Tag Archives: Ephesians 2

All Sin

The Message translation of 1 John 3:4, says that “sin is a major disruption of God’s order.” Sin is anything that is against God. We know that “everyone who sins is breaking God’s law.” God is holy and He cannot look at our sin. He has a beautifully orchestrated plan and He knows the best way. When we go against His will, we sin.

Note that the New Living Translation says that “ALL sin is contrary to the law of God.” All sin. It’s important to never get caught in the habit of labeling sin and deciding what sin is worse. Sin is sin. All sin is contrary to the law of God.

Today, remember that sin is anything that goes against God. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all need a savior (Ephesians 2:1). Remember that, “Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin.” He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Our debt has been paid in full, but this does not mean we should keep on sinning (Romans 6:15-16). Allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit guide you. Reach for the freedom that Jesus Christ offers and follow Him (Romans 6:17-18).

“Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” – 1 John 3:4 [NLT]

“All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.” – 1 John 3:4-6 [MSG]

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Ephesians Study: Our Cornerstone

[Ephesians 2:11-23]

Psalm 118:22 – stone rejected by the builders has become the head of the corner

Verse 12 —   At one time we were                               Through Christ we are

Separated                                                                 Brought Near

Without hope                                                          With Peace

  • Fellow citizens with the saints – Members of the household of God
  • Built on Foundation of Apostles & Prophets
  • Christ – Cornerstone – whole structure joined together into Holy Temple in the Lord – We are living stones to be united to & built up by the Cornerstone

 

Christ is a stumbling block to those without faith

Isaiah 8:14 – And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [ESV]

Parable of the Wicked Tenants – Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17

 

Christ is security to those who believe

Acts 4:11 – Built together into dwelling place for God by the Spirit – completeness & unity

Matthew 7:24-27 – built house on the Rock – hear words & act upon them – firm foundation

Isaiah 28:16 – Therefore the Lord GOD said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable. [HCSB] — Firm, Unshakable, Reliable

1 Peter 2:6 – those who trust in Him will never be put to shame – no shame

 

Follow up questions:

Read Isaiah 28:16. This verse describes the foundation of Christ as firm, unshakable, and reliable.

Take time to consider in your life…

  • How has Christ been firm?
  • How has Christ been unshakable?
  • How has Christ been reliable?

Read Psalm 118:22. This verse speaks of a stone that is rejected by the builders becoming the head of the corner, the Cornerstone. The Cornerstone holds in place all of the other stones. Consider what you have used to build up your house. Examine the pieces you used to build. Is Jesus the Cornerstone? What are some of the pieces you have been using to build? What do you need to do to get back to your foundation of Christ and allow Christ to be your Cornerstone?

Read Acts 4:11. Peter makes it clear that this cornerstone is Jesus Christ who was rejected by the Jewish leaders and crucified. If the stone is precious and sure to be laid as a cornerstone, why would it be rejected by the builders? Why did the Jewish leaders not accept Him? What can we learn from this?

Read 1 Peter 2:6. This verse says those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame. When have you felt shame in life? Why did you feel this shame? Why does the Bible promise that we will not be put to shame? How can you live this out?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Ephesians Study: God’s Workmanship

[Ephesians 2:1-10]

All you do is STRANGE and WONDERFUL (Psalm 139:14)

We are clay. You are the Potter. We are all the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8)

God is Rich in Mercy

  • By Grace saved through faith
  • Gift of God – not works – not fulfillment of Law’s demands least man boast

Because of Great Love for Us

  • Great
  • Wonderful
  • Intense

Even Loved us when Dead in Sin – He made us Alive with Christ

  • In fellowship with Christ – sit down together with Him in heaven
  • In union with Christ – raised together with Him
  • He gave us the very life of Christ Himself

We are His Workmanship

  • In Jesus Christ – recreated in Christ / born anew
  • For good worksfruit of faith / done for God’s glory
  • Prepared beforehand/ predestined / prearranged / made ready

GOD DOES THE MAKING AND THE SAVING – It is FINISHED!

