The Riches of His Mercy

The Sufficiency of Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God's Riches in Mercy and Grace - Get out of your graveclothes!

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Get out of those grave clothes!

(Slide) The sufficiency of Christ has been proclaimed by Paul, :received by the Ephesians and believed. They had been born again in the baptism of Jesus into His possession.
(Slide) The Riches of His Grace has been shown (Eph1:4-14) - How rich are we spiritually speaking when we are in Christ Jesus? Remember this letter is written to believers, to Christians, to remind them who they are in Christ, and then who we are to be in Christ as the Church.
(Slide) The Riches of His Glory has been displayed (Eph1:15-23) - One of the things Paul wants us to understand is what we have in Christ. We have our salvation, but that is only the starting place, we, like Lazarus are told to “come forth” to be loosed of our graveclothes in baptism and live a resurrected life!
(Slide) Paul has told us about our spiritual possessions in Christ; now in this section he moves on to our spiritual position in Christ. - We have done the song “Low in the grave he lays” and it is a song of victory for He was raised up so we could be raised up to be His possession and have our position with Him in the heavenlies and we will get to that verse today.
Paul does not mince words, he is pretty point blank, he “tell’s it like it is” and has no trouble with that is this continuing section of where and who we are in Christ and the best way to explain this is to read the section and then break it down to “Works”
(Slide) Sin’s work against Us! (Eph2:1-3)
(Slide) God’s work for Us! (Eph2:4-9)
(Slide) God’s work in Us! (Eph2:10a)
(Slide) God’s work through Us! (Eph2:10b)

I. Sin’s Work Against Us!

(Insert a slide showing a zoom lens on a camera)
We are all used to zooming in to see things closely these days, but if you want to get a fuller picture you need to zoom out. Paul here in these verses zooms out to show the full condition of the one who is unsaved, the horrible spiritual condition of the person and some characteristics of the person.
A. The Person is Dead (spiritually speaking) (v.1)
Spiritual things, they cannot understand spiritual things
1 Corinthians 2:14–15 NASB95
14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.
Dead people are unable to respond to the spiritual things. A corpse cannot hear or understand what is going on around it. It’s dead! - They cannot function without God giving them life
(Slide) The obituary would read - “Cause of death, sin and trespasses”
We know the wages of sin is death (Rom6:23) and that sin separates us from God
Isaiah 59:2 NASB95
2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
This world is full of a bunch of dead people so when you think of that line from movie Sixth Sense you do, as you look around this world we see people who are spiritually dead, eventhough they are physically alive
1 Timothy 5:6 NASB95
6 But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.
Someone who gives themselves over to wanton pleasure leads me to our next point.
(Slide) B. The Person is Disobedient (v.2-3a)
Want to point out a couple of things real quick as a reminder
(Slide) (v.2) says “you formerly walked”
(Slide) (v.3a) says “formerly lived”
The reminder is this is not who we are anymore. This is who we were before we were made alive in Christ! This letter is written to Christians to remind them who they are in Christ and to know that they need to remember who they were before.
Disobedient to the will of God
Disobedient to the will of God. Well that started back in the garden when Eve and her husband who was with her believed the lie and were disobedient to what God said. There are three ways, three forces that encourage man to be disobedient to the will of God.
(Slide)The world
(Slide) The devil and his pinions
(Slide) and the flesh
The world wants us to conform to its way instead of us being transformed to God’s way
Romans 12:2 NASB95
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
See our ways is not of this world since Jesus is not of this world.
John 8:23 NASB95
23 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.
speaking to unbelievers who are of the world
John 17:14 NASB95
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
But you, you who are believers are not of this world so we need not conform to this world but be transformed!
We cannot let the things of this world control us, it’s values to compromise us and it’s attitudes to condemn us.
Now as for the devil and his pinions, the devil is the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. His spiritual forces are at work
Ephesians 6:11–12 NASB95
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Though they may some power; but they do not have victory!
Colossians 1:16–17 NASB95
16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
John 12:31 NASB95
31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
For satan is a liar and has been from the beginning
For satan is a liar and has been from the beginning
John 8:44 NASB95
44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
When a person believes and practices a lie, then he is a child of disobedience. (expand on this briefly; false/different gospel, not a gospel at all, offers no salvation)
The Flesh is against us - There is a story of an evangelist who entitled a message “Why Your Dog Does what He Does” - many came out to hear the message having no idea what it was about, and it was about the nature of dog is the nature of a dog, it does what it does because it is a dog, if you changed the dog nature to that of a cat then it would have a cat nature. A man in fallen state does what a man in a fallen state does, it is his nature, we cannot change the nature, we need God to change the nature. A sinner behaves like a sinner for that is his nature
Psalm 51:5 NASB95
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
Paul elaborates on that in Rom7, but you can go read on that on your own.
We cannot change our fleshly nature, we cannot overcome the world or the devil we need God to do that, we need His help, it can only come from Him.
(Slide) C. The Person is Depraved (v.3b)
The sinner who is conformed to the world has his mind and his flesh depraved, his actions are sinful because his appetite is sinful. - now don’t read too deep into this, the sinful person, does not necessarily have to be evil, but in God’s standard falls short and cannot save themselves. The person cannot earn salvation. Even Jesus says the lost sinner does good to each other, but not to the standard of God.
Luke 11:13 NASB95
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Luke 11:13 NASB95
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Good works cannot save you, without God and His help through the blood of Christ you are doomed.
D. The Person is Doomed (v.3c)
By nature children of wrath , by deed children of disobedience, condemned already
John 3:18 NASB95
18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Judgment given, sentenced passed “condemned” but God, rich in mercy stayed the execution of the sentence
2 Peter 3:8–10 NASB95
8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
But God in his infinite mercy, abundant grace changed everything for he did work for us

