The Blessing of New Life

The Blessing of New Life

J.C. Thompson |

In the first week of the NEW LIFE series, we discuss the first portion of Ephesians 1 and learn why our New Life in the Spirit is truly a blessing.

New Life
The Blessing of New Life – Message 1
J.C. Thompson
March 19, 2023

A. Introduction (Ephesians 1:3. C/R: Job 10:15)

  • As Bryan and I were discussing a few weeks ago about a message series leading into Easter. He had the thought that Ephesians 1 would be the perfect lead into Easter.
  • This concept of living the New Life of the Spirit is something that this passage explains in depth.
  • The portion that I’ll be talking about today is that objective reality of New Life, made available to us by God. Then Paul finishes the chapter praying about the subjective reality of our new life. That we would experience it, know it, and live it out.
  • As I began studying this passage it became clearer that this is a perfect section for us to spend some time in for a few reasons.

  1. Ephesians is the only letter that Paul wrote which did not have a specific audience. He wrote it more generically. Because of this it is the most easily accessible letter that we have access to.
  2. It deals with our salvation from God’s perspective and also our response to God’s invitation to this new life.

So our theme verse for today comes from the beginning of our passage.

Ephesians 1:3 (CSB) - 3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.

  • This verse seems to say that we have everything we need in order to not only live the Christian Life, but excel in it. Is that your experience?
  • In the Christian Life you meet Christians who seem to be defeated. There is a mindset battle going on. I would characterize it in this way. A Surplus vs. Deficit mindset.

Surplus vs. Deficit

  • This isn’t the prosperity gospel. I am not advocating that we ignore what are real hurts, trials, and seasons of suffering.
  • But I am saying that while we will experience seasons of struggle, we should also at the same time be experiencing and growing a deep sense of God’s indwelling presence, intentional mission, and a joyful disposition.
  • But the attitude that I sometimes see Christians have in approaching their situation is Woe is me.
  • Origin of “Woe is Me” – many attribute the phrase Woe is me, to Shakespeare in Hamlet, but it actually was written way earlier than that in the book of Job.

Job 10:15 (NIV) - “ If I am guilty—woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction.”

  • This is a small but subtle difference, but one that is worthy of consideration. Woe to me and Woe is me are different phrases. Woe to me, is a right understanding of my sinfulness in the sight of God’s holiness.
  • Woe to me is selfish self-pity and a denial of the life available to you in the Spirit accomplished by Christ’s finished work.
  • But how can we live in this new life and experience its fullness. Today I will talk about the objective blessing of new life from God.

B. The Blessing of New Life consists of…

1. Responsive Worship. (Ephesians 1:3a. C/R: Romans 15:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:14)

  1. Paul begins this letter with a song of praise. Our theme verse is Ephesians 1:3, Paul uses the same root word in 3 different ways in this one verse.
  2. Ephesians 1:3a (CSB)Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. This word and the other two instances of the word blessed come from the same root, eulogia. This is the word we get eulogy or eulogize from. It means to speak well of someone.
  4. This particular form of the word used at the beginning of the verse is only used to speak of God the Father or Jesus Christ.
  5. Paul here in verses 3-14 has written one sentence. This sentence is a song of love. Written as a response to what God has done for us.
  6. You know Paul is describing a reality to all of us as followers of Christ in this passage. When we look at what God has accomplished for us, that He has a purpose for our lives not only in heaven but also on earth, we must respond.
  7. The response that we should have is one of worship.
  8. Song vs. Worship. – I love to sing. But I am awful at it. But worship is more than music and more than a song.
  9. For those of us that may not be musically inclined we may pass over this. But I’ll give you a few ways that you can respond in worship to God.
  10. Your work.
  11. Your home, specifically inviting folks over and providing a warm atmosphere for fellowship and sharing the gospel.
  12. Your generosity financially and in serving.
  13. When it comes to your work, your home, and your generosity, would you say that you are responding to God’s grace in each of these areas?
  14. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 (NLT) He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  15. Have you ever seen a toddler excited about something?
  16. This is what Paul is doing here in this chapter. Words are spewing out…in one sentence. But unlike a toddler, his words are intentional and directed towards our minds, hearts, and wills.
  17. Paul is saying there is a reason for us to praise God.
  18. Would you describe your life in Christ as one overflowing in worship?
  19. Can we just take a moment right now and just sit and ask God to remind us of what He has done in our lives? I’ll give us a moment and if you would just praise Him after sitting in that.

