What Brings the Greatest Pleasure? A Concordia sermon on Ephesians 1:3-14
What Brings the Greatest Pleasure?
† In Jesus Name †
May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ bring you as much pleasure as you receive it and share it with others as it brings God!
The Pleasure of a Job Well Done
This week I had to drop off nine cases of books at Concordia University. Mark Siegert, one of the professors in the Cross-cultural Ministry Center and I used dollies to bring them from the car to the building, a distance of about 100 feet up a gradual hill.
As we finished, we both laughed. For we both managed bookstores before we got into ministry, he ran Concordia’s and I ran Pepperdine’s. Back in the day, we would unload with our crew, shipments of 200 plus cases. And barely be tired. That day, we were both exhausted after three simple trips! On the way back, I thought of those days, I remember the feeling after a long day shuttling cases of books, and watching the sun go down over the ocean, drinking a coke with my employees.
There is something special about doing a good job, and the sense of pleasure from accomplishing it with people you call your friends.
If that is so, how much more pleasure would God have, from accomplishing His greatest work, and celebrating it with those he loves?
The Job He Has Done
In Paul’s epistle to the church in Ephesus, we heard this morning about the work of God and the pleasure it gives Him. In fact, Paul was so impressed, he told us about this work of God in 12 ways, which I want to go over again.
1. He blessed us with every spiritual blessing as we are united to Jesus
2. He chose us to be in Christ to be holy and without fault, any fault, as He looks at us!
That I think is a bit of work! At least in my case!
3. He adopted us into His own family! He did this, again, by uniting us to Jesus, to His death and resurrection! This wasn’t just down to make us happy, to give us joy, but this is what said gave God the greatest pleasure! Making us His kids in every sense of the Word.
4. He poured out His glorious grace on us, for we belong to Jesus
5. He is so rich in Kindness He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son
We need to pause here, and stop and think that Jesus’s blood paid for that sin you committed on Wednesday, yes, that one sin you thought you could hide, that no one would know about. He paid for that sin, with the blood poured out, there on the cross.
We need to understand this, not just the thousands of sins that we commit over a lifetime, but that sin that haunts us, that we fear if it became known, it would ruin us. That sin, as well as all the others, paid for so that we could be adopted.
6. He will bring everything together as one, at the right time!
What a day that will be, no more division, nor more struggle!
7. Because we are united to Jesus, we have an inheritance waiting for us, we have a place!
8. Because He chose us, everything in life will work out according to His plan!
now there are days I don’t understand how everything works out into His plan, and I have to be honest with that. There are those times I don’t see it, yet, what gets me through those times is refocusing on His plan, on His desire that all would be with Him! When I refocus on that, the suffering is still there, but somehow its grip on me diminishes in strength. For the more we look to Him, the surer we are of His love, and therefore His promises
9. Even though others were saved first, God made sure that because we have heard His word, He has saved us as well!
Number 10 in this recounting of God’s work is amazing, and I wish we had hours to go into it.
10. He identified us as HIS! He picked us out of the lineup and said, you are mine, and He did this by giving us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, just as He promised long ago!
11. The Holy Spirit, given to us in baptism is the guarantee of the promises He gave us.
This wonderful comforter counted here as the guarantee of our salvation is just eh beginning of it. Again, another sermon series could be on each of these points that Paul is sharing with the church in Ephesus!
and the final one, something that expands on an earlier point.
12. He purchased us to be His people.
We are His people, and this is the work, the thing God has labored at, and suffered to see happen.
We are His, identified as His, adopted as His, united in Christ’s death where He paid for all our sins and freed us from them so we could have this wondrous relationship with Him!.
And someday, the sun will set for a final time, and all of us will arrive home.
This is what brings Him pleasure, not the
And find God rejoicing, with the largest of smiles, pleased at the work He has done, making us all His own.
Christianity is not just about getting us to heaven or avoiding hell, it isn’t just about doing good and not doing evil. It is about being in a relationship with God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ whose blood was shed so that relationship would become possible.
Not just for you and me, but for every broken person that Christ died for, for every person He would save, for every person that God would adopt, for we know the pleasure it brings Him.
May he work through each one of us, helping us to see many more come to hear His of His work in their life! AMEN!