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Grace That Unifies
A. Last week in our study of Chapter one of Ephesians, Paul told us in verse 6 that Jesus has "made us accepted in the beloved."
1. And we talked about the Greek word used for "accepted" meaning = charming, lovely, graceful, and agreeable.
2. So, not only has Jesus done all this for us, He finished his work and sat at the right hand of His Father, and He has authority over EVERYTHING!
3. And lastly I closed with a challenge for us all to live like the King's kids that we are, and not as spiritual paupers.
B. In our study tonight, Paul continues with the what our wonderful Savior has done for us at the cross!
1. The subject is His never-ending grace which makes us "one" in the body of Christ - His Church!!
Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother's heart. Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro. Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. It wasn't too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina's eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn't matter. Please come home." She did. Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Multnomah Press, 1986, pp. 158-9
A. Eph_2:1-3 (NKJV) And you [He] [made] [alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
1. The "you" Paul is making reference to in verse 1, is specifically the Gentiles!
a) But you will remember that when scripture refers to the Gentiles, it most always is symbolic of the unredeemed sinner!
(1) So, that would encompass all of us at one time!
(2) We, like the Ephesians, were dead spiritually because we had "missed the Mark" of salvation!
(3) The word "trespass" in verse 1 means "a lapse or deviation from the truth."
(a) In navigation, if you "deviate" even one degree, you will end up lost!
2. The "prince of the power of the air" of course is satan and he uses his authority over earth to control those who are disobedient to Christ!
a) We must remember satan is not omnipresent so needs help to accomplish his destruction, and he has plenty of it!
3. Paul makes it pretty clear in verse 3 that we were all creatures of the flesh at one time.
B. Eph_2:4-7 (NKJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
1. Remember "grace" is getting what we don't deserve, while "mercy" is = "not getting what we do deserve"!
a) We deserved death for our sins, but because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ
(1) And that, without a doubt is "getting what we don't deserve = grace!!
2. In verse 6 Paul tells us what Jesus did and in verse 7 he tell us why He did it.
a) Jesus made us spiritually alive, when we were spiritually dead and gave us all the riches of heaven!
b) And the reason He did it, was so that He could show how "exceedingly" rich His grace is toward us because of His Son!
(1) And that will be an eternal testimony!!
C. Eph_2:8 (NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it] [is] the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
1. Our salvation comes as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ!
a) Instead of getting what we deserve (death), salvation is getting what we don't deserve! (forgiveness and eternity).
b) The "grace" that Paul speaks of here, nor even the "faith" to believe in Christ originated with us!
(1) It all comes from the heart of our Savior!
(2) If it wasn't a completely "free" gift then we would feel that we "earned" it somehow.
(3) And if we could earn it we would boast about it!
(4) This way, with God's plan, all we can do is love Him for doing what was impossible for us!
D. Eph_2:10 (NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
1. The word "workmanship" means = "a thing that has been made"
a) So, when we were created, we were made as a vessel for good works!
(1) But sin entered and we became vessels of dishonor!
b) Being born again through Jesus, we are now fit to be what we were created to be in the first place!
(1) A reflection of the "goodness" of the creator!
2. The scriptures talk of several different types of "works."Most of which are not "good" at all!
a) There are "works" of the Law
(1) This is doing good because you have to!
(2) Christ is not in that!
b) There are "works" of the flesh (sins)
(1) Galatians gives a list of those and then tell us is we make them a practice in out life, we won't even see the Lord!
c) There are "works" of darkness
(1) We are to have no part of these works and even rebuke them when we see them.
d) There are dead "works"
(1) It is Christ that gives life, therefore these are all the works done without Jesus, before repentance!
e) There are even "works" of righteousness
(1) And these are the works that are done thinking we will be saved because we did them!
3. Here are some of the "good kind of works" that Paul is talking about here.
a) Mat_5:16 (NKJV) "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
b) Col_1:10 (NKJV) that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [Him], being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
c) 1Pe_2:12 (NKJV) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by [your] good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
E. Eph_2:11-12 (NKJV) Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--
12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
1. Paul reminds them that as Gentiles they were not only looked down upon by the Jews but they were without the promises given to Abraham and alienated from God entirely!
F. Eph_2:13-18 (NKJV) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, [that] [is], the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man [from] the two, [thus] making peace,
16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
17 (NKJV) And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
1. Jesus has made Jew and Gentile one!
a) The wall that existed in the Temple that separated the two races has been removed.
(1) It has been replaced with a bridge which is the cross of Christ!
(2) The two have become one spiritually!!
G. Eph_2:19-22 (NKJV) Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner[stone],
21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1. After salvation we are "strangers" and "foreigners" in this world, but no longer in the household of God!
a) We become "citizens", "saints", and "members" of that household!!
2. And while Paul is on the subject of a building, he makes sure that we understand that Jesus is at the very foundation of it all!!
a) That the Apostles build upon the foundation that Jesus Himself laid with His own life.
(1) The cool part about this building that Paul refers to is that it is "alive!!!
(2) It is a living building as Christ lives in each and every one of us through His Holy Spirit.
(3) May we do "good works" and live in such a way as to bring honor and glory to One whom designed the greatest living building of all eternity - HIS CHURCH!
Watching a trapeze show is breathtaking. We wonder at the dexterity and timing. We gasp at near-misses. In most cases, there is a net underneath. When they fall, they jump up and bounce back to the trapeze. In Christ, we live on the trapeze. The whole world should be able to watch and say, "Look how they live, how they love one another. Look how well the husbands treat their wives. And aren't they the best workers in the factories and offices, the best neighbors, the best students?" That is to live on the trapeze, being a show to the world. What happens when we slip? The net is surely there. The blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, has provided forgiveness for ALL our trespasses. Both the net and the ability to stay on the trapeze are works of God's grace. Of course, we cannot be continually sleeping on the net., If that is the case, I doubt whether that person is a trapeze artist at all. Juan Carlos Ortiz.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Brown, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 2". Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34