Given on Feb 21st 2021
Part 3 of our Digital Bible Study will be this Tuesday at 630
If you want to join in, you can find the Zoom info on our Facebook page, or come see me and i’ll let you know.
There are only 2 more after this Tuesday, but the recordings from all of them will be up on facebook and youtube.
The Baby Bottles for the CareNET fundraiser were due last Sunday, but if you forgot, there is still time to bring them in
We haven't been passing around the Offering Basket because of Covid, but if you still want to give a tithe or an offering, you're free to leave it in the basket up front here, and we also have digital giving set up through Venmo --- just search for user ChristCommunityChurch27
Were also still looking to fill the role of Worship Leader, even though we love Jen and Terry and the offering they bring before the Lord is beautiful, were still looking for a more permanent Worship Leader
At the end of Service today, I'll be inviting you all to stand with me and sing the words of the Doxology.
It will give us a minute to slow down, relax, and start digesting everything that was said
And the kids are dismissed
So far in this first chapter of Ephesians we have seen the majesty and glory of God on full display.
Every area of human pride must fall at its feet when reading through Ephesians 1
And in our verses today, we will see an area in our life that is touched by His sovereignty, that brings me, personally, Pastor Jacob …. so much peace and comfort.
These few verses are very close to my heart, so I pray I can communicate the beauty of them to you this morning.
 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (ESV)
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
He is God, and we are not-----
We fail, but He does not---
We have intentions, and we attempt to carry them out, and sometimes we succeed, and othertimes… we fail.
God, does not.
He has no intentions that aren't realized
He has no plans that aren't fulfilled
Our God, is the King of all Creation.
And He is loving King
A kind King
He is Just
He is fair
He is all powerful, all knowing, and unchanging
He is God, and we are not.
And because He is God------
He will save His children.
He will save them from the consequences of their actions, and sent His Son to die the death that they deserve---- to ensure ------ that His children will make it home.
Freeing them from the slavery of sin
Forgiving them, and making them able to forgive others
Graciously and lavishly layering on every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
All of which happens according to the riches of His grace
Not because of our situation--
Not because of how bad or good we may have been--
Not because our parents raised us right or raised us wrong--
Not because our family and our family lineage is chosen by God--
Not because of any Earthly thing
God adopted His children according to His own will.
The choice was His.
And when we repented of our sins and believed in Him, it was because God breathed fresh life into our dead soul and awakened us to see our need for Him.
And He does that for people from every tribe, language, and Nation
There is none beyond the reach of our God
None too far gone that cannot be affected by the sound of His voice calling to them
There are none that have entrenched themselves in sin and idolatry to the point that God will try, but fail to reach them
There are none beyond the reach of our God
Jesus Christ is freedom, and everything will be united to Him, things in heaven and things on Earth.
The past few Sundays we have been looking at the verses before the ones I read this morning, and we read about these blessings that all believers have through a relationship with Jesus Christ----
And then we have our Verses this morning, that are a giant divine exclamation point to the blessings that God shows to His children.
It is an exclamation point, because it is the end:
The last thing to say about our life----
After everything we have seen and lived through---
After everything we have experienced and known---
After all of our failures and success-----
No matter how big and shiny they were
Or how dark and wicked the failures were -----
We are children of the most high God, and we have an irrevocable inheritance that we can never lose, because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit
It is in this blessing here----- that allows us the ability to take comfort in all of God’s promises.
All of His words
Every interaction we have with the living God, can be counted on
We can take comfort in the reality that God will not lose any of His children.
No one will slip through the cracks
No one will miss their opportunity to repent and believe
You see, Saint Paul wrote that we have an inheritance, because:
God does not abandon His children
He is not some scumbag deadbeat father, who sends a birthday card thinking an ounce of paper will have any effect on the years of a lost childhood.
He is a not Father that puts work before His family
He is not a Father who intentionally places their children in harm’s way
He is not a Father who uses his authority over His family to his advantage to indulge in the pleasures and passions of the flesh
Last week we talked about forgiveness, and how when we first came to believe, GOd forgave us of ALL of our sins.
The sins we have yet to commit, have had their due consequence poured out upon the back of Jesus Christ
You see, God forgave us of our future sins, because He is a loving and kind and gracious God ------ who not ignore His children----
He doesn't abandon them----
He doesn't look them in their eyes, tell them He loves them, and then ----- leaves
He doesn't save us and then leave us alone as if the salvation itself should be enough to quench our desire to know Him more----
God is active in the lives of His children---
He cares for them---
Rejoices and mourns with them---
But most importantly, the thing that God does in the lives of whosoever believes, is found in verses 13 and 14 this morning:
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
If we believe, then we have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we join our God in eternity.
Now when you read this, think seal as in the old timey wax seal that a King would put on a package or an envelope to ensure that no one else would upon it.
