“Redeemed” (Ephesians 1 v2-14 part two)
Sermon preached at Poole High School for Poole Christian Fellowship on 26 February 2017
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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 second of these five aspects of our salvation – the truth that we have been Redeemed.
1. The Meaning of Redemption
Whether it is a ransom paid for a kidnap victim, or the paying off of a mortgage, redemption is always about the making of a payment in order to free someone or something else, that is held in captivity.
2. The need for Redemption
The story of our need for redemption goes back to Eden, where the human race, represented by Adam, willingly handed over control of our lives to Satan, and willingly became the captives of sin. Every person has an instinctive sense of judgement. When a horrendous crime is committed we want justice, we know that a price has to be paid. But our rebellion against God is worse than the worst crime we can imagine – and for that too, a price has to be paid, if we are not to suffer eternal judgement. But our crimes are so great, and the price owed is so high – how could we pay it? Scripture is clear – we are totally unable to pay the price on our own. But God has found a way.
3. The Means of Redemption
Ever since Eden, God has himself provided a way for justice to be temporarily halted, by means of the awful penalty for sin being paid by a sinless animal. This was never a permanent arrangement, but started when an animal was killed to provide Adam and Eve with coverings, when Abel offered a sacrifice of livestock, and through the plethora of blood offerings that accompanied the giving of the law in the Pentateuch.
But the only way that our sin could be dealt with for all time was for an offering to be made that was the death of a sinless human, who would pay the penalty for all our sins. This is the transaction that took place at Calvary as, by the blood of Jesus, full payment was paid, full redemption was won.
4. The Effect of Redemption
“the forgiveness of sins” – no great need could be met, and no greater benefit could be given to the human race beyond knowing that we have forgiveness. This is forgiveness won for us at a cost
5. The Glories of Redemption
Paul seems unable to stop himself from spontaneously bursting into a hymn of praise… in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
The more we think about what God has done for us, the price it cost and benefits that accrue to us, the more we rejoice and are encouraged to live in the good of it.
6. The Outworking of Redemption
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.
- 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 Pete 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
- 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:
“Then let us all with one accord,
sing praises to our risen Lord,
who has made heaven and earth from naught
and with his blood mankind has bought”