Sermon outline: This is an abbreviated outline with the complete sermon downloadable at the bottom of the post.
Text: Ephesians 1:4-6
Title: Our Standing in Christ
Introduction: Ephesians 1:3-14 is made up of only three sentences. Paul uses adjectives to enrich our understanding of God’s blessings in Christ.
Illustration: A rich man was in the habit of giving his wife an expensive piece of jewelry every year on her birthday. One year he might phone the jeweler and say, “Send me your finest pearl necklace, along with your bill.” Or, “Send me your finest diamond pendant, along with your bill.” Or the finest emerald bracelet or ruby ring. Each time, the jeweler did as the rich man asked, dispatching a messenger to the rich man’s mansion to deliver the jewelry piece in a box along with his bill.
But every year the rich man would play a game with the jeweler. He would send the messenger back to the jeweler along with the original box, a note, and a check. The check was always written in the amount of several thousand dollars less than the price on the jeweler’s bill. The note would say, “Sir, I like the jewelry piece, but I do not like the price. If you will accept the enclosed check for a reduced amount, then please return the jewelry box with the seal unbroken.”
For years the jeweler put up with the rich man’s game, accepting the reduced check, and returning the box with the seal unbroken. He still made a profit on the jewelry, even if it was a lower profit than he liked—and at least he was able to keep the rich man’s trade year after year. In time, however, the jeweler began to tire of this charade.
Finally the day came when the rich man placed an order for a lavish diamond necklace, and the jeweler decided he would not get clipped again. As usual, the jeweler sent the necklace in a box, along with his bill. Again, as usual, the box was returned with a reduced check for payment and a note.
Enough was enough! The jeweler refused the check, kept the box, and sent the messenger away in disgust. When he opened the box to reclaim the necklace, he found that the necklace had been removed. In its place was a check for the entire amount of the jeweler’s bill.
For years, the rich man had been sending the entire asking price of each jewelry piece—hidden inside the sealed jewelry box. In all that time, the jeweler had accepted thousands of dollars less than he could have received—because he didn’t open the box and look inside.
The hidden riches of Christ are available to you and me, but to find them, we have to open the letter of Ephesians. It is here, in this letter, that we find the description of the riches we have in Jesus Christ.
I. We Are Chosen
A. To be holy physically—pure, morally blameless
B. To be without blame
II. We Are Predestinated
A. Unto the adoption of children
B. According to the good pleasure of His will
C. To the praise of the glory of His grace
III. We Are Accepted
A. Christ made us accepted
B. We are accepted in the beloved
We do not have to live a life of defeat in sin. We can live a victorious Christian life, a holy life, blameless, having a good testimony…
Illustration: I read of an old Navajo Indian who became rich when oil was found on his property. He took all the money and put it in a bank. His banker became familiar with the habits of this old gentleman. Every so often, the Indian would show up at the bank and say to the banker, “Grass all gone, sheep all sick, water holes all dry.” Without a word, the banker would take the old Indian into the vault, show him several bags of silver dollars, and say, “All this is yours.” The old man would spend about an hour stacking up the dollars and counting them. Then he’d return the bags to their places, come out of the vault, and say, “Grass all green, sheep all well, water holes all full.”
It is amazing the change that comes over us when we simply review our resources and count our blessings. That is where true encouragement is found—in an honest accounting of the Father’s limitless resources and blessings, made available to us in Christ.