Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday, March 26th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 15-16, Psalm 61, Luke 17
Today's scripture focus is Ephesians 1:3-4

Ephesians 1:3-4

English Standard Version (ESV)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Body Formed in Eternity Past Part 1
Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon:  I am in Christ  and I am Blessed
Accompanying David Legge sermon: Praise the Lord Part 1

This is the beginning of a very long, run-on sentence.  It seems Paul just gets swept away in the glorious truths of this passage - that the triune God initiated and accomplished our salvation - and he beings by giving all glory, honour, and praise to God.

In this passage we see so much.

We see that God is the blessed One.  He is good.

We see that God is the blesser.  He is the source of every good thing.

We see that we who believe are the ones that are blessed by Him.  When we bless Him it means that we speak good of Him or honour Him.  When He blesses us it means that He does good to us.

We see that He blesses us with every blessing through the Holy Spirit.  Every blessing.  They are all ours. We just don't always recognize them or use the resources we've been given.  He's given us every possible blessing there is to give - peace, joy, strength, wisdom, gentleness, faith, meekness, self-control, and on and on.  He doesn't give us some now and some later.  He gives us everything now!  It's a matter of using what we've been given.

We see that He blesses us in the heavenlies or heavenly places.  What does that mean?  MacArthur says it doesn't only mean heaven, it means the enter domain of God, the Kingdom of God.  He gave the example that we are American (or, in most of our cases here, Canadian) citizens no matter where on the earth we travel.  We are in the Kingdom of God, and no matter where we go, we have the rights and priviledges of a citizen of heaven.

Why?  The answer is at the end of v3.  Because we who believe, are in Christ.  His righteousness has been imputed to us, and His inheritance is now our inheritance.  And THAT is what makes us significant.  Not because of us, but because of Him in us.  MacArthur: Where He is I am. What He has I have. And what He does I do.  We are in Christ.  He indwells our entire being.  Are we living like it?

V4 and on discuss how the body of Christ was formed.

God has chosen us before the foundation of the world.
I loved this section in MacArthur's sermon....
people say to me all the time - Do you believe in election? I say - I believe in the Bible and the Bible teaches election. You mean you believe that God chooses people to be saved before they're ever born? The Bible teaches that. You believe that before the world even began Jesus wrote...Jesus and the Father and the Spirit wrote down in the Book of Life who would be saved already down there? And they planned that whole thing out? Absolutely believe that. You say - Well what about ... what about free will? In the first place free will is no biblical term, it's never used in the Bible because man may have a will but it isn't free, it's bound to sin but aside from that, what about will? You believe that man has a choice? Absolutely. You believe that anybody who wants to can come to Christ? Absolutely. You say - But those are opposites? Absolutely. You believe in opposites? Of course. I believe the Bible teaches absolute sovereignty of God and election and I believe that Jesus said - Him that cometh unto Me I'll in no wise - what? Cast out. And I believe Jesus said - Whosoever will let him come. I believe that Jesus simply put it this way - Come unto Me all ye that what? Labor and are heavy laden, I'll give you rest. You say - But those are two opposites. That's right. And the only way they can ever be resolved is in the mind of God. And, you see, God has some things He can do that I can't do and that's fine. Listen, if I understood everything - I'd be God. And if I was God - we would be in lots of trouble. I don't need to resolve it but don't do this, don't take God's sovereignty and man's choice and try to find some middle ground or you've just destroyed both of them. Leave them alone. Let the tension be there. Let it be that God says He's sovereign. Don't worry about how He harmonizes that with people coming to Christ, that's His problem not ours. He just says - Come. Come.

He has chosen us, we are in Christ, from THAT is where we get our worth.

Why were we chosen?  So that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

Legge shares this insight:
When young Victoria, when she was a child she was shielded from the fact that one day she would be the next monarch. And when she was let discover the fact for herself by her teachers and her parents, this is what she said: 'Then I must be good'. Her life from then on would be controlled by her position and by who she was. Brethren and sisters, you are children of the King, you're joint heirs with Christ. And even though you haven't entered into the heavenly throne room - just like the queen of England: even when she's absent from her throne, she's still the queen of England - and you are still blessed in heavenly places, even though you haven't got there yet!
Are our lives being controlled by our position and by who we are, in Christ?

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Ephesians 1:5-6
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Numbers 17-18, Psalm 62, Luke 18

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