Sunday School Material 12-2-12: Blessed In Christ

(Ephesians 1:3-14; 12/2/12)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that believers are richly blessed because of their relationship with Christ. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live like those who are richly blessed because of our relationship with Christ.

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Read Ephesians 1:3-6

I. The Father Adopts Us. In our Sunday School material praise of God is urged. God has given believers every spiritual blessing in Christ. Believers were predestined to be blameless in God’s sight. Believers are predestined to be adopted into sonship through Christ.

Applications –

- Blessings for those in Christ. Notice in vss. 3-5 of our Sunday School material that believers are blessed with every spiritual blessing through Christ. Included in this idea are things like having a blameless status, being predestined, and being adopted sons of God.

First, we have blameless status because of Jesus death for us. We are not blameless in regard to our actual living, but declared blameless (i.e., justified). Now, we should strive to live up to our status. That is, we should strive to actually live right.

Second, the doctrine of predestination is concerned with God’s predetermining who will and will not be saved. No human can explain this thoroughly. What we do know is that God can be trusted to do what is right.

Our task is to live as if we appreciate being predestined to be saved. And we should try to help others get saved, since we don’t know who is predetermined or not.

Third, to have adopted sonship is a marvelous privilege. As sons of God, we can expect great privileges (esp. when compared to slaves or others) and inheritance. The Sunday School commentator understandably talks about sons and daughters of God.

However, the sisters should have a greater appreciation of sonship than gender issues in this case. The daughters were not as privileged as sons, in the context of this text.

Let’s strive to live like we appreciate all that has been given to us through Christ. Such living should include obeying God’s commands to love Him and others as we love ourselves.

Read Ephesians 1:7-12

II. The Son Redeems Us. Redemption and forgiveness are available through the blood of Christ. Our Sunday School material talks of God revealed a mysterious (i.e., hidden) plan to bring about unity through Christ. God has been working out a plan that puts believers in a place to be “for the praise of His glory.”

Applications –

- Redeemed and forgiven. Notice in vs. 7 that believers have redemption and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. To be redeemed is to be brought or purchased back. Think of a slave whose freedom has been purchased.

To be forgiven is to have one’s debt’s released. Think about stamping a bill as paid. It is absolutely marvelous to know that we are redeemed and forgiven, in spite of what people say, how we feel, and what we do. Let’s live as if we are appreciative of being redeemed and forgiven.

It is worth noting this forgiveness is concerned with our going to Hell as penalty for our sins. It is not concerned with punishment for our other sins. In other words, a saved person who commits a crime will have to bear the consequences of that crime and then go to Heaven.

This is because the sins that impact one’s going to Heaven were forgiven. The sins of one’s crime have yet to be paid for. So don’t just go do whatever you feel like doing, thinking that the “blood of Jesus” has paid it all.

The blood pays for our ticket to Heaven, but it doesn’t pay for a free pass on Earth to do what we want to do without consequences.

- Unity in Christ. Notice in vs. 10 of the Sunday School material that we see the demystified unity in Christ. Before Christ, humanity did not see or understand God’s plan to unite Jews, Gentiles, and others. But after Christ, we see that whosoever believeth in Christ shall be saved.

God revealed what was previously covered. There is so much to God that we don’t understand. Instead of trying to understand what has not been revealed yet, we should busy ourselves with obeying His revealed will.

His revealed will includes basic things like being godly spouses, singles, parents, children, employers, employees, and so on. Let’s be so thankful that God’s revealed will includes us that we strive to obey His will.

- God’s working things out. Notice in vs. 11 that God works things out to conform with His will. This is marvelous news. No matter how terrible and chaotic things look in our lives, we can count on God using such situations for the good of His people.

Let’s live like we trust that God is working things out for the good of His people. Such living includes demonstrating joy, in spite of terrible circumstances. It is a joy that anticipates God’s plan, not a joy focused on being in the negative situation.

- Praise. Notice in vs. 12 of our Sunday School material that believers are designed for the praise of God’s glory. Included in this idea is the duty to praise God. “Yes,” our lives should be lived in such a way that God always gets the praise and glory for what He is doing in and through our lives.

But we should also praise Him with enthusiasm. It is embarrassing and sinful to be as blessed as we are and as quiet as some of us are. Let’s praise God like praise is a foundational part of our purpose.

Read Ephesians 1:13-14

III. The Spirit Seals Us. In our Sunday School material Paul assures his readers that they were included in God’s plan, when they heard (i.e., and by extension believed) the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Believers are said be marked and sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a deposit guarantee in the lives of believers.

Applications –

- Precious. Notice in vss. 13-14 that believers are marked, sealed, and contain the security deposit of the Holy Spirit. No matter what people say about us, no matter how we feel about ourselves, God sees every believer as very precious.

Our being sealed with the Holy Spirit includes the idea of being authenticated by our great King and God. Our having the security deposit of the Holy Spirit reassures us in the darkest hours that God will not abandon us. God will stay with us, if for no other reason than the fact that He has invested too much in us.

The Holy Spirit is on hold, until the Lord’s return and completion of His work in us. Let’s live like the precious people that the Bible teaches that we are.

Our value is not determined by our portfolios, popularity, nor status in the community. We are precious in the sight of our God because He has predetermined it to be so.

Conclusion: Let’s work on living like those who are richly blessed because of our relationship with Christ. God has much for those who obey His will.

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