July 11, 2021

Chosen by God

Passage: Ephesians  1: 3 – 14; Psalm 85: 8 – 13
Service Type:



July  11, 2021


  • July's Loonie Offering is going NOSBIS (North Okanagan Shuswap Brain Injury Society) check our "Recent Posts" to the right for more information.
  • Thank you to Rev. Shirley Cochrane for preparing and leading us in worship today.
  • We pray for God's blessing on Rev. Ena van Zoeren as she begins her holidays and may God bless her with safety in her travels and refreshing of body, mind, and soul.
  • Special prayers this week for the Tourism Industry and al the Cottage Industries as they recover from the shutdowns.






The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.

The world and those who live in it belong to God.

Who is the King of glory?

The Lord, who is strong and mighty!

So lift up your heads and your hearts!

We will lift them up in praise!

Let us worship God in beauty and holiness.

We will offer God our steadfast love and faithfulness,

now and always.



Gracious God, source of life and love in all creation, in a world marked by bitterness, you are compassion. In a culture marked by confusion, you are light shining in the darkness. In a time of conspiracies and suspicion, you are the truth that sets us free. Your stillness is peace when we are frantic.

Your strength is comfort when we are fearful. Your wisdom is guidance when we are lost. For all that you are and all that you give, God, our Maker,

Christ, our Saviour, and Spirit who leads us into life,

we offer you all honour, praise and worship, now and always. Amen.



Loving God, in a world marked by self-indulgence,

you are generosity for those in need.

In a world marked by injustice, you are a conscience speaking to us.

In a world marked by vengeance, you are mercy and reconciliation.

Forgive our selfishness;

our lack of concern for the vulnerable;

and our desire to settle scores rather than work things out.

Renew us with your mercy

and strengthen our resolve to live generously, in action and in attitude.



Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ—and Christ died for us; Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Believe the good news of the gospel. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and set free by God’s generous grace.






We bring a sacrifice of praise #  10

We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.
We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.
We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.
And we offer up to you the sacrifices of thanksgiving.
And we offer up to you the sacrifices of joy.
We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.
We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.
And we offer up to you the sacrifices of thanksgiving.
And we offer up to you the sacrifices of joy.


SCRIPTURE (click here for the video of the readings and Sermon)


Ephesians  1: 3 – 14


3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.


Psalm 85:  8 – 13


I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.


SERMON: Chosen by God

God of Word and Wisdom, as we hear the scriptures read and interpreted today, enlighten our minds, nurture our souls, embolden our hearts, and stir our minds, so that we may live out your Word in the world you love. Amen.


I don’t know how familiar you are with the life of the author of today’s scripture reading. The apostle Paul had a full and incredible life. Raised in a wealthy Greek Jewish family , in his early years of adulthood, he was vicious in his condemnation and attacks upon  the practitioners of a new cult calling themselves “Followers of Christ”


Then one amazing day, Christ himself chose Paul to be a principal apostle – ( Acts 9: 1-18) one to tell the world the gospel story. For the rest of his life Paul travelled through the empire  to bring Christ to as many as he possibly could .


Through this period  he rejoiced to be in the big cities and rural areas telling the story of Jesus -  establishing  churches – teaching fellow companions and the folks  they came into contact with the glorious road of Christianity   Life was not always  victories though. There were times when Paul and his fellow evangelists were beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, jailed and sometimes  simply run out of town.


Towards the end of his life as he sat in prison, instead of being discouraged and giving up, he began to write letters  to  all his congregations. The Pauline epistles were circulating, perhaps in collected forms, by the end of the 1st century. Much of the Christian theology  is based on the writings of Paul.  Which letters  should be included in scripture  were decided by  those who compiled the New Testament by 120 AD .While there was plenty of discussion in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the "major" writings were accepted by almost all Christian authorities by the middle of the second century. However it is believed that many of Paul’s letters  never  left their recipients  and have been lost forever.


Today we begin a look at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. There is little doubt this letter was intended for the Christians in Ephesus, -an important city to Paul. Here for close to three years – a unique length of stationary work for him – he had lived and laboured, not as the apostolic missionary only but as their pastor.


Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is different compared to many of the other New Testament letters he wrote. Like Romans, Ephesians was not written so much to address problems in a particular church;, it was written to explain some of the great themes and doctrines of Christianity including the great themes of God’s work in the church, the community of believers.


In the first chapter we have the doctrines of the gospel; in the next, there is the experience of the Christians; and before the Epistle is finished, you have the precepts of the Christian faith.  In this letter Paul  saw the new man and a new society, but he saw it all accomplished by the work of Jesus.


