A Conduit for Christ

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, 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 ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as 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 so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

Turn if you will to Ephesians Chapter 2 verses 1 and 2. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” The Apostle Paul is reminding us from where we have come and possibly where some of us are at. Each of us were born into sin at birth because of the inherited sin nature we have received from the fall in the Garden of Eden. As a result we are naturally rebellious towards God our Creator. No one has to teach us to be sinful but we have to be taught to strive towards God’s righteousness. When left to our own desires we would not chose to do the will of God but to do our own will.

The problem for the unforgiven sinner is they are walking around in a well body of flesh but are completely dead in the spirit. The body will return to the dust but the spirit will live on into the next realm. There the choices are fewer. Will we gloriously move on to the Kingdom of God or fall eternally into the pit of Hell. This was never the purpose of God that man should perish. Satan did not trip up God in His plan and purpose to have a loving relationship with man His creation. Satan tripped man up, as this was his plan. God had a greater plan than Satan and defeated him on the cross that through God’s mercy and love man could be restored through His Son Jesus Christ. Now man once dead in the spirit can become alive again through Jesus Christ. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Paul in his letter to the Roman Church put the eternal choice that man has in a clear and precise way. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Each one of us by are past or present life are responsible for placing Jesus on the cross.

But God in His mercy towards man, because of His love for man, has extended His grace towards man that he can receive salvation from the wage of his sin. Let us look closely at verse 8. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) This is a mystery to many that God would extend His grace towards the very people that crucified His Son on the cross. I wonder deeply how God can take one as wretched as I, one as wretched as you, and freely give us the free gift of salvation? How can God extend to us the people who have been rebellious towards Him a way out of the punishment that we so deserve? That is the definition of mercy. Not receiving the punishment that we deserve. God not only shows His mercy towards us but also His grace. The Grace of God blessing us in spite of the fact that we do not deserve it.

By God’s grace we are saved. We are not saved because we attend Church service one or two days a week. Church attendance will not save us. Being baptized will not save us, as it is only an open commitment that we have accepted Jesus into our life. Participating in the Lord’s Supper will not save us, as it is only a remembrance of the great price that Jesus paid that we could be saved. We cannot earn our salvation with money, works, or Church service, as this would rob God of His grace that He shows towards us.

It is by God’s grace that we receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Unlike this world which goes to great length to rationalize all that we do and remove accountability for our actions. In the end we will all bow at the judgment and be judged guilty of our rebellion to God’s Word. Or if we have trusted the blood of Jesus to atone for our sins and we will be seen in His righteousness and be judged innocent, as He is innocent. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

By God’s grace we receive a new self. We live in the flesh and have denied the spirit and fall victim to the desires of the flesh which is in rebellion to the Word of God. As we are led in the Spirit of the new self we are able through that power to put off the old self that weighs us down to the pit of despair. “And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:24)

We are to put on the new self, the revived spiritual self in the power of the Holy Spirit which we have received by God’s grace and are able to be born anew. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

By God’s grace all the spiritual blessings that are now available to us to empower us to live a righteous life for the glory of God.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) Not only here in this world but more importantly in the world to come the Kingdom of God. What we will receive there is unspeakable to us, it is beyond our finite imaginations to dream. “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

We can only receive God’s grace “through faith.” Faith is seeing the unseen till we are convicted of its reality. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is the conduit in which grace flows from God into our life. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

We receive God’s grace because of his great love and His mercy towards us. We receive God’s grace because all were created by Jesus and we were created for Him. We are His because He created us, and we are His because He purchased us with His blood. Some of us are once His and God in His love wants us all to be twice His. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Finally I want us to look at one last verse, verse 8. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)  We are the workmanship of Jesus created for good works. We do so because this brings eternal purpose into our life. Solomon said “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) If we live our lives just to survive in this world, then when our spirits leave this world we will have no value in the next.

Our eternal purpose is to bring God honor in all that we do here in this world and secure our place in the world to come. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)

As an expression of our love for the grace God has shown to us we must be obedient to the commands of His Son our Lord and Savior. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15

Jesus has commanded us to love. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) As God is love we as His followers are to love God and our neighbor. How could we accept the mercy and love of God and His grace and not show it to others we share this world with? Would this not be the hypocrisy that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for? We are to love God and one another.

We are commanded to “go.” Jesus told His Apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) They obeyed this command and therefore we are here today in His house to worship Him. We are here in His house to learn of Him. We are here in His house to be equipped to “go” “Be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

We are to go to our family, our Jerusalem, we are to go to our friends, our Judea, and we are to go to the marketplace, our remotest parts of the