10 things God says about you

The title of my message today is “10 things God says about you in the Bible”. Today I want to use Romans 12:3 as my starting verse and go from there.

Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

This verse reminds of the important of having a right view of ourselves. It says we should think of our self with sober judgement. The Greek word used here for sober is so-fron-eh’-o. It means to think and be in your right mind or to think correctly about ourselves. Some people think too highly of themselves, while others have a too low opinion. The best way to think right about ourselves in by seeing who God we are in the Bible.

As Christians I believe at times we need to be reminded of who God says we are. Sometimes we forget just how loved we are and just how important we are to God. Today I want to look at 10 Scriptures that changed and transformed my life. They helped me to see myself through God’s eyes and are helping me to fulfil the destiny God has before me.

The main focus is to let God’s Word speak to our hearts and minds. I will read each Scripture and make a short comment.

1. You are created in God’s image

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

We are made in God’s image. According to most theologians or Bible scholars, being made in God’s image has three aspects or three schools of thought…

  • Structural – Structural in the way we are made. We think, can reason, make choices and love. We are logical cognitive beings. When we do these things we reflect God’s image.
  • Vocational – God is vocational. He is creative in the way He works and created this world. When we create and work and use our gifts in the world around us we reflect God’s image.
  • Relational – God is in the perfect loving triune relationship – the Trinity. Three persons, but one in love, purpose, mission, unity and relationship. When we love God and relate to each other in loving ways we reflect God outwards to the world around us.

While most theologians or Bible scholars fall into one of those camps, I believe that being made in the image of God is a combination of all three. When we make choices, when we work using God’s gifts and when we related lovingly to each other, we reflect God’s image.

As Christ followers we need to remember that God’s DNA is stamped on us. Yes the fall of man skewed the image when God cast Adam and Eve out of the garden and sin entered the world, but it was restored in Christ’s death and resurrection. We are able to reflect all God wants us to be.

2. You were chosen before the foundation of the world

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— (Ephesians 1:4-5)

God chose us before the creation us the world. What did He choose us for? To be holy and blameless in His sight. Why? Because that would give Him pleasure! It was His will and prior choice to have you in His Kingdom and adopted into His eternal family.

3. You were created for good works

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

We are created by God for good works that He planned for us before He made the world. You were on His mind and He had a job for you to do. Like Queen Esther was chosen for a time such as this, so are you. God made you perfectly to play your part. He used all the right ingredients when moulding you on His potter’s wheel. You are gifted with everything you need to do all He needs you to do. Next week we will look into this in a deeper way when we look at using our gifts well.

4. You were adopted as children of God

Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (John 1:12)

We are God’s children. Adopted into His eternal family because our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. We are co-heirs with Christ. We are all born into this world in to natural families. Some are good and some are not so good. But when we come to Christ we enter the eternal family of God. We here are brothers and sisters. Not just for this life, but for all eternity.

As I shared in my message a few weeks ago – we will spend way more time in eternity than we will on earth. When we have been there 10,000 years we have only just begun. Look around and see your brothers and sisters in Christ. These relationships will last for eternity. We are brothers and sisters in Christ forever and ever and ever. We are adopted into Christ and God’s eternal family.

5. You have the power of the resurrection inside you

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

Not only are we God’s children and made in God’s image, but we have part of God living inside us. We have resurrection power living in us. The Bible also tells us that we are a Temple of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit resides in you (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we come together we have part of the Creator of the universe resides in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). We don’t have to feel powerless because the same Spirit who hovered over the waters and the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is alive and active in you.

6. You are no longer condemned

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)

Often we feel condemned and unworthy in the face of a Holy God. God tells us in the Bible there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. None at all. The Greek word used here for condemned is kat-ak’-ree-mah. It means an adverse sentence or judgement from a judge. We are condemned and ready to be sentenced to jail. But this verse says there is no condemnation. No sentence against us. Our judgement has been put aside.

