Volume. XXIII, No. 22
Sunday, 23 November 2008


Are you a Blessed Person? Eph 1:1-6 (Part 1)


INTRODUCTION

If someone would to ask you what is so good about being a Christian, I hope your answer is not simply because that the church is a better place to socialise, a decent environment for your children to make friends or that Christianity offers you a set of moral principles and guidelines to be a better individual. Although benefits may well be acquired through regular church attendance, there should be far better answers that you can offer to the world whenever you are asked of your reason of the hope in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). What does being blessed in Christ really mean? Does it imply that Christians can \'claim\' anything they wish to have in life from God and that He is obligated to give to whoever asks of Him? Or, does it suggest that every Christian should be miraculously healed from cancer and every sort of disease upon professing their faith in Christ? Unfortunately, the Scripture does not guarantee material prosperity and perfect health as part and parcel of the gospel (or the “health and wealth” gospel) of Jesus Christ as some churches would propagandise.  Rather, the Scripture has promised spiritual blessings and benefits to each one who comes to trust Christ as his Lord and Saviour. We shall consider how Christians are really blessed based on Ephesians 1:1-6.

First, You are Bestowed with Heavenly Grace, Peace and Spiritual Blessings in Christ (vv. 1-3)

In his lengthy pastoral salutation and greeting, Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus reminding them that God\'s people are blessed in Christ with heavenly grace, peace and all spiritual blessings (vv. 1, 2). What is grace? The word \'Grace\' has a broad range of definitions. The term is frequently used to refer to Salvific grace as in Ephesians 2:8, which, when it is used in such a way, the word implies the act done from a \'spirit of good will\' rather than as a response to an obligation.  It is usually equated to the English word \'favour\' or \'unmerited favour\' of God. Nevertheless, in Paul\'s opening greeting to the church at Ephesus and his other epistles, the term is used in another sense – ascribing to God\'s spiritual blessings in general given to His people in Christ as in Ephesians 1:2, and other opening salutations of Apostle Paul and other New Testament writers, such as Peter. Albert Barnes says, "…it seems to be a word including all those blessings that are applicable to Christians in common; denoting an ardent wish that all the mercies and favors of God for time and eternity, blended under the general name grace, may be conferred on them…"

Then, what does \'peace\' mean? Peace is also a term used pervasively, but is more cut-and-dry in its definition. First, the term peace does not only refer to an absence of open hostilities between two parties, but in the salvific sense, also refers to the same between God and man (Colossians 3:6), without intermediary reconciliation of Christ (Romans 5:10). Christians are blessed for being saved by grace through faith in Christ. As the result, Christians can have peace with God and from God (Ephesians 1:2) in Christ because he is no longer under the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6), but reconciled to God in Christ (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:20, 21) so that he can always come boldly before His throne of grace obtaining mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Second, the term peace can also refer to the divine serenity or tranquility given to God\'s people in times of troubles, trials, temptations and persecutions (Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 29:11; John 14:27, 16:33; Philemon 4:7).  This may be the intention of Paul or Peter when he used the word in His opening salutations.

Aside from being endowed with God\'s divine grace and peace with and in Him, God\'s people are also bestowed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (v.3). Note that this verse describes to us both the kind of blessings and the location of those blessings. These are spiritual blessings that are eternal and incorruptible, which are infinitely and gloriously far better than material and physical blessings, which are temporal (Revelation 18:11-19) and corruptible (Matthew 6:19; James 5:2). These spiritual blessings are ours in the heavenly places in Christ (v.3b) and are higher (Ephesians 1:3), better (Hebrews 11:4), and more secure (Matthew 6:20) than earthly and tangible blessings. Spurgeon says, "To have God for our portion is blessed, infinitely more blessed than to own broad acres of land. God hath blessed us with spiritual blessings. These are the rarest, the richest, the most enduring of all blessings; they are priceless in value." Are you blessed in Christ? Are you saved by grace, restored to God with peace, and in peace in times of troubles and trials? If you are a Christian, the answer should be an emphatic yes; but are you thankful for it? Sadly, so often God\'s people only thank God when they are blessed with physical, temporal and earthly blessings, but fail to rejoice with grateful hearts when they were saved and bestowed with all heavenly blessings which are infinitely far better than anything they could ever ask for in this life.

Pastor David Weng

*Editor’s note: Article to be continued next week.


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements

Kitchen Rosters - Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim

Please note: Next Lord’s Day - after worship Service Fellowship ’Coffee & Cookies’

Working Bee: Volunteers needed.  

Farewell: Sis Connie Mak as she returns to Sydney to work.

Mobile Phone: Ps Weng - 0408 806 865

 

Looking Ahead

2008 BPNYC will be held 1-5 Dec 2008 (Melb)

Christmas Day Worship Service, Thurs 25 Dec at 10:00am

Watch Night Service, Wed 31 Dec at 7:30 pm

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Bro Patrick Phua (S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Cheong, Suzane Lim & Vanessa Tan (Adl), Serene Wong (Spore); & all those who arrived in safety.

Church activities: AFG Bible Study; E-Ministry; Senior Citizens’ Fellowship; Session Meeting; Shorter Catechism Class; Sparks4Christ; Sunday School Teachers’ Training; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study& YAF Bible Study.

 

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing -Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Stephen Khoo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Yew Shing Chan, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagan, Mr Yeom, Hans Ziegelmann; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Mabela Booth, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Auntie Oei, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Catherine Teng, Susan Veradi, Irena, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; & others who are having chemotherapy & radiotherapy and those in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia: Bible Students studying in FEBC, S’pore; Kuching (Teo Family); Laos, India & Pakistan (Pastor & Believers)

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor Ki: Preaching ministry in S Korea.

Pastor Weng: ministry in Hope BPC; application for permanent residency in Australia.

Outreach to Mandarin speakers. Pray for a Mandarin-speaking brother to help in this outreach.

Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Melb); Bro Frank Wong (KL); Mrs Liaw & Bro Jonathan Liaw (S’pore); Sisters Tabitha Heah & Michelle Lee (Melb), Connie Mak (Syd) & Serene Wong (Indonesia).

Working in KL: Sis Purdee Yeo - for safety.

Job - Bro Cong Pham & Sis Tabitha Heah

BPCWA (Perth) - God’s guidance & wisdom for pastors, leaders & congregation.

Ebenezer BPC (Melb) - Cambodia Missions & Melb Evangelism.

2008 BP National Youth Camp: Speaker: Rev John Barlow, organisers & participants.

University & high school students - assignments & end-of-year exams.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063