Summary: Made Alive in Christ. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1-10.
Grace. A word used in a variety of ways.
• It is a word that has been used as an alternative term for prayer.
• e.g. “Would you say grace?”
• It has been used to describe the way a person moves.
• e.g. “Did you see how she danced? She has so much grace in her steps”.
• It has also been used by many parents to name their daughters.
• e.g. All of probably know someone who is called Grace.
When talking about God’s Grace we mean something completely different to those descriptions:
Quote: Church Pastor and author A. W. Tozer said:
“Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving.”
Quote: The late Reformed scholar Louis Berkhof is more to the point when he says:
“Grace is “the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man, effected through the agency of the Holy Spirit”.
• I guess the key word in what both these great minds have said is this,
• “Unmerited” – grace, is a quality that is completely undeserved;
• Therefore it leads to the obvious conclusion;
• That grace is in essence a free gift given to us by God through Jesus Christ.
• Someone has said,
• “Grace is everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything.”
• I have never really gotten into computer games;
• Partly because if I enjoyed them then I know I would get addicted to them.
• But both Kathy and Arlo have a number of computer games.
• The great thing with computer games is this.
• No matter how bad you are!
• No matter how many times you fail in trying to complete a task!
• No matter how many times you might lose your life in the game.
• The greatest thing about computer games is that the game always restores you.
• No matter what happens, you can always start all over again.
• The game always puts you back together again;
• And places you on the starting line ready to try once again.
• To me that is a great picture of God’s grace.
• God always restores us – he puts us back together again;
• And places us on the starting line ready to try once again.
• “God’s grace is everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything.”
• That chapter 2 follows on from chapter 1.
• Although that is an obvious statement –
• I want to point out that there is a correlation of thought between chapter 1 and chapter 2.
Note: The correlation:
• Ephesians 1 gives us the past, present and future of God's great plan of salvation.
• Ephesians 2 gives us the past present and future of the people whom God saves.
• Ephesians 1 gives us God's perspective.
• Ephesians 2 gives us our perspective.
• Ephesians 1 starts with God's election prior to the creation.
• Ephesians 2 starts with our lost condition prior to salvation.
• Ephesians 1 ends with all things in subjection to Christ.
• Ephesians 2 ends with the church being built up into a dwelling of God.
Now in chapter 2,
• Paul is going to focus upon God's plan of salvation from OUR perspective.
• To do this, he begins by going back to look at a time when we were lost.
• We were outside of Christ.
• ill: Pilgrims Progress ‘Christian’s’ original name was ‘Graceless’.
Now I ought to give you a warning:
• The picture painted in chapter 2 of unconverted human beings is not a pretty one.
• But it is honest and it is true!
• I guess Paul paints this uncomfortable picture for us;
• Because you can never fully appreciate the salvation that God has provided;
• Until you see the hopeless condition out of which you were delivered.
• If you ever forget where you WERE,
• Then you will not be able to appreciate where you ARE.
• In verses 1-3 the apostle Paul describes the way we were;
• And there are four aspects to this description.
(1). We were DEAD:
• Verse 1:
• “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins”.
• This is speaking of spiritual death.
• Notice that death does not indicate inactivity, but separation.
• You may have been very active in your spiritual death - most unbelievers are.
• But you were spiritually dead.
• In other words there was nothing in you that was connected to God.
• Too many times we think of unbelievers as being spiritually sick.
• Give them a "spiritual pill" and they'll get better.
• But the Biblical picture of mankind's condition is much worse than that.