Paul was a great preacher because he was a grace preacher! The grace message starts with the truth of God’s wrath against sinners but ends with sinners being made alive in Christ. What happens in the middle is the cross- God’s love manifested in forgiveness and redemption!
Ephesians 2:1-10, “1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
THE MESSAGE OF GRACE
- Born Dead vs Made Alive in Christ (v. 1 & vs. 4-5)
- The Ways of the World vs. The Ways of God (v. 2)
- Cravings of the Flesh vs. Fruit of the Spirit (v. 3).
- Cursed by Works vs. Saved by Grace (vs. 4-9)
- God’s Masterpiece (v. 10)
DEAD IN SIN
The person who is dead in sin is not able to please God because they are separated in their spirit from a relationship with Him (v. 1); but they are still able to admit their guilt once convicted by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of God’s Word (John 16:8 & Romans 10:17).
- DEAD LIKE THE PRODIGAL WHO WAS LOST: Luke 15:24, “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
- DEAD LIKE A PERSON ASLEEP WHO CAN RISE: Ephesians 5:14, “This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”
Just because sinners are dead in sin and unable to please God; it doesn’t mean they cannot admit their deadness and repent of their sins when convicted by the Holy Spirit.
MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST
By God’s grace sinners are made alive in Christ when they place their faith in Jesus (vs. 4-5).
- THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST JESUS: Ephesians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.”
- INCLUDED IN CHRIST BY FAITH: Ephesians 1:13, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed [had faith], you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
Having faith in God’s Word is not a work of the law nor is it done in human effort (Romans 4:5); faith is a gift that can be received when a person is given grace by God through the working of the Holy Spirit and the gospel is preached (Ephesians 1:13 & 2:8).
Everyone is born naughty by nature, but those who put their faith in Jesus are born again in the divine nature! (2 Peter 1:4)