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Where Do You Belong? (1 of 10)
Think of a time when you felt a true sense of belonging to a community or group of people. What did it feel like to belong? You may have sensed a feeling of acceptance, of comradery, and the joy of belonging. You probably shared common circumstances and purpose with others in the group. You felt at home in this group. You experienced the blessing of belonging. Paul opens his letter with a glorious anthem of praise for all the blessings we have "in Christ." One blessing is that we belong to God's family - a community of faith. Here's how Paul describes the blessing of belonging in 1:3-4.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love." Ephesians 1:3-4, NIV
Let's consider from Ephesians 1:3-4 what it means to belong to the Lord and the community of faith. I'm indebted to William Barclay for how I have divided this great text.
1. God's choice for us to belong. "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world" (1:4). Keep in mind several things as we think of God choosing people or what is known as the doctrine of election. First, Paul is talking to believers, people who have heard the Gospel and who have believed the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection (v.13). They have already responded to Christ, they are saved. Paul is helping them discover who they are "in Christ."
Second, the New Testament writers talk about this subject of election (God choosing) not as a way to confuse us, or for us to debate "who's in" and "who's out." Instead, the writers deal with this subject as a way call believers to wonder at the grace of God and to call forth praise to God for His great grace. God's choosing us is to serve as a powerful assurance that our lives are in his powerful h ...
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