07152018 8 Aft Pent 7 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“God has prepared our inheritance (Eph. 1:3-14)”

07152018 8 Aft Pent 7 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

July 15. 2018

“God has prepared our inheritance (Eph. 1:3-14)”

Sermon Audio

It is never easy to sit at a lawyers office for the reading of a will after a loved one has passed away.  In the movie, “Ultimate Gift” the story documents the reading of the will of oil barren and tycoon Red Stevens.  His grandson, Jason Stevens shows up late, sports clothes that show he has grown up with a silver spoon in his grasp.  And ironically, he receives a hefty inheritance, unlike any of the other relatives that were sitting around the table. However, in order for Jason to receive the inheritance, his grandfather requires him to embark on a journey.  Not to an exotic destination, nor to a place that would cater to his every need. Jason’s destiny is intertwined with a journey of self-discovery.

Jason had lived the life of a ‘playboy’, a ‘bad boy’, someone who didn’t have a care in the world, because everything he wanted, needed or desired was taken care of by his family, their wealth and their influence.  Yet in that one moment, Jason’s Grandfather bestowed upon Jason the greatest gift, dare I say the “Ultimate Gift” that would provide Jason with the tools needed for the future he would face.

If you can’t tell, this is a movie that I like, because it clearly and quickly destroys our culture’s view of the ‘entitlement’ mentality.  The “Ultimate Gift” I used as a Film of Faith in Kansas and not only provides a demonstration, but radically moves anyone who sees it and points those who are pliable clay in a direction to a truth that Paul writes to the Ephesian church about in our Epistle or Second reading this morning.  This morning we begin a four week journey through Ephesians, today Paul’s message is simple, “God has prepared our inheritance!”

Paul, formerly named Saul is writing to the church in Ephesus to help the people understand that Baptism unites all Christians.  For when Water connected to the Word of God is poured over our head, God makes a promise to us of eternal life. “God has prepared our inheritance!”  And clearly wants us to understand the grace He offers us freely and without cost is not only a gift, but an inheritance that all of us can have.  Just like the “Grace and Mercy” Coins we offered on Pentecost, “God has prepared our inheritance” and wants us to receive the gifts He has prepared for us and wants us to receive freely.

Unlike sitting through the legal proceedings of a will, God’s gift and our inheritance is not an earthly offer, but an eternal offer.  “God has prepared our inheritance” in order for we, His children, by Water and Word to receive and have a unity with Him that transcends time, space and overcomes any and all gifts this world could potentially offer.  Money will pass away. Our physical abilities will diminish. However, the gift found in the inheritance from God will not rust, it will not and cannot be destroyed.

Consider, Jesus Christ while He was being tempted by Satan could have had all of what this world could offer.  Yet, Jesus saw through the beguilement of Satan and understood that what was being offered was not in fact a gift, but a prison that would last for an eternity.  And Jesus strengthened with the resolve from His Father to look with eternal eyes did and could see through the thin veil of the devil and offers we who gather here today an inheritance that has no earthly equal.  For “God has prepared our inheritance” and wants us to understand it is a gift of love that flows from the Father, through the gift of grace found in the Son and by the Work of the Holy Spirit clearly and emphatically offers us the inheritance that can only come from God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Paul with wisdom that could only come from God shows for us today why “God has prepared our inheritance” and why for the Jews this was a mystery.  The only way that Paul could clearly articulate for the Jews of his day and help them to understand the inheritance they would receive was because of Who Paul had himself had a personal encounter with in his lifetime.

The encounter Paul had was with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  In the brief encounter Saul had on the road, Saul was radically changed and it was revealed to him what the inheritance was of eternal life.  Jesus Christ offers each and everyone of us this same opportunity to encounter and inherit from Him today the greatest gift of eternal life. For when we believe that “God has prepared our inheritance” and we receive the gift of grace in the Word of God and in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, our world can be changed.  We through these means of grace are offered the greatest gift of grace, mercy and love that only God can offer us from and through His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The inheritance we receive is a gift of grace, mercy and love that does not require lawyers nor agreements, nor wills read at our passing, but comes freely, because of God’s great love for us.  Paul understood this and not only wanted the Jews to hear and heed his advice and teaching, but to clearly offer each and every one of us today the knowledge and belief in our Savior Jesus Christ and hold onto the belief in faith that “God has prepared our inheritance!”    The question we need to ask ourselves today, are you expecting an earthly gift, or do you want the eternal gift and inheritance prepared for us by Jesus Christ?  AMEN.