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Being Placed In Christ and Predestination

grace hill church preaching ephesians 1:1-6 on being placed in Christ in Farmington NM and predestination
Tim Castillo
April 4, 2016

Being Placed In Christ and Predestination

Ephesians 1:1-6

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Getting Locked Out

So I locked myself out of my car this morning.And if that wasn’t humiliating enough, I stood by in helpless self-loathing as I watched my wife use a wire hanger to jack my car. So I will be turning in my man card later.

Look there nothing like a little adversity mixed in with copious amounts of humiliation to bring you to a place of self-doubt.And it doesn’t necessarily take an industrious wife to bring you there either.It can be the loss of a job, a loved one, a home a marriage.These are things that can derail us physically, mentally and spiritually.You can quickly begin asking these soul searching types of questions—Who am I? What is my purpose and who am I in the eyes of God?

You are more than your current circumstances would dictate.

You are more than your past sins would define you as.

You are in fact, more than you can possibly imagine in the eyes of your Father.

  1. God the Father Has Blessed Us in Christ

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

  1. What does it mean to be “in Christ?”

Let’s begin by defining what it means to be “in Christ.”

Ultimately it comes down to this—

God the Father sees you robed if you will, in the perfections of Christ.

Your relationship with God is secure and eternal, not because you have earned it or because you have been good enough, but because you have trusted in Christ alone.You have trusted in His perfect obedience and therefore you are declared righteous.You have trusted in His sacrificial death on the cross therefore you are forgiven of all your sins.You have trusted in the empty tomb, therefore you have eternal life. This is what it means to be in Christ.You are right with God, you are forgiven, you have eternal life, all because you are in Christ by Faith Alone.

 

  1. Blessed defined

Now then, verse 3 tells us that we are “blessed” by God the Father in Christ.

Again, we are blessed because we are robed in the perfections of Christ that I just talked about.That word “blessed” comes from the Greek word U-LOG-EH-OH and it refers to being the object of divine favor.In other words God in His sovereign grace has chosen to give you exactly what you need despite the fact that you have no possible means of securing them for yourself.

 

  1. Every spiritual blessing defined

So what are these blessings?What has our Father given us?

3b (God the Father) has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Now this is an amazing truth that I believe is lost on us by and large.You see we’re told that God has given us “…every spiritual blessing..”

Of course you and I are tempted to define these for ourselves.

We want to fill in the blank with the stuff that would bless us right here in now.

For instance, I “want” a new washer, a five bedroom house and unlimited fundage.

That would bless me right here and now.

 

We “want” all sorts of things.

But God in His wisdom has chosen to give us what we need instead.

So what is it that we need?

 

The answer is actually found in verses 4-6—

 

4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

We need God to choose us

because we are spiritually dead and unable to save ourselves.

We need God to set us apart, to enable us to be holy and innocent before Him.

We need God to love us despite ourselves,

an unconditional love where by God predestines us

according to His will and not our performance.

We need God to adopt as His sons and daughters,

an inseparable bond that only a father and his children can experience.

We need to praise our Father, give Him all the glory,

not for giving us what we want, like spoiled brats,

but for giving us what we need: His sovereign and saving grace.

There is a difference between getting what you want

and God giving you what you need.

 

  1. In the heavenly places defined

Look at verse 3 again—

 

Not only has God given us “…every spiritual blessing…”

as we have just described,

but we’re even told where these are to be found—

“…in the heavenly places,”.

3b (God the Father) has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Now what does that mean?

Colossians 3:1 tells us that Christ is risen

and even now is “seated at the right hand of God (the Father).”

In other words He is in the heavenly places spoken about in verse 3.

This is where every spiritual blessing given to us by our Father is to be found—

In Christ who is glorified and in the heavenly places, in the presence of God the Father.

 

  1. APP

Now I know many of us here are suffering,

your’ hurting and perhaps deeply wounded.

 

And you would like nothing more than for God to bless you on your terms,

to meet your immediate wants

 

Can God give you that job?

Can He mend a broken heart and relationship?

Can He make your sickness disappear?

Yep, He can.

He can give you what you want.

But just because He withholds those things you want so badly,

don’t get confused and say—

“God isn’t blessing me.”

Don’t go there, to that place of self-pity

and convince yourself that God doesn’t love you.

He does love you and He’s proven it by blessing you with exactly what you need.

He has given you what you need more than anything else—

His Son,

and by faith alone you are now in Christ.

God now sees you in His Son, in Christ—

He chose you; He adopted you; In love He has predestined you—

God has blessed you,

more than you know            and                 more than you deserve.

This is who you are in Christ, the object of God’s blessings.

This is why God has placed you in Christ

and now let’s answer the question of how has God placed you in Christ.

 

  1. God the Father Chose Us in Christ

 

4a even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (In love)

 

  1. Chose defined

Now I know what some of you are thinking—

“God didn’t choose me, I chose Him.”