As a result we can’t let other people make us feel condemned, or the devil and we can’t even condemn ourselves. We are free. Personally I was the worst offender at condemning myself. If I spoke to you the way I spoke to myself most of the time, then you would not want to be my friend and you would definitely not want me preaching up front! Romans 8:33-34 NLT told me that if God has said we are right with Him, who can condemn us. No-one! Not even ourselves! Now I am free to live in the love of Christ. Free from condemnation.

7. You are alive and seated with Christ

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 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. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

When Jesus returned to heaven He took up the highest place in the universe – seated at the right hand of the Father. These verses tell us that spiritually we are seated right there with Christ. You hold a special place in the heavenly realm. Learning this at Bible college changed my whole perspective on life and how I see myself. I now see my standing as with Christ. I can hold my head up high.

8. God created you in your mother’s womb

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13).

This is David praying/talking to God. David realised the special role God played in creating him. He knit him together in his mother’s womb. The potter moulded and shaped him into a future king. God also knit you together. Making you exactly how He wanted you to be. There are no mistakes. You are what He intended you to be. God said that same thing to Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “before I created you, I knew you.”

9. God loved you and sent His Son for you

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)

God loved you so much that He couldn’t bear for you to miss out on spending eternity with Him. He sent Jesus to die for you. Jesus gave His life for you. For God so loved you as it says in John 3:16. It is the greatest sacrifice and the greatest demonstration of love of all time. He loved you first and planned always for you to be His treasured possession. You are God’s treasured possession. Loved and treasured. God is besotted with you.

When God looks at you He looks at you with the pride and love of a parent holding their new born child, or like when you watch your children play, or like when you see your child ride their bike for the first time, or when you see your child grow up and marry. There is an immense love and pride in you. God loves you. He adores you. He is besotted with you.

10. You are free in Christ

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

If you are in Christ, you are free. Free of worry about salvation, free of worry about the future, free of the past, free of sin, free of guilt, free of condemnation, free of striving to be accepted, free of the need to know if God loves you or not. He loves you and accepts you. You are His. You are chosen. You are part of His eternal family. You are free of everything that would hold you back from being all God wants you to be.

Closing

Today we have looked at 10 passages that tell us who we are and what we have in Christ. And this is only just scratching the surface of the amount of passages in the Bible that tell us how important to and how loved we are by God.

When we fully believe these verses it changes our hearts and minds and it truly changes the way we live. We can stand taller and we can be confident in taking on the world knowing that God loves us, is with us and is on our side.

Summary

  1. You are made in God’s image
  2. You were chosen before the world was made
  3. You were created and equipped for good works
  4. You are adopted into His family
  5. You have the Holy Spirit living inside you
  6. You are no longer condemned
  7. You are seated with Christ
  8. You were knit together in your mother’s womb
  9. You are truly loved by God
  10. You are free in Christ. Free from everything that would hold you back.

It is my hope and prayer that you will take these Scriptures home with you and read them everyday this week. Let them sink deep into your heart and mind. Amen.

Bring your problem to Jesus

Recently I have been reading and re-reading the New Testament book of Matthew. As I have been working my way through it I have come across a few interesting things. One that I want to share today comes from Matthew chapters 8 & 9.

As we read through the following passages we will see that Jesus performed a number of amazing miracles. One thing that really stood out to me was that when someone had a problem they took it to Jesus. It didn’t matter what it was, if they took it to Him, He dealt with it. Here are a few examples.

The man with leprosy

Matthew 8:1-4 NLT – Large crowds followed Jesus as He came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached Him and knelt before Him. “Lord,” the man said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

He knelt before Jesus and said if you are willing I will be healed. Jesus was willing and healed him. Now the reason why Jesus said to not tell anyone and go and show the Priest is because Lepers were outcastes from society. A Priest declared them unclean with Leprosy and only a Priest could declare them clean and re-admit them to society.

