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Jun 04, 2023

Embracing Your Identity in Christ

Embracing Your Identity in Christ

Passage: Ephesians 1:1-14

Speaker: Brian Foster

Series: Together | In Him & For Him

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: pastor, church, faith, jesus, god, ministry, sermon, christian, bible, christ, gospel, scripture, hope, new testament, sermons, paul, inspiration, purpose, ephesians, jesus christ, the bible, unity, lord, christianity, motivation, redeemed, bible study, blessed, the gospel, life purpose, praise god, self improvement, transformed life, praise the lord, bible teaching, 2023, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, bibly study

We begin our summer sermon series through the book of Ephesians and dig into the idea that we are chosen and set apart, and just as the early church in Ephesus, we have a purpose for God. Pastor Brian covers the beginning of this rich New Testament letter, and we learn that we are chosen, adopted, redeemed, and marked and its all to the praise of the glory of God. This is the good news, that God has so richly blessed us and because of Christ, we have been shown grace. Our salvation is guaranteed, and our inheritance is secure in Christ, and our response is faithful praise. Do you have questions about redemption or grace? Do you want to know how to be assured of your eternal inheritance? We’d love to answer any questions you’ve got and take time to pray with you, so reach out today. As always, you can take the next step in your faith journey by visiting

Well. Hey, good morning, church. It has been an incredible first week of summertime. And we know that in celebrating this past week on Memorial Day, as well as kids being out of school, that you guys are everywhere. But I just wanted to take one minute this morning to introduce to you where we are heading this summer. This summer as a church, we are going to be walking through the book of Ephesians. We're going to really be just focusing on the idea of who we are in Christ and for Christ. As individuals and as a church body, God has called us. He has set us apart. He has adopted us into his family, and now he has given us the power to live for him. Please do everything you can every week to dial in and be here with us in person. If you're traveling, catch us online and go with us through this journey of the book of Ephesians. And let's see what Paul and the Holy Spirit can do in our lives. Thank you. And you all have a great morning and welcome to the stage, one of our favorite people on the entire planet, Pastor Brian Foster

Well, good morning. Hope all of you had a great morning. Matt was so gracious to let me kick off this series in Ephesians, but I do have to admit that many of you know and have taken my class, I teach a class here on spiritual warfare. And so when they mention Ephesians, I'm thinking that Matt is going to ask me to do Chapter six, putting on the full armor of God. He asked Marty to do that. I don't know what to think of that, but I know when we get to chapter six and Marty does it, I'm going to be listening intently to see if he gets it right. Just kidding. Just kidding. You'll be listening intently to see if I get it right. Today in Ephesians chapter one. And if you've ever spent any time with me, you know that my number one thing to talk about when I love to talk about is our identity in Christ. And Ephesians Chapter one really has a lot to say to us about our identity in Christ and who we are as children of God. So pray with me as we jump in today. Let's pray. Father, we love you. We thank you for the opportunity to be in your house and to worship you and to sing praises to you. And we thank you for the opportunity to open your word. So Lord, would you open our hearts that we might be transformed by you with the open our ears that we might hear from you and the Lord as we give today to you, may you speak clearly to us through your word, for we know that it is the standard and the truth, not me, but your words to Lord. May you be glorified today. In Jesus name, Amen.

There is a tale that American Indians tell that there was a brave who went out and he found an eagle egg and not knowing really what all to do with this eagle egg. He did what most of us might think. How can I protect this till it hatches? So he took this eagle egg and put it in the nest of a turkey. And the turkey did what birds do and it sat on the nest. And soon enough the eaglet hatched and all the turkeys hatched. And the eagle is sitting there going, Hmm, I guess I'm a turkey. And so as he grew up and learned how to scratch in the dirt, he learned how to peck in the dirt and find his food and all that. It learned how to gobble and strut around and do its little thing like a turkey, although it was an eagle. It would flap its wings furiously and get about three feet off the ground and fly for about 20 feet and plop back down on the ground, just like turkeys do, because it thought it was a turkey. Because after all, it was born into a turkey nest and it grew up as a turkey. And it learned all these things about how to be a turkey. But it wasn't a turkey, it was an eagle. And so one day after they were grown up and they're all out in the fields and the eagle looks up and it sees this majestic bird up there with its wings spread out and catching the wind and effortlessly just gliding around. And he asked his friend here, What's that? And he said, Oh, that's an eagle. They are the king of all birds. And the little eagle just, well, I want to do that. And the turkey said, Forget it, we're turkeys. You'll never be one of those. And the turkey lived the rest of his life. The eagle lived the rest of his life believing it was a turkey until it died. Great story, huh?

