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Ephesians 2:1-10 - The Gospel: From Death To Life By Grace

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:33
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Ephesians 2:1-10 is Paul's beautiful, honest, powerful explanation of The Gospel. The Gospel is nothing less than the grace of God bringing us from death to life. The big picture theme of Ephesians is the purpose of God being revealed as uniting all things in Christ, things in Heaven and on Earth to the praise of His glory. This Gospel, gloriously presented in this section, shows how God powerfully and lovingly brings us into this purpose, being united to Christ and united to each other.

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Ephesians 2:1-10 Sermon Outline Intro: Best thing ever preached to me ABC’s  A-to-Z Eph 1: 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making knownc to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Union with Christ is Union with God and Union with each other  the reversal of the fall, the reversal of sin, selfishness, death. Works itself out: 1. God’s sovereign, electing power and love – Paul’s praise – we are blessed in Christ with every Spiritual blessing – not because we were worthy – this was predestined before the foundation of the world – this is God’s glory that exists apart from us and will continue without us – this calls us into it. 2. Paul’s prayer: Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 3. the way God saves people – tonight’s passage – Reorientation, surrender to flames or missionary service, or give up addictions or be reconciled where forgiveness was once a joke of impossibility. 4. New mankind – the Church – reconciliation to god and each other from all courses and walks and cultures of life, all races, all backgrounds, all struggles – all in the same boat of hopelessness – disaster/flood unites people 5. Spiritual realms/dimension – God’s victory, the headline. 6. Workplace, Marriage, Parents/Children. 7. Mission in the world taking on the dark forces in all of the armor that the gospel gives us as Christ’s warrior identity is given to us to take to the world. Lead up  Paul’s piling up words: magnificence, dominion, power, authority, position of Christ over ALL!!!! Lord of everything – This and That, Earth and Heaven, Seen Unseen  how God saves us. Intro 2: David Foster Wallace  “Eternal Jest” (late 90’s novel). 1000 pages of the depths of Godless Worship. Symptoms of life apart from grace  Pride and Despair. Tennis player  magazine picture. first second, enjoyment/pride … every second after is worry/fear/despair of a time when his picture won’t be in there. Follows this character into the deeper levels of the psyche, sounding the psychological destination of life’s pursuits. Numb  Pain  burning building burn or jump. Autobiographical  author committed suicide less than a decade later at 46. He speaks of worship: “There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. . . . If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.” No escape from evil within/without. “The consequences of a fallen world and the consequences of our sin, tag-team to shoot Novocain deep into the soul. Depravity and sin numb us to all true spiritual sensation. The soul is dead. To finid any hope, God’s sovereign grace must reach into the darkness of a world of despair. It must be an electing, all-powerful, miraculous move on His part.  exiled sinners in Babylon, slaves in the Egypt of Hell with Satanic pharaoh with greater loads of bricks. God himself must enter  lives, story, rewrite it with Himself as the main character. A disjoint story. THIS IS GRACE!!! 1. Powers outside of us: (devil and world system, heavenlies – spiritual dimension) 1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— a. Following the course of this world b. Following the prince of the power of the air: Air is ubiquitous – it’s at your workplace, in your closet, vibrating through the air waves of radio, television, internet, social media, on the news. Air is everywhere, as is our enemy. You breathe in the possibility of demonic influence. We, in our modern culture of scientistic arrogant denialism, tend to minimize any thoughts of spiritual warfare, any thoughts of demonic, satanic influence over the world and over our own thoughts. Hell has been mightily at work in the Supreme Court, the Presidency, and the Congress. We no longer know what marriage is – humanity has known for thousands of years what marriage is (haven’t been very good at it, but at least understood definitions), no longer knows what manhood and womanhood are (again, haven’t been very good at it, but at least understood how definitions work), and can’t even protect the most innocent and vulnerable in our society, act as if it’s the most controversial topic ever to actually propose the non-murder of a human being because he or she is smaller than the rest of us. This is called following the prince of the power of the air. It’s wickedness, satanically induced wickedness, and society follows this, including US (apart from grace). c. The spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. The world thinks it has broken free and sets the new definitions of reality for itself, when the reality is that they are being pulled around by the snout by the powers, agents, and spirit of hell that is in the very air we breathe. It is a spirit of lies and illusion. 2. Us Too! The enemy within: 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  a. We were just like them, no finger pointing as if we were any better/different. I am a groupie of the devil until/unless I am made alive. b. We all once lived c. Passions of our flesh d. Desires of the body e. Desires of the mind f. By nature children of wrath g. Like the rest of mankind h. The demonic powers are the carrot danglers for us to follow because our desire goes for the carrot, the pipers that play the music for our desires to decide to dance. 3. BUT GOD!!! Best 2 words in all of scripture. This is the turning point, the plot twist, the resolution. It was all a set up for Paul to bring us to the amazingness of grace, that we might be at least somewhat close to being as amazed as we should be by God’s salvation. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, a. Rich in mercy: not just a little mercy for little stuff, but not enough for great evil. b. Because of the great love: not just a little love, not just enough love to love you as long as you’re pleasing him, (illustration of when wife is at her worst, that is when you have a chance to have greatest love) 4. How? Resurrection. Grace. 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, a. When we were dead! We didn’t believe and then be made alive as a result, no we were made alive and believed as a result. b. Look at this interjection (by grace you have been saved) – to show us what is meant by grace, what this grace did – it raised us from death to life – that is grace. 5. Why? 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  a. The amazing grace that has been given to us now will overflow into immeasurable riches in the end. Spirit is a deposit, a downpayment, a seal – like you’re going to get a trillion dollars, I’m going to give you $100K now as a downpayment and you’ll get it all in the end. Sermon Part 2 6. Restatement/Summary/Clarification 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  a. By grace  through faith: ??? b. Grammar: grace (fem), faith (fem), this (neut): near antecedent (makes sense because grace is obviously not your doing, so no need to point that out, so it could be faith. Or, it could be the whole salvation process. c. Gift of God: ??? d. Not works: ??? e. No one may boast: glory to God, reconciliation to each other. 7. Restatement/Summary/Clarification 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. a. Workmanship = poeima – work of art. b. Created in Christ Jesus for good works: c. Which God prepared beforehand: unique to us, only you can do these works, these glorifications of God, kindnesses, witnesses, d. Being precedes doing. Doing flows from being. Existentialism/Deconstructionism is the opposite – existence precedes essence – there is no nature only experience, we are made by our actions or by those of others, what we experience makes us who we are … there is no nature, no essential essence which we must acknowledge, discover, acknowledge, conform to, serve. We are who we become vs We become who we are. (You can see how this has played out in the modern LGBTQ ideology and identity politics, which constantly contradicts itself. LGB = you’re born that way, you can’t help who you love, this is your identity, no choice. T = it doesn’t matter how you were born, you can transcend that and become whoever you want, by your own will/choice.) e. Christians are canvas, clay, marble and the Artist is creating the You in His mind, the You that will reflect some part of His own Spirit/Being. This is accomplished by His big chisel – everything that happens in your life, difficulties, victories, defeats, gifts, people, opportunities, successes, failures, sermons, prayers, personal and family devotions, Church. Says something about what it means to be a Christian friend/spouse/Church member – we partner with God in His workmanship in other people’s lives. 8. Conclusion: The Gospel is what God has done to bring us into the story of Him uniting all things in heaven and on earth in Christ. The Gospel is why we’re a part of this thing – this thing is so much bigger than us – it is the glory of God that would take its place whether we were around or not, but because of his love for us, we are his special creation, his portion, his inheritance, his pride and joy – he took us out of the hellish fallen mess and recreated, reformed us, made us new. When you are converted, we sing happy birthday because that is a more significant birth than the day you were born in sin from your mothers womb. He knits your new heart and soul together, and knits his church together. This is not to take away your power for living, for working, for serving, for evangelizing – no it is to make you realize where your power came from. Like coming to a door. On the front of the door is painted the words of Jesus’ gracious and universal invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” When we walk through the door and look back at it from the inside, we read the comforting reassurance of his sovereign election: “In love he predestined us for adoption.” When we arrive in heaven, God will welcome us, and we can imagine him saying: “I am so glad to welcome you into my home at last – for I chose to save you for my Son before I made the world; I sent my Son to die for you on the cross; I arranged history to ensure your birth and steer your life; I brought someone to explain the gospel to you and opened your eyes to recognize Jesus as your Savior and Lord; I carried you when you were weak and held on to you when you tried to run away; and now, finally, I can welcome you into my home. It is so good to see you – I’ve loved you for such a very long time!” Who’s name is worshipped? Your name – Pride, Despair. Someone else’s name – they can’t bear that weight, it will crush them and disillusion you. What will be done with the pain that comes from this kind of death of hope? His name – Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, “I AM”, YHWH saves/is salvation, Immanuel – God with us. We pretend and/or perform. The Gospel frees us to worship and to love. Religion says, if I obey, God will love me. Gospel says, because God loves me, I can obey. Religion has good people & bad people. Gospel has only repentant and unrepentant people. Religion values a birth family. Gospel values a new birth. Religion depends on what I do. Gospel depends on what Jesus has done. Religion claims that sanctification justifies me. Gospel claims that justification enables sanctification. Religion has the goal to get from God. Gospel has the goal to get God. Religion sees hardships as punishment for sin. Gospel sees hardship as sanctified affliction. Religion is about me. Gospel is about Jesus. Religion believes appearing as a good person is the key. Gospel believes that being honest is the key. Religion has an uncertainty of