I. BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
A. One thing that Jesus constantly declared was that God was His Father.
1. This was also asserted in the prophesies of the Messiah.
a. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.
b. Ps. 2:7
I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.
c. God promised David,
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son.
2. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish. And again, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world."
3. The gospel of John is full of these assertions.
B. As we shared last week, it is too bad that there are not punctuation marks so that it would read The God and Father of our Lord, Jesus the Messiah.
II. "WHO HAS BLESSED US WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES."
A. Note that he is not saying physical blessings.
1. There has been an evil heresy that has been popularized by many of the T.V. evangelists that as Christians we should all be rich and driving expensive cars and living in luxury.
a. This doctrine was not known by the disciples who were challenged to leave all to follow Jesus.
b. In Luke 6
in speaking to His disciples Jesus said, "Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven." In that same chapter He said, "Woe unto you who are rich, for you have received your consolation."
c. Paul said,
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry both to abound and to suffer need.
d. Solomon observed,
The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
e. Paul told Timothy
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
2. If a person is more interested in the material blessings than the spiritual blessings, he is carnally minded which is to be at enmity with God.
B. The blessings of the child of God are in the heavenly places.
1. Here in chapter one Paul speaks of the greatness of His power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places.
2. In 2:6 as he speaks of the grace of God by which we are saved, he speaks how that he has raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
III. THESE BLESSINGS COME TO US IN CHRIST.
A. As we were teaching in verse one this phrase in Christ is one of the dominate themes in the epistle.
1. All the blessings that God has for us, are given in, by, and through Jesus Christ.
2. Jesus said to His disciples, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." It is also true that apart from Him we have nothing.
3. Every blessing that God bestows upon you comes to you through Jesus.
a. And this is the record, God has given unto us eternal life, and this life is in the Son. He that hath the Son hath life.
1. You say, I need more love. You need more of Jesus.
2. You say, I need peace. You need Jesus.
3. You say, I need more patience. You need more of Jesus.
IV. IN VERSE 4 PAUL BEGINS TO LIST THE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS.
A. If you were to list your blessings in order of appreciation, what would you put at the top of your list?
1. What would you consider to be the greatest blessing that God has bestowed upon you?
2. When you think of God's blessings, what do you think of first?
B. It is interesting to me what Paul put at the top of his list. According as He has chosen us in Him.
1. Note that you were chosen in Him.
2. Choice is a wonderful gift of God for which we give thanks.
C. This is a part of being created in the image of God. God is a self determinate being, so he gave you the power of choice so that you also may be self determinate.
1. By self determinate we mean that you have the capacity to choose your own destiny.
2. You can choose your own master.
a. The people in Joshua's day were challenged to choose whom they would serve.
b. Elijah also challenged the people to choose, he said, "If Jehovah is God then follow Him, and if Baal be god then follow him."
D. For choice to be valid there must be something to choose.
1. Hence the necessity for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden.
2. If there is nothing to choose, then the power of choice is invalidated.
E. For choice to be meaningful, the alternative must be attractive.
1. Hence the tree in the garden was very desirable. It was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desired to make one wise.
2. The world is very attractive to the flesh, and offers great pleasures for a time.
F. For choice to be valid, there must be an honoring of the choice.
1. If every time you choose something your choice was overridden, then you really do not have a choice.
2. God will not override your choice. He will seek to influence your choice, but He will not override it.
G. We appreciate and are thankful for this capacity of choice.
1. I do not believe that I would care to live in a society where marriage was by arrangement.
2. I am thankful that I had a choice in the matter.
F. Some however resent that God also has the capacity of choice.
1. When they read that we were chosen in Him they get upset, and accuse God of not being fair in choosing.
2. If you want to choose who you are going to spend the rest of your life with, don't you think that God ought to have some choice of who He is going to spend eternity with?
3. The interesting thing to me is when God made His choice. "Before the foundation of the world."
a. In Revelation we read of those whose names were not written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world.
G. How can God be fair if He chooses us before the foundation of the world?
1. Here is one of those absurdities where we find men challenging the fairness of the eternal God.
2. God is God, and as God is omniscient, by which we mean that he knows everything.
a. If God knows everything, it means that He cannot learn anything.
b. If He could learn something, it means then that He did not know everything.
c. If God is to ever know who is to be saved, then He has always known who was going to be saved.
d. It is on the basis of this foreknowledge that His choices were made.
e. He knew that we were going to respond to His loving overtures to us.
3. How do I respond to the fact that I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world? With praise and rejoicing.
a. Does this then mean that I don't really have to choose to follow Jesus. Not at all.
b. God's choice was made on the foreknowledge of my choice of loving Him.
c. Does this mean that if I wasn't chosen, then I can't come to Jesus Christ? No, the door is open for all to come. The promise is that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Because God knows everything, He has always known who were going to call upon Him.
d. You say, "But I don't understand it." Join the crowd of mortal man. None of us understand it.
e. Though I do not understand it, I accept it and rejoice in the knowledge that I was chosen in Him.
f. You ask, "How can I know if God chose me or not?" By accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the moment you do, you will discover that you were chosen by Him. As with the disciples you will hear His words, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained that you should be My disciples, and that you should bring forth fruit."
g. You say, but I am not interested in surrendering my life to Jesus Christ, I wish to do my own thing. Then perhaps you were not chosen by Him. You then object again saying, "But that isn't fair." Of course it is fair, it is one of the fairest things I have ever observed or known.
h. God has allowed you to choose your own destiny. How fair can He be?
i. He has given you the capacity of choice, He has provided something to choose, and He will respect the choice you make, even if it is the wrong choice. Nothing could be more fair than that.