Is it possible that we live like a turkey, but we're created to be an eagle> Look around you, are you sitting around a bunch of turkeys right? Really everyone here should be the eagle. But we live like we're turkeys. And we live out there in a fallen world full of a bunch of turkeys. And some of you that don't work with a bunch of turkeys, and some of you play on ball teams with a bunch of turkeys and it drives you crazy. But we keep living as though we are a turkey ourselves because we're amongst them all the time. When God created you to be an eagle and to soar above it. And when you're around something long enough and you're engaged in it enough, you start to take it on its personality and its principles in its actions. And even though you aren't, you act like that. And I proposed to you today that many of us today are acting like a turkey, even though we are an eagle and for a lot of different reasons. And so when we read Ephesians chapter one, we get into all kinds of things. I do have to admit to you that as I started studying Ephesians chapter one a week or so ago, that there is so much in this, we couldn't begin to cover it all. And in this 14 versions, one of the commentaries I studied and read was from a guy named Martin Lloyd-Jones, who was the great pastor of Westminster Abbey in London, and he pastored there for 40 plus years. And so I started reading his commentary on this section. And guys, he had 311 pages just on these 14 verses. So buckle up. You're going to be here for a while. Ha. Just kidding. I'm going to simplify it because I'm a simple minded person, but there's so much in here and there's so many words that are in these 14 verses that it can get overwhelming. And I, being a very simple minded person, we're going to try to simply out down to, you know, what is God really trying to say to us, There is so much in this with some keywords that people have written volumes over some of these things and whole theological spectrums have been built around some of these words. And if you can go down those paths and you can get lost in it, or we can read it and hear what it is God's trying to teach us in these 14 verses of the first chapter of Ephesians.

So let me encourage you, if you got a copy of God's Word, open it up and let's just read these 14 verses from Ephesians. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God to the Saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ, Jesus, grace and peace to you from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God in the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the Heavenly rounds with every spiritual blessing in Christ, for He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace which He has freely given us in the one he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he proposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times would have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him, who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. In order that we who were the first in hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory. And you also were indeed in Christ, even you heard, even when you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, having believed you were marked in him with a seal.

The promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guarantees your inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possessions and to the praise of His glory. Wow, there's so much in that, that we could spend a lot of time in it. But I'm going to try to hit some of the high points in it and bring it back to what God's calling us to be and how he's called us to be. I use a little illustration of the Eagle. I also ran across this, it's just a fun fact. And I would tell you, you know, sometimes you have to jump over here. Just give a fun fact. So in reading this, I found out that over the last several hundred years there have been 53 documented cases of people being raised in the wilderness by animals. Did you know that? I didn't know that. Oh, well, they call that a feral child and they were raised out there. Well, the most famous was a guy named Dina Sanichar, whatever. Just go with it. Right. He's from India and they found him in 1865 in the woods. Some hunters did, and they brought him in. And he had been raised by wolves. This is where Rudyard Kipling gets his analogy and the story for The Jungle Book and Mowgli. I thought that was a made up story, but it comes from a real story that there was this guy and they took him in, they put him in an orphanage, they raised him. He is the most studied document of the 53 feral children that were found over history.

Well, in raising him up, they were able to they never were able to teach him to speak, but they were able to teach him to wear clothes. They got him to stop walking on all fours and walking upright, and they got him to start eating food that was cooked instead of raw meat and raw vegetables, although they never broke him up sniffing his food before he ate it. But again, one of those things is where we are the environment we grew up in, and then how when we are put in a new environment, if we're not careful, we take on those as well. Because one of the things he took on in the late 1800s by the people who were around him is that he learned to smoke cigarettes. But obviously the people around him influenced him and he started becoming something that he was never created to be. He was never a wolf and he was never meant to do these things to harm his body. But he did because of the things around him. And you and I live around people that model things. And if we're not careful, we will walk out those instead of what the word of God says.