 

Read verse 4 with me again—

 

“…He (meaning God the Father) chose us in Him (meaning in Christ)

(when did God choose us?) before the foundation of the world

(why did God choose us?) so that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”

You can huff and puff and threaten to take all your toys and go home.

But the fact remains—

Ephesians 1:4 puts it as plain and simple as can be—

“God chose us…”

Let’s leave it right there for a moment

and unpack the meaning of this word “chose.”

It comes from the Greek word EK-LEG-OHMA-HEE

and it refers to the act of choosing something

or in this case someone for yourself and for your purposes.

There are countless verses that attest to this truth of God choosing us for Himself.

Here’s just a few—

John 15:19—

Here Jesus, who is God in the flesh said—

“…I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

 

Paul made this apparent in Romans 11:5

“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.”

 

In 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Paul states it as though it should be common knowledge among believers—

“For we know, (as if everybody knows this);

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,”

 

The Apostle Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 2:9

“But you are a chosen race,…”

 

Folks, the evidence is overwhelming.

 

And here’s the bottom line—

God has chosen us from out of the world

in order to send us into the world for the sake of the Gospel.

“…that you may proclaim the excellencies

of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

 

Think about it—

God chose a man named Abram.

And He chose to bless this man’s offspring

who eventually became known as Israel.

 

God then chose a man named Moses to lead His people out of bondage from Egypt.

 

He chose a young shepherd boy named David to be Israel’s King.

And from this king He promised to bring the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He then chose a young girl named Mary to be the mother of the Messiah.

 

I love how my wife describes this as only she can—

She says something like this—

“Do you really think that this young girl named Mary

was standing around one day and out of nowhere she announces—

‘Ya, I’ve decided to be the mother of God.'”

 

No, God chose her too.

 

 

 

And when Jesus began His earthly ministry He chose His disciples,

not the other way around.

 

John 6:70

“I chose the twelve of you…”

 

So why do we have such a problem with God choosing us?

I’m so glad you asked.

 

It’s due to the fact that in our ignorance and arrogance

we are more than willing to say that God is all knowing and all powerful.

He’s all that and a bag of Doritos.

He can do anything He wants,       except—

Tell us what to do.

 

Why do we reject the idea of God choosing us?

 

Because we are convinced of our own personal autonomy.

 

In other words we believe that we have free-will;

and in our minds that must mean

that the God who spoke all of creation into existence,

the same God that holds all things together in the palm of His hands;

 

He can do anything and everything He wants,

with the sole exception of telling you what to do.

 

Let Him set the stars on their course, hang the moon in the heavens,

set the boundaries of the oceans and raise the mountains on high.

 

But not you, you do what you want,

because you are convinced that you have a free-will.

 

Allow me to dispel

this notion of a free-will once and for all

by asking and then answering a few questions—

 

First: Do we have a will?

Of course we do. We’re not denying that.

But then we must ask a follow up question—

Do we have a free will?

The biblical answer is a resounding NO.

 

 

 

Turn with me real quickly to Romans 3:9

 

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,

 

The Greek word for “under” is HUPO

and it not only means to be beneath something,

but to be totally under its power, authority and control.

 

Romans 6:17 puts it this way—

“…you were once slaves of sin…”

 

Yes, we have a will.

But make no mistake, you do not, as an unsaved, un-believer,

you do not  have a free-will,

it is a will in bondage to sin.

 

In other words, prior to God choosing you and subsequently saving you,

the only thing you have the will to choose     is sin.

 

Therefore, God must choose you.

 

Just as our Lord said in John 15:16

“You did not choose me, but I chose you…”

 

Now I know some of you are brainstorming right now.

Your reaching for chapter and verse to fend off this onslaught of you liberty.

So let me just say it out loud for you—

“Whosever will…”

 

The text your thinking of is John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

Immediately we assume that “whoever”

must mean that sinners have the ability to choose God, to choose Christ,

without the benefit of God’s grace or Him choosing us first.

 

Turn with me to Ephesians 2:1—

By the way we’re going to be referring to this verse frequently

as we study the book of Ephesians,

because you will never understand or accept God choosing you

until you get this verse.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.”

 

 

What can a dead man do?

Nothing.

 

According to John 11 Lazarus died and was in the tomb for four days?

What did he do during those four days?

I suspect that all he managed was stink the place up.

I mean he was dead.

He couldn’t do anything.

 

Look we’re all sinners         before God in His grace chooses to save you.

You were spiritually dead,

which means you were both, unwilling and unable to repent and trust in Christ.

In other words, you couldn’t choose Christ.

So how on earth are we saved?

 

Ephesians 2:4-6

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, (GOD) made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved-

6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

So let me sum it up for you—

We all start at the same place, in the tomb, spiritually dead,

unable and unwilling to repent and trust in Christ for salvation.

 

God initiated your salvation by choosing you.

He then, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel

caused you to come to life spiritually just as we read—

“…God made us alive…”

And then and only then are we willing and able to choose Christ.

Not of our own free will, that doesn’t exist.

But of our FREED WILL.

