“Why the Blessed Father can Bless Us with Every Spiritual Blessing Reason 1 Part 1” Reason #1 Because He Has Chosen Us Part 1: He Chose Us
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 1.3-4
You could turn to the Ephesians 1. Thus far in our study of the book of Ephesians, we have merely established the theme and have given some introduction.
We established as our theme for the book of Ephesians “The Riches of God’s Grace Empowers Life in Christ.” “The Riches of God’s Grace Empowers Life in Christ.” Now, the last part of that theme, what we called “our life in Christ” includes the doctrine of the church. Ephesians is known for its contribution toward our understanding of what the church is. And we will be investigating this as we go along in our study this book. Our life in Christ that the riches of God’s Grace empowers is found in the church.
The riches of God’s Grace empowers our life in Christ and our life in Christ is a life that is designed to function in the body of Christ, which is his church. So, Paul, in this letter gives great emphasis to the doctrine of the church, both local and universal.
Now, this morning we are going to explain and apply verse 3 and part of verse 4. I full intended to preach all of verses 3-6, but felt it necessary to give a bit of introduction to verses 3-14. We will read those verses in a moment. But first, let’s introduce verses 3-14.
Ephesians 1:3-14 is a hymn, of sorts. You can picture it as having three stanzas.
Notice the end of the first stanza that has the refrain …end of verse six “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Notice the end of the second stanza of this hymn in verse 12. At the end of verse Paul writes that God’s purpose for believers is that we would be “to the praise of his glory.”
Also notice the end of the third stanza in verse 14. At the end of verse 14, God has given us redemption “to the praise of his glory.”
So you can see the similar wording: v. 6, to the praise of the glory of his grace, v. 12 to the praise of his glory, verse 14 to the praise of his glory
Now, all of those verses, verses 3-14 combine into one sentence in the original language. In the original Greek, verses 3-14 is one big sentence that contains 202 words. He finally puts a period at the end of verse 14.
That makes for some difficulty for us. For example, at the end of verse four. The New American Standard, puts a period after the word “Him.” “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before him [period]. In love … And then he keeps going in verse five.”
However, if you have a New King James or a King James… Verse four reads… That we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
The reason for the difference is the difficulty in interpretation when you have a long sentence. I appreciate what the King James and the New King James do here with this and will be preaching it like it there is no period.
“That we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestined us to adoption”
But the glory of this being one long sentence is that it took Paul the longest sentence in the Greek New Testament to describe these blessings! He kept going and going and going on and on about it … And he just couldn’t stop …. He couldn’t stop writing… He just had to keep penning down the riches of God’s grace toward us….all in one breath!
Let’s note some of these blessings together. As we note these, you’ll notice that each of the stanzas of this hymn focus on one member of the Trinity and each stanza focuses on either past, present, or future.
In verses 3-6, the member of the Trinity in focus is God the Father. He accomplished certain things for us in the past.
Let’s read these verses.
Ephesians 1:3-6 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
So in eternity past, God the Father chose us and predestinated us to adoption as sons. The keyword for these verses is election: God the Father chose us.
In verses 7-12, God the Son is in focus and His work is in the present time.
Let’s read verses 7-12. Ephesians 1:7-12 7 In Him [who? The Beloved at the end of the previous verse, verse 6. That’s God the Son, Jesus Christ. In Christ] we have […this is our present experience….we have…] redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
So, in focus is God the Son and the time is the present, we have redemption and forgiveness of sins among other blessings there. The keyword in verses 7-12 is redemption. God the Son redeemed us.
Lastly, in verses 13-14, the member of the Trinity in focus is the Holy Spirit and the time is set into the future. Let’s read these verses.
Ephesians 1:13-14 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our […see this is future…] inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
So we were sealed with the Holy Spirit who guarantees our future inheritance. Our inheritance is yet off into the future. That’s the keyword for these verses: inheritance.
Why can God give us all these blessings? The answer to that is found in the transition from verse 3 to verse 4.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, [just as He chose us]
So, all of these blessings that we just read in verses 4-14, election, redemption, and inheritance, … form up the reason why God can bless us with every other kind of spiritual blessing.
In other words, our election, our redemption and our inheritance form the reason for every other kind of spiritual blessing that God the Father has blessed us with in verse 3. When God gives those spiritual blessings to us in verse 4, they are built upon this foundation. This foundation of election, reduction, and inheritance.
