Calvary Road Baptist Church

“ACCEPTED”

Ephesians 1.6

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.   They use hair nets to hold their hair down and straight back, unless they’re buzz cut.  Black canvas slippers with brown rubber soles, purchased south of the border, are the preferred footwear.  Gray or black slacks are covered by oversized short sleeve shirts that are washed, starched and pressed, and buttoned only at the top button, with the shirt tail out, of course.

2.   If it’s hot, a white sleeveless undershirt, rolled up so you can see more belly than you would have chosen to see yourself.  Tattoos indicate who you are, where you have been, and how bad you think you are.  This is the uniform of the home boy.

3.   In another part of town Air Jordans are the preferred footwear.  In the summer time gym shorts are worn.  The gym shorts must be worn so very low that the brightly colored underwear shows clearly at the top of the shorts worn on the outside.

4.   Shirts are optional, but headwear is very carefully chosen.  The color is critical, oftentimes determining whether you are friend or foe.  Then there is this obligatory baseball cap turned sideways, a sure sign of mental retardation.  This is oftentimes the uniform of the black gang member, or the person who would like to be thought of as a gang member.

5.   And the girls all look so much alike these days.  It used to be that black stockings were required, with short and very tight skirts, frequently black or gray.  And sweaters that were ill fitting were sometimes covered by a leather jacket.  In the summer time it was a pullover that’s four sizes too small.  And the hair?  If it was straight it would be stringy.  And on the ears were the scars of too many ear rings, or the stretched scars of ear rings that are too heavy.

6.   Nowadays, it will be spaghetti straps on top that do not conceal trashy looking bra straps.  And there will be belly, so much belly, so very much belly.  Some of the too much belly will be the result of a tank top that is entirely too short.  But some of the too much belly will be the result of just too much belly.  And the navel rings, various tattoos, and other stuff.  And the skirts.  You wonder . . . .  Well, you wonder.

7.   The girls don’t walk like ladies.  They certainly don’t talk like ladies.  They like to talk the tough language of the gutter.  And when a man walks by they frequently look the look of boldness and wickedness.  The daring look.  The penetrating look.  The wicked look.  The hard look.  Just the kind of girl to take home to mom.

8.   If jeans are worn they will be so tight that the girl cannot possibly slide them on, unless her legs have recently been shaved.  Girls have actually told me that they have used petroleum jelly on their legs to enable them to slide their jeans on.  Others have confessed to me to buying new jeans tight enough to just get on, then sitting down in a tub of hot water, and later drying them with a hair dryer.  The reason?  To get the jeans so tight that if it’s cold outside the goose bumps will show.

9.   And how about the groups you sometimes see standing around a convenience store or a gas station, or passing the time in a park, or standing in front of the big movie theaters for hours?  What do they want?  What are they after?  What causes them to abandon the values of their parents, to forsake the opportunities afforded by a decent education?  Do guys and gals who wear their hair in such strange looking ways have any hope of ever getting a good paying job?

10. Why do whole groups buy the same model small car and then modify it to the point that it has almost no practical function, and then paint it with the same basic designs?  Why do they put speakers in the cars that can only destroy their ability to hear the music they claim to love so much that they want everyone in town to listen to it?

11. And when they get a little older and make a little bit of money, why do they all dress up in the same way and go to the same places where they all look alike and spend more money than they can really afford, to impress each other?

12. There are many reasons why so many people do these and other kinds of things such as I have described.  But a very large part of the motivation for looking like, walking like, talking like, and thinking like the others is so you might gain acceptance by those others.

13. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being accepted.  Being accepted is a legitimate need given by God to every human being who has ever lived.  We all need and crave acceptance.  But as with anything else, when anyone seeks to have legitimate God-given needs met in an illegitimate way by someone other than God, sin is the result.

14. Sexual needs, for example, are God-given needs intended to be met by God within the bounds of God’s institution of marriage.  But when a person seeks to meet that God-given need in a way contrary to God’s plan, it is called fornication, it is selfishness, and it is both life-destroying and soul-damning sin.

15. What powerful forces drive human beings to seek acceptance.  How many of you parents have children who are frighteningly driven to seek the acceptance of their friends?  Do your kids have to have such and such a brand of shoes, shirts, pants?  Are you afraid your youngster is such a follower that he will destroy himself to pay the price for acceptance?  Do they not see that they are acting like sheep, or like dogs in a pack?

