Christ and the Church 1: Salvation in Christ
Text: Ephesians 2Video Link
The verses we are going to study today are closely tied to the last part of chapters 1, so closely that many Bible scholars believe it would have been better not to put the chapter at vs 23 of chapter 1 but to have added the ten verse from chapter two to verse one.
Chapter 1 vss 1-14 that we looked at last Sunday gave us our purpose in Christ, to be to the praise of His glory. Chapter 1 verses 15-23 gives us our possessions in Christ and they are found in Paul’s prayers from those same verses. Look at Ephesians 1:15-16 15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Paul’s Prayer for The Church at Ephesus
Paul prays for the church’s spiritual growth in knowledge and he asks that God gives them the knowledge of what they possess in Christ.
1.That They Might Know God’s Wisdom in (1:17b) 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:,
2. That We Might Know God’s Calling in (1:18a) 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,
3. That We Might Know God’s Riches in (1:18b) and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints
4. That We Might Know God’s Power in (1:19–23) 19 And what is the exceeding greatness
of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty
Then vss 20-23 gives us the theme for the book Christ And
the Church 20 (the power) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him
from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far
above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that
is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And
hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things
to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all
Then in Chp 2 Paul turns from our possessions in Christ to tells the Church their position In Christ.
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, Macedonia and to the church in Athens, Texas and tells us we were a mess in the past because we were cursed by the effects and power of sin.
In vs. 1 He reminds us, We were dead. Spiritual dead in trespasses and sins.
In vs. 2 We were disobedient. walking according to the way of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, Satan himself, controlled our path, and we were by nature, by the manner of our birth and inclination, children of disobedience.
Vs. 3 We were depraved, because our lifestyle in the past was to fulfill the desires of the flesh and our mind.
Also in vs. 3, We were doomed, because all these things meant we were children of wrath. Appointed to the judgment and wrath of God who judges all.
Sin’s curse had made us dead men walking. In God’s sight we were not alive but dead, disobedient, depraved and doomed by His judgment to a devil’s hell.
Scripture: Matthew 8:22 - But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
2 Corinthians 5:14 - For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
By the standard of God’s law and under God’s wrath, we were all dead, though we were might be walking, talking and breathing physically, spiritually we were dead and it there in the spirit that it matters.
Jesus said in the bread of life discourse, John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
In the past when a convicted man, on death row is being led out to the execution chamber, the guards would call out, “Dead Man Walking. Dead Man Walking Here.” Here is a man living, breathing, dreaming but it is not really living because he was convicted of his crimes and from the time he was put on Death Row, he was just a dead man walking, over everything hangs the judgment of death. No matter how alive he may seem, in reality, he is a dead man walking toward his doom.
Spiritually speaking, that is us. We are all on death row, we are all dead men walking. We may seem alive, we may dream and hope and care but it doesn’t matter because hanging over us all is the sentence of eternal death. What do the dreams of a dead man account for? What do his hopes matter? He is doomed for all eternity and there is no hope for the dead.
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;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
God’s Love For Us
vs. 4 God Loved Us… BUT GOD... most important two words in chapter. If it had not been for the intervention of God, we would still be dead. But God made exception for us, in His mercy, through His great love with which He loved us.
Vs. 5 God Quickened Us. He made us alive again, together with Christ, in Christ. Now Instead of being dead in trespasses and sin I am alive in Christ by the richness of God’s mercy and the power of His love.
And Paul says, this is what is really amazing, this takes place “While we were still sinners.”
In Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Before we could have earned it or deserved it, God's grace was provided through His Son, Jesus and that is what is so amazing about grace.
Vs. 6 God Exulted Us. Adding even more to the amazement of grace is vs. 6 And (God) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Right now in the present moment, In God’s sight we are no longer dead but we are raised from the dead and are seated with Christ in Heavenly places.
Be Amazed and Be Motivated
Grace is amazing, being quickened is amazing, sitting right now in heavenly places in Christ is amazing. We should be amazed but we should also be motivated, moved to be those trophies of grace that God has purposed us to be.
Colossians 3:1-3 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead (to this world), and your life is hid with Christ in God.
The early churches like Ephesus, Colossi, Philippi were amazed by grace and they showed it in every moment of the new present life they had in Christ.
