Yesterday, I continued our exposition of the book of Ephesians in our Sunday morning worship services. I am still in the “Hymn of Grace” (1:3-14). And yesterday’s message was on verse 4: “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (ESV). Basically, it was a sermon on the doctrine of election. The 8 AM message was a disaster. I am still adjusting to the time frame of this new 90 minute service. And it was close to 9 AM when I got up to preach. So I basically had about 20 minutes to preach. I kept watching my watch and the clock on the wall. And at some point, in the beginning of point 2, I found myself preaching the end of point 3. For some reason, my mind inadvertently pushed the fast forward button. So, I kind of just abandoned my outline and just preached different portions of the message with the time I had left. I am not sure how obvious it was that something wasn’t going right. If so, the congregation was very kind. The 11 AM meeting was better. I was much more relaxed. There was something important in point 2 that I forget . And I just went back to get it toward the end of the sermon, and didn’t feel it broke my flow at all.
I think I was very nervous. After all, this is the doctrine of election I was preaching. And I really wanted to do a good job. I wanted the message to be doctrinal and encouraging. I am not sure I accomplished all that I intended for the message to present. I have been thinking all day about things I would have done differently or things I could have done better. But I believe that the message was faithful and clear. And I hope that it was encouraging, as well. Likewise, I was exhausted all day. I barely slept Friday night. And I didn’t sleep Saturday night. I think it had something to do with how nervous I was about the message. And there was another issue. I had studied verses 4-6 to preach. But as I was studying, I saw two sermons emerging. And it really wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that I finally decided to preach just verse 4. And I also had to get a feel for how I would approach a message on verses 5-6. Really, I had been struggling all week about which part of the text to actually preach Sunday. I think I made the right decision. But time will tell.
Here is the skeleton of the sermon:
Title: “Chosen by God“
Theme: Ephesians 1:4
Point: Praise God that he has freely chosen you for salvation in Jesus Christ.
I. God has chosen us for himself.
II. God has chosen us in Christ.
III. God has chosen us before the foundation of the world.
IV. God has chosen us to be holy and blameless.