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Lesson 3: What God Has Done *

Introduction: When I was growing up, it was very important to be chosen when they picked sports teams. You never wanted to be among the last two boys who were just "distributed," as opposed to being wanted on the team. Our lesson this week is about God choosing us to be on His team. Let's dive into our lesson and learn more!

  1. God Chose You

    1. Read Ephesians 1:3-4. Last week we studied verse 3. Verse 3 tells us that God the Father has given us every spiritual blessing in Jesus. Who is the "He" in verse 4: "For He chose us?" (I think it is still talking about God the Father.)

      1. The verse goes on to say that He "chose us in Him." Who is the "Him? (Jesus. The result is that "He (God the Father) chose us in Him (Jesus)....)

      2. How early were we chosen? Were we the "last two" that just got "distributed?" (The text tells us that we were chosen "before the creation of the world.")

        1. When I was chosen to be on a team when I was a kid, it was because of my merit in that sport or my popularity with the person choosing. What was the criteria for God the Father choosing us? (We were chosen because we were "in Him"(Jesus). This suggests no merit on our part.)

          1. Imagine being chosen to play on a team when you had never played before, indeed, you were not yet born. How could you be chosen based on your merit in that case? (That is our situation here. We were chosen by God before we were born, before the world was even created.)

            1. How does this make any sense? Why would God chose us in Jesus before the Creation? Why would God the Father even need to do this before sin entered the world? (Here is a real mystery. There are only two logical conclusions. Either God knew we would sin, or He and Jesus agreed that if we sinned Jesus would rescue us.)

    2. Ephesians 1:4 continues that we were chosen to be "holy and blameless in His sight." Are you holy and blameless? If not, how do you get that way? (The same way we were chosen: in Jesus.)

      1. Does verse 4 actually say that we are "holy and blameless?" (This is a very subtle and interesting point. It does not say that we are actually holy and blameless. Rather, it refers to some future time ("to be")and it says that we appear that way("in His sight") to God the Father.)

    3. Read Ephesians 1:5, but keep your focus on Ephesians 1:4-5. What kind of attitude does God the Father have towards us? (There are a number of great words used here: "love," "pleasure and will," "sons.")

      1. What does this suggest was God the Father's view when He and Jesus were discussing what to do with humans before Jesus created them? (God the Father has the same attitude as Jesus. He loves us. It is His pleasure and it is His will that we are not only rescued, but that we are adopted as His children.)

        1. Is being adopted here better or worse than being a natural child? (The positive sense I get here is that God chose us.)

    4. Since Ephesians 1:5 speaks of us being "predestined," let's jump down a few verses to look at a similar reference. Read Ephesians 1:11. What destination does God have in mind for us? How do we get to that destination? ( Ephesians 1:5 tells our "destination" is adoption by God. Jesus clearly is the "fixer" here. He is the One who works out God's will for us.)

      1. "Predestination" is the theory that we have no choice in salvation. Some are chosen and some are not. When Paul writes that we have been "predestined according to the plan of [Jesus,]" what does this tell us about our choice in the matter?

        1. Compare John 15:16 with Romans 3:10-11. Who is the moving party in our salvation? (God wants us to be saved. He has chosen us as children. We did not choose Him. God chose us to have salvation and eternal life as our destination.)

      2. Do we have a choice in the matter? Can we reject God's destination for our life?(Let's read two texts that bear on this. Read Romans 8:28-30 and Hebrews 10:28-31. Romans tells us those God knew in advance are destined for salvation. I imagine God knows everyone. The text in Hebrews is very important. God says that if we spurn His offer of salvation, we will face a terrible judgment. This logically means two things: a) That we can reject His offer (thus we have a choice); and, b) We are all given the offer. (Or at least only those who reject the offer face judgment.) These two texts read together teach us that God wants everyone to be saved. He made provision for this through His Son, Jesus. At the same time, we can reject this offer. If we do, if we insult God by spurning His generosity, then a terrible judgment awaits us.)

    5. Read Ephesians 1:6. What does this suggest about the idea that only some are "predestined" to be chosen by God to be saved? (Paul tells us that "glorious grace" is "freely given" to us through Jesus. If this were some sort of limited offer to certain people, then Paul could hardly describe it as "freely given.")

  2. Time to Fulfill the Mystery

    1. Read Ephesians 1:7-10. Paul writes about "the mystery" of "God's grace" being "lavished" on us. What picture of God do we see here, a generous God or a stingy God? (This is another reason to believe all are chosen by God to be invited for salvation. The terms used seem generous, rather than limited.)

    2. What is the time when Jesus puts heaven and earth together? (It could be at the cross - when Jesus defeated sin. It could be when Jesus fulfills the symbolism in Hebrews of entering the Most Holy place of the sanctuary in heaven. It could be the Second Coming of Jesus. I tend to think it was at the cross, but as we will look at next, God appears to be progressively putting His program into place on earth.)

  1. The Deposit

    1. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. How did these Christians become part of the special group which are saved? (They heard the gospel and believed.)

      1. What is the proof that they believed and have been saved? (They were marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit.)

        1. What is the mark of the Holy Spirit?

        2. If the Holy Spirit is not evident in your life, does that mean you are not saved? (Yes. If you do not have the seal, then there is no reason to believe you are saved.)

    2. Ephesians 1:14 tells us that the Holy Spirit is a "deposit." A deposit guaranteeing what? (Guaranteeing "our inheritance." We have been adopted ( Ephesians 1:5)as the children of God. Our inheritance is the Second Coming of Jesus, heaven, the earth made new and eternal life!)

    3. Earlier we discussed the time when everything in heaven and earth will be put together under Jesus. If we have a deposit now, does that mean that part of heaven and earth have come together now?

      1. Given that the Holy Spirit is both the "seal" of our salvation and the "deposit" of eternal life, how important is the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life?

        1. Do you see the result of the Spirit's presence in your life?

      2. If the Holy Spirit is a deposit that began at Pentecost, then what level of the Spirit would you expect now?

        1. There is this theory that the Holy Spirit is not currently available to do the great things done during Apostolic times. Does that make any sense to you if the Holy Spirit is a deposit first made hundreds of years ago?

    4. Friend, God chose you for salvation! Have you accepted His offer? Is there any proof in your life of that fact?

  2. Next week: Praise and Prayer.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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