Incredible, Indescribable, and Undeserved Hope
April 24, 2022

Incredible, Indescribable, and Undeserved Hope

Preacher:
Series:
Passage: Ephesians 2:1-10
Service Type:

Incredible, Indescribable, and Undeserved Hope

Scripture:  Ephesians 2:1-10

Subject: Salvation

Central Theme: The Hope of Our Salvation

I want to help you understand the hope of His calling by understanding three works described in Ephesians 2:1-10.

Keyword: Works

  1. Our work before Christ. (v.1-3)
  2. God’s work because of Christ. (v.4-9)
  3. Our works because of Christ. (v.10)

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Have you ever really looked forward to something?
  • I remember as a kid really looking forward to summer break.
  • Even now those of us in Ohio look forward to Spring!
  • We use a word often in our culture- “hope”.
  • The way we use it can speak to something that we are uncertain about that we want to happen.
    • I hope my team wins the tournament.
    • I hope my candidate wins the election.
    • I really hope that candidate doesn’t win the election.
  • There is a way of talking about hope that doesn’t talk about something that is unsure.
  • There are things that are certain that give us hope!
  • We have some new church members in our church, and this morning I got a text. She is having their baby today!  How cool is that?
  • You can have a hope today that is in something sure.
  • When I use hope in this way I mean a confident expectation that we look forward to in the future.
  • When we put our hope in our team or our candidate, it doesn’t always work out.
  • Today I want to look at the hope of His calling.

Tension:

  • As we walked through the last few weeks in the book of Ephesians we have talked about our identity in Christ because this is precisely the subject of this incredible letter.
  • I want to point out three summary statements about what we’ve learned so far.
  • Summary Statement #1. If you were to summarize the book of Ephesians in 2 words they would be the two words “in Christ”. (v.1-2, and the whole book).
  • Summary Statement #2. Paul praised God in a praise anthem for how we are blessed in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This could be summarized by saying that in Christ we are chosen to be:
    • Without blame.
  • You’ll find this to summarize verses 1:3-14.
  • Summary Statement #3- Paul prays that the Ephesians would know three main things.
    • Hope of His Calling
    • Riches of His Inheritance
    • Working of His Mighty Power to us who believe.
  • You’ll find this in Paul’s prayer of enlightenment in 1:15-23

Ephesians 1:17-23

(17)  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

(18)  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

(19)  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

(20)  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

(21)  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

(22)  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

(23)  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

  • Those three truths about our identity that Paul prays that we know are a kind of table of contents for the rest of the letter.
    • Hope of His Calling- 2:1-10
    • Riches of His Inheritance- 2:11-22.
    • Greatness of His Power- 3:1-21

Body:

I want to help you understand the hope of His calling by understanding three works described in Ephesians 2:1-10.

1.    Our work before Christ. (v.1-3)

Ephesians 2:1-3

(1)  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

(2)  Wherein in time past ye 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:

(3)  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

 

Explanation:

  • As a point of proper interpretation, we must ask the question. “Who is he talking about in this text?
  • He is talking about the same people He was talking about up until this point.
  • He says “you”.
  • He is talking about the saints that are in Christ Jesus. These are the people who have been blessed, forgiven, and sealed.  He is talking about those who are in Christ.
  • But he is not talking about who they He is talking about who they were.
  • The contrast to who we were before is so stark compared to who He has just been saying we are.
  • These first three verses are devastating in their description of who we were before we were in Christ. Just listen to these words all strung together:
    • Dead
    • Trespasses
    • Sins
    • Course of this world
    • Prince of the power of the air
    • children of disobedience
    • Lust of our flesh and of our mind
    • Children of wrath
  • This does not sound like a good list.
  • What does Paul mean when he said we are spiritually dead?
    • Paul is saying that outside of Christ we are dead spiritually.
    • Our position is outside of Christ. Before we were in Christ we are out of Christ.
    • And to be outside of Christ is to be condemned already.
    • This is what Jesus told Nicodemus when he came to him by night.