This is the teaching of verses three and four. The reason you have any spiritual capabilities in your life to put away sin … The reason you have any wisdom or the reason you have any spiritual giftedness ….the reason you have every kind of spiritual blessing to function in the body of Christ is because God the Father in eternity past chose us. It is because God the Son in the present time has redeemed us. It is because the Holy Spirit has sealed us, promising our future inheritance.
Look at verses three and four again.
Look at verses 3 and 4, Ephesians 1:3-4 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ […The Father is blessed…keep going…], who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as […that’s the word I want to focus on. I want you to understand that word as because. In other words, we can ask a question at the end of verse three. “The Father is blessed who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing” … Now Paul is going to explain why it is that God the Father can bless us with every spiritual blessing.]
So let’s back up again to verse three Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, [Why Paul? Why has the Blessed Father blessed us with every spiritual blessing?] Because, v. 4 …first of all, He can bless us because ] He chose us in Him…
So the blessed Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ and the reason why he can do that first of all is because He chose us.
In other words, the only way that you get every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ … The only way that’s going happen for you is if God has chosen you. God does not give His spiritual blessings that are in the heavenly places in Christ to just anyone. He gives them to those whom He has chosen.
Now what we just said there is crucial. It forms the basis for the rest of this whole passage. So, verse 3, why can God the Father bless us with every spiritual blessing? Verse four tells us “just as” … Or because he chose us in him.
That is why the title of this morning’s message is
“Why the Blessed Father can Bless Us with Every Spiritual Blessing”
And the first reason is found in verses 4-6, Because He Has Chosen Us. God the Father can bless us with every spiritual blessing because He has chosen us.
ILL: Now, what the stanzas of this hymn give to us is our standing in Christ. These verses describe for us who we are as Christians. These verses should be a major focus for anyone struggling with sin issues. If you are convicted about materialism or if you are worried or a fearful or depressed believer… If you don’t know what to do with your life or if you don’t know if anyone really loves you… If you are overly concerned about what other sinful human beings think of you…. This passage is for you.
This passage gives us our identity in Christ.
ILL: You know, people struggle with who they are and what they are doing in this world. You can read all about people’s struggles these days.
A girl writes …
Hello I Am…? Uh…? I don’t know who I am. When I look in the mirror, I’m not sure who I see or who I want to see. …
I don’t think I have been acknowledging what I believe but rather what others have swayed me to believe or what others influenced me to believe. When I look in the mirror, a girl I’ve never really seen before looks back at me, her face is puzzled, a large question mark floating above her head like she is an animated character. [This girl in the mirror] looks back at me, reaches through the glass and touches my face with curiosity. This girl is me but still her inward identity is [a mystery]. I do not know what I wish to show this world. I don’t know if I want to be introverted or extroverted, wild or subtle, funny or serious. I am stuck. I am baffled internally. I turn out not to be the same girl I was a month or year ago. I am a different girl now, I am a girl unknown without a face per say. I am without myself, my aura flashing like strobe lights with many colors, I am lacking my vital spark.
Good bye, I am…?….
A guy writes ….
Where Am I Going? I was an awful student in high school. I had no desire to go to college. I was always very good at music so I pursued that after I graduated. Those years were the best years of my life. After my band broke up I went back to school without knowing what I wanted to study. I was accepted to music school but turned it down because I didn’t think I could do anything with a music degree.
During much of this time I was working in hospitality [parking cars]. I grew tired of the condescension, the put downs, the classism. I was sick of parking Audi’s belonging to 16 year kids that never had to work a day in their life. I grew tired of being a hard worker and always being friendly only to get [jerked around] by people who had more money than I did.
I looked at myself and I wanted to make a change in my life. I wanted to make myself a better and more efficient person. I didn’t want the only thing people could say about me that I was a “nice guy”. I quit my job, transfered schools, packed up my car and moved across the country to get a fresh start. A new place to be inspired by. I have been here for a year, trying to be admitted to a top tier engineering program and I am struggling. My gpa is falling, my bank account is empty, I am in debt, I have lost 15 lbs in the last 3 months. I feel awful. I cant sleep most nights because I am so scared of failing. I can’t focus on my homework or tests.
I want so bad to give back to society, to contribute to something bigger than myself. I want to prove myself to myself and actually feel like I have accomplished something. I have sacrificed the last year of my life, my perfect credit score, and my friends and family to make this work, and its not. What should I do?”
