Join us today for an episode about grace and Ephesians
Today's episode is focused on Ephesians 1:3-14...
In today’s spiritual foundation episode about developing your influence, I talk with you about Ephesians 1: 3 – 14. I share a sermon I gave in Brownsville Texas...
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Episode 907: Glorious Grace for All
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Thanks for joining me on episode 907 of the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:00:06]Dr. Gary Johnson: [00:00:06] Hey friends. My name is Dr. Gary Johnson and I serve as the executive director of effect of elders. I challenge you to invest in yourself in others and develop your influence while impacting the world by using your time, your talent, your treasures, to live out your calling. Having the ability to grow yourself through self-leadership is key.
[00:00:33] Scott Maderer: [00:00:33] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott Mader,
[00:00:43]the great gift of God's grace, his gift. Freely to all, not just to the Jews, not just to those who were in the know, in fact, the whole point to all of this is that none of us were in the know then or [00:01:00] now, in fact Christ Jesus pleasure. That's the word that's actually used at the end plan. Welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:01:13] If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time. And your treasures for your true calling in the inspired stewardship podcast who learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.
[00:01:34]And today's spiritual foundation episode about developing your influence. I deliver a sermon that I delivered at Brownsville, Texas based on Ephesians chapter one, verses three through 14 Ephesians chapter one verses three through 14, goes like this. 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.
[00:02:00] [00:02:00] Just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children, through Jesus Christ. According to the good pleasure of his wheel will to the praise of his glorious grace, that he freely bestowed on us in the book.
[00:02:19] In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespass, according to the riches of his grace, that he lavished on us with all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things.
[00:02:41] In Christ. We have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we who were the first to set our hope on Christ might live for the praise of his glory in him. You also, when you have. The [00:03:00] word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and had believed in him were marked with the seal of his promised holy spirit.
[00:03:07] This is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory. Isn't that just a lovely beginning for a scripture reading. Bless it'd be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.
[00:03:35] And the title of this sermon is glorious. Grace. Free Ephesians does give it away right there in the beginning, but let's back up a minute and start with some context. This letter, unlike many of the epistles of Paul was likely not written to a specific church in Ephesus. Instead, this appears to be a thumbnail sketch of the theology that Paul is setting out for the early [00:04:00] church.
[00:04:00] It likely was passed from church to church, and this is why it lacked something. Personal touches and specific congregational advice that's present. And some of the other letters of Paul, but beyond that, there's even more, if we understand the context, see, in the early Christian Church, there were some competing ideas and theology that was going on in the background.
[00:04:23] This first is a movement called Gnosticism. You may have heard about it, but basically what a Gnostic was is in somebody who denied that earthly matter is of importance to them. From that idea. They moved to this conclusion that the Jesus who died on the cross was a man of only physical matter and was not the exalted one who provides salvation.
[00:04:48] In other words, the Gnostics had a hard time with the idea of Jesus being both fully God and fully man. And they preferred to focus on the fully God part. And this was a problem for. A [00:05:00] second was a movement that Paul referred to as the Judiaizers. These were Christians from a Jewish background, like Paul, who also had allowed for Gentiles to be accepted into the church.
[00:05:12] Exactly. As Paul did. However, they demanded that such people first become Jews and that all adhere strictly to the Jewish law. And that was quite a bit, unlike what Paul was preaching, they followed Paul everywhere. He went and upon his leaving a church, they would try to come in and undo and undermine much of what he had done.
[00:05:36] And then there, there was a third group that Paul referred to. The false teachers. And you think about it. Why would Paul label them with such a negative connotation as false teacher? They claimed that they had ownership. Of special instructions that were given only to a privileged few and they guarded the secrets zealously.
[00:06:00] [00:06:00] If Paul claimed nothing else, he advocated that this was a gospel that was freely given to all. And not just to those fortunate enough to be let in on the secret message. If you think about it, there's a lot of conflict going on in this early church. Now I know in the modern church, there isn't any conflict at all, and nothing that we ever disagree on or have concerns or worries about.
[00:06:23] But in the early church, this was enough to drive many people from the fold, but Paul. Wasn't about to give up that easily. Likely these movements were being preached in a thesis. And Paul had a fire in his belly to make sure that folks heard the good news, the gospel. So Paul didn't set out to rail against these other teachings.
[00:06:47] Now, instead he sends a letter that starts out with the praise and adoration to God. He sets forward an inspiring message that God has included. Them, the people reading the letter [00:07:00] and by extension you in his final and eternal plan for the world, this entire beginning of a Feagins, doesn't get into the practical.
[00:07:11] It stays in the heavenly realm of praising God for the blessings that God has to all of us. Why? Because Paul apparently wants the church, all of the church. To understand their circumstances, to understand where they're operating from. So he's laying out the larger picture for their lives. And again, by extension for your life, Paul is giving them the context.