John 3:16-19

(16)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(17)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

(18)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

(19)  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 

  • Some people use this verse to say that we have no ability to choose, because a dead person doesn’t do anything. A dead person is dead and cannot choose.
    • It doesn’t mean that we have no ability to choose.
    • How do I know this?
    • Because we choose. God holds us accountable for our choices.
    • And by the way in the next verse it says that dead people walk. Dead people do not walk.  😊
    • In fact, he says we choose when talks about our “walk”.
      • We walked according to the course of this world.
      • 1 John tells us what worldliness looks like:

1 John 2:15-17

(15)  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

(16)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

(17)  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

  • This description of worldliness being the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is completely in sync with what we read here.
  • This is the way the world lives.
  • These are the things the world values.

(2)  Wherein in time past ye 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:

(3)  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

  • Our trespasses and sins pronounced the death sentence over us. We were condemned already outside of Christ.
  • We acted just like the world acts, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
  • We were a slave to our sin.
  • There really are three enemies that we have. Two we have already mentioned- the world and the flesh.
  • The third enemy we have is the devil. Outside of Christ we walked according to the course of the world- the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”
  • There really is an unseen spiritual realm- enemies of God- Satan and His demons.
  • Their desire is for you to disobey and suffer the same fate that they will suffer.
  • This is not saying that everyone who is unsaved is demon possessed or even demon oppressed.
  • The “prince of the power of the air” is working overtime in our world system to deceive as many people as he can.
  • And so because we were in this condemened state, consumed by the world, our flesh, and deceived by the devil- rejecting Christ and outside of Christ it meant that we “were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
  • Who’s wrath is being talked about in this verse? The wrath of God.

Romans 1:18

(18)  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 2:5

(5)  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

Colossians 3:5-6

(5)  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

(6)  For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

Application:

  • Outside of Jesus Christ we were condemned before a Holy God.
  • We were following the course of the world which includes living out the lust of the flesh and the mind.
  • We were disobedient. We were working out trespasses and sins.
  • We were buying into the lies from Satan that the world believes and practices.
  • Because of this we were storing up wrath and deserving an eternity separated from God and everything good.
  • If you are here today and there hasn’t been a time where you have repented from your sin and turned to Christ by faith then this is not a description of who you were. This is a description of who you are.
  • If you were to face God on judgement day in your current position then you are by nature a child of wrath.

Transition Sentence:

  • To understand the hope that we have in being called into Christ we must first understand the hopelessness we have outside of Christ.
  • Our work, our sin, that we are responsible for, that we chose through action and who we are by nature outside of Christ caused us to be outside of Christ and without hope.
  • But the message doesn’t end there because the passage does not end there.
  • Our work leads to God’s wrath.
  • But look at God’s work because of Christ.

2.    God’s work because of Christ. (v.4-9)

Ephesians 2:4-9

(4)  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

(5)  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

(6)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

(7)  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Explanation:

  • The whole paragraph swings on the hinge of “but God”.
  • We were dead, but God made us alive.
  • We were the objects of God’s wrath, but God has and will show us grace, love, mercy, and kindness.
  • Eternity outside of Christ is characterized by wrath in a lake that burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.
  • Eternity in Christ is characterized by being made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
  • For how long?

(7)  “in the ages to come he might show us the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus”

  • For ages to come!
  • We are going to a place and to a time where God for ages and ages will show us grace in His kindness.
  • He is doing this because of “Christ Jesus”.
  • Why?
    • Because God is rich in mercy.
    • Because God loved us.

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

  • There are four words in this verse that we must explain.
    • Grace- unmerited and unearned favor and kindness.
    • Saved- the state of being alive instead of dead, objects of kindness and love rather than wrath. Right with God.
    • Faith- trust, belief. Faith is not a work as he explains in verse 9.

