Never Forget – Eph 2:1-10 (Part 4) Let’s continue to worship by turning in our Bibles to Eph 2:1-10. We were working our way through this passage for 3 weeks prior to Mother’s Day, and we have two more. This week and next week. Covering v8-9 today. But I’d like to read it from the top to make sure we capture the flow of thought. And to do that, I’ve asked a family in our church to recite it from memory. They took up the challenge to not only read Ephesians 20 times this year, but memorize it! So I thought it would be encouraging to hear some of it. (Steenburg’s)  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Outline) Thank you Caitlyn, Anabelle, Josh, and Jordan. So good and so encouraging. Bless you for that. For those who are saved, those in Christ, those 10 verses are our story. And the Apostle Paul writes it so we don’t forget it. That’s the point. Never forget. Otherwise, you’ll end up exalting yourself and diminishing God. You’ll end up leaving the path of gratitude and entering the thorns of pride. (Review) Never forget that apart from Chris we were dead, sinful, doomed, and still are. Apart from Christ we were dead (v1a). Apart from Christ we were sinful (v1b-3a) Apart from Christ we were doomed. (v3b) Apart from Christ you still are. But in Christ, God gave us life, saved us, and exalted us. In Christ, God gave us life (v4-5a) In Christ, God saved us (5b) In Christ, God exalted us (v6-7) • To a position of privilege • To a position of influence • To a position of responsibility • To magnify his grace Which brings us to Part 4 from v8-9. The core of which, is never forget that . . .
Our salvation is a gift (v8-9)  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Our salvation is a gift. That’s what the pronouns this and it in v8, refer to. See them? This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. What is? This saving. Our salvation. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this [this saving; this salvation] is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. It and this refer to our salvation. And it’s a gift. That’s explicit. Our salvation is the gift of God. Not just “a” gift notice, but the gift. As if to emphasize the importance and uniqueness of our salvation. Among all the other gifts God gives us. It’s supremely important. But the emphasis is on the fact that it’s a gift. Something freely given and completely undeserved. Like the $10k tip left by a man in Florida recently . . . For the employees of a small restaurant. Just one day before the restaurants closed for the coronavirus, he walked in, had breakfast, and gave the manager $10k in cash. With instructions to give it to all the employees. No quid pro quo, no expectation of anything in return, no strings, no nothing. Just an undeserved gift, freely given. Just like our salvation. Only our salvation never runs out. Unlike the 10 grand that will run out before the year does, the gift of our salvation lasts forever. Remember that from v7? God made us alive together with Christ, so that, in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace. The grace of our salvation. Which lasts forever, because that’s how long it takes to show something immeasurable. Not only that, but our salvation never runs out because what God starts, he finishes. It’s based on the word for. First word of v8. Here’s the flow of thought: God exalted us, v6, to show us grace for all eternity, v7, for [or because] by grace you have been saved. “Have been saved,” denoting the present perfect tense. Indicating that we were saved in the past, and remain saved in the present. That’s what have been saved means. We were saved in the past, and are saved in the present. And because of that, indicated by the word for, God will keep us in the future. He’ll continue to show us grace. That’s the flow of thought. Because we were saved by grace in the past, and remain saved by grace in the present, God will show us grace in the future. Talk about a gift. Talk about assurance. What God starts, he finishes. Even if it lasts forever. Never forget. Our salvation is a gift from God that’s supremely important, freely given, completely undeserved, and never ends. And it’s all . . . • By grace
By grace you have been saved (8). Saved from what? Death, sin, hell, bondage, and despair. Condemnation later, and futility now. We’ve been saved from those things. All by grace. God’s unmerited favor. His undeserved blessing when we deserve the opposite. That’s the grace of God. It’s favor disproportionate to who we are and what we’ve done, and the opposite of what we deserve. And that’s what saves us. Grace. God’s work for us and in us. On our behalf and in our soul. Grace and grace alone. It doesn’t say, “By grace and a good heart you have been saved. Grace and a positive attitude. Grace and a good life. A good family. A good work ethic.” Just grace. God’s extension of mercy and kindness, when you deserved the opposite. Never forget that. And never forget that it’s sufficient. Sufficient to save us. All of us. And any one of us. No matter who you are. Or what you’ve done. God’s grace is sufficient. Completely. Thoroughly. A truth I came face to face with as a 30 year old, when I was asked to mentor an ex-con. His name was Eddie (Photo), and he had received Christ in prison. And upon his release to a halfway house of sorts, a ministry, he needed a mentor. Enter me. Which caused a small crisis of faith in my heart. Could I trust him? Was his conversion real? Was he genuine? Did God really change him? Would it last? I didn’t know. But after wrestling with it for a few weeks, I came to two conclusions: First, the grace that saved me was the same grace that saved Eddie, and it was sufficient for both of us. Completely sufficient. And second, if my faith was real, I had to do it. If my faith in God’s grace to save me, him, or anybody else was real, I had to say yes to mentoring him. So I did. And here I stand. Because he was a big part of God’s call on my life to enter full-time ministry. We’re saved by grace and grace alone, that’s completely sufficient And, desperately needed. Don’t miss that.***** We desperately need God’s grace. Every single one of us. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in the projects or the parsonage. You need it. Because you’re just as much a sinner. No one is righteous the Bible says. And apart from Christ all our deeds are as filthy rags. Even our so-called “good” ones. (Is 64:6) And we’re all born with the same sin nature. Alienated from God, and enemies of God. So the next time you think God’s grace is more needed and more amazing for the converted criminal than it is for you, think again. Repent and think again. Salvation is a gift of grace, and by grace. Completely sufficient and desperately needed. Never forget.