He wants to contribute to something bigger than himself, he says. I read these stories and think to myself, “yes, if I was without Christ, I would be thinking the same things.” What good would my life be… what purpose would I have … What is the reason why I should not kill myself?
But when God revealed is Son in me, I knew that I began to contribute to something bigger than myself, to say the least. Those who have trusted Christ alone have worth because the God of eternity has purposed and planned His relationship with us. And I have purpose… an eternal purpose because of Christ and his work in me and his calling upon my life. And if you are a believer you can say the same thing, I have worth because the God of eternity has purposed his blessings in me.
My words are not found in what other people happen to think about me, but my worth is found through knowing the One who has given me worth.
Those heartaches I read are the cries of lost people. The answer for them is in Christ. It is only when you know who you are in Christ that you can begin to fulfill God’s will in your life. Let me say that again … It is only when you know who you are in Christ that you can begin to fulfill God’s will in your life.
And in Ephesians 1:3-14, we have an understanding of who we are in Christ, our identity in Christ. It is in these verses that we understand who we are because of what God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit has done for us.
Once we understand who we are in Christ then we can begin to fulfill God’s will for us in our lives and have true purpose.
If by God’s grace, then, you can give true heart-felt praise to God that’s empowered by Holy Spirit for His blessings …when you can do that, you will grow to a deeper understanding of your identity in Christ and thus be empowered to live like He desires.
Seek by His grace to understand these verses as they are in truth, from Him and seek to praise Him for it.
Give your heart to these verses. Memorize them, talk to the Father about them, investigate their meanings, take some notes, and give praise to Christ for who he says you are in him. So let’s get right to it here.
I’m 48.2% through the message, so hang in there!
TRANS: First, in verse 3 we have God the Father blessing us. Then, in verses 4-6 we have the reason for God the Father’s blessings.
The Blessed Father Blesses Us with Every Blessing (1:3)
Paul begins by pronouncing that God the Father is blessed. In fact, Paul uses the word “bless” three times in this one verse.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
The Blessed Father blesses us with every kind of blessing.
We use that word “blessed” in numerous ways. The most common way that you use this word is when you are around the dinner table.
Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to pray “bless this food.” What are you praying when you pray that? You are praying that God would consecrate or set this food apart for his use. Or, you pray, “bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.” You are asking God to set this food apart to nourish your body, whether it be carrot sticks or, somehow, pizza and pop.
Now to bless God means to praise God for his benefits. To bless God is a form of praise. It is a praise of thanksgiving for his benefits. And so when God blesses us he gives us his benefits.
And to have a blessing is to have those benefits. So God the Father is worthy of praise for benefits that he gives, He is blessed.
You should bless him, you should praise him for his many blessings. He has given you many benefits. Blessed is God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has benefited us with every kind of spiritual benefit or gift.
Out of the categories of spiritual blessings that there are, you received every kind of them. That’s the meaning here of every spiritual blessing. You get every kind of spiritual blessing!
If you were a believer in the first century, you would’ve been very aware of the apostles miraculous abilities. You would have been captivated by the ability to speak in tongues or to interpret tongues.
But God today has given us spiritual gifts, too. Paul says this in Ephesians 4:7-8 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
To each one of us God has given spiritual blessings. And in the life of a local church, the blessings with which you have been blessed are designed to bless us! It’s God’s design.
You have been given spiritual blessings… Now, Paul is talking about spiritual blessings, not material blessings. In the life of the local church your spiritual giftedness is required here. For us to function as a body of believers requires that your giftedness be on display here.
Use your giftedness in this body of believers. If you need help with that, read 1 Co. 12, read Eph. 4, read 1 Pet 4 and come and talk with me about what your role in this body of believers is.
Now, Paul says at the end of verse three that the spiritual blessings are in the heavenly places in Christ. The source of these spiritual blessings that we have now in our present experience is heaven. This is the supernatural world. We have spiritual, supernatural gifts.
And we need supernatural blessings and spiritual weapons of warfare because of Ephesians 6:12 says … we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
You see, those wicked spiritual beings are also in the heavenly places and we do battle against them. Therefore, we must be exercising and using the spiritual blessings that we have been blessed with from the heavenly places.
Now, when God the Father blessed us, end of verse three, he has blessed us in Christ. Because believers are spiritually united to Jesus Christ, he can bless them…. He can spiritually enrich them.
