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Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(1/17) Did you hear about the guy who bought the horse from the Amish farmer? The man saw the horse and thought it is the most beautiful horse he ever saw and asked to buy it. The Amish farmer said he would sell the horse but the man needed to know that the horse was not taught traditional horse talk like Gee and Haw, or Giddy up and Whoa. If you want the horse to go you say, "Praise the Lord," and if you want him to stop you say, "Amen." The money was paid and the man hitched the horse up to his own carriage and said Giddy-up but the horse stood still. Then the man remembered and said, "Praise the Lord," and the horse proceeded to trot off. A little way down the road, a snake scared the horse and it started galloping and the man in the carriage was being tossed back and forth and yelling, "Whoa," and, "Stop," and he saw that they were headed for a cliff, and he remembered and yelled, "Amen," and the horse stopped right at the edge. The man took out his handkerchief and wiped his brow and said, "Praise the Lord." Any way:

Another of my all-time favorite stories is the Victor Hugo novel, Les Miserables (The Miserable People). I like the movie version better than the musical. The one with Liam Neeson and Jeffrey Rush is the best. Neeson plays Jean Valjean who is arrested for stealing a loaf of bread and is spends the next 20 years in prison. Upon his release, he knows he will never get a job or any help because he is a convict. In one scene he is taken in by a kindly bishop and sees an opportunity to help himself which was not a good idea. Watch.

The rest of the book is about a man who wants to live by and give grace to people. But he is hounded by a policeman (Rush) who is intent on keeping the law to its smallest degree and is set on sending Jean Valjean back to prison, and who at the end cannot understand nor receive the grace that Jean Valjean wants to give. Now there is a lot of content in there, but this is about a man whose life is forever changed by grace because a Bishop purchased his freedom and a fresh start for one who was caught in the system of sin.

What does this have to do with Ephesians 1? Well we noticed last week that Paul says in 1:3 that God is to be Blessed or Praised because of the spiritual blessings He lavished on us. He has favored us with awesome things that relate to our forever life with Him. These blessings are all ours IN HIM. 27 times in this book He talks about what we have in Christ, in the Beloved, and In Him.

ē V. 4, He chose us before the foundation of the world and conferred on us the status of being Holy and Blameless. But He chose us In Him.

ē V.5, In Love He predestined to adopt us as His sons or children. This is the highest honor and expression of love that our God can give to any of us.

ē V.6, This gave Him great pleasure and we give Him great glory in light of such magnificent grace.

Today we will look at a few more of the spiritual graces that God has given us.

1. (v.7), "In Him we have redemption through His blood," Notice 3 things:

a) The Redeemed People. Though Chapter 2 deals a little more with this, we

need to understand redemption. There is a word picture here. To redeem, means to purchase with a price, perhaps a ransom. Before God could bring us into His family as His children, there were legal matters to attend to. Adopting a child is seldom cheap. People will spend from a few thousand to perhaps a hundred thousand dollars to adopt a child. There are government fees, attorney fees, and adoption agency fees, and sometimes money that goes to the ones giving up the child.

But the picture here is a different one. Here, the word redeemed means, to pay the price to release a person from bondage. Sometimes a person would be in debtorís prison because he could not pay a debt. He would work for little and the money would go to the indebted, until it was paid off, or until the family could come up with the funds. Or, it is the picture of paying the price to obtain and then to free a slave. There were 6 million slaves in the Roman empire, and sometimes a master would set a slave free. Sometimes, perhaps rare, one would purchase a slave for the sole purpose of freeing him or her.

Now I donít want to offend you, but the truth is you either were or you are now a slave. Everybody that comes into the world is born into slavery. The Bible says that we are all slaves. No one is free. And to whom are we slaves? Look at the words of Jesus in John 8:32-34. "Whoever sins is a slave to sin." Who sins? We all do. To whom or what are we in bondage? Sin! Romans 6:17 says, "Men are servants to sin." Romans 7:14; "Sold under sin." Romans 8:21; "In bondage to corruption." The only way to be free is for someone to purchase your freedom.

