The Truth of The Trinity

Oren Martin // Aug 1, 2023

How can you love someone you don’t know? To love God, we must know who He is—the one God who is three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This week, guest speaker Oren Martin walks us through Ephesians 1:3-14 to give us a biblical perspective of the Triune God who is worthy of our praise.

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Grace Ball: What's up, Porch fam? I wanted to let you know how excited I am for tonight's message. I get the joy of introducing our guest speaker for the night. He comes from Southern Seminary as a former professor. He has his PhD in theology and in the New Testament. He's our very own senior director of equipping here at Watermark, and lastly, he was my teacher in the Watermark Institute, which is our 10-month discipleship program. A big part of that program is academic-level training. So, y'all, we are in for a treat, let me tell you. Porch, join me in encouraging and welcoming to the stage Dr. Oren Martin.

Oren Martin: Good evening, Porch. Is that how you say it…Porch, young adults? Porch.Live, if you're joining us, I am so glad you are. If you have a Bible, please turn in it to Ephesians, chapter 1. If you're new to the Bible, that's about two-thirds or three-quarters of the way in. If you get to the Gospels…Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John…keep going. Once you get to Acts, keep going a couple of more books. It's Ephesians. If you get to Hebrews and Revelation, that's too far. If you have a Bible like mine, it's page 976. If you don't, you are out of luck.

I do want to thank The Porch team for inviting me to speak. I am so honored. I can't even tell you how I felt singing with you all tonight. I just kept thinking, "Lord, if you set on fire these people here tonight in this room and Porch.Live and all of those locations… If there are people who are fully surrendered to Jesus Christ and the life he provides, what could happen?" Imagine, the nations might know and be glad in Christ. So, it is a joy to be with you all. Let me pray for us, and we can jump in.

Lord, in your Word, Psalm 121 says, "Lord, I look and lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come?" Maybe there are people in here tonight who, when they look around, all they see is hills. They can't see past their circumstances. They can't see past conflict in their life, brokenness, addictions, depression, anxiety.

Lord, thank you for the psalmist who says, "When we look to the hills, where do we look?" We look to you, our God. Our help comes from the Lord who is the maker of heaven and earth. We look to the one who exists higher than those hills. He made those hills by simply speaking words. So, we ask you tonight to help us by your power to understand your Word. Open our eyes to the glories of Christ. We pray in his name, amen.

So, a couple of years ago, my wife and I went with my cousin and his wife to L.A. It was an amazing trip because it was free to us. It was totally a gift of my cousin. It was great. We went to Hollywood. We went to a Dodgers game. I got Mike Trout's autograph. He literally walked over to me and signed my baseball. It was amazing. My sons have it now. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

One of the days we went there, my cousin suggested we go to Six Flags. I was like, "Great." I grew up going to Six Flags in Houston, AstroWorld. It's a Travis Scott album now. Anyway, we go to Six Flags, and my cousin gets us VIP access. I'm like, "Great, whatever that means." Basically, what it means is you get to ride roller coasters back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back without waiting in line at all. I was like, "I'm in." When I was 12, I used to dominate those things.

He was like, "I've got a challenge for you. How about we try to ride 10 roller coasters back-to-back without stopping, starting with the hardest, most difficult roller coaster, and by the time we get to the easiest, it'll be a piece of cake." I was like, "Great. Let's do it." So, here we go. This was the challenge. First roller coaster. It was a good one. I must say, I was feeling pretty good. My stomach was okay.

Then we get off that one, and we go immediately… It was probably a one-minute walk to the next one. We ride the second one, and I begin to notice kind of an intensifying feeling right in this area. It's called nausea. It just kept building. We go through the third one. We go to the fourth one. They are just back-to-back-to-back. There was no time for my body to settle down and kind of get my equilibrium acquainted with the ground.

By the fifth roller coaster, I was done, but there's this little thing in me called pride. I was like, "Dude, I'm making it to 10, so let's go another round." So, we get on the sixth roller coaster, and it was all I could do… I was praying like I have never prayed before in my life. "Lord, help me keep whatever is in me down, and you will get all the praise." By God's grace, he did. I stepped off that roller coaster, and immediately, I lost everything. I mean, people were around us. It was awesome. It was terrible.

