Love in the City – Ephesians 2

16 02 2013

Ephesians 2: God saved you by his grace when you believed. It’s a gift.

Yes! God loves you and that changes everything! Bible Big Ideas = God loves you.

God wants you to be in a “Life Giving Relationship” with Him & with others!

God knew that you would be here today. God knew that we would need help with love (of all sorts) today! There is no fear, no worry, no doubt, no heartbreak that you face that God didn’t see coming!

Help you answer the questions:

  1. Who are you? Are you loved? Change?
  2. Who are you in Christ, in the church, and in the city?

Chapter 1 Review:

“He is so rich in kindness & grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His son and forgave our sins.” 1:7

  1. God loves us.
  2. In response we love.
  3. So that we may grow.
  4. Jesus leads for our benefit.

Chapter 2:

  1. v. 1-3 We’re in this together.
  2. v. 4-10 God is not who you thought He was.
  3. v. 11-13 All of us were once far from God.
  4. v. 14-18 Jesus brings us back to Father God.
  5. v. 19-22 We are God’s house!

It’s helpful to understand that most of the uses of the word “you” in this letter to the Ephesian believers are plural. In the south you hear people say “y’all”, but when they want to say something to a group of people they usually say “all y’all”. Paul is saying the same thing, over and over, in this letter…

“All y’all used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world,” Eph. 2:2

“All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature.” Eph. 2:3

“It is only by God’s grace that all y’all have been saved!” Eph. 2:5

“All y’all can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Eph. 2:8-9

Here’s an abbreviated look at Ephesians 2…with thoughts for you to consider, followed by questions that we should ask ourselves. (which makes sense if you read the verses along with this text)

1.    v. 1-3 We’re in this together,

face palm

We’re in this together, in the human condition. Everyone wants to believe that they are special, unique, one of a kind. This is true in one sense, but in another – we are all the same. Every single one of us was born with a sin nature and already in sin. “Once you were dead,” v.1 refers to the spiritual death by which we have all been separated from God. “All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our spiritual nature.” v. 3 makes it clear that every human has lived in this place of spiritual death, oblivious to the power of the truth, dancing around in our mud puddle of garbage (even if it was our good deeds apart from Him).

Sin is sin. It all separates us from God.
Follow Cravings: Lk. 15 sheep example. Is. 53 Rom. 3:23
We have all been far from God. That’s not how He wants it.
“Now you have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Who do you look down on? You are the same.
We wander from God chasing our cravings. (sheep of Luke 15)

2.    v. 4-10 God is not who you thought He was. READ verses again…one of the best sections here.
Our God is not some bitter old man, sitting on his front porch shouting a world of people that failed him. He’s not waiting for a chance to punish the kids who once ran away and now return home repentant. He’s not looking for us to improve ourselves before we can come back to him.

But God is so rich in mercy, He gave us life.
“so rich in mercy” “loved us so much”
Only by His grace.
He raised us up from the dead with Christ.
So He can point to us as examples of His grace/mercy.
You can’t take credit for this.
It’s a gift.
We are His art.
He made us new so that we can do good.
bars3.    v. 11-13 All of us were once far from God. We were apart from Christ & now we are united with Christ.
We lived without God & hope.
Once far away, but now near to Him through the blood of Christ.

4.    v. 14-18 Jesus brings us back to Father God.Jesus unites Jew & Gentile by fulfilling the Old Testament Covenants.
He breaks down hostility.
He creates a new people.
Now all can come to Father through Holy Spirit because of what Christ did.
This function of the Trinity had already been explained to them, in the past.
5.    v. 19-22 We are God’s house!Citizens – Kingdom of God: The King’s Word is law. We have rights & privileges.
Family – Every member has value & an identity.
House – Every part is essential to make it a home.
Temple – A dwelling place for the presence of God.

In light of this letter, I should ask myself some very important questions:

How do I view myself? Do I see myself the way that God does, worthy of sacrifice?

Do I see myself needing a Savior in much the same way as anyone else?

Do I see God as “rich in mercy”? Do I see my salvation as a gift that I can’t take credit for?

Is God’s love for me truly enough for me?

Do I see myself, and the believers around me, as a part of God’s family?

kids

Do I feel like I still have something to prove to God, or others?

Do I believe that I must take action or be a certain way to earn more of God’s love for me?

Why is God communicating this truth to me, through Ephesians?

What should I do with wrong thoughts and attitudes?

What can I do soak in these beliefs? How can I remind myself of these truths?


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