Sermon Title: “New in Christ: The Resurrection of the Dead”
Date: Sunday, February 11, 2018
Speaker: Pastor Joseph
Summary: This important passage in Ephesians 2:1-10 describes in sharp contrast two lives, two selves, two masters, and two spheres: life before Christ (2:1-3) and the new life in Christ (2:4-9), and old self (2:1-3) and the new self (2:4-10) or the old life (2:1-3 versus the new life, 4:17-24).
- charis= grace (charis a divine gift)
- dia pisteos= through faith (the divine grace contradicts the possibility of human boasting and bragging,
- proetoimasen= prepared beforehand, that is before the foundation of the world.
I. The plight of the human soul without the saving grace and knowledge of God in Christ (vv. 1-3)
Paul uses a series of powerful verbs and expressions to describe the pre-Christian experience and the life that is not under the control of the Spirit. The believing Christian Gentiles and Jews at Ephesus:
1.were dead in trespasses and sins (2:1)
2.walked in trespasses and sins (2:1)
3.lived in the passions of our flesh (2:3)
4.carried out the desires of the body and the mind (2:3)
5.separated from Christ (2:12) and alienated from and hostile to God (2:12)
6.had no hope (2:12)
7.were without the God of Israel (covenantal relationship with God) (2:12)
The three major evil forces of influence in the unbelieving humanity:
1.The evil influence of the world
2.The evil influence of the devil (Satan is called the rule of this world in John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; in the Synoptics, Satan is identified as the rule of the demons, Matthew 9:34, Mark 3:22, and Luke 11:15)
3.The evil influence of the flesh
*** The world, the devil, and the flesh
II. God’s great love and abundant mercy are the ground and foundation of our salvation (vv. 4-7)
The primacy of the love motif in Ephesus
- Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—Jesus as the object of the Christian salvation, that they have exercising confident trust in the Lord Jesus Christ
- Love toward all the saints—fruit of salvation. Love seems to be a concentrated theme in the letter.
- The love of God for believers (2:4; 3:17; 6:23)
- The love of Christ for believers (3:19)
- The love of believers for Jesus Christ (6:24)
- The love of believers for each other (1:4; 4:2, 15, 16; 5:2, 35, 28, 33)
How did God respond to the universal plight of men and women?
Three powerful redemptive actions of God: “make alive together with,” “raise together with,” and “sit together with.”
1.He made us alive together with Christ (v.5)
2.He raised us up with him us the heavenly places (v. 6)
3.He seated us with him in the heavenly places (v.6)
III. The Triumph of God’s grace in our redemption (vv. 8-10)
The concept of “grace” in Ephesians
- Paul describes the reception of the good news of the Gospel by the Gentiles in this language “you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you” (3:1)
- Paul describes his ministerial call as “the gift of God’s grace” (3:7)
- He acknowledges God’s appointment of him to preach to the Gentile nations and to bring salvation (light for everyone) as “this grace was given [to me]” (3:8)
Furthermore, in chapter 4:7, Paul describes God’s bestowing of spiritual gifts to believers to be “apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers” as “grace [that was] given each one of us.” The underlying idea here is that grace is a gift, it is given to us freely; we can’t earn grace the same way we can’t earn God’s salvation or gift. Finally, in chapter 4:29, Paul prays that God will “give grace to those who hear” his admissions to walk in this new life God has created for us in Christ.
According to biblical scholar Frank Thielman,
“In Paul’s thinking, faith is not something that people offer to God and with which God’s grace then cooperates to save them. Rather, faith is aligned with grace, and both faith and grace stand over against anything human beings can offer God: it is neither a work deserving payment not a ground for boasting. To say that salvation comes “through faith”, therefore, is to further enhance the notion that it arises from the grace of God” (Thielman, Ephesians, p. 143)
We are God’s “handiwork”/”workmanship”
Three pivotal aspects of the identity of the people of God
- They are God’s handiwork or workmanship. We are saved to produce good works, but good works do not produce saving faith.
- They are product of God’s new creation in Christ. What is this aim? So, they could produce good and acceptable works. In the same way God powerfully created the heavens and the earth without human aid, he is creating a new human race (the church) in Christ and without human assistance.
- In other words, the result of God’s new creation entails that the creation of a new group of people, from different races, tribes, languages, nations, cultures, ethnic groups, to his satisfaction and glory.
- God has both determined and prepared beforehand, that is before the foundation of the world, the quality of these works the believers in Christ must produce.
***Chris is the agent of this new creation.
**To view the sermon notes in the PowerPoint version, click on the link below: