Summary: A sermon concerning what we believe about salvation.
Series -- "Does It Matter What You Believe?"
Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, KJV
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Introduction: When was this letter written? Around 60 A.D. and some sources say that it was written around the same time as Paul's letter to the Colossians, since it's similar in style and purpose.
Where was it written? We believe possibly from the prison cell where Paul was being held in Rome.
To whom was it written? Ephesians is primarily written to Gentile (non-Jewish) followers of Christ--most likely the church in Ephesus. (Unlike some of Paul's other letters, it doesn't begin with individual greetings. For this reason, there is debate about whether it was specifically intended for the church in Ephesus, or if it was meant to be circulated more widely.)
Why was it written? Paul wrote this letter to encourage Gentile believers, and to make it clear that Jews and Gentiles have been brought together as part of one body in Christ. Paul is also concerned that his audience be made aware of the moral laws they may have been lax in following (or that they were unaware of).
What does it say? Ephesians is first and foremost an encouraging letter. Because of Christianity's strong roots in Jewish history and religion, it was natural for early Christians to wonder if Christ's gospel was limited to Jews, or if Jewish Christians held a special status because of their ethnic heritage. Paul clearly wants his Gentile brothers and sisters to know that in God's kingdom, they are first-class citizens alongside their Jewish brethren. To get this point across, he uses a number of phrases and metaphors that imply unity: the "body of Christ" as a description of God's kingdom on earth, and marriage as a mirror of Jesus' relationship with the church. Paul also reminds his audience that since they now belong to Christ, they must start living their lives differently. They need to distance themselves from immorality and strive for spiritual purity. It's in the context of this discussion that he uses the famous metaphor of the "armor of God."
Ephesians 2:11-13: Paul states that through Jesus, Gentiles are part of the body of Christ.
What can we learn from Ephesians? This letter would have been tremendously encouraging to the non-Jewish believers who received it--and its message that Christianity is not bound by ethnicity is important for readers today, no matter our nationality or ethnic heritage. Paul's letter to the Ephesians is filled with reminders that God's kingdom is open to all those who put their faith and trust in Him. BibleGatewayBlog
So that brings us to this great statement of truth concerning how everyone both Jew and Gentile must be saved.
Let's think about:
I. The Author of Salvation -- It was conceived by God
Our text reveals:
a. It's determination
Somewhere, (we don't know when) in eternity the Father determined that He would provide salvation for fallen man.
Mat 13:35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
Eph 1:4 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:
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
b. It's deliberation
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
c. It's demonstration
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
II. The Agent of Salvation -- It was achieved by the Savior
a. It was voluntary
Joh 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author (cause) of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;