So here in Ephesians, Paul is going to teach us who we are and how we are to live out our life. So Paul says here, he just starts out, says, Hey, I'm Paul, I'm the one writing this. And the people knew who Paul was because they knew he used to be the chief of all sinners. He was the one that was out there persecuting Christians and he was the one out there harming them and bringing all kinds of accusations against them. And so he said, Hey, yeah, this is me. And the very next is an apostle of Christ Jesus. A what? An apostle. Wait a minute. Weren't you the one that did all these bad things? Yeah, but that's the old me. I have been, I'm now an apostle. And the word apostle means a called one. Somebody called out from the old to the new. You and I have been called out from the old to new. So many of you might use the word apostle and think in terms of the leadership of the church like Pastor Matt or some of the others of your own staff as apostles. And there is a place to call that. But in this case, he has said, I'm a called one, just like you. Each one of you is called by God, by the will of God. What is the will of God? How many of you today, if I could tell you what the will of God is for your life, would like to know? Most of you would go yeah, yeah. Tell me, what's the will for my life? What does God want me to do? I think I can tell you that without a shadow of a doubt what God's will for your life is. But see, we have relegated God's will to I've got to find the pinhead in this room and go sit on it. Like I told you, God's will is under one of the chairs in this room for you. You need to go find it. You all would jump up and start running around trying to find the chair that has your name on it with God's will for it. But what if that's a bad picture of God's will? What if God's will is huge and you're in it and it tells you how not to get out of it?

An example: Years ago when Susan and I, my wife, we graduated from seminary, we were looking for our first job out of seminary. We were poor, we needed a job, we needed money. We had to have something. We sent our resumes out. We had five churches offer us a job within a month. And we're sitting there going Lord, what do we do? What do we do? We're praying and we're making the list and we're checking it. Lord, is this the place? Is this the place? And of those five we clearly heard, Nope, nope, nope. Of those three we graciously called to thank them, said thank you, but we just don't believe God's in it. And we didn't take their job. But we had two jobs that we made every list, we prayed through. Lord, where do we go? What do we do? Lord, show us, You know what we got? Crickets. But I needed a job. We prayed. It comes down to the deadline. They need to know. So they're going to go on to somebody else or are we going to take it? And we can like the progress of moving there. One was in Nashville and one was on the other side of Atlanta in Conyers, Georgia. We did not hear God say yes or no in either one. There were great things about both of them. But we had to decide. So we chose to go to Conyers. But here's what God taught us through that.

God wasn't as concerned about what the decision was. He was more concerned with how we made the decision and that we sought him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and we're obedient. And when he said no, he said, That's outside of what I have for you. These are in it. And now I said, His room is big. And he said, Well, you know, if you want to sit back there, that's fine. But if you want to sit over here, that's fine. I will be there and I have you and the will of God is. Now, when God tells you to do something, that's the will of God. But when you're got some big things going on, God lets you pick and you can still be in the will of God. So like, if God's will is here, He says guys, there's boundaries here to show you where you step outside of my will. There are doors. There are walls. If you go outside of those when you've been told to be in here, then you step out of the will. This tells us where the boundaries are and when we're in obedience to that, there's a big, big room here to play in and be in. Clearly what's outside of his will, he tells us. And when you step out of that, you step out of it. Now you have to ask for forgiveness and step back in. But God says, because I've called you, it's the will that you be here.

It's the will of him that you be here today. Those watching online today, it's not an accident. But then, watch this, and the second half of verse one, he says, Who is writing this to? He says to the Saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ. Well, first of all, I want you to know in some of your Study Bibles, it may tell you this the word in Ephesus, in a lot of the early manuscripts, it's not there. It just says to the Saints, the faithful ones. Paul wrote many of his New Testament epistles, he wrote to address a problem that that church or that group of people were having. And so he wrote to address that problem. But in Ephesians, he's writing to the people. He's not addressing a problem. He says, Guys, here it is. So it's not. So we could say to the Saints, Now are you a saint? Do you believe you're a saint? Because here's what's happened in our world. If I called you a saint, you go, Well, yeah, you can say that. You don't know what I've done. You don't know where I've been, You don't know what I've been through.

