September 22, 2013   Ephesians 1:1- 10      We are Blessed  

    Romans is one of the greatest loved books of the bible and it speaks to our faith and our doctrine.   Ephesians is also highly regarded and loved.   For some it may be the most loved book in the bible.   Ephesians is about our walk with Jesus.   It is not so heavy into doctrine but into all that we have as Christians and our walk with the Lord.   We see our walk with the Lord in the beginning chapters and then our walk with others and the church in the middle chapters and in chapter 5 and 6 comments on the family and later in chapter 6 our spiritual war that we are all involved in.  One of our greatest needs to day is know who we are in Jesus and what we are in Jesus.   We are children of God.   We are loved.   We are in God’s family.   That is a big deal.    

     Ephesians gives us great and precious promises.   In chapter 1 we see several great and mighty things that God has blessed us with.   God has enriched the Christians life.  Paul starts this book and chapter by saying that he was an apostle by the will of God.   Those that receive Jesus have done so by the will of God.   There is a lot more to the Christians life than chance.   God is involved.   In verse 3 we are blessed with all or every spiritual blessing in Jesus.   Every spiritual blessing has been given to you.  Wow the Christian has been chosen by God.    He chose us to be holy in him.  In Jesus we are made holy at least in our position.   We are in Christ and that seed in us does not sin.   We are loved by God and adopted sons.   We are part of the family of God.   As children of God He delights in us.   We are forgiven and God lavishes his graced upon us.   We have hope.   We have been given power and we have an inheritance.   God has given us an eternal inheritance that will never pass away.   I hope you are excited today about God.   I hope you are excited about your walk with God.   There is so much to be thankful for.  

    God has blessed us.   God has made us rich.   We are a blessed people.    Bruce Howell shares the story of the Yates Fields in Texas.   Yates Pool is a famous oil field in West Texas. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Ira Yates.   Because of Yates’ inability to make enough money on his ranching operation to make his mortgage payment, he was in danger of losing his ranch.   With little money for clothes or food, his family, like many others during the depression years, had to live on government subsidy.    Day after day, Yates would watch his sheep as they grazed over those rolling West Texas hills. He would rack his brain trying to figure out some way to pay all his bills.

       One day a crew of men from an oil company came into the area & convinced Yates there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat test well. Yates agreed & signed a lease contract.  At 1,115 ft, the drillers struck a huge oil reserve. The 1st well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. But that was only the beginning. Many more wells came in, some more than twice as productive as the first.   In the 60’s, after oil had been pumped for more than 30 yrs, a government test of just one of the wells showed that it still had a potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. In the year 2000, Yates Field was still one of the top 10 producers of oil in the United States.   They have pumped 1 billion barrels of oil from it and it is estimated that there is another billion to go.   Yates lived in poverty for years because he did not know.    If you labor for God and are building God’s kingdom do not think for one minute that you will be and already are any less blessed and far richer than the owners of the Yates oil fields.   God is not cheap.   Think of your salvation and what Jesus did for you on the cross.   That was not cheap.  

        In God’s family you are not poor but rich.   God is not poor.  He is the creator.   In light of all of the billions of galaxies that God created God chose you.   God chose us.   How great God is.  The Psalmist said what is man that you are mindful of him?  That is a good question.   I suppose we could say there must be a lot on God’s mind with the administration and over sight of all his creation but God always has time for me and you.   Jesus is going to share all of creation and all of his inheritance with those that walk with him.   We are joint heirs with Him.   This passage talks about inheritance twice.   We are so blessed in Jesus now as verse 3 tells us we are rich.  We have been blessed with heavenly resources.   Far better heavenly resources then earthly temporal resources which will burn up and fade away.  You are so blessed in Jesus.  We have so much to be thankful for.  God is for us and not against us.  

    God loves us so much and he is such a giving God that God has made us rich in Jesus.    In Corinthians Paul said as having nothing and yet possessing all things.   We are co-heirs with Jesus and we will reign with Jesus.     That is grace wonderful grace because we do not deserve it.   If we suffer with Him we will reign with him.   God has blessed us.   We share in the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:7 & 2:7.   We share in his glory and mercy and in chapter 3 verse 8 Paul writes that the riches of Jesus are unsearchable.   We cannot fathom or get to the end of riches in Jesus.   God is rich and God has made us rich in Jesus.   All the wealth in this world is peanuts or pennies or nothing compared to the riches we have in Jesus.    I like that story of the missionary who came back from overseas on a ship after many years of service.  When they landed there was a band playing for some dignitary who was on the ship and a whole welcoming party of people there to cheer and so on.   The missionary man thought about it and became very depressed because no one had come to welcome him home.   In the world’s eyes he did not merit any home coming party.   The man was depressed for awhile about it and finally one day he was happy again and his wife ask him why he was so happy.  He told her God told me I was not home yet.   We have an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled.   God’s coming party will be better than anything this earth has ever experienced.   It will be great and awesome.    It will be far greater than any earthly rewards.  In this chapter the Holy spirit speaks of our hope in Christ.  We have hope. 

