On Nov 9, 2014, pastor Darin preached a sermon from Eph 2:5-10 (focused on v. 10) entitled Walking in the Works God Has Prepared For Us. God has the satellite image of the maze of our lives which He has created. Your life is not the product of random forces, but God’s designs. We apply pressure to clay to form it in whatever shape we want. In the same way God uses the circumstances that He brings into our lives to mold and shape us after His own design. We are God’s workmanship (the Greek word is poiema, which is similar to the English word poem). God is skillfully at work to create the masterpiece of your life. So the main point of the sermon is that God shapes us for the good works He has prepared for us. 4 points:
1. Becoming new
A. As believers we are new creations in Christ because of His work on the cross on our behalf. God is now at work in us molding us to be who and what we are in Christ: a new creation, which involves specific good works that God has prepared for you to walk in.
B. It’s important to understand the proper place of good works.
1) During the Protestant Reformation in the 1500’s, Martin Luther reacted against Roman Catholic view that God’s grace plus our good works merit heaven. Instead, the Reformers appealed to Scripture which teaches that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in and by Christ alone to God’s glory alone. God now works in us by His grace to produce good works not to earn salvation, but because we already are saved through faith in Christ. Good works are the result, not the cause of God’s grace.
2) Verses 8 and 9 make this clear: salvation is a gift, not according to works, so there is no boasting. Our response is to live a life of worship seen in good works.
3) Examples: a) the apostle Paul persecuted Christians before God awakened him by His grace and brought him to faith in Christ. His slate was wiped clean, and he was righteous in God’s sight. The result: he devoted his life to the Lord., b) the apostle Peter: before he could feed Christ’s sheep, he had to come to the end of himself. Dig deeper: What are you trusting in for your right standing with God? Have you come to the end of yourself? Your good works could never earn favor with God. Rest in Christ and His works, which are the only good works that can save you and earn God’s favor. Christ record of perfect obedience is imputed to all who believe so that God declares you righteous in His sight. God now is at work in you to be who you are in Christ (righteous) and to produce good works to His glory.
2. Walking the path
A. God has works He has prepared beforehand. God has formed the days for you when none of them ever existed (Psalm 139:16). The day that you will lament or joy in is formed for you by God. Example: Esther 4:14 – God had prepared Esther’s days for the work He had for her to do. In the same way God has prepared your days from the foundation of the world: where you would live, all of your experiences (difficulties, joys, etc) to prepare you for such a time as this—to do the work He has prepared for you as you walk through the maze of life by faith in Christ.
B. Dig deeper: Whatever the circumstances, set your eyes on Christ and recognize God’s designs in those things to make you more like Christ. Read and reflect on Rom 8:18-39; Col 3:1-8.
3. Doing the work:
A. Some get discouraged, and never again walk in good works. This is destructive to your soul. God designs works for you to walk in. If you resist that, you will never thrive in the Christian life.
B. Ask the big questions: what is my life about? Where is it headed? What are the good works God has prepared for me to walk in? If you don’t know, seek the Lord, and you will find (Matt 7:7). The worst place to be in is where you say you don’t care, or you just want to be safe. This puts you in direct opposition to God. Dig deeper: repent from such thinking and turn to the Lord today: tell Him that you want to walk in the works He is prepared for you.
Question: how can we do these works? Answer:
4. Look to Christ
A. Verse 10 tells us we were created in Christ Jesus for good works. In Acts 2:22-23, we read that Christ was crucified according to the plan of God. Think on Christ’s work when you are thinking of taking risk. Jesus walked the path up the hill of Calvary where He was crucified and carried our griefs and sorrows, and bore all of our sin and shame for the joy set before Him—that God’s grace would now flow into your life. Because of this, we can trust the Lord when we are called to sacrificial service. Jesus died on the cross so that in Him I can do the works God’s plan for me.
B. How? The tool that God uses is His grace and the forgiveness of sins in and by the work of Christ. Dig deeper: we don’t pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and just trudge along. The same way were entered the kingdom—by grace alone through faith alone in and by Christ alone—is the same way we live in the kingdom: resting in God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Read and pray through Hebrews 12:1-3, Philippians 1:6 and 2:12-13.
Conclusion: May we this day rejoice in the salvation and grace that we have in Christ, and respond to that grace by living a life of worship where we turn from our sinful ways and walk in the good works God has prepared for us as we fix our eyes on Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Listen to this song and reflect on its words: http://sovereigngracemusic.bandcamp.com/track/gladly-would-i-leave-behind-me