II. God’s Work for Us

Whew, thought we would never get over the severity of the sinful man, we need to understand that so that we can understand what God has done (His work) for us . - A change happens here from the sinner to God, and what He has done.
(Slide) A. He loved us (v.4)
Ephesians 2:4 NASB95
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Rich in mercy, why? because His great love, because of His great love He loves us.
(Slide) Love for God is truth = God is faithful
(Slide) Love for God is Holy = God is just (shows justice)
(Slide)Love then equates out to = mercy and grace (vv.4, 7)
(Slide) Believe it or not, we are not saved by God’s love, but by His mercy and His grace because of His great love for us.
(Slide) B. He
(Slide) B. He quickens us (v.5)
Ephesians 2:5 KJV 1900
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
So what does quicken mean? It means He made us alive, even when we were dead in our sins. That means resurrection, for resurrections is someone that is dead being brought back to life.
Slide) Like widow’s son - Lk7:11-17
(Slide) Like Jarius’ daughter (Lk8:49-56)
(Slide) And like Lazarus (Jn11:41-46)
How were each of those made alive? By the Word of God
John 5:24 NASB95
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
We are made alive together with Christ and for Christ, we are united.
Ephesians 1:22–23 NASB95
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
One more thing on the Word it is powerful, it can bring the dead to life as in the cases mentioned but look at
Hebrews 4:12 NASB95
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The Word gets to the heart and soul of the matter.
(Slide) C. He exalts us (v.6)
We are not raised from the dead to stay in our graveclothes in the graveyard, we are made to be exalted in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Sure physically we are here but spiritually we are seated in the heavenlies with Him. Picture this, we like Lazarus have been invited and have accepted the invitation to sit with Jesus.
John 12:1–2 NASB95
1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
All this because of the riches of His mercy! - He keeps us alive
(Slide) D. He keeps us (vv.7-9)
More than rescueing us from the grips of hell he ha redeemed us with a purpose, that we might glorify God.
Ephesians 1:6 NASB95
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
The work God does for us is a finished work, there is nothing left to do, it was finished on the cross, sealed by His own blood and ratified when He rose from the dead. THen he gave us good gifts when he assumed His throne at the right hand of the Majesty on High and sent His Spirit.
Sin worked against us, God worked for us so then God can work in us.

III. God’s work in Us and through Us!

His work in us made us a new person according to 2Cor5:17 and his purpose to work in us is to make us more like Christ
Romans 8:29 NASB95
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Why? So we can do His will.
Philippians 2:13 NASB95
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
His work in us is perfecting us; some of the tools that are used in perfecting us are:
The Word (1The2:13)
Prayer (Eph3:20-21)
And Suffering (1Pt4:11-14)
God’s Word is active, alive and at work in us when we put His Word in us, as we study, as we meditate, as we read His Word. It cleanses us, purifies us, it nourishes us and then His Spirit empowers us and ministers to us in all things, including suffering, and suffering well hopefully that leads us back to the Word.
So like Lazarus had to get out of the graveclothes we need to be out of the graveclothes and get out of the graveyard for there is still work to be done.
God has to work in us before He can work through us
(Slide) John Calvin said “It is faith alone that justified, but faith that justifies can never be alone.”
WE cannot work our way into faith; we have faith that results in works according to James. There are different kinds of works.
(Slide - THIS IS ALL ONE Slide) Works of the Law (Gal2:16; 3:11)
Works of the flesh (Gal5:19-21)
Works of darkness (Rom13:12)
And dead works (Heb6:1)
But to the Christian who understands the riches of His Mercy and Grace His faith will result in good works
Matthew 5:16 NASB95
16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
What works
Philippians 1:20–21 NASB95
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Invitation) Good works is first receiving the good work from the One who is Good! He wants to work in you and through you, if you have not received Christ yet let His work by His Word that has been working on you, come and work in you by baptism so then He can work in you and through you!
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