Christ esteemâ€¦chosen by God before everything â€“ Yes you!
Ephesians 1:3 â€“ 14
New yearâ€™s resolutions usually mean, that we hope to change something in our lives, or give up something that is causing us grief.
We hope this will mean a new beginning, or a new start or maybe new things, all this to make us feel good about ourselves – to lift our self-esteem.
New Year resolutions are usually aimed at health, wealth, or a change of a behaviour. The reason we do this, is because we know that we are sick of the way we have become.
Maybe, you are like me who has struggled with my fitness â€“ I have had good intentions to start walking and change my diet, but I can never quite get started.
Now unless we are truly strong willed and are really determined, our attempts to stick to our plan usually ends in disappointment, giving us a sense that we have failed, as we fall back into the same old habits that have been tormenting us.
Our self-esteem ends up in tatters and all seems lost, we feel alone, and helpless â€“ What is the point?
At these times we feel utterly worthless, useless. We canâ€™t even do what we want to do, let alone what we ought to do.
It could be that I would like to love others better, or get angry with others less often, or when people ask for help, that I actually do what I say I will do. I ask myself why is this so?
In Pauls letter to the Romans 7:19-20 we read, 19Â For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Â Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. It is because of sin, this is the reason why we have low self-esteem and no confidence in ourselves.
In all this we ask where is God? We feel distant from Him, maybe we are ashamed and donâ€™t want to be close to God. Anyway, why would God even bother about me? Does God even care about me?
If you still have doubts – In our reading today Paul reassures us in verse 4, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love.
God has chosen you, in love. He knows you, because he Himself has created you. He knows that you are weak in sin, but in Jesus Christ he chose you and willed you to be his forever.
Listen carefully to the Words from Isaiah 43:1 â€˜But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: â€œFear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
In this verse we have five references that speak to you! Created you, formed you, redeemed you, called you, and you are mine!
God is speaking to you. Yes, you! He has called you by name, He has chosen you!
But how do we know that God has chosen you and me?
Firstly, something has brought you here to church this morning. Amongst the busy-ness of your lives you have come here to worship, when you could have been doing something else, like sleeping in or visiting friends
Well the reason you are here, is because you are in Christ. Â Paul uses these two important words in Christ which appear Three times in our text.
It is here that Paul is focusing our attention on in Christ, as the key to our salvation. Paul wants you to know, that God gave his Son for you;
Just pause for a moment and think about thisâ€¦
this is how much He thinks that you are important, He wantâ€™s you, Yes, you! God raised Jesus again for you, to give you eternal life. Godâ€™s great saving plan in Christ is for you, to lift you up, to show you what you are really worth.
You are special. God has chosen you and me. He has predestined us for adoption. Verse 5 says, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
In Baptism we have be adopted, reborn into Godâ€™s family through His Son Jesus and his atoning blood, death and resurrection. United together, we have been adopted as Gods true family. It is because of this we know that we inherit what is Godâ€™s (1:11; Rom 8:17).
Now here is the thing, it doesnâ€™t matter about our self-esteem. It does and always will be destined to fail and disappoint us.
You start to doubt yourself. When this happens it leads to you no longer valuing yourself – you doubt your self-worth.
The reason that this happens is because of our sinful nature, our self-esteem just doesnâ€™t cut it. But thatâ€™s not the endâ€¦ in Jesus you have Christ esteem.
It is because Jesus has died for you – you have Christ esteem. Jesus values you and loves you more than his own life.
God has sacrificed his Beloved Son, who died for you, and rose for you, for your salvation. Now that is really something. You are special.
It is because of Godâ€™ love in Christ that you are special. Do you know why? Ephesians 1:6 6Â to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
What is Paul saying to us in this verse? It is because of Godâ€™s grace that he has chosen you. Because you have been baptized into Christ and united with Him, you too are beloved of God.
As God said to those who witness Jesus baptism â€œthis is my beloved Son, whom I am well pleased (Matt 3:17). So to when you are sorry and repent of your sins and believe in Jesus as your saviour, you become Gods beloved children. Itâ€™s not just Christ but we too who become Gods beloved.
Christ esteem is the there for you, Why, because God has redeemed you through the shedding of His blood. Verse 7 says,Â In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
The prophet Isaiah says in 43:1 I have called you by name, you are mine. In 1 Peter 2:9 you are a chosen race. Yes, you.
Do we have a guarantee? We sure do. In verse 13, Paul speaks about us receiving the Holy Spirits seal, his absolute pledge â€“ he is referring to something quite concrete, and that is our Baptism.
We have the seal of the Spirit, and we remain sealed in Godâ€™s love each day, as we hear the word of truth, the Good News of Jesus Christ, and believe in Him, we then receive our salvation in Christ
Nobody can take this gift away from you.
But wait there is more!
With this guarantee, you need to know that your name is written in the book of heaven. Luke says in 10:20, rejoice that your name is written in heaven.
As we come to the threshold of this new year, St Paul gives you something better than new year resolutions.
He gives us a new yearâ€™s gospel; he shows us that, despite our sins and failures in life, we are beloved and special to Him, and of great worth.
Remember then, that you have always been Godâ€™s precious heavenly people. God has predestined you to be his, by the shedding of Christs blood for you.
You have something better than self-esteem, you have Christ-esteem. He died for you and has given you every gift and blessing. Your baptism is the guarantee that you are truly special. No one can take that away from you.
Yes, you have been chosen by God. Yes, you are Christ-esteem. Yes, you are Godâ€™s, sealed by the shedding of Christs blood, and yes you have the guarantee of eternal life. Â Rejoice then, because God has chosen you. Yes, you!