Ephesians has many similarities with Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Since Paul wrote both of them from his Roman imprisonment, his mind may have worked on the same themes when he wrote each letter. He wrote to the Colossians to meet a particular situation and danger in the church at Colossae. Then with his mind still working over the theme of the greatness and glory of Christ, but moving on to consider the place of the Church in the purpose of God, he wrote Ephesians. This  letter seems to be intended in a more general sense – to circulate among Christians as a great statement of God’s eternal plan, worked out in the church and in individual Christian lives. ..meant to be passed on to many different congregations in different cities.


Before saying anything about behavior and action, Paul spends three chapters reminding us of our worth. The choosing is God’s effort, not ours. We believe in Jesus Christ, - not so we can be chosen but because we are already chosen. He chose us in Christ – period! You didn’t have to earn it, beat out others to get to it, or build an acceptable resume – He chose you because… You are chosen by God by grace


Our worth is not a reason for God to accept us  - it is the result  of God accepting us. Think about it – we were, wrote Paul, chosen before the creation of the world! In that pre-creation eternity God did something unique. God put us and Christ together in his mind. He determined to make us (who did not yet exist) his own children through the redeeming work of Christ (which had not yet taken place).


It’s not that God created a world - created people to dwell in it - and then chose his favorites – no way ! He chose us first and then created a world for us! Someone has put it this way: Before there was a place in the universe in God’s hand there was a place for me in God’s heart !


Furthermore, Paul said, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” God is making us whole and holy by his love. Our holiness, or wholeness, is not something we need to attain. “In love he predestined us for adoption…” You are adopted. Paul wrote his words in the context of a Roman world in which the wealthy adopted only those children who were “well-suited” for the inheritance of the particular family. . In Roman law, “When the adoption was complete it was complete indeed. The person who had been adopted had all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family and completely lost all rights in his old family. In the eyes of the law he was a new person. So new was he that even all debts and obligations connected with his previous family were abolished as if they had never existed.”


But Paul points to God who knew us as rebellious sinners – who knew everything there was to know about us – and still chose to adopt us. There is nothing we can say or do which will surprise God. Under God’s eyes we have no skeletons in our closet which could cause Him to ignore us. We are totally covered by His love. It is, asserts Paul, God’s great pleasure to do so.


Many islands in the Pacific Ocean appear to be tiny points of land that rise only a few thousand feet above sea level. Yet the foundations of those peaks extend for miles underwater. In fact, if measured from their base, some would tower above the Himalayas.


In a similar way, the salvation that we enjoy today involves far more than our brief experience of it. It extends back through time and even beyond time into eternity, “before the foundation of the world” (1:4). Indeed, salvation brings so many things into play that Paul wrote a 202-word run-on sentence (in the Greek) stretching across twelve verses


One thing it shows is that the salvation of every Christian involves all three persons of the Trinity. God the Father has selected us for His grace (1:4–5, 11). God the Son offered Himself as the sacrifice for sin, paying our penalty and extending forgiveness (1:7). And God the Holy Spirit has “sealed” us in Christ, guaranteeing our relationship with God (1:13–14). This work of God began before the world was formed and has continued throughout history. The seal is therefore the Holy Spirit Himself, and His presence in the believer denotes ownership and security.


I like the way Eugene Peterson puts it in the Bible paraphrase entitled, The Message:

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.


The advance of secularism and the onslaught of co-called sexual freedom has taken a horrific toll how people feel about themselves. One writer described it as tsunami that has knocked down and carried away most all the markers of our identity : marriage and family, objective right and wrong, respect for people and for human life. Life has been cheapened and devalued. It’s no wonder lack of healthy self-worth has reached epidemic proportions.


When Paul said—out of his own traditional culture—that we are all sons in Christ, he was saying that there are no second-class citizens in God's family. When you give your life to Christ and become a Christian, you receive all the benefits a son enjoys in a traditional culture. Our adoption means we are loved like Christ is loved. We are honored like he is honored—every one of us—no matter what. Your circumstances cannot hinder or threaten that promise.

God chose you through Christ and because of Christ he has lavished every spiritual blessing of the heavenly realms upon you. "But I don't always feel all that blessed." How often doesn't that thought disturb us? We reflect on this past year, and no doubt you can recall several times of struggle, sadness, or suffering. I know that you count your blessings as well, but would you dare to claim that you have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms?