So God the Father is to be praised because he has spiritually enriched us with every kind of spiritual, supernatural blessing. He blessed us when we became spiritually united to His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
TRANS: Now, why? Why can God the Father spiritually enrich us with every kind of spiritual blessing simply because we are in Christ?
The answer to that first of all here in verse four is because He chose us.
The reason for every kind of spiritual blessing from our Blessed Father is because God the Father chose us for Himself.
Verses 4 to 6 God the Father chose us for Himself
God the Father chose us for Himself (1:4-6)
What God did: Chose us before creation (1:4)
In verse four, we have what God did. What God did was that He chose us before creation.
Why can God bless us? Because He chose us before creation.
That word “chose” in the original language looks like the word “elect.” And we studied election together on a Thursday night and after looking at the verses, we determined that election is that “God chose individuals before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) that they should willingly receive the benefits of His saving work.” There is much more to election, but we’re not going to do an exhaustive study election this morning.
But this passage gives us 4 key elements to the doctrine of election. What is election again? “God chose individuals before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) that they should willingly receive the benefits of His saving work.” In other words, God chose certain individuals for salvation before the foundation of the world, before they had anything to do about it. This is an amazing teaching of Scripture designed to give us a sense of warmth from God our Father! Notice what it says here …
Number 1, God chose in light of other options.
He knew about all the other people he could have chosen, but, it says here, he chose you …if you have received Christ. Think of the billions of people whom he did not choose. In other words, he selected you and chose you! Wow, me? The God of eternity chose me? He didn’t have to choose anybody…at all, because we’re all filthy sinners, but He chose me?
Number 2, God’s choice was out of His own personal interest
The way the grammar works concerning that word “chose” indicates that he chose out of personal interest. There is interest in his choice. He did not randomly select you. “Well, might as well pick that one I guess!”
No, he had great personal interest in you. He says at the end of verse four…that He chose us that we might be holy and blameless before him in love.
He wants us to live our life in his presence, before Him. God had great personal interest in His choice of you. This is just like what God did for Israel. God chose Israel as His national people, not because of anything they did. The Lord says to Israel in …
Deuteronomy 7:6-7 6 “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.
In other words, God did not make Israel work or believe or pray hard enough before God chose Israel. No, God chose Israel because He loved Israel.
Number 3: God’s choice is accomplished in Christ.
Verse 4, God chooses us “in him” that is in Christ. There’s only one way in which God can choose individuals and that is in connection with the work of Christ. Apart from the work of Christ, God would be unable to choose anybody for salvation. God’s choice is accomplished in Christ… Because of what Christ did for us on the cross and His resurrection and you must trust Christ to be His.
Number 4:God’s choice of us was before creation.
When did God choose us? God chose us, it says in verse 4, before the foundation of the world! Before you were born God chose you to willingly receive Christ.
And it has been well said that … “It is a good thing that God chose me before I was born, because he surely would not have chosen me afterwards!”
So God’s choice of individuals before the foundation of the world means that this is not of anything that we have done.
2 Timothy 1:9 says that God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
It was God’s sovereign act, before you had anything to do with it, that He chose you to willingly receive Christ.
And let me hasten to clarify that to receive Christ, one is required to repent and trust him to save them from their sins. A person must receive Christ. Human responsibility is real in salvation. God’s sovereignty is real, too. God chose me before the foundation of the world, and he requires that I trust him for salvation.
If I fail to trust him for salvation, I will not be saved, no matter how “elect” I think I am. John 3:36 He who [trusts the] Son has everlasting life; and he who does not [trust the] Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” You must trust Him, but God chooses.
So both are real. You say, “I do not understand how God can be totally sovereign and I must receive Christ. How do they work together?” I do not know!
ILL: This difficulty has been illustrated with a gate.
Picture a gate at the threshold of heaven. At the top of the gate, it says, “Whosoever will may come”… And so you choose to step through the gate.
But then you turnaround and look up and at that the top of the gate it says “Chosen from the foundation of the world.” Both are real and it is a mystery.
Now, let me make 2 clarifications on this.
Foresight Election Debunked
But what this verse does not teach is that God choose me because he knew that I will believe. God did not choose me before the foundation of the world because he knew that I would believe. This verse does not teach that God chooses people to salvation because he knew that they would receive Christ.
God did not say in eternity past, “Oh, I can see Joe is going to trust Me, so I will choose him for salvation before I make Him.” This would take away from God’s sovereign choices. He chooses because he chooses, not because of man’s choices. God is sovereign. He chooses because he chooses.
