In Christ Live Like Who You Are Ephesians 2:10 Abe Stratton, Pastor Sunday Evening, February 15, 2014

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1 In Christ Live Like Who You Are Ephesians 2:10 Abe Stratton, Pastor Sunday Evening, February 15, 2014 Introduction We talked last week about what it means to be in Christ, and we discussed United to Him Identified by Him Participating with Him Incorporated with Him (connected to Him through His body) We noted that we have to remember who we are because we easily allow ourselves to be consumed by circumstances which are transient and which don t ultimately identify us. We noted that our response to seeing ourselves as in Christ should be WORSHIP we proclaim the value and glory of our God and thank Him for the marvelous blessings He has poured out on us in Christ. Tonight we re going to look at how being in Christ enables us to Grow. I. God s design initiates our growth. Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. A. God has made us His works of art. Workmanship (ποίημα): that which is made; a creation or product 1. Lest we think too highly of ourselves, let s remember the context. Paul has just been pointing out that there was nothing good in us to attract God s love or work. 2. The fact that we are God s work of art speaks only to His love and mercy and creative ability. He can make something beautiful out of something wrecked and broken. B. God made us for the purpose that we would engage in good works. 1. Paul lists other reasons why God created new people. Chief among them is God s own glory (Eph. 2:7). 2. However, here Paul is saying that one of the reasons God made new creations is so that they would engage in good works. 3. He made new people so that they would live new lives. He brought people into Christ so that they would live like Christ. Illustration: (1) Geppetto creates Pinocchio. Pinocchio is his work of art, his masterpiece. There was nothing that Pinocchio did to make himself anything other than a hunk of wood. (2) But Geppetto also created Pinocchio for a specific purpose he wanted Pinocchio to be a marionette that he could use for a travelling show. He wanted Pinocchio to be and do certain things. (3) But as soon as Pinocchio is created, he begins to do insolent, disobedient actions which not only land him in mounds of trouble, but they also bring great grief to Geppetto. God created us in Christ so that we would engage in works which reflect Christ. No other existence makes sense. C. God prepared those good works ahead of time so that we would live in them. 1. Before we believed in Jesus, God prepared good works for us to engage in. 2. This truth helps us remember that even after we are God s children and in Christ the good things we do don t originate in us. They are God s work being done through us. 1

2 3. The life of Jesus shines through us. We become less and less like our natural selves and more and more like Him less and less like Adam and more and more like Jesus. D. Creation precedes doing. Position precedes action. 1. Salvation did not originate with us. We did not do anything to be created new people; God did that by His own plan and creative work. 2. Good works do not originate with us. God prepared us to do them and prepared them so that we would enter into them. 3. Good works naturally and inevitably flow from a new creation. This is both encouraging (God most assuredly will do His work in His children.) and convicting (Am I seeing good works flow from my life?). When God looked upon you and loved you and began to work in you to make you a Christian, He had already prepared the works which you should live and perform. There is no such thing as justification without sanctification. If there is no beginning of sanctification in you, you are not justified. Do not delude yourself, do not mislead yourself. There is no such thing as faith without works. Faith without works is dead [James 2:17]. The proof of faith is works (ML-J, Ephesians, vol. 2, 151). Application: Are you desiring holiness? Do you have any inclination toward good works? This is God s design for all those He has brought into Christ, so there should be a natural desire in us to grow in holiness, to do good works. II. Jesus life fuels our growth. John 15:1-7 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. A. Jesus life in us produces fruit. 1. He is the one who cleanses by His Word (v. 3). 2. He is the one who produces fruit by His Spirit (v. 4). Gal. 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus, is within His people and is the one who brings out Christ s life and His fruit in His followers. We tend to have a functional works-based Christianity; God saved me, but now He s left me to obey all the rules. But just as you don t bring yourself into Christ by doing good works (because you can t), so you don t muster up good works after He has brought you into Christ. God gives you a position of righteousness ( in Christ ), and God then works out Jesus life through you as good works. So as we remain in and fellowship with Jesus, His life flows through us. This is a much more organic process than we typically think of. We tend to think that we have to make ourselves humble, loving, joyful, pure, etc. But we can t. Only God s 2

3 supernatural work in us changes us to be a new person and then to evidence new qualities. I m not saying that we have no responsibility that we let go and let God. But you have to realize where you source of power comes from. It doesn t come from within; you re just a branch. Your life and power come from the Vine, from being in Christ. B. Choose to remain in Jesus in the Vine. The Vine is your source of life. Jesus is your life! 1. Recognize your desperate dependence upon Him. a. You can t do anything without Him (v. 5b). b. You cast yourself on Him to rescue you, so you continue to cast yourself upon Him every day. Col. 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 2. Choose to allow Jesus words to remain in you and flow through you (v. 7). John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples Here is one of the conscious decisions and choices that we have to make. Will I remain in and take up my residence in Jesus words? Will I choose to make His Word such a part of my life that I am at home in it? This is what characterizes true followers of Jesus, and this is how they truly grow and bear fruit. 3. Ask for His work to be done in you and through you (v. 7). John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Do you see this amazing promise?! Condition: If you remain in Jesus and His words remain in you Statement: You can ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you. That is astounding! But if you are remaining in Jesus and His words are remaining in you, then His life will be flowing through you and His thoughts will be running through you and His desires will be coursing through you. So you will desire what He desires, and you will request what He intends. Summary Fruitlessness reveals a failure to remain in Jesus. If you aren t remaining in Jesus, there is no way you can bear true fruit. Fruitfulness reveals an abiding in Jesus. If you are remaining in Jesus, you can t help producing fruit. Application: Are you striving to remain in Jesus to know Him and His Word and to let them remain in you? Or are you striving to make yourself a better person? III. Other members mature our growth. Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him 3