They were willing to stand for the truth, they were willing to die for the truth because the truth was they were already with Christ in heavenly places. What difference could persecution or even physically death make? Those things only made the present truth of amazing grace so much clearer to see and experience.
Illustration: Ignatius, disciple of John, at his death.
My dear Jesus, my Savior, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my hear were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece.”
That is the power of grace and knowing that God intervened, saved us, raised us and seated us with Jesus.
Transition: What more could there be? So much because the present in all its blessings cannot match the future in all its potential.
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
God’s Purpose In Us- Paul once again reminds us of the purpose God had in saving us. Vs. 7 “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Yes, the present gift of the richness of grace and mercy are wonderful, but we were saved in order that God might use us, the church, to show “the exceeding riches of His grace.”
The future blessings of God richness of grace will exceed anything we can imagine in the past or present because God’s church will take the message of grace and we will be the people of grace so that through the ages to come the whole world will know the exceeding richness of His grace.
We as the church are God’s trophies Grace. Of all the things in creation and the universe that God has done the act He will point to in the ages to come is our salvation by grace though Jesus Christ.
God’s Gift To Us: vs. 8 Paul says its all because of grace, the undeserved, unmerited, unearned love, and favor of God. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Grace is the wonder of the ages. That God would forgive, that God would send His only begotten Son to die in my place. That God would in Christ, see me and in Christ cover my sin with His shed blood, this is beyond all the wonders the universe can ever boast.
Paul says we are saved by grace through faith. He does not say faith saves us but grace saves us, through faith. Grace is the river, faith is only us getting in the boat and entering the river. Grace is the power, faith is only the switch. Grace is the gun, faith is only the trigger.
“This not of yourselves it is the gift of God.”
This salvation is God gift to us. This doesn’t refer to faith but to the salvation which is our possession in Christ and has been the subject of this passage. Salvation is completely, totally, absolutely, all of God or it is none of God. We do nothing to save ourselves.
Titus 3:4-5 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Salvation is what God has done for and in us but in vss. 9-10, we see what God is doing through us. How that purpose of “being to the glory of grace” is accomplished right now.
God’s Work Through Us. Vs. 9-10 Salvation Paul tells us in vs 9-1 is, “Not of works but unto good works.
Vss. 9-10 Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Salvation was the tool that God used to forge us, to make us into the instruments of grace. We are his Workmanship. The word workmanship is poiema. Our English work poem comes from this word. It is only used once, here in all the Bible, something Paul often did. He found and used that exact word that would describe God’s forging and forming us that we might be His workmanship, His masterpiece to show the world God’s love in Jesus Christ through our good works. To show the world what grace really is and what grace really can do.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Colosians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;What about each one of us? What about Calvary Baptist Church?
Are you and are we fulfilling the purpose God has for us? Are we showing and telling others the grace of God through his Son, Jesus Christ? Are we willing to be used in God’s hands as tools of his workmanship that by our good works, we show in the ages to come the exceeding riches of his grace?
Can God use us as examples of what grace has done and what grace is going because of His mercy and love?
Are we the real thing, the genuine article a sinner saved by grace or are we only a façade, an empty pretender, who can’t show God’s mercy and grace to others because we have never experienced it ourselves?
Illustration: Lincoln’s pardon of a deserter
During the early days of the Civil War a Union soldier was arrested on charges of desertion. Unable to prove his innocence, he was condemned and sentenced to die a deserter's death. His appeal found its way to the desk of Abraham Lincoln. The president felt mercy for the soldier and signed a pardon. The soldier returned to service, fought the entirety of the war, and was killed in the last battle. Found within his breast pocket was the signed letter of the president. Close to the heart of the soldier were his leader's words of pardon. Lincolns grace had made him a soldier. What has God’s grace made us? God’s grace and salvation should change us, forge us and make us into what He wants us to be. We should fulfill the purpose he designed for us. We should be His workmanship, His creation, His masterpiece unto good works that show the power of His salvation.
Have you passed from death to life, are you quickened are you raised are you sitted in heavenly places in Christ? Then make sure it shows.
Or are here this morning just a dead man walking? You have never reached out and taken God’s gift of salvation, never got into the boat and let grace take you to eternal life. Wouldn’t today be a good day to be make alive, truly eternally, spiritually alive?