Sermon Notes for "Grace Alone" from Ephesians 2:1-10

Introduction: We are continuing a 5 week study on the 5 Solas. Sola is Latin for alone, the solas were considered the foundational principles of Protestantism which was begun by Martin Luther in 1517 (Sola! Pg 3) Last week, we looked at Scripture Alone and this week we will look at Grace Alone. Why is grace alone important for us today?  


What is grace? A mother found under her place one morning at breakfast a bill made out by her small son, Bradley, aged eight—Mother owes Bradley: for running errands, 25 cents; for being good, 10 cents; for taking music lessons, 15 cents; for extras, 5 cents. Total, 55 cents. Mother smiled but made no comment. At lunch Bradley found the bill under his plate with 55 cents and another piece of paper neatly folded like the first. Opening it he read—Bradley owes Mother: for nursing him through scarlet fever, nothing; for being good to him, nothing; for clothes, shoes and playthings, nothing; for his playroom, nothing; for his meals, nothing. Total: nothing.[1]


You have probably heard someone say, “I have good news and bad news.  Which do you want to hear first?  Let’s take a quick poll this morning:  Who wants to hear bad news first? Who wants to hear good news first?

Bad News as we start vs. 1-3

·         Vs. 1-You were dead in sins and transgressions

o   A ‘trespass’ (paraptōma) is a false step (omission) A ‘sin’ (hamartia), however, means rather a falling short of a standard. (commission)

o   Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good, but dead people live. - CS Lewis

o   Without Christ, we are spiritually dead.  And this affects us all individually (original sin). We are all sinners.

·         Vs. 2-used to live -Because you followed the world and ruler of kingdom of air

o   World-all created things or values, beliefs in rebellion to God

o   Satan-We have an enemy and Satan is his name.  Here he is called the ruler of kingdom of the air. He is not one who wears a red cape and carries a pitchfork.  He is real and He steals, kills, and destroys (John 10:10). operate in the unseen world or spiritual realm. He is the source of temptations to sin and we may safely trace all evil, error and violence back to him in the end. [2]

·         Vs. 3-All of us gratifying the flesh (sinful nature)— the physical aspect of a person in distinction to the immaterial soul; often understood as the seat of sin and rebellion to God.

§  Self-centered, not the body

§  So, the bad news is that we experience difficulties in this life from within (our sins and flesh) and without (world) and Satan is using both.

·         Vs. 3-We deserved wrath

o   Because we broke the law, because we sin

o   God’s wrath is not like man’s. It is not bad temper, so that he may fly off the handle at any moment. It is neither spite, nor malice, nor animosity, nor revenge. It is never arbitrary, since it is the divine reaction to only one situation, namely evil. Therefore it is entirely predictable, and it is never subject to mood, whim[3]

o   His wrath is the unvarying reaction of his holiness and righteousness against all that is sinful.[4]

But God … These words show the contrast between the bad news and the good news.  

Grace is not….

·         Grace Plus-Yes, grace but….Davis writes, “Not grace plus works or worthiness or effort or intention or money or remorse.” (SOLA 21-22)

·         Grace as infusion.  It gets you started and then it’s up to you.  It is seen as “a thing, a force or fuel like spiritual Red Bull” (Reeves & Chester, 88)

Good News as you go vs. 4-10

·         Grace is from God and for us(vs. 4-7)

o   Kevin Vanhoozer writes, “grace is not some third thing between God and human beings, a supernatural substance or power that gets infused into nature to perfect it. Rather, grace is the gift of God’s presence and activity to those who have neither the right to them nor a claim on God. Grace is God giving what is not owed…grace is undeserved and unmerited. It is given so creatures can come to know and love him” (36, 53-54)

o   Vs. 4-Great love--Agape-unconditional love & Rich in mercy

o   Vs. 5-God made us alive

o   Vs. 5-By grace-You have been saved.

§  ‘Saved’ is a perfect participle-have been saved (past) and remain for ever saved. (future) [5]

o   Vs. 6-God Raised and seated with Him

§  Paul connects three successive historical events of Jesus (resurrection, ascension, seated at right hand of God) with what is ours “in Christ”-union with Christ (alive, raised, and seated with Him)[6]

o   Notice God as the one doing the work.  He is the subject.  Grace is God given.

o   Vs. 7-Show us incomparable riches of his grace and kindness in Christ

§  Verb-God intends to make a grand display of his wondrous grace that all may glorify[7]



·         Grace is a Gift for all people for all of life. (Vs. 8-9)

o   Vs. 8-By grace you have been saved, through faith not works, salvation by faith alone-We will discuss this more in 2 weeks when we look at Faith Alone. But…obtained this grace by faith..[8]

o   Vs. 8-Not in yourself but gift of God

§  Grace is available to all people.  Nothing you have done in your past or will do in the future can keep you from the grace of God. 

§  Grace separates Christianity from all other religions.  In every other religion or cult, you must do something to make the deity happy.  You must earn favor by your works or good acts or deeds.  But in Christianity, grace is given as gift because of what Christ has done so we do nothing to obtain favor, but it is freely given. Grace specifies what Christianity is all about.

§  Grace is good news for the unbeliever and believer alike.  I need grace every day.  Unfortunately, we have tried to move on from grace to other things once we are Christians, but it always turns up empty.  Grace alone is what saves us and sustains us in the Christian life.

§  As grace would be excluded if our salvation came from ourselves, so faith and the gift would be excluded if our salvation were due to works[9]

·         Grace is a Motivation (vs. 10)

o   Vs. 10-We are God’s workmanship created to do good works

§  poiēma, ‘his work of art, his masterpiece’)[10]

o   Grace is free to us, but costly to God. Grace enables us to be more like God.  Because it is entirely of God, we respond out of joy, delight and gratitude for what Christ has done and through the gifts which has the Holy Spirit has given, we do good works.

o   Everything in us, therefore, that is good, is the supernatural gift of God.[11]

o   My prayer for HMBC is that we would be a different church—one which loves out of the overflow of God’s great love for us, ministers to others out of joy, delight and gratitude not guilt, shame or to earn favor with God, and that we do good works out of grace not law.

 

Closing: Mother’s Day Recognition-The wide spectrum of mothering



[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (pp. 756–757). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.
[2] Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians (p. 74). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[3] Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians (pp. 75–76). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[4] Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (p. 412). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.
[5] Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians (p. 80). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[6] Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians (pp. 80–81). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[7] Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (p. 420). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.
[8] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 227). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[9] Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (p. 424). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.
[10] Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians (p. 84). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[11] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 229). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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