I wouldn't call me a saint, but God does right here. He calls you a saint, that you are part of him. You're on his team as a saint. He chose you to be a saint. It's interesting that he uses the word faithful. A follower of Christ. If we were to look up the word faithful in an American heritage or a modern day Noah Webster dictionary, you're going to find some of the same words you would find in most all dictionaries. When you start to define a word such as strict or thorough in the performance of a duty, true to one's word, new promises, steadfast in allegiance or affections. Loyal, reliable, trusted, beloved. Those are all words. If you open up a dictionary now and find what you would find. But I want to show you something different. Do you remember going to school and when you had to look up something, you went to the bookshelf or the library and you opened a dictionary? And if you're like me, it became synonymous with Webster's Dictionary. Noah Webster's dictionary. And so you still use those. But what we probably don't think through very well is that words evolve. Society evolves, words, words meanings evolve. But there's a foundation to everything. So that's called the etymology of a word. But what I have here in front of me is a reprint of the original Noel Webster Dictionary 1828. Ok, 1828 reproduction. Now let me read for you how Noah uses the word faithful in his dictionary, which what I read before would be words to it, but firm in adherence to the truth and to the duties of religion. But then he does this be thou faithful unto death, and I will give the crown of life Revelations 2:2. Then, he says, firmly adhering to a duty, true identity and loyalty. He goes through all these other things and he says Truth worthy of your belief. And again, he quotes Scripture. Second, Timothy 2:2. Do you see that? Here's what I'll point out to you. Words evolve. We have allowed society to evolve away from God. We were eagles that we've been told to be turkeys. You can use a dictionary today and they are not going to use God's Word as a descriptive and identifying what that word means. But Noah Webster, back when the first dictionary of his came out in 1828, uses Scripture to define words and who we are. I think that's a real big thing. It shows where our society has moved away from what we were created to be into some falsehoods of what we're not. And so if we're not careful, we get balled into that.

So when you use the word faithful, yes, Scripture uses the word faithful in some different ways and more intense ways than our society would do today. Faithful is way more than attending church. We can camp out here for a long time too. Because you say, well, I'm faithful. I go to church every Sunday. Good. Faithful to what? Attendance? If you're going to be faithful to attendance, that's something. But where's the truth in that? What's that mean? So faithful carries a lot more to it. In the Old Testament, they have something called the Shama`, and the Shama` was you wouldn't know this. You may not know this word Shama`, but it was the Jewish word. Shama` was when they would say, Hear Oh, Israel, the Lord God is dot dot dot. That would be the Shama` and you find it all through Scripture Hear Oh Israel The Lord God is. And in their definition of hear, we lose it because again, etymology and things have developed and the society has changed. If I hear this, you think in terms of your ear, you hear it, you hear my voice, you take it in. But in this case Hear Oh Israel carries not only that you hear it with your ear, but that you obey it. You have not heard it if you don't obey it so you can be faithful but not live it out. Are you faithful? If you're faithful to attendance, but they didn't do anything, then what are you faithful to? So he said, Hear Oh Israel, matter of fact, in the New Testament, Jesus carries his thought through as well. Because in Mark 12:29 and 31, when they have asked Jesus, what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said Hear Oh Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. It wasn't just to hear me say this, it was to go do it. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Run after him with all that you have because he is worthy of that. And so when Noah Webster uses this definition also it comes out of revelations 2:10b, he says, be faithful even to the point of death. And I will give you the crown of life.

Wow. When we stay faithful, when we stay in obedience to God's Word, not just because we want the church, but because we're obedient to what God is telling us, that we're walking in God's will, even if it means death or all the way up to our death, we will receive the crown of life. And we know that God's promises are true and always fulfilled. He cannot do that. So God's promised us these things and his so much here that you're a part of the team and God's chosen you at all. So we're going to get to that. But in verse three, he moves, or verse two He starts out with grace and peace to you from God, the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ grace, peace.

