is a sermon transcript of Pastor Joe Focht of Calvary Chapel
of Philadelphia, http://www.ccphilly.org.] "Father we thank you for your Word, we thank
you for the opportunity we have to come together and worship
and study and travel through the Scripture.
But we know all of this is a means to an end, in
a sense. Lord we pray that all of this would be creating
a greater reality in our personal relationship with you,
that your Word, Lord, would do its work within our
hearts and as we worship we would come in Spirit and truth.
And as we fellowship, Lord, we would think about
those around us and how we might encourage them and stir
up their faith. Lord, please be with us as we travel through
these high places, as it were, in the book of Ephesians,
and certainly areas that you alone understand the value
and the beauty of. Lift our hearts Lord, that we might be encouraged.
We know we would be foolish to begin without coming
to you and Father we pray in Jesus Name, Amen."
Ephesians 2:5-22, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath [he] quickened
us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in ages to come
he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness
toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and
that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works,
lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we
should walk in them. Wherefore
remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh,
who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the
Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time
ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth
of Israel, and strangers from the
covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in
the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were
far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and
hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of
commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself
of twain one new man, so making peace;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one
body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. And came and preached peace to you which were
afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit
unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household
of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner
stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth
unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded
together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
in Ephesians chapter 2.
We left off in verse 5, chapter 2.
We might as well begin to read from the beginning
of the chapter down to there. Paul says "And you
hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
wherein in time past you walked, according to the course
of this world, according to the prince of the power of the
air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,
among whom we all had our conversation (our manner of living,
conduct) in times past, in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling
the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature
the children of wrath, even as others" (Ephesians 2:1-5).
said that Paul was telling us that in times past we were
dead in trespasses and sins, we were under the influence
of the world, the flesh, the devil, the course of this present
age, the prince of the power of the air, the lust of our
own flesh. He really
describes the arena that we existed in.
And again, that was not realized, of course, by us.
We at that point in time in our lives pursued the things that worldly people
pursued, not realizing that they were not really choices
that we were making, but things that were handed to us on
the menu--the type of music that we would listen to, the
type of clothes that we would wear, the standards that we
would adopt, between peer pressure and styles, the course
of this present world, the age and society we live in, the
morals that are around us, Satan's influence in all of those
things--and then of course the desires within our own flesh
agreeing with so much that was handed to us--we were in
a state of being lost in trespasses and sins, it says, "by
nature children of wrath" we were headed for damnation,
Then he brings in this great phrase, "But God".
He's telling us, of course, of God's work now. The fact that we were saved by grace, because
of the degree of hopelessness that we lived in, and the
inability of ourselves, he says, "But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were
dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by
grace are ye saved), and hath raised us up together, and
made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
that in ages to come he might show the exceeding riches
of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus"
(verses 4-6). Now what he says is that our salvation,
again, came because of God's very nature, 'God who is rich
in mercy, and wherein the great love wherein he loved us
while we were yet sinners' the very nature of God--mercy,
love, grace--we're saved by grace, he says that the first
thing that lends itself to our salvation, we need to be
saved by grace because of how lost we were, was the very
nature of God. Secondly, it was God's action, it was God who
was the one who quickened us, he's the one who made us alive-we
were dead in trespasses and sins.
He made us alive, and more than that, he made us
to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Again, hard for us to imagine the implications
of that as we sit here this evening, what that means. And remember these first three chapters again,
are from God's perspective.
Again, some folks say, that we can be so heavenly
minded that we're no earthly good.
But Paul evidently feels its important to be heavenly-minded. But before he tells us about being earthly good
he tells three chapters of things that are, as far as I'm
concerned, fairly heavenly-minded.
Being chosen from the foundation of the world, being
pre-destined, being called, being saved by grace--I mean
as he goes through these things it's
obvious Paul's pretty heavenly-minded.
And with the life that he experiences, it's obvious
why. So it was God's action whereby we were quickened
and he's the one through his own work that has caused us
to be seated in heavenly places.
