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                Ephesians Sermon Series                                          Ephesians 2:8                          Sermon #6  Posted 11/3/20 

Ephesians 2:8  Sermon #6-91911  (RW-11320)


                                The Grace to be Saved
        I began this last week reading and praying about this week’s sermon and as the days went on it became apparent that today’s sermon would be drawn from verse 8 of Ephesians 2. Actually the next 2 or 3 sermons may be drawn from verse 8. The more I studied and prayed I was enlightened to the fact that there is too much in this verse to fit it in 1 sermon; no matter how long I preach past noon.  :>)
Let’s begin;   

 Ephesians 2:8
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:


Let’s Pray; Heavenly Father as we seek your face in this glorious day that you have made, open our hearts Lord to see and hear the truth in your word. Bless those that have set this day aside for you Lord. In Jesus name we pray; AMEN.


   The title of today’s sermon is The Grace to be Saved.        Most of you know by now I am a word person. When it comes to scripture I want to know the best and fullest definition of a word or phrase in the original Hebrew or Greek language. This has opened the word of God up to me and has made me to want to know more. Truly the work of God’s Spirit in me. I can assure you that on my own I would not even have the slightest desire to study or learn so much material.                                                       

I want you to remember what I just said because that is what the Grace to be Saved is about. 
Usually when I begin my studies (after prayer for understanding and guidance) I pull out my Greek and Hebrew dictionaries and look for the definition that best describes the word in use. 
    Here is what I found that went far beyond the usual “unmerited favor toward us” definition of the word Grace.                             

Blue Letter Bible Def.  --of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.


      In our last sermon it was made clear that Dead is Dead. Because of the sin of Adam, we inherit that sin and are unworthy to be in the presence of God. Without Faith in the finished work of Christ on the Cross and His death and resurrection we will die in our sins and face judgment and eternal separation from God. Unless we change our ways, change our thoughts, have a change of heart we cannot be saved.                                                  
 But the Bible says that the thoughts of men’s hearts are evil continually.                                                                                 Genesis 6:5                                                                                            And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.                                                   
You see because of sin there is no good in us.                                                Isaiah 64:6
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.


But God in the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus has made it possible for us to draw near to Him. How?------------By His Grace we are saved. By His Spirit. The Spirit of Grace.                                                                                                                         Let’s turn to Ezekiel 36:24-26                                                                                                                                                           24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.                                                                               25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.                                                                26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
       This is God speaking to Israel and Is Prophesy of His preparation for salvation, for all his People. How He will do it and the outcome of it. This is God’s Grace toward us in His own words.
For I will take you from among the nations, God makes it clear that He and only He will take you from among the nations, The word Nations is translated Heathens in the KJV. It can also be translated people. Or Heathen people, or as Paul states in Eph 2:3 the others.  God and only God chooses you. God will take you from among the world, all that are still in their sins and trespasses. You can’t leave on your own will or power. You don’t even want to leave. ---every intent of the thoughts of your heart is only evil continually.   
You may say; oh that’s not true I’ve always been a pretty good person. Go back and read Isaiah 64:6   Again!

      But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness’s are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.


      Remember God is Spirit, and the prophecy here is spiritual. It was spoken to the Israelites as a physical and spiritual event, But to us in spirit. So His call will take us from among the others.   
Next part;                                                                                                           ---gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.  And separate you from the others. Spiritually.                                                                     25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.                                                                                                    In the Old Testament the washing with water was the purifying act that the Israelites had to perform before coming into the presence or the service of God.    The Israelites were told on many occasions to sanctify themselves for three days before coming into the presence of the Lord. This included the washing of their clothes and bodies. A physical cleansing before God.  Once again this is the physical demonstration of the spiritual act that God performs in us. We are washed spiritually by God before we can come to the foot of the cross.                                           
Hebrews 10:22
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
 The writer of Hebrews is drawing on this very verse of scripture to emphasize and verify that we can draw near when our hearts are sprinkled and our bodies washed spiritually, by God.  I will sprinkle, I will cleanse-- This makes it clear God and only God does this to us.                                                                                                                    
Verse 26
 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

     Once again God is doing all the work in us. But here we see a change in God’s speech toward the Israelites’ This is not a physical removal as we know it but as He does in us a spiritual removal and replacement. The outcome for us is a new man, a man able to hear and see and receive the things of God. Illuminated or enlightened. 
A new heart; meaning a change of heart, a change of attitude.  A new spirit; meaning a change of thoughts and intents that no longer seek evil continually.  This is a desiring heart or a hungry spirit.                                                    A removal of the heart of stone; meaning the lifeless, cold, hard, unknowing, unhearing, undesiring, undeserving, heart of the unsaved. Add a heart of flesh; meaning a life receiving, soft, warm, knowing, growing, desiring and deserving heart. 
Not one thing have we as sinners done to come to Him in any way shape or form. Why is He giving us a new heart? Why is he putting a new spirit in us?   

