05 February 2017

Not Our Doing

Theme: Saved by grace

Know: Our salvation is a gift from God, not a reward we earn.
Think: View life as an opportunity to glorify the God who saved me.
Do: Point people to God by doing the good works He created me to do.

Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10

Notes and questions:
B1 Why does humanity exist?
  • The LORD has made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Proverbs 16:4
  • You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.  Revelation 4:11
B2 How does our salvation glorify God?
  • In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
  • When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. John 11:4
  • Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall immediately glorify him. John 13:31-32
B3 Ephesians 2:1,
  • Who is the you? See Ephesians 1:1-2. Specifically it is for the Ephesians Christians but applied to all believers who are like-minded in faith.
  • What does dead mean in the Bible sense?
    • Dead in a physical sense would be as in a funeral and buried in the cemetery.
    • Dead in a spiritual sense would be anything towards God, as seeking God, or doing good. The Bible states that no one is good and no one seeks God. Romans 3:10-12
B4 What is evil?
  • It is the absence of good.
  • God is good (Mark 10:23). He is the absolute perfection of good.
  • There is a sliding scale, so to speak, from perfect good to no (zero) good.
  • All people are along this line.
  • Some deviate from perfect goodness some and others more. Most people would say that Mother Teresa is good but Hitler bad. Mother Theresa in her life did not attain the same goodness as God. No human is good except God the Son, Jesus Christ.
  • God demands perfect goodness, the same as He is good. See Mark 10:23-24, and 1 Peter 1:16.
  • The punishment for a good that is less than God’s is death both physical and spiritual.
  • Death is a punishment for non-perfection. Everyone is warned by the Scriptures. Adam was warned not to eat of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He did and died. It took over 900 years, but he did die. The punishment of death that is the worst is the eternal death that all would receive as a just punishment were it not for the love, grace, mercy of God as seen through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Someone said to a person dying; "Well, you are in the land of the living yet." "No," said he, "I am in the land of the dying yet, but I am going to the land of the living; they live there and never die." This is the land of sin and death and tears, but up yonder they never die. It is perpetual life; it is unceasing joy. (D L Moody in his great little book Heaven) (Source of quotes: http://www.preceptaustin.org/ephesians_21-2)
B5 Ephesians 2:2,
  • What does the term walk mean? It is our life from birth to death, a process from one point to another.
  • What system do people live under unless they are Christians? The world’s system with its laws, motivations, and deeds.
  • Who is the head of the world’s system? The Prince of the power of the air, which is satan.
  • How does the devil work in the lives of the disobedient? Compare In whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  2 Corinthians 4:4
B6 Ephesians 2:3,
  • What motivates and drives what we do?
  • What are the two types of desires? Please name one example of each.
  • What does the term children of wrath mean?
    • All humans, the objects, who sin will experience the wrath of God.
    • This does not refer to little children, but humans who have sinned.
    • The word children ties all of us to birth. We have all been born.
    • Since all people have sinned, all people will face God’s wrath. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Romans 1:18
    • Wilbur Pickering comments, “To be in rebellion against the Creator is to be under His wrath.”
    • If we repent and believe in Jesus Christ as the Scripture says, then we will not face God’s wrath.
B7 Ephesians 2:4,
  • This starts a new section. Verses 1-3 deal with what we were and what we faced, and verses 4-10 relate to what we are and will have.
  • Does God only love the elect (us)?
  • What hope does this verse give us?
  • How much love does God have?
B8 Ephesians 2:5,
  • Who is able to take something dead and make alive? See Genesis 1-3.
  • According to this verse, when did we become alive? (When Christ did. See 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and Romans 6:4).
  • The saved refers to deliverance from God’s wrath and from eternal death.
  • Grace is receiving something that we do not deserve.
B9 Ephesians 2:6,
  • How are we in Christ? We are the body of Christ.
    • Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
    • For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12)
  • Where Christ is, we are, too.
  • The body of Christ does not depend on our strength, it depends on God’s (John 15:4). Ray Stedman writes:
    • That brings us to the next element, one Spirit. Here is the great, eternal, invisible Person who is the power behind the Christian church. The strength of the church never comes from its numbers. This is the mistaken concept that many Christians have today. They think we only influence society and bear impact upon the world as we can gather together enough Christians and thus swing enough votes to sway our legislatures. That is not where the power of the church lies, and it never has. The prophet Zechariah was once confronted with a great mountain which God said would become a plain. When Zechariah began to look around to see how this could happen, where the power would come from, what instruments would be provided to level that mountain and make it into a plain, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts," (Zechariah 4:6b RSV). It is the Spirit that is the true power of the church, and there is only one Spirit. He is the same everywhere no matter where the church exists -- in every place and in every age. That is why the truth remains unchangeable, the passing of time does not change it. That is why the church is not dependent on many or few, or on the wisdom of its membership. It depends on one thing, the one Spirit  Source: http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/ephesians/the-cry-for-unity
B10 Ephesians 2:7,
  • What is the length of time that He will show us the riches of His grace?
  • Note that ages and riches are plural.
B11 Ephesians 2:8-10,
  • Wilbur Pickering translates this as: “For by grace you have been saved, through the faith—and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one may boast. You see, we are His 'poem', created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance in order that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10. In the Greek it is “the faith” a particular faith, not just any faith. That faith has been taught by the Lord Jesus to the Apostles who taught it to others.
  • Salvation is by God’s grace. This grace is initiated by God and finished by God. Everything in between is of God, too. We do not seek God (Romans 3:10-11).
  • Is faith the gift or is salvation the gift?
    • Both, yet...
    • Adam Clarke: But whether are we to understand, faith or salvation as being the gift of God? This question is answered by the Greek text: τῃ γαρ χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι δια της πιστεως· και τουτο ουκ εξ ὑμων· Θεου το δωρον, ουκ εξ εργων· ἱνα μη τις καυχησηται· "By this grace ye are saved through faith; and This (τουτο, this salvation) not of you; it is the gift of God, not of works: so that no one can boast." "The relative τουτο, this, which is in the neuter gender, cannot stand for πιστις, faith, which is the feminine; but it has the whole sentence that goes before for its antecedent." But it may be asked: Is not faith the gift of God? Yes, as to the grace by which it is produced; but the grace or power to believe, and the act of believing, are two different things. Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with that power the act of faith is a man's own. God never believes for any man, no more than he repents for him: the penitent, through this grace enabling him, believes for himself: nor does he believe necessarily, or impulsively when he has that power; the power to believe may be present long before it is exercised, else, why the solemn warnings with which we meet every where in the word of God, and threatenings against those who do not believe? Is not this a proof that such persons have the power but do not use it? They believe not, and therefore are not established. This, therefore, is the true state of the case: God gives the power, man uses the power thus given, and brings glory to God: without the power no man can believe; with it, any man may.
    • The word gift is associated with salvation as in Romans 5:15-18, Romans 6:23, and Hebrews 6:4.
  • Three main things taught here:
    • Salvation is a gift; it is not earned, worked for, or deserved by any merit we have.
    • We can not brag about us.
    • God wants us to do good works, since we are saved. Good works is what is God defines, not defined by what we think. Consider the following verses: Matthew 5:16 and Galatians 5:22-23.
B12 Next week

  • The weight off your shoulders
  • Theme: Freedom from guilt
  • Scriptures: Psalm 103:14

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