Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

10/28/2018 A.M.

 

Our Work Of Grace

Ephesians 2.4-10 & Romans 5.6-10

 

Our Sunday lessons have been about God’s…love… Mercy… and Grace.

 

Mercy… Is God not giving us what we deserve… Punishment for our sins.

 

Grace… Is God giving us what we do not deserve… Forgiveness…Salvation… Hope of heaven.

 

Two passages that express this concept…

 

Ephesians 2… Verses 4, 8 & 9Because 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.

 

Romans 5… verses 2, 6 & 8… We have gained access by faith into His grace in which we now stand. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless… Christ died for the ungodly… God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners… Christ died for us.

 

Church… Is there any doubt that we are saved by God’s… Love…Mercy… Grace?

 

So… This morning we’re gonna look at the part…

works… Labor… Kingdom Ministry… Plays in our salvation…

Work and Grace… Do these words go together?...

This is not so much a sermon as it is a Bible study in the work of grace…

So let’s get started…

 

First… We work… We do good works… Because God created us for such.

 

Ephesians 2.10… We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

This verse tells us plainly that God saved us to do good works… Good deeds… That He planned in advance for us to do.

 

Here it is… God is at work in our lives daily… Providentially placing opportunities for us to do good...

•Helping the poor…

•Sharing Jesus verbally…

•Exemplifying Jesus in… Attitude… Disposition… Behavior…

•Saying a kind word…

•Encouraging the depressed and downhearted…

•Visiting the sick…

•Providing for the needs of a brother…

On-and-on we could go… You fill in the blanks… Make youR own list… God created us for good works… No… These good deeds do not merit our forgiveness & Salvation… His blood purchased our pardon.

 

We’re not saved by our works… We are saved to work.

God created us to do good works… And if we don’t do them… Who will?

 

Listen church… Here’s a thought… Good works… Caring for the needs of others is…

•Not the work of the government…

•Not the work of some social club…

•Not even the work of the corporate church…

These verses tell us that God created you and me to do good works… How are we doing?

 

Consider Mark 1.17… Jesus said, come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Jesus calls us to work… Not to just be spiritual couch potatoes.

I will make you fishers of men… Your kingdom work is to share Me with others…

Here’s a sobering question… Did we share Jesus… Even mention His name… To others last week?

 

Did we deliver a Welcome Newcomer package?

 

Did we… fold… staple… or pass on a tract?

 

Did we invite someone to come worship with us?

 

John 4.34… Jesus is found saying… My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work.

 

Jesus came into this world to do the work of the Father… And that work sustained Him.

 

Church…Do you know why some of us are…

• Unhappy…

• Depressed…

• Feel we’re living unfulfilled… Empty lives?

• Feel like we have no purpose?

Could it be because we are not being about the Father’s business.

Jesus said…Man does not live by bread alone… But by the word of God.

No… Not by just…

• Reading it…

• Knowing it…

• Studying it…

• Memorizing it

But doing what it says…Becoming doers of the Word!!

 

Romans 6.13 —Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as instrumentsof righteousness.

We are to become instruments in the hands of God.

 

Paul goes on to say… We belong to whom we serve… Whom we work for… God or Satan. Whose instrument are we?... We can’t say we are God’s instrument unless we are doing His Kingdom Work… Becoming a living sacrifice.

 

1 Corinthians 3.9 – 2 Corinthians 5.18-20… We are workers together with God…. For He has given you the ministry of reconciliation…So now then we are ambassadors for Christ.

•What a concept!!...

•What a privilege!!...

•What an honor!!...

To be working hand in hand with God.

 

Think of the power in this… God working with us makes all things possible… I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

 

Church… Consider this question… What are we doing with our God-given strength… Our God-given enablement?

• God doesn’t strengthen us to make money…

• To gather as much of this world’s goods as possible…

• To exhaust ourselves in worldly pleasures…

• To climb political or corporate ladders.

 

He strengthens us to share in His work… Ministry!

He has given us a Ministry… The Ministry of Reconciliation!!

He has given us a Kingdom Position… An Ambassador for Christ!!

We’re God’s Representative to a lost world.

 

1 Corinthians 15.10… By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me

 

Paul is saying… The more we understand and appreciate His grace… The harder we work.

 

Titus 2.11-12For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

 

Church… When we understand what God has done for us through Jesus… We will want to be better people… We’ll say NO…

•To ungodly behavior…

•To loving this world and its pleasures…

We’ll live self-controlled lives.

 

Listen to 2 Corinthians 5.14…For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all.

 

Our King James says the love of Christ constrains us.

Indeed…Grace

•Teaches…

•Compels…

•Constrains…

•Motivates…

•Demands

Discipleship.

 

And discipleship is WORK… Who could deny that our becoming like Jesus is not work… It takes energy… Energy supplied by God?

 

Here it is… We will do more out of thankfulness for His grace blessings than we will out of a sense of duty.  Duty wears us out… Thankfulness enthuses us.