[00:07:39] Paul is providing the Ephesians, their reason for being he's giving them a perspective. And that perspective is one of hope. And hope leads to the joy of real faith. And that is why Paul's testimony has survived. The ages. The key part of Paul's [00:08:00] testimony comes in verse five, where God destined us for adoption as his children, through Jesus Christ.
[00:08:06] According to the good pleasure of his will, God has adopted. Adoption can be formal or informal. It can go well, and it can create incredible challenges. It can be a wonderful and a joyous thing, but it still always comes with challenges as well. And Paul uses this context of adoption for the affirmation.
[00:08:34] What does that actually mean? First of all, Paul understands. That his letter will be read to the entire church as part of worship. He himself is thinking of the context in which it will be shared with the congregation. And that is why he wants his message to be uplifting. First and foremost, Paul wants it to honor God.
[00:08:53]Think about worship. The first thing we do is call ourselves to worship and to voice [00:09:00] sometimes with a responsive reading sometimes with a song, but always with prayer. And always with reflection on why we have gathered, what are we doing? We are setting the context for worship, and that is what Paul is doing here.
[00:09:16] He is giving the people in the Fijian church. Their reason for being worship and adoration are the appropriate responses. Our lives are in God's hands. He then suggests a history whereby the Ephesians might see their place in God's scheme of things. God's eternal purpose has been worked out in human history by Christ's redemptive ministry.
[00:09:42] It is now being completed in human experience in which the Ephesians, and again, by extension in which you and I. Have a part, Paul then uses this wonderful imagery of God taking this messy world of ours, and one day gathering it up unto himself, [00:10:00] asking you and me to be a part of that gathering. Now, let me tell you as a lay speaker, as the conference chair of lay servant ministries, I've been honored to be called, to preach all over the conference.
[00:10:13] Every time it is an honor, and every time it is utterly terrifying. Because I believe if you're called to share the good news of Christ, it should be terrifying. And yet what Paul is saying here is that the Gentiles aren't less special than the Jews, that there is no secret knowledge beyond this. Jesus is the one who has redeemed us all.
[00:10:40] Jesus is the one who has lavished the great blessings of grace upon us who left us with the holy spirit and called us into adoption and the holy priesthood of all believers who left us with the gift of the holy spirit as our advocate and as our seal, Jesus has adopted us because [00:11:00] Jesus has adopted.
[00:11:01] All the great gift of God's grace is given freely to all, not just to the Jews, not just to those who were in the know, in fact, the whole point to all of this is that none of us were in the know then or now, in fact Christ Jesus pledges. That's the word that's actually used at the end. Pled. A pledge is a deposit or a down payment.
[00:11:29] It's the first installment on a loan. Our inheritance has been sealed by this down payment paid for by Jesus established through the holy spirit. That down payment will seal the deal until we acquire full possession of it. When all things will be gathered up at the time of God's choosings. And when was this final payment actually be made?
[00:11:52]Only God does. It's if you borrowed money to pay for a new car and each month you walk in and make a payment and the bank just says, [00:12:00] I just keep on doing that. We'll tell you when it's paid for. And that's pretty much how God is operating here. Paul is saying that God will tell us when the world is paid for.
[00:12:09] So when he writes his letter to the Ephesians, Paul talks about their final redemption, the final redemption of the world that has already been initiated in the offer of forgiveness and new life. Through Christ atoning life and death has been sealed by the activity of the holy spirit. It is a waiting God's final decree of purpose for his creation.
[00:12:32] We live in the now and in the not yet world, that's the context. So what do we do? We wait. We wait patiently. We wait, hopefully, but we also wait, actively seeking to be the presence of Christ, right? Where we live all the while, believing that God is in control and will tell us when the world is paid for.
[00:12:55] But the end is not in doubt for those who believe Paul says that the holy spirit [00:13:00] lives in the church, continuing to guarantee God's promise to his people and to all his creation. And that is indeed. A reason for the jubilation that he feels and expresses at the beginning of this letter, Paul encourages us to join with him in celebrating God's plan.
[00:13:22] The mystery of his will. This is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God's own people, to the praise of God's word. We invite others into this glory. We live each day showing love to all people, to those who believe as we do. And to those who don't to those who are on the inside and to those who are on the outside, we share the love of Christ with each and every person we meet, we are called to live out the calling of the spirit because the glorious grace is given for all.
[00:14:00] [00:14:00] And that is indeed a pretty good context. Don't you think even if it is a mystery in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit, man.
[00:14:12]So much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast, as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listened, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoy this episode, do me a favor. Go over to facebook.com/inspired Stuart. And like our Facebook page and market that you'd like to get notifications from us so that we can connect with you on Facebook and make sure that we're serving you to the best of our abilities with time and tips there until next time, invest your time.
[00:14:58] Your talent and your [00:15:00] treasures develop your influence and impact the world.
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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, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. - Ephesians 1: 3-4