Summary: While it is true that we are saved by faith alone and not by works; it is true that God has saved us for the purpose of perform acceptable works or service to God. Ephesians reveals the mandate, the method, and the means of serving the Lord.
Disclaimer: Source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible.
Introduction: The very minute that a person attempts to add works or self effort in any form to the salvation equation the whole is corrupted and is unacceptable to God. While it is true that we are saved by faith alone and not by works; it is true that God has saved us for the purpose of perform acceptable works or service to God. Ephesians reveals the mandate, the method, and the means of serving the Lord.
I. The Mandate – Go, Work, Witness, Win
A. Mandate – literally "to give into one’s hand", means commission or order. A mandate is that which is obligatory because commanded.
B. Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
C. Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
D. Service to Christ is not optional for the believer. Listen to what Paul tells the church at Corinth: "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:1 – 2), For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
E. You are a tool in the hands of God. He demands your service, not your rest. Yet, how fortunate you are that he lets you take part in his work. – Ulrich Zwingli, in "Zwingli: Father of the Swiss Reformation," Christian History, no. 4.
F. The Possessor of heaven and earth placed you here, not as a proprietor, but as a steward. – John Wesley, in The Use of Money
G. Some are more dedicated to serving their clubs than Christ, the scouts than the Savior, their jobs more than Jesus.
H. "Servant" in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master’s purchased property. Bought to serve his master’s needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave’s sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one’s Savior (1 Corinthians. 6:19-20). – J Packer
II. The Method – The local Church
A. Ephesians 4:4 - 12 (NKJV) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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 to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." (Now this, "He ascended" — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,