ICE BREAKER: What special gift have you received lately? What made it so special?
READ: Ephesians 2:1-10 - And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of
God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Many people in the world today are hoping to go to heaven by their own efforts to live a good life. Ephesians 2:1-10 is a primary biblical text on this subject, and it can be summarized in only two points.
1st Point: We are not saved by doing good works (vv. 1-9). Without Christ we are dead in our transgressions and sins (v. 1-2), gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature (v. 3). But God’s rich mercy made us alive by His grace (v. 4-5). We have been raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places (v. 6), so that in the future we’ll experience the incomparable wealth of heaven (v. 7). And it is all by grace, not by works (v. 8-9).
2nd Point: We are saved to do good works (v. 10). Having been saved by grace, we are God’s workmanship, designed to do those good works that God prepared in advance for us to do. We are not saved by doing good works; we are saved to do good works!
Notice how perfectly this passage parallels Titus 3:3-8 (read it). Without Christ we were foolish, living in pleasure, passion, malice, and hatred. But the kindness and love of God our Father appeared, and He saved us, not by works that we have done but according to His mercy. He saved us that those of us who have trusted in God may be careful to devote ourselves to doing good works. Good works prove our faith and let our light shine before men, that our Father might be glorified Matthew 5:16 (read it).
GET IT: In this passage, Paul divides a Christian life into two periods. What are they? Who controlled you in the first period? What was the result?
DIG DEEPER: If we are “dead” because of sin (v. 1), how are we made alive (vv. 4-5)? What is the relationship between God’s grace and good works? What has God’s grace meant to you in your life?
APPLY: What good work do you feel God may have in mind for you (v. 10)? What good works have you and I done today, this week, this month? What in your life is due only to God’s presence and goodness? How can you show Him appreciation daily for it?
Some excerpts from Robert J. Morgan