RSS

Category Archives: ephesians 2

Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 6: What God Has Done for Us!)

In this final post on Ephesians 2, we want to conclude our study in preparation for Sunday School at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on February 3rd.  We’ve seen in this passage that we are to remember what we were as Gentiles.  Like the Ephesians believers, these truths were and are applicable to us (before our conversion):

But let’s move on in the text and notice what God has done about our LOST condition!

It helps me to see these actions of God in a kind of chart form.  Each of the following expressions merit discussion, but our purpose here is to simply list what God has done for us Gentiles in Christ!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

Tags: , , , ,

Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 5: Remembering What We Were!)

I will also be teaching Sunday School at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on February 3.  The assigned section for that class is Ephesians 2:11-17.  Let’s look at that text carefully for a few posts.

You may have heard about the old gentleman who said, “My problem is not my memory.  My problem is my FORGETTER!”  We forget a lot, don’t we?  Here in Ephesians 2 Paul reminds his readers to REMEMBER!

1.  They are to remember who they were before they were saved!  Here’s a brief chart of that series of descriptions —

We need to be reminded that God established a covenant, not with a mighty and powerful nation, but with the small people group later called “Israel.” He chose them out of His mercy.  He became their God!  And the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12) clearly specified that through that nation all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles and attract others to the living and true God!

But Israel failed in many ways.  It fell into idolatry; it worshiped other gods; it presumed upon its relationship with God, thinking it had a monopoly on His favor.

The Gentiles were those outside the nation of Israel, loved by God yes, but they needed to learn of God through God’s covenant people Israel.

These Ephesian believers, Paul reminds them, were uncircumcised Gentiles by birth, not part of God’s covenant with Israel, and were “without hope and without God in the world” (v. 12).  What sad words!  And they are described as their being “once far away” (v. 13).

Unless you or I are Jewish, my friend, that’s an apt series of descriptions of us!  Aren’t you glad for the salvation that God has provided for us?

Prayer for today:  “Lord, please remind me of where I was before Christ stepped into my life.  Disengage my ‘forgetter,’ Lord.  Thank You for becoming my hope and my God.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 11, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

Tags: , , , ,

Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 4: WHAT DIFFERENCE THAT OUGHT TO MAKE!)

There seems to be one more area of emphasis here in Ephesians 2:1-10 that we need to think about.  We have already seen —

1. That in our B.C. (before Christ) condition, we were DEAD in our transgressions and sins.

2. But we lived AS ZOMBIES! Even though we were dead, we used to live in our sins, following the ways of this world (v. 2).

3. We not only followed the world’s ways, we followed the DEVIL, “the ruler of kingdom of the air” (v. 2).

4. We lived among those “who are disobedient.” But we didn’t just live among them. We sought to “gratify the cravings of our flesh and to follow its desires and thoughts” (v. 3).

5. And we were, “like the rest, by nature deserving of wrath” (v. 3). We get a repeating of our B.C. condition in verse 5 that God made us alive with Christ “even when we were dead in transgressions” (v. 5).

Wow! Talk about bad news! But we then noticed what God did about our B.C. condition. He acted out of His character (the words in red) which involved “his great love” (v. 4). He is also “rich in mercy” (v. 4) and and rescued us out of “his kindness” (v. 7). That’s the character of our God!

What did God do for us?  He “made us alive with Christ” (v. 5); He “raised us up with Christ” (v. 6); He “seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms” (v. 6); and He saved us — an action described as “the gift of God” (v. 8).

NOW — what difference ought God’s actions in our lives make?
1. He saves us to “show the incomparable riches of his grace” (v. 7).  We are now display cases set before the world of God’s saving work!
2.  We are to testify that it is NOT by our works that we have been saved.  We are not to boast in ourselves or our efforts, but in Him who saved us! (v. 9).
3. We’ve got WORK to do!  Even though our works contribute ZERO to our salvation, God has “prepared in advance” works for us to do (v. 10). 

Here’s a brief chart which might help us understand how we relate to our works — and to His!

In our next post we will begin to look at Ephesians 2:11-17 (our Sunday School lesson for Feb. 3).

Today’s Prayer:  “Lord, I get so confused about the place of my works in my life.  Please help me see that they play no part in my salvation, but are very important in my sanctification!  Please give me opportunities to do good today.  In Your name.  Amen.”

 

 

 

 


 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 10, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

Tags: , , ,

Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 3: WHAT HE DID FOR US!)

Thinking about Sunday School class at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on January 27, we’re working on Ephesians 2:1-10.  We have already noticed the following:

1. In our B.C. (before Christ) condition, we were DEAD  in our transgressions and sins.

2. But we lived AS ZOMBIES!  Even though we were dead, we used to live in our sins, following the ways of this world (v. 2).

3. We not only followed the world’s ways, we followed the DEVIL, “the ruler of kingdom of the air” (v. 2).

4.  We lived among those “who are disobedient.”  But we didn’t just live among them.  We sought to “gratify the cravings of our flesh and to follow its desires and thoughts” (v. 3).

5.  And we were, “like the rest, by nature deserving of wrath” (v. 3).  We get a repeating of our B.C. condition in verse 5 that God made us alive with Christ “even when we were dead in transgressions” (v. 5).

