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Who We Are & What We’re For: Chosen

Aug 29, 2021
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Who We Are & What We’re For: Chosen
Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians in 62 AD while he was in prison. He is writing to the Christians to encourage them in doctrine and in duty. Ephesus was the third largest city in the Roman world. It was a harbor city that connected Europe and Asia. Sexual immorality was a part of their commerce, and was practiced in their temples to their gods, primarily Artemis. This was not a friendly place to Christians or the growth of the church.
In general, Ephesians is divided into two parts. Chapters 1-3 focuses on doctrine, and chapters 4-6 focus on how to live in light of that doctrine. Today begins with chapter 1:1-14.
Chapter 1:3-14 was one LONG sentence (202 words) in the original Greek, and it is divided into three sections focused on the Trinity.
The Father CHOSE us – vs 3-6.
The word blessed means “to speak well of” “to benefit or prosper”, and is very unique to how God views His children over how the gods of the day were recognized. Paul is letting them know that the Father has blessed us more than we can imagine. From eternity past, the affections of our Father were there for us! There are 24 verbs in this sentence, and 20 are God’s actions.
Does the fact that it says “In love he predestined us for adoption” work against free will? No one comes to the Jesus unless the Father draws Him. He gives us a hunger to know Him, and that hunger pulls us to Him (2 Peter 3:9). We can choose to have that hunger satisfied, or to continue to starve spiritually. Verse 5 gives us His motivation…love. He chose us just as parents choose to adopt a child into their home. It is a choice made that is permanent.
The Son REDEEMED us – vs 7-12
The idea of redemption shows up in the Old Testament through a kinsman redeemer. If a man dies, then a family member can intervene and pay a necessary price to win the release of another from a debt, bondage, or danger. Jesus, in the flesh, was qualified to pay our debt of sin through the shedding of His blood. He lavished His love on us (Psalm 103). Verse 9 shows us His purpose (good intention). We may not be able to understand how all things are working together, but He can.
The Holy Spirit SEALED us – vs 13-14
In many cultures, an important letter was sealed in wax with the king’s signet ring embossed in it to show it’s authenticity and importance. In the same way, we are safe and sealed by the Holy Spirit. We can rest in that. We don’t have to try or strive to be “good enough”. We can take our cares, concerns, anger, and doubt to the Father without fear of being rejected because we are sealed in Him. We also know (v14) that we will receive an inheritance when we are freed from the power of sin in our lives. We will be in the presence of Jesus forever.
Each one of these sections ends with “to the praise of His glory”. It is a reminder of worship to the One who deserves all of our affection.
To Discuss Today:
1. Pastor Alex challenged each of us to read the entirety of Ephesians this week. Remember to read it like a letter without the chapter and verse headings.
2. Which one of these (Chosen, Redeemed, Sealed) do you struggle with the most? Why do you doubt this Truth? Ask God to remind you of His promises and allow Him to work on your heart.
3. Ephesus was a city that made it hard to follow Jesus. Where do you see similarities between Ephesus and Charlotte? How do you stay encouraged when things are so challenging around you?