sprout_in_dirt_squareThis Week’s Sermon: “Grace: God’s Work, Our Reward”–Ephesians 1.1-14 (Kyle Rapinchuk)

This Week’s Scripture Memory: In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”–Ephesians 1.5-6

Next Week’s Sermon: Ephesians 1.15-23 (Jay Todd)

Next Week’s Scripture Memory: “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”–Ephesians 1.22-23

 

Devotional/Reflection: Despite all the Bible being God’s Word, I think I am not alone in professing the reality that certain passages have had a greater impact on me than others. These passages seem to arise often in the mind, especially in times when we need comfort or encouragement. Ephesians 1 is one of those passages for me. I am constantly amazed at the way that God chose to bring about redemption: though he planned it before the foundation of the world, he set the plan in motion in the fullness of time–a specific age within human history; though we were, by our sin, children of the Devil, God adopted us and made us co-heirs of the inheritance of His Son; though we were dead in our sin, God blessed us and chose us and redeemed us in and through the blood of Jesus Christ.

The first fourteen verses of Ephesians lay out a gospel that proclaims that we, though sinners deserving of death, become sons that share in the Son’s inheritance. It is a gospel that proclaims that we are God’s people, though this is a radical idea–radical because we, like the Ephesians, are Gentiles; radical because we, who were children of the Devil, and now beloved children of God; and radical because the metaphor of adoption is deeply Trinitarian. As J. Todd Billings writes in his book Union with Christ, the metaphor of adoption is Trinitarian because “it is initiated by the Father, mediated by the Spirit, and grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ” (Billings, 19). Through God’s gracious act of adoption we share in the love that the Triune God has shared for eternity. Paul introduces that idea here, though he doesn’t complete the thought until he completes the prayer (begun in 1:3) in 3:14-21.

In light of God’s gracious work–blessed us, chose us, predestined us, redeemed us–and in light of what we get–redemption and inheritance–we ought to live as those who are members of this new family. We can endure present trials in light of the promised inheritance to come. We should live in accordance with the grace that is lavished upon us, recognizing that we don’t deserve it (thus, humility) and that it is more than we need (hence, sharing that which overflows from our lives). Finally, we should live as God’s children, modeling the life of Christ since he provides us a picture of what God’s True Son looks like.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you picture “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”?
  2. How does/can the promise of of future blessings help you on a daily basis?
  3. What challenges do you face to understanding the beautiful truth that God the Father is our Father by adoption?
  4. How does this metaphor help you understand God’s love and grace better?

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