The Centurion’s slave

Matthew 8:5-10 NLT – When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, 6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralysed and in terrible pain.” 7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, He said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!

He asked Jesus to “say the word” and his servant would be healed from a distance. Jesus said the word and he was healed. The Centurion understood authority because he was a committed soldier. He understood orders and authority. He knew Jesus had the authority and power of heaven and Jesus just needed to give the order and it would be done.

The calming of the storm

Matthew 8:23-27 NLT – Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with His disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke Him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then He got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. 27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey Him!”

The disciples were terrified as the storm on the lake threatened their lives. They called to Jesus and He stilled the storm. In the preceding miracles Jesus healed peoples bodies. This one is a powerful nature miracle. It was so powerful that even the Disciples looked at Jesus differently.

The Paralytic man

Matthew 9:1-8 NLT Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to His own town. 2 Some people brought to Him a paralysed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralysed man, “Be encouraged, My child! Your sins are forgiven.” 3 But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy! Does He think He’s God?” 4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 6 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralysed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 7 And the man jumped up and went home! 8 Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority.

Some friends brought the paralytic man to Jesus in faith that He could heal him. Jesus told him to pick up his mat and go home. He got up and walked. I like that the man could not come to Jesus on his own, he needed his friends to bring him. I wonder who I can bring to Jesus? How about you too?

The Dead Girl

Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26 NLT – As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt before Him. “My daughter has just died,” he said, “but You can bring her back to life again if You just come and lay Your hand on her.” 19 So Jesus and His disciples got up and went with Him. 23 When Jesus arrived at the official’s home, He saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music. 24 “Get out!” He told them. “The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” But the crowd laughed at Him. 25 After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up! 26 The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside.

A man came to Jesus and told of his dead daughter. He said if you touch her, she will live. To me this is amazing faith. Like the Roman Centurion, the father knew Jesus had the power and authority. Jesus touched her and she lived. Jesus had the power over death.

The Sick Woman

Matthew 9:20-22 NLT Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind Him. She touched the fringe of His robe, 21 for she thought, “If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

The woman who had been bleeding non stop for 12 years came to Jesus. She knew if she could touch His cloak she would be healed. She did and she was healed. Like the Centurion and the father we have previously read about, she knew where the power for healing came from. It was from Jesus…even in the midst of a pressing crowd.

The Two Blind Men

Matthew 9:27-31 NLT – After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind Him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28 They went right into the house where He was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told Him, “we do.” 29 Then He touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread His fame all over the region.

Two blind men came asked Jesus to have mercy on them. He asked if they believed He could heal them. They said yes and they were healed. By addressing Jesus as the Son of David the men recognised His royal lineage back to David. It was prophesised that the Messiah would come from the line of David. So they not only came in faith, but knew Jesus was the Messiah.

The Mute Man

Matthew 9:32-33 NLT When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn\’t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed.

A man was brought to Jesus who was demon possessed and could not speak as a result. The demon was driven out and he was healed. This is another example of someone bringing a friend or relative to Jesus. Sometimes we are the life line or conduit that brings people to God. In this case we see Jesus had authority over the unseen demonic world.

Closing

In all of these cases the people brought their problem to Jesus. They came in faith or their friends brought them in faith, and Jesus dealt with their problem and restored the situation. Nothing was too big or too small. Jesus handled it all.

The miracles we read about were healing, nature miracles, bring people back to life and casting out a demon. He had the power and authority to do amazing things. Some of which had never been seen in Israel before!

If you are struggling today with an illness, or there is another type of storm in your life, I would encourage you to bring it to Jesus today. He is more than willing and capable of handling it today. Simply come in faith.

Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, today I bring my problem to You. You know my situation and my need. I lift it up to You today and I ask You to intervene. Please bring a miraculous breakthrough that only You can do. I ask this in Your name, Amen.

