My first ever sub 30 sermon!! We were at Powhatan State Park, and the grill was right beside where I was preaching, thus the multiple references to smoke.
Where How Why (Audio file for download)
Before I even start today I want to ask you to do something for me. Take out a pen if you have one, and write down on a sheet of paper three spiritual blessings. Think about it, Three spiritual blessings… take a minute…
In case you haven’t been here, we are in a series on the book of Ephesians. This is the third week of studying this book in an expository way. This is actually the ninth week looking at this group of verses that we are studying today. We looked at this section topically for 7 weeks, now we are getting into it Exposition-ally. The reason this is such a rich text is because in this section of verses, Paul really lays out the basics of our faith in a clear and concise way. Since there is a lot in here, I broke it down into these questions about our faith, all surrounding the idea of spiritual blessings. Who What, When, Where, How, and Why. I broke it down this way, because there is a lot of assumptions about our faith that come from either ignorance, or a poor understanding of the scriptures. We can be tempted to think that we are the active change agents in people’s lives. We can think that it is up to us to save those around us, and bring them the message that we were smart enough to get. We can get sucked into the thinking that there is something that we can do, or there is something that we have done to earn God’s favor. We can begin to fall into the trap that says that our identity is wrapped up in stuff that isn’t Jesus Christ. That is why it is imperative for us to read scripture with a student’s lens. We need to look at the verbs and the nouns, and ask these questions, then examine our lives to see if they line up with the truth that is being spoken in these words.
So what we are going to ask as we read this text is this: Where are our spiritual blessings? How do we receive them? Why does God give them?
Where are our spiritual blessings founded?: Before we look at where our spiritual blessings are let me ask you this question. Look at your list of blessings in your life…Where can you put them so that they cannot be taken away? Related to that is this question: what blessings in your life can be taken away? If they can be taken away, do you think they are blessings that are guaranteed by God? Think about it for a minute. I love the freedom that we enjoy in this country. I love the fact that our nation’s currency says in God we trust on it, and that our nation’s pledge says one nation under God. Those are gifts from God, but they are not the spiritual blessings that this passage is talking about. The spiritual blessings outlined in this text that we spoke of last week are: God choosing you, predestining you, adopting you, lavishing grace upon you, giving you an inheritance, sealing you with the Holy spirit, and the list goes on.
So, the question for us in these spiritual blessings is not where are they stored, but in essence, where do they flow from? Where are they founded, and where are they secured? If you think about it, many of the blessings we enjoy in this life, are ultimately from God, so we give Him the credit, but where are they founded? And in order to understand this better, don’t think about your own blessings, think about the blessings of persecuted Christians around the world. What spiritual blessings do you point out to a Christian in an area where Christians are being killed for their faith, or imprisoned for what they believe. What are the blessings that they can cling to, and where are they founded? Our blessings in this country are founded and secured by the boarders of the USA. If you go into any number of countries around the world, the freedoms that you enjoy here are gone. so what blessings do you have? Where are they founded?
Well, Our blessings according to this text are founded, and secured, and maintained in Heaven. Your freedom of religion that you enjoy here does not extend to every nation in the world. However, wherever you go, if you are in Christ, your adoption goes with you.
It’s not founded in your physical location.
It’s not founded in your actions.
It is founded in the heavenly places. In Christ… Look for a second at verses 19 and 20. Who is seated in the heavenly places? So, just as this text says over and over, our spiritual blessings are founded in Christ, and He is in Heaven.
How did he provide our spiritual blessings?
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
There are few doctrines in the Bible more important than the vicarious nature of the atonement…
I am only going to mention three.
Christ’s life provides your righteousness.
Christ’s Death provides your redemption. v. 7
Christ’s resurrection secures your inheritance. v. 10-11
Why did He provide us with these spiritual blessings?
For His glory.
- 6, 12, 14
God’s purpose in the why he has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, why he adopted us, why he chose us, why He predestined us. It is not because we are the most important thing to Him. It is because God is all about making his glory more visible to us.
This is huge for us to understand. The reason God saves people, is not because they are the ultimate goal of His affection. He saves us, as it says here because when he does that, when he reaches down, and puts on flesh and becomes a man, lives a sinless life, dies on a cross, and raises three days later, it makes his glory more visible. To sum it up, God does everything for His own Glory. Now, many people bristle at that thought. Why is that? Because people aren’t supposed to seek their own glory right? if we seek glory, we are selfish and arrogant, and stuck up. Why is that? Because when we are seeking glory we want to be worshipped, why is that wrong? Because we are not worthy of worship. We have done nothing to deserve it, nor can we do anything to follow through on the worship we receive. When we set ourselves up as something to be worshipped, we are claiming credit for something we did not do. however, when God seeks worship, and seeks glory, he is seeking people to point out the truth that He is the ONLY source of life. He is the ONLY source of hope, He is the ONLY one who can do the things He does. If God were to run us away from glorifying Him, it would be like us telling people that water is not that big of a deal for your health. You really don’t need water that much. It isn’t that important, it doesn’t want to be arrogant. That is why God seeks His glory, and it is in the seeking of His glory that we discover why he provided us with these blessings, because we see Him as more glorious.
So, as we close, I want to ask you to prayerfully consider this question: Take out your list of spiritual blessings. Now, let me ask you this, where are those blessings founded? Is it something that has been provided to all Christians everywhere, or is it founded on earth?
If what you have written down as your three spiritual blessings are founded in location, actions, or anything other than Christ, you may want to take some time, and repent. Ask God to make His spiritual blessings more important to you than any other blesings in this life.