Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 13. Exposition on Ephesians . Super duper blessed in Christ (Part 1)

. Super duper blessed in Christ (Part 1)

Sermon 2 on series in Ephesians

SUPER DUPER BLESSED IN CHRIST (PART 1)

 

Introduction.

In my appetiser sermon on Ephesians I mentioned that the book very much has to do with riches, fullness and the sufficiency we enjoy in Christ. And then secondly, I reminded you that the book is about the body of Christ and for that body to reach its fullest unity that it possibly can in Jesus Christ. I believe that the metaphor of the body out of all the other metaphors used around the New Testament most aptly   communicates the unity as well as the diversity of the church.  This is one of those mysteries that we saw last week which was kept hidden for the ages past and now revealed in the church.

 

 

Let me give you just a few verses that communicates this theme clearly before we get to our text for today.

Ephesians 1:22-23 (ESV) 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 2:15 (ESV) 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man (or one new body) in place of the two, so making peace,”

Ephesians 3:6 (ESV) 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

Ephesians 4:16 (ESV) 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Ephesians 5:30 (ESV) 30 because we are members of his body.

Let me share something I just love about Ephesians. In most of Paul’s other epistles he deals with the here and now, but in Ephesians he unfolds the here and now, by going way back to eternity past and shows us how the church is not a sudden thought in the mind of God, but that it was master-planned before the world began. Do you realise that you are not some kind of accident, but that you are part of the masterplan of God. If you are looking for a sense of self-worth, if you are looking for purpose in life – here it is. And this self-worth is only to be found in Christ. You don’t need to find your self-worth in social structures, or amongst your peers, or in materialism, or politics, or wealth, or legalism, or personal righteousness, or works – you find it in Christ. Let me put it this way, anything that gives you a high is going to let you down. Remember the saying, ‘what goes up, must come down’. Christianity works the other way around. You start at the bottom. Go and read the beatitudes, but the reason you are a child of God, we are going to see in our study today.

For today we are going to simply look at Chapter 1:3. There are some parts that we will pick up speed on, but the first part is going to be slow.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV) 3 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”

Now, let me just warn you that this section in essence is part of one argument that goes through to verse 14. This is so rich in Theology that it will take us a few weeks to get through this part. Just for interest.  In the Greek verse 3-14 is one sentence made up of 202 words. Now to our English scholars here today, don’t try this at school.

Let’s start at the beginning of verse 3.

Point 1. Praise to the author of all blessings.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…”

Can a person begin anywhere else when we count our blessings? You have to start at the very beginning. The words of Maria in Sound of Music resounds through our head: “let’s start at the very beginning, the very best place to start.’ That is why John starts with “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” When Paul considers his riches, his salvation, his inheritance, his fullness, he has to shout a praise to God. Blessed be God. And by the way, this does not only fit for spiritual blessings. I have taught you before. When I look in the eyes of my doctor responsible for my healing, I bless God. When I look at my plumber or electrician or whoever I bless God, because God is the author and provider of all things and people. But without spiritual blessings all other blessings will be futility. So, I start with “Blessed be my God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Our praise is actually to the Trinity. Verse 3-6 focusses on the Father, verse 6-12 on the Son and verse 13-14 on the Spirit. So, when Paul considers his blessings, he rushes into the throne room of the Trinity in heaven. Christian, the very fact that you are sitting here today is all because of God. Paul will come back to it in Ephesians 2:4 when he considers the natural state of man, and then shouts out in verse 4:but God, who is rich in mercy and love, saved us.” I think we too often take the privilege of being a Christian for granted. We treat it as if it is our right.

So, God is to be praised. But for what?

Point 2. The unwrapping of the blessings.

There are six aspects of blessing in verse 3 alone.

Firstly, because of who God is. Pauls says: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…” The word ‘blessed’ comes from the Greek word  eulogetos {yoo-log-ay-tos'} which means ‘blessed’ or ‘praised’. You might immediately recognize that we get the word ‘eulogy’ from that. To bless means to speak well of someone. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 19:17 (ESV) that: “There is only one who is good.” We often say ‘God is good’, and then we get the response, “God is good, all the time, and all the time God is good.” He leaves us with no misunderstanding that it is God He is referring to. From Genesis to Revelation God is blessed. Christians continually blesses the Lord, for their circumstances, in spite of their circumstances and in their circumstances. So God is blessed, because God is God.

Secondly, God is the blesser (to coin a new word), or the one who blesses.  Paul says it is God “who has blessed us”. I love the way James puts it in James 1:17 (ESV) 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” God blesses because God is the source of every good thing. After God created everything He said it was good, then He created man and said it was very good. So all the perfect gifts come from above. The not so perfect things are tarnished due to sin entering the world.

Thirdly, we see the blessed ones. Who are the blessed? Pauls says: “who has blessed us.” That is me, and you and all of us, and every Christian in the world. In God's wonderful grace and His marvellous providence and His sovereign plan, He has chosen to bless us. Paul reminds the Galatians of it in Galatians 3:9 (ESV) 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” If you are of the faith, you are blessed. I can say today that God has lavished everything upon me His child, why, because that is His nature, that is the Father Heart of God we know. We saw it in John 3:16 and we saw it in Luke 15 where we saw the parable of a loving Father. The way we speak of God is our blessing to Him, but He blesses us by all the good He does for us.