Five ways to be a living sacrifice

Bible Reading: Romans 12:1-21

The title of my message today is “Five ways to be a living sacrifice”. For my devotions this past week or so I have been working my way through Romans 12. As I did this Romans 12:1 has really stuck in my mind.

Romans 12:1 NLT says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him”.

In this verse Paul urges us as believers to follow Jesus example in being a sacrifice, but rather die for sin, we die to ourselves and offer ourselves to God. Paul encourages us to be living sacrifices. To give our lives for God’s service. He says that this is an acceptable sacrifice to God and the way we truly worship Him. It is a right response to the actions of a loving God.

But how do we go about being a living sacrifice? What are some of the things it entails? If we read through the rest of chapter Romans 12 Paul gives us a few clues. Today I just want to touch on some of the things that jumped out at me as I meditated on this chapter.

1. Renew our mind

Verse 2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Renewing your mind. This is a vital first step if we are wanting to live a life in God’s service and be a living sacrifice. We need to line our hearts and minds up with God’s thinking.

How do we do this? The primary way is by prayerfully reading, reflecting and meditating on the Bible. As we do this we allow God’s Spirit and God’s Word to enter our minds and sink deep into our hearts. The result of this if we do it diligently over a period of time, it changes our hearts to our minds forever. The result of this is “Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

I find that as the years go by and my mind is renewed more and more, the things of God become easier and more natural to do. It is easier to love others, it is easier to serve others and it is easier to live by Kingdom standards.

In many ways our minds are like the gearboxes of our lives. If our minds are renewed, it is easier to put them in D for drive and go forward in Christ and His will for our lives. If they are not renewed we might be in Park, Neutral or even Reverse. Those who drive an automatic will know that if you are in drive, you only have to take your foot off the brake and you start moving forward.

As I said I will unpack renewing our minds in a deeper way in a future sermon. But today I just want to make the first point that a key to being a living sacrifice is to renew our minds.

2. Use our gifts well

Verses 6-8 – “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Paul tells us to use whatever gift God has given us to the best of our abilities. If it is to prophesy, teach, serve, give, show kindness or encourage we should do the best job we can.

In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Paul also says, “4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

And in 1 Peter 4:10 Peter reminds us to, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Using our gifts well is a key part of being a living sacrifice for God. This is sometimes where the sacrifice part comes in. There is work is finding, recognising and developing your gifts. I may be an encourager but we have to work at it. My loner tendencies needed to be overcome so I could be where people were who needed encouragement. I was told I had a gift of teaching, but I had to work to develop my gift with diligent study. I also had to get over my paralysing fear of public speaking. It can be hard and a sacrifice, but there is no greater and more peaceful place to be than being right in the middle God’s will using God’s gifts for the good of others. I wouldn’t be standing here today if I didn’t work hard to develop my gifts.

3. Really love each other

Verses 9-10 – “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves”.

Both the NIV and the NLT say this well, but I love the way the NLT puts it “Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them”. That is straight to the point!

I remember when our girls were young we put this verse on the fridge. We then had a list of ways we could show we really love someone. It said things like…

  •     Pray for them
  •     Do nice things for them
  •     Share things with others
  •     Listen to them
  •     Speak nicely to them
  •     Give them a hug
  •     Give them a present
  •     One even said by giving them chocolate!

Kids have a way of putting things simply. I have never forgotten these things. They showed me that we love others in practical ways, by helping when they are in need. This is sometimes a sacrifice. But it is well worth it. Because it means we are living out this life that Jesus calls us to live and being a light unto the world around us.

There are a number of other places in the New Testament that talks about the importance of loving one another.

1 John 4:7 – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 – Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

John 13:34-35 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

These verses remind us that we are commanded to love one another, that those who love are born of God, that since God loves us we should love one another and by our love for one another people we know we are Jesus’ disciples. My heart is to be known as a disciple of Jesus, so I need to love others.