Wow!  Talk about bad news! But let’s notice what God did about our B.C. condition.  Note His character (the words in red):  We read of “his great love” (v. 4), that He is “rich in mercy” (v. 4), and of “his kindness” (v. 7).  That’s the character of our God!

Let’s look at the expressions describing what God did for us:

1. He “made us alive with Christ” (v. 5).

2.  He “raised us up with Christ” (v. 6).

3.  He “seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms” (v. 6).

“Hmmm. Whatever should I do with this GIFT?”

4.  He saved us — an action described as “the gift of God” (v. 8).

In our fourth (and final) post on this text, we will ask what difference ought God’s actions in our lives make?

Prayer:  “Lord, thank You for telling me the truth about what I was B.C.  And thank You for Your character of love and mercy and kindness that saved me.  Please help me today to live in light of all that You have done for me through the Lord Jesus!  In His name.  Amen.”

 

 

 


 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 9, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

Tags: , , ,

Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 2: WHAT WE WERE!)

We are thinking about Sunday School class at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on January 27.  The passage will be Ephesians 2:1-10 and we have already noticed the following:

1. If we think about WHAT WE WERE B.C. (before Christ), verse 1 says we were “dead in [our] transgressions and sins.” The word “transgression” (παράβασις) literally means “a going aside, overstepping, deviation” and comes from two words meaning “contrary” and “to go.”

We were dead in our overstepping, our deviation, from God’s laws!

2.  We were also “dead . . . in [our] SINS (v. 1). The term “sin” is the common word ἁμαρτία and is used 173 times in the New Testament and indicates “wrongdoing, any act contrary to the will and law of God, offense.”  Let’s continue noticing that —

3.  Dead men don’t live, do they?  But our text says that, even though we were “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” — we used to live [in them] when we followed the ways of this world! (v. 2).  Zombie living — that’s what I call it!  We lived in our transgressions and sins — even when we were dead!

4.  And we usually don’t think that dead men FOLLOW anyone or anything!  They are dead.  But the text says we “followed the ways of the world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (v. 2).  We not only followed WAYS — we followed a PERSON!  Who is that person?  He is called “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” and “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (v. 2).  That’s none other than SATAN!

Jesus spoke often of the devil and once said to the religious leaders, “You aren’t following your father Abraham — you belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).

It is a sobering truth that each of us comes into this world, not as children of God, but as children of the Evil One.  And only the GOSPEL can rescue us “from the dominion of darkness and [bring] us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13).

Today’s Prayer:  “Father, thank You for the sobering truth of my BEFORE CHRIST condition.  Teach me not to follow the ways of the world or give any of my allegiance to the Evil One!  I praise You for rescuing me from my transgressions and sins!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

 


 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 8, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

Tags: , , ,

Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 1: WHAT WE WERE!)

Friends: My next trip to work with Cedarcroft BIble Chapel is fast approaching.  I will speak both Sundays (Jan. 27 and Feb. 3), as well as teach two Sunday School classes.  For the two Sunday School classes I’ve been asked to cover Ephesians 2.  What a great chapter!

The first Sunday, January 27, is to cover Ephesians 2:1-10.  Let’s look at that text carefully this morning:

Here are some preliminary notes that I’ve taken on this incredible passage:
1. I’ve experimented a bit with colors.  The BLUE represents what we were B.C. (before we trusted Christ as our Savior).  The RED stands for what the Lord did for us.  The GREEN what impact His actions had or is having in our lives.
2. Let’s think about WHAT WE WERE B.C.  Verse 1 says we were “dead in [our] transgressions and sins.”  The word “transgression” (παράβασις) literally means “a going aside, overstepping, deviation” and comes from two words meaning “contrary” and “to go.”

Let’s think about this term TRANSGRESSIONS:  It is used 7 times in the NT: Rom. 2:23 (a breaking of the Law); 4:15 (where there is no law, there is no transgression); 5:14 (a reference to Adam’s transgression) (the Law was added because of transgressions); Gal. 3:19; I Tim. 2:14 (Eve was deceived and fell into transgression); Heb. 2:2 (every violation and every disobedience received its just punishment); and Heb. 9:15 (for the redemption of the transgressions/sins committed under the first covenant.

We were dead in our overstepping, our deviation, from God’s laws!  But, thank God!, those transgressions can be redeemed by the Lord!

Let’s think about the term SINS (v. 1).  The term “sin” is the common word ἁμαρτία and is used 173 times in the New Testament and indicates “wrongdoing, any act contrary to the will and law of God, offense.”  We were DEAD in our transgressions and sins!  Some of us haven’t attended our own spiritual funerals, have we?  We must acknowledge our demise in our sins.

We have interesting ways of describing someone’s death in our culture, don’t we?  They have “passed away,” “passed on,” or simply “passed.”  More colloquially, they have “bought the farm.” People need to realize that before God and before they trust Christ as their Savior, they are DEAD!  They have nothing to offer the Lord.  If they are to be saved, that saving action will have to come from outside themselves!

Prayer for Today:  “Lord, please refresh my mind with Your truth. I need to be reminded of my previous condition of deadness before You.  Thank You for doing what needed to be done to save me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

 


 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 6, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

Tags: , , ,