Called to Be

Called to Be

Home Church Service 8//2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

When my family and I meet for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. This message was designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points Paul is making. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.                                                                                    Ephesians 1:1-6 (NASB)

Last week we completed our walk-through Colossians as we examined The Supremacy & All-Sufficiency of Christ. Christ is better than anything this world has to offer, and He is all we need in this world. Today we begin our walk-through Ephesians in the series Life Principles for the Christ Follower. With short breaks for the fall festivals, Thanksgiving and Advent, Ephesians will be our final message series for the year.

We will breakdown this letter to the church at Ephesus into three areas: The Position of the Christ Follower; The Practice of the Christ follower and The Behavior of the Christ Follower. Today’s message is the first of five on The Position of the Christ Follower. This message may cause you to think differently about your position in Christ, for it is not often we call ourselves faithful, saints, holy or blameless but as we shall see, in Christ, this is what we are Called to Be.

As Christ followers we are Called to Be saints that are faithful in Christ, living in the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are blessed in Christ to be holy and blameless; in love He predestined us to adoption through Christ and the intention of His will, to the praise and glory of His grace given to us through the Beloved.

As Christ followers we are Called to Be faithful saints filled with grace and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ we are set apart and faultless, called and chosen to be a part of God’s family; in this God receives the praise and glory through Christ Jesus.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “As Christ followers, what have we been Called to Be?”

As Christ followers we are Called to Be by the will of God before the foundation of the world.

1). As Christ followers we are Called to Be faithful saints living in grace and peace.

We receive grace and peace through God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul immediately identifies himself as the writer of this letter; just as quickly, Paul establishes his credentials and draw attention to the official nature of his writing. Paul is an apostle, those who have been called and named by Jesus and of Jesus. This means that Paul not only belongs to Jesus, but he is also a messenger of Jesus as well. Paul has been fully authorized and sent by Jesus. Paul has the power to proclaim the gospel and to establish and build up churches. He has been called to this ministry by the will of God and there is no personal merit for Paul to become an apostle.

Those that hear this message are addressed as saints, that is to say they are holy because they have been set apart to God. This address is to all of the Christ followers in the church at Ephesus and not a select few who are viewed as the “spiritual elite.” Just as Paul has been called and set apart, so to have the Christ followers been called and set apart. The second description Paul used is faithful in Christ. This is something more than being trustworthy and reliable, this is an active faith – having faith and trusting – a continual action. They are in Christ, not just simply believing but in fellowship with Christ after a believing response to the gospel.

Paul’s readers have already experienced, as have we, to some degree, God’s grace and peace in Christ Jesus. Paul’s desire is that these blessings, grace and peace, would be understood and experienced in greater measure. These are the key words that describe God’s salvation and continued work among His people. Paul uses the Greek word charis meaning grace. In the Bible grace means all the good and perfect gifts of God – whether physical, material or spiritual. Grace means the favor of God is showered upon a person – it is not something that can be earned or is deserved.

Paul then uses the Greek word Eirene meaning peace. In the Bible peace means to be bound, joined or weaved together with God and others. It is to be assured, confident, and secure in the love and care of God. This gives the Christ follower a knowledge that God will provide, strengthen, guide, sustain and give life – now and in the future. This kind of peace can only be found and experienced in Christ. Christ is the only way to experience the peace that brings salvation and assurance to our souls.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

As a Christ follower, what does your called and set apart status mean for you in today’s world?

As a Christ follower, how do you experience the grace and peace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?

As a Christ follower, how has God called you and set you apart?

As Christ followers we are Called to Be by the will of God before the foundation of the world.

2). As Christ followers we are Called to Be blessed in Christ, set apart and faultless.

We are chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before God the Father.

God the Father is the source of all our blessings. In Christ Jesus, God the Father has made us rich! When we were born into the family of God, we were born rich. Through Christ we share the riches of God’s grace, God’s glory and God’s mercy. We have every spiritual blessing – which can also be translated as every blessing of the Spirit. This refers, of course, to the Holy Spirit. This means the Father has given us everything we to be successful.

These gifts are of the spiritual nature, not physical – they are for the inner being of a person. It is the Spirit that empowers us to rise above our feelings and overcome our circumstances. It is the Spirit that helps us live victoriously day by day. The spiritual blessings are the most glorious and the most satisfying. These blessings help erase loneliness, alienation and help us find our purpose in Christ. These are the blessings of the abundant life. Spiritual blessings are permanent, perfect and eternal – they last forever. However, these spiritual blessings can only be found in Christ. You must believe in Christ, and you must have faith in Christ! This is the only way to experience these spiritual blessings.

