Grace is God at work, but what is faith? What does God expect from me both in the salvation process and once I am saved?
A. He was born October 15, 1924 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was hired by Ford Motor Co. and was noted for his successful promotion of Mustang. He rose rapidly, becoming president of Ford in 1970. In 1979 he was hired by the nearly bankrupt Chrysler Corp. Within a few years Chrysler was showing record profits, and he was a national celebrity. He retired in 1992. His name: Lee Iacocca
B. How important is management to a company? Ask any Fortune 500 and you know the answer – Absolutely Necessary. Without excellent leadership, leadership that not only has knowledge, but also charisma and the ability to lift the workers up not corporation will grow to great heights.
C. Sometimes what is needed is new management. You know, that is exactly what God does with us. Paul tells these Christians that they were “dead in their sins” and that “God made them alive in Christ.” You see, we are under new management. We gave ourselves over to new direction, new leadership, new management of our souls. What we could not do for ourselves, we realized God was offering to do for us all along. He was willing to take our bankrupt lives and create something new.
D. But in order to experience the fullness of the new management we are under we need to realize that it is God, not you or me, that brought the change in us.
I. No Bragging Rights
A. Too often we look at a changed life and think how much that person changed. Listen again to Eph. 2:8-9.
B. John Newton wrote the beloved song, “Amazing Grace.” His story has been told many times, but the truth behind the story is that after John’s mother died when he was 7, his life became filled with sinful behavior. He was pressed into service in the British Navy and eventually found himself participating in the slave trade.
C. His transformation began in a storm at sea in which he survived. He began then to turn to God in prayer and the reading the Bible. But it would take several more years before his harden heart was broken. In 1772 he wrote the words of what would become the song many love. “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”
D. There are no bragging rights when it comes to salvation. I was dead, that’s all I bring to the table. Oh, I may be a nice person who didn’t do all sorts of evil things, but the truth is – I sinned and therefore I died in relationship to God. I cannot be in that relationship again by my own goodness. My work begins with faith.
E. Faith is the willingness to accept as fact something that I cannot prove. Faith sees what the world cannot see and decides to live in a way the world does not accept. Faith humbles myself and leads me to a life of repentance. Faith sees God as God and not me. Faith sees God’s way as the best way and not mine. Faith causes me to accept the grace that God offers and proclaim my dependence upon Him to others.
F. I am saved by grace through faith. But before I get to caught up in greatness of my faith, Paul quickly reminds us salvation is not MY DOING or are result of MY WORKS. Paul wants to make sure there are no bragging rights to a person salvation experience.
II. My Work
A. Once I humbly accept by faith God’s grace of the salvation from my own sin, what does that make me? Paul shares with us the answer (Read verse 10).
B. Paul uses a word here that is used only one other time. Here it gets translated “workmanship.” The other passage is Rom. 1:20. “The things that have been made.” Paul uses a word that describes God’s handiwork of creation to describe our salvation experience. We become something that God shows off! We are his masterpiece.
C. Now stay with this idea that as a “born again” Christian, one born from God’s very handiwork, Paul continues to help us see our responsibility. He tells us that we were created to do good works in Christ Jesus as how we are to walk as Christians.
D. If anyone tells you that being a Christian means nothing more than attending worship one day a week, they have no clue as to God’s desire for the Christian life. Listen to James 2:14-17.
E. We are to be living God’s life, not ours. God recreated us. God prepared good works for us to do. God is the one who calls the shots in my life and as his saved creation I need to start doing and stop just talking.
F. We as a church need to rise out of the pew and go into the streets. We need to share our story that we were once sinful, but because of God have come to a new way of life, a changed life. We need to let our good works shine brightly in a dark world and glorify our father in heaven.
G. We need to live God’s life for us, the one he created in us and stop living the sinful life that separated us from God to begin with. Let us be God’s workmanship in our marriages, in our children, in our worship, in our small groups, in every aspect of our lives.
A. Paul not only wrote this letter to these Christians, but expressed in his letter to the Corinthians what all this means in his own life. Paul would say (1 Cor. 15:10).
B. Paul saw the before and after picture of his life. He admitted he was a sinner saved by grace, and then showed that grace compelled him to do good works. Grace, when really understood, causes us to want to respond to that grace by doing the very things God desires.
C. So what is God desiring from you? Has His grace touched your life and saved you from your sin? If so, how are you responding to that grace? Are you living God’s way or still walking in the darkness of your old self? If we can help you live in righteousness, come as we stand and sing.