Before an individual comes to Christ, Ephesians tells us that he or she is dead in trespasses and sins. His or her life has little or no meaning in light of eternity. When a person comes to Christ, the Word of God tells us that the Holy Spirit quickens or gives new life to that individual. That life is received by grace through faith alone apart from any works or deeds. Coming from spiritual death, the believer now not only has life but also has a purposeful life - a life that has the honor and glory of God as its object.
I. True Salvation is by the grace of God through faith and faith alone. (verses 8-9)
A. Trusting in our own efforts to be good will not get us to heaven. This was the religion of the Pharisees. Jesus described them this way: They trusted in themselves that they were righteous (Luke 18:9). Many people have this belief today. In talking about this with hundreds of people, I have found that the vast majority believes they will enter heaven on the basis of their good works. The Bible teaches however, "There is a way that seems right unto man. But the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
B. "Man does not come to God through works -- he comes to know God by faith through grace. You cannot work your way toward happiness and heaven, you cannot moralize your way, you cannot reform your way, and you cannot buy your way. It is a gift of God through Christ. A gift that must be received in order to possess."
C. John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
D. Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
E. Stanley Hauerwas in an interview said "Salvation isn’t what liberals or conservatives in this country think it is. It’s about getting my life straight. It’s not about ultimate significance. Salvation is about an adventure that was made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, through which I am made part of a community who will tell me who I am. You are not free to make up your life as a Christian. Your life is not like a gift; your life is a gift. That is a very important grammatical point. Until you learn to receive your life gift, you are lost. And people are lost." The Door (May/June 1993). Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 6.
II. True Salvation results in changed purposeful lives. (verse 10)
A. "You are not free to make up your life as a Christian. Your life is not like a gift; your life is a gift."
B. We are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared has prepared for us to do.
C. It is important to understand God has ordained us to walk in good works. Doing good works is not an option for the believer; it is his very nature as a believer.
D. God has called each personally committed follower to a place of service in the body of Christ.
E. Ephesians 4:4-12 "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"
F. The maturing and equipping of the body of Christ is that the body might perform the work of the ministry to the building up of the members of the body and the evangelism of the lost.
G. We are not here for our own benefit. We are here for the benefit of others – those already here and those who are yet to be here. The church does not exist for its own benefit. It exists for the purpose of helping people find Christ, know Him intimately, grow in grace, exercise their spiritual gifts, use their talents, share their faith, demonstrate their love, and honor God with their entire lives.
H. No one individual can do the work himself. It takes the entire body working together to accomplish the work Christ has entrusted us with.
I. Ephesians 4:16 (Darby) "He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint. As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."
J. As a follower of Christ and part of His body, you are called to commit yourself to certain lifestyle guiding principles, not out of a spirit of legalism, but rather out of a spirit of holiness. You are called to commit to conduct yourself in a manner that reflects your newness in Christ and does not mar the reputation of the body.
1. I Corinthians 6:20 "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s."
2. I Peter 2:12 "Having your conversation (lifestyle) honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
3. II Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
K. As a follower of Christ and part of His body, you are called to commit to serve Christ in whatever capacity He chooses.
1. Psalms 84:10 "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
2. TEACH US, LORD, TO SERVE YOU AS YOU DESERVE,
TO GIVE AND NOT TO COUNT THE COST,
TO FIGHT AND NOT TO HEED THE WOUNDS,
TO TOIL AND NOT TO SEEK FOR REST,
TO LABOR AND NOT TO ASK FOR ANY REWARD
SAVE THAT OF KNOWING THAT WE DO YOUR WILL.
-- IGNATIUS LOYOLA. LEADERSHIP, VOL. 12, NO. 2.
3. Psalms 2:11 "Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling."
4. A church member waiting to be asked to serve in his own church is just like the member of a family waiting to be invited to pull weeds in front of the house where he lives. James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 87.
5. Hebrews 12:28 "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:"
6. CCM artist Phil Keaggy - "If you’re honest, you know your calling--to serve God--before the lights are turned on and after they’ve burned out." -- Christian Reader, Vol. 34.
7. I Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
III. True Salvation results in all glory going to God.
A. Ephesians 1:4-6 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
B. I Peter 4:11 "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
C. The mission statement of Chapel Hill Bible Church, Chapel Hill, North Carolina sums up the work of the church in these words: "We are to glorify God by responding to the Lord Jesus Christ through EXALTING him as Creator, Savior, and Lord, EXEMPLIFYING him and the values of his kingdom, EDIFYING his church, EVANGELIZING his world, ENCOMPASSING the past, ENRICHING the culture."
D. Philippians 1:20-21 "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."