Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Your Work Ethic Depends On Your Understanding Of Grace

Good morning my friends. Another day of great adventure awaits. Will you plunge in head first, trusting God with all things, or you going to enter in one toe at a time, cautious and fearful? Take the plunge, you'll not regret it. We are moving on to Ephesians 2.

There is so much packed into this little paragraph we could spend the entire day and longer talking about it. There is a good reminder here of where we have come from:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. vs. 1-3

It is good to remember that it is useless expecting much out of the world. People do what they do not because they want to but because they are compelled by sin. They have no choice, they cannot escape this trap. We were all there at one time so we should have great compassion for those who are trapped without Jesus. The only difference between those who are lost in this trap of sin and those of us who have experienced freedom is that we have discovered the love of the Father through Jesus Christ:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. vs. 4-5

I think sometimes we forget that we had nothing to do with our salvation. We are not saved because there is anything special about us. We are saved because we were told about the love of Jesus and we chose to accept the grace that was offered us out of that love. It is a good reminder this morning that our salvation does not depend on what we do but instead it depends on the character of our God:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. vs. 8-9

All this to get to the part I wanted to draw to your attention this morning. We have not received salvation so that we can sit and relax around the pool while sipping on lemonade. No, along with our salvation we have been called into the family business. There is purpose now to our lives:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. v. 10

We are a new creation, it is what the Father did with us through his son Jesus. We have been created in Jesus with purpose. That purpose is to do good works. Do not mistake good works with good deeds. Our Father has prepared in advance good works for us to do, which includes loving kindness but also healings, salvations, miracles and a who list of spiritual works that require the gifts of the Spirit. We have become mighty warriors equipped for the spiritual warfare that is fought over the souls of the lost. We get so occupied with ourselves but our attention must be focused on the lost while we maintain our relationship with Jesus.

It is by prayer, worship and the Word of God that we are fed, and sustained in Jesus WHILE we are engaged in the fight for the lost. It is our Father who has called us to this work and we need to be occupied with it. Let's be engaged with our God today, realizing that we are working with him to recover those who are still lost in what we were rescued from. This is our destiny on this earth. We were called to this because we came out of this.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. vs. 4-5

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