Once Again:   Genesis 6:5                         

 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.                                                   
    If all the thoughts and intents of our hearts are only evil continually, we would never seek a good and perfect God. Our attitude toward Him is to run and hide. Cover our sins so they may not be seen by Him. Lie to ourselves about Him. Blame others for our sins and transgressions. We have only to look at Adam and Eve to see ourselves in our lost and sin filled condition. 
-But God;- He will give us a new heart; a heart that can receive Him, a heart that will humble us, a heart that will confess and know the truth and accept the free gift of salvation from the one that took the blame for us. Only a heart that is prepared to accept the things of God, can receive the things of God. Only God can prepare us for Salvation. Only God can open our spiritual hearts to hear and understand His perfect plan of Redemption. Only God can give a new spirit. A spirit of humility, confession and repentance. This is the work that God does in us before we are ever saved. This Unmerited favor, is performed spiritually, By the Holy Spirit of Grace. Without God Graciously preparing us to come to the cross, we would all be lost. John 14:17
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.


The Grace to be Saved is His will for us. His Will is His Gracious disposition toward us. We learned this in our study in Colossians 1.                                                                        Our natural born spirits cannot know and does not desire the things of God. Gods’ Spirit calls us out of the darkness, brings us to where we can see the light, washes us so we can come to Him, gives us the desire, and the ability to humble ourselves at the foot of the cross.                  Never in anyway are we able to do this or we could claim co-salvation with Christ.                                                  One of the things that really galls me, is when I hear someone say they made a decision for Christ. ---Oh really!--- You did that?----                                                              You just decided that you didn’t want to be a sinner anymore and chose to be a Christian. Perhaps you listened to one of the many health, wealth and prosperity preachers out there.  Or maybe you were looking for some spiritual experience or feeling, so you said “Oh yah, that’s what I want. And All I have to do is lay claim to Jesus” What does the Bible say?                                               2 Timothy 3                                                                                        This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.                                                                                                    2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,                                                                          3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,         

   4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;                                                                           5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
     Let me assure you this is not talking about the world in general. This is talking about people who claim to be saved. Having a form of godliness but denying its power. The power of Grace in the Holy spirit of Grace.   In the last days men will want all the benefits, all the blessings but will deny the only power that can bring them to it. They will seek to be godly in their own way, by their own strength, by their own standards and teachings. They will refuse the call of the Spirit of Grace and choose themselves in the name of the Lord.                                         
Yes, these are perilous times. Perilous because the yeast of the Pharisees is threatening to leaven the whole lump. A cancer has crept in and is threatening the growth of the body. The body of Christ, the saints, the called out ones.   The Called out Ones.
8 For by grace you have been saved by Gods’ grace and only by His Grace. Only By His calling, by His direction, by His cleansing, by Him changing our thoughts and intents toward the truth and the word, can we be saved. The Grace to be saved only comes from God, Without God’s Grace there is no salvation. Without Gods’ call and work in us through His Spirit of Grace we cannot truthfully humble ourselves, nor confess or repent. We are still working in our own strength. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit of Grace are we brought to salvation. 
2 Timothy 1:8b-9
--according to the power of God;--9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

So here are today’s Questions;  
        If you are saved, do you have a better understanding of just how lost you really were? How helpless you were to even come to Christ?
       If you are not saved or you are not sure that you are.                                   You have just been called. Anytime you here the truth of the word of God, it is a call to believe. It is the Holy Spirit of Grace preparing you to accept the Free Gift of Salvation.  If it were not; you would not be here at this moment to hear or read this. Pray for God to pour His never ending Grace out on you, that you may approach the Cross of Christ and once and for all be saved.


Let’s Pray,                                                                                                 Father we cry out to you in this day, lifting holy hands to you Lord in Praise and Thankfulness for you’re never ending Grace upon us. We lay claim to no works of our own in your perfect plan of redemption. This teaching has helped all of us to understand how truly lost we are without you and how truly saved we are with you. And we pray Lord that your Spirit of Grace will continue in us to reach out to the lost. Those whom you are preparing and have prepared to receive the truth, the light and the Life of our savior Jesus Christ. All for your Glory, Honor and Praise we ask in Jesus name. Amen! 
        
Pastor Steven Freede
Cornerstone Independent Church Ministry
Original Sermon Date  9/19/11

 

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