4 who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. A. Christ is the head, from whom all life flows to the body and through whom all growth takes place in the body. 1. This is another image which God gives to us (similar to the Vine and the branches). 2. Just as the head determines much of the action and function of the rest of the body, so Christ rules over and helps the body to grow. 3. This can seem very subjective or vague. But He has given very concrete means by which His body is to grow. B. Christ has given leaders for equipping the body (vv ). 1. These leaders equip believers to do the work of ministry to serve in the body. 2. As believers minister in the body, it corporately and collectively grows and develops. 3. The ultimate goal is that the body of Christ will reach mature manhood. C. Christ has designed the body to grow as each member fulfills their function (v. 16). 1. It is clear that Jesus is still the one who equips His body and holds His body together. 2. But His designed means for His body s growth is that the individual members would each fulfill their own role and function. 3. Being a part of a church is an active participatory role. It is not a spectator sport. 4. Jesus calls us to work hard, to serve one another, to serve the collective body using our abilities and gifts for the good of others. Application 1. Are you engaging in the work of ministry? Are you devoting yourself to serve in this body and to serve its members? 2. Are you listening to and submitting to the leaders that God has given to equip this body? 3. What role are you filling in this body? What s your function? Conclusion How does being in Christ cause us to grow? 1. God s design initiates our growth. God brought us into Christ and united us to Him for the purpose that we would engage in good works, and He prepared the good works for us to do. If that s His design, then it will happen; those who are His children will grow in good works. 2. Jesus life fuels our growth. We don t make ourselves grow. We remain in the life-giving presence of Jesus through His Word, and we ask for Him to do His work in us. 3. Other members mature our growth. Because we are in Christ, we are in His body. We are united to the members of His body. And it is God s design that we grow together. We cannot grow as God intends apart from Christ s body. Live like who you are. Engage in the good works that God has for you this week. Remain in Jesus just like you began in Him. Serve His people so that we will all grow together. 4

5 In Christ Live Like Who You Are Ephesians 2:10 Abe Stratton, Pastor Sunday Evening, February 15, 2014 Introduction We talked last week about what it means to be in Christ, and we discussed United to Him Identified by Him Participating with Him Incorporated with Him (connected to Him through His body) We noted that we have to remember who we are because we easily allow ourselves to be consumed by circumstances which are transient and which don t ultimately identify us. We noted that our response to seeing ourselves as in Christ should be WORSHIP we proclaim the value and glory of our God and thank Him for the marvelous blessings He has poured out on us in Christ. Tonight we re going to look at how being in Christ enables us to Grow. I. God s design initiates our growth. Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. A. God has made us His works of art. Workmanship (ποίημα): that which is made; a creation or product 1. Lest we think too highly of ourselves, let s remember the context. Paul has just been pointing out that there was nothing good in us to attract God s love or work. 2. The fact that we are God s work of art speaks only to His love and mercy and creative ability. He can make something beautiful out of something wrecked and broken. B. God made us for the purpose that we would engage in good works. 1. Paul lists other reasons why God created new people. Chief among them is God s own glory (Eph. 2:7). 2. However, here Paul is saying that one of the reasons God made new creations is so that they would engage in good works. 3. He made new people so that they would live new lives. He brought people into Christ so that they would live like Christ. Illustration: (1) Geppetto creates Pinocchio. Pinocchio is his work of art, his masterpiece. There was nothing that Pinocchio did to make himself anything other than a hunk of wood. (2) But Geppetto also created Pinocchio for a specific purpose he wanted Pinocchio to be a marionette that he could use for a travelling show. He wanted Pinocchio to be and do certain things. (3) But as soon as Pinocchio is created, he begins to do insolent, disobedient actions which not only land him in mounds of trouble, but they also bring great grief to Geppetto. God created us in Christ so that we would engage in works which reflect Christ. No other existence makes sense. C. God prepared those good works ahead of time so that we would live in them. 1. Before we believed in Jesus, God prepared good works for us to engage in. 2. This truth helps us remember that even after we are God s children and in Christ the good things we do don t originate in us. They are God s work being done through us. 1