16. Guess what?  Your children are already paying the price for acceptance.  Though they may not be gang banners or biker babes, they are in many respects even worse than those I have described to you.  How so?  They are the young hypocrites called church kids; your own children, who engage in the soul condemning cliquishness of seeking each other’s approval and acceptance.

17. Parents, please understand.  I recognize that all human beings need to be accepted.  But what your child needs to be made to realize is that God has already made provision for meeting that need of acceptance in his life, and that provision is not some other church kid.

18. The second greatest danger your child will ever face is found in this church auditorium.  It is that other boy or girl your kid likes so much, even to the point of adopting that other kid’s value system and his habit of either ignoring or rebelling against the gospel message he hears during the preaching.

19. Of course, the greatest danger to your child would be to miss church, and thereby miss out on the preaching that the Bible declares to be so vital in the salvation of a sinner.  The point being, your child is in great danger wherever he happens to be, and the danger is only slightly less dangerous in church.

20. In today’s sermon from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we will focus today on the concept of acceptance.  Our text is Ephesians 1.6.  And it is my belief that a correct understanding of your need of acceptance and God’s provision for that need will prove to be most beneficial.

21. Stand, for the reading of God’s Word:  “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

22. So, where do we start?  Where else?  We start with God.

 

1A.    NOTICE WHAT GOD DID

“. . . he hath made us accepted . . . .”

There are only two places in the entire New Testament where the word translated “accepted” is used, Ephesians 1.6 and Luke 1.28.  As we take note of these two verses, let us examine the meaning of the word, first, and then the use of the word.

1B.    The meaning of the word in Ephesians 1.6.

1C.    The specific word of concern to us is a verb that is actually translated by four English words in this verse before us.  “He hath made accepted” translates the single Greek word, cairitaow.

2C.    The word is what is called an aorist verb, which means that the tense of the verb is undefined but that the action is described as complete.  It is, therefore, not clear from the word itself whether the past, present, or future is in view by Paul.  However, the context indicates very clearly that what Paul is referring to has already occurred in the lives of those Christians to whom he is referring.

3C.    The root word means to bestow favor upon someone, to highly favor someone, to bless someone.[1]  And besides being found in only two places in the New Testament, whenever the word is used in the Greek writings of the apostolic fathers, those men who themselves sat at the feet of the apostles, it always and in every case refers to God giving grace or God making someone the recipient of grace.

4C.    Paul, then, is informing the Ephesians that at some point in time in the past God bestowed favor upon them, divinely blessed them, made them accepted.

2B.         Now examine the use of the word in Luke 1.28.

“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

 

1C.    In this verse we see our verb in the form of a passive participle.[2]  Translated “thou that art highly favoured,” the word describes the virgin Mary as one who has been the recipient of this bestowal of favor, this blessing with grace, from God.

2C.    Think about that for a moment.  Here we have proof that the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, far from being a woman of unparalleled virtue and worthiness, is described as a woman who received grace from God, just as the believers written about in Paul’s Ephesian letter had received grace.

3C.    So, where does that leave Mary?  It leaves her in the same place any Christian is in, as a sinner who has received the salvation that comes only by the grace of God.

3B.         Now consider the implications of the meaning of this word.

1C.    Every human being who has ever lived has a legitimate need to be accepted and to literally feel that acceptance.  When God created us He created us to be social beings, as indicated by His Own recognition in Genesis chapter 2 that it was not good for Adam to be alone.

2C.    What that means is that each and every one of you positively needs to have not only the favor of God, but also the favor of other human beings.

3C.    You get into trouble when two things happen:  First, when you forget that God will simply give you the favor, God will simply give you the acceptance, that you need, and that you do not need to go anywhere to get that favor from others.  After all, what kind of acceptance surpasses the acceptance of the Creator of the universe?

4C.    Second, you get into trouble when, having forgotten that God simply gives His divine favor away, you put yourself into positions in which you will barter and trade and try to buy the favor of others people.  And there are a variety of ways in which people try to buy the favor of others.

5C.    Here is how it works out in the lives of you church kids:  What will you do in order to be accepted by the insider group here at church?  What must you give up?  Your integrity?  Your personal standards?  Your virginity?  No, that’s generally what you give up in a public school, where promiscuity is promoted and encouraged.  Here at church, or at our Christian school, what you give up to be accepted by the insider group, known as church kids, is your soul.

