After Action Report :: Ephesians 1:4-6
We are Sons and Daughters-- living in love! Let’s talk about the difference between two statements that sound exactly the same;...
Let’s talk about the difference between two statements that sound exactly the same; context makes all the difference. Have you ever been ill-prepared for an exam, stressed out, and voicing your fear to a friend? You know the brainy guy who can’t relate to your situation, the guy who in his well-meaning but unhelpful way says “you’re good.” Inside there’s discord; his statement was intended to comfort you, but it doesn’t. You know that you’re not good, you’re not gonna be ok. Contrast that with the feeling of realizing that you’ve failed to pay a bill, show up for an appointment etc; again, you’re stressed, but this time your friend, partner, or spouse says “I got you— you’re good.” He or she has covered you. The bill is payed, they showed up for the appointment, whatever— you really are good! You know the difference, right? In one case, the words usher in discord and in the other, the same words resonate with peace.
When God says in Gen. 1:31:
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
He said that his original creation was good. That goodness resonates with each of us. We hear the world sing with an echo of praise. However, there is a discord; humanity realizes that though we appreciate the harmony, we don’t participate in it. I should say, we didn’t without the restoration wrought in Christ.
You see there is another “in the beginning” found in John 1:1-5:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Creation can’t comprehend the full beauty of the gospel of Jesus. Can it be true that darkness has been overcome in the light of Jesus? Can it be that death is swallowed up in victorious life? Can it be that grace really is greater than our transgression?
Every part of me wants to insert the whole message, but I won’t do that. You can listen to the podcast. I’m just relaying some quick notes:
Who We Are part 2. You can listen to the message in full here.
If you are in Christ you are:
vs. 4 (before the foundation of the world)
Have you ever ordered something and watched the shipping tracking code like crazy? God pictures his own favor filled joy in the work that he has established by placing us in Christ. He looks forward to our reaction to the goodness of his redemptive plan kind of like that.
There it is again: “in him”
You are chosen. Standing outside the place you could never enter on your own and you got the “he’s with me!”
It should feel so good. Never forget that he can freely offer that “he’s with me” to all your friends. In this case a large tribe is the best tribe!
What has he chosen us for?
Christlikeness— holy blamelessness.
The words, “remade,” “restored,” and “renewed” are all a glimpse of what is being said, but just a glimpse. To be renewed makes us like the first Adam pre-fall, but we are made like the second Adam—the better Adam—like Jesus! What we are given is better than what we had and mistakenly rejected. God’s grace is greater than our sin! God’s sovereign restoration is greater than our own destructive nature.
One of my greek grammars says— A legal proceeding that creates a parent-child relation between persons not related by blood; with the adopted child being entitled to all privileges belonging to a natural child (including the right to inherit).
Get the imagery. God has chosen to show you paternal love!
In the message I used the illustration of Black Holes.
From the Hubble Site: Black holes grow in mass by capturing nearby material. Anything that enters the event horizon cannot escape the black hole's gravity. So objects that do not keep a safe distance get swallowed.
Despite their reputation, black holes will not actually suck in objects from large distances.
The resurrection of Jesus has begun an epic process of restoration… that will effect everything that gets close to it.
Those effected by grace will invite others into it.
by his good pleasure: a delightful, fixed intention of benevolent favor.
by the purpose of his will: an attitude that favors one alternative over others
You can trust the love of this Father more than you can trust yourself.
Grace is greater than your sin— I’m so glad that God’s will is greater than my own.
God favors creation. Before I was transformed, I exclusively favored destruction, though I longed for something more.
“to the praise of the glory of his grace”
I say with Paul: Can I get a shout out for Grace?! Can you?
Here we see another nuance of this word “blessed” from last week. Remember that last week we saw that because of Jesus, the Father looks at us with favor— that’s being blessed.
Now look at this new expression of the same truth— let it wash over you.
It’s the word acceptance! We are accepted. We are not and will never again be outsiders. We may not be the cool kids; in fact, we may be seen as the weird kids according to the kingdom of this world, but according to reality— the eternal kingdom, we are accepted!
God takes pleasure in you! You are a unique and pristine example of the effects of His mysterious grace! If you just said, no I’m not— YES you are!
His grace is greater than your sin.
Now I’d like you to ask God a question. What areas of unbelief exist in me?
Start far off and move inward.
Close your eyes and begin with this question.
What areas of the world do you deem hopeless, unredeemable? War, famine, whatever.
Bring each one to your mind. Own your doubt.
Ask God are you greater than that? Here His powerful proclamation over each:
I AM! I AM! I AM!
Now, move inward, what areas of your heart and life do you deem hopeless perhaps even unredeemable?
Now ask him, brother. Ask him, sister.
Ask him as a son.
Ask him as a daughter.
Have you really rescued me from this? Are you really more powerful than that?
Hear him speak over you:
I have and I am. I have and I am!
This week I want you to embrace hope.
Who is there that you think will never trust Jesus?
Who is there that you think will never come to our church gathering?
Invite 5 people to next week’s gathering and/or to coffee and begin to share your faith.
Get this, don’t start with the church people that you know are looking for a church family.
Sure, invite them, but but believe God for more, believe God really really SAVES!
This week see personal growth—in areas of your life—