BIG IDEA: We must not be ashamed of associating ourselves with Jesus Christ because it is through Jesus Christ that we are able to be with God. He was always the only means to redemption, and God chose him (and us) before the foundation of the world. It has been and always will be about Jesus.
The book of Ephesians relates God’s plan for creating a new society by his grace and for his glory. It is “…doctrine set to music. Just as [Paul] proclaimed God’s order to the post-Augustine Roman era which was marked by a process of social disintegration, so Ephesians is today the most contemporary book in the Bible, since it promises community in a world of disunity, reconciliation in the place of alienation and peace instead of war” (John Mackay, President Princeton Theological Seminary, 1948).
SCRIPTURE to CONSIDER: Ephesians 1:3-14
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (ESV)
- Association: We are wary of associating ourselves with people, organizations, political parties, etc. But is association something we should avoid? No, because long-term association with the right things or the right person pays off.
- Genesis 3:14-15: This is the first declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is in Christ (the woman’s offspring) that Satan (the snake’s offspring) will be crushed. This was God’s plan from the very beginning. He knew we would fall short, and he knew he would send his son to save us.
- “In Him”: This phrase occurs nine times in some variation in Eph. 1:3-14. It is so important to understand that it is only “in him” that we are adopted and redeemed. Without Jesus, we cannot access to God’s presence because we will never be enough on our own.
- God’s Son: God chose his son because his son is the only one who would ever be worthy. But by losing ourselves “in him” we, too, by proxy, are chosen. By choosing the Son, God chose us.
- Christ as Mirror: When God looks at us, he sees Christ, which is to see himself. God’s vision for the world is that we would all choose Christ so that he may be reflected in the world, and everything will be redeemed through him.
- We Dissociate: Why would we ever choose to disassociate ourselves from Christ? Why are we ashamed to be associated with Jesus or with his bride, the Church? The family is big, and you’re not going to love every brother and sister in the same way, but they are still the family of God. Be very careful not to disassociate from the people of God because you may be dissociating from God and Christ just to be relevant in the world.
QUOTATION to CONSIDER:
- “There is not a square inch in our whole domain of our whole human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all does not cry, ‘Mine!’” – Abraham Kuyper
- Get over yourself and get with Him.
- Lose your pride, stop looking at yourself in the mirror, and instead take the mirror that is Christ and turn it to God.
- Covet Christ above all else.
- Be in him in every way that you can. Be near to him, pursue him, sacrifice in order to be closer to him.
- Choose Him every day.
- Be ever-so-careful to remain connected to Christ, and not some notion of Christ that is more palatable to your contextual, cultural, chronological ears lest you miss God’s grace that is only found in Christ.
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Questions to Consider:
- Do you find it challenging to publicly associate with Jesus? Why do you think that is?
- Do you covet your connection with Christ more than everything else in your life? If Ephesians is true, should you?
- What is one thing that might change in your life this week based on this message?