This morning, we are to worship God with songs, prayer, His Word, our offerings, and with our fellowship. For Christians, to be in church on a Sunday morning is the thing to do; But, what about later today or tomorrow? How will we really live? We live our lives without really asking that question, don’t we? Yes we do some planning and we need to plan our lives, but many of us live our days without making a decision how we are going to live!
I believe this is the challenge for us who are saints of God, from Ephesians 2. Everyday, we should make a decision on how we are really going to live. There are two forces at work against each other in a Christian life.
Ephesians 2, which is the Word of God, tells us what Christians were like before believing in Christ, who Christians are now, and how they became that way.
Please open your Bibles to Ephesians 2. As Peg Hamby comes forward to read for us this morning, let us pray our commitment to God’s Word……..
What were Believers like before Christ?
v1: were dead in transgressions and sins
Non-believers of Christ are dead people walking! You know, this is why many non-Christians like Halloween, the celebration of death. How do you treat Halloween? Or are you tricked by the devil?
v2: Before accepting Christ, non-believers followed the ways of this world and the devil
v3a: gratified the cravings of our sinful nature, following its desires and thoughts
v3b: by nature objects of wrath
v12a: separate from Christ
v12b: without hope and without God
You see, non-believers are enemies of God! And before you became a Christian, you were an enemy of God.
Let us note; those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord are still the way they are as described before Christ, enemies of God! If your relative, neighbor, or friend is not a believer of Jesus Christ, they are still dead in transgressions and sins, they are still following the ways of this world and the devil, they are still gratifying the cravings of their sinful nature, they are still by nature objects of wrath, they are separated from Christ, they are without hope and without God! They are enemies of God. They may think they are not enemies of God but they are fooling themselves. If someone tells you that they are not enemies of God then ask them to believe in Jesus Christ! How can one be a friend of God when they refuse to believe in the Son of God?
Let’s pause for a moment to pray. If you are a Christian, give thanks to God. If you are not a Believer of Christ, will you pray to Christ and accept Him as your only Savior and God? And finally, let us pray for our relatives and friends who are not Christians that they would seek Jesus Christ.
And so, there are only two types of people in the world at any point in time, those who are separated from God and are living the way of the world and the other people are Christians. What makes a Christian different from the other type of people in the world? According to Ephesians 2, who are Christians?
v5: not dead but alive with Christ
Are you seeing yourself alive with Christ? In other words, is Christ really part of your life? If Christ is not really part of your life, I encourage you to really think about your belief in Christ; because maybe, you are still dead in your sins.
And according to v6: Christians are raised up with Christ and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms!
v13: brought near to God through the blood of Christ.
v18: have access to the Father by one Spirit.
v19: fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household
v22: being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit
Now, it is important for all of us to know How Christians became who they are?
Look again at v4-5………..
God is loving, merciful, and gracious!
Just taking a quick look at the original Greek words for love, mercy, and grace, gives us the wonders of God!
Agape is the Greek word for love; meaning a self-sacrificial love! God is agape love who is always thinking the best for you!
Eleos is the Greek word for mercy; meaning compassion to one in need or helpless distress, or in debt and without claim to favorable treatment! God is compassionate to you!
Charis is the Greek word for grace; meaning undeserved favor! God has given us favor without any work from us.
Christians become who they are because this is how God is; a loving, merciful, gracious God!
Are you still looking for love, mercy, and grace?
God has already given them in Christ!
Do you need love? Go to Jesus Christ!
Do you need mercy? Go to Jesus Christ!
Do you grace? Go to Jesus Christ!
Now, what else can we note how Christians became who they are? Ephesians 2:6 states God raised up Christians!
A Christian may be living hardships here on earth, but in the spiritual world and in God’s eyes, Christians are reigning with Jesus Christ! Christians are in a heavenly position with Jesus Christ not because they worked for it but because God simply put them there!
Ephesians 2:8-10, read it with me…………….
Do you truly believe that you can only be saved from your sins by God’s gift of Jesus Christ? If you do not believe this, you are still an enemy of God! If you think you are going to heaven because of the good things you have done, you are actually still an enemy of God!
Just a little note about salvation by grace versus works: It is clear from God’s Word that people can not work their way to be right with God. To be right with God, to be forgiven of sins, to be able to go to heaven, is a gift from God, not earned!
However a gift is no good if you don’t receive it and experience it! God’s gift of Jesus Christ has to be received and experienced! You know you can receive a gift and not even know what you have! How many of you have gifts from last Christmas that are still in the box?
Here’s something worse: you receive a gift and you assume what you have; like the guy who received a gift in a long box that said “for a rainy day”; so he assumed all that time that it was an umbrella; he never opened the gift until it was really pouring out; so he went outside, he was starting to get wet but he assumed his new umbrella was going to save him; and when he finally opened the box, he found a rain gauge!
Instead of being saved from the rain, he found out how much rain was coming down on him!
Some people are like this; they assume they are saved from their sins, but because they never really experienced what they thought they had, they really aren’t saved!
Real Christians live out their salvation! Living out your salvation is works which results when we make Jesus Christ real in our lives! Don’t wait till it’s raining outside to find out that you don’t have an umbrella!
Now, look again very carefully at v14-16……….
Jesus Christ is the only One who can bring peace between us sinners and the Holy God! If you believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for you, the hostility of God on you as a sinner has been put to death on the cross!! Jesus said “It is finished!” The hostility of God is killed on the cross for those who believe in Jesus Christ!
Are you at peace with God?
If you do not have this peace with God, today is the day to believe in the Prince of Peace, the Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. One who knows by faith that they have peace with God is a mark of a Christian!
Ephesians 2 ends with a calling.
If you are a Christian, you are called to be a temple for God. How are you going to respond?
2 important things to remember:
v10: Christians are created in Christ to do good works.
v13: Christians are brought near to God!
How are we Christians going to respond to God?
Everyday, we should make a decision on how we are really going to live. Am I going to live as God made me or am I going to live the way I used to be?
Everyday as Christians, let us decide to:
• not live the way we used to live!
• stay near God (picture Jesus beside you!)
• do good works in the power of the Holy Spirit!
What is God telling you today?
Take a moment to pray right now about these things and follow the ways of Jesus Christ.