b) What is the Redemption Price? What does sin demand? You have been in

church long enough and you know. Itís Death! The price of sin is death. Thatís what Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin is death." Death has to be paid, for or by every sinner. In order to purchase sinners from the slavery of sin there must be death. Hebrews 9:22, says, "Without the shedding of blood," which is simply a term for death, without death there is no remission of sin. The Old Testament says, "The soul that sins shall die," (Ez. 18:4). The wages or the price of sin is death. But Jesus redeemed us. What does that mean? It means He paid the price of sin to free the slave and set him free. That's the whole point of redemption. That is exactly what He did. He paid the price to set us free so He could adopt us. And you know how He did that. Verse 7 says, Through His blood. Oh, may we never lose the wonder of this. Unlike the good Bishop that gave all the Parish House silver to ransom Jean Valjeanís life, Jesus gave His life. Listen to Peterís words (1 Peter 1:17-19), "conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Paul sums up this very well in Romans 3:21-25a, (turn there and look) "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood."

Your life and my life was ransomed, redeemed, paid for in order to set us free and adopt us into the family of God by the life-blood of Jesus Christ. Itís no wonder that when John saw a vision of heaven, he wrote this in Revelation 5:9, "They sang a new song." And what did the song say? It said, "Thou art worthy to take the scroll and open its seals for Thou was slain and has redeemed to God by Thy blood those out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation and has made us unto our God a kingdom of priests and we shall reign on the earth. But there is also:

c) The Redemtive Purpose. We will look more at this is 2:10 and chapters 4-6,

but look at 2:10, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Look at Titus 2:14, "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. We were redeemed and purified to be zealous to do good works that would honor our Father. Thatís why every day of your life ought to begin with a prayer asking the Father to show you how to touch someoneísí life today for Jesus. How can I serve someone? How can I serve my church? How can I represent Jesus? How can I love others the way Jesus has loved me? How can I be a Pez dispenser, dispensing the Grace of God? Here is another way Paul says it, "20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are Godís. (1 Cor. 6:21). We have been redeemed, set free, and adopted with a chance for a do-over, a mulligan, a new opportunity to honor our new Father in Heaven. Can you say, Praise the Lord?

2. (V.7b) the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

The result of the redemptive price being paid is that we have full and complete forgiveness. The very idea of forgiveness is that we are released from our debt. Sin has a price tag and that price is death, as we already noticed. When God purchased us out of the slave market of sin, that redemptive price was paid and our sin debt was canceled; that is, it was canceled for all who will receive His forgiveness as a gift of Godís grace. Look at Colossians 2:13-14, "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. What no one saw that day on Calvary was, that when Pilateís soldier nailed the sign that said, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, an angel of God nailed a list of all your sins to that cross. And thatís what Jesus died for. And He paid the entire price for the stuff you havenít even done yet. I love that passage in Johnís Gospel (19:30) where from the cross, after hanging there for about 6 hours and just before He dismissed His spirit, He cried with a loud voice, "It Is Finished." That was a legal term, literally meaning, Paid in Full. Jesus was announcing that forever; our sin debt had been paid for in full for anyone who would receive it. Can you say, Praise the Lord?

How many trespasses did He forgive for you? How many did He pay for? All of them! How could He do that? Two reasons. One, He is the infinite God, the only one who could pay an infinite penalty. Second because He has an unlimited supply of Grace. He did it according to the riches of his grace. His grace cannot be exhausted. Neither can His mercy and love. Eph. 2:4 says, "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us." You canít exhaust it and you can earn it, and you definitely donít deserve it. But Godís grace and forgiveness donít come on a merit system. It is given freely to all who will repent and receive it.

And while we are at it, letís remind ourselves of some fantastic truths that we already know, but I love to remember.

a) Can any of you remember typewriters? Remember that white correct tape that you could stop and use to blot out a mistake? How about whiteout? Do they still sell that? Because of Jesus, our Father blots out your sins. Listen! "I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." (Isa. 44:22)

b) When God forgives He never brings our offenses up to use them against us again. He says, "their sins and lawless deeds, I will remember no more (Heb. 10:17)

c) Godís forgiveness is like burying our sins in the deepest part of the ocean and, as an old preacher said, He puts up a, no fishing, sign. Listen to Micah 7:18-19, "Who is a God like You; Pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. 19 He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

d) The Psalmist David, gives us another word picture of His Forgiveness. Listen! "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:10-12)

Is it any wonder that Ephesians 1:3 says, God is to be Praised for His spiritual blessings given to us in Christ? Someone say, Praise the Lord!

