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Five reminders from the Apostle Paul

PowerPoint from sermon (PDF 94kb)

Bible Readings: Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 8:31-39

The title of my message today is “Five reminders from the Apostle Paul”. We are going to mainly look at the first 10 verses from Ephesians chapter 2 and briefly touch on our second passage from Romans 8.

In chapter one of Ephesians we see that Paul really set the scene of who they are in Christ. He tells them they are chosen by God, redeemed by Jesus and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Then he gives thanks to God for them and prays a wonderful prayer for them that talks about knowing who they are in Christ and having spiritual insight and wisdom.

In chapter 2:1-10 Paul gives the church five reminders for the Ephesians that I think can encourage us today. They will come up on the screen as we go.

Message Points

1. Paul reminds us of our old way of life

Verses 1-2 says - Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil--the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

These two verses tell us of our condition without Christ. We were dead because of our sin and we followed the ways of the world or as some translations put it, the ways of the devil.

Paul wanted to remind the church that now as Christians we are alive in Christ. We have a new life in Christ, and we are a part of a new Kingdom. However, he doesn’t want them to forget where they came from. Remembering where they came from was very important to Paul.

As Christians today we need to remember where we have come from and what Christ has saved us from – eternity without God. Romans 3:23 tells us we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. Before Christ we followed the ways of the world, not the ways of the Kingdom.
 
So, Paul reminds us of our old way of life.

2. Paul reminds us of God’s intervention

Verses 4-5 - But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)

We were sinners, but God intervened because of His rich mercy and His great love.

I believe two of the greatest words in the Bible are “but God”. I did a search on my Bible software for the phrase ‘but God”. It appeared 64 times. It says things like…

    • but God heard their prayer,
    • but God did not let them get harmed,
    • they meant it for harm, but God meant it for good,
    • but God knew what would happen,
    • but God formed the earth by His power,
    • but God raised Him from the dead (about Christ)

As Christians we can never forget who we are and where we have come from. We can never forget that for salvation to take place there are three things – a need, a provision and a response. We need to be saved because we can’t save ourselves from our sin; we have a provision of Christ’s death on the cross for us; and we need to respond in faith – we need to believe in Jesus and accept what He has done for us.

Paul wanted to remind the Ephesians church and by extension us today, that we were alone and utterly helpless, but God intervened and brought us salvation in Christ. We can never forget this.

3. Paul reminds us of our new seating in Christ

Verse 6 - For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus returned to heaven He was seated at the right hand of the Father. That is the highest place of honour in the whole universe. There is no greater place than being seated next to the Father.

The good news today is, if you are in Christ Jesus (that means walking in relationship with Him, trusting Him for your salvation, and have received Him as your King) then you are spiritually seated with Christ in the heavenly realms! You are spiritually seated with Him in the highest place in the universe! I will just let you soak that in a bit!

Because of this great news you no longer have to walk around with your face pointing to the ground or your shoulders hunched over. You and I no longer have to feel unworthy. We have high standing and high honour with the King and Creator of the universe! You and I are seated with Christ.

Paul wanted to remind the Ephesians where they were seated. Today I want to remind you.

4. Paul reminds us of God’s grace

Verses 8-9 - God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

In one of my Bible dictionaries it describes Grace as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God to those who are under condemnation. But one of the best descriptions of grace is the G.R.A.C.E. acronym - God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

To dig a little deeper in to the definition of God's grace, it helps to understand the original Hebrew and Greek words behind this term. A prominent Old Testament word describing God's grace is Chesed. This word speaks of deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It also denotes enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness, and preservation. The New Testament word is Charis. It focuses on the provision of salvation through God's grace and Christ's work on the cross.

We know that we were utterly helpless to save ourselves and God intervened. We also saw in my first point about our old way of life. But God’s grace saved us and God’s grace also keeps us in the palm of His hand. In our second reading from Romans we saw things like “If God is for us, who can can be against us?”, that Christ is seated next to the Father interceding for us, and it also tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. This is both sides of God’s grace in action. By His grace He saved us and by His grace He keeps us in the palm of His hand.

Paul wanted the Ephesians and us to remember God’s grace.

5. Paul reminds us of our new purpose

Verse 10 - For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

In Ephesians 2:10 it tells us two great truths. You are God’s masterpiece. God didn’t just slap you together quickly. You are His masterpiece. Like the world considers the Statue of David and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a masterpiece, God considers you a masterpiece that He knit together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 119:13). You are a masterpiece!

The second great truth is that God made you with a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says God made you a masterpiece, He created you anew in Christ Jesus, and He has a wonderful purpose He planned for you long ago.
 
Imagine with me for a moment, God having you on His mind before the foundation of the world. You are not here by chance. You are here with a good purpose to make an amazing difference in this world. Each one of us here is called, gifted and sent out to make a difference. We do this by our prayers, our encouragement of others, by living faithfully to God and doing what we can do today. Church I want to say to you that you are good, and your purpose is good. Because both you and your purpose were created by God. We are God’s masterpieces for God’s master works.

In chapter 1 of Ephesians Paul talks about God choosing us before the foundation of the world. In chapter 2 it says God chose us before the foundation of the world for good works. We are chosen for salvation and chosen for good works.

Paul wanted to remind us of our new purposes today.

Closing summary

Today we looked at Ephesians 2:1-10. We looked at five things the Apostle Paul wanted them and us to remember. They were…

1. Paul reminds us of our old way of life
2. Paul reminds us of God’s intervention
3. Paul reminds us of our new seating in Christ
4. Paul reminds us of God’s grace
5. Paul reminds us of our new purpose

Amen

Let us pray.


 

By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org

 

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