With this confidence that God's good will cannot fail, we want to make the choices that bring him the glory.. God's chosen us to live for his glory. That's the goal that underlies all our choices as a Christian: What will bring glory and praise to my God and Savior? So the text begins and ends on this note of praise: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves" (1: 6 ).


Throughout the good and the bad of the year ahead keep asking yourself: "How can my words and actions bring praise to my God so that others glorify his saving grace in Christ?" As you care for your family, as you do your daily work, as you interact with your community, let the way you conduct yourself lead others to want to know more about the God whom you serve, so that they too can praise your Father in heaven. Be prepared to give the reason for the hope you have. It's all centered in Christ, isn't it? It's all built on God's good will, not on us.


God's choice changes our choices. Make that true in the year ahead whether it's a year filled with good things for you, or a year where your best laid plans go awry. God chose you in Christ, according to his good will. Every spiritual blessing of the heavenly realms is yours in Christ. For he has paid the redemption price of his blood for your forgiveness. In Christ you stand before God holy and blameless. In Christ you are adopted as God's own. So make your choices in Christ for the praise of his glorious grace. Amen.






689     Simply trusting every day

687     Blessed  assurance

It is well with my soul



The Book of Ephesians tells us that we have received an inheritance in Christ. God’s gifts to us in Christ and in creation allow us to be generous in response to the needs in God’s world. What we give to God speaks to the world of God’s generosity, as well as our own.





Generous God, we look around at the growth in gardens and fields this summer, and trust in the generosity you have planted within your creation. Bless the gifts we bring, that they too may grow in fruitfulness, and touch lives in need with your generous love, in the name of Christ, our help and our hope. Amen.






Blessed are you, O God, for all your goodness to us.

In Christ, we meet your love and wisdom, face to face.

Through the Holy Spirit, we recognize the abilities

and opportunities you create in us and for us, to reach out to the world you love.

We thank you for all the ways friends and families,

neighbours and strangers, reach out to us and to others,

offering support and kindness, speaking up when we must confront wrongdoing,

celebrating when achievements bless us all with healing and happiness.


Today we pray for courageous leaders in cities, countries and congregations

who strive to serve with integrity and honesty in a world prone to self-interest.

We pray for those who struggle to create justice where it has been compromised, and to build reconciliation and understanding in divided communities.


Today  as Covid  restrictions  lift  for individuals, communities and provinces and are changed,  we know there is still intrepedation and confusion over  what may be coming next down the tube .

As travel restrictions level off  we  ask your blessing  upon the many people and businesses engaged in the travel industry. Tourism is such an integral part of Canadian life  and we pray for your wisdom as opportunities grow. We also lift to you  folks who are engaged in Cottage Industries – in the  making items for sale may they have a appropriate supply of materials to work with  and a good clientele  to bring their business back to a good level of income


We  bring to you  the people of Lytton and the surrounding community as they face the grief of loss and the challenge of rebuilding . We  lift to you the many who are dislocated  because of the wildfires in our province and live in fear of losing their homes  and businesses. We especially pray  for all the men and women who are the firefighters in this overwhelming scenario of forest fires large and small, asking for safety for them and for weather that will be of benefit – rain, reduction of temperature  and no wind


We remember before you quiet and reliable leaders who keep their word and meet their deadlines so that we can depend on them in these unsettling times.


We pray for patient church members and community volunteers, who work diligently towards long-term goals that will improve our life together.

And we pray for the creative, impatient change makers, who keep challenging us, to be bolder and more determined in righting wrongs and trying new strategies.


We pray for the troubled in mind or spirit, for the angry and unhappy,

and for those who feel that every day is a struggle. Soothe their concerns and open their hearts to claim the hope and help you offer.


We remember before you the sick and the dying,

and the bereaved who must try to put their lives back together again.

We pray for those who are recovering from the pandemic,

looking for better health, a fresh start, more stability or a glimpse of hope.

Draw close to all these who suffer,

offering your comfort and courage to face whatever comes next.


Lord hear us as we lift our joys and concerns to you …………………



Receive our prayers, both spoken and unspoken,

and embrace us all in your love.

Give us hearts to understand not only what you do on our behalf,

but also what you call us to do on your behalf,

for we are friends and followers of Jesus, who taught us to pray saying:






The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever.  Amen


HYMN                      472     We are God’s people 



May the grace of God deeper than our imagination; the strength of Christ stronger than our need ; and the communion of the holy Spirit  richer than our togetherness guide and sustain us today and in all our tomorrows


SUNG BLESSING:  Take O Take me as I am