I remember playground games. Whether it was softball, kick-ball, football or dodge ball, we would divide into teams. Sometimes the teacher would select captains, sometimes 2 would just volunteer. But one thing I remember most, is that in the process of selecting teams, no one wanted to be the last person picked. It meant people didn’t see much in you, that you lacked the skill necessary to be a vital part of the team. Being picked last was often humiliating. As we celebrate Communion, I want you to know that in God’s eyes you are never the last person picked for God’s team! Let’s look at today’s passage from Ephesians 1:3-14 found in The Message
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.
7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!
He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in Him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.
13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
Today is the most important day in your life. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, not next week or next year. This leads me to the one thing you need to remember from today’s message: God speaks of his relationship with you in permanent, irrevocable terms of adoption, ransom and guarantee. God chooses you, and that will never change.
If you’ve ever felt unsure about your usefulness in God’s plans or if you are acceptable to God, then I want you to pay close attention for the next few minutes, because these few verses tell you three important things about You in God’s eyes. Embrace these 3 truths into your life, you will experience a greater sense of self-worth and more spiritual confidence than you have ever known.
1. You’ve Been On God’s Mind From The Beginning.
Go back to my image of standing on the playground. At first, you were just part of a crowd, but now selections have been made and now you are standing alone, and the captain who has the last pick, says “Oh well, I guess I’ll have to take them.” I think all of us can relate to this feeling; we all know what it is like to be the last chosen—the least talented in at least some area—academically, athletically, musically, and so on. But there is an area where you never need feel that way: Your Relationship With God.
Probably all of us have wondered, at one time or another, “If they had it to do all over again, would they choose me? Would they hire me? Would she marry me?” Maybe some of you have even thought, “If Jesus had to do it over, would He die for me again?” Some of you may believe that you have been such a disappointment to God that you would have been better off not to have been born. The message from God is the exact opposite.
The message from the heart of God is that you are accepted not because He had to, but because He wanted to. You are part of His plan. From The Beginning, He Has Wanted You To Be A Member Of His Family. Whether or not you think it’s possible, the Bible makes it clear that God Believes It Is Possible. Whether or not you believe in your potential, God Believes In Your Potential. You are part of His plan.
God knew that you would be where you are today in all areas of your life. He knew you would be here at this moment and for some, it may have been a rough ride. There may have been mistakes and disappointments along the way and you may have wanted to give up many times. Even though your past may be littered with failures, it doesn’t change the fact that God Loves You, He Chooses You, And He Believes In You. You have been, are now and will always be on His mind and in His heart. This is RANSOM!
2. You Belong To God, And That Will Never Change.
This passage defines your relationship with God in permanent terms. It says, first of all, that we have been adopted. The citizens of Ephesus understood the significance of adoption, because it was common in their society. Adoption wasn’t just a case of parents choosing to provide a home for a parentless child.
Adoptions also frequently occurred for business or political reasons—for one grown man to adopt another grown man to ensure that his wealth and power were passed on in the way that he intended it to be. The Most Important Thing To Remember Is That Adoptions Were Irrevocable. A man could disown his birth son, but could not disown his adopted son. It was a permanent relationship.
Paul said, “You’ve been Adopted into the family of God. Get comfortable because He’s not going to give up on you.”
3. Everything You Need, You Can Have.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross just to abandon you now. God is generous. He doesn’t withhold His kindness, His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, His compassion, or His blessings from you. He showers you with kindness. He will lavish His generosity on you, If You Are Willing To Receive It.
It’s not just about your physical needs; he is referring to your spiritual and emotional needs as well. God will give you All The Joy You Need—All The Love You Need, All The Faith You Need, All The Mercy You Need, And Much More.
You may have spent most of your life thinking that you had to manufacture these things on your own, and that most of the time God is ticked off that you don’t do a better job at it. You may have spent most of your life thinking that God doles out blessings only with great resistance, and only to the most deserving.
The truth is, He Wants To Shower His Kindness On You. Everything you need, He wants to provide.
See your relationship with God in a new way—in a non-adversarial way. God isn’t mad at you. He isn’t sorry that He chose you. And if He had to do it over, He Would Die For You Again. Why? Before you were born, you were on His mind and IN His heart. He chooses You to be His very own. You belong with Him, and that will never change. And He will be with you every step of the way, blessing you with what you need each and every moment.
How do I know this? Even more important, how can YOU know this? You and I can know this without a doubt because the Holy Spirit is given as our guarantee. “Guarantee” Is A Term That Means The Assurance That Another’s Obligation Will Be Fulfilled.
It comes from a Hebrew word that means “a pledge”—God has made a pledge to fully restore you back to His Intended Design—To be the you He created you to be. Until that work is finished He gives us the Holy Spirit, as His Personal Pledge.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is the assurance that God’s commitment to you will not stop until the final result—We become exactly like our Intended Design—The Perfect In Every Detail Reflection Of God. We come to the table, the ONLY Table where it all starts, where we are called to live, and one day where it will be completed—the Table of Grace…
This week it’s rather simple: Find where God is at work and join with Him. After all, He has chosen you to work with Him! Or, find a place where you know God wants to work, and get started. After all, He wants you to work with Him!