Now, we could again camp out just on this idea of grace that God loves you so much. He just gives you grace. When he looks at you. He sees you as he sees you, not as you or the world might see you. So he moves to verse three. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He starts out with praise and we will see. He uses praise three more times through this. And then at the end he comes back to praise. God has laid a picture there that we're to praise Him through all things and in all things. It's not a coincidence that when we come in here to worship, that we have praise and worship so that we can give back to God, that we hear the Word of God, and then what we do, we come back in praise and worship Him again, because God has called us to be a people of praise, to be one that expresses what God has done for us. Now, I know this is going to go to meddling. But so what? I grew up this way. Some of you were this way. You grew up in it. When you go to church, they stand up to sing. Is that your praise to God? Well, he's that way. You don't know how bad I sing. It's alright, you're not singing to me. You're singing to God. And he thinks it's beautiful. I grew up in a church where you sat on your hands. You never would raise your hands or anything like that. You're not charismatic. How dare you do that? And then I learned that God is emotional. He causes us to praise him. And it's not a stiff-board praise for him. It's a praise that comes from the depth of what he's done for me. And man, I love, hey, you know, raising your hand. You know what that's a symbol of? It's not just a oh Lord. It's just I surrender. It's no longer me Lord, it's You. But so many of us, because we're being faithful. We come to church and then we just stand there during the praise and worship. And I'm like, Man, if that's the God they have, I don't want it. My God did something in my life. He took me from being a turkey and turned me into an eagle. And because he did that, that's worthy of me praising him. That's worthy of me being a little bit emotional. I don't know. It goes down to meddling again. But if many of you were college football fans and if you're a Georgia fan, you screamed and hollered at some TVs and went to some games and screamed and hollered because they moved this little pigskin thing up and down a field and Georgia won the game. And you do that, but you come to church and you wouldn't dare raise a voice for God. Which one matters in your life? Where's the praise and worship that you're giving freely overflowing because of what God's done for you? But if you're like me, you were raised not putting down the church I was raising because they gave me great biblical foundations of who Jesus was.

But in some ways we practiced like a turkey because it was and I had to break free from that and understand that God so loved me that he made a way for me when I couldn't. How dare I not give him my praise? And how dare I hold back because I'm afraid of what you guys might think if I was to raise my hand or shout. Well, the songs they were singing talked about shouting. You know what? I don't hear a single person shout. I saw some people raising their hands. Saw some people standing there. I know it sounds like I'm chastising you, but look, I'm talking to myself. If God so done this for us, how dare we not come and give him the best of what we have? And what do you say? What has he done for me? All right, well, good. I'll show you. It's right here in Scripture. There's four main things he's done for you.

First off, in verse four, it says, He chose you. Do you remember elementary school, when they went out to recess and they started to pick teams? Oh, I hated that. If you weren't one of the most popular or if you weren't the most athletic, where were you when the teams got picked? At the end of the line. We'll take Brian. Nobody else will Bless his little heart. He's a runt, you know. We'll take him. But that's not what God said. God says I want Brian. I want Melissa. I want Carry. I want Michael. I want Ashley. I want Mike. He said I want you. He picked you first for the team. He chose you. And because we still think we're a turkey, well he wouldn't choose me. He sees an eagle and he chooses you. You know what team you're on? This is terrible for a bunch of Falcons fans. You're on the Saints team. I knew they'd get a good one out of you Carey. Ok. But we, according to this, because he's called us to say we're a member of the team of Saints. And the owner and the coach and the trainer are God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We're on this team not because you're good, because he chose you when you were dead and full of your sin and your trespasses. He says, I want that one on my team. Shared with our singles a few weeks ago, and I'll use this illustration again. But it spoke to me. You remember the movie The Miracle about the US hockey team winning the gold medal?

