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September 27, 2022 4:00 am
In a court might hear a lawyer demanding justice. Client today on Truth for Life Alastair big explains why we don't want to make that same demand in God's court. Continuing our study of the book of Ephesians were in chapter 2 and were focusing today on verses four through 10 will invite you to turn again to these opening verses of Ephesians 2 I find it helpful just to pay attention to the fact that our versus our virtually bracketed by one verb and that is the verb to walk in verse two, and that you will notice that in verse 10 God has good deeds prepared before hand that we should walk in them. That notion of walking is the reference of our way of life and it is an indication of the company that we keep and the way and the place in which we walk previously. He says you are walking in a different environment where you were submitting to a different master and you were understandably under the condemnation that follows, but now everything has changed. Paul is reminding his readers here that they want to listen to the voice of another. They were once walking out with another.
They were enjoying the company of another that prince of the power of the air, but all that has now changed. In verses 1 to 3 we saw that he's describing the way that we wear, we were dead we were enslaved and we were condemned to repeat this routinely and I do so purposefully. It's important for us to recognize what a radically different perspective. This is, namely the biblical divine perspective on man. The Bible is making it perfectly clear that man as man is not simply lost and in need of direction, nor is he just confused and in need of instruction or weak and in need of strength or sick and in need of medicine or unhappy and in need of joy. All those things are true, but rather he is dead and in need of life and the raising of the dead is the province of God and as he has shown his immeasurable power in raising Jesus from the dead.
Verse 19 of chapter 1, so he is showing now his immeasurable grace in what he has done for these individuals. We are now.
He says made alive, raised up, and seated. Pauses one more moment and remind ourselves of the fact of the story of the Bible is that we have been made for a relationship with God that we have chosen and we choose to live our lives without God that we are as a result, alienated from God and God is not in different to that fact.
Our alienation is two-sided from ourselves to him on account of arson from God to us, on account of his wrath. And the mystery of his grace is that in Jesus, God has reconciled sinners to himself that Jesus did not come to tell us what we need to do to try and make ourselves Christians. He came to save us, and to reconcile as to God that the testimony of genuine believing faith is as it is provided for us here in this section we one swear but now verse four, being rich in mercy, we move when we were dead in our trespasses have been made alive. We have been raised up, and we have been seated with him in the heavenly places. That is what God has done and we come now to ask the question of why has he done what he is done. And Paul essentially answers this with with four statements and I want you to notice them in turn.
Notice verse four but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us. Let's start than with the immensity of God's love. If you know the Bible at all. You know that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. The work of Jesus on the cross was not to coerce the father into granting something that he did not want to give nor was the work of Jesus on the cross reluctant engagement in that which the father had planned for the father the son and the Holy Spirit together working according to the eternal counsel of their will.
And although mercy comes first year in our verse for ticket first because it is from the fountain of God's love that the streams of mercy flow is out of the fountain of God's love is his love, which is the guy eating force of his mercy. Remember the Old Testament God says I will be and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy. Well, on what basis does he show mercy and to whom, on the basis of his life story is not cleanup. And God may have a place for you the story as you are completely unable to clean up.
And God reached down and washed you and raised you and made you knew and set you free. This is what he said is reminding these Ephesians from a Jewish background from a Gentile background United first at Christ United now with one another in order that in the unity of the purposes of God within his church, the world might look on and see what God does so in first his life. Why, on account of his love is great love, also backing up a phrase because he is rich in mercy is rich in mercy see mercy really doesn't mean very much unless you are in the dark. I mean if you and if you're sitting out in the courtroom observing at the act of mercy may be an observable feature. It may be something that we are interested in at arms length and relationship to the outcome of a trial.
But if we are justifiably condemned and if we await our sentence and instead of the execution being performed. We are set free on account of mercy than it is amazing you see mercy means nothing to us unless we understand our predicament. That is why the Bible is so very clear in the way it unfolds. This is why Paul writes, as he does. You were this you were you were dead, you will enslaved you were condemned by God, who is rich in mercy receipts. If you are here this morning and you are operating on the basis in relationship to your consideration of Christianity that runs along the lines of every other thing that you have ever got involved with. Then of course your whole life has been such that you are pretty well convinced that you have earned everything for yourself and that there is good reason for you to be in the state is that you're in the position that your and then you come up against the story of the death of Jesus on the cross to comments in order to deal with those who are dead, enslaved, and condemn as a light on the leg or possibly describe me. So you see it as a work of the Spirit of God that shows us first, what we are. That's why when we pray before we turn to the Bible together. We sometimes break make the move live to me oh Lord, show me your self within your word. Show me myself and show me my Savior the first he shows as our self. And then we stand before his mercy seat you don't want to ask for justice is not a good idea. You know the old chestnut about the fellows having his photograph taken for a brochure and he says to the photographer. A guy I want this photograph to do me justice and the photographer says will have a look at you for a bit.