6 3. The life of Jesus shines through us. We become less and less like our natural selves and more and more like Him less and less like Adam and more and more like Jesus. D. Creation precedes doing. Position precedes action. 1. Salvation did not originate with us. We did not do anything to be created new people; God did that by His own plan and creative work. 2. Good works do not originate with us. God prepared us to do them and prepared them so that we would enter into them. 3. Good works naturally and inevitably flow from a new creation. This is both encouraging (God most assuredly will do His work in His children.) and convicting (Am I seeing good works flow from my life?). When God looked upon you and loved you and began to work in you to make you a Christian, He had already prepared the works which you should live and perform. There is no such thing as justification without sanctification. If there is no beginning of sanctification in you, you are not justified. Do not delude yourself, do not mislead yourself. There is no such thing as faith without works. Faith without works is dead [James 2:17]. The proof of faith is works (ML-J, Ephesians, vol. 2, 151). Application: Are you desiring holiness? Do you have any inclination toward good works? This is God s design for all those He has brought into Christ, so there should be a natural desire in us to grow in holiness, to do good works. II. Jesus life fuels our growth. John 15:1-7 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. A. Jesus life in us produces fruit. 1. He is the one who cleanses by His Word (v. 3). 2. He is the one who produces fruit by His Spirit (v. 4). Gal. 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus, is within His people and is the one who brings out Christ s life and His fruit in His followers. We tend to have a functional works-based Christianity; God saved me, but now He s left me to obey all the rules. But just as you don t bring yourself into Christ by doing good works (because you can t), so you don t muster up good works after He has brought you into Christ. God gives you a position of righteousness ( in Christ ), and God then works out Jesus life through you as good works. So as we remain in and fellowship with Jesus, His life flows through us. This is a much more organic process than we typically think of. We tend to think that we have to make ourselves humble, loving, joyful, pure, etc. But we can t. Only God s 2

7 supernatural work in us changes us to be a new person and then to evidence new qualities. I m not saying that we have no responsibility that we let go and let God. But you have to realize where you source of power comes from. It doesn t come from within; you re just a branch. Your life and power come from the Vine, from being in Christ. B. Choose to remain in Jesus in the Vine. The Vine is your source of life. Jesus is your life! 1. Recognize your desperate dependence upon Him. a. You can t do anything without Him (v. 5b). b. You cast yourself on Him to rescue you, so you continue to cast yourself upon Him every day. Col. 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 2. Choose to allow Jesus words to remain in you and flow through you (v. 7). John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples Here is one of the conscious decisions and choices that we have to make. Will I remain in and take up my residence in Jesus words? Will I choose to make His Word such a part of my life that I am at home in it? This is what characterizes true followers of Jesus, and this is how they truly grow and bear fruit. 3. Ask for His work to be done in you and through you (v. 7). John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Do you see this amazing promise?! Condition: If you remain in Jesus and His words remain in you Statement: You can ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you. That is astounding! But if you are remaining in Jesus and His words are remaining in you, then His life will be flowing through you and His thoughts will be running through you and His desires will be coursing through you. So you will desire what He desires, and you will request what He intends. Summary Fruitlessness reveals a failure to remain in Jesus. If you aren t remaining in Jesus, there is no way you can bear true fruit. Fruitfulness reveals an abiding in Jesus. If you are remaining in Jesus, you can t help producing fruit. Application: Are you striving to remain in Jesus to know Him and His Word and to let them remain in you? Or are you striving to make yourself a better person? III. Other members mature our growth. Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him 3

8 who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. A. Christ is the head, from whom all life flows to the body and through whom all growth takes place in the body. 1. This is another image which God gives to us (similar to the Vine and the branches). 2. Just as the head determines much of the action and function of the rest of the body, so Christ rules over and helps the body to grow. 3. This can seem very subjective or vague. But He has given very concrete means by which His body is to grow. B. Christ has given leaders for equipping the body (vv ). 1. These leaders equip believers to do the work of ministry to serve in the body. 2. As believers minister in the body, it corporately and collectively grows and develops. 3. The ultimate goal is that the body of Christ will reach mature manhood. C. Christ has designed the body to grow as each member fulfills their function (v. 16). 1. It is clear that Jesus is still the one who equips His body and holds His body together. 2. But His designed means for His body s growth is that the individual members would each fulfill their own role and function. 3. Being a part of a church is an active participatory role. It is not a spectator sport. 4. Jesus calls us to work hard, to serve one another, to serve the collective body using our abilities and gifts for the good of others. Application 1. Are you engaging in the work of ministry? Are you devoting yourself to serve in this body and to serve its members? 2. Are you listening to and submitting to the leaders that God has given to equip this body? 3. What role are you filling in this body? What s your function? Conclusion How does being in Christ cause us to grow? 1. God s design initiates our growth. God brought us into Christ and united us to Him for the purpose that we would engage in good works, and He prepared the good works for us to do. If that s His design, then it will happen; those who are His children will grow in good works. 2. Jesus life fuels our growth. We don t make ourselves grow. We remain in the life-giving presence of Jesus through His Word, and we ask for Him to do His work in us. 3. Other members mature our growth. Because we are in Christ, we are in His body. We are united to the members of His body. And it is God s design that we grow together. We cannot grow as God intends apart from Christ s body. Live like who you are. Engage in the good works that God has for you this week. Remain in Jesus just like you began in Him. Serve His people so that we will all grow together. 4

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