Our Redemption in Jesus Alone

Ephesians: Jesus Only  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We are continuing in our study of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. So far we’ve uncovered this amazing introduction and started diving into this section in verses 3-14, which in the original Greek is one continuous sentence. Last week I identified with you 32 blessings within this sentence. Namely that we are chosen by God as His adopted heirs. That in itself is something that is incredibly mind-blowing.
This week, we are going to dig deeper into three ideas: adoption, redemption, and predestination. All of these are vital elements to understand the Christian faith. You can’t grow soundly theologically in your faith without first understanding on as basic level what these mean. And we have some bad theology in our modern churches because we haven’t first stopped and considered these principles.
Ephesians 1:3–14 ESV
3 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, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 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, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 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, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.


Ephesians 1:5–6 ESV
5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
In various cultures adoption can mean various things. For instance, in Guinea-Bissau, where I frequent, there are no social services for child welfare. Young children are viewed as liabilities and even a threat to survival because they tax resources and limit the mother’s ability to work. Children who are born with disabilities are almost immediately drowned because it is viewed as a curse by demons. Only when a child is old enough to contribute to the survivability of the family do they bring any value. Often children are sold into slavery or trafficked. Adoption would be quite informal when it does occur.
On the other hand, in the Philippines, adoption is quite common. If a family has too many children, it is not uncommon for those children to be passed along to another family. If that is not possible, the children are often left to fend for themselves on the street (known as street urchins).
Here in the States, where we have an abundance of social services, adoption has varying views. Andrea and I have found, as adoptive parents, that our family, friends, and church family look at adoption as such a gift. However in most medical services and social services, we are looked down on as adoptive parents. Probably because those persons do not think it is possible for us to love a child in the same way a parent loves a biological child.
There was no process for adoption in the ancient Jewish culture. If a man died, his brother automatically became the head of his household, so there was no need for a legal adoption process. The word adoption when Paul wrote Ephesians, referred to the Roman concept of adoption. For children in Rome who had no family, to be adopted was better than winning the lottery. For these children, they had no hope as orphans. Adoption gave them a future. To make an adoption official, the adopting father went to the Roman magistrate and presented a legal case for the actual legal transference of the person to be adopted into his own Potrea Protestus. And when all this was complete, the adoption was done. In most cases, an adopted child, at that time, was most honored than natural children.
Even more remarkable to understanding our faith as Christians was that the adopted child received a new identity. This was far more than a new name. Their entire old life was completely erased. Any prior commitments, responsibilities, debts, everything was absolved. New rights as citizens were taken on according to the families’ social class. New rights and responsibilities were taken on. Also, in ancient Rome, the concept of inheritance was part of life, not something that began at death. Being adopted made someone an heir to their father, joint-sharers in all his possessions.
From birth, we are cursed as people. Undesirable and without any means of hope. We are enslaved to sin and our destiny is hell. So how is it that we are moved from the category of a cursed slave to blessed? Paul tells us that we are predestined by God to be adopted through Jesus. Why is it that God blesses us. Paul goes on tells us that it is to the glory of His grace (v.6).
Think about what that means for us as Christians. Rather than diminish the beautiful reality of being children of God through creation, Paul’s theology of adoption essentially doubles up on the power and significance of God’s fatherhood, which brings us to the idea of redemption.


