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What Has God Done For Us Ephesians 1: 15-23; 2:1-15 Ephesians 2:6-22; 3:1-11 Four Steps to Power
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Ephesians 2:6-22; 3:1-11

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[This 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."

"We're 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). So we 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, hell.

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.

So it's 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.

Conclusions here? Verse 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." Now by 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 yourselves." 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."

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