4. Live in harmony with each other

Verses 14-18 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

In the next section Paul urges us to live at peace with everyone. The NIV says to live at peace with everyone as much as it depends on you.

I remember years ago I worked with a lady who just didn’t like me. No matter what I did or said she just would not warm up to me. She would even go out of her way to make sure I did not receive favourable treatment at work. One day I read these verses and it reminded me that no matter how she treats me I had to live at peace with her. So I prayed and asked God to help me work with her and to ask if there was ways I could bless her. In time I emailed her and apologised if I had offended her without knowing. As a result, we were able to talk and the problem was sorted. We had a good working relationship and were able to talk and we did not a barrier between us.

It really brought home to me that we should try to love and serve others even if they persecute us as Christians. God makes it very clear it is not our place to curse or take revenge. That is a big sacrifice at times and is contrary to a worldly way of thinking.

If you want to be a living sacrifice, you need to live at peace with everyone as much as it depends on you.

5. Conquer evil with good

Verse 21 – “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good”

Paul finally finishes this section with a plea to not let evil overcome us, but we need to press on and overcome evil with good deeds. I remember years ago I was heavily involved in community outreach with our church in Perth. We would go door to door giving away Jesus videos. We were on fire and we wanted to take on the world. Then along came September 11. It is when I let evil overcome me. I was horrified at the evil people could do to each other. It really knocked me and I found it hard to go out every Saturday. I knew there was evil in the world, but somehow it brought it home to me. It took me a few months to get back on tract.

Verse 21 was one of the things that helped me get back on tract. God commands us to conquer evil by doing good.

Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. I think Princess Di used that in one of her famous speeches too.

It can be a sacrifice to have an overcoming attitude. But if we keep moving forward and serving God by serving others the Bible promises we will reap a harvest at the right time. It tells us this is Galatians 6:9.

Conclusion

As we can see from these things being a living sacrifice is about:

  1.     Renewing our minds to line up with Kingdom thinking
  2.     Using our gifts well
  3.     Living at peace with those around us.
  4.     Really loving and serving others.
  5.     Conquer the evil things that take place in this world by doing good.

And while we do these things we are to keep our hope, be patient when things are going wrong and keep praying faithfully.

Let’s pray

Five reminders from the Apostle Paul

Bible Readings: Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 8:31-39

The title of my message today is “Five reminders from the Apostle Paul”. We are going to mainly look at the first 10 verses from Ephesians chapter 2 and briefly touch on our second passage from Romans 8.

In chapter one of Ephesians we see that Paul really set the scene of who they are in Christ. He tells them they are chosen by God, redeemed by Jesus and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Then he gives thanks to God for them and prays a wonderful prayer for them that talks about knowing who they are in Christ and having spiritual insight and wisdom.

In chapter 2:1-10 Paul gives the church five reminders for the Ephesians that I think can encourage us today. They will come up on the screen as we go.

Message Points

1. Paul reminds us of our old way of life

Verses 1-2 says – Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil–the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

These two verses tell us of our condition without Christ. We were dead because of our sin and we followed the ways of the world or as some translations put it, the ways of the devil.

Paul wanted to remind the church that now as Christians we are alive in Christ. We have a new life in Christ, and we are a part of a new Kingdom. However, he doesn’t want them to forget where they came from. Remembering where they came from was very important to Paul.

As Christians today we need to remember where we have come from and what Christ has saved us from – eternity without God. Romans 3:23 tells us we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. Before Christ we followed the ways of the world, not the ways of the Kingdom.

So, Paul reminds us of our old way of life.

2. Paul reminds us of God’s intervention

Verses 4-5 – But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God\’s grace that you have been saved!)

We were sinners, but God intervened because of His rich mercy and His great love.