We have been chosen by God to receive these blessings. This means we are saved by God’s mercy and grace, not because of anything we have done. There is no personal accomplishment or honor that can earn our salvation. God does not save us because we deserve it, He saves us because He graciously and freely gives salvation. Once again, we find this has been done in Christ – so we must be in Christ to experience this – and this is done with a purpose, that we are holy and blameless.

The Greek word used here for holy is hagious, the same word used for saint – it means to be set apart and consecrated to God. The word blameless means to be free from sin, dirt and filth; to be without fault and defilement. Simply put, we have been chosen by God to be perfect! Again, this can only be done in Christ Jesus alone! No Christ follower can live a perfect and sinless life; no Christ follower is, or ever can be, righteous. Only Christ has lived a perfect and sinless life – He alone has the right to live with God – He alone is our only hope of living with God, being found in and having faith in Christ alone.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

As a Christ follower, how are you living victoriously in every blessing of the Spirit?

As a Christ follower, what spiritual blessing are you most aware of today?

As a Christ follower, how are the blessings of the Spirit helping you to be blameless before the Father?

As Christ followers we are Called to Be by the will of God before the foundation of the world.

3). As Christ followers we are Called to Be a part of God’s family through Christ Jesus.

We have been predestined, chosen by God, to receive adoption as sons – to be a part of the family of God.

Finally, we are Called to Be a part of God’s family. Adoption here has a dual meaning: both now and future. In the now sense adoption is part of our regeneration – the new birth. Adoption is the act in which God gives His new-born children adult standing in the family. A child cannot legally claim their inheritance – but an adult can! This means we can claim our inheritance in Christ immediately! Therefore, we do not need to wait until we are an old saint to claim our riches in Christ.

The future aspect of our adoption is found in Romans 8:22-23 where Paul says we wait, along with all creation, for the redemption of our bodies. For those found in Christ, we already have our adult standing before the Father, however, this world cannot see our standing in Christ. At the return of Christ Jesus, our “private” adoption becomes public that the entire world can see that we belong to Christ. At His return we receive our “glorified” bodies, this mortal flesh puts on immortality to live with Christ forever.

How unbelievable that God would adopt us!! What a glorious privilege to say we have been adopted as a child of God – part of His family. It is most striking, even shocking, when we consider how we have rebelled, sinned against and rejected God. Yet, God wills and finds pleasure in adopting us and even more, He counts it as good! This should be enough to cause praise to break forth in every Christ follower, for this is His purpose in adopting those in Christ.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

As a Christ follower with adult standing before God, how have you claimed your inheritance in Christ?

As a Christ follower, how do you show you belong to Christ, even though your adoption has been a “private” event?

As a Christ follower, how do you offer praise for your adoption into the family of God?

As Christ followers we are Called to Be by the will of God before the foundation of the world.

After completing our look at the Supremacy & All-Sufficiency of Christ and finding He is better than anything the world can offer and He is all we need in this world, we turn the page to a new series today – Life Principles for the Christ Follower – as we examine the letter to the Ephesians. This will prove to be our last message series of the year.

In this letter to the church in Ephesus we will examine three areas: The Position of the Christ Follower; The Practice of the Christ Follower and The Behavior of the Christ Follower. It is difficult to think of ourselves as saints, faithful, holy and blameless but, in fact, in Christ this is what we are Called to Be.

I know that most of this is an unfamiliar way to think Not many of us spend time thinking about God’s plan. We tend to throw words like mercy and grace around rather freely, never really considering how they impact our everyday lives. It is difficult to think of ourselves as saints who are faithful, holy and blameless – called by God to be perfect. Yes, we fixate on perfection, but our definition of perfection is warped and twisted at the very least.

It is time for us to realize that we are chosen, and we are valued. Your past mistakes – sin, dirt and filth – are gone. They have been removed by Christ and replaced with a new heart, a new attitude and a new Spirit – the Spirit of God. As a born-again Christ follower, your adoption, though carried out in private, makes you a child of God with adult standing in the family of God. You have been given all you need to succeed in this life as a victorious child of God.

You have at your disposal, every blessing of the Spirit. They are part of your inheritance in Christ, but you must use them! The Spirit has been sent as a Helper and Counselor – He will guide you into all truth; He will bring to mind the commandments of Christ – all to help you live in the victory of Christ Jesus. It is the Spirit that brings you the grace of God and peace in Christ Jesus. It is the Spirit that brings you the provisions, strength, guidance, encouragement, the sustaining and life-giving presence of God the Father.

You are a faithful saint living in grace and peace in Christ; you have been called and set apart to be holy and blameless in Christ; you have been adopted as a child, with adult standing, into the family of God in Christ – you are loved, you are valued and now you are Called to Be, in love, the praise and worship of the One who first loved us.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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