Yes, God knew that we would believe, but he did not choose us because he knew we would believe. He chose us because he has personal interest in doing so.
And also, we cannot say that God chooses certain individuals for salvation and not others that therefore he chose those others for damnation.
The Bible never teaches that God chose certain individuals for damnation.
In summary then on election.
Number 1: God’s choice was in light of other options.
Number 2: God’s choice was out of His own personal interest
Number 3: God’s choice is accomplished in Christ.
Number 4: God’s choice of us was before creation.
I don’t know about you, but the fact that God chose me in light of other options and the fact that God chose me out of his own personal interests before creation…before I even knew me… This gives me and fulfills in me my need for worth and purpose. I have goals now I have identity because of the One who views me as having worth.
If my cat views me as his slave that is one thing. If my dog views me as his master, that is another. If my children call me daddy, and my wife thinks I’m the greatest, and my boss says I’m a good worker…
But if the Prime Minister or the President of the United States calls upon me to be at their service, that is quite another. Now to an infinite degree if God has chosen me…who am I, Lord God who made the heavens and the earth, that you should choose me?
But before you get all high and mighty and proud that God has chosen you, you should know that …
God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence so that …“He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Cf. Romans 11:33-36 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” 35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 1.3-4
You remember the story of the prodigal son were there was a man who had two sons and the one son asked for his inheritance and he went out and he squandered it with lose living.
After he had spent everything that he had, there was a famine in the land and so he hired himself out and he began to feed the pigs.
Because he was so hungry, he would’ve gladly filled stomach what the pigs were eating.
When he came to himself, he said, “how many of my father’s hired men have more than enough to eat and I am here dying of hunger.”
And so he got up and went to his father and as this poor, sick, filthy man humbled himself and approached his death, his dad was still looking a long way off and he saw him and he felt compassion for him and he ran… this father did that and embraced his son.
The man says, “quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and put sandals on his feet and bring the best calf and let us eat and celebrate. For this son is dead and has come to life again, he was lost and he has been found.”
My friend, if you have received Jesus Christ, then God has taken you, a poor, sick, filthy, ragged, famished, grizzled old leper of a sinner and has turned you into a rich, healthy, white-robed saint of God!
God the Father is to be praised because he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ and he has blessed you because he has chosen you!
And he has chosen you finally now, for the purpose that you would be holy and blameless before him in love. God’s purpose for your life now, if he has chosen you, you have purpose! God’s purpose is that you would live a life of holiness and blamelessness. That you would live separate from the world and sin and that you would live for Him, obeying His Word and enjoying Him.
You think that prodigal son will ever live that way again? After his father showed such kindness to him? No way. We too, when we realize with spiritual illumination that God the Father has chosen us that will empower us to live according to that purpose…… right there in verse four …that he chose us for the purpose that we would live a life of holiness and blamelessness before Him empowered by love.
You say, “Oh, I have such sin. I can’t do it. I struggle so much…” Don’t tell me you can’t, when He can. It’s His purpose in Christ, of all things. It’s His design, He chose us for this very purpose, the purpose of holiness. If He chose you before the foundation of the world, does He not also have the power to make you holy?
Whether struggling with depression, money, purpose in life, anger, lust …whatever it is, if you understand that God’s purpose in choosing you was so that you would be holy, that changes things. How much of your power effected your election? How much power of yours effects your growth in Christ, holiness and blamelessness? You must, however, avail yourself of the means by which God’s makes you holy. He uses His Word, prayer, and steps of obedience to Him, but also the local church. As you minister with your spiritual blessings and as you are ministered unto, God will strengthen you.
If my cat wants me to do something, that’s one thing. If my dog, that’s another. My spouse wants me to do something, I need to do that. But if the Prime Minister calls me and says “I’ve chosen you for a special job, will you take it?” I would say “no, no way!” I would not stoop to be a king! I have an infinitely higher calling in Christ, to strengthen His people and participate in this church, and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have received every kind of spiritual blessing Christ!
And so have you!
In other words, it’s not just the doctrine of the church in a vacuum. The church proper is secondary to our actual life in Christ as part of the church. Paul’s doctrine of the church in Ephesians is a by-product of what he really wants to emphasize: the need for power for life in Christ which only comes through the riches of God’s grace and illumination on that. ↑