The Letter to the Ephesians Message Six
IV. Proof of changed lives. Ephesians 2:1-13
A. Our (mankind’s) Resignation Ephesians 2:1
Being where they were, as they were, they lived accordingly –
B. Our Resolve
C. Our Rescue Ephesians 2:4-13
Last week we were reminded of some of –
1. The Positive responses of God –
a. When no hope is expected –
b. When all hope is lost –
c. When hope in God is questioned –
d. When no hope of victory over temptations –
e. When no hope that God’s plan will be fulfilled –
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
God reaches out to us through His power, explaining His working through His Word, bringing help to us and glory to Himself.
His mercy through His patience and forbearance is emphasized when we realize –
2. The Position we were in –
“…even when we were dead in sins…”
Can you rejoice today in those words, two words that mean everything to us – “But God…” –
Not only might we rejoice in the marvelous mercy of God in our lives, coupled with His Grace and His Peace, but we can rejoice in the fact that God’s present work never diminishes His future ability! He never has to ‘restock’ or ‘reserve for future use’! God is not just ‘immense’, He is infinite! How can our limited minds define the unlimited Person of God? We simply accept and rejoice as we consider the riches of God
3. The Praise of His rich grace, peace, and love.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Consider the riches of God manifested because of His Great Love –
a. He is rich in Power –
Notice the declaration given in –
Isaiah 43:13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
We are reassured by His power that He has done, and He will do that which He has declared –
Ephesians 2:5,6 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Without the saving work and power of God, we cannot even raise ourselves up above ourselves through our own strength. Reformation is temporary –
the old self continues to rise to the surface,
the old memories continue to haunt us, even sometimes terrify us, creating scars which harden our hearts and encourage bitterness at our own weaknesses.
This is the human nature, the natural man that God has saved us from!
There is no Stairway to Heaven – there is the Doorway, “…raised us together….” the Lord Jesus Christ who by faith in Him brings us to God, from death to life, from this world to Heaven, “…to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Praise God for His infinite Power! Also we know that –
b. He is rich in Provision –
He is infinite in His provision –
Psalm 50:10-12 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
Do you praise God that He shares His provisions with you?
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Have you noticed that one of the most blessed ways God shows His grace and His kindness is through sharing Himself through fellowship and provision?
Exodus 24:7-11 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
John 21:9-12 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
Do you praise God for His provision given from His infinite store and through His infinite love?
c. He is rich in Promises –
Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
I have a question for you Christian – what qualifies you to call yourself a Christian? Let’s consider this verse –
1). Grace. Remember that the theme of this letter as stated in chapter one is the grace of God and through His grace, peace with God. We determine, then, that the grace mentioned here is from God. The motivation is the glory of God, and the offer is through the grace of God, promised thousands of years before, first made known in Genesis 3.
2). Saved. It is interesting to think about how many people are offended by this word. Christians even try to use other words because they have been confronted by angry hearers so often – “What do I need to be saved from”? Is there a better way to say it, a better way to approach people in a “kinder, gentler” way? I am afraid that “Christians” have worked out many ways to get people into Heaven without them knowing it! The word ‘saved’ in the context of salvation of the Lord is used more than thirty times in the New Testament. Once is enough, but we find this important word is to be used to help people realize they are ‘lost’ and need to be saved! Once a person understands that he is lost, he will be glad to hear this word ‘saved’.
I have shared many times about the night many years ago we were driving to Sarasota, Florida. Everyone in the car was asleep and I decided to drive late and reach our destination. I pulled off at an exit on the interstate to get gas. I tried to be quiet and smooth in my driving in order to not wake anyone. They all remained asleep and I continued the journey. After about 20 minutes, I noticed the compass showed ‘N’ for North. It should have been showing ‘S’ for south! I had taken the wrong entrance onto the highway and was going somewhere I did not want to go! I remained very quiet and began looking for an exit so I could turn around and reach the intended destination. The compass marking ‘N’ saved me from going to the wrong place, and taking others along with me. I did not get angry at the compass and insist on continuing the wrong direction. I admitted to myself that I was wrong and based on that admission, turned around to go in the right way, which I confessed to the family upon our arrival. The word ‘saved’ is important, it is imperative because people are ‘lost’.
3). Faith. You believe in many things and your exercise of this belief is called faith. The Scripture defines faith in –
Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
So, what is faith? Faith is –
a). A Promise. Hebrews 11:1 “Substance of things hoped for” (Promise, Title deed)
b). A Presentation. “Evidence of things not seen.”
c). A Proof. Hebrews 11:2,3 The evidence presented by “…things that are seen were not made of things which do appear”
Faith is not mysterious or intangible, it is real and exercised daily. Is your faith in God? It is this faith in Him, through His grace that saves us, qualifies us to call ourselves ‘Christians’.
4). Gift. Being saved is a gift from God.
A gift is that which is voluntarily given from one person to another without compensation. If men could be saved through works of their own, it would no longer be a gift. Salvation is of God alone and it is not for sale!
God is rich in His Promises –
Romans 10:9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Consider the riches of God manifested because of His Great Love –
He is rich in Power, Provision, and Promises. Have you put your faith in Him today?