Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Against the dark backdrop of humanity's brokenness, God's great love shines vividly bright. In this message titled, Every Spiritual Blessing Part 2, Pastor Rich talks about the history of Christ's redemptive work and all that we have gained through His lavish grace. Now is the time that you open your scriptures for the exposition of the text of the Word of God. We are in Ephesians chapter 1, and right now we are in the paragraph of verses 3 through 14. The title of this series, three-part series, is Every Spiritual Blessing, and today is part 2.
Every Spiritual Blessing. The beginning of it here is in verses 3 through 6. We considered last time, and that is the origin of God's redemptive purpose, or the origin of God's purpose for creation for mankind particularly. It all begins in the mind of God, the mind of an infinite, supreme, transcendent being. He is the source of it all, and that gives us the big picture. And then it goes from the mind of the supreme being, then to history.
Time and space. That's where you and I live. That's where we operate. And the verses we're going to consider today, verses 7 to 9, are what God has accomplished in history, and it is a present reality for us. For you and me. For those of us who are in Christ. And then next time would be verses 10 to 14, and it is the glory, our destiny, our end that God has for us. Now all of this, if you will remember, verses 3 through 14, is one of the Apostle Paul's specialties.
And by that I mean a colossal run-on sentence. It is just a profusion, a gushing forth of the extravagance of God's goodness of His grace. And what he does in this, as he begins verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. And we're going to see more of that profusion yet again today.
But it's like we just, four of us, just came back from the Basics Conference up in Ohio. And it's just, it's such an enriching experience with excellent deep exposition to the Word of God. 1300 men singing at the top of their lungs. Songs like, the Lord is my salvation in Christ alone, behold our God. You just can't get enough of that.
You come away just so full, and just the profusion of all of that. And what we have here before us, particularly in the three verses today, verses 7 to 9 of Ephesians 1. This is the Gospel. This is the Gospel. Good news. And it is good news, because there is bad news.
We're going to touch on that in just a minute. But this is the good news, and I want you to know it. And the Word of God, we are bound by the Word of God. So this is true.
Listen, this is true for all people for all time. I want you to know that. So let's approach it humbly and expectantly today as we open the Word of God. And he begins in verse 7 with two words that express his key theme through this entire book, particularly the first three chapters. Two words in him. Him refers to Jesus Christ, the beloved, the son of his love. Messiah, the second person of the Trinity.
Very God, very man. In him, Christ, we who are in him, we are in our element, just as a fish is in water. When a fish is in water, it thrives.
But when it goes for that hook, that worm on the hook, it's taken out of the water and it becomes food. But we are in Christ, just as the fish is in water, it thrives. So we in Christ then can thrive.
He who has the son has life. And we are not only in our element, but he is our identity, because his history has become ours. We are the people of God. He's not just speaking of this to each one of us in an individualistic sense, although that is true. But he is speaking of the church as a unity, the people of God, his own special people.
It is his family that, as was pointed out in verses three to six, his family that has been known to him from eternity before time, all in the mind of God. And so where the text takes us today is from the mind of the grand artist. He's got the full picture there.
And then he gets his paint brush, dips it in the paint, and he starts drawing on the canvas of history. And that's where you and I are. It says, in him, we have redemption.
What an amazing word. We have redemption. I want you to know, it does not say we had or we will have.
What does it say? We have. That's now. That's present.
It is a present possession. We have redemption. And this word redemption is the word apolutrosus. It means release, to be set free. Now that implies, doesn't it, that something held us captive. We were in bondage.
What is that? To know that, we need all of God's word, all of his revelation, the full counsel of the Lord. We go back to Genesis chapter three, and God created man. He created them male and female.
Which is a good thing to emphasize on Mother's Day. Because ladies, you have the capacity to reflect the character of God that we men don't have. And I thank God for you. But aren't you glad that God made us male and female?
It is a part of his grace and his goodness. But God made them male and female. And as Adam and Eve were walking with God here, this is the background, the backstory to it all, of why we need redemption in Christ.
It has been revealed and it has been recorded. And Adam and Eve were designed to walk with God, to commune with him, to enjoy him. And they did, for a time. But then, their focus got distracted. And they saw something glitter, and they were drawn away from the one who was their highest pleasure and benefit. And what glittered were the chains of passion and unrighteousness that would hold them bound, alienated from God, utterly unable to free themselves. And the rest is the history of humanity. And we are, as the scripture says, the ones who are the most powerful and most powerful and we are, as the scripture says, held under the power of sin and the penalty of sin. We are slaves of sin. We are under the power of death.
And that death is the necessary judgment of a holy God. And what becomes true is that we are held hostage by our own rebellion. That's what holds us. But here is the truth of this. In him, we have redemption.
What does that mean? In Christ, those chains fall off. Those chains that hold us. We are released from the powerful hold of sin and the penalty of God's wrath. It is a present possession that we have. That we have been released from the power of sin and the penalty of it as well.
It is a present possession. Christians, do you know that? Remember that this letter is written to Christians. If you are here today and you are not in Christ, this is not true of you. It can be if you surrender yourself in faith to Jesus Christ.
But if you are not in Christ, you are bound by those chains of sin. You are enslaved to it. I remember reading about how they trained elephants for the circus. Huge animals.
And they could do a lot of damage if they lose control of them. And they would take elephants when they were very young and they would have this band around one leg of the elephant and it was chained to something that was immovable. And as the elephant would grow up, it continued to have that band around its leg. But then, they would be able to control the elephant because as long as it felt that band around its leg, it knew it couldn't move even if the chain wasn't attached to anything.
Christians, let me tell you something. In Christ, that chain has been loosed. You are not bound to sin and the only reason why you feel like you might be bound to it is because you're hanging on to it.
You're not bound to it. In Christ, those chains fall off. How does that happen? What becomes, how does this become possible? One little phrase, three words, through His blood. Through His blood, this word redemption is a word that means release, to be set free through His blood.
It's set free, affected by payment. In the book, the Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens portrays Sidney Carton. He climbs the guillotine in Paris to sacrifice his own life, having disguised himself as the man everyone thinks he is. His own life, having disguised himself as the man everyone thinks they're executing.
Charles Darnay. But he does this so that Darnay can go free. And Dickens portrays him as as he's climbing the steps to the guillotine, he's thinking in his mind, this is a far, far better thing that I do and a far, far better rest that I go to. When it says, when the scriptures say through His blood, this speaks of a transaction. It is the transaction of the cross. The cross is the standard Christian symbol, isn't it? But remember this, the cross was a brutal form of Roman execution. And it was designed for maximum shame and maximum pain. Jesus was nailed to a cross.
And whenever anyone would read the phrase like through His blood, the idea that blood is shed, it's the understanding of sacrifice, of the forfeiture of life. You've been listening to Delighting Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, lead pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Visit our church website to see upcoming events or to listen to more messages at gbcwinston.com. To discover how to live by grace, tune in with us on weekdays at 10am.
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