And what does that verse say we were sealed with?
Our grit and determination?
Our knowledge of Scripture?
How often we pray?
How often we fast?
How much we tithe?
Is it our trust in Him?
Our love towards Him?
Is it the good works that we do that James says are evidence of our faith?
What does it say seals us until we acquire our inheritance?
The Holy Spirit
2 Corinthians 1:21–22
 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,  and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
You see, when we read the words written in Scripture, a certain pattern begins to emerge.
It is one that is very clearly seen here in Ephesians 1
And we can also see it woven through all of Scripture
And that is that God is absolutely sovereign over everything in all of reality.
If youve been here the past few weeks, you have heard me say that a number of times already----- because Ephesians 1 says it a number of times
And i’ll probably say it every day for the rest of my life.
And the absolute beauty and peace of that fact, becomes real to us when we read Verses 13-14 this morning.
You see, when we got saved, when we first repented and believed, no matter when or where it happened, it wasn't just some random event
It was planned in advance
It was plotted
God didn't roll the dice and hope for the best outcome----- and we talked about this a few weeks ago ----- you were predestined.
When we read paragraphs and Chapters of Scripture that all point to the same idea ---- the same teaching ----- multiple times per sentence ------ God is telling us to pay attention
This reality that we read about is important, because the circumstances around how you became a Christian, will weave themselves through your entire life.
It will be the background music of every event you live through
So ask yourself ---- what made you a Christian?
Do you believe ----because your parents did?
Do you believe ----because it’s a nice happy thought that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Do you believe ---- because you yourself have some kind of special understanding and spiritual insight that all those dirty sinners don't have?
Do you believe because you lived a life of selfishness and reached a dead end of hurt and pain?
Do you believe because some event in your life or a series of events in your life shook you to your core and you realized that there was someone beyond the understanding of mankind?
I want to tell you this morning, that no matter what the Earthly circumstances were that surrounded you coming to repent and believe, the Bible tells us that if you believe, it is because God chose you.
I want to tell you this morning, that understanding how we came to believe ---- will have an effect on our entire life.
It is woven through our entire relationship with God
How we worship
How we read our Bibles
How we fast
How we tithe
How much we volunteer
How sold out and dedicated we are to our relationship with God ----- will be directly related to our understanding of how and why we first came to believe in Him
And this understanding can either help us, or hurt us.
When we believe that we ourselves are the masters of our own fate ---- and that we ourselves have enough strength to know God free from His intervention -----
What happens when we lose that strength?
If we have built our spiritual house on the idea that we somehow contained enough spiritual information in our heart and in our brain, that we were able to think our way into believing in God --------
What happens when we get confused? //// What happens when we feel lost?
What happens when we are confronted by a spiritual issue in our life that we can’t seem to make sense of, and just saying “oh God knows more than me” only creates a deeper and bigger mistrust of Him?
If we ourselves are the ones who chose Christ because of whatever reason we had ---- what happens when we know longer have that reason?
Do we look to ourselves and our ability and our understanding and our knowledge and our spirituality to make sense of the things of God?
And then use ourselves as the barometer for what is true and real and honest?
Do we say: “I know God acts this way or that way, because of how I feel or how I think?”
Well...what happens when how we think and how we feel ----- changes?
Does that then mean that God ----- changes?
If we ourselves, are the reason why we ourselves believe ------
Then what happens to us ----- when life happens to us?
The death of a loved one
Disease // Sickness // Addiction // Depression // Anxiety
Civil unrest // A totalitarian government
A global pandemic
You see …. I’m asking these kinds of big and heavy questions, because our relationship with God, is the most important thing there is to any human ever.
AW Tozer said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Our relationship with God is the very center of who we are as a person. Our identity. Our consciousness moves at His say and everything in our life is His.
Beyond jobs and family and money and children------
When the Holy Spirit decides to live entangled with the soul of another person, it becomes the controlling and consuming reality of their life.
Everything is lived through it.
Our friends and hobbies and clothing and music and family
Who we love
How we express that love
How we process pain and loss and trauma
Everything in our life, revolves around and moves out from our relationship with God.
And if we believe that the origin of that all consuming // life changing // life defining // relationship ------- lies within ourselves ------- then we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Last Sunday, I kind of closed with a little bit of a teaser.
We talked about verse 10 that said that God will unite all things to Christ, and how all the blessings listed in the previous verses;
Like redemption and forgiveness
And the Blessings available to all believers throughout Scripture, are ours--------
But sometimes, it doesn't feel like it.
When we have had a bad day
A bad week
A bad year
When life happens
When we get confused
When all of those things that threaten our peace and attack our heart and attack our mind come at us ---- sometimes even from within the safety of our own families -------- what do we do?
Do we knuckle up and do the 21st century american thing and give it our best?