 

Galatians 6.10 lets us know of a certainty that the focus of our works is to be people.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

 

We must ask ourselves…

• What impact will this work…

• This behavior…

• This activity…

• These words…

Have on others?

• Will it bring them to Christ?

• Will it draw a brother or sister closer to God?

• Will it encourage?

God is in the people business… The ministry of Jesus was focused on people… Our good works are to be about people… Especially those in the family of God… That’s Bible!

 

Ephesians 4.11-13… It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 

These verses tell us that God has gifted us differently... So that all good works will be covered.

 

Paul addresses this in Romans chapter twelve… We have different gifts, accordingto the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

 

Here’s an ugly scenario… Some of us have been in the church… 30… 40… Plus… Years and have yet to find and use our God-given Gift… We’ve yet to accept a Kingdom Ministry.

 

Philippians 2.12-13… Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

 

Sometimes these verses are seen as controversial… It may even look as if they are contradicting one another… Or that we are… To work… Merit… Earn… Our salvation… But that’s not the point.

 

The two words for work in the Greek are different… However in the English…Both are translated work.

 

In verse 12… Work out youR own salvation… The Greek word means…

•To complete…

•To finish…

•To achieve…

•To accomplish…

•To not give up.

The idea is to persevere.

 

Then in verse 13… Where it’s said that God is working in us… The word translated work means that God is providing

• The ability…

• The means…

• The energy…

• The wherewithal for our good deeds… Our good works.

 

So…Reading these meanings into the text it says… Carry out… Continue… Your task of salvation with fear and trembling…For God is providing, empowering you, with the ability and energy to accomplish the task before you.

 

You see… God’s grace didn’t disappear the moment we believed… The moment we accepted Christ… when we were saved… Grace is God at work in us daily.

 

This same word is used in Ephesians 3.20… Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

 

Church… These verses tell us that God is at work in us… Energizing us empowering us so that we can do the good works He providentially places before us.

 

The Hebrews Writer ends his book saying… May God equip you with everything good for doing His will and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him.

 

We must understand this morning that our good works ARE a result of our allowing God to work in us.

 

Here’s another interesting thought… The Hebrews’ Writer tells us that one of the reasons we meet each Lord ’s Day is to spur one another on to good works.

 

We’re not here to just clock in.  We’re not here just because church attendance is one more appointment on our calendar.  We're here to encourage one another in doing good in response to God’s grace.

 

Revelation 14.13…Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. They will rest from their labor… For their deeds will follow them.

 

Heaven is a place of rest... Rest from our Good Works.

• Are we exhausted from sowing the seed of the kingdom?

• Are we tired from… Watering… Cultivating…

• Are we tired from sharing Jesus… Exemplifying Jesus?

• Are we tired from turning the other cheek?

• Are we tired from doing good to all men… Especially those of the faith?

 

Listen to me church… Are we tired?... What are we tired from?… When we stand before Jesus that’s gonna be the question.

 

God is promising rest from Kingdom labors…Kingdom work.

 

Listen to Revelation 20.13… The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

 

Our King James says… according to his works.  If I understand this verse correctly… Heaven’s rewards will be proportional to our Kingdom… Efforts… Work… Labor.

 

So…Is there any doubt this morning… That based on these scriptures that weare created to do good works?

 

Let’s end our lesson noticing what happens

when we do the good that God places before us?...

 

First… Working in the Kingdom changes our attitude.

Workers don’t have time to complain.

Find me somebody that is critical of the church and I’ll show you someone that is not focused on working in his or her ministry.

Want to change you’re/my attitude toward the church?… This church?... We must find our place and go to work… It’s a guaranteed prescription.

 

Doing Good draws us closer to God.

When we step out to work for God… And we realize that He is… Equipping… Empowering… Enabling… Us… We experience a certain joy… And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding is ours!!

 

Kingdom activities draw us closer to one another.

I can’t preach this any better than Luke… They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

Doing good keeps the devil away.

Jesus told the narrative about a man who had cleaned his heart of all evil only to have Satan come with seven of his henchmen to fill his heart with worse wickedness than was present before the cleansing.

 

When we are idle in the Kingdom… Not working… Not Ministering… Satan comes…

• Causing us to worry…

• Become self-centered…

• Be critical and judgmental of others.

• Have all kinds of… Lustful… Sinful… Thoughts.

• Kingdom inactivity frequently leads us into… Envy… Jealousy… Self rightness.

 

Saved by grace through faith…

Created to do good works… Good works that God prepared for us to do..

What do we need to do this morning to accept His Grace Gift

of forgiveness and salvation?

 

Perhaps He is waiting for you to become His child by… Faith… Repentance… And New Testament Baptism.

 

Maybe we know something we ought to be doing… But just don’t know how or don’t have the courage or strength.  Come asking this group of believers to pray with you and for you.

 

It could be that you are looking for a church home… A place where you can put your God-given talents to use in His Kingdom.

 

Come respond to His grace as we stand and sing.