Sunday, September 28, 2014 pm                    Ephesians Index


By Grace You Have Been Saved - 2
Ephesians 2:4-10

 Tonight, I want to veer of course a little from our usual schedule.  Last Sunday we began examining this text and did not complete the study.  So tonight, I would like to complete our study of this text considering that next month, the 3rd Sunday, will be our Gospel Meeting.   What I have reserved for this monthly time slot (personal evangelism), I will address next month (both 2nd and 4th Sunday nights).

Our text deals with the grace of God.  In our lesson last week we noted that vs. 1-3 identify our state of being dead in our trespasses and sins and destined to face the wrath of God.    On our own we are without hope.  But God, in His grace, gives us hope.  Vs. 4-7 describe the grace of God.   God is rich in mercy and love and kindness.  He made us alive together with Christ Jesus.  In discussing the grace of God we noted that it is God’s part in our salvation.  He has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves.   Tonight we want to notice our part.

 I.                     Saved by grace through faith (8-9)

a.       Summarizing what Paul has just said, he repeats, “For by grace you have been saved.”  Up to this point, Paul has NOT dealt with anything we do to obtain salvation.  He has described what God does – and that is summarized in the grace of God!

b.       But now Paul describes OUR part in salvation – faith!

                                                   i.      Faith means trusting God (not merely trusting IN God).  It is believing God (not merely believing IN God). 
Believing God means that you will obey Him (John 14:15, 1 John 5:1-3). 
John 3:36 says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”” (John 3:36)   The word for believe (πιστεύω, pisteuo) is verb form of the word faith in our text.  HOWEVER, the word disbelieve is the Greek word,
πειθέω, (apeitheo) which actually means “to disobey” or “unwillingness or refusal to comply with the damands of some authority” (L&N 36.23).  The word is occasionally translated “unbelieving” but always in a context that demonstrates rebellion (Heb. 11:31, Acts 19:9, 14:2)  Thus the KJV and NKJV do not give this meaning.  Other versions correctly translate it, “does not obey” which is a better translation.  PROPERLY translated, this text TIES belief to obedience, since Jesus gives contrasting condition.

                                                 ii.      And that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.  This is Paul’s point in emphasizing HOW we are saved.  You CANNOT earn your salvation!  No matter HOW much you do, you will NEVER deserve the gift God is offering.  In fact, it is described as A GIFT.   
That is why we read, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”” (Luke 17:10)

                                               iii.      Not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  This expression even EXPLAINS why we are not saved by works, so that we have no reason to brag about it.  That within itself implies a certain TYPE of works.  What type of works?  Works with which we earn something.  The Old Law (while requiring faith) was about works.  Every sin required a physical sacrifice.  It was a tedious law that governed individuals and the nation of Israel (a theocracy). 
We have a new law that we are under and we are expected to obey it.  But when it comes to our salvation, it is not about meritorious works (where we earn it). 

                                                iv.      But what does that do to the act of baptism.  Isn’t baptism a work?

1.       Yes and no.  It is doing something, but it is NOT a work in the sense of something we do to EARN our salvation. It is an act in which we OBEY God, much like BELIEVING God is an act of obedience.

2.       Faith is described as a work – 1 Thess. 3:1,  2 Thess. 1:11. 
- true faith is demonstrated by works – James 2:14-18. 
- belief is even described as a work -  John 6:28-29 says, “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”  Jesus said “the work of God” is believing in Jesus. 
NOTE: Advocates of faith only may use this text to say that all you have to do is believe, BUT if they do this verse contradicts our text (Eph. 2:8-9) because Jesus called believing in Him a work, and Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are saved “not of works.”

3.       CLEARLY, our text is describing a TYPE of works – meritorious.  Like a job where you are entitled to the wage agreed to. 

4.       WHAT about baptism?  IT is a work of faith. 
Colossians 2:11-12 ties it to faith in the working of God. 
1 Peter 3:21 describes baptism, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” It is answering the good conscience – which puts it as an act of faith.  The point is, baptism is not just about getting wet in the water – it is about BELIEVING what God tells you to do and what He promises IF you do it!
Nothing more, nothing less.


 II.                    We are His workmanship (10)

a.       For we are His workmanship

                                                   i.      First and foremost, we are His creation.  Psalm 100:3 says, ““Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
God made us.  He made us in His image (Gen. 1:26).  He made us to glorify Him. 

                                                 ii.      Furthermore, in context: As His children.  His chosen, predestined, redeemed, holy and adopted (see chapter 1), our salvation is His work.  He saved us.  He made us alive, raised us up together and made us to sin in heavenly places in Christ (vs.6).  Again I remind you of Colossians 2:12, “raised with Him through faith in the working of God.”
Ephesians 4:24 says, “and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
That is why we emphasize clearly that God’s grace is the prime factor in our salvation. 

b.       Created in Christ Jesus for good works – our faith is not, nor has it EVER been just about mental assent.  Even the proponents of “faith only” will admit that we need to live a changed life (though inconsistent with what they actually teach). IF you fail to live a changed life, you have NOT been truly converted!

c.        Which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them

                                                   i.      Throughout scripture we find that we are expected to be busy. 
The epistles are written primarily to churches and brethren instructing them HOW to live.
Titus 2:14, 3:1, 8, 14 all speak of the good works we are involved in.   It is CLEAR God expects us to be productive.
John 15:2-8, Jesus taught His disciples that they needed to bear fruit.  Fruit comes I many forms, but it must be there.  The life of a Christian is not to be a life of complacency. 

                                                 ii.      God tells us what to do in His word!  The expression “prepared beforehand” means that he prepared in advance.  He made plans.  Our “good works” are those assigned by Him. 
This too calls for us to follow His word in all that we do – 2 Tim. 3:16-17 – it is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. 
Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 6:46 both tell us that we need to do what is said. 

                                               iii.      We are to “walk in them.”  The idea of our “walk” is to live with these things – it is our manner of life.  We are to walk in good works,   Eph. 4:1 we are to walk worthy of our calling.  Eph. 5:2 – we are to walk in love;  Eph. 5:8 we are to walk as children of light.

                                                iv.       From the beginning, God has looked for those who “obey the gospel.”

Condemnation awaits for those who fail to OBEY.  Consider:
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;” (Romans 2:8–9)
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:18–19)
NOTE: In each of these passages the word for disobey or did not obey is the same word found in John 3:36. 


And thus we find the grace of God demonstrated.  But it is only received conditionally by those who have faith.  Not just any faith, but a faith that will TRUST AND OBEY.  What does the grace of God mean to you?