standing before God. Gospel has certainty based upon Jesus’ work. Religion sees Jesus as the means. Gospel sees Jesus as the end. Religion ends in pride or despair. Gospel ends in humble joy. Life apart from grace is performing, pretending, never real. Numbness, Pain, Numbness, Pain. Pride, Despair. Death. Life of faith in Jesus’ grace and love and performance on our behalf, atoning work on the cross is hope. Love. Life, joy, and peace in the holy Spirit. Pain is purposeless  Pain is sanctifying. Questions for Discussion 1. In Eph 1:10 the great and mysterious purpose of God in history is revealed to us: "... making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." In the fullness of time, all things (heaven and earth, visible and invisible) will be united in Jesus Christ. Union with Christ accomplishes for us union with God and union with each other (a complete reversal of what was lost in the Fall). And, so in Ephesians 2, we see how this is accomplished. How does the grace described in 2:1-10 accomplish reconciliation and friendship with God and with each other? 2. In Ephesians 1:17ff, we read Paul's prayer for the church: "[that God] ... may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come." Paul is praying that we, the church, would be given greater ability to see and know God in our hearts. Connected to this is knowledge of "hope", "riches", "immeasurable power" as well as the power and position of God in Christ: "raised from the dead", "seated at his right hand", "far above all", "above every name", "in this age and the one to come". How does that then lead into how we are saved from slavery and death (2:1-3 evil without and within) to freedom and life (2:4ff)? 3. How does Paul's interrupting his own sentence in 2:5 with the "by grace" statement explain grace to us? “…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” 4. How does the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ free us from a life of performing and pretending, a life marked by the two great symptoms of life apart from grace – pride and despair? 5. How does the Gospel of God’s grace break our religious categories of “good people” and “bad people”? Ephesians 2 Sermon 9. Intro: The best thing that was ever preached to me – “You’re a dirty rotten stinking sinner. Jesus is the hero, not you. You thought the gospel was just for sinners…” The truth of the Gospel is not just the ABC’s but the A-Z. God’s purpose to unite all things in Christ! Union with Christ is Union with God and Union with each other. This works itself out in God’s sovereign, electing power and love, which begins as Paul’s praise to God for blessing us in Christ with every Spiritual blessing. It works itself out in the way Paul prays for the church to have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. It works itself out in the way that God saves people, which is where we are tonight, which is nothing short of the most astonishing and transforming truth the world has ever known – the kind of truth that reorients your life, that calls people to joyfully surrender their lives to the flames or to missionary service or to give up their addictions or to be reconciled to those who they thought they could never forgive. Later we see how this works itself out in the creation of a new mankind – the Church – where it all comes together, where we all come together – and in this, in the way that people are reconciled to God and to each other from all walks of life, all classes, all races, and genders – this is the trophy, the headline of God’s glorious wisdom and grace in the Spiritual realm – how he demonstrates his victory to the demons of hell itself. It works itself out in the workplace, in marriage, in parents and children, and finally in the mission of the church to carry this Gospel forward against the forces of Satan to a dark and dying world. It is a truly magnificent work. Leading up to this passage is Paul’s piling up words upon words of the magnificence, power, dominion, authority, and position of Christ over all things – the King, the Lord of everything – of this world, this universe, this visible creation and the invisible spiritual realms with all of the powers that we cannot see. That is the leadup to this section that describes to us how we are brought into this story, that we were dead but made alive in this One who has ascended to the highest place. 10. Intro 2: David Foster Wallace wrote an acclaimed novel called “Eternal Jest” – 1000 pages of exploration into the depths of worshipping all but God – 1000 pages of the two symptoms of life apart from grace – Pride and Despair. Prodigious tennis player, wants his picture in the magazine – the first second is enjoyment/pride, every second after is despair/worry/fear that their picture might one day no longer be in the magazine. This character goes into deeper levels of this cycle which ends in depression, first a numbness to joy or sadness and then a pain so deep that numbness seems like heaven and the only hope, like being at the top of a burning building where the only options are burn or jump. The author committed suicide by hanging at 46. We cannot escape the evil without and the evil within. “The consequences of a fallen world, and the consequences of our sin, tag-team to shoot Novocain deep into the soul. Depravity and sin numb us to all true spiritual sensation. The soul is dead.” To find any hope, God’s sovereign grace must reach into the darkness of a world of despair. God’s sovereign grace must find exiled sinners, slaves of the Satanic-Pharoah, with greater and greater loads of bricks to make. God himself must enter into our lives, enter into our story, and rewrite it with Himself as the new main character. “There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. . . . If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.” 