Living Like Christ: Good Works

Ephesians 2:1-10

I like to play chess with old men in the park
though it’s hard to find 32 of them.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather.
Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Last week we saw an alphabet soup describing who we
were before Christ gave us our new life. But the good
news is that we can put off the old and put on the new
because Christ transforms us and gives us new life.

This morning we are going to return to Paul’s letter to the
Ephesians and look at chapter 2:1-10.

Ephesians 2:1-3

Works of Sin

The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death.
Paul reminds the believers at Ephesus of this truth.
Before knowing Christ, they were dead in their sin.
They followed the devil & walked according to the world.
Their only concern was whatever their flesh desired.
They lived to please themselves.
They were children of wrath.

Those who continue to live this way will face God’s wrath
for their sin on the day of judgment.

Now we get to the good news!
V.4 begins with two of my favorite words in the Bible,
But God…
Ephesians 2:4-6
In contrast to the works of sin and the flesh, here we see
the:

Works of God

Shows us mercy – when we deserve death because of
what we’ve done He spares us from death. Mercy is when
we don’t receive a punishment we deserve.

Loves us – God’s mercy is a result of His great love for
us. Romans 5:8 tells us that God demonstrates His love
for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for
us.

Makes us alive with Christ – this is a work of the grace
of God. Grace is a free gift. For God to take us from
death to life proves His great love for us.

Raises us up with Christ – God raised Christ from the
dead on the third day.

Philippians describes how Christ humbled Himself and
was obedient to the point of death, even death on a
cross. Because of that obedience God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name that is above every other name.
In fact, God promises that at the name of Jesus, every
knee will bow in heaven and on earth and every tongue
will confess that Jesus is Lord.
With that same power, God also raises us up to heaven.

Seats us in heaven with Christ – God seated Christ at
His right hand after He raised Him from the dead. In the
same way, with the same power, God promises to seat
believers in heaven with Christ. We know that when God
says something it is completed at that moment.
We might not realize it until later because we are bound
by time, but God is not.
What will we do when God seats us in heaven with
Christ? Revelation tells of a banquet table where we will
enjoy fellowship and break bread with Christ Himself.

Ephesians 2:7-9

When God saves someone He saves them forever.
As they live out the rest of their life on earth, their
purpose will be to glorify God and point others to Him.
What Paul is explaining is that God’s grace, kindness and
love are on display for the whole world to see through
sinners who are saved by grace through faith, not by
works.

Sinners work the works of sin.

The Pharisees worked the works of righteousness, trying
to keep the law, thinking they could earn God’s favor.
They were self righteous and judged others rather than
living in God’s grace.

Believers understand that the work has been completed
by Christ on the cross. There are no works that man can
accomplish that will earn them a spot in heaven.
Our salvation is due to the completed work of Christ on
the cross at Calvary.
Salvation is because of the grace of God and we can only
receive it by faith. So that we can’t boast about it.

Salvation isn’t a reward for our good works.
Salvation is a gift from God.

Ephesians 2:10

The Greek word for workmanship is Poiema which is
where we get our word for poem.
It means, that which is made.
We were made in the image of God and after He saves
us, He has plans for us. He wants us to be more and
more like Him every day.

We were created for good works.

Jesus lived out good works throughout His ministry on
earth. He fed people, healed people, cast out demons,
gave them sight, etc.
Every bit of it was to point people to His Father.

That’s what God desires from us too.

APPLICATION

Practice Living Like Christ

In our first week we talked about being holy.
That word means set apart.
We should live differently than the rest of the world.

We also talked about loving as Christ loves.

We talked about forgiving like Christ. Not holding on to
bitterness. Allowing the Holy Spirit to take over and give
you freedom from pain or guilt.

We talked about sharing the gospel of Christ with others.
We should be ready in season and out of season to share
the good news.

We talked about humility. Christ modeled it and we
should follow His lead by putting the needs of others
above our own.

James asks the question, what use is it, my brethren, if
someone says he has faith but he has no works?

If we act, talk and live like the rest of the world, how will
they ever know we have been saved from our sin? We
have to live it out.

James goes on to write “show me your faith without the
works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

There’s an old song by Rich Mullins that says, faith
without works is about as useless as a screen door on a
submarine.

What works is God calling you to today?