Well, there's a scene in that movie, it’s so precious because with Herb Brooks, the coach goes to get the team he's got a committee to help him pick who's going to play on the team and they're all telling him, Oh, you need that guy. He's the best and that guy. And Herb Brooks goes, no I want that guy and that guy. No, no, Herb, you don't want them. You need these guys. They're the popular ones. They're the really flamboyant guys. You need them. No, I want this guy and this guy and this guy. And he got his way. He told him, If you want me to coach, I'll get to pick my people. So he picked his people. And so they go to have one of the practices a little bit and they go to have one of their first practice games and it's against some foreign team. I don't remember who it was. And the U.S. team gets annihilated. I mean, just slaughtered. And after the game, Herb Brooks, all those players are about to head to the locker rooms. He says no, don't go to the locker room. Get out there on the ice. He makes them get back out on the ice and gets them at the goal line. He says, All right, guys, we're skating sprints. He blows the whistle and they all have to go all over the ice, turn around and come back. You go back and forth and back and forth. He's blowing the whistle every time. And he calls out to one of them and says, who are you and who do you play for? The guy goes, Mike Eruzione, and I play for Boston College. He's so proud of that. Herb Brooks blows the whistle again and they go down the line and back. Come back. They're worn out. He looks over at Jim Craig. Who do you play for? Jim Craig and I play for Minnesota. Back and down. And he keeps doing this with all these players. They go back and down. They are worn out, though. They're turning the lights out in the place. His assistant coach looks and goes, Herb, what are you doing? This is stupid. Herb said, Shut up if you don't like it, get out of here. And the guys go, Huh? He just keeps running on and running on back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

And finally, after a while, they're just about to drop their herb. Looks over at Mike Eruzione and he says, Who are you? He says Mike Eruzione. Who do you play for? The USA. And Herb blew the whistle and said all right boys. See you tomorrow. And it was over. Because see, they were playing out of their old self and their old team and had not commentated yet that their on Herb's team, the USA and they realized they were not their old person, but they were the new person. They had a new identity, they were on a new team. And that came together. They became winners. They couldn't do it in and of themselves. They had to understand that they were chosen by this coach to play for him. You have been chosen by God to be on his team. He did not choose you lightly. He spent a lot of time choosing you.

Second Peter 2:9 says. But you're a chosen generation and a holy priest, a royal priest, a holy nation, his own special people. You may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light. God chose you. Guys, you've got to get that. He chose you. But you're going to see and tell me, Well, you don't know what I've done or I was raised like these, a bunch of the turkeys and all that. God says, I see what you were created to be, not what you are. And many of us go through life living out of what we think we're supposed to be and what we're around instead of what we're called to be and do. God sees us as not perfect, but He sees us as holy and blameless, and we have a tendency to not see that. Second thing that God did for us in Ephesians 1:5-6 it says He's adopted you. He adopted you, he chose you, and he adopted you out of his own pleasure and will because he won't do. He chose you. He adopted you. If something is adopted, it is no longer that it is now a part of this family. You're no longer part of a turkey family. You are part of the Eagle family that he created you to be. He adopted you. He paid the price and right there is enough for us to praise him again. And you see that once Paul starts down through this, he says, praise him. Now. He says, praise him again.

Why? Praise him because he freely chose you and he freely set you free by his grace. Again, another reason to praise him. Then, in verses seven through twelve, he talks that he redeemed us, God redeemed us, that he let Jesus go and pay the price on the cross and die. He rose again to redeem you from something you could make right. He redeemed you by paying the price. He let Jesus down the cross. If I turn here in Webster's Dictionary to redeemed, and how he defines it. Very interesting in my mind. He's redeemed, ransomed, delivered from bondage, distress, penalty or liability from the possession of another. Wow. See, because when we were lost, we were owned by the enemy. And when Jesus paid the price and redeemed us. And you became a part of the team Yet the ransom was paid. You have been redeemed. You are no longer that you are now, not because of you again, but because of what God did for you and how much He loves you and he freely loved you in this. It's so amazing. You know, it says here that he forgave you of your sins. He forgave you of your shortcomings. He forgave you of all your wrongdoings. And we know that in Romans 3:23, it says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Every one of us in this room had fallen short of God's glory. Yet He still chose you to be on his team. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal in Christ, Jesus, our Lord, what we deserved, God gave us back more. He lavished this on us, The riches of God's grace that He lavished on you. He poured out with all his desires to give you. We know in John 10:10 it says the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But he says, I've come to give it to you more abundantly. He came to lavish it on you. What did he lavish on you? Grace and forgiveness and the ability now to be a part of his team. So you've been chosen and you've been adopted and you've been redeemed by God. That's worthy of praise. It says the mysteries of God to make known to us the mysteries of God. What's the mystery of God? Well, the mysteries of God are that the Jews were waiting for the Messiah to come in some king and come riding on a white horse with a crown and an army. And Jesus came down on a donkey in humility. So they missed the mystery of God because they expected one thing and God came in another way, so they missed it. But you have received the mystery God because you have received Jesus. Verse ten tells us that we're together under one redemption, under Jesus Christ, that we are family here. So let's all act like eagles together and sort of like a bunch of turkeys. And when somebody acts like a turkey, we don't beat them up. We don't spear them, we don't cook them up. Whatever you want to use, we help them understand that you were created to be an eagle and you are an eagle and you've been raised by a bunch of turkeys.

