Greetings Project Ezra! This week we will be reading Ephesians chapter 2. I’m actually shocked I didn’t pick this passage sooner. Some of the best known verses on salvation by grace through faith are in the chapter, and I think it’s going to make a great open-air reading. It also makes a very clear contrast between the old, worldly life, and the new life in Christ. I think we should attempt to highlight that contrast in our preaching. The passage also highlights God’s love and mercy very strongly, and shows God’s plan to glorify Himself through demonstrating His grace in saving us.
Ephesians also talks about God’s wrath, and although at first glance the ideas of wrath and grace may appear to be contrary, they are most assuredly not. Most people think lightly of God’s grace, because they don’t have a clear picture of what they are being saved from, and how powerful God’s anger and wrath actually is. When we realize how far we have fallen, and what we have been saved from, grace becomes that much more glorious.
Our reading outline is below. I have also posted the Facebook event for The True Gift of Christmas. I’ll be posting more information soon, but for newer participants this is a reading of the entire Gospel of John during the week before Christmas. Naturally that’s a bit tough to do along, so start gathering a team now, and be sure to post your location on the event page so I can put together a participation map.
For the praise of His glory,
Read Ephesians 2
Highlight comparison between new life and old life of Ephesians
All mankind are BY NATURE children of wrath
Men are dead in their trespasses and sins outside of God’s grace
Following the course of this world?
Living in the passions of our flesh?
Carrying out the desires of our bodies and minds?
These are what the bible calls sin, moral crimes against a holy God.
We are under wrath because we have broken God’s law
Romans 1:18 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Go through God’s law, reminding people that the purpose of the law is not to condemn (they are condemned already, John 3:18) but to give them the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:30) that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God
But those same hands were nailed to a cross so our sin could be paid for.
Christ has reconciled us to God in one body, through the cross, abolishing the law of the commandments
God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, made us alive together with Christ
We are saved by grace, unmerited favor, and not by works
Through Christ we are brought near to God. He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility.
Jesus is our peace, and came and preached peace to those near and far.
Make sure you have made your peace with God. Turn from your sin and throw yourself on God’s mercy, and you will be forgiven.
Other Useful Verses
Romans 2:12 - For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
Jeremiah 10:10 - But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 - and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Revelation 6:15-17 - Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"