There was this overwhelming feeling that just kept growing and building and growing and building until…well…not good things happened. Then we drove home through the hills of Hollywood. That was great. It was like being on a roller coaster all over again for the next hour-and-a-half drive. It was an amazing, overwhelming experience.

Now, what does that have to do with our passage tonight? Well, I want to tell you that our passage tonight should have a similar effect in our lives. There should be an overwhelming feeling when we read through our text, that it just continues to build and build and build until it culminates and erupts in praise. When we read this passage, I want us to keep a couple of things in mind.

In the original Greek, it is one unbroken, long sentence. We're going to read Ephesians 1:3-14. In our Bibles, it's two paragraphs. That's one sentence. Mind you, in Greek there is no punctuation. There are no periods, no commas. It's just one long sentence with crazy grammatical things happening. If you're into that, come talk to me afterward. Those kinds of things bring me joy, if you're into grammar and participles and prepositions and phrases and how it all fits together.

It's an amazing experience, kind of like that roller coaster…twists and turns, and it just builds and builds and builds. In fact, I would challenge you. Maybe when you get home tonight or sometime this week, try to read verses 3-14 in one breath. I told them earlier I was going to try it. I actually practiced it in my office about an hour ago, and I almost passed out. I made it to verse 13, and I couldn't make it, so I'm not even going to try it here, because you don't want me passing out here.

But just try to read it in one breath. It does something. You get overwhelmed with what Paul is saying. It's like Paul is walking through a room filled with unending treasures, and he's just trying to grasp at words, attempting to describe what he sees. There's this treasure and this treasure and this treasure, and if that's not enough, there's more treasure as he walks us through these verses.

What he wants to tell us tonight, and I think the Lord wants to tell us tonight, is there is an all-sufficient, life-possessing God who saves, and he is worthy of your life and of your praise. The all-sufficient, life-possessing God who saves is worthy of your life and my life, and he is worthy of our praise. So, let's read our passage. Ephesians, chapter 1, beginning in verse 3:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."

Now, before we jump into tonight's text, I want us to observe a couple of things from these verses. First, if you notice the phrase in Christ or in him or through Jesus Christ or in the beloved, you'll notice that in these 12 verses, Paul says "In Christ" 11 times. This is a marker for Paul. Actually, if you go and count through the New Testament, from Jesus (think about Jesus in John, chapter 15: "If you abide in me, and I in you") through Paul, all the way through the book of Revelation, there are literally over 100 times where this phrase in Christ is used.

It is used to describe Christians, to say if you are in Christ, you have a new identity. You are not defined by your past if you have put your trust in and fully surrendered to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You are no longer defined by your past. You are now defined by Christ's past…his life, his death, his burial, his resurrection, and now he's seated at God's right hand.

Scripture can say of the Christian, if that's true and you've put your faith in Christ, then you have died with Christ. You've been buried with Christ (Romans 6). You've been raised to walk in newness with him. You've been seated with him in the heavenly places, Ephesians 2 says. So, your identity is now in Christ. That's who you are.

So, if you're here tonight, and you are not in Christ… If you can say tonight (this is between you and the Lord), "That's not me. I'm not a Christian. I just showed up. I was invited by a friend or I thought I was coming someplace, and here I am in this room…" God has you here for a purpose. That purpose is so you can hear about what it means to be in Christ and to find your life in him. I just want you to consider what's being said tonight. Listen in on a conversation God is having with his people in Christ and consider and respond to him.

So, let's look at our first point: praise the Father from whom all blessings flow. You'll see this in verses 3-6. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ…" Do you see those two statements? God is blessed and God has blessed us, his people. Between those two statements lies the glorious gospel of God's infinite grace. Listen. He has blessed us in Christ. He chose us in Christ. He has predestined us for adoption in Jesus Christ. He's working all things according to the counsel of his will in Christ.

That's what Paul says God is and who he is and what he has done. Paul is not giving a command or a wish that God would be blessed. He's not saying, "Oh, I really wish God was blessed." He's not asking a question. "Is God blessed?" No. Paul is declaring what is, in fact, true. God is blessed because, as Psalm 36:9 says, he is a fountain of life, and in his light do we see light. Acts 17 says that God doesn't live in a temple made with hands. He's not served by human hands, as though he needed anything, for he himself gives to mankind life and breath and all things.

What's Paul saying there in Acts 17? He's saying God doesn't receive anything from outside of himself like we do. We receive life. We need things outside of ourselves for life, but God is a fountain of life. He doesn't need anything outside of himself, but he gives life to his people. The God who has life in himself is the God who has given life from himself.

Now, notice what it does not say. It's good to linger and to pay attention to words. It does not say, "Blessed be The Porch who has blessed God with every spiritual blessing, just as The Porch chose God before the foundation of the world." It doesn't say that. It doesn't say God loved us because we were lovely or because we were sons and daughters or because we were holy and blameless. No. If you keep reading in Ephesians, in chapter 2, it says quite the opposite.

It says we were dead in our trespasses and sins and we were by nature children of wrath, because God is holy and righteous. He must punish sin. He cannot even stand for sin to be in his presence. He must punish it. But God, Ephesians 2 says, being rich in mercy, chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Before he made you, Christian, he chose you.

Notice what Paul focuses on here. I don't want us to get caught up in the age-old debates on "What is the doctrine of election and predestination, and what's the relationship between God's sovereignty and our choice?" and all of these kinds of things. I want to bypass those things. If you want to talk about them afterward, I'd love to. They've been debated for hundreds and hundreds of years. Let me just say, we're not going to figure it out tonight.

Paul does not focus on the logic of election but on its lavishness. In love, it says, God predestined us, not as an angry Father but as a loving Father who looked at people who only deserved his just judgment and wrath and said, "I will lavish and pour out my grace on you." Friends, people have tried to solve the problems of God's sovereignty and our free will for centuries and centuries and centuries. You can go back to Augustine in the fourth century, and he was having those debates.

Let me tell you this: if it doesn't cause you and me… If the fact of what Scripture says…he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world…doesn't cause us to sing more wholeheartedly the song of redemption, we've missed it. Election is not for arguments; it is for adoration. It's to adore God because of his great love for us.

So, get Paul's point. If you have turned from your sin tonight and have trusted in Jesus Christ, if you have fully surrendered to him, the one who lived the life you and I couldn't live, the one who died the death you and I deserved to die because of our sin against God, who paid the penalty we should have paid and couldn't pay…

If we put our trust in Jesus Christ who lived that life, who died that death, who paid that penalty, and who was raised from the dead as the only righteous one, then what Paul says can be said of you. God the Father, who from eternity past has been Father of the Son, is your Father. Does that amaze you?

Martin Luther, the great Reformer from the 1500s, once said, "The life of Christianity consists in possessive pronouns." Now, some of you just got lost when I said pronouns. You're like, "I haven't seen pronouns since grammar school." I don't even know what grade that was in. Third grade? I don't know. But listen to it again. "The life of Christianity consists in possessive pronouns." J.C. Ryle says, "It is one thing to say, 'Christ is a Savior.' It is quite another to say, 'He is my Savior and my Lord.' The Devil can say the first. The true Christian alone can say the second."

If you have Christ as your Savior, then you have God as your Father. Don't ever take that for granted. Maybe you're in here tonight, and when you hear the word father, you kind of cringe. You get anxious because you didn't have a good father. Maybe you're in here tonight, like me, and you lost your father. When I was 18, my father died. He was a wonderful father, though after he died, we found out he lived a double life and was unfaithful to my mom and died as a result of his sexual sin. So, I've had struggles thinking about "Is God really who he says he is?"

Can I just tell you tonight that God is who he says he is? We don't have to look any further than the cross of Christ. God demonstrated his own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We don't have to look to our circumstances. We don't have to look to our bank accounts. We don't have to look to our jobs or positions or possessions or anything else to know that God is our Father who loves us. We look to the cross of Christ, an objective fact of history, to tell us that he loves us.

For what purpose has God done this work? Paul says in verse 4 that we should be holy and blameless before him. Listen. God did not save us so we could go on living the same life we've always lived. He saved us so we would go on to be holy and blameless before him to the praise of his glorious grace.