What you require is mercy, not justice visitors.
There is no Photoshop that will be able to fix your miserable visitor you you are in need of great mercy.
That's why I got to stop.
Letty has that wonderful hymn recess begins a debtor to mercy along the debtor to mercy alone, and Thomas Goodwin that one of the Puritans says mercy comes first in this list. Here in verse four because it suits our condition we are in need of mercy.
But he says it doesn't is not because it was that attribute i.e. mercy out of which the initiative of God proceed, but rather that in calling us to himself. He purposed to display his love by way of mercy so his love is displayed in his mercy. Mercy causes a king to pardon a traitor, but only love will raise the traitor up to sit beside the king upon his throne, and what did we discover is true of us. He has not only made is alive. He has raised is with him and he is seated eyes beside on his throne.
Think about it again in terms of Luke chapter 15 of is helpful to is not the over heavy load of sin that brings the boy back of the road. It is the prospect of mercy, the prostrate of mercy.
He could've been aware of the fight that he was loaded down with sin and stay down there and the pigsty could need. He came to an understanding of his of the mess that he was in, but he prepared his speech while is in the pigsty. I will arise and I will go to my father and I will see to him, father, I've sinned against heaven and in your site and I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servant and he arose and came to his father but when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, why because he loved he loved you running from God you in your own little private pigsty this morning.
You're kinda air-conditioned pigsty you're very nicely tailored environment. God knows God loves God seeks God runs you see the Pharisee will never understand grace, the Pharisees, the other lost boy. He's the guy lost out in the field have been slaving for you all this time and you never gave me anything and this kid comes back and he made a royal mess of his life and now he gets a party. What can a deal is this. I'll tell you what can a deal it is.
It is the love of the father is the immeasurable wonderful grace and mercy of God's thirdly the immeasurable riches of his grace. Why has God done this. What is he done, he has quickened as he is raised as he is seated us. Why, because of his love.
Because of his mercy, because of the immeasurable riches of his grace. Verse seven wonderful pictures Nick Paulison of loading it up by mercy on account of his mercy. We don't receive what we deserve. On account of his grace we receive what we don't deserve. Grace is the undeserved favor of God. That's why we saying is that I cannot tell why human angels worship should set his love upon the sons of men, and what Paul is doing here is simply reinforcing the fact that all God has done he is done because he is gracious because he is working according to his own holy will. And that is displayed in his kindness towards us 1/4 thing in his kindness towards us in Christ Jesus you see how all of these things are in Christ.
That's why Calvin says. Remember that all that is been done for us in Christ is of no value to us.
So long as we remain outside of Christ. So like people standing outside of a building looking in and seeing all of the wonderful things unfolding within, but we have never entered in for ourselves. We have never actually come by faith to trust in the promises in the assurances that are given in the gospel. Maybe you this morning. I don't know, has his kindness brought you to repentance is kindness brought it to repentance. Remember when when your father and your mother when you went when you deserved a significant reinforcement of the principles of parental jurisdiction. They showed kindness to you, they showed kindness to you. All those tears where the biggest tears on my pillow far bigger than the tears that emerge from the stinging my tail that I knew I deserved this kindness. I did not do so, you see this picture for the love of God is broader than the measure of man's mind and the heart of the eternal is most wonderfully kind to you then, says Paul as he writes to the Romans do you show contempt for his kindness. How many times may I ask you, are you going to spurn his advances.
How many times are you going to hear his voice. How many more times do you plan on running the risk that you'll hear the gospel plea again. How many times will you withstand God in his amazing love in the vastness of his mercy in the riches of his grace and walk away. Today if you hear God's voice. Don't harden your heart. That's the insistent Bible call this net so let's summarize why, then, has God acted in this way, in salvation, on account of his mercy, his love, his grace is kindness. And in order that so that the purpose clause verse seven, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus, so another words he hears purpose and to have this gigantic cosmic show and tell. Okay.
