Blessings And Blessings
Oh my! Haven’t we been blessed as Church Requel this summer!? Every week brings new surprises of God’s favor on us. The outdoor concert! The incredible gift to the Reaching Out Homeless Shelter. The many neighborhood meals we’ve been able to serve. All the baptisms. The new beginning of the student ministry. It’s like blessing upon blessing upon blessing! Favor upon favor upon favor. God has been so good to us this summer! God has been blessing Christians since the beginning.
#1 - Blessings are the CURRENCY of God’s love.
God loves to bless us, His children. He shows us His love through His blessings. To compare God’s inexhaustible and eternal favor upon us to something so crass as money seems wrong. Like it lessens God’s blessings to us. Nevertheless currency is a good expression of blessing because it is continuously exchanged between the Creator and created, between Divine and human. Like a country’s money is measured by the strength of its economy, God’s blessings are a measure of His love for us - and as such are abundant and forever, going up and going down, from God to us and back from us back up to God.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing… to the praise of his glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3,8
When we read these verses at the start of Paul’s letter to Ephesus, we are struck by the repetition of the word blessing. It’s almost as if Paul cannot say it enough. Blessed be… Who has blessed us… with every spiritual blessing… which He has blessed us in the Beloved. As God inspires Paul to inspire us, it’s as if God can’t get us to understand just how much, how full, how complete, how rich, how total, how all-encompassing is the blessing that He lavishes upon us.
And so it’s not surprising that when we worship or when we pray, we turn those same blessings around and send them right back to God. This is why Paul begins with “Blessed be God…” We become so full to overflowing of God’s blessing that we don’t know what to do with all of it. Sometimes it feels like it’s almost too much. Too good. Too rich. Too full. Everywhere I look, there’s blessing. I’m overflowing with blessing. So we bless God back.
#2 - Blessing God Back Is WORSHIP.
Stop and think about your worship in its purest sense. Isn’t it from a heart of being so blessed that God has loved you so much that you just can’t help but want to bless God back? Isn’t this what real praise is all about? God, You’re just so good to me! I thank You! I bless You!
“… to the praise of his glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6
Think about the rotation of the blessings that are happening in the life of a Christ-follower. God blesses me so much I am overflowing with God’s blessings. When I pray and when I worship I want to bless God back with the blessings He has granted upon me. God blesses us. We bless Him back. But we can’t out-bless God. We can’t out-give God. God is the Master of blessing. He’s been doing it so much longer than we have. He does the whole blessing thing so much better than we do. So we do our best to give these blessings back to God with our prayers, with our praise, with our adoration, with our singing, with our giving, with our worship.
But God says, “Oh that’s really good! I like that. Here… let me shower you with some more blessing. Let me pour on even more understanding of my love to you so that your heart grows. Your capacity to accept my love grows larger. Your blessing container - which is your life - becomes an even bigger funnel at the top to catch even more of God’s blessings. So that what you thought was the best and the most blessing that you could ever contemplate before, now grows even wider at the top, catching even more of God’s blessings. So you discover that this currency of God’s love, these blessings showered down upon you, have to be shared, have to be given away. You just can’t keep it all. And you just can’t give it back to God fast enough. So what’s a Christ-follower to do?
#3 - Blessing Other People is GOD’S WILL AND PURPOSE.
God doesn’t just bless us because we are so good and so deserving. God blesses us because He is so good and so deserving! God blesses because that is What God Does. God blesses because this is Who God Is! It is God’s will to bless. It is God’s purpose to bless. And if we are God’s children, if there is a spark of divine life within us, Whom we call the Holy Spirit, then it is our will and purpose to bless also.
“… according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 3:6b-7
So yes, we want to bless God right back with our worship and praise. We discover that we cannot give more blessing back to God than He showers back down to us. So what do we do? We bless everyone else around us. We can’t help ourselves. It’s like we are a container full of God’s blessings just sloshing around and spilling over the rim of our lives. If you’re close to me, you’re going to get wet with God’s blessings. I’m just going to spill all over you with God. It’s Who He is. And so it’s who I am.
You have a need? Let me help. You need prayer? Let me pray. You need a friend? Let me be your friend. You need someone to talk to? Talk to me. You need someone to understand you? Try me. You need patience? God has been so patient with me, I can’t help but be patient with you!
So we are so blessed, so full of God’s blessings, so full of God’s love, that we can’t help but want to bless Him right back. And we can’t help but want to bless other people, who are also loved by God so much!
You might think that this blessing idea as the currency of God’s love is something new or unique or unusual. I’d like to suggest to you that this isn’t unusual for God. He loves showering his blessings down upon us. He’s been doing it all our lives.
All throughout time. In fact God began blessing us even before He invented time! The very first words in the Bible were “in the beginning.” These are the first words in the Book of Genesis… the book of the beginning.
But these first words, and these acts of God described in the book of the beginnings were not, in fact, the beginning! Not at all!
Are you ready for your minds to be blown?
Ephesians 1 pre-dates Genesis 1! Ephesians 1 comes first. Ephesians 1 shares the greatest blessing of all, an even greater blessing than the blessing of creation and the blessing of life. Did you know that? Do you know what that blessing is?
I really want to tell you… but for you to hear it, you’re going to have to come back next Sunday!