3. When you receive His grace in Christ, you also receive His Wisdom and

Insight, "Which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence." The word prudence means insight. Wisdom is the ability to make the best use of knowledge. By Godís grace He has given us the ability to know and apply His knowledge to our lives. And, He has given us insight in to what He is doing in time for eternity.

Now, Paul has a particular insight in mind here in the next few verses, but elsewhere, He reminds us that because the Holy Spirit is in all of us who have trusted in Jesus, we are able to see and understand spiritual truths that we never understood nor could we apart from Him. Our Lord said in John 16:13-14, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." Turn back to 1 Cor. 2:6-16.

Verse 9 comes from Isaiah 64:4 which actually reads a little different, "For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.

Now notice verse 9 with me. First, most take this verse and lift it from its context. They use it to say, "We canít even begin to imagine what heaven is going to be like." And in a sense that is true. Explaining heaven to us is like explaining a sunset to a blind person. There is no way to adequately relay the beauty or majesty of what it will be. Itís like the Mercy Me song, I Can Only Imagine. Look at these pictures my sister-in law took last week of a sunset on the Eastern Shore of Md. How would you describe that to a blind person?

But look again at what it really says, 9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. God by His grace and with great pleasure is delighted to share what He is doing with us, that He has chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven.

He is revealing the mystery of His plan. Eph. 1:9 says, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. A mystery is something that has been concealed or hidden, but is now revealed. Itís like a Christmas present in a box and all wrapped up. You donít know what is in the box until it is opened. We will go into great depth with this in Chapter 3, but here, Paul says, Godís great pleasure was to reveal to us, "that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earthóin Him." (v.10) History is going to be about God redeeming and adopting a family and He is planning a huge reunion. How many of you attend family reunions? For many people this is a big thing. Once a year or every few years all the relatives of a particular family get together and there is food and games and stories re-told.

Here Paul says that the day is coming. The dispensation of the fullness of time, is referring to a time period that is coming when history will end. It is Revelation 21-22. And God is going to gather all His chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven children together in one big family reunion. And history will be over. Time will be finished. It will always be forever present with our Father.

And the mystery that is now made known is that, surprise, surprise, there wonít be a Jewish street, or a Catholic street, or a Baptist Street, or a Non-denominational street, nor a black street, Asian street, or Caucasian street, or a slave street, or a Masterís street. There is no KJV only street. There is no Korea, China, Russia, Africa, or American street. The Jewish temple was kind of divided off that way, The Jewish men could get close to God, the Priests could get closer and the High Priest could get closer yet, the Jewish women couldnít get as close as the men, and the Gentiles couldnít come as close as the Jewish women. One of the things that really angered Jesus was that they used the Gentile prayer zone for a mini-market or strip mall. It was supposed to be house of prayer for all people.

But when time is finished, all of us will be as one big family in our Fatherís house. Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, John, Paul, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Moody, Spurgeon, Graham, and all who have repented and received Jesus will be at the reunion. We will all be at the table together. Isaiah 25:6-9 says, God is preparing a huge dinner for us, and Luke 12:37 says, He will serve us and Zeph. 3:17 says, He will rejoice over us with singing. And it will be awesome. Letís turn to and read Revelation 2:1-8; 22-27 and 22:1-5; 12-17. That is awesome! Can you say, Praise the Lord?

Letís wrap this up with a challenge.

1. If you have trusted Jesus, your life has been redeemed from the bondage to sin. Romans 6:11-23 challenges us serve God with these bodies that have been redeemed. Stop using them to serve sin. Dedicate yourself to honoring God.

2. Do you need to be forgiven? The wonderful thing about grace is that it is in-exhaustible. Run to your Father confess your sin and He will forgive you right there. Thatís what Psalm 32 and I John 1:9 is all about.

3. Are you prejudice? Think your brand is the closest to God. Stop it. You will share heaven with people that are different than you, yet the same as you, because they have been chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven just like you. Paul reminds us in Acts 17:26, "He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth." And Rev. 5:9 says that people from every tongue, tribe, nation, race, gender, etc. will all praise God together with one voice.

4. Have you come to Jesus in faith, trusting Him to be your Savior and Lord? Do it today. The price for your redemption has been paid. You just need to receive it.

Letís Pray about it.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman