Summary: This is a practical and applicable presenation of Ephesians 2:8-10 assisting with the balance between faith, grace and works!
Title: “A Gracious Faith That Works”
Text: Ephesians 2:8-10
Finish Line: Each life can/will leave this message with a better understanding of how to apply God’s grace into our daily lives so that it will revolutionize the way that we live!
(How we are getting there?) TURN TO EPHESIANS 2:8-10
How are Paul’s words to the Ephesians here in these verses effective for me today? How was this letter to them, helpful for me?
Paul had lived there for about 2.5-3 years. Paul poured his life into them and was a great friend of theirs. We see in chapter 1 that they needed to know that it was OK to just live! God had transformed them (things that happened in the book of Acts) and they were kind of into this RUT of understanding God’s grace? Do we ever fall into a rut of understanding the grace of God? There could be some of us in here who may not have realized that you have forgotten the grace and love of our God and that nothing you can do is going to put you in better standing with him.
I. Readiness of Grace (v. 8)
A. “It is by grace you have been saved through faith.”
• Paul insists that it is by grace we are saved. We have not earned it, nor could we ever. It is a gift from God and all that we can do is accept it in the faith that it is true.
• It may seem so elementary, But we lose focus sometimes and begin to try to find ways to earn or merit God’s love. (sometimes we need a little reminder in our lives of who he is and who we are)
• There is absolutely nothing that a sinful, finite human could ever do to earn the approval of a sinless, infinite God- that is when we start to see grace more clearly.
• The Father loves us and is crazy about us” He wants to be our friend and extend to us love that we cannot truly grasp. This whole experience of God’s grace and love is His free gift to us!
• Talk about needing god’s grace, I read this story the other day that cracked me up:
A young minister, in the first days of his new church, was asked to conduct a funeral for a man who had just died. Standing before the open casket and consoling the widow, he said, "I know this must be a very hard thing, Mrs. Vernon. But we must remember that what we see here is the husk only, the shell . . . the nut has gone to heaven."
• This message of God’s grace and free salvation is what so many are looking for.
G.W. Knight captures so well the concept of grace when he said this: “When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award--yet receives such a gift anyway--that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.”
B. We have such a hard time with this whole idea of grace. (and why not?)
• To make your money, YOU EARN IT!
• To get your degree, YOU EARN IT!
• To get that girl to go out with you, YOU EARN IT! (Except for me, Tricia was a gift of God’s grace on my life, haha)
• To Get an A on a test, YOU EARN IT!
• To get others to like and respect you, most of the time, YOU EARN IT!
• Such a mentality is proper and normal in our society, but this mentality can contaminate our concept of salvation without us even realizing it!
• It is so hard for us humans to accept the way that God works sometimes.
C. Grace In The Lives of Others
• We wonder how God could bless this person or that person. We have all done it.
• We have all sat in a service where Brother John Doe gives or does this or that and we sit and wonder “How could God use him? Just look at how he acts.”
• When we operate this way, we confess that our walk with Christ is all about works. If we have to do certain things to get on God’s “good side,” then aren’t we all in trouble?? (I have been on God’s bad side many times when he used me)