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Summary: Ephesians is the the Christian life in a nutshell. In this epistle is found every item necessary to live a vibrant and fulfilled Christian life.

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Live Out Loud - Our Salvation April 1, 2007

Ephesians 1:1-14

Intro: Did you know that a wasp was larger when it first comes out of the egg than at any time in its life. It continually shrinks in size until it dies. Some Christians are like a wasp. Sadly, some believers are larger for God at the point of salvation then at any time in their lives. This shouldn’t be. Salvation should be the starting point, not the end. Christians shouldn’t shrink in size, they should grow. It is God’s will that we experience a full and meaningful life. If there has ever been a time when God was more real and you were more passionate for Him than today, then something is wrong!

Trans: This AM I am looking forward to starting a new series in Ephesians entitled, Live out Loud. The one thing we all have in common is life. If you have a pulse and are inhaling and exhaling then you’re alive! But just b/c you’re breathing, it doesn’t mean your living. Sadly, millions of people fall into the category of ‘dead man walking.’ They are people who comb the earth day after day in a catatonic trance existing like zombies, but not really living.

Note: Did you know that ‘life’ was the reason Jesus stepped out of heaven and into humanity? More specifically, it was for your life. John 10 says, He came to give us eternal life in the future and abundant life today.

Trans: In this new series we’re going to look into the abundant life God desires for us to experience. To accomplish this feat, we need to gain a basic understanding of the faith. We need to break it down to a nutshell.

Insert: When I lived in Norway I took a sightseeing trip called ‘Norway in a Nutshell.’ The day began w/ a 90 min. scenic train ride from the coastal city of Bergen into the mountains. Next, we boarded a bus that drove us down to the head of Sognafjord where we boarded a ship that escorted us thru some of the most beautiful scenery on the earth – mountains springing up out glacier fed waters over 8,000 ft. In 1 day, I experienced Norway in a nutshell.

Note: In Ephesians, we discover every element necessary for experiencing and following God. Ephesians is Christianity in a nutshell. We discover the trinity, the purpose of the cross, and how be saved. We discover the call of living a moral life, of being a part of a church, of how to be a good boss or employee. We discover the union of marriage and how to love our spouse and raise our children. And we’re informed of the spiritual war that exists in the heavenlies and how we’re to engage the battle. Everything we need to know about life is found in this one little book. It’s Christianity in a nutshell.

Note: Ephesians is divided into (2) sections. The first (3) chapters give us our POSITION in Christ – who we are; the last (3) chapters tell us about our PRACTICE in Christ – what we should do. The first section tells us what we believe – our doctrine; the last section tells us how to behave – our duty.

Trans: To get started, Paul says we need to grasp one key idea. The key to life begins w/ a genuine, life changing relationship w/ the Giver of Life.

Trans: In Eph. 1, Paul offers a remarkable glimpse into the reality of salvation as he outlines God’s master plan of evangelism. In v. 3-14 (one Greek sentence) Paul sums up the past, present, and future aspects of salvation in relation to the revelation of the Godhead. We discover that salvation was planned by the Father, purchased by the Son and is being preserved by the Spirit.

I Salvation was PLANNED by the Father

Text: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Christ, in accordance w/ his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Trans: To say that the choice of God is one of the great mysteries of the Bible is an understatement. For generations, Bible scholars have argued whether man chooses God or if God chooses man. The answer is simple – Yes! The Bible, w/out reservation, explains that God is sovereign and provides salvation to those He calls to Himself and yet, it teaches that every man has a true choice to receive by faith the free gift of God.

Note: I’m not here this AM to debate the issue, but to explain that we each bear the responsibility of how we respond to God’s grace. It doesn’t matter how God is going to deal w/ the man in deep dark Africa, we need to be concerned w/ what He has revealed to us. As sinners, we’re separated from God b/c of sin – we stand condemned. But God, who is rich in mercy, offered His only Son to die in our place and pay in full our indebtedness. So how does it work.

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