Fourthly, we see the kind of blessings. How much blessing does He give us? 3 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,…” He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. The Greek word here for ‘spiritual’ is  pneumatikos {pnyoo-mat-ik-os'}. Spiritual is not simply the opposite of ‘physical’ but it is that which is attached to the fact that God is Spirit and we are blessed in the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament pneumatikos always refers to the work of the Holy Spirit. Too many Christians think that their blessing must lie in the area of the material or even one aspect of the Work of the Holy Spirit, but we tend to water down the work of the Spirit and the vastness of what He means to us. Some think they can soak in the Spirit, drink of the Spirit, bask in the Spirit. All of that ignores the wonderful, marvelous, extravagant vastness of what the Spirit means to us. So many Christians are continuously asking God to do stuff for us, because they actually do not understand the depth of the work of the Spirit of God in our lives who has blesses us with every spiritual blessing.

It is actually a joke. We ask for more love, more joy, more peace, more strength and Paul shouts ‘you’ve got it’. What we need to ask for is wisdom that we can understand these things, or maybe to use the terms of Paul in Ephesians, simply ‘spiritual eyes’ that we can see it. I am perturbed at what some Christians term a ‘second blessing’. Really? Christians in God, by His Spirit I have the first, the second, the third, the fourth……. I have all the spiritual blessing. I have every one of them. There is nothing to be added. I love the way Peter unwraps this. Look at Peter’s parallel to Pauls Ephesians 1:3 and we see it in 2 Peter 1:3 (ESV) 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, …”

Paul says something interesting in Philippians 1:19 (ESV) 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,…” Remember that He is sitting in prison, but something that I find interesting is that the Greek word for ‘help’ as in the ‘help’ of the Spirit is actually “ epichoregia {ep-ee-khor-ayg-ee'-ah} which means ‘supply.’ Some translations actually translate it this way.  So, you have cancer, they burgled your house, people reject you, politics is failing us, your bank account is empty, and your fellow Christians want to name and claim, speak positive words, bind stuff in Jesus name, and Paul says, ‘’okay, I am in prison, and guess what? I have all the spiritual blessings by the Spirit in Christ Jesus, His divine power has granted me everything to pertain to life and Godliness, I am okay, because I know the Spirit of God will supply, what I want, what I demand, what I toi-toi for? No according to His wisdom, why because He knows the will of the Father and intercedes for me accordingly.”

 

Christian, you are rich, you are blessed, and all good things have been ‘supplied’ to you. Together we will study it and seek to understand it. All the ‘pneumatikos blessings’ have been given to you.  The issue is not ‘more,’ the issue is to learn how to use what you have.

Fifthly, the location of these blessing. Paul says: 3 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,…”

So, am I telling you that your blessings are locked up in heaven? Does not help much, right? Where are the heavenlies? Sure, it includes heaven, but if you study the theology of Paul throughout the heavenlies for Paul is by implication the supernatural world of God, the divine realm of God. In chapter 6 we are told that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities in the heavenlies. So the domain of this blessing is exactly where it matters, and that is in the domain of the supernatural. Do you realise that it is the exact same domain where your citizenship lies? Philippians 3:20 (ESV) 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” In Ephesians 2:6 Paul says: “Ephesians 2:6 (ESV) 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…” You are now seated in the heavenly places, that’s right, now. We need to start thinking that way.

Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV) 1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Our life is in the supernatural, in the heavenlies. We commune with God, our Father is there, our home is there, our Saviour is there, our friends are there, our loved ones are there. Our name is there, our throne is there and our room is there. It's in the heavenlies that we live and we're trapped in the tension of being heavenly citizens with an earthly sojourn. We belong there. Everything we love is there. And we're trapped in a tension of the earthly and the heavenly.

That's why Paul could say in the midst of that great paradox  in 2 Corinthians 6:10-12 (ESV) 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything….” And then in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ESV) you see the mind of a man who know that he has been blessed with all the blessings in the heavenlies.  8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; ….”

The problem many Christians have is that they are looking for the ropes attached to these balloons of blessings so that they can pull it down. You don’t need to. The Holy Spirit gives them.

Sixthly, and we will end there today. The reason God did all of this for me. The answer is in the last two words we have not looked at. In some translations they appear at the end.3 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,…”

The moment you became a Christian you were baptised by the Holy Spirit into Christ. You are in a marvellous union with Christ and nothing can separate you from that.

You see, when you became a Christian you were placed in a marvellous union with Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:17 (ESV) says that He has joined us to Christ. 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” This is such a great theological theme. As I mentioned last time – there is a thesis in the Tukkies library of over 500 pages just on the theme ‘In Christ’.  But, do you realise that you are one Spirit with Jesus Christ? Christian this is wow. But you know what is more WOW? Look at Romans 8:16-17 (ESV) 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,… We will see this in Ephesians again. But guess what? You are as rich as Christ is. Is that incredible? Joint heirs with Jesus Christ. All that is His is ours.

We are in Christ; we are as rich as He is. All the resources He had, we have. This is just mind boggling. I am one with Jesus Christ so that His righteousness is imputed to me, so that His inheritance is my inheritance. I am in Christ so His position is my position. His privilege is my privilege. His possession is my possession. And His practice is my practice. Where He is I am. What He has I have. And what He does I do.

And church family. You must never forget that this is yours by the grace of God and it has been planned before the world began.

Next week we will start looking at how God formed this glorious body in eternity past.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church:- 27 February 2016