Do you remember lining up in a row during gym class and choosing sides for some sort of game like dodgeball or softball? When I was in school it seemed like the same kids were always chosen last. I cannot imagine what they felt. Some of you might be able to relate to what they were feeling. You know what it’s like to not be chosen or to be chosen last. Some of you know what it’s like to be rejected. A spouse, a friend or maybe even your parents have made you feel anything but loved or wanted. Today, we’re back in the Book of Ephesians, and what we’re going to discover is that we are loved by God and that He has chosen us before the creation of the world! You’re a masterpiece, blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, and now, God declares that you are chosen! You’re SOMEBODY!
How you see yourself matters. If we have a wrong view of ourselves, we will live a life that is contrary to God’s will and plan for our lives. Our identity and our esteem must be rooted in who God says we are! It is only when we know who we are from God’s perspective can we determine how to live our lives. So far in our study of Ephesians, we have seen that those who are in Christ are masterpieces, created by God for His glory and the good of others. He declares that you and I are saints – set apart from the world and made holy by the perfect righteousness of Christ. We have been blessed by God with every spiritual blessing in the heavens – we have everything for life and godliness! And today we will discover and explore that fact that those who are in Christ have been chosen by God!
“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him…”
Paul begins in verse four by declaring “For He chose us in him…” You could translate the word for to read because. You and I know that every spiritual blessing is ours because we were chosen by God. He wants to remind us that God is the one who is taking action here. The gospel always begins with God! He continues by saying that God has chosen us in Christ.
Before I unpack the word chosen, let me address who He has chosen. This letter was written to the church at Ephesus. Therefore, the vast majority of the recipients were Gentiles – people who were not Jewish. Gentiles were despised by the Jews and therefore, excluded from the worship, rights, and privileges of Israel. The Jews thought of them as the enemies of God! In spite of what the Jews said about them, they were now part of God’s family. Paul is writing to a group of individuals who were told for the majority of their lives that they didn’t belong; that they could never gain full access to God! He is addressing their identity which was defined and therefore, found, in Christ.
Paul could relate to the Gentiles’ struggle with accepting this great truth. Although he was a Jew, he knew that he was a great sinner, one undeserving of God’s love. He declared in Ephesians 3:8 that the grace of God was extended to him, the least of all the saints. In 1 Timothy 1:15 he writes, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-and I am the worst of them.” Paul never lost the amazement of being chosen by God not only to be adopted into His family but to be an apostle-a witness to the Gentiles (Eph. 3:8; Gal. 1:4)!
Chosen. It has a beautiful ring to it, doesn’t it? God Himself, the creator of the universe, chose you. Technically the word means “to pick out or choose out for one’s self.” God called you and me out of darkness, out of Adam, into Christ, for Himself and His glory. You and I were chosen by God for God.
In John 15:16 Jesus said to His disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” Jesus said we did not choose Him. We couldn’t. We were so trapped in our sin, so blinded to the truth, that we had no desire to seek after God (RO 3:10-11). In John 6:44 Jesus declared, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” Everything, including our salvation, begins with God. He does the choosing. He decides to draw us unto Himself. God creates within you a hunger for Jesus and His righteousness!
It gets better. God’s decision to choose the Gentiles and to bestow upon them every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms wasn’t some random or recent thought. No, Paul is declaring that God loved them, and chose them, long ago, even before He made the world… before the foundation of the world. God’s original plan, crafted before the world was created, was to include both Jews and Gentiles into His family! Before God laid the foundation of the world, He was at work choosing a people for Himself.
Before the world was ever established, God knew you and loved you. You were chosen by God before the first bird chirped. Before the first star was hung in the universe. Before the first drop of rain fell or before the first snowflake was shaped by God, you were chosen by Him. He chose you before you cleaned up your life, before you “got right.” This means that God chose you, devised a rescue plan for you, before the fall and before there was ever a need for rescue. There’s the grace we spoke of last week!