     God chose you before the world was created.   God chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.   Some believe the world is 12 thousand or so years old.   The astro physicists have done 4 mathematical equations that date creation at about 40 billion years old.   I am not saying that I know or believe which one is right but the point is that God has had you on his mind for a long time.   God has been thinking about you for thousands of years.   God loves you and whether you are saved or not God has blessed you and God loves you.   You are special and you are blessed and those in Christ are blessed with all spiritual blessings.   That is very powerful.   God has blessed the Christian.   Each book of the bible has a theme in it and for Ephesians it is our riches in Christ I would say.  I am sure that others would say other things about it but it certainly has a lot on all that we have been given in Jesus.    We are rich and we are blessed in Jesus and that is good news for you today and every day.  There may be a ton of negativity in your life and there may be a ton of obstacles but there is good news in Jesus.  

    Author Keith Miller tells the story of an outgoing 40-year-old woman that he knew.  She said "When I was a tiny little girl, my parents died and I was put in an orphanage.   I was not pretty at all and no one seemed to want me.  But I longed to be adopted and loved by a family as far back as I can remember. I thought about it day and night, but everything I did seemed to go wrong.   I must have tried too hard to please the people who came to look me over and what I did was drive them away.   "But then one day the head of the orphanage told me that a family was coming to take me home with them.   I was so excited that I jumped up and down and cried like a little baby.   The matron reminded me that I was on trial and this might not be a permanent arrangement, but I just knew that somehow it would work out.   

     "So I went with this family and started to school. I was the happiest little girl you can imagine, and life began to open up for me just a little.   But then one day a few months later, I skipped home from school and ran into the front door of the big old house we lived in.   No one was at home, but in the middle of the front hall was my battered suitcase with my little coat thrown across it.   As I stood there it suddenly dawned on me what it meant---I didn’t belong there anymore."   "This happened to me seven times before I was 13 years old.    But wait, don’t feel too badly.   It was experiences like these that ultimately brought me to God---and there I found what I had always longed for---a place, a sense of belonging, a forever family."   God has never put your suit case out with your coat on it and shipped you off.   God has never turned his back on you.   We may turn our back on him but he never does us.   God’s Holy Spirit worked on this gal for years waiting for her to find God.    God just desires for us to walk with him and enjoy him and love him because he loves us.  

             People get all excited about inheritances on earth.   It can really be a big deal and it can cause tremendous pain also.   Many fell they have more rights to the inheritance than another sibling or someone else in the family.   Some folks are waiting for their father or mother to die.   I think as Christians we could think about heaven a little bit more.   Have you thought about your inheritance lately?   Have you thought about your real inheritance lately?    Do you know who you are in Jesus?   Do you know what you have in Jesus?    Paul later in this chapter tells the Ephesians that he prayed for them and that Paul wanted them to know the hope that the Christian has.  In this life God has given us hope.   Paul wanted them to know the riches of his glorious inheritance and Paul wanted them to know the power that was in the Christian.    The same mighty power that raised Jesus up from the dead is in the Christian.   I know at times we feel weak.   At times we don’t feel very important.   At times we feel small and insignificant.   We need to break out of those feelings.   In Christ we are powerful.   In Christ we are rich.   In Christ Paul writes we own everything.  

    For the Christian our real life is in heaven with Jesus.  Colossians 3 tells us to set our mind on things above because our life is hidden with Jesus and God.    I like the card I saw as a young man which said keep looking down for you are seated in heavenly places with Christ.   As a Christian we operate in 2 different realms or spheres.   We are on this earth in a physical body and we are seated with Jesus in the heaven lies.      We have a heavenly connection.   That should impact how we live our life.  

    Sometimes we pray God give me patience and God has already given us that in the HS.   We pray give me strength and we have the same mighty power that raised Jesus up from the grave.   We pray Lord be near me and God says I will never forsake you or leave you.   We often ask for what God has given us.  We ask for things but do not appropriate that which we have.   It is like the college student who contacts his father for money to buy his books and the father says to him son I put 5K in your account to cover your expenses for this semester in college.   I think we need to learn to thank God for what He has already given us.    Thank you Lord that you are here today and we ask that in a special way your presence would be sensed.     That is a good prayer.   Lord I know I have strength in you but I need your help and your strength now.   We need to understand what we have available to us in Him and we need to give thanks for that.     We tend to look for what we want from God and not to look at what God has already blessed us with.   You are blessed in Jesus.   You are a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.