Verse 11 that you're chosen. The word predestined is used there, and that throws all kinds of things into people's minds. It really just means that God's plan was from the very beginning of time, from the very beginning of time, he predestined that he was going to choose you for his team. Wow. Thank you, God. Verse 12 He comes back to praise us again. Well, praise him. He chose you in your debut is adopted. You keep praising him. You can't praise him enough. And then what do you praise him for? He's marked you. And the word marked means to, there's three different definitions of mark. There's to authenticate, which means when you sign a paper and you buy a house or a car, or you're signing papers to create a business with a partner, you sign papers, which gives it authenticity and makes it one and conveys the authority that you are doing this. Number two definition of marked would be marked as an ownership, and you've seen this one a lot of times farmers will take their livestock and they'll tag their ear with the number and a tag means these people own it. Or they'll put a brand on the animal. That means this is owned by this ranch or whatever. So God has given authenticity to it. He's marked us, he's our owner, and there's security. So Many times if you were to send a package or a letter or something and you didn't, you want to make sure nobody else got into it. You might tie string around it and somebody gets the package that if the strings broke, somebody's been in it. Or if the seal they would put wax on an envelope and the king would put his ring signature into that and they would know if the seal had been broken that the security was there.

So God has sealed you. He is giving you security. He authenticates you, he marks you as his own, and he secures you by the Holy Spirit. You go, the Holy Spirit. What's the mark of the Holy Spirit? Glad you asked. The Holy Spirit's mark is that He gave you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faith and self-control, the fruit of the spirit. And he also gifted you with the gifts of the spirit that Scripture teaches us. So those become the guarantee of God's promises that become our inheritance. So if you're no longer a turkey, you're an eagle. He's marked you with these inheritances that you get. Yes. We still live in a village full of turkeys, but you are an eagle and you can soar and you can do all this. So why are we praising God? We praise him because he chose us. We praise him because he adopted us. We praise him because he's redeemed us and we're brazen because he's marked us. That's worthy enough for me to shout and raise my hands and sing out whatever else it is. Because he thinks that much of you and me. Land this thing.

Isaiah 40:31, says it this way. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they shall soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary and they will walk and not faint. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord that we are eagles. Yep, We live amongst the turkeys. Don't live like a turkey, Live like an eagle because that is what you were created to be. Praise be to God the Father because you are an eagle. If you've never asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, you've never trusted in that. There's time today to become a part of his team because he is calling you now. Come be a part of my team. I choose you. Be a part of the team. I'll be down here. Other people be over here next and the next steps sign while we sing this song of praise where you can come and you can give your life to the Lord, we'll pray with you If you've got other things in your mind, on your mind, if you are to know more about the church, you could come over there. But let's stand and praise God for what He has done for you and me.

Follow Along with the Message

Embracing Your Identity in Christ

June 4, 2023

the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

You are !

Ephesians 1:4
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

You are !

Ephesians 1:5–6
5 He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

You are !

Ephesians 1:7–12
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment — to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his&bsp;glory.

You are !

Ephesians 1:13–14
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.

To the of His glory

Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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