And again, take note in Hebrews chapter 1 that it
says there that Christ, after he hath put away sin once
and for all, after he had cleansed us with his own blood,
he sat down at the right hand of power.
Very significant in the book of Hebrews, obviously,
the book was written to Hebrews [Messianic Jewish believers],
(that's why it's called 'Hebrews'), and the book will portray
Jesus Christ as our high priest, and a better priesthood
of Melchizedek, and it's interesting that it starts out
by telling us he sat down, and again, as you study the tabernacle, and beginning in Exodus 25 you
read through (by the time you get to the end of Exodus you
don't want to know any more about cubits), and it's interesting,
you read through what is an in-depth description [of the
temple or tabernacle, which the temple was patterned after].
But there are no seats or benches described anywhere
[except the mercy seat, which was for God alone]. Because
the high priest was never allowed to sit down, his work
was never complete, it was always the evening and morning sacrifice. And Hebrews tells us that because the blood
of bulls and goats could never take away sin, it was a continual
work that he (the physical high priest) had to do.
And the description of Solomon's temple, the same
thing, there's never a seat described, that he had.
But Jesus Christ, it says, after he dealt with sin
once, sat down. And he's at rest--he completed the work, it's
never to be added to. So,
interestingly, God sees us, in other words we were in Christ
on the cross 2,000 years ago, in the sense that he bore
all of our sins, past, present and future, so we're dead
in Christ, we died in Christ, that was effective in our
lives, we were participants in the sense that we contributed
sin to the death of Christ 2,000 years ago.
So we were part of that. And then we were quickened and made alive in
him, where he died for our sins, was raised for our justification,--and
then it says that we are now seated in heavenly places, and yet
how many of us still wrestle with the issue of sin that
has been settled once and for all, and from God's perspective
he sees us in Christ seated, that we don't have to wrestle
on our end to deal with sin any more--it was a once-and-for-all
sacrifice. And it
was put away, once and for all.
That's God's action.
by God's nature that we're saved, by God's action. And then finally he says "For the purposes of
God", and of course, this reaches into the new heavens and
new earth, and the ages to come.
And I believe personally, if you study the Scripture,
that even then we'll still be--and he says--he'll still
be revealing his mercy and his grace.
Let's look at verse 7, "that in the ages to come",
now it's God's purpose, obviously too, that we're saved
by grace, he initiated. Here's his purpose. "That
in the ages to come" and the Greek indicates 'coming', like wave after wave
after wave after wave. And
I think God's trying to describe to our finite minds the
idea almost of timelessness. "And the
ages to come", wave after wave after wave after wave after wave of ages that will
come, in those ages "that he might show (or might be showing) unto us the exceeding riches
of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus." So the idea is that there is a greater
glory that Christ will enjoy because we were saved by grace--by
God's very nature, by God's very action and by God's purpose. "That in ages to come", and to me that means
'after we're there for billions of years, even though there
won't be time [if we're living on a physically re-made earth
and universe within the "time-space" realm or continuum,
there will be time. But
we will also experience God's realm outside of the "space-time
continuum" as well, stepping into and out of space-time
as he does--we'll have that ability.
What does Revelation 21:1-21 tell us?]
We're trying to talk about an idea here, that we
will still be learning, about his grace and his mercy.
We will still not have comprehended infinite grace
and infinite mercy, because we will always be created, never
be infinite. As the
angels in heaven are created beings, God is the one who
created us and made us, we owe our life and existence to
him. And we will
always be finite, much improved, and he will always be infinite.
Even in the ages to come, we will still be 'being
conformed into His image and likeness', never arriving,
always approaching, always learning, always seeing something
in him, after we're there billions of years, that we had
never seen before because there is no end to him, he's infinite.
So in the ages to come, God's purpose, that he may
be revealing things to us about his mercy and grace expressed
through Christ, to the glory of Christ. So God's purpose is involved in this. Now you got to see, Paul is so heavenly minded.
To me he's lots of earthly good, I like to read this stuff.
8, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not
of yourselves, it [this faith and grace] is the gift of
God, not of works lest any many should boast."
the way, if you're in Bible school or you're raking over
these things in the original language, there's a controversy
here where scholars set up their own camps, and they're
divided with this word here "that" [in "and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."]. Now I've got a king James, which says "for by
grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of
Your translation may say this.
Well right there is where they get all snagged up. Imagine this amazing chapter that we're reading,
and they get all bungled up on the word "that"!? Because they say the gender is neutral and can't
refer back to faith because it's feminine and so is saved
and grace and they got this whole thing there.
So some scholars, even great scholars have said,
'Well then what it means is God contributes the grace and
you contribute the faith and kind of like we're partners
in salvation because of our great cooperation we're going
to get there, which is ridiculous.
Calvin, I believe, had it right when he said 'The
idea is by grace you are saved through faith and that--the
word that is speaking of both grace and faith'--you
know, let me tell you something, that's what drives me crazy
about Greek scholars and Hebrew scholars, and you read these
guys, they don't even agree with each other!
I think, 'Lord, should I really give my life in the
pursuit of this? Because if I read Lindski or Weist or Vencant
or Alford or Robertson, and I do, they don't agree with
each other, or Hendstonburg, and you know, they get so smart,
they destroy simple faith. And I'm convinced,
personally, that I've got the book the way God wanted me
to have it, right here.
And people say, 'Well, the king James Bible, it's
so antiquated, it's got these funny words, these thee's
and thou's and all this stuff.'
Let me tell you something.
When they started to do English
translations when Wycliff did it from Latin he had to invent
English phrases because there were no phrases in the English
language to communicate certain ideas that were in the Latin. When Tyndale translated from Greek into English,
from the eastern text, he had to invent English phrases
to convey ideas that were in the Greek language.
And when the king James Bible, when you have Tyndale's
translation in 1537, when you have the king James Bible
printed in 1611 you have a Bible that's handed to a Victorian
[Shakespearian] antiquated English speaking world, and the
book was antiquated the day they opened it because there
were phrases in there they didn't understand, because it's
heaven's English. It's not 16th century English, it
was heaven's English, there were phrases in there they had
never laid eyes on before.
And it amazes me to read through a passage like this
that starts by saying "we were dead in trespasses"--now
have you tried to talk to a dead man?--If you do, you're
in sin because the Bible forbids it, to go to a medium or
be involved with speaking to the dead.
Did you ever go to the cemetery and slap somebody
around and say 'Come on, I'm trying to communicate something
to you? [laughter]
Well, that's what it says, 'We're dead in trespasses
and sins', we had no capacity to hear anything spiritually,
we had no capacity to see anything
spiritual, that's what it says. We were suppressed by the flesh and the devil,
and were by nature children of wrath.
But God saved us by grace.
And yet some of these guys [scholars] want to get
in there something bad, 'Well OK, God contributed the grace,
I contribute the faith.' We're dead in trespasses and sins, read the
chapter! Did you
[scholars] just read the word 'that'!?!--and
get stuck there? And then God takes the trouble to say in
the next verse "not of works lest any man should boast" because he didn't want to hear
you bragging about that.
In fact, the Greek is "not of works lest any man
ever should boast." Imagine
going to heaven and having some guy there saying 'Well,
you know, God provided the grace and I provided the faith,
I mean I made a reasonable evaluation of the fact that I
was dead in trespasses and sins, I figured I'm dead, I'm
here, I can't hear, I can't see, I'm dead, I was suppressed by
the world and the devil, and I realized that if I would
believe, then all of my sins would.'
Now who wants to listen to that forever?
You know, one of the nice things about [being in
the kingdom of] heaven is people won't be talking about
themselves there, they'll be talking about Jesus [Yeshua],
we don't have to listen--imagine
having to listen to that for eternity? They'll have to have a special place for those
people, far away, you know.
And you know what?