Friends, holiness is not an option. God chose us before the foundation of the world that we should be more and more and more like Jesus, made more and more and more like him. We should understand that the gospel is so powerful it not only has the power to save us but to change us and to transform us, as 2 Corinthians 3 says, from one degree of glory to another.

So, I ask you tonight: Is there an area of your life that is not holy and blameless? Now, don't mistake me. Holy and blameless does not mean sinless. Rather, it means a life that's not holding on to sin. It's letting go of sin. It's turning from sin, and it's surrendering to Jesus Christ. The good news for us is that we can repent. We can give that sin to Jesus who has taken it on his cross.

Here's the thing: God the Father began our salvation, but he did not purchase our salvation. That work belongs to the Son, which is our second point: praise the Son from whom all blessings flow. We see this in verses 7-12. We see it all throughout, but specifically those. It's interesting that Paul can't talk about the Father without making a beeline for the Son. Again, listen. He says we are blessed in Christ, chosen in Christ, adopted through Christ, redeemed in Christ, and we have an inheritance in Christ.

If God the Father is the source of blessing, God the Son is the center and place of blessing. As the Father planned our salvation, so the Son accomplished and purchased our salvation. How did he do this? Philippians 2:6 tells us that the Son, the second person of the Trinity, though he was in the form of God, though he was equal with God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, a thing to be seized and used for his advantage.

But what did he do? He humbled himself. He made himself nothing by taking the form of a servant, and being found in the likeness of man, he humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross, for our salvation. The eternal Son became a servant so that servants to sin could become children of God. That's what Paul means when he says God predestined us for adoption. It's a wonderful word Paul uses over and over and over.

I have a good friend I taught with for about 10 years who adopted a little boy. Brian was telling me one day that his son Stefan ran away from home because he did something wrong. He stole some food out of their pantry, and he thought because he did that, when his parents found out, they would send him away back to the orphanage, because that happened to him before. They searched for Stefan for hours and hours and hours.

All of a sudden, they got a call from the police, saying, "We found your son." They drove to Stefan, and Brian, my friend (he played football for Alabama), got down on one knee and said to Stefan, "What have you done?" Stefan said, "Well, I thought that if you found out what I did, you would send me away." Brian took him and put his hands on his shoulders and said, "Stefan, you need to stop thinking like an orphan and begin thinking like a son."

You see, Stefan, in that moment, thought Brian was a different kind of father and wasn't a good, gracious, and heavenly father. Christian, that can be true of us. Brothers and sisters in Christ, sometimes we can live like orphans too. Sometimes, when we sin and we feel that guilt or that shame, we think the worst place for us is to run to our Father. "He'll send me away." That's not who the Father is.

We know that from the parable of not just the prodigal son but the father who runs after his son, who clothes him with his very robe. It's what God has done for us in his Son. He has clothed us with the very righteousness of Christ. So, when we feel guilt and shame, what's the best thing we can do? We run to our Father, because he's the only one who can take our sin away and cleanse us from all unrighteousness so we might have fellowship and walk in the light as he is in the light.

Paul goes on in verse 7 and says, "In him we have redemption through his blood…" Paul is stacking terms…predestined, adopted, redeemed. Redemption is a word that takes us all the way back to the book of Exodus. Do you remember that story when God delivered his people Israel from the hands of the Egyptians? They were in slavery, enslaved to the Egyptians, forced to do hard labor, and God delivered them with an outstretched arm with mighty signs and wonders.

You remember how he saved them. He saved them by saying, "Israel, I'm going to come for judgment, and I'm going to judge those who have rebelled against me," but if he put the blood of a lamb above your doorpost… "If your house is covered with the blood of a lamb, you'll be spared. I'll pass over you in judgment, and I will save you into the Promised Land."

As great as that deliverance was, if you remember the story, by the end of Exodus, literally chapters later, within days of God delivering them… It didn't solve their problem. What were they doing? They were grumbling. It culminates in full-out worship of a golden calf in Exodus 32 and 33. They're committing idolatry. By the end of Exodus, we're shown that the fundamental problem of Israel was not the idolatry and worship outside of them but the idolatry and false worship in them.

