Sermon Notes - Sunday, Jan 23rd

God’s Handiwork

Ephesians 2:1–10

Passage Summary:  This passage contrasts the horrible plight of believers before their experience of Christ with their new life in Christ now. This experience can only be described as passing from death to life by virtue of their participation with Christ in his resurrection and exaltation. This salvation experience is a gift from God and enables them to live the lives God has called them to live.  – Clinton Arnold

Ephesians 2:1–10 (NIV)

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

Wisdom is the skill of life is choosing between two valid options.

Proverbs 26:4 (NIV) 4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. VS Proverbs 26:5 (NIV) 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

 

You were dead in your transgressions and sins… As such, we deserve justice, condemnation, and hell. But in Christ, we’re saved from our old nature, which is dethroned from the center of our lives, and given a new nature that desires love for Jesus, love for others, love for the truth, and love for holiness. In Ephesians 2:1–10, Paul contrasts our old nature with our new nature in this way:

OLD NATURE

NEW NATURE

Separated from Christ

United to Christ

Dead

Alive

Disobedient

Obedient

Ruled by spiritual evil

Sharing in Jesus’ rule over spiritual evil

Objects of God’s wrath

Objects of God’s affection

Brings vague uncertainty about sin

Brings specific awareness of a sin

Walking in sin

Walking in good works

Destined for hell

Seated with Christ in heaven

If you’re having a hard time believing your new identity in Christ, it may be beneficial to take this list drawn from Paul’s letter and tape it to your mirror to remind yourself in the morning that you’re saved from sin and death, worldly living, Satan, and your old nature. You’re a new creation in Christ, with a new identity. – Mark Driscoll

The main thing Paul wants to stress about all this is the sheer, almost unbelievable, magnificent kindness of God. In four short verses he says this in several different ways. God is rich in mercy; he loved us with a great love; his sheer grace has saved us; his grace is rich beyond all telling; he has lavished kindness upon us. Whenever anyone says, or implies, that God is after all a bit stingy, or mean, or small-minded, look at these verses and think again. – N.T. Wright

 “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Tim Keller

 

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