Full reading: Ephesians 1
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.
I return to writing to you through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians after a weekend of rest. Something happened this weekend that is related to our focus verse for today, Ephesians 1:6. All across the world God’s people gathered together to sing God’s praises and to hear God’s Word taught. We have seen God’s love poured out through the saving of His people through the work of Jesus Christ, and we have seen that He does this according to the purpose of His own will, and here in v. 6, Paul explains why. Paul tells why God has loved and saved His people: To the praise of His glorious grace with which He has blessed us in Christ. All the blessings received through faith in Christ are wrapped up in one word: grace. Glorious grace. This is why we gather, Church. “Church” literally means “the gathered ones”. We are the Church because we are together in Christ. We are the Church because we praise Him together, for His grace poured out.
I understand that many churches have burned many people. Hardly a week goes by when I don’t meet a few people online who have been hurt by wicked people calling themselves church members. This breaks my heart. My heart breaks for these people because of the blessings I have received through my local church. God has established the local church to be a blessing to His people, and too many churches claiming the name of Christ are nothing but wicked social clubs hurting people who do not fit in just right. If this is you, if you have been hurt by “Christians”, I am sorry. I am sorry that an assembly of people claiming the name of Christ has completely abandoned the authority of Scripture, and added rules to the Gospel, and condemned you for things that are not sinful.
Unless, you have been hurt by true Christians. When someone walks in to a Church and leaves hurt, one of two things has happened. They have been condemned wrongfully in Christ, by hypocritical churchmen, or they have been burned by the true Gospel through the teaching of the Word. Yes, the true teaching of the Word can burn you. It can hurt. If you have been hurt by Church, don’t be too quick to blame others. I have seen people wrongfully hurt by Churches, but I have also seen people hurt by the loving kindness of the Gospel of Christ. I have seen people cry out against the Gospel of Christ, never to return to our church because they felt condemned, which they are, if they continue in their rejection of Christ.
All because the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. The Gospel is a difficult truth. This grace that God has poured out, to the praise of His glorious grace, is difficult, because it is so simple. Put your faith in Christ. Jesus Christ is God, and he lived a perfect life, and He was murdered for it. He was murdered, and he bore the sins of all who believe in Him. If you believe in Christ today, your sin was upon Christ and it killed him. Your sin killed Christ, and Christ’s righteousness has brought you to life. So quit sinning. You cannot love your sin and love Christ. If you say you are a Christian, and you love your sin, you are saying that you love the thing which killed your Lord. You love shedding Christ’s blood. You cannot be a Christian and love the sin Jesus died for. This is how people are hurt by the true teaching of the Word. That is the most glorious truth there could be, that Jesus would take God’s wrath in your place. This is the glorious grace Paul is talking about. And people hate it. They call God’s people hate filled hypocrites for this truth.
If you believe this Gospel truth today, and your faith is in Christ, you are one of God’s children. God’s people. God’s Church. God has established for you, no matter where you are, an assembly of believers in which you can praise God together. This God has promised because God has commanded. If you have been hurt by church before, make sure you know why you were hurt, and keep looking for God’s people. If you have been burned by wickedness, keep looking for an assembly of believers who walk in the newness of life and will share in your struggles. If you have been burned by the Gospel, believe it today.
Keep reading Ephesians, friends.