Sermons

Chosen for His Pleasure

January 14, 2024 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Ephesians - Gospel Truths Lead to Gospel Living

Topic: The Gospel Scripture: Ephesians 1:4–6

Last week we said that verse 3 was the beginning of one long sentence that ends in verse 14. In those 12 verses, Paul is describing for us many of those spiritual blessings that God has provided for us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul begins listing our blessings in Christ by stating that God chose us and He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (1:4-5). We will follow the outline below:

  1. God Chose us to be Holy and Blameless. (v.4)
  2. God Predestined us in Love (v.5) 
  3. God's Purpose for Predestination is His Glory (v.6)

Praising God for the lavishness of his grace is Paul’s theme here. He begins this section by exclaiming (1:3), “blessed be the God and father of our lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” He concludes this first section by directing us back to praising God, the source of our blessings (1:6), “to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the beloved.” The blessing of salvation is part of God’s eternal plan to glorify himself.

Central to the apostle’s thinking is that God chose us (1:4) and predestined us (1:5) to these amazing blessings. The doctrine of God’s choosing us for salvation (before the foundation of the world) is one of His greatest blessings because it guarantees our salvation and our becoming holy and blameless before Him. 

No one is ever capable or inclined to choose God unless God first chose him. Scripture is clear that salvation is totally by God’s grace (unmerited favour; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 9:11-18; 11:5-6). It is only through Christ and what he did for us (on the cross of Calvary), not through anything in us, that we may be saved. 

Getting Started                          

  1. Can you remember a time in primary school when you were lined up and patiently had to wait to be picked by team leaders to be part of a team? What was your experience like? Share your story.
  • Read Ephesians 1:1-14
  1. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

Digging Deeper

  1. The spiritual blessings that the Lord has given to His people are listed in verses 4-14. The first one is that the Lord has chosen ‘us’ in ‘Him.’ (v.4) What does the ‘us’ refer to? How do you know? Who does the ‘Him’ refer to? 
  1. The same Greek word translated as “chose” in verse 4 is also used in Acts 1:24-25. Read the passage and discuss how the use of this word in Acts 1:24-25, helps us understand its meaning in Ephesians 1:4.
  1. Some would argue that the teaching of eternal security (once saved always saved) can lead people to indulge in their sin. How does Paul’s teaching in verse 4 & 5 cancel this argument? (Refer to  2 Timothy 1:9 and Romans 8:29-30)

The Heart of the Matter

  1. Ephesians 1:3-6 teaches that God chooses us. Yet there are other verses in scripture such as Matthew 3:24:17Acts 3:19 and 1 John 3:23, that teach man’s responsibility to believe and repent. Are there verses you know of in scripture that help resolve this tension between God’s election and man’s freewill?
  1. What are the implications of being adopted into God’s family? How do you treat family members different from those who are not part of your family?
  1. Sometimes a person fails God. He wants to give up on following Christ. How could you use this teaching about ‘choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world’ to encourage that Christian to keep following the Lord. If you have a testimony on this matter, please share it.

 

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