(9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

  • Gift
    • Which is the gift?
    • Some say that faith is the gift.
    • In a sense everything from God is a gift.
  • When some say that faith is the gift, what they are really saying is that someone can only be saved when God effectually and irresistibly gives the gift of faith to someone whereby they can believe and be saved, and that without God giving this gift of faith they cannot be saved.
  • I believe that in context salvation is the gift. Salvation is described as not getting verses 1-3, and because of the mercy, love, grace and kindness of God we receive verse 4-7- an eternity seated in heavenly places receiving the kindness and goodness of God.
  • How do we receive this gift of salvation?
    • Not by works. It’s by faith.
    • We believe. We trust.  We call.
    • He saves!

Application:

  • Our works outside of Christ were characterized by sin, worldliness, lust, and made us the objects of God’s wrath.
  • Through faith in Christ Jesus, God’s works toward us are mercy, grace, kindness, love- salvation- all because of what Christ has done for us.
  • Talk about hope!
  • We have hope in this calling of God to salvation!
    • We have hope because their has been a remedy for our sinful state.
    • We have hope because our future is secure in Jesus Christ.
    • We have hope because Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we don’t have to be the objects of His wrath. We can be the objects of his kindness, mercy and grace for all eterinity.
  • We do not earn it. We receive it by faith.  This is what Paul has already said in chapter 1.

Ephesians 1:13-14

(13)  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

(14)  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

  • It’s all for the praise of God and His glory.

Transition Sentence:

  • Our work before Christ deserved wrath. We were without hope.
  • God’s work in salvation brings us kindness and an eternity with Christ in heavenly places forever. Now we have future hope.
  • But not only do we have hope for the future. We have hope for right now.

3.    Our works because of Christ. (v.10)

Ephesians 2:10

(10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Explanation:

  • The context of this “we” are those who were dead- condemned to die- and have been made alive.
  • We are his. We do not belong any longer to ourselves.  We belong to God through Jesus Christ.
  • We are his workmanship.
    • The word for “workmanship” is the word “poiema”.
    • It’s where we get our word for poetry.
    • The poet’s poeima is the poem.
    • The painter’s poeima is the painting.
    • The sculptor’s poeima is the sculpture.
  • What a beautiful picture is being painted here.
  • Those of us who are in Christ have not be saved by our own good works. We have been saved by God’s good work through Jesus Christ.
  • God is working on us to make us into exactly what He wants us to be through His Spirit.
  • We are not saved by our good works, but God has saved us to good works.
  • He has chosen that we should “walk in them”.
  • He has molded and shaped you into what He wants you to be because He has desires for what He wants you to do.
  • Our salvation is not just for ourselves.
  • Our salvation is the basis for our sanctification.
  • Paul said it this way in Philippians 1:3-6:

Philippians 1:3-6

(3)  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

(4)  Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

(5)  For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

(6)  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

  • He that began a good work in you (salvation) will perform it (sanctification) until the day of Jesus Christ (salvation).
  • The problem that we have is that we are like canvas’s and sculptures that argue and fight with the master.
  • He’s trying to grow us and sometimes what he is using to grow us and to change us we do not like.
  • This is why Paul keeps telling us to “be filled with the Spirit”, and to “grieve not the Spirit of God”.

Application:

  • When we get saved our relationship with God changes from objects of wrath to objects of kindness.
  • When we get saved God begins to work on us, growing us and shaping us into what He wants us to be so that we will do what He wants us to do.
  • Isn’t this exactly what we saw in Jesus’ calling to His disciples?
  • “Follow me and I’ll make you to become fishers of men”.
  • When we get saved God calls us to ministry. To follow Jesus is to fish for men.
  • For most of us, the good work that God ordains for us to do is on this planet.
  • We will do good works in eternity, but we don’t go there right away.
  • Why don’t we just go right to heaven?
  • There is a world that does not know Christ. There is a world that is not in Christ.
  • They are still in their sins. They are still “condemned” and dead spiritually.
  • They must trust in Christ.
  • God has called us to good works that should lead to others knowing Christ.

 

 

Lost?

Saved?

Sanctified?

 

In Christ, because of His work, we have incredible, indescribable and undeserved hope.

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