Monday, August 17, 2009

This week's sermon: Ephesians 1:15-23

**This week's sermon notes are not the usual manuscript, but more of an outline. I hope that you can follow the breadcrumbs and find a treasure that moves you forward in faith and obedience, confident in God's power at work in you for the praise of his glory.

Paul writes to the Ephesians, first about how they are to praise God because he has blessed them by giving them every spiritual blessing wrapped up in Christ. In verses 15-23 of chapter one, he tells them that he is rejoicing on their behalf because of God working in them, their faith in Jesus and love for all the other believers. Paul not only rejoices, but he prays for them, that God would continue his work in them.

Paul planted this church, now he wants them to go deeper. He wants them to continue getting to know God, and in that process to discover three things. He wants them to know the Hope God has called them to. He wants them to realize that they are a part of God’s inheritance. He wants them to understand that God’s power is at work in them. For Paul all of this is so important, he says he continually asks the Father to give understanding, wisdom and knowledge to the Ephesian church to better understand God's promise to them, their place in his kingdom, and his power at work within them.

Our Inheritance is the eternal Kingdom of God. God also has an inheritance in his investment in the Saints, we are his possession, and he is waiting to redeem us. In a sense he is our inheritance and we are his.

Mt 25:34 - "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

1Pe 1:4 - an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you

The inheritance God has for the saints is eternity in his presence. But God is also awaiting a return on his investment.

Eph 1:14 - who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

The hope that we have been called to is more than heaven. It goes beyond just escaping hell. Our hope is that our bodies, our lives will be redeemed and reclaimed. We hope that we will be like Christ, that our lives will be for his glory, we hope to share in bringing glory and honor to God through Christ. We also hope that the world will find redemption in Him. And our hope is not without cause—it gives us boldness. And our hope is not without reward—we carry with us the Holy Spirit who constantly fills our hearts with God's love.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

2Co 3:12 - Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

The boldness and courage we have for stepping out in faith and obedience comes from the hope we have that God will use our lives for his glory.

1John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

Our inheritance is God and his kingdom. Our hope is to glorify him by having our lives redeemed—in a word our hope is holiness. We also need to know and understand God's power at work within us, because it is his power in us that produces holiness. Because of the Holy Spirit in us, we have what we need for life and godliness.

Ac 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

The power at work in us is not for our own use, it is to make us Christ-like to empower us to be his witnesses throughout the earth, and bring him glory. The power is not our own, it comes from God and he is the one who works in us and through us.

2Co 4:7 - But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

2Pe 1:3 - His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

It is because of his power in us that we can hope for a redeemed life that results in our receiving the inheritance God has prepared for us, and our bearing fruit as God's investment. Greater and deeper knowledge of these things can only produce in us a more tenacious faith, a bolder obedience, and a more thorough surrender to God's work in us to purify us and make us his own.

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