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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Word: Ephesians 1:3-14

Have you ever wrestled with your belonging?

Perhaps I should rephrase... Do you ever wonder whether or not God accepts you?

Have you ever felt like you don't belong in God's Kingdom, the church?

The Apostle Paul spilt a great deal of ink talking about belonging and acceptance to the Ephesian church. Perhaps the most beautifully described at the very beginning of his letter, which is our text today.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
-Ephesians 1:3-14  

Did you catch it? Did you see all the verbs Paul wrote about what God did to us/for us?

Maybe this graphic will help you see all the connections:

(Green is what God has done for us, His actions)
[Box is who we are because of Christ's actions]

And you thought God wanted you because you were good looking. Maybe you thought God chose you because you are a good person. Did you think He needed your money or your wisdom?

Oh, I guess you thought He needed your work ethic or your youth and vigor.

Sorry. That's just not the case.

Perhaps you struggle with this idea of God choosing you/adopting you because you don't feel lovable or you don't think you're a good person (welcome to the club by the way, no one is "a good person" See Romans 3 if you don't believe me).

You feel dirty.   You feel used.   You feel rotten.   You feel unworthy.   You feel hopeless.

Did you read closely?
The fact is, God chose you, God chose me, God chose US because He wanted to.
And He wanted to from the very beginning. Before you or me or anyone could mess up.
God wants you, dirty, unworthy, hopeless, just the way you are.

But He refuses to leave you just the way you are... He cleans you, gives you worth, and gives you hope.

Go back and re-read this passage over and over and over again until you see it for yourself. Paul is speaking to you.

God adopted you.

For those of you who think you are good enough for God, this should humble you.
For those of you who think you will never be good enough, this should speak volumes to your soul.

YOU were in His good will and pleasure.

...and you presently are.

Whenever life gets you down, remember that God the Father picked you out, signed His name next to yours and adopted you into His family. Through Jesus Christ, God became your Father.

That's where your worth comes from.


Nathan Bryant

is a pastor living in Phoenix, AZ. As a student at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri he majored in Biblical Leadership, New Testament Studies, and Missiology. Nathan has a combined passion for unity and discipleship in the global church.

Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our causes.
Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our boundaries.

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