God’s hidden treasure #1

God’s hidden Treasure – Part 1

Ephesians 1:3-8

 

Intro:

– There are people in this world that spend the majority of their lives searching for items that they believe to be of great value all across the world.  They will abandon family and friend for the opportunity to discover these “precious” items.  It is interesting to note that there is hidden treasure on every content that they have yet to discover the value of. 

“Many have wonderful opportunities surrounding them but do not see them. They are like Ali Hafed, the Persian farmer, who sold his fertile farm and traveled over the world in an unsuccessful search for diamonds, and finally died in poverty and despair in a distant land, while the far-famed diamond beds or Golconda had been discovered on his despised farm.” Orison S. Marden

“Agostino d’ Antonio, a sculptor of Florence, Italy, wrought diligently but unsuccessfully on a large piece of marble. “I can do nothing with it,” he finally said. Other sculptors, too, worked with the piece of marble, but they, too, gave up the task. The stone was discarded. It lay on a rubbish heap for forty years.  Out strolling one day, Michelangelo saw the stone and the latent possibilities in it. It was brought to his studio. He began to work on it. Ultimately, his vision and work were crowned with success. From that seemingly worthless stone was carved one of the world’s masterpieces of sculpture—”David!”

– God has given us treasure that is more precious than anything that this earth could ever offer. 

 

[#1] – The 1st piece of hidden treasure is that we have: every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (3)

* Christians have been made beneficiaries of every spiritual blessing that belongs to and comes from the heavenly places – 1:3

> It is amazing to think that we have every spiritual blessing, and yet to think how people think of us at times, like this story, “Michigan State’s football coach Duffy Daugherty received a letter addressed to “Duffy the Dope.” “Didn’t that make you mad?” he was asked. “I didn’t mind getting the card,” he said. “It was pretty funny. The thing that bothered me was that the East Lansing post office knew exactly where to deliver it.”

* Christ’s exaltation to the heavenly places and over all other powers and titles so that He rules over all for the sake of the Church – 1:20-22

* Those who have been made alive with Christ share in His exaltation and enthronement in heaven – 2:5

* So through the gathering of the Jews and the Gentiles into one body of Christ (the Church), God triumphantly displays His multifaceted wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realm – 3:10

* As a result of this, the spiritual struggle of Christians here and now is not so much against people as it is against the great spiritual forces that war against God in heaven – 6:12

 

[#2] – The 2nd piece of hidden treasure is that we have been: chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless (4)

* Divine election is a constant theme in Paul’s letters – Rom 8:29-33; 9:6-26; 11:5,7,28; 16:13; Col 3:12; 1 Thess 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13; Titus 1:1 – “Paul a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God…”

> An old woman, hearing of some preachers who dwelt on the doctrine of predestination, said: “Ah, I have long settled that point, for if God had not chosen me before I was born. I am sure He would have seen nothing in me to have chosen me afterward.”

* Before the foundation of the worldJn 17:24 – “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

* Holiness is the result, not the basis, of God’s choosing.  It refers both to the holiness imparted to the believer because of Christ; and to the believer’s personal sanctification – see note on 1 Cor 1:2; sanctification – means to be set apart for the Lord

a) being declared holy through faith in Christ’s atoning death on the cross – positional sanctification

b) being made holy by the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians – progressive sanctification

            * In love – Eph 3:17; 4:2,15-16; 5:2

> “ A gentleman who was a professed Christian was taken seriously ill. He became troubled about the little love he felt in his heart for God, and spoke of his experience to a friend. This is how the friend answered him.  “When I go home from here, I expect to take my baby on my knee, look into her sweet eyes, listen to her charming prattle, and tired as I am, her presence will rest me; for I love that child with unutterable tenderness. But she loves me little. If my heart were breaking it would not disturb her sleep. If my body were racked with pain, it would not interrupt her play. If I were dead, she would forget me in a few days. Besides this, she had never brought me a penny, but was a constant expense to me. I am not rich, but there is not money enough in the world to buy my baby. How is it? Does she love me, or do I love her? Do I withhold my love until I know she loves me? Am I waiting for her to do something worthy of my love before extending it?”  This practical illustration of the love of God for His children caused the tears to roll down the sick man’s face. “Oh, I see,” he exclaimed, “it is not my love to God, but God’s love for me, that I should be thinking of. And I do love Him now as I never loved Him before.”