 

Much like a drowning man will instinctively grab on to a life-preserver,

we also of our own FREED WILL

instinctively reach out and embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

 

So God chooses you, so that you will choose Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. When did God the Father choose us in Christ?

 

Now then back to our text, Ephesians 1:4—

 

“even as he chose us in him (WHEN DID GOD CHOOSE US) before the foundation of the world, …

 

In other words, before He ever spoke the world into existence,

before you were born,

in fact, before Adam and Eve were created

and before anyone had been born,

God chose us.

 

Why does the Apostle Paul emphasize that fact?

To prove once and for all that salvation is a free gift, it’s all of grace.

 

Much like we are told in Romans 9:10-13

10 “…when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,

11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad

in order that God’s purpose of election (CHOOSING US) might continue, not because of works but because of his call-

12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

 

This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that your salvation is all of grace.

You weren’t smarter.

You weren’t morally or spiritually superior.

 

It’s simply more evidence, indisputable proof,

that God is the one that must initiate our salvation by choosing us.

 

  1. Why did God the father choose us in Christ?

Now the question to ask is why did God choose you.

 

  1. To be holy and blameless (defined)

Look down at verse 4 again—

 

4b” …he chose us in him before the foundation of the world,

that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

 

Holy means to be “set apart” for God’s purposes, whereas blameless refers to

The fact that no one can bring a charge against us.

 

 

 

 

We’re told in Ephesians 5:26-27 that Jesus died for us, the church, so…

26 …that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

 

  1. “holy and blameless before Him” (before Him [in Christ] defined)

This is how God the Father sees you, how He sees us His church before Him in Christ

Do you see how this dramatically changes your perception of who you are?

You’re the Chosen One, we’re the Chosen.

 

And God has chosen you for a purpose.

Before you chose Him,

He chose you and now He has set you apart for a reason.

And He sees you as He sees His Son,

because now your’ in Christ, holy and blameless.

 

Now lastly,

 

III.          God the Father Predestined Us in Christ

 

The very last two words in verse 4 are actually the first two words of verse 5,

so read with me there.

 

4b In love

5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

 

  1. Before we define “predestined” let’s look at God’s attitude or mind-set for doing this— We are told that He did this “In love…” define

Before we define that word “predestined”

let’s look at God’s attitude or mindset if you will.

What was His motive for “predestination?”

 

Those first two words sum it all up—

“In love…”

 

Alright, so this tells us that far from being an impersonal act,

God predestined you out of love.

God is not a machine, He wasn’t emotively disconnected in choosing you.

He predestined you and us out of love.

 

Not because you are lovable

but because He Himself is love.

And so let’s make sure we understand this—

When God predestined you that was His expression of love,

that was Him saying—

“I love you.”

 

  1. Predestined defined

Now the Greek word for “predestined” is PRO-OR-RIDZO

and it means to decide beforehand, to predetermine.

 

It’s essentially synonymous with the word “chose” in verse 4.

 

  1. Why did God the Father “predestine” us?

“…for adoption through Jesus Christ…”

But what we find here in verse 5 is another reason why God chose or predestined us—

 

5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ

 

It echoes the words of 1 John 3:1-2a

1 See what kind of love (AGAIN HE PREDESTINED US OUT OF LOVE) the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

2 Beloved, we are God’s children now,

 

Do you see who you are in the eyes of your Father?

You’re His son, you’re His daughter;

And as any good dad would do,

Your Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally and sacrificially,

end of story, that’s who you are in Christ.

 

He predestined you out of love so that He might make you the object of His love.

 

And of course verse 5 tells us that this is done “…through Jesus Christ”

meaning it is done by faith in Christ alone.

 

  1. How did God the Father predestine us?

4b In love

5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

 

So why did God predestine you?

Not because He looked down the corridors of time and say you repeat a prayer.

Not because you deserved it.

He simply did it according to His will.

In other words, because He wanted to.

 

  1. The Second Reason God the Father predestined us

“…to the praise of His glorious grace…” praise and grace defined.

 

And now at last we get to verse 6

and this is where I’ve been running to the whole time

because it speaks to the heart

of why God has blessed, chosen and predestined you in Christ.

 

He did all of this “…to the praise of His glorious grace…”

 

What is so glorious and praise worthy about God’s saving grace?

Allow me to answer that by sharing a quote from J. Vernon McGee—

“The young boy down in my Southland years ago, wanted to join a church. So the deacons were examining him. They asked, “How did you get saved?” His answer was, “God did His part, and I did my part.” They thought there was something wrong with his doctrine, so they questioned further, “What was God’s part, and what was your part?” His explanation was a good one. He said, “God’s part was the saving, and my part was the sinning. I’ve run from Him as fast as my sinful heart and rebellious legs could take me. He took out after me till He run me down.”

Folks, that’s who you are in Christ.

You ran in sin, but God was determined, in fact He had predetermined

before the foundation of the world

to bless, to choose and predestine you.

And here’s His ultimate purpose for placing you in Christ—

That you might praise Him for His saving grace.

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