I am accepted I am secure I am significant
I am God’s child (John 1:12) I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2) I am salt & light of earth (Matthew 5:13-14)
I have been justified through Christ (Romans 5:1) I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22) I am chosen & appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I am united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17) I am citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20) I am a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8)
I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:27) I can find grace & mercy in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) I am God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)
I am a saint (Ephesians 1:1) I am born of God; evil one cannot touch me (1 Jn. 5:18) I am God’s co-worker (1 Corinthians 3:9)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14) I can’t be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39) I am seated with Christ in heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)
I have access to God thru the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18) I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love & a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7) I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)

Bible Study Questions:

  • What was our condition before Christ?
  • What motivated God to save us? What does it mean to be saved?
  • What did God do even though we were dead in trespasses? How?
  • In verse 2:9, Paul speaks about salvation not being a reward for good things we have done. Why was this necessary? What is our part of the salvation process?
  • The passage speaks about good works that were prepared in advance. What does this mean? What does this mean for you? How is this different from what the world thinks of good works?
  • In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says that we are “God’s workmanship.” What does this mean to you? Why is it sometimes difficult to see yourself as such?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Sanctity of Life

We are Valuable. Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? [NLT]

We are God’s Creation. Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade. (Genesis 1 & 2)

We are His Masterpiece. He continues to mold us. We are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [ESV]

Proverbs 24:11-12 – Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? [ESV]

We each have responsibility to shine the light in this dark world – to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

REMEMBER: Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. (Romans 5:20)

If you have had an abortion and you asked for forgiveness, you have already been forgiven.

So what does the Bible say?

In the Bible, some were known in the womb. Some were sanctified in the womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” [NLT]

Isaiah 49:1 – “Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.” [NLT]

Galatians 1:15 – “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased” [NIV]

The word for prenatal and postnatal beings in the Bible – CHILDREN.

We also read about:

  • Jacob & Esau struggling in the womb
  • John the Baptist leaping for joy while in the womb and recognizing Jesus in Mary’s womb.

HE IS THE GIVER OF LIFE

Psalm 139:13-16 [NIV] – GOD KNITS TOGETHER; IT’S GOD’S WORK – NOT OURS

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

HE MADE US IN HIS IMAGE

  • Genesis 1:26-27 – Man is made in God’s image
  • Genesis 5:3 – When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. [NIV]
    • Seth was created in likeness of Adam.
    • Adam was created in likeness of….. GOD

Imago Dei (EE-ma-go Day) – Image of God is stamped on each of us.

HE VALUES LIFE

Genesis 9 – Capital punishment – murder in 1st degree

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God. (v. 5-6 NIV)

Exodus 21:22-25 speaks about punishment when pregnant woman is accidentally injured while people are fighting and a life is lost.

  • The Didache (Di-dah-kay) – Jewish instruction manual held that abortion was murder
  • Early church, Calvin, Luther, Edwards held that abortion was murder.

God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.

More Than A Story: Obedience

[The Vineyard Workers: Matthew 20:1-16]

Isaiah 1:19 – “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” [HCSB]

God uses EVERYONE obedient to Him – Peter asks “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME”?

“Then Peter chimed in, ‘We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?’ Jesus replied, ‘Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.’” – Matthew 19:27-30 [MSG]

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”- Matthew 20:15-16 [NIV]

1) This parable is not about salvation or eternal life

Salvation is not earned by works

Ephesians 2:8-9“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [NASB]

Titus 3:5-6He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” [NLT]

2) This parable is not about rewards for service

God rewards differently

1 Corinthians 3:8 – “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” [ESV]

LABORERS WHO BEGAN AT 6AM FAILED TO BE THANKFUL – SELF-SERVING ATTITUDE

We all will receive great rewards for following Jesus (see Revelation 22:12)

OBEDIENCE – act of obeying, words or actions denoting submission to authority, dutifulness

  • Obedience expresses faith in His wisdom and love. (Hebrew 11:6)
  • Obedience expresses hope in a future blessing. (Mark 10:29-30)
  • Obedience expresses love (John 14:15, 2 John 1:6)
  • Obedience glorifies God (Matthew 5:16)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In this parable, we read about a Landowner, Laborers, a work day, a Vineyard, and the end of the work day. What do you think these people/things represent?

