I love Chinese food. I used to save the fortune cookies and give them to my daughter, but recently I’ve been cracking them open myself and seeing the fortune found within. I built up quite the collection on my desk and started to see the truth in them. May these “fortunes” bless you as they have blessed me.
“No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.”
The past is the past. Perhaps the memories stay, the scars remain. Even still, the past is still the past. Unfortunately, some people cannot forget your mistakes. Some people cannot forgive your missteps. Sometimes you cannot let go of something from your past. Sometimes despite your efforts, the past keeps coming to the forefront of your mind, and things once “settled” are rehashed again.
But history is different from God’s vantage point. When you believe in Christ Jesus, the past is forgiven. The crimson stain is white as snow. Your sins are forgiven as far as the east to the west. Through Christ, you have a great inheritance—as a child of God, you are co-heirs with Christ. You truly have a spotless future.
When you hear taunts from your past, remember what God says about you. Remember that you are forgiven. Remember that you were bought with a price. Remember that you have been set free. Remember that you have a spotless future. You have overcome through Christ! Declare this today!
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18 [ESV]
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” – Psalm 103:12 [NLT]
- 4-5 – Predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
- He knew before the foundation that we would be separated. (1 Peter 4:20)
- He predestined us for adoption.
- Everyone who believes through faith is a child of God. (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12)
- 11 – Obtained an inheritance
- This inheritance is ALREADY ours through Jesus Christ.
- 13 – Sealed with promise of inheritance
- The Holy Spirit is our guarantee
Adopted Children of God:
- Receive New Rights (Galatians 4:4-7)
- Identical legal rights as blood child
- All riches in Christ & citizenship in heaven
- God will care for us
- Adopted parent is granted full rights & responsibility of natural father
- Complete authority over child
- Legal role as caregiver
- Relationships will change
- Our relationship with God changes
- God the Father – not only judge, Loving Father
- God the Son – not only Lord, Savior and Brother
- God the Holy Spirit – not only calls & sanctifies but Spirit of adoption within us
- Our relationship with others changes
- Our relationship with God changes
1 John 3:1-2 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [NIV]
Romans 8:14 – “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” [HCSB]
Bible Study Questions:
- Verses 4-5 speak of predestination. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God knew that we would need Jesus Christ. What does this term predestination mean?
- Ephesians 1:10 says, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” What is this fullness of time? What does this mean?
- In verse 11, the passage says we “obtained and inheritance.” How is this different from an inheritance we may receive from our earthly family?
- God has sealed us with a promise it says (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of an inheritance. But this guarantee is not like a normal promissory note that you hold until the time of the collection. What benefits to we have the Holy Spirit?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:
There are people who do everything on their own, relying on self all of the time. These people are the independent people. They might say, “Look what I have done” or “I have to do everything myself if I want it done.” Then there are people who are dependent people. There are those who recognize that they are dependent on God (truth is we all are dependent on God), and then there are those who are dependent for everything. These are the people who will not move a finger because someone will do it for them. The first example that comes to mind is someone who enables another from growing through a situation because the dependent person plays the victim card. Another example is someone who loses a job and says, “God will get me another job” but never even attempts to fill out an application.
In today’s passage we read about Joseph approaching Joshua. The people want more land for their inheritance because they do not have a large enough area for their tribe. They ask why they were only given one portion. Joshua tells the people to go up and clear an area for themselves. The response isn’t, “Okay, we shall do that then.” The people of Joseph respond by stating again that their land isn’t enough, and that the Canaanites have chariots. Joshua had to restate what the tribe of Joseph shall do to get what they were promised.
There are moments when we are to wait on God to move but then there are moments when we are to act in faith, trusting that God will be faithful. We need to recognize the importance of listening for God’s voice so we are able to know when to wait and when to move. When we are led to move, we must move. You shall. God is with you. You shall.
“Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me?’ Joshua said to them, ‘If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.’ The people of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.’” – Joshua 17:14-18
Inheritance is a word that is tossed around often. Some people work hard to leave a large financial inheritance to their children. Some people spend a lot of time teaching their children so that their inheritance is a great moral legacy. Some people are “lucky” to receive an inheritance that will help them out of their financial ruins. Many people seek out a lawyer to get proper documentation to ensure the inheritance will be split up as they wish.
This type of inheritance is very different from what God offers us—He offers us a priceless inheritance. There is no price we can pay for this inheritance. He freely gives it us because of His love and grace. You won’t get a nice spot in the will for being the better son or daughter. Each person is equal with God. He loves each person as His only child.
Not only can no one pay for this inheritance He offers, but nothing can compare to this inheritance. This inheritance doesn’t run out. It does not depreciate in value. It is always awaiting you. We are so fortunate that because of God’s love, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, that we are able to receive such an inheritance, a priceless inheritance. Now let us live with great expectation of this inheritance, praising God for all that He has done and awaiting the day He calls us home.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance–an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” – 1 Peter 1:3-4 [NLT]
There are days when I am drained and just want to hide beneath the covers. There are days when my pain becomes so excruciating that for a moment I wish I could have my foot taken away. There are moments when I do not feel like doing much of anything. There are moments when it seems like I go from one trial to the next—like one continuing struggle. Things don’t always come easy. In fact, most things are a challenge. Most things are a fight. God never said everything was going to be easy.
Jeremiah wrote “yet I still dare to hope.” He remembered God’s faithfulness. He remembered God’s mercy. He boldly stated, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him.”
I still dare to hope. I know that “His mercies never cease.” I know that every day is another morning full of His mercy, His love, His faithfulness. Therefore I too will boast, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him.” There is no other hope but Jesus.
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’” – Lamentations 3:21-24 [NLT]
When the Israelites were to go into the Promised Land, there were areas that were appointed by God for each tribe (except Levi) for their inheritance. If you turn to Joshua 19:40-48, it will state the land area that was given to the Danites. Yet in Judges 18, we read that the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place to settle. They had not moved into the land that God had given them. Rather than fight for the land that God had appointed to them, Dan instead wanted to scout out some new land.
God had given them land as an inheritance but they wanted some other land. They did not want to fight—to do the work necessary—to get the land. God is a promise keeper. God gave them this land. But they did not trust God to see them through or they did not want to do the necessary fighting to get what God had given them.
Is there something God has promised you, but you have turned to some other land? Some other occupation? Some other project? Something else because the leg work did not look appealing? Something else because you did not truly believe that God would provide what He promised? There was fighting when the tribes would enter their allotted area. Some pushed forward in faith and received what they were given. Others, when pushed back, turned around to find a plan B for themselves. God has one plan for your life. Don’t turn around for a plan B.
“Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place where they could settle, for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of Israel.” – Judges 18:1 [NLT]