6C.    Think about it.  All week long at camp Dr. Hymers correctly and properly compared church kids to Pharisees, hypocrites, who “. . . compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”[3]  He was examining what church kids do, and who they are so much like.  But this evening I am examining the motive your behavior, why you do what you do.

7C.    God recognizes that you feel the need to be accepted.  The fact is, you do need both God’s acceptance and the acceptance of other people.  But being unsaved, you do not trust God to meet your spiritual and social needs in this area. 

8C.    So, you insult Him and dishonor Him by seeking out on your own those who will accept you.  And who do you find?  The wicked church kids who were here before you got here, who did the same thing you are doing when they arrived here, which is to seek out the lost and rebellious kids of the church.  And it all occurs right under your parent’s noses.

9C.    The people that I described at the beginning of my message, they are not wrong in needing to be accepted.  Neither are you wrong in needing to be accepted.  Where you go wrong is in seeking to meet your acceptance needs yourself, instead of turning to God to supply all of what you need, and in rejecting Christian parents and their values to get what you want.

10C.         You are wrong for running with a group of kids who require that you reject the gospel in order to be a part of their little clique.  In the old days, when parents had a clearer picture of their duties and obligations, they would interfere when their kids hung out with the wrong crowd, even when the wrong crowd was you kids here in church.

 

2A.    Second, NOTICE WHERE GOD DID IT

“. . . He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

1B.    Let me introduce you to the concept of spiritual geography.

1C.    Greek prepositions are words that are used in the construction of sentences to show certain kinds of relationships, either in a literal or in a figurative sense.

2C.    The particular preposition we are concerned with is the Greek word that is usually translated by the English word “in.”

3C.    While some prepositions are used to show approach to or departure from, position over or under or around or through, this particular word is used to describe the concept of being in some object, either literally or figuratively.

2B.         Now consider the concept of being “in Christ.”

1C.    Almost thirty times in the first chapter of Ephesians alone this little preposition is used to describe something being in something else.  Now, we know that Paul is not writing in a literal sense here, such as a dog being in a dog house, so he must be referring to something in a figurative sense.

2C.    Twenty times in the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul uses this preposition to refer to being “in Christ.”  Now, to understand what it means to be “in Christ” it needs to be understood that the Greeks used their prepositions to describe relationships to so-called “spheres of influence.”

3C.    So, when Paul uses such phrases as “in the Beloved” and “in Whom” and “in Christ” he is referring to a sphere of influence, a domain, a spiritual region in which Christ’s kingship is established.  He is referring to a spiritual place occupied by the child of God.

4C.    In Paul’s thinking, to be outside of Christ, to be outside of Christ’s sphere of influence, is to be lost, while to be in Christ is to be saved.  The reason I have said all that is to say this:  The only place God meets any individual’s need of acceptance, acceptance by God and genuine acceptance by other people, is “in Christ.”

5C.    The fornicator can spend his or her entire lifetime, however short that lifetime may now prove to be, seeking the fulfillment of his or her sexual appetites, but to no avail.  Only God meets needs given to man by God.  And God only meets such needs within the institution of marriage.

6C.    And in like fashion is the need of acceptance.  The thug, the hoodlum, the tramp, the groupie, the club joiner, the preppie, the yuppie, and even the church kid, can spend his or her entire life striving for the acceptance of others, but to no avail.  When you come to Christ, however, that acceptance is provided, and it is provided only in and only by the Lord Jesus Christ.

7C.    Oh, there will always be a majority of sinners who refuse to acknowledge that by striving for the acceptance of individuals and groups they are rejecting Christ, and will never get saved so long as they are doing that.  But when a sinner realizes that acceptance has already been provided by God, and that he has no need of acceptance by lost people, he just may end up getting saved.  It may be that he will no longer prostitute himself to win the dubious friendships of those who reject Jesus Christ.

8C.    To repeat, then, what did God do?  He accepted me.  He took me just exactly the way I am.  He doesn’t want me to stay the way I was when He took me.  But He did accept me as I was.  That’s what He did.  But where did He do that?  He did that in Christ.  God will take you just as you are so long as just where you are is “in Jesus Christ.” 

9C.    But be warned, lost friend.  He will take you nowhere else.  Want to be accepted by church kids?  Then you will go to Hell, just like many of them are going to Hell.  But if being accepted by God is important to you, and being accepted by God’s people, then you may very well get saved from your sins.

 

3A.    Finally, WE ASK OURSELVES WHY GOD DID IT

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Why does God make Christians accepted in the Beloved?  Why does He first give individuals the need for acceptance and then why did He arrange to meet that need?  Let me answer from God’s Word.