I believe two of the greatest words in the Bible are “but God”. I did a search on my Bible software for the phrase ‘but God”. It appeared 64 times. It says things like…

• but God heard their prayer,
• but God did not let them get harmed,
• they meant it for harm, but God meant it for good,
• but God knew what would happen,
• but God formed the earth by His power,
• but God raised Him from the dead (about Christ)

As Christians we can never forget who we are and where we have come from. We can never forget that for salvation to take place there are three things – a need, a provision and a response. We need to be saved because we can’t save ourselves from our sin; we have a provision of Christ’s death on the cross for us; and we need to respond in faith – we need to believe in Jesus and accept what He has done for us.

Paul wanted to remind the Ephesians church and by extension us today, that we were alone and utterly helpless, but God intervened and brought us salvation in Christ. We can never forget this.

3. Paul reminds us of our new seating in Christ

Verse 6 – For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus returned to heaven He was seated at the right hand of the Father. That is the highest place of honour in the whole universe. There is no greater place than being seated next to the Father.

The good news today is, if you are in Christ Jesus (that means walking in relationship with Him, trusting Him for your salvation, and have received Him as your King) then you are spiritually seated with Christ in the heavenly realms! You are spiritually seated with Him in the highest place in the universe! I will just let you soak that in a bit!

Because of this great news you no longer have to walk around with your face pointing to the ground or your shoulders hunched over. You and I no longer have to feel unworthy. We have high standing and high honour with the King and Creator of the universe! You and I are seated with Christ.

Paul wanted to remind the Ephesians where they were seated. Today I want to remind you.

4. Paul reminds us of God’s grace

Verses 8-9 – God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can\’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

In one of my Bible dictionaries it describes Grace as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God to those who are under condemnation. But one of the best descriptions of grace is the G.R.A.C.E. acronym – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

To dig a little deeper in to the definition of God\’s grace, it helps to understand the original Hebrew and Greek words behind this term. A prominent Old Testament word describing God\’s grace is Chesed. This word speaks of deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It also denotes enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness, and preservation. The New Testament word is Charis. It focuses on the provision of salvation through God\’s grace and Christ\’s work on the cross.

We know that we were utterly helpless to save ourselves and God intervened. We also saw in my first point about our old way of life. But God’s grace saved us and God’s grace also keeps us in the palm of His hand. In our second reading from Romans we saw things like “If God is for us, who can can be against us?”, that Christ is seated next to the Father interceding for us, and it also tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. This is both sides of God’s grace in action. By His grace He saved us and by His grace He keeps us in the palm of His hand.

Paul wanted the Ephesians and us to remember God’s grace.

5. Paul reminds us of our new purpose

Verse 10 – For we are God\’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

In Ephesians 2:10 it tells us two great truths. You are God’s masterpiece. God didn’t just slap you together quickly. You are His masterpiece. Like the world considers the Statue of David and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a masterpiece, God considers you a masterpiece that He knit together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 119:13). You are a masterpiece!

The second great truth is that God made you with a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says God made you a masterpiece, He created you anew in Christ Jesus, and He has a wonderful purpose He planned for you long ago.

Imagine with me for a moment, God having you on His mind before the foundation of the world. You are not here by chance. You are here with a good purpose to make an amazing difference in this world. Each one of us here is called, gifted and sent out to make a difference. We do this by our prayers, our encouragement of others, by living faithfully to God and doing what we can do today. Church I want to say to you that you are good, and your purpose is good. Because both you and your purpose were created by God. We are God’s masterpieces for God’s master works.

In chapter 1 of Ephesians Paul talks about God choosing us before the foundation of the world. In chapter 2 it says God chose us before the foundation of the world for good works. We are chosen for salvation and chosen for good works.

Paul wanted to remind us of our new purposes today.

Closing summary

Today we looked at Ephesians 2:1-10. We looked at five things the Apostle Paul wanted them and us to remember. They were…

1. Paul reminds us of our old way of life
2. Paul reminds us of God’s intervention
3. Paul reminds us of our new seating in Christ
4. Paul reminds us of God’s grace
5. Paul reminds us of our new purpose

Amen

Let us pray.