Ephesians 1:7–10 ESV
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
All religions exist for the purpose of some kind of redemption. That’s the main selling point of all religion. Religion wants you to be in fear of some kind of deity and in turn offer some king of means for you to get on the good side of that deity o r deities. This is not just some humanly devised scheme, even though today there are plenty of schemes that humanistic in nature. I want you to understand that this is satanic and demonically controlled. Anything that draws you away from God’s purposes and plans and makes you dependent on something else, in the broad sense, fits into this concept. It can be a system of religious worship, humanism, sexuality, medicine or medical systems, political systems, environmentalism, entertainment, books, and so on.
Why do I say it is demonic? Because there exists an innate disharmony between man and God that no amount of religious system can replace and satan wants nothing more that to increase that disharmony. I see it over and over again and it is ever increasing in our society today. We will worship ANYTHING.
Building on that, the way you redeem yourself is through good works, moral actions, ritualistic behavior, restitution, sacrifice. Do we see that in our society? Absolutely! CRT is built on this premise. Same thing with environmentalism, humanism, entertainment, ceremonialism. You are to redeem yourself for your sins and moral failure. What is damning, however is how this doctrine is infiltrating itself into our churches because it is so prevalent now in our culture.
The more we try in our own efforts to define our meaning the more meaningless life becomes and we are on a precipice in our culture today that we have stripped away meaning in life - be it conception of life, marriage, creation, or morality - in an effort to preserve meaning and soon nothing will have meaning. I’ve said it before that there are 4 basic questions every person seeks to answer: 1) origin, 2) meaning, 3) morality, and 4) destiny; 'Where did I come from? What is life's meaning? How do I define right from wrong and what happens to me when I die?' Christianity is the only construct that meets the demand for those answers.
The reason that can be said is because Christian is not dependent on the actions and worth of the worshipper. In fact, it is the opposite. The sinner can do nothing to redeem himself. Jesus himself said, Matthew 5:48 “48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Well, that is utterly impossible. Without God’s intervention there is no hope of redemption and that is exactly the point.
Galatians 3:10 ESV
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
Our reconciliation with our creator and restoration of meaning of life is only possible with God’s radical intervention. That intervention is the perfect substitution in Jesus.
Romans 5:10 ESV
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
Titus 2:13–14 ESV
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
And because we are redeemed, we are transformed. How we live, how we think, how we treat our family and others is all part of our transformation in Christ. Why? Because it was costly to God. The loss of something that is never thought of , felt, or sought after when it is lost, is not a loss at all!
Hebrews 9:22 ESV
22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
There was a boy who built himself a fine wooden boat. He was so excited to take it to the river and tryit out. When he got it in the water, it sailed magnificently. He watched it bob around joyfully on the waves on that cool summer day. However, it suddenly got caught in a current and hit some rocks, breaking the string and sailing down the river. He tried to follow the boat but it eventually disappeared from his sight.
Some time went by and the boy was walking by a store window, when his eye caught a boat in the display window. Looking a little closer, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was his boat. Going into the store, he explained to the clerk the situation. “Sorry son, but if you want that boat, you will have to buy it for $20.00.”
The boy immediately went home and dug into his piggy-bank, putting together all of his money to come up with the $20.00. Returning to the store, he handed it to the clerk and retrieved his prize possession. As he left the store, his face beamed. “Now you are twice mine. First I made you and now I bought you!” (Credit: Matthew Parker, Sermon Central).
When you find your identity in God and begin to understand who He is, then you will find the purpose for which you were created and the message of redemption will take hold in your life to transform you into the image He made you. Because of the lavish love of God, He made a beautiful exchange for us, laying down the life of His son Jesus at the Cross. First, he created us in His image, then he redeemed us on the Cross through His son.


Ephesians 1:11 ESV
11 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,
I want you to know something very important about your salvation in Christ. You are secure. The idea of predestination is more about security than choice. Some people don’t like to think that they don’t have a say in their eternity.
Rather than predetermining a person’s FATE, predestination predetermines a believer’s FOCUS—that is, God’s eternal purposes, goals and privileges for him. Every instance of the word “predestinate” in the New Testament refers to some purpose, goal or privilege that God has predetermined for BELIEVERS.
Let me see if I can illustrate this for you: Suppose your parents owned a family business, and their goal was for you to join the business and own it when they retired or passed away. You, of course, have the choice to opt in or out. But if you decide to take over the family business, your parents wisely planned out how you would get to that point. They determined when you would be ready to start working in the family business, what on-the-job training you should have, what outside education you should receive, and when the business should be fully placed in your care and management. Years later, because of their wise preparation, you take each of the steps they had laid out for you to be prepared to be the full owner and manager.
That’s what predestination is! Before the foundation of the earth, God pre-planned that all who opt in by believing in Christ and thus being joined to Him would have certain goals, purposes and privileges to accomplish God’s predetermined plans. Then in His infinite wisdom and love, He prepared believers so that they could fulfill God’s calling and purposes in their lives. (Credit: Church Sligh)
So we need to park our pride on our humanity—the ability to think and see ourselves as sinners, lost forever apart from God's unmerited favor and His grace, unconditionally bestowed by election. Do you understand that we are utterly hopelessly damned without God’s intervention? Do you understand that we are born again and that we've been resurrected? How many dead people caused their own resurrection? And how many babies, before they were conceived, did something to lead to their birth? The answer is absolutely nobody. We are adopted, redeemed and born again because God and God alone intervened. For that reason we are to worship Him with everything we have in our lives.
My question for you today is will you come to him and completely surrender your life to Jesus. When we talk about being blessed with spiritual blessings, we’re sweeping from eternity to eternity. When you say that you are a Christian, it is not a portion of your existence. Your relationship with Christ is the most defining part of you. If you have professed Christ as your Savior, but you are not living that way today, He is calling you to repent of your lukewarmness and commit the entirety of your life to him. If you have not made Jesus the Lord of your life, the time is now.
Everything resolves in Jesus Alone and when Christ has taken control of absolutely everything, sin and death are gathered up and destroyed. The Old Testament law is summed up in Him. All prophecies are summed up in Christ. The Old Testament ceremonies are summed up in Christ. The Old Testament kingdom promises and blessings are summed up in Christ. Everything is summed up in Him and He is coming again soon to judge the ungodly, but first He will gather up His Church to bring us home. Are you ready?
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