And he's going to take if you like what he's been doing in time and revealed an eternity. The immensity of what he has done in putting together a people that are his very own from every tribe and nation in language and tong and so on so that this great display of God's magnificent glory will be such that the whole of creation will witness it week with we saying it in part, really, and that in the town and lyric there and that the whole of creation will be will join in this song. One day in the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father and on display in that day will be those whom he has redeemed he will he will bring them forward and say look that Christ will say father. These are those for whom I died.
And here they are. And the whole of creation will praise God is so wonderful.
You know somebody as John starts is that when he was when the principle of his college in Oxford.
I was retiring the painted a portrait of a very nice portrait and the man who was the recipient of the portrait said in a deferential human expression of humility, he said in years to come. When people view this picture they will not ask who is that man they will ask who painted that portraits can you see that six fact that it will be asking who are these people, there is a who did this and the answer is God did this he did this amazing in the coming ages. The whole universe is going to see what God is done. It is the immeasurable greatness of his power.
He says in chapter 1 that is raised Jesus from the dead, and in raising us from spiritual death. He is displaying the immeasurable riches of his grace Sinclair Ferguson are good friends that heaven is the final showroom and air is God's workshop as he paints on the canvas of our life's so we got all this funny faces and places, and all from different backgrounds and the work of God in us and through us to conform us to the image of his son, so that although we all come from different places and have had all kinds of different experiences. We are unified in this amazing reality and that brings us to verses eight and nine and 10, we can say a word about them. Everybody thinks they know them so well, we don't need to pay attention so was dangerous what he saying is the reason all of that praise belongs to God is because God alone is the author of our salvation by grace we have been saved from the death and the slavery and the condemnation that we considered in verses 1 to 3. How is this happened because of God's amazing grace. Grace is the cause, faith is if you like the conduit we bring nothing to our salvation except the sin from which we need to be saved. Salvation is not a transaction between God and us whereby he contributes grace and we contribute faith you'll notice in his language here. This is not your own doing this faith. It is the gift of God. Faith is our response, but it is not our contribution is our response. That's why again we saying I know not how the saving faith. To me he did in part 31. Why is how come I believe the stuff. How come when I sing this I mean, I know not how well is the grace of God will entirely dependent upon God for the capacity to embrace the gospel entirely depend upon God for the capacity to embrace the gospel. That makes sense, doesn't it. If we were dead or can you do if your dad absolutely nothing. So if your dad you will have to be made alive so that you might then be enabled to reach out the empty hands of faith and receive a gift from God, which is the gift of salvation. You will notice that salvation is an achievement of our own doing is a gift, nor is it a reward. As a result of the works that we've done in verse nine. If it where then there would be a basis for boasting. But in this wonderful balance that you find throughout the Bible. Although we are not saved by works. We are saved for works and what he saying in verse 10 is that our ongoing Christian living depends on God's grace our ongoing Christian living is is dependent upon God's grace all day every day. That's why when we sing we sometimes sing help me then to live a life that's dependent on your grace so you see that this workmanship that is created in Christ Jesus for good works. God has prepared that we should walk in them. The good deeds that he is prepared before hand as they are worked out in our life's are the very evidence of his grace, says Lenski. All the works are ready. The only await the living doers, and they are doing and Paul is going to go on from this point and that therefore verse 11 to point out that it is in the church now that God is providing a working model of his power, and of his grace. I think the real question with which we should finish. Is this. I am amazed by the grace of God. I'm I am amazed by the grace of God. None of us saved because of our redeeming qualities were saved because of measurable love mercy, grace and kindness of God listing to Truth for Life. That's Alastair Berg with a message titled saved by grace.
Some of us may have grown up in Christian homes, were we never questioned whether the Bible was true or not until something happened that made us wonder if everything we've always believed is actually true of the book 7 reasons to reconsider. Christianity is a perfect book to have on hand when those moments of doubt occur. The author provides well reasoned, but simple responses to many of the most common questions or challenges or arguments that are made against the Bible arguments that might creep into your own thinking you can request the book 7 reasons to reconsider Christianity. When you give a donation of Truth for Life.org/donate now what could be better than growing in faith, along with family and friends while but if you're growing in faith with family and friends while you're traveling together on a Mediterranean cruise. Alistair's gonna be the guest speaker on the deeper faith Mediterranean cruise.
It departs out of Rome at the end of August 2023. This is gonna be a great opportunity to learn from God's word.
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