Friends, that's our problem too. We may not make idols of gold and worship them, but we sure are good at putting our confidence in other things, finding our identity in things outside of our Creator in status or power or influence or possessions or pleasure or our abilities or positions or relationships or body image or followers or accomplishments or [you fill in the blank]. We miss the fact that we were created to find our life in him, and instead, we try to find it elsewhere.

Like the end of Exodus shows us, a better exodus is needed. That's what Jesus Christ came to do: to provide a better redemption. It's not just the blood of bulls and goats; it's the blood of his own body, the spotless blood of the Lamb. That's why John the Baptist, when he sees him in John, says, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Christ was a better Lamb. Christ provides a better redemption. God has provided it in Jesus.

My wife and I watched a documentary on the life of Kalief Browder somewhat recently. If you've never seen it, it's a documentary made by Jay-Z. Browder, as a teenager (I think 13 or 14), was wrongfully accused of stealing a backpack. This is a young teenager, my son's age, 14 years old. He gets wrongfully accused of stealing a backpack and gets put in prison on Rikers Island, which is one of the worst prisons to be put in. He was there for three years, during which time he was subjected to horrible abuses…violence, inhumane treatment, and isolation.

This was a kid. When given the chance to plead guilty and reduce his prison time, he refused because he knew he was innocent. After three years of fighting the injustice, he was finally released. Imagine the way he felt when he was released. Imagine the way he felt when he was freed and vindicated. Imagine the commitment that he wanted to live differently. Unfortunately, he could not escape the horrors that plagued him, and he ended up taking his own life.

Friends, you and I are not wrongfully accused, like Kalief Browder was wrongfully accused. Each of us has sinned against an infinitely holy God, and we are slaves to sin. We are in bondage to sin, and we deserve his punishment because we're guilty, but God has provided a way to change that verdict from guilty to innocent, because Jesus has provided a better redemption.

Colossians 1:13 tells us, "** [God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son [the righteous one], in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."** Do you see that? Because God has delivered his people from the domain of sin, Satan, and death and transferred them to be in the place of his Son, now, when God looks at us, he looks at us as his children.

Paul goes on in verse 11 to say that we have obtained an inheritance. Do you know who gets an inheritance? Not orphans but sons and daughters. Now, imagine that you're an orphan and you owe a great debt, and someone steps in and pays that debt off. You might be thinking that's great and all, but do you see two problems with that? You may have no debt, but there are two problems: you're still an orphan, and you don't have any money. Do you see that?

Well, that's not what it means to be adopted in Christ. Not only has God removed our debt; God has deposited in our bank account, so to speak, the very righteousness and obedience and life of Christ. Not only has our debt been paid but we've been adopted and given an inheritance. I think a great temptation for us, as Christians, is to think that too little has happened to us by God's grace.

We struggle. We stumble in many ways, as James says. We sin. For the thousandth time we sin, and we think, "Will there ever be freedom?" The answer is yes…maybe not in this life, but certainly in the life to come. Why? Because God has guaranteed it with an inheritance, the inheritance of his Son. Who the Son is by nature has made us sons and daughters by grace. We receive his status as Son and his riches as Son.

Notice, finally, God the Father began your salvation, God the Son purchased and accomplished your salvation, but God the Father and the Son do not apply or perfect your salvation. That work belongs to God the Holy Spirit. Look with me at verses 13 and 14. "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." Do you see that?

If getting the Father and the Son weren't enough, we get all of God for all of our salvation. We enjoy every spiritual blessing by the Spirit. The presence of the Spirit is connected to the work of the Father and of the Son. It's like Jesus said in John, chapter 15. "But when the Helper comes…" Speaking of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus goes away after his death and resurrection, and he ascends to the Father…

"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me." He will guide you in the truth. Jesus says, "He will take from me, and he will make it known to you." Jesus says in these chapters that the one who is from the Father and the Son brings us into saving, life-giving fellowship with the Father and the Son. That fellowship, that communion, flows from the very life of Christ.

To have the Spirit and to walk by the Spirit and to be filled with the Spirit is to be filled with the all-satisfying joy and life of Christ, the very all-satisfying life and joy that Jesus prayed to his Father before he was betrayed and crucified. He says, "With the glory that we shared from before the foundations of the world" in John 17. He brings us into that relationship, and we share in that glory and joy.