And never forget that it comes to us . . . • Through faith By grace you have been saved through faith. Belief. Trust. Reliance. Or in the words of Heb 11:1 – Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faith is the settled confidence and firm belief, that God can and will, do what he says. And it’s a requirement for our salvation. Part of God’s design in all this. No faith, no salvation. But that’s not to say that it saves you. It doesn’t. We’re saved through faith, not by faith.***** Only grace saves. By grace you have been saved. But that grace comes to us, via faith. When we lived in Wheaton, we had a well from which we got our water. And it was nasty. It stunk; it was hard; it left deposits; it didn’t taste good; you name it. Which means I carried more bags of salt to our water softener than I care to remember. And complained more than I care to admit. Until the excavators came by one day, and laid a pipe in the ground that brought Lake Michigan water to our house; and saved the day. Question: was it the pipe itself that saved us from the foul smelling well water? Or was it the pure water of Lake Michigan? Lake Michigan, right? That’s what saved us from the well, the pit. The pipe was merely the conduit. A necessary conduit, but just a conduit. Through which the saving grace of clean water flowed. So too our salvation. Our faith, is the conduit through which our salvation flows. The conduit through which God’s gift is delivered. Making it necessary for our salvation in God’s design, but not the source of it. Not the means. The means, is grace. By grace you have been saved. Through faith. And not just any old faith, but faith that trusts. Faith that puts your very life in God’s hands. Now and later. That’s the kind of faith through which God saves. You’ve no doubt heard of the daredevils in the 1800’s who walked a tightrope across Niagara Falls. One of the most famous was Charles Blondin. He crossed it multiple times. One time blindfolded, another pushing a wheelbarrow. And one time he even carried his manager on his back. 1100 feet across, 160 feet above the falls, and only 3¼ inches of swaying rope to stand on. And the story goes, after he delivered his manager safely across; he asked another man nearby, “Do you believe I could do that with you?” And the man answered, “Of course. I’ve just seen you do it.” “Hop on,” Blondin said. “Not on your life!” the man called back. The very antithesis of the kind of faith through which God saves.***** Because biblical faith trusts. Not just with lip service, but with your life.
Biblical faith climbs on the shoulders of Jesus and stays there. Rope or not. Because you know he’s the only way across the great divide, and if need be, he can walk on water. Never forget that salvation is a gift, given by grace, through the conduit of faith. And never forget that it’s . . . • Apart from works  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing [this saving]; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works. Works, referring to tangible things you do or could do. That’s a work in the Bible. And they have no part in our salvation. It’s purely a gift. Freely given and freely received. Not a result of works. (9) Including works like baptism. Something tangible we do out of obedience to God, and to glorify God, but not to get to God. Not to be right with God. Saying baptism is necessary for salvation, is explicitly contrary to v9. Same with communion. Or confirmation in some circles. Serving in various capacities. They’re all tangible things we do, and not a single one required for salvation. If they were, it wouldn’t be a gift. The Bible is clear. Works don’t save us. Like it says in Titus 3:4–5 – When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy [an aspect of his grace]. And 2 Tim 1:9 says – [God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace. Crystal clear. Along with Eph 2:8-9. And the less clear statements in Scripture should be interpreted in light of them. Not the other way around. Salvation is a gift. Period. Completely apart from works.***** You say, “Okay. I hear you pastor. But what about somebody who believes they’re saved through both faith and works? They’ve got it part right and part wrong.” They’re probably not saved. Even if it’s 90% faith and only 10% works. Because Paul asked the believers in Gal 3:2 – Did you receive the Spirit [or were you saved] by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Faith. And notice he only gives two options. There’s no combination of faith and works. And in Romans 11 (Rom 11:6), after saying there’s a remnant of believers chosen by grace, Paul says in v6: But if it is by grace [if salvation is by grace], it is no longer on the basis of works [like salvation was under the Old Covenant; it’s either grace alone, or not at all; either/or]; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. If we think we’re saved on the basis of works, even a little bit, we nullify grace. That’s the idea. We turn it into a payment. And while that may seem okay, in the long run it’s like putting lead in paint. It may look good in the short run, but in the end, it’s extremely harmful.
We’re saved apart from works, by grace alone through faith alone, or we’re not saved at all. And one of the reasons for that, is . . . • So no one can boast  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. One of the reasons we’re saved by grace, is to ensure that we can’t legitimately steal or share in God’s glory. If we did nothing to earn or get our salvation, and could do nothing, we have no basis for boasting, credit, or anything else. Which is exactly how God wants it. Because he says in Is 48:11 – My glory I will not give to another. He did it all in saving us, and he deserves all the credit. So the only boasting, is in him. Never our ourselves. (Summary) Never forget that. Never forget that our salvation is a gift, by grace, through faith, apart from works, so no one can boast. And if you want that gift, pray with me right now. Right where you sit. Right there in your living room. Just call out to the Lord. Prayer – Lord, I believe. I trust, in faith. I trust what your Word says, and put my faith in you. I trust you to save me by grace. So please forgive my sins and make me new. In Jesus’ name, amen. If you just prayed with me, would you text the word “Saved” to the number on your screen? We’d love to connect with you, get some information to you . . . And encourage you. Father, thank you. Thank you for saving us in the past, keeping us in the present, and promising our future. All by grace. Write these truths on our hearts. Increase our faith. And receive our worship.