The Riches of His Glorious Inheritance in the Saints
November 11, 2018
Two men stood in front of a television camera. And in between them was a blanket. The man to the left was old and he was the owner of the blanket. The man to the right wore a suit and he was an appraiser. It was a 2001 episode of the PBS television program Antiques Roadshow, a show where people bring their antique items to professional experts and have them appraised for their meaning and worth. And the old man was about to see his blanket in a new way.
The appraiser asked the old man, “Do you know who made this weaving? Do you know what kind of blanket it is?” The old man said, “It’s uh probably a Navajo. But uh that’s about all I know.” “So you haven’t had anybody look at it?” “Nobody’s every looked at it that I’m aware of.” “Well Ted, did you notice when you showed this to me that I kinda stopped breathing a little bit?” “Yeah, you did!” They both laugh. “I’m still having a little bit trouble breathing here, Ted.” “You took me by surprise because I, you know, didn’t think much about it.”
The appraiser went on to explain to Ted that the blanket was a Navajo chief’s blanket, and that it was the first type of its kind. It was made somewhere between 1840 and 1860. And it was a Ute First Phase wearing blanket, Navajo made, made for Ute chiefs. He said, “They were made for chiefs, and they were very, very valuable at the time. This is Navajo weaving in its purest form…. This is the beginning of Navajo weaving. And not only that, the condition of this is unbelievable. Unbelievable. We’ve got a little bit of damage over there. Very interesting thing here. This is almost like silk. It’s made from hand-woven wool, but it’s so finely done it’s like silk. It would repel water. his here is dyed with indigo dyes. It was a very valuable dye at the time. And what’s really interesting is right here we have an old repair that was probably done in the 1860s. And it was done with raveled bayetta, which is in itself a very important thing in Navajo weaving.”
The appraiser concludes, “It’s an extraordinary piece of art. It’s extremely rare. It is the most important thing that has come through the Roadshow that I’ve seen. Um, do you have a sense at all of what we’re looking at here in terms of value?” Ted shook his head and said, “I haven’t a clue.” The appraiser asked him, “Are you a wealthy man, Ted?” “No.”
“Well sir, um, I’m still a little nervous here I have to tell you. Uh, on a really bad day, this textile would be worth 350,000 dollars. On a good day, it’s about a half a million dollars.”
“Oh my God!” “You had no idea?” “I had no idea! It was just laying on the back of a chair!” “Well sir, you have a national treasure.” “Wow.” “A national treasure.” “Geez!” “When you walked in with this, I just about died. Congratulations. Congratulations.” “I can’t believe this!” Ted takes off his glasses and wipes the tears from his eyes and said at the end, “I’m amazed. I’m flabbergasted.”
As Paul gets going in the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians, he takes the time to pray to God, to the Father of glory. He prays for the church. He prays that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ would open their eyes and see certain things. Last week we looked at how he prayed for us to see and know the hope to which God has called us. Today we see how he prayed for us to see and know the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints.
The church is God’s inheritance. This is so remarkable and heartwarming. When we think about inheritance, we usually think about our inheritance, our eternal life, our place in the new heavens and the new earth. We usually think about inheritance in terms of our perspective. But here in Paul’s prayer, we are invited to think about God’s inheritance, God’s church, God’s people. We should think about inheritance in terms of God’s perspective.
Our inheritance is God, but God’s inheritance is us. This is so important to know. We spend a lot of time and energy and focus on our inheritance. We say to ourselves, “Isn’t is great that we have God!” This is good and necessary. But when we struggle to cherish God as our inheritance, it is so comforting and encouraging to know that God never struggles to cherish us as his inheritance.
We are God’s inheritance. We are his precious possession. We are his purchased people. We are his chosen and redeemed. The Lord has made us his heritage (Psalm 2:8). The Lord set his heart upon us (Deuteronomy 10:15). The Lord rejoices over us with gladness (Zephaniah 3:17). We belong to God. We are precious and valuable in his sight.
This doesn’t mean that we are all that. Instead, this means that God is all that. Remember, it is all to the praise of his glory. It is glorious to see God love people who are unloveable. It is glorious to see God accept people who are unacceptable. It is glorious to see God forgive people who are unforgivable. It is glorious to see God change people who are unchangeable. The church is God’s inheritance. And the church is glorious because the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has made us saints.
Brothers and sisters, are you aware of the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints? Do you realize what we have here at Highland? Maybe you are like Ted, the old man in that television show. Maybe you don’t know much about the meaning and worth of God’s people that is the church. Or perhaps worse than Ted, maybe you have bad thoughts or hurt feelings about the church.
But consider the Word of the Lord from Ephesians 1 and the Holy Spirit, who is the expert appraiser of the church. The church was made for a chief of chiefs. The church is divine workmanship in its purest form. And though repairs are happening now, the condition of the church will soon be unbelievable. It’s an extraordinary piece of the gospel. It’s extremely glorious. It is one of the most important things that has come through your life that you’ve seen.
Highland, do you have a sense at all of what we’re looking at in terms of value? On a good day, the church is worth the body and the blood and the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On a really bad day, the church is worth the body and the blood and the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are part of a divine treasure. Congratulations.
There is so much to be thankful to God for as we remember one another in our prayers. Praise the Lord for the community that we have here at Highland. I thank God for all the generosity and hospitality shown in snack times and G5 meetings. I thank God for all the commitment and spirit of our volunteer teams. I thank God for all the conversations and connections that are happening every week. I thank God for all the old members, all the new members, all the folks who I hope will become new members soon, all the young and little members and all the members that are alive but yet to be born. Praise the Lord for the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints here at Highland. Dear church, you are God’s inheritance. You are his possession and people. The Lord has set his heart upon you. The Lord rejoices over you with gladness. You belong to him. You are precious and valuable in his sight.
Brothers and sisters, may you have a little trouble breathing when you worship here on Sundays, when you gather together for small groups, when you serve or volunteer for us, when you pray for us. Brothers and sisters, may you just about die every time we meet together as we seeing the Day drawing near. Brothers and sisters, may you be amazed and flabbergasted at our next G5 meeting. Brothers and sisters, may you get a proper appraisal of the meaning and the worth of the church. And may you know what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
Summary of Sermon
In the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul prays to God for the church. He prays that God would help believers see, know and understand what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
The church is God’s inheritance. It is important and heartwarming for us to know this and see who the cherished saints are in God’s perspective.
We are his precious possession. We are his purchased people. We are his chosen and redeemed. The Lord has made us his heritage. The Lord set his heart upon us. The Lord rejoices over us with gladness. We belong to God. We are precious and valuable in his sight.
This is all to the praise of God’s glory and grace.
Let us be more aware of the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints. May we realize what we have here at Highland. Let us be thankful for the brothers and sisters that we have in our church. For the church is worth the body and the blood and the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Questions for Discussion & Sharing
The church is God’s glorious inheritance. In what ways does our perspective of the church match that of God? In what ways does our perspective fall short of what Paul hopes and prays for?
What difference does God’s love for the church have on our Christian lives as we wait for the return of the Lord? How might such riches change the way that we relate to other brothers and sisters in Christ?