Ephesians 2:7-9 -Trophies of Grace
Thomas S. Myers
TROPHIES OF GRACE
FIRST -- THE PURPOSE OF SALVATION.
Why would God want to save a bunch of filthy sinners? We were dead in trespasses and sins. We walked according to the course of this world. We walked according to the prince of the power of the air. We have fulfilled the desires of the flesh and mind. And yet God saved us. Why? Why would God want to be kind to us? We don't deserve it. Why? Ephesians 2:7 tells us:
That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (KJV)
We were forgiven primarily so that God could display his infinite grace. Notice the word "SHOW." The Greek word means to expose to the eyes, to give evidence or proof of a thing.
Somewhere in the ages to come, God will point to you and show the worlds to come His infinite grace. We are like walking trophies displaying the grace of God.
Maybe someday you will be walking in heaven and all of a sudden you will see someone in heaven that you didn't expect to be there. So you will approach God and say, "How could they possible be in heaven?" And God will say, "They are an example of the "EXCEEDING RICHES OF MY GRACE."
And someday, someone else will be in heaven and suddenly they will see you. And they will ask God, "How cold they possible up here in heaven?" God will point towards you and say, They are an example of the "EXCEEDING RICHES OF MY GRACE."
The Greek word for exceeding means to "go beyond, to surpass, to out do."
Notice what verse 7 says, how the grace of God is described. The KJV says, "the exceeding riches of his grace."
The NASV translates it: "the surpassing riches of His grace."
The NIV translates it: "the incomparable riches of his grace."
Think with me how God has already displayed His grace. By grace, He chose us before He created the stars. He wrote our names upon His heart before he laid the foundations of the earth. He called us before he created the seas. He brought forth His best robe and put it on us. He adopted us into His family and calls us His children.
I believe that when Paul wrote verse 7 about he could not express all that was in his heart. I don't think we can express all that there is in the grace of God.
4 WAYS THAT GOD CAN DISPLAY HIS
GRACE THROUGH YOU
1ST -- GOD WILL POINT TO YOU AND SHOW HIS GRACE IS BEYOND ALL LIMITS.
There is a saying that says, "A man is not rich when he can count all his money." You see a man who is really wealthy has so much money he can not count it.
When a person become immensely wealthy, he is richer than he needs to be, and has not only enough money, but he has money that he can spare. So it is with the grace of God. God has as much grace as you want, and he has a great deal more that that.
God has as much grace as the whole universe will require, but he has vastly more. God over flows with grace. All the demands upon the grace of God can never impoverish Him or even diminish his store house of grace.
When Velva I lived in a small town called Emmet, Idaho. 4200 people lived there. There were a few people that were considered wealthy. They had a few thousand dollars. But when you go to a larger town like Spokane, there are a few people who not only have a few thousand dollars, they have a few million. But when you come to Seattle, you can ask about a man named Bill Gates. You could ask if he is a rich man. And someone will reply, "Is he rich? He has 18 billion dollars!"
But what are the billions of dollars when they are stacked next to the grace of God. God is overflowing with grace.
2ND -- GOD WILL POINT TO YOU ILLUSTRATING THAT HIS GRACE IS ABOVE ALL UNDERSTANDING.
If we had all the brilliance of men and of angels, we could not declare all the riches of God's grace. If all the great orators that ever lived made the grace of God their only theme, we still could not exhaust the magnificence of God's grace.
If we knew the language of angels we could not declare the grace of God.
3RD -- GOD WILL POINT TO YOU SHOWING
THAT HIS GRACE TOWERS OVER OUR SINS.
Some people think that their sin is to high for the grace of God forgive it. What a foolish thought. You see, you can only sin as a created being. But God can forgive as God. You sin as a finite creature, but God forgives as an infinite Creator.
20 where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (KJV)
The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, washes away all sin. Not a trace of your sin remains.
4TH -- GOD WILL POINT TO YOU SHOWING THAT HIS GRACE IS ABOVE ALL MEASURES.
There are 4 ways to measure an object. You can measure its height, width, length and dept. And yet the grace of God is so great that in each of these measures it baffles description.
Let's measurer the height of God's grace: It is higher than our sin. It is higher than our thoughts or imaginations. It height rises to the throne of God.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (KJV)
5 Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. (KJV)
Let's measurer the length of God's grace. It depth is deeper than the depth of the seas. Out of the depth of God's grace come the choices pearls of grace.
Let's measurer the width of God's grace. As for the width of God's grace, David said,
AS FAR AS THE EST IS FROM THE WEST, SO FAR HATH HE REMOVED OR TRANSGRESSIONS FROM US."
Let's measure the length of God's grace. Can anybody tell me the length of God's grace? As for the length of God grace, is from everlasting to everlasting.
I was born 48 years ago. So my sins began 48 years ago. But God's grace, when did it begin? God's grace has always been with Him. God's grace has no beginning and it has no end.
