January 7 - Message Update

Dear SanLo Community, an update for the week of January 7, 2018

Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from Ephesians 1:3-14, “Chosen.” The process of being chosen for a team was an anxious time hoping not to be the last one chosen but it was a joy if you were picked near the beginning but compared to being chosen by God is spectacular because He doesn’t choose according to looks, skill, or popularity, He chooses because of love. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are God’s chosen, welcome to the team!  We begin our new series in Ephesians. Paul begins with a greeting to the saints, those who proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior. Paul immediately emphasizes that saints have been “chosen” to be on God’s team. Other words like predestined or elected are also used to describe the teaching of being “chosen,” also known as the Doctrine of Election.  Though we will never fully comprehend this doctrine, we can gain insight by looking at what we do know. What do we know about God’s chosen? 

1) God’s chosen are a HEAVENLY WORK of God. (vv.4-6) A sad reality for a Christ-follower is being misunderstood. Often the media and our educational system give a wrong perception of Christianity. The view of Christianity is so tainted that even followers of Christ misunderstand or forget that it is not what we do that grants eternal life but it is the heavenly work of God. Only God through His Son Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit are we God’s children. God blessed and chose you and me before time began and adopted us into His family.  It is not because of what we have done or will do but we are chosen because of His love and heavenly work. (v.3)-God blessed His chosen with every spiritual blessing of heaven. (v.4)-God chose us in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. (v.5)-God predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. In the ancient world, where Roman law prevailed, a father had absolute power over his children. The father could sell his children to cover indebtedness. At the same time the adopted person was legally a brand new person with all debts and obligations abolished, even the debts the child may have incurred in their previous family.  It was as if the debt had never existed. This is what verse 5 is saying what God has done for us. (v.6)-To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He (God) freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. There are not enough good deeds or kind words that can give us the right to be called chosen. It is God who gave us that right. The next time you are tempted to think you are not a “good” Christian because you don’t know the Bible well enough, don’t pray enough, go to church enough, or are happy enough, say to yourself, I am not God’s chosen because of my earthly work but I am God’s chosen because of His heavenly work.

2)  God’s chosen are FORGIVEN by the GRACE of God (vv.7-10) By the grace of God we have been forgiven. We have been pardoned of all our sins by His grace which He has abundantly and freely given.  All of our wrong, even evil thoughts and deeds are not seen by the eyes of God because of His grace. (vv.7-8a) If God’s grace covers all our sins and we are forgiven then does that mean it doesn’t matter if we continue to do bad things? Paul answers in Romans 6:15, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?  May it never be!”  Paul replied strong and forcefully because he knew that it would not benefit the follower of Christ to sin more to understand grace more. Grace should motivate us to live righteously. We are chosen and forgiven by the grace of God for His glory and purpose. Roman 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Sin leads to death but grace leads to life. (vv.8b-10) Here, God, reveals something about His purpose. In all of His wisdom and insight God gives an understanding of the mystery of His will: His forgiveness is for all who believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. God’s forgiveness by His grace is not only for the Jew but for the Gentile. This was big news as up until then, the Jews believed they were the only chosen ones. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  These verses make it very clear that there is nothing we do to earn forgiveness but it is by God’s grace we are saved.

3)  God’s chosen are GUARANTEED an INHERITANCE from God. (vv.11-14)  A guarantee is a promise or pledge that something will happen and God guarantees do not have conditions. His Word is absolutely trustworthy and will happen. (vv.11-12) We have been given the inheritance of every spiritual blessing, adoption, forgiveness and grace.  We can be positively sure that these are ours because God guarantees it. (vv.13-14) God’s chosen are sealed by the Holy Spirit which shows that person belongs to God. God’s chosen are guaranteed an inheritance because we are sealed and belong to God by the Holy Spirit.  Our inheritance has been paid in advance because the Holy Spirit is our pledge. God’s chosen are God’s children. He is our wise Father who always does what He says He will do.  We can expect without hesitation that we have the inheritance of every spiritual blessing, are adopted into His family, and live in His grace.  We may forget what God has given us but He hasn’t and guarantees it. 

John Stott said regarding the Doctrine of Election, “The truth of God’s election, however many its unresolved problems, should lead us to righteousness, not to sin.” In this new year, let’s resolve to daily remind ourselves that God’s chosen are a HEAVENLY WORK of God, FORGIVEN by the GRACE of God, and are GUARANTEED an INHERITANCE from God because He chose us out of love for His glory and purpose.

 

Have a blessed week as you ponder all it means to be chosen by God, 

Stan, for slzjcc