2. Divine Provision. (Ephesians 1:3b,4-10. C/R: Galatians 3:6-18; Jude 24)

  • Ephesians 1:3b (CSB) - … The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us…

  1. Paul then goes on to say that God has blessed us.
  2. This form of the word is used to speak of God conferring blessing to us. God gives us blessings.
  3. Paul begins listing these benefits to his readers.
  4. Ephesians 1:4-10 (NLT)4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. 8He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
    9 God has now revealed to us His mysterious plan regarding Christ—a plan to fulfill His own good pleasure. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
  5. We are chosen (v.4), to be holy and blameless. I think it is crucial to understand that a portion of this new life we are invited to participate in directs us to life change. We were not only chosen to remain with a selfish aim, but instead to begin to reflect the character and attitude of The Father as Holy and Blameless.
  6. adopted (v.5), under Roman law, an adopted son had the same rights and privileges as a biological son. The same is true for us, according to Romans we are co-heirs with Christ.
  7. Then Paul uses this phrase that we could miss.
  8. Ephesians 1:5b (NLT) - This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.
  9. Isn’t this amazing. God wanted to do these things. It gave Him great pleasure.
  10. I think some of us in this room often see God as begrudgingly accepting you into His family.
  11. But the Scriptures do not share that perspective. God generously, excitedly desire to provide the way of salvation to you. It actually brought Him pleasure to do that!
  12. Our security in Christ comes from this being God’s idea, God’s action, and God’s desire to bring us into relationship with Himself.
  13. God not only had a plan before the foundation of the world to send Christ as our substitute, He initiates a relationship with us and will continue to love us until throughout eternity.
  14. He does this as a result of His grace and for His glory.
  15. Because of this we can begin to recognize why our response should be one of Praise, we are not pulling from an empty well, but instead from a full storehouse of spiritual blessings that have their origin in God Himself.
  16. Paul continues to list more of this provision for us.
  17. Redemption (v.7) and Forgiveness(v.7) both given to us through the blood of Christ.
  18. The term redemption has to do with the payment made for our sin. The payment was the blood of Christ.
  19. He also talks about forgiveness from our sins, plural. These are the specific acts of disobedience. Christ provides restoration from our condition, our sin, but also our behaviors, our sins.
  20. This mystery that Paul is describing in this very offer of the plan of salvation made known to us by the Holy Spirit. It is revealed to us.
  21. Spurgeon once remarked that we are not like those who are seeking to grow on their own moral effort, those men are like snails, who melt as they leave a trail. “But when the Holy Spirit fills a man and leads him into prayer, he gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent even when God delays to answer.”
  22. You can see this in Paul that as he looks at the plan of God his faith is growing, it is overflowing out of Him.
  23. Is this a description of you? Is your grasp of God’s divine provision in your life so great that it just spills out of you?
  24. Bare Grocery Store Shelves.
  25. If not, just receive a reminder of God’s generous grace towards you. We are richly supplied with all we need and are not working from a deficit.
  26. Let Jude 24 be an encouragement to you.
  27. Jude 24 (NLT) - Now all glory to God, Who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.

3. Abundant Benefits (Ephesians 1:3c,11-14. C/R: Malachi 3:10; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 2:4-5)

  • Ephesians 1:3c (CSB) - … with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.

  1. Paul’s last use of the word is a noun for blessing. This is the actual, concrete blessings given to us in Christ.
  2. The word spiritual here when used in the New Testament, always refers to the Holy Spirit. So this specifically speaks not of the type of blessings, but instead the source of our blessings. Where they come from.
  3. They are also in the dimension of heaven. Paul is describing our dual citizenship in this world and the kingdom of God that has been ushered in by Christ.
  4. Ephesians 1:14 (NLT) - The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.
  5. These blessings given to us by the Spirit of God, are not just “one day” blessings. They are to be realized in the here and now.
  6. When you are regenerated, God places His Spirit in you. You get it immediately. That does not mean that you fully realize what has been placed in you, but that you are immediately indwelt by the Spirit of God.
  7. God’s Spirit is the guarantee of His promises to you. If you have another translation, what does it say? Seal.
  8. That picture is such a deep and significant picture of what Paul is trying to explain. The seal was made of hot wax, was used to close or seal in a letter and then a dignitary or someone with authority pressed their ring into the wax indicating the origin of the letter.
  9. The Holy Spirit is God’s signature, securing us for eternity.
  10. This is assurance’s foundation. It is the objective reality of what God has planned, accomplished and confirmed in our salvation.
  11. But we do have a part to play. It is the part of Paul’s beginning of this passage. Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  12. Our role in seeing all that God has accomplished is to respond to Him in faith.
  13. One of my favorite pictures of this is in the book of Malachi.
  14. The prophet Malachi was warning the people of Israel that judgement was coming from a Messenger of God. And when He comes He will put everyone on trial.
  15. The people of Israel were living in disobedience to God. But Malachi calls them to repent and stop robbing God.
  16. Malachi 3:10 (NLT) “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in My Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put Me to the test!
  17. This is the New Life. After being purified by Christ’s sacrifice and being regenerated by the Spirit of God, we are to offer our lives as a sacrifice to Him.
  18. But here’s the amazing part. What happens when we do this, God opens up the heavens and pours out blessings.
  19. This new life is one to be lived generously out of a worship filled response to all that God has done for us.
  20. Wherever you are at today, God has provided spiritual, heavenly blessings to you through Christ. He demands a response.
  21. Bring what you have, the widow’s two mites were enough. Even if all you have is scraps to bring to God, He is ready to reciprocate even more blessings.
  22. Our memory verse for this week is:
  23. Romans 8:32 (NLT) - Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?
  24. Care volunteers will be down front ready to pray with you and help guide you to your next step of faith. Bring what you have and be ready to receive even more.
  25. We are not a people lacking, we are a blessed people indwelt by the Spirit of the Living God. Let’s pray.

Read More