But why? Our text says that God chose us so that we would be holy and blameless. To some Christians, holy means a manner of dress, restrictions of activities, or a measure of pride in the fact that certain sins don’t tempt them. Holy doesn’t mean any of them. In the original language the word used for holy means “dedicated to God, sacred, reserved for God and His service.” You and I have been chosen by God to live for His glory and the good of others (1 Cor. 10:31).
The word blameless means that we are to be without flaw or blemish. The idea takes us back to Old Testament worship and God’s requirement that all sacrifices be without blemish. Anything with a blemish was disqualified as an acceptable offering to God. Our problem is that we could never be blameless on our own. Scripture declares that you and I have sinned, fallen short of God’s glory (RO 3:23). That’s why Jesus had to come to earth – to make us blameless. He did this by being our substitute upon the cross. As He paid for our sins, we were clothed with His righteousness. God now sees those who are in Christ as being blameless!
Those of us who are in Christ have been chosen by God for a specific purpose – to present ourselves before Him as holy and blameless. This great truth should produce within us five things:
Assurance. Because salvation begins with God and is accomplished by God, you can be sure that what God starts He will finish. The truth is that every Christian struggles at some point with their salvation. Why? Because the closer you grow to God, the more you are aware of your sin. As we continually enter into the presence of God we will see the depth of our sinfulness and begin to wonder, “Am I genuinely saved?” Jesus speaks to this question in John 6:37-39, “Everyone the Father gives me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.” Jesus is the good shepherd. He loses none of His sheep. Not even one. All He starts with, He ends with.
Power. The truth that we have been chosen by God and that our salvation is secured by Him gives us the power or the strength we need to get back up after our failures. Knowing that God finishes what He starts, we can be sure that even though today was consumed by defeat, God’s decree for our tomorrow is victory! Ephesians 2:10 declares that we are God’s creation, created in Him for good works. God has determined to mold and shape us for His glory and for His service – the burden of fixing our lives is not ours to carry. It is His. He is molding us and shaping us into the image of His Son. The good works that God has for you were chosen by Him. And, because He determined that this is how you should live your life, He has provided you with the power to do so!
Humility. You and I are Christians by grace alone and not because of anything that we have done. God has chosen to redeem us and use us for His glory. Deuteronomy 7:7-8 declares, “The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the Lord loved you…” 1 Corinthians 1:27 declares that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise! God’s preference is to turn fools into Christians. God chose us. (What does that say about you and me?) How does that make you feel? Not proud I’m sure. Humble I hope.
Hope in the midst of your trials. God is working in us to shape you into the image of His Son. His desire is to shape us into an instrument for His glory. That means everything in life is dedicated to that purpose. He declares in Romans 8 that He can bring good out of all things. James declared that we should “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials” Why? Because God uses the trials of life to mold and shape us! These momentary afflictions are in reality a blessing from God – they give us hope. They reveal that God loves us and that He has a plan for our lives! He disciplines those that He loves.
Boldness in sharing the Gospel. Because God has chosen to embrace Gentiles like you and me, because He has chosen to take sinners like us and mold them into the image of His Son, we should be compelled to share the gospel with others. We must declare to the hopeless and the helpless that long before they were born God decided to give them every spiritual blessing in the heavens through Christ Jesus. To those that feel unloved or rejected by the world we must cry out that God loves them! How do we know He loves us? Look to the cross!
This morning my goal was to help each of every one of us see that God has chosen to make us His very own in His Son Christ Jesus.
- To those who feel unloved or unworthy of being loved, let me declare to you that God loves you. You were chosen to be loved by Him long before the world began. You matter to Him. He loves you with an everlasting love. He sent His Son to rescue you from your sin.
- To those of you who are struggling with sin, God declares that it is His job to mold you and shape you. He is working right now in your life to transform you into the image of His Son Jesus. Victory is yours in Christ Jesus.
- To those of you who do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior… can I ask you “Why not say yes to Jesus?” God has so much to offer you. He wants to transform your life so that you might live for His glory. He wants you to experience His love and find purpose in life. He desires that none would perish, but that all would find life in Christ.
Are you ready to experience genuine love? Are you ready to be transformed? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to experience victory? Then say “Yes” to Jesus.