“Associated” (John MacDiarmid)

“Associated ” (Ephesians 1 v 2-14 part five)

 Sermon preached at Poole High School for Poole Christian Fellowship on 12 March 2017

Listen to this talk (or download – right-click here and ‘Save as’):

 

We continue looking at this remarkable passage the start of the letter to the church in Ephesus.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace  that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,  he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,  to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,  in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,  who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Over  five sessions as we go through these verses we will see that we have been

Chosen – by means of predestination and adoption (looked at in the last message_

Redeemed – by the payment made by Jesus (the subject of today’s talk)

Enlightened – about the gospel

Associated – by means of being included in Christ

Marked – with a seal – the promised Holy Spirit

Truly we are the Cream of creation.

Today we look at the fourth of these five aspects of our salvation – the truth that we have been Associated.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.

 

1. The Fact of Our Inclusion

When you are associated with something – you are included. Social inclusion is a major government concern, along with the hope that all can be included in the prosperity of an affluent society. This verse speaks of our inclusion in Christ. The question is, though, what does this mean for me?

2. The Benefits of Our inclusion

This verse we will look at today talks of our inclusion, or association, in the blessings of the salvation that Jesus has won for us. We have already seen in this series how we are chosen, redeemed and enlightened.  Now Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit, makes sure that we know that these blessings are all ours, if we are in Christ. He wants us to know who does, and who does not share in these blessings.

3. The Obligations of our Inclusion

Having been included in Christ, we now have an obligation to live in the light of it. Just as my citizenship gives me rights and obligations, so my inclusion in Christ gives me the responsibility to live as a citizen of heaven, as an ambassador of the King

4. The Method of Our Inclusion

There is only one way to be included in Christ and to share in his blessings. It is spelled out clearly. It is not being good, it is not being born into a Christian family, going to church…it happens “when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” In order for someone to enter the kingdom of God:

  1. Someone has to preach the gospel to you. This shows the incredible responsibility that we have as a church to be the ones who speak the gospel to our generation. There is no plan B.
  2. You have to “hear it” – there has to be a miracle of God to open the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, to enable them to hear something that they didn’t hear before. Only God can do this: as the rest of this passage shows, salvation is all from God, and not from us.

5. The Results of our inclusion

Finally, we consider the effects of what it means to be redeemed.

  • We are called to be Secure! – no one in the is world has the same security that we do. Insecurity usually comes from and ignorance of the truth or a failure to believe it. All the blessings of the gospel are ours!

 

  • We are called to be Holy: the belief that being called and redeemed by God means that it doesn’t matter how I live my life could not be more wrong; once you are in the family – you have to live as if you are. The second half of the book of Ephesians is all about how we should live. As Peter said: “You are not your own – you were bought with a price”

 

  • We are Called to be missional – the knowledge that God has called and redeemed individuals means that we can be sure that our message will be heard. And the fact that individuals can only respond if they have the message preached to them means that our taking hold of the message of triuth and doing something with it is necessary.

 

  • We are called to praise – this passage is full of calls to praise, to give thanks to honour and to glorify God. Nothing brings more glory and honour to God than the amazing work of salvation that he has one for each of His children. Let’s enjoy it and join in the symphony of praise that is being raised around the world:

 

 

 

John MacDiarmid

March 2017