Summary: God is calling us to leave the B.C. life and live the A.D. life. Life without God is no life at all! His plan for us is to come alive in Christ Jesus and get close to Him.
Living the A.D. Life
Intro: In Eph. 1 we talked about the benefits of being in Christ. Today we will see that this theme continues through chapter 2 as well. We weren’t always in Christ. In fact, the only way a person can be in Christ is to call on Him in faith, believing that His love and His sacrifice were enough to take care of our sin problem and to bring us close to God. Paul contrasts the B.C. (Before Christ) life with the gift of life that God gives in the first 10 verses of this chapter. In doing so he makes it very clear that we can do nothing to earn God’s forgiveness or grace. It is all God’s work. Our work comes out of a loving relationship with Him.
-In case you are wondering about the title of the message, A.D. stands for the Latin words Anno Domini, meaning in the year of our Lord. In the Julian and Gregorian calendars it refers to the current age, which began with the birth of Jesus. For our purposes today I’d like to use it to refer to the new life we have in Christ. He is alive in us and is a present reality in our lives, if indeed we have received Him as our Forgiver and Leader. The main idea I’d like to focus on today is simple: God is calling us to leave the B.C. life and live the A.D. life. Life without God is no life at all! His plan for us is to come alive in Christ Jesus and get close to Him. Let’s look at some dynamics that will help us better understand and enter into the grace-filled life God has for us.
I. Dead-End B.C. Living “We were dead…” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
A. Follows the ways of this world (2)
B. Marked by disobedience (2)
C. Included all of us (3)
D. Marked by self-gratification (3)
E. Leads to judgment (3)
II. Love’s Intervention “…but God…” (Ephesians 2:4)
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
A. God loves us greatly!
B. God is rich in mercy
III. Grace-Filled A.D. Living “…made us alive…” (Ephesians 2:5-6)
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-- it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
A. God made us alive with Christ (5)
B. God alone did this by His grace (5)
C. God raised us up with Christ (6)
IV. Seated with God (…and seated us with Him in Christ.) (6-7)
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
A. We have been seated with God in heavenly realms- positional
B. We are seated in Christ- positional (Being in Christ is what gives us the best seat in the house – a place to sit near God, since Jesus Himself is seated at the Father’s right hand. Being seated indicates that the work is done. There is nothing we can add to what Jesus did to bring us into Himself and into right relationship with the Father. We were not saved by what we did or what we do! It is God’s gift to us who believe! So where do works come in? Where do obedience and service fit in? Let’s look at that in our final point.)
V. Changed for Good (We’ve been created in Christ Jesus to do good works….) (8-10)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
-God’s gift to us is what changed us. We could not and did not change ourselves. God created us as new people in Christ Jesus, people who are designed to do good works. Notice that these good works flow out of the change that God makes in us. Our good works do not produce the change, they simply reveal that there has been a change. We’ve changed from B.C. existing to A.D. living!