1B.    In Ephesians 1.12 & 14 we find the phrase “the praise of his glory.”  This is not a particularly surprising phrase to find in the New Testament.  We know that God has His glory.  And what is glory?  It’s the manifestation, the showing off if you will, of some part of God; shining a light on some part of His greatness.  And we know that He wants His glory to be praised, and that He will not share His glory with another.  There are a number of Old Testament passages that show that to us.

2B.    But the phrase found in Ephesians 1.6, “to the praise of the glory of his grace” is unique.  Found nowhere else in the New Testament, this phrase indicates God’s motive for making “us accepted in the beloved,” God’s motive for saving sinners by His Son, Jesus Christ.

3B.         Remembering that when He makes sinners “accepted in the beloved,” God literally bestows His favor upon the undeserving, or gives to the lost His grace, He thereby provides a means whereby the glory of His grace, whereby the manifestation of His grace, whereby the showing off of His grace, will be praised.

4B.         Think about this for a moment.  Can the angels praise the glory of God’s grace?  I suppose they can, but it is not like they have ever received the benefits of God’s grace.  You see, angels are not recipients of the grace of God at all.  Only people, and only people who have trusted Christ as personal savior, are recipients of the grace of God that is spoken of here.

5B.    So, then, what happens when a sinner like you receives God’s saving grace?  He praises God.  But more than that, since even the unredeemed holy angels praise God.  The Christian praises the glory of God’s grace.  And that is something that only those who have been redeemed, only those who have trusted Christ, only those who have been made “accepted in the beloved,” can do.

 

CONCLUSION:

1.   Parents, I am quite sure you have noticed that kids tend to band together and run in packs.  They do it in the neighborhood, in public schools, in our Christian school, and it is very noticeable here at church after each service.

2.   When someone comes to this church for the first time, it’s a bit scary for that individual.  No one likes to be in unfamiliar surroundings, in unknown territory.  So, the lost kid who comes in looks around until his radar locks on to someone like him, typically another lost kid.

3.   The problem with a new kid locating and then being attracted to church kids is that church kids are wicked hypocrites, who are more like the Pharisees of our Lord’s day than anyone else on earth.  Thoroughly familiar with the gospel, completely inoculated against the truth, as much by body language and facial expressions as anything else, the church kids require that dues be paid for acceptance into their informal group:  The gospel must be rejected.  Acceptance requires that you sneer under your breath, scorn underneath a stoic face, refuse in the secret places of your stony heart.

4.   The leverage of the in group, the church kids, comes from the fact that everyone wants to be accepted.  There are no individuals who do not want to be accepted by someone.  And so, following the inclinations of their sinful hearts, the typical new youngster to the church will gravitate toward the acceptance that the church kids make him pay for by rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, which means that he will likely refuse the acceptance that God gives to those who come to Christ.

5.   Rejecting God’s acceptance in Christ, the sinner may not completely realize that he is also rejecting any possibility of forgiveness, rejecting any possibility of salvation, rejecting any possibility of a clear conscience, rejecting any possibility of a home in heaven, and rejecting any possibility of escaping Hell, by choosing to run with the church kids instead of getting saved.  But he is doing precisely that.

6.   Think about it, my unsaved friend.  Is being accepted by a school friend, or a church friend who will be gone in a few years, better than the acceptance of the eternal God?  Is the temporary friendship of an unsaved buddy or pal more valuable than becoming a friend of God and acquiring Christian friends of a lifetime?

7.   Here is what you need to do:  First, recognize that what you are, if you are a typical church kid, a hypocritical Pharisee, who damns other kid’s souls to Hell.  If you are a fairly new person in our church, recognize that there are wolves in this auditorium who will eat you up if you don’t get saved, deceivers who will suck you into their conspiracy of rebellion against the truth.  Second, recognize that you need to be accepted and you need to feel accepted.  God recognizes that, and you will not find real acceptance anywhere except by coming to Christ.

8.   Reject the acceptance that God offers to anyone who comes to Christ and you reject more than sweet fellowship with Christians in the church.  Reject the acceptance that God offers to you by coming to Christ and you cut yourself off from the grace you need to be saved from your sins.  I challenge you, this evening, to make a clean break with them in favor of Jesus Christ.  Come to Him now and be accepted by God.



[1] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 522.

[2] Ibid., page 140.

[3] Matthew 23.15

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org