Sermon Bites 11/23/08

Grace At Work

Ephesians 4:7-16

PURPOSE:  To teach that those who are in the one Body [the Church] are recipients of grace, demonstrated and shown through ministry gifts, also of grace, for the purpose of bringing the total Body to the maturity of Jesus Christ.

Grace does not stop with our initial repentance, faith, and confession of Christ.  Grace continues with every breath we breathe; every step we take; every morning we rise from our beds.  Grace is the continuing work of God in the Christian’s life.

The following are some works of grace which God has bestowed upon us.

OUTLINE FOR CHAPTER 4 VERSES 7 – 16:

I.  THE WORK OF GOD WHICH DELIVERED US FROM THE CONDEMNATION OF SIN AND DEATH (v. 7).

A.  Grace is the means by which we are delivered from the condemnation of sin and its death.
B.   That same grace provides not only salvation, but also gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit as He sees fit, for living by grace in His power.

“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:11 (KJV)

II.  THE WORK OF GOD ON THE CROSS WHICH DELIVERED US FROM CAPTIVITY (vv. 8-10).

A.  Because of the cross on which Jesus bled and died God the Father was and is able to deliver us from the captivity of sin.
B.  When Jesus arose fromt he grave He led those who were Old Testament  saints out of captivity.

* I believe this is vividly illustrated in Matthew 27:51-53:

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

* He then placed into captivity everything that places man in bondage – sin, hell, death, and Satan.

III.  THE WORK OF GOD IN THE GIFTS WHICH HE GIVES US; CONTINUING THE WORK (vv. 11-12).

A.  God desires, and Jesus desires to continually be at work in us; fulfilling His will and glory.
B.  The gifts listed are not natural talents, but special gifts of the Spirit for glorifying Jesus in the ministry.
C.  In verse twelve we see a twofold purpose for these spiritual gifts;

1. The perfecting of the saints to do the work of the ministry;
2. Edifying the Body of Christ.

IV.  THE WORK OF GOD AND THE FRUIT OF THAT WORK (vv. 13-16).

A.  When the Body of Christ is being equipped and built up there are at least four evidences of spiritual growth.

1. We become more Christlike caring for the needs of others, experiencing others hurts and sorrows.
2. We begin developing a stability of faith.
3. We have a love for truth, coupled with a love for people, the lost, and even backsliden
4. We realize that there must be a unified work.

B.  When you have grace working in you  through  Jesus Christ you will be the better for it, and the world will benefit from it.

-Tim A. Blankenship
Grace At Work


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