Paul says two things about the Holy Spirit, specifically, in our passage. First, he says that after hearing the gospel and believing, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. In other words, the indwelling presence of the Spirit in our lives is evidence. It is the proof of belonging to God. Not church involvement. If your name is on a membership roll, that's not proof that you belong to God. Or any earthly relationship, for that matter, or any one-time decision, as good as those things might be.

It's the Spirit's presence and work in our lives that assure us that we are children of God. That's what Romans 8 says. "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…" This is how we know we abide in him, 1 John 4 says. This is how we know we abide in him and he abides in us, that he has given us his Spirit. Do you thank God for the gift of himself in the person of his Spirit? He came to intercede, comfort, help, fill, gift, guide, lead, and he does all of these things that we might know and rest in and proclaim Christ to others.

Secondly, Paul says the Holy Spirit is the deposit. Do you see that in verse 14? He is the guarantee, the deposit, the down payment, of our inheritance to come until we acquire possession of it. The point here is that God is so determined to save you and me that he has put down the deposit. He has laid down the guarantee of himself that guarantees its completion.

Maybe you've heard stories like this, but I've heard stories about guys who can't afford an engagement ring. I won't ask anybody in this room to raise their hand if that's you. Maybe you know somebody who can't afford an engagement ring. So, what do they do? Guys are geniuses, so they use things like string, key rings, or candy rings as imitations, maybe as a down payment to guarantee that something better is coming.

Now, if you're thinking about doing that, can I just say really quickly…don't. But you get the point…that guarantee. It's a down payment. "Something better is coming." It had better be. Am I right, ladies? Friends, think about this. Something better than this world is coming. Do you feel the brokenness in your own body, in your own life, inside and outside of you? Something better is coming, a whole new world where there will be no more brokenness, no more sin, no more pain, no more cancer, no more conflict, no more death, no more grief.

Scripture tells us in Revelation that when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead, he will make all things new. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. He will finally destroy sin, Satan, and death, and we will finally enjoy our inheritance, a new world full of joy and life in the presence of our God and Savior, where we will say he will be our God and we will be his people. No more sin.

So, friends, don't settle for cheap substitutes. If you're looking for life and joy, don't settle for cheap substitutes. Don't look to other places to give you life and reassurance of God's love. Don't look to your obedience. Don't look to your circumstances. Don't look to any temporal blessing. By the work of the Spirit in you, by the presence of the Spirit in you, look to Christ who guarantees that a new creation is coming. You have his Spirit to make sure it will be complete.

As we close tonight, let me encourage you once again. Just think. Just take a moment and think about the blessings. If you have placed your trust, if you have given your life to Jesus, think about the blessings that are yours in him by his Spirit…every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, chosen in Christ, holy in Christ, adopted in Christ, redeemed in Christ, and guaranteed of a bright future.

As you think about those blessings God has given you in Christ by his Spirit, think about why he gave you them. Three times Paul says it in that constant refrain: "To the praise of his glory." "To the praise of his glorious grace." "To the praise of his glory." May we live lives to the praise of his glory. Let's pray.

Father in heaven, thank you for every spiritual blessing that's ours in the heavenly places in Christ. Thank you for doing what we could not do for ourselves. Thank you for sending Jesus who lived the life we couldn't live, who obeyed you perfectly, that through his life, obedience, and righteousness, his suffering, death, burial, and resurrection, through surrendering, through giving our lives to him, through trusting and relying upon him, we receive his gift of righteousness. We receive his gift of sonship so we can be children of God, sons and daughters who can call you our Father.

I'm reminded of Psalm 67, of why you've been gracious to us and why you've blessed us. Psalm 67 says, "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us…" Why? "…that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations." God, may that be true of every young adult in this room tonight and every Porch.Live location, that we would take time to pause and consider how blessed we are, and we would not hoard your blessings but we would know you have blessed us so the nations might know how to find this blessing in Christ.

I pray that you would stir in our hearts tonight to go to our neighbors and to go to the nations, that the nations might find their joy and blessing in Christ. We ask, Lord, that you would do that work. Thank you for your grace, thank you for your blessing, and thank you for Christ, in whose name we pray, amen.