November 6, 2010 by Dwight Bernier
Tomorrow morning I’m preaching out of Ephesians 1.1-14; 2.1-3 & Colossians 1.13-14. The whole thrust of the message is the relocation that we have IN CHRIST. It is the little prepositional phrase that has been exciting me for the past couple of weeks. Realizing who we are IN CHRIST changes everything.
Think about it, in our former domain of darkness (Colossians 1.13), we were following Satan, being lured by him, the world, and are flesh, which includes everything from sex, intellectualism, various forms of pride, religion (yes, Satan uses religion), etc. The list of sin would be quite exhaustive to produce – but it all boils down to our rebellion against and identity outside of God. This condition of sin rendered us all dead from the time Adam took a bite of whatever fruit it ended up being.
We were dead, children of wrath, unable to pull ourselves up, and searching for significance in the dark, which is like searching for bacon in a synagogue. We can’t come alive, we can’t remove the wrath, we can’t find salvation – so the whole thing looks pretty hopeless. Our location sucks – but we don’t know it (Eph. 2.1-3).
But then, God, in His lavishing grace and mercy, brings to life our dead hearts, removes the wrath, and gives us an identity in His Son. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom (Colossians 1.13-14).
We have literally been relocated, and Ephesians 1 expounds and helps us see how glorious this relocation is. Here are the six points I’m using tomorrow:
1- Our relocation (in Christ) is likened to living in a city (Eph. 1.1).
‘The saints in Ephesus who are faithful in Christ Jesus’. We exist in Christ very much as we live in Montreal. Our whole identity comes from the fact we live here. Everything we do is in the city. This is what being ‘in Christ’ is likened to. We gain our whole identity from Christ!
2 – Our relocation was chosen (predestined), in love, by our Dad before there was time (Eph. 1.4-5)
We were chosen not just to be holy & blameless (as if that weren’t enough), but to be sons & daughters, who ultimately the Father is going to make like Jesus (Rom. 8.29). We were chosen before time was and it was in love, not by random chance. So, salvation somehow was all God’s idea and all we can do is sit and marvel at Him!
Our relocation then is not random. But instead, God’s full plan of salvation is being worked out before our eyes as we rejoice when more people meet Jesus and see Him as their all-surpassing Value.
3 – Our relocation comes with every spiritual blessing & a guaranteed inheritance (Eph. 1.3, 11-14)
Jesus took all spiritualities and the curse they bring, and He wore them so that we might receive every spiritual blessing in Him. And the inheritance that comes in Christ is guaranteed to us because we have been sealed by the Spirit so that we can not leave our location. That sounds harsh – but only if the location were harsh. Instead, the new location in Christ is full of grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, holiness, unity, eternal enjoyment of God… the immeasurable riches in Christ.
4 – Our relocation is impossible, undeserved & costly (Eph. 1.7; 2.13)
Jesus did the impossible and has made us right with God. Not because we deserve this, but because God has accomplished it on our behalf. Jesus gave up His life so that we might life. And we are called to give up our life so that we might have life. Wild, right?
The amazing thing about the gospel is that because we’ve been given everything so freely, there really is nothing that God can’t ask of us.
Often, people criticize or summarize Christianity as being about a set of rules, limitations, regulations, or whatever ‘ations’ word they choose to use. But really Christianity and our relocation in Christ is about…
5 – Our relocation is about God’s plan, His glory & our enjoyment of Him.
As said previously, God has been working out salvation. And our relocation brings Him great glory because salvation is all about Him! Our hands can produce no peace with God – but by the bloody death and pierced hands of Jesus along with His resurrection, our salvation has been accomplished. And living out the implications of the gospel is not following a set of rules but following and enjoying Jesus. He calls us to delight in Him.
Scripture speaks of Jesus as of infinite value, a treasure, that which should be sought above all else, and along with that, God promises infinite pleasures… It’s interesting that all over Revelation we find people before Jesus worshiping Him, being with Him, eating with Him… Our relocation with Him is only possible because God has relocated us IN CHRIST.
And we’re called to grow in the gospel and in Christ… May we see Him as more wonderful, sufficient, valuable – and find our identity in Him.