven. 1 John 1:9 [ESV] – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” v.8 - God also lavishes us with wisdom and understanding v.9 - made known the mystery of His plan of salvation
v.11 – God continues working everything together for good according to His purposes and will c. Future: v.13,14 - God marked us with a seal – the Holy Spirit as a guarantee for our inheritance that we will receive in heaven What a reason to celebrate!
3. The Sphere of Our Blessings Ephesians 1:3 [NIV] – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Paul is celebrating the gifts of God that we can be enjoying NOW in the present! The New Testament teaches us how to live today for God’s glory.
Similar references to “the heavenly realms” throughout the book of Ephesians “the heavenly realms” include: • the place where Christ is exalted (1:20) • it’s a place where believers are exalted with Him (2:6) • it’s a place where God reveals His wisdom to the rulers and authorities (3:10) • it’s a place where believer battle against the evil spiritual forces (6:12)
…“heavenly realms” does not refer to a physical location but to a spiritual reality—God’s world, in which believers have a share and which evil forces still seek to attack…It is a way of saying that this world is not the only reality. A larger reality exists where Christ is already exalted as Lord, where believers participate in his victory, and where spiritual forces are opposed. Though believers live physically on this earth, they receive spiritual resources and their identity from a higher plane. (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary: Ephesians)
We easily get caught up in our own world we forget that there is a spiritual world that is a part of the reality we live in. There are spiritual battles going on trying to get you to forget your identity in Christ. Jesus said: “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” We have been reminded to do a REALITY CHECK. We have been created spiritual beings and all the wonderful blessings we celebrate are spiritual blessings we have been given because of who we are in Christ
Are you excited to be a Christian today? Are you ready to reclaim your identity in Christ? Let’s celebrate these wonderful blessings and let the glory of HIS NAME be the passion of our church as we together are UNITED in PASSIONATE SERVICE