And when that fails, will we admit that we are helpless?
Do we blame the government?
Blame the other side of wherever we stand?
Blame our parents?
Do we focus all of our angst and hurt and fear onto something we can see and hold and focus on ------ and then maybe because we can identify it ------ maybe we’ll be able to control it?
What are we supposed to do, we who believe that Jesus Christ is God----
We who have repented and turned away from our favorite sins---
We who have confessed that we have nothing apart from God and have placed our trust fully in your hands---
When the storms of this life rage against us ------ look to the reason why you are a Christian.
Not because of your family
Not because of your parents
Not because your culture or society may or may not be more or less “Christian” than others ----- and that was passed on to your great grandparents
But you are a Christian because you are a Child of God that He did not leave behind.
We waded into the dark jungles of this world
He lowered Himself into the muck and mire of this world
He spoke human words with a human mouth so that His sheep would hear His voice-----
And He succeeded.
He will always ….. Succeed.
He will not fail to gather all of His children to Him.
Our verses this morning tell us that He is our inheritance, and we are His.
Jesus Christ is the God of all creation, and He died for the sins of all who believe in Him, and then rose again on the 3rd day------ and if you repent of your sins and believe in Him, then you will be obtaining an inheritance
It is not an inheritance of money and financial gain---
It is not possessions or materials
It is a heavenly inheritance, set in place before the foundation of the world so that the Children of God will obtain it when they breathe their last breath and their day comes to leave this world and enter the next.
If you believe, then you are children of God
That is who you are
That is your definition
That is the identity given to you
Not because you are extra special
Not because you are holier than someone else
Not based on anything in this world
But according to His will
And….im repeating this again, and if you ever become my friend, or are already my friend ----- I will remind you off it for the rest of your life------ so much so that you might not want to hang out with me in casual situations ----
God does not abandon His children
So when the hurts of this world pile up-----
When death and disease swirls around you
When pain and suffering are ever before your eyes and you do not know how you will ever move forward
Remember, that you are a child of God
You are not alone
You have never been alone
God didn't leave you when you were a rebellious teenager
God didn't turn His back on your while you enjoyed your sin
He was there through all of your hurt continually reminding you to look to Him
God doesn't abandon His Children
You have an inheritance that is unaffected by any and everything in this world.
Do not rest upon your own understanding
Do not stand upon your own ability
Your own strength
Your own reasoning
Your own opinions, feelings
For all of them will fail but God never will.
In closing, I hope we all understand this morning, that God has you, and He will never let go.
We are in His hands
I play this game with my daughter, in fact, I played it with all of my kids when they were younger, where I close my fist as tightly as I can ------
And they try and pry each of my fingers up until I no longer can make a fist.
God has you in His hands, and it isn't a open palm
It is a tightly held fist that no one can pry open.
John 10:28 says:
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
You see, when we believe that we ourselves are the source of our own salvation, then that is who we will look to when trouble comes.
We say or think things like:
“I knew God back then, but now….I don't know”
“I used to be so close to God before, but I can’t feel Him anymore.”
“I can do this, I can do this, yes God is there to help me when I can’t stand up on my own, and I know I can call on Him whenever I need to….but I got this.”
God should never be your plan B that you look to when you fail.
He is your everything or He is nothing.
I realize how heavy this is.
And I hope everyone here this morning realizes that we can rest in God’s hands.
Not be lazy and ignore life---
We don't need to work for God’s love
We don't need to toil and labor day after day after day in some attempt to put ourselves on God’s good side.
He has you, He always has, and He always will.
 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
You were sealed ------
not with human will or human exertion
You, your salvation, your faith ----- were sealed with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it
You were sealed with God
And unless God can fail, then you cannot lose your salvation
Because it’s not US who can’t lose our salvation, it is God who won’t take our salvation away.
It’s like that, because God saving you, and never abandoning you, speaks to His holiness, His glory.
That is why verses 12 and 14 both say the same words: “...to the praise of His glory”
Humans abandon people based on their actions
Earthly Kings and Earthly rulers will cut off their followers
Parents will push their kids away and ignore and hurt them
Humans turn their back and abandon the people they love
Humans get hurt and hurt in retaliation
Thank God, that God is not like us.
One last thing before we close, this truth, that you cannot lose your salvation, is not an excuse to go and live like the devil.
This could be an entire Sermon by itself, and we’ll get to that another day, but Paul says in Romans 6:15-16: “5 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
Yes God won’t ultimately turn His back on you------ but that doesn't mean there won’t be natural and spiritual consequences to living in sin.
Do you want to damage your relationship with Him, then ignore His words
Before we stand for the Doxology, I’d like to close with these verses from
Romans chapter 8. Verses 31–39
 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
( → → Doxology ← ← )
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
( → → Closing prayer ← ← )