Preparing the Way – Week 1: Eph. 2:1-10
Redeemer Church exists to reach people with the life-giving message of the gospel that they might become fully devoted followers of Jesus. That’s our mission statement. It is the core of who we are and why we exist as a church. But what does it mean for someone to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus? What does that look like? How is it achieved? As we prepare our hearts for God to do miracles in our individual and corporate lives, let’s examine Ephesians 2 to see the key characteristics of a life fully devoted to Christ.
1. Fully devoted followers of Jesus are thankful for what God has done (vss. 1-5). Paul begins Chapter 2 by reminding the Church of where they were before Christ redeemed them. For new believers, it is easy to remember what life was like before Christ. But for those who have been saved for a long time or those of us who were saved as children, it can be easy to forget just what a miracle our salvation was. Before Jesus, we were all in rebellion against God, destined to an eternity in hell. We were without hope, incapable of even comprehending the severity of our plight. BUT GOD! Those are two little words, but they are so important. Though we were God’s enemies, God was not willing to leave us to our fates – He intervened and made a way through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. Truly, fully devoted followers of Jesus never get over that miracle, and that causes them to live lives of thankfulness. Throughout the letters of Paul in the New Testament, thankfulness is an overarching theme. I believe this is because Paul understood that thankfulness was the sure foundation of the Christian life.
2. Fully devoted followers of Jesus are secure in their futures. In verse 6, Paul goes on to explain the gospel not only addresses our past – it also secures our future. As far as God is concerned, you’re already seated with Him in heaven. Your salvation and ultimate glorification are sealed, and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to change that reality. You can rest in the fact that though Satan may hurt you, he can never harm you. Think about how amazingly freeing that is. Once we’re freed from wondering what tomorrow might bring, we can pursue God and His glory with our whole being. While that doesn’t mean that we should not be good stewards with the resources God gives us, it does mean that we are freed from the fear that consumes so much of our society. Being secure in our future really adds new depth to Jesus’ promise in Matt. 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (the things of this life that consume so much of our attention) shall be added to you.”
3. Fully devoted followers of Jesus look with expectation to the work God has for them. In verse 10, Paul concludes his description of fully devoted followers of Christ as created for good works. Consider that for a moment. As God tenderly and lovingly knit you together in your mother’s womb, He was creating you for mission. Further, every circumstance in our life He’s been working together for your good, to prepare you for the good works He created you for. Thus, your impact in this world is not a matter of whether God has equipped you to accomplish great things, it is a matter of your willingness to use what God has given you to accomplish great things. When Paul said “that we should walk in them”, he was using a Jewish idiom. For someone to walk in something meant that the person was known by that thing. Lawyers walked in the law. Doctors walked in medicine. Thus, Paul was calling believers to be known by the work we do for God – not by our professions, not by our families, not by what we have, but by what we do for the kingdom.
- Take a moment to consider what God has done for you. What miracles has God worked in your life to bring you to where you are today? How good are you at being thankful for how God has worked in your life?
- What in your life causes you worry or stress? How do the assurances of verse 6 impact those worries? How does worry or insecurity impact your walk with God? How does it impact your relationship with others?
- Have you ever stopped to consider that God created and equipped you with a special purpose in mind? If we were to ask others how you are known, would they say that you are known for how God has used you, or would they say you are known for something else?