There is a beginning to mans sin, but there is no beginning to God's grace. God's grace is beyond all calculation.
Whatever distance you may have wandered away from God, however black your sin may be, God's grace is greater. Do not dishonor God by measuring your sin beyond the grace of God.
A little child may take a cup and dip it into the ocean. And the ocean will easily fill that cup. Your life is like a cup. Your sin overflows your life just like the ocean over flowed that cup. But the ocean of God's grace far exceeds your sins.
Long ago, a poor woman from the slums of Chicago was invited to go with a group of people for a holiday at the ocean. She had never seen the ocean before, and when she saw it, she burst into tears. Those around her thought it was strange that she should cry. "Why in the world are you crying?" they asked. Pointing to the ocean she answered, "This is the only thing I have ever seen that there was more than enough of." God has oceans of grace. There is always enough of it.
I do not speak lightly of sin. Sin is an exceeding and great and grievous to God. But I will say again, that as compared with the infinite grace of God, our sin is but a shadow to the sun or as a grain of sand to the ocean of God's grace. The Purpose of Salvation.
SECOND -- THE GRACE OF SALVATION.
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. (KJV)
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that salvation comes through the avenue of grace. That is, there is no good work that we can do that takes us to heaven. Let me illustrate to you.
A. THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS HEAVEN'S DOOR
IS THE KEY OF FAITH, NOT WORKS.
A man came very late to a revival meeting and found the workmen taking down the revival tent. Up set at mission the evangelist, he decided to ask one of the workers what he could do to be save. The worker, who was a Christian replied, "You can't do anything. It's too late." Horrified, the man said, "What do you mean? How can it can it be too late?" The worker said, "The work has already been accomplished by Jesus Christ. There is nothing you need to do but believe it."
Every person lives by faith. When we go to the grocery store and buy a bag of chips we trust that it is not contaminated. We we drive across a bridge, we trust that is not going to fall. When we go to the bank and put our money in it, we trust that it will be safe. Life is a series of acts of faith. Nobody could live a day without exercising faith.
Church membership, baptism, confirmation, giving to charity and being a good neighbor have no power to bring you to salvation. Not does taking Communion, keeping the 10 commandments, or living by the Sermon on the Mount. The only thing a person can do what will have any part in salvation is to exercise faith in what Jesus Christ has done.
When we put our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we act by faith, but even the faith is supplied by God's grace.
For example, when a passes out and stops breathing, there is nothing they can do to revive themselves. It that person ever breathes again, it will be because someone else starts them breathing. In the same way, when a person is spiritually dead, they can not make a decision to trust Jesus Christ unless god first breathes into them the breath of spiritual life.
Salvation therefore as it says in Ephesians 2:8-9, is "NOT OF WORKS." Human works has nothing to do with salvation.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (KJV)
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (KJV)
As a result Ephesians 2:8-9 says "there shall be no boasting in heaven."
All boasting is eliminated in salvation.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. (KJV)
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (KJV)
1 Corinthians 1:31
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (KJV)
As Copernicus, the great astronomer, was dying, a copy of his great book, The Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies, was placed in his hands. But it was not his brilliant work that was on his mind. Instead he directed that the following epitaph be placed on his grave at Frauenburg: "O Lord, the faith thou didst give to St. Paul, I cannot ask; the mercy thou didst show to St. Peter, I dare not ask; but Lord, the grace thou didst show unto the dying robber, that, Lord, show to me." There is no one who cannot come to God under those terms.
There was a law in Tokyo about 1900 that no foreigner could take up residence there unless he had a "substitute." There were natives who hired themselves out for this purpose. If the foreigner broke any law, the substitute suffered the penalty for it, even if the penalty were death. In a similar way, our standing before God and his law is only obtainable through the substitutionary work of his Son. And this substitutionary work is obtained without any fee -- only faith in him. From James M. Gray sermon, "Christ Our Sin Bearer;"
Someone says, "Oh, I wish I could see the grace of God. Have you ever stopped to examine weeds? They serve as a reminder of judgment, a result of the curse on the ground after the fall of Adam. But if you look closely, you can see signs of grace even in weeds. Some weeds have gorgeous flowers: tiny blue bells, ruffled purple blooms, and even magnificent displays of gold. If we look closely, we can see beautiful signs of God's grace.
A man wanted to purchase a gem for his wife. He visited a jeweler who knew just how to display his merchandise. He stopped under a bright light, slid a piece of black velvet onto the glass counter, took the gems from the case and laid them one by one on the velvet. Without that black backdrop, he couldn't have seen the cut, the hues, or the beauty of each gem. "I learned something from his search for that jewel: we cannot appreciate the beauty and the luster and the brilliance of the gospel of Christ, with all of its hope and grace, if we've never seen the backdrop of sin as it really is."