Landowner –

Laborers –

Vineyard –

Day of work –

End of the work day –

2) Those who were hired last were unworthy of what they received. They were receiving a day’s wage despite working less than a day’s work. They were paid first. They were treated equally.

How does this resemble God’s grace?

What reminds us of our unworthiness?

3) Those who were hired first were paid last. It was their opinion that they were treated unfairly though they were paid an equal amount and given exactly what was agreed upon.

Why was it difficult for these workers to accept God’s grace towards others?

What made this an unfair transaction (from their vantage point)?

4) Before this parable, Peter asks what the disciples will gain for leaving everything behind. Jesus twice speaks of the Great Reversal. Those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first. It wasn’t about the difference of the reward. We should all be thankful.

How can we obey with an attitude of gratitude? What does this look like?

What should be our motivation of service?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Garments of Mercy

Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. They went against what the Lord commanded. They were deceived by the serpent and sin entered the world. Things were no longer the same. The serpent, who was “more crafty than any other,” got the couple to question, “Did God really say?” Suddenly they realized their nakedness and hid from the Lord.

With sin comes punishment. The Lord punished man, woman and the serpent. As we continue reading though, the Bible says that God made clothing for Adam and Eve. Despite what they had done, despite how they had disobeyed, God had mercy for them.

God is rich mercy. Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus: “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” (2:4-7 ESV). He made garments of mercy for Adam and Eve long ago, and He continued to pour out His mercy by wrapping us in garments of mercy through Christ Jesus.

“And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21 [ESV]

Slavery of Self-Reliance Outline

Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.

Slavery of Self-Reliance

Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value

Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained

The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things

The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery

The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves

God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection

  • God provides you meaning and purpose
    • Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
    • Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
  • God provides you security
    • Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
  • God provides you safety
    • Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
    • Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
    • Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
  • God provides you significance and worth and value
    • Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
    • Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
    • Ephesians 2:10 – “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” (NLT).

Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.

Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)

Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

Download Slavery of Self-Reliance Outline

Drip Drip Drip

As I said before, I recently moved. It has been quite an adventure. What I’ve found to be most interesting is the kitchen sink. The sink has a lot of great features. One can adjust the faucet to either run water or to sprinkle the water. There’s also a built in, removable cutting board. The issue I’ve been having involves the sink faucet dripping when I turn it off. I will finish dishes and walk away. Drip, drip, drip. I will get some water for coffee and hear it again. Drip, drip, drip. If I do not get it perfectly right, it drips. I have tried to learn exactly how this is done, but I’ve learned that I won’t always get it right. One has to slowly turn it off and center it just perfectly in the middle of the apparatus.

God is more understanding than my new faucet. He understands that we are not going to always get it right. He knows that we need a little grace, because we are sinners who fall short. The dripping of the faucet is irritating. Hearing it reminds me again and again that I turned the sink off wrong, that I wasn’t good enough. God doesn’t remind us of our faults. He does not tell us months down the road that we messed up while making a decision at work, or that we should have followed His plan instead of thinking we could do things our way.

God doesn’t tell us that we are not good enough. To God, we are the apple of His eye. We are His children, His inheritance, His friend. We are citizens of heaven. We are hidden with Christ in God. We are saints. We are the workmanship of God. We are a temple of God. He looks at us with love, showers us with love, and He wants nothing but the very best for us.

We all have bad habits of not showing ourselves grace. We are taught by society to see the flaws, and people are usually quick to help us notice them by pointing them out. The devil does his best to constantly whisper to us the long list as well. We end up upset, irritated, depressed, tired, rundown, bitter, sad, angry, and hurt all because we are not “good enough.” Today, show yourself some grace. Understand that you are a work in progress and God is with you every step of the way. You are not always going to do it right, but God loves you. The only dripping you will hear is from the devil and society. Keep pressing forward, allowing His Spirit to guide you, and rest in His love, where there is no sound of dripping.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as 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 so that we would walk in them.”
– Ephesians 2:8-10 [NASB]