11. Powers outside of us: (devil and world system, heavenlies – spiritual dimension) 1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— a. Following the course of this world b. Following the prince of the power of the air: Air is ubiquitous – it’s at your workplace, in your closet, vibrating through the air waves of radio, television, internet, social media, on the news. Air is everywhere, as is our enemy. You breathe in the possibility of demonic influence. We, in our modern culture of scientistic arrogant denialism, tend to minimize any thoughts of spiritual warfare, any thoughts of demonic, satanic influence over the world and over our own thoughts. Hell has been mightily at work in the Supreme Court, the Presidency, and the Congress. We no longer know what marriage is – humanity has known for thousands of years what marriage is (haven’t been very good at it, but at least understood definitions), no longer knows what manhood and womanhood are (again, haven’t been very good at it, but at least understood how definitions work), and can’t even protect the most innocent and vulnerable in our society, act as if it’s the most controversial topic ever to actually propose the non-murder of a human being because he or she is smaller than the rest of us. This is called following the prince of the power of the air. It’s wickedness, satanically induced wickedness, and society follows this, including US (apart from grace). c. The spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. The world thinks it has broken free and sets the new definitions of reality for itself, when the reality is that they are being pulled around by the snout by the powers, agents, and spirit of hell that is in the very air we breathe. It is a spirit of lies and illusion. 12. Us Too! The enemy within: 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  a. We were just like them, no finger pointing as if we were any better/different. I am a groupie of the devil until/unless I am made alive. b. We all once lived c. Passions of our flesh d. Desires of the body e. Desires of the mind f. By nature children of wrath g. Like the rest of mankind h. The demonic powers are the carrot danglers for us to follow because our desire goes for the carrot, the pipers that play the music for our desires to decide to dance. 13. BUT GOD!!! Best 2 words in all of scripture. This is the turning point, the plot twist, the resolution. It was all a set up for Paul to bring us to the amazingness of grace, that we might be at least somewhat close to being as amazed as we should be by God’s salvation. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, a. Rich in mercy b. Because of the great love 14. How? Resurrection. Grace. 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, a. When we were dead! We didn’t believe and then be made alive as a result, no we were made alive and believed as a result. b. Look at this interjection (by grace you have been saved) – to show us what is meant by grace, what this grace did – it raised us from death to life – that is grace. 15. Why? 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  a. The amazing grace that has been given to us now will overflow into immeasurable riches in the end. 16. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 17. Conclusion: The Gospel is what God has done to bring us into the story of Him uniting all things in heaven and on earth in Christ. The Gospel is why we’re a part of this thing – this thing is so much bigger than us – it is the glory of God that would take its place whether we were around or not, but because of his love for us, we are his special creation, his portion, his inheritance, his pride and joy – he took us out of the hellish fallen mess and recreated, reformed us, made us new. When you are converted, we sing happy birthday because that is a more significant birth than the day you were born in sin from your mothers womb. He knits your new heart and soul together, and knits his church together. This is not to take away your power for living, for working, for serving, for evangelizing – no it is to make you realize where your power came from. Like coming to a door. On the front of the door is painted the words of Jesus’ gracious and universal invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” When we walk through the door and look back at it from the inside, we read the comforting reassurance of his sovereign election: “In love he predestined us for adoption.” When we arrive in heaven, God will welcome us, and we can imagine him saying: “I am so glad to welcome you into my home at last – for I chose to save you for my Son before I made the world; I sent my Son to die for you on the cross; I arranged history to ensure your birth and steer your life; I brought someone to explain the gospel to you and opened your eyes to recognize Jesus as your Savior and Lord; I carried you when you were weak and held on to you when you tried to run away; and now, finally, I can welcome you into my home. It is so good to see you – I’ve loved you for such a very long time!” Who’s name is worshipped? Your name – Pride, Despair. Someone else’s name – they can’t bear that weight, it will crush them and disillusion you. What will be done with the pain that comes from this kind of death of hope? His name – Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, “I AM”, YHWH saves/is salvation, Immanuel – God with us. We pretend and/or perform. The Gospel frees us to worship and to love. Religion says, if I obey, God will love me. Gospel says, because God loves me, I can obey. Religion has good people & bad people. Gospel has only repentant and unrepentant people. Religion values a birth family. Gospel values a new birth. Religion depends on what I do. Gospel depends on what Jesus has done. Religion claims that sanctification justifies me. Gospel claims that justification enables sanctification. Religion has the goal to get from God. Gospel has the goal to get God. Religion sees hardships as punishment for sin. Gospel sees hardship as sanctified affliction. Religion is about me. Gospel is about Jesus. Religion believes appearing as a good person is the key. Gospel believes that being honest is the key. Religion has an uncertainty of standing before God. Gospel has certainty based upon Jesus’ work. Religion sees Jesus as the means. Gospel sees Jesus as the end. Religion ends in pride or despair. Gospel ends in humble joy.
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