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  • Pastor Jacob Marchitell

Ephesians 1:3

From January 17th 2021


After service today we will be having our Annual Business Meeting

Were going to talk about the stuff we did in 2020, and hear from the different Ministries about what they did

And we’ll take a look at this year and the plans that we have

Were also going to bribe you all with Pizza to eat afterward


Our Digital Bible Study will be starting NEXT tuesday the 26th at 630pm

We’ll be talking about Reformed Theology and what it is and why we believe it to be the most accurate way to understand Scripture


It will be through Zoom, so if you want to be a part of it, let me know and ill get you the sign in info ------

Or go to our Facebook page and you'll be able to see the info there as well


Were doing our Annual Baby Bottle drive right now, to raise funds for CareNet in Newark, to help them help the unborn,

Theres only one bottle left back there, but if you let me know, ill make sure to pick up some more!


And the kids are dismissed


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In today’s Verse, were going to be able to see three main points, for us to take home.


I’ll be reading from the ESV - and sooner or later we’ll get the ESV version on the Screen behind me.


Ephesians 1:3

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,


( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )


At first glance, we can see that this verse is leading to something.

Mainly because it doesnt end in a period, it ends in a comma ----- so we know that there is something coming up.


Yes it gives us something practical that we can expound on ----- but its introducing something to us.


Mainly - Everyone who belongs to Christ, has already received “every spiritual blessing” and in the verses to follow we’ll be able to read about them.


So next week, we’ll break into that list of every spiritual blessing ------ by looking at the very first one that is listed.


But today ------ were going to focus on verse 3.


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Paul says “Blessed be God ------ because He blessed us in Christ.”


And that right there is point number 1:


God first, and then we respond ---- needs to be the progression of everything in our life.

God blesses us, so we bless Him

We live how we should - we love how we should - we act we we should - and it blesses God

God acts first, and we respond


God speaks to us, so we speak to Him

We pray - we worship - we reach the end of our rope and breakdown in tears and screams

God acts first, so we respond


1st John 4:19 even says that We have the ability to love, because He loved us first


That is the order by which everything in our life needs to happen.

God first -------- and then we respond

We read God’s Word -------- and then we respond to them

We agree and live them out---

Or we may disagree, but then we’ll change our minds and hearts to better align with what He says


God moves ----- and we respond


He disciplines or corrects us ------ and we respond

He takes joy in us ----- and we respond


Everything we do with our life, must be out of a response to God.

How we live

How we work

Where we work

What we eat

What we watch

Who we have relationships with

How we dress


I listed a bunch of these off last week, as the areas in which we are called to be holy as He is holy ----- so I hope you guys are picking up the pattern.


How we live our life ---- in all areas of our life ---- must be in response to God.


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We can see this all through Scripture, God says or does something, and then humans respond.

When it doesnt happen, and the humans begin actin in response to their own hearts or the state of their family or community, bad things happen.


Genesis 6:11 - 13

[11] Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. [12] And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. [13] And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.4 Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it…...


...and then fast forward to verse 22 ---- “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.”


Did Noah act and live in response to the corruption and violence that was so severe it brought about the very judgement of God?


Did he complain and gripe about his nation living in an ungodly way?

Or did he live in such a way that 2nd Peter 2:5 calls him a preacher of righteousness?


Noah didnt respond to the wickedness around him - he responded to God


Then we can look at the story of the Israelities creating a golden calf.


It comes to us in Exodus 32:1–6

[1] When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” [2] So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” [3] So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. [4] And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” [5] When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” [6] And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. (ESV)


The people couldnt wait for God ----- so they responded to their own hearts and thoughts and lusts

Does God seem far away? Like He was there for you at one point, but now He’s far away?

Has it been so long since you have heard from Him, that you feel like filling that void with something else?


Be patient ---- Wait ---- God will come to you.


Do not respond to you hurt ----- do not respond to your loneliness ------ do not respond to your pain or despair ----


Respond to the God who promises to be there through all of it.


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We dont respond to this world and everything in it ------ we respond to God


We THANK God in response to Him -----

But do we ASK ----- in response to Him ----- or in response to the world?


Do we ask Him to heal our family member of Cancer---- because of the Cancer---- or because He allowed it to happen?


Are our prayers to heal a loved one, being puppeteered by a disease?


Or do they come from the reality that God is sovereign over diseases?


We WORSHIP God in response to Him saving and loving us-----

But do we worship Him ----- when evil people meet justice?


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Do we pray and ask Him to heal our nation ------- because of our Nation’s current state?


Do we see the violence and confusion painted across the news ----- and let THAT control us and control our prayers?


Do we give the pain and evil that this world produces, celebrates, and encourages ----- the honor of being the cause of our prayers?


Or do we pray for our Nation because Galatians 6:7-8 says this: “7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction…”


Everything must proceed from God ------ into all areas of our life.


Do we pray against our sin because it hurts us?

Or because it hurts God?


Do we avoid the things we know tempt us ----- because of THEM?

Or because God calls us to be holy?