Look, there are plenty of places in the Bible that
put the responsibility on man to believe. But I'm not going to take Ephesians chapter
2 and ruin it just because I want to be a knuckle-head and
show how smart I am. This really seems to be telling us that we had
nothing to do with it, God did it all.
And I like that.
And when I get to heaven he can have all the glory.
In fact, if I get to heaven, he will!
You know what
I mean? [laughter] That's why the plan works so well. "Saved
by grace, through faith", that whole process, salvation by grace through faith, not of yourselves-that,
that whole sentence, not of yourselves, "not of works, lest any man should boast,"--reason--"for we are his workmanship." (It's
going to talk about works in verse 10.)
"We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."(verse 10). Now those
are his works through you, not yours,
let's get it straight. Don't
start bragging right there again, because we just stopped
you from bragging. And
it says 'we're created in Christ Jesus,'
it's the, the "created" there is the Greek
equivalent of the Hebrew word "bara" which means "create
something from nothing."
So don't say "yes, we're his workmanship created
in Christ, you know, of course good works, look at the material
you have to work with.", no, no, it says "created from nothing." That's us, that was
your contribution, nothing, you were nothing, dust balls. "Not of works, lest any man
should boast." Not
your works, that got you there.
This whole process, when we stand
in heaven [or the kingdom of heaven--which will end up on
earth, cf. Rev. 21:1-21]--all of the glory will go to Jesus
Christ. And it says 'For we are his workmanship, created
from nothing, in Christ Jesus.'
It says "unto good works."
Now notice, "which
God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." The remarkable thing about this
plan is he saves us when we can't save ourselves-no man
comes unless the Father draws him [John 6:44, 65], Jesus
says. He comes, saves
us out of the world, gives us life, turns on the light,
wakes us up, cleans us up, shapes us up, puts us in Christ,
does a work through us, and
then when we get to heaven, he rewards us for the good stuff
he did through us. You cannot beat this program! That's why it's called the gospel, the Good
News. And how long
have we sat in churches and feel like, you know, you leave
after Sunday morning services and feel like it wasn't good
news, it was bad news? You
already know a thousand and one things you need to be doing
that you're not doing, why don't you
go back to church next week and find out one thousand and
two things you need to be doing that you're not doing.
I get beat up by Satan all week, why do I need to
go to church on Sunday [or Saturday] morning and get beat
up by the minister? What
a remarkable statement.
It says, because of all this, our salvation, by God's
grace, because we are his workmanship, again
the word poema. We get "poem" from it, obviously. It speaks in the Greek of expression, it can
be in the sense of music or poetry, we
are God's expression. It's
only used in one other place in the New Testament and that's
Romans 1:20, where it says "that the invisible things of
God can be known through the things that are made"--that
word "made--poema", "even his eternal power and Godhead." So, what it's saying there is that unsaved people
can't claim to be an agnostic or an atheist because there's
enough of God revealed in creation, that every man has to
admit something's going on out there--there must be a Divine
Being [that made all this we see around us, not to mention
the vast Universe]. It
doesn't say that Jesus Christ and the gospel are revealed,
but it says, God's eternal power and his Godhead are revealed
in creation. Anybody
who has a brain, who is willing to admit it, sees order. Wildersmith, when he was here, Dr. Wildersmith
said, he talks of Carl Sagen and these guys, and they get
all these grants and funds for their radar telescopes and
spend millions of dollars listening for signals from outer
space. And if they
should pick up a signal, then they have evidence that there's
intelligent life outside of our world.
Now the criteria for a signal is
if they pick up a pattern, a continued pattern, that means
there's intelligent life somewhere else.
Wildersmith told me, he said, "I told Sagen, 'Look,
trade in your radar telescopes for an electron microscope,
come with me into the lab, and look at the helix in the
DNA, and I will show you sequences that are digital codes
that prove that there's outside intelligence.'"
But they won't hear about it.
They are willingly ignorant, the Bible says, because
it says "God expressed enough of himself to man through
the things that are made, but now since Christ has come
and the church has come into existence, now you are God's "Poema" [expression] to a lost world."