> In St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, is a life-size, marble statue of Christ writhing in anguish on the cross. The statue is subscribed: “This is how God loved the world!”

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[#3] – The 3rd piece of hidden treasure is that: we were predestined to adoption as sons (5-6)

* Adoption – see note on Rom 8:23 (5) – Adoption was common among the Greeks and Romans, who granted the adopted son all the privileges of a natural son, including inheritance rights.  Christians are adopted sons by grace; Christ, however is God’s Son by nature. 

> The Word of God says that we are sons of God, so often people know us by our

earthly appearance, job, house, etc… But have you ever had someone mistake you for someone else?  “Mark Twain was a distinguished-looking figure in his later years. One day he was strolling in the park when a little girl pattered up to him and asked if she could walk with him. Highly flattered, Twain told her stories for an hour, then gave her a nickel and said, “Now run along home—and when you grow up you can tell your friends you once walked with Mark Twain.” “Mark Twain!” echoed the little girl, bursting into tears. “I thought you were Buffalo Bill!”

* To the praise – see Eph 1:12,14 – election is for God’s glory (6)

 

[#4] – The 4th piece of hidden treasure is that: we were redeemed through Christ’s blood, receiving forgiveness of trespasses (7-8)

* Redemption – Eph 1:14; 4:30; Rom 3:24; Titus 2:14 (7) – “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

* The Greco-Roman practice of “redemption” – slaves were freed by the payment of a ransom.  Similarly, the ransom necessary to free sinners from the bondage of sin and the resulting curse imposed by the demands of the Law was the death of Christ (see Gal 3:13; death here is called “His blood”) (7)

> Just as the death and resurrection of Christ declared freedom from sin, death, and hell for everyone who would put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, there was a man who made a statement that forever changed life in the United States.  On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln, in direct disregard to the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford decision, proceeded to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, to go into effect January 1, 1863, granting the right to life, freedom and citizenship to all persons irregardless of race, origin, circumstance, etc. This courageous position of valuing all human life had been embraced by the Congress on June 9, 1862, when they prohibited legalized slavery in the free territories. The Emancipation Proclamation stated:

‘On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free …’”

* Through His blood – see notes on Rom 11:25; Col 1:26 (7)

> When the Emancipation Proclamation was taken to Mr. Lincoln by Secretary Seward, for the President’s signature, Mr. Lincoln took a pen, dipped it in the ink, moved his hand to the place for the signature, held it a moment, then removed his hand and dropped the pen. After a little hesitation, he again took up the pen and went through the same movement as before.  Mr. Lincoln then turned to Mr. Seward and said: “I have been shaking hands since nine o’clock this morning, and my right arm is almost paralyzed. If my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. If my hand trembles when I sign the Proclamation, all who examine the document hereafter will say, “He hesitated.””  He then turned to the table, took up the pen again, and slowly, firmly wrote “Abraham Lincoln,” with which the whole world is now familiar.  He then looked up, smiled, and said, “That will do.”

> The blood of Christ being shed stands forever

 

* He lavished His grace upon us – He gave it to us abundantly, He didn’t skimp (8)

  

Application:

#1 – We have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

– The greatest possessions anyone could ever own.  What do you consider your greatest possession?  

#2 – We have been chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless.

– We are innocent before God.  Do you feel condemned or acquitted?

#3 – We were predestined to adoption as sons.

– We are a permanent part of the family of God.  Do you feel like an orphan today or a son?

#4 – We were redeemed through Christ’s blood, receiving forgiveness of trespasses.

– We are set free.  Are you today walking back to sin and giving yourself back over to it like a prisoner of war who has been freed and then returned to his captors?

–> God has given us treasure that is  more precious than anything that this earth could ever offer.  As a result of this we should give Him all that we have in gratitude.  Time, money, talent, whatever… <–

    

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