Summary: We are saved by grace, called into service by grace, and called to a grace filled life.
The Grace of God. Eph. 1:1-8
INTRO.: Define grace as seen in the Scriptures: "A spiritual gift or attainment. Something received freely from God, Divine favor or good will." Grace is something we all need but none of us deserves it. God’s grace pours out of His heart of overflowing love for us.
I. We are saved because of God’s grace: Eph. 1:6-8 & 2:5-8
A. The testimony of Saul of Tarsus: I Tim. 1:13-16
1. Saul had nothing at all to commend him to God except zeal, and that was misguided.
2. His was a name that would hardly appear on anyone’s "prospect list." An unlikely candidate for Christianity. A violent persecutor.
3. Grace was poured out upon him abundantly. Nothing less could save his soul. V. 14.
B. God wants to be able to Brag about us someday: Eph. 1:6, 2:7
1. We love to brag about our children. Every parent and grandparent does.
2. God bragged about Job. "Have you considered my servant Job. . .?"
3. Imagine a scenario: God is bragging to the angels about all He has been able to do in saving and using the troublemaker from Tarsus.
4. What can He brag about in your life? "I saved him from addiction?" I saved him from the gutter?" "A Church that was leading him into falsehood?" "Spiritual pride and reliance on works?" We are all saved from something.
C. If God wants to brag about us, perhaps we ought to brag a little abt what God has done for us:
1. We call it praise. Praise is giving God credit for what He has done.
2. The world seeks to be self- sufficient & self-assertive. Let the Christian be God-assertive.
3. Illustration: One old lady said, "I only have two teeth left, but thank God, they meet." We can all thank God for something.
II. We are called by His grace into His service: Eph. 3:7-8 & 4:7
A. Illustration: My personal testimony:
1. Not raised in a Christian home, having many health problems, as a teenager, I felt God wouldn’t want me in His service. Then I read II Cor. 12:9 and I knew God had guided me to that passage.
2. If only the brightest, most talented and knowledgeable are called in to the ministry, where is the grace of God working?
3. The only important qualification is commitment. God can provide anything else you may need if He calls you into His ministry.
B. We don’t deserve a part in God’s work any more than we deserve our salvation.
1. Paul recognized this in his own life. "I am less than the least of all God’s people."
2. Paul’s ministry was "the gift of His grace, the working of His pows."
3. We have each been given a ministry. It is the "Gift of God’s grace." Eph. 4:7.
C. The significance of this goes far beyond what most of us realize: Eph. 3:7- 11
1. The riches of Christ are unsearchable: i.e. so great as to be beyond human knowledge.
2. The message we have comes from none less than the Almighty Creator.
3. It involves the wisdom of God & rulers and authorities in heavenly realms.
4. God’s purposes are eternal.
5. The proclamation of God’s Good News is the most important task in the universe. This is the ministry to which, by God’s grace, we are called as members of Christ’s body. A glorious honor and awesome responsibility!
III. We are called to live grace filled lives. Eph. 4:17
A. This means a life centered in the Spirit:
1. Grace also means personal beauty of character.
2. It means being worthy of our calling. Eph. 4:1, 2
3. Includes moral excellence (as contrasted to the attitudes of our day. 4:17
4. God cannot brag on those who live graceless lives. Eph. 5:3-6
B. A life dedicated to service: Eph. 4:7ff.
1. Each us has received a ministry by God’s grace.
2. The purpose is stability, maturity, and unity in the Body. So each of these gifts is given for the benefit of the Body of Christ.
3. Simply put, gracious living is living for others.
C. A life lived in submission: Eph. 5:21
1. Mutual submission of husbands and wives.
2. Submission of children to parents
3. Submission of employees to bosses (slaves to masters.)
4. All this amounts to is living for others rather than self. The essence of the Christian life.
CONCLUSION: God has saved every Christian by His grace. He has given each of us a ministry through His grace. These are free gifts. Then, He calls upon us to live lives characterized by grace; to live graciously by living for others.
Illustration: There was a debate in Heaven about who was the greatest monument to God’s grace. Many sins were confessed. The discussion narrowed down to one man who had "committed every sin in the book." But, before the vote was taken, one more man asked to be heard. He had been born into a Christian family, raised in the Church, and became a Minister. In all this the grace of God had kept him and sustained him through many trials and toils. He won the vote.
The point: We are all monuments to God’s grace.