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Friday, October 10, 2008

God's Amazing Grace

Ptr. Peter Tanchi / Sunday, September 28, 2008
CCF St. Francis Square, Philippines

The Bible always talks about what God has done for us first before it tells us what He wants us to do for Him. The focus is God's grace first and our obedience as the by-product. The first three chapters of Ephesians talk about our wealth in Christ or what God has done for us and the last three chapters talk about our walk or what God wants us to do.

I. God’s Amazing Plan

God's amazing plan is to exalt Christ over the whole world. Jesus is the King of Kings and has authority and power over all. Ephesians 1:22 says, all will submit to Christ, including governments, evil forces, even Satan.

Jesus is God's gift to the church. Ephesians 1:23 defines the church as Christ's body. The word "church" comes from the Greek word "ecclesia," which means “called out” or “chosen people.” Throughout the New Testament, the word "ecclesia" is used to refer to the community of believers who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Hence, the church refers to a select group of people and not a building or edifice.

Ephesians 1:1 addresses the church as “saints” which means a special people set apart from the rest. It needs to be connected to the Head, which means believers must have a relationship with Christ. When you raise your hand or wiggle your toes, your body is following orders from the brain. To have a relationship with Christ is to obey what He says. The church is also Christ's representative on earth. God wants to use the church to have His love, care and wisdom known to the world and to authorities in the heavenly places.

II. Man’s Awful Dilemma

However, we have problems that cannot be addressed with superficial solutions. But problems go much deeper. If you do not understand the real problem, you cannot prescribe the right solution.

Ephesians 2:1-2 shows us that our real problem is sin. We are dead to sins and trespasses, hence, we have no appetite for the things of God. A person who is spiritually dead follows the values of this world by seeking security in pride, position and possessions. This is in accordance to the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, Satan (Ephesians 2:2). Satan’s strategy is to lie by saying, “All religions are okay for as long as you are sincere.” But Jesus tells us, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” No religion can save us. A dead person cannot change for the better on its own. Sin or “hamartia” means to miss the target. It is not merely committing an offense, but it is also not doing what we are supposed to do. The problem with sin is we fail to realize we are full of it. Satan perverts what is good and makes it sinful. Eating is good but when you overeat you become a glutton. Sex was invented by God and in the context of marriage, it is wonderful. But when you allow this drive to be your master, it becomes sinful.

Sin is disobedience and rebellion against our loving God. Ephesians 2:3 calls unbelievers “children of wrath.” There are more verses on the wrath of God than on the love of God. The Bible says, you "are storing up wrath for yourself" (Romans 2:5) when you refuse to change. Because God is holy and righteous, He will deal with sin. Revelation 6:16-17 speak about the last prayer of people who refuse to repent or take their sinful condition seriously: "They said to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?'”

III. God’s Amazing Solution

The solution came from the heart of God who is rich in mercy and great in love (Ephesians 2:4-5). We were all rebels against God and dead in our sins, but Jesus died for us and so "having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." (Romans 5:9). By the blood of Jesus, we are declared not guilty and saved from the wrath of God. We deserve to die as sinners but Jesus took our place. He shed His blood and rose again so that He can give us life.

God not only has given us life but He also seated us in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Today, spiritually, we are seated with Christ. Since that speaks of authority and position, hence when we pray, we must do so with authority.

In the Greek language, the phrase “you have been saved” is in the past perfect tense. It is a certainty. It happened in the past and has a continuing effect. We can be sure of receiving God’s amazing solution because of grace. It is not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

People try to go to heaven through good works. But since spiritually we are dead to sin, no amount of good works will save us. The only way to go to heaven is through the grace of God. And once we are saved, God wants us to be involved in good works. However, you will never experience the saving grace of God until it is activated by faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith,” (Ephesians 2:8). Until you are willing to repent and turn your life to Jesus, you will not see the transforming power of God’s grace. When you give your life to Jesus and take that step of faith, you will know and experience the unfathomable riches of Christ!


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