This may seem harsh and hard and serious -------


But if we live our life as nothing but a response TO OUR LIFE AND THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN HERE, then all we are is a byproduct of our hurt


There is no organic you---

There is no authentic you---


All you are is a parroted response to someone else’s stupid choices, and as soon as that person is no longer in your mind or heart, you find something else to respond to.

Look to God ---- and then live in response to Him.


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When fear and anxiety surrounds you, do not respond to IT------

Respond to the God who promises that no matter what you are going through, that He will never leave you nor forsake you.


When a loved one has betrayed or hurt you---- do not respond to THEM


Respond to the God who created and displayed what real love looks like


Do not let the filth and garbage of this world control your identity or your prayers.


Live in response to the unchanging God of the Universe, and your life will take on the consistency and stability that we so long for.


“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”


God first, and then we respond


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The second point Id like to talk about this morning, has to do with the phrase that Paul uses: “Every Spiritual Blessing in the heavenly realms”


#1 - We respond to God, not the world

#2 - We as Christians have “every spiritual blessing” in the heavenly realms.


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To say it another way ----- there arent any spiritual blessings in the heavenly realm, that we dont already have.

In fact, next week, like I mentioned, were going to start on that list of Spiritual blessings, and then go into 2 or 3 weeks after that looking at each of these blessings that we already have.


We already have ----- every spiritual blessing.


There arent any spiritual blessings that God has held back from us.


God isnt in heaven, waiting for us to pray the right prayer or go to Church and punch our Christian frequent shopper card ------ and THEN He will give us spiritual blessings.

We already have every spiritual blessing.


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Im repeating myself on this one, over and over, because of how important it is that we understand that:

There arent any Spiritual Blessings that God hasn’t given us.


Which means:

If someone tells you that you need to claim you blessings------ run from them.

If someone says God is waiting to bless you -----

Or that your blessings havent come because you screwed up or your grandparents screwed up ----- avoid them and everything they say.


“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”


Every----

Spiritual----

Blessing----


In the heavenly places


------------


“The heavenly places”

This is not heaven, as in “Where God lives”

It’s not the place where all believers will go when they die

With angels and streets of Gold


This is not the geographical location known as heaven.


This is the same heavenly places that Paul talks about at the end of Ephesians in chapter 6:12


Ephesians 6:12

[12] For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (ESV)


This is the unseen world


The spiritual realm


The place that is here and now and surrounds us at all times, yet remains unseen to our human eyes.


This is where we battle the forces of our disgusting enemy------

And this is where we have every spiritual blessing.


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Paul is letting us know that blessings that come directly from ----- God intervening in our life, ------- not secondary blessings we may or may not see from living a life in line with Scripture----

Because in the grand scheme of things, that doesnt really matter, does it?

Yes it is nice to have a car and a house and a family and a bank account


Yes the secondary byproduct blessings that may or may not come in this life here and now, can be nice and comforting and everything else ------ but we should by no means ever let our faith ever touch them.


We should never look at our house or car ---- and say “See God loves me, look at how he has blessed me”

“Look at my family, look at my spouse, look at my bank account”


If you ever hear anyone say “I know that God has blessed me, and that God loves me, because of all the things I have in my life ------ politely tell them to go have a nice day.


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If we let our faith touch the material things in this world as evidence that God loves us, then what will happen when those things are gone?


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We are blessed first and foremost because we are in Christ ------

And then we have EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places


In fact ---- this phrase: “Heavenly places”

Only appears right here in the book of Ephesians, 6 different times.

Yes we can read about the heavenlies

And heaven

But the phrase, “Heavenly places” or some translations will say “heavenly realms” only appears in the book of Ephesians.


These heavenly places, are the areas in life where we feel the attacks of the enemy

Where we feel temptation

Where we feel righteous anger over the evil we see in the world

Where we feel the love of Christ

Where we feel direction and correction from God

Where we feel alone when weve traveled into our sin

And where we feel His embrace when He forgives us


How many Spiritual Blessings do we have?

All of them /// Every Single one


When God decides to live entangled with our soul, is when we become recipients of every single spiritual blessing



I closing -----


#1 - We respond to God, not the world


We see the garbage and pain and happiness and joy that comes at us, and we keep our eyes on God, and respond to Him


We pray for our families - because of Him

We pray for our nation - because of Him

We stand against our sin and the sin in this world - because of Him


God first, and then everything else


#2 - We as Christians have “every spiritual blessing” in the heavenly realms.


The blessings that we receive ---- directly from God’s intentional interaction with our life----

Are not cars and houses

Are not money and friends and families


The blessings that we receive from God acting in our life:

are ours in Christ---- and --- they are complete -- we arent missing any of them


And they come to us in “heavenly places”

Where our spiritual lives experience everything that our spirits can experience


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So that leaves us then, with:


#3 - What are these blessings?

If we already have them - what are they?

How do I appropriate the blessings I already have?


These…...are answers that we will get into next week, when we look at the first and most important one in verses 4&5 - Predestination. Feel free and I would encourage you, to read through verses 4&5 and even through to verse 14 where theres a natural break in the text.


Don’t forget that after Service today, we’ll be having our Annual Business Meeting right here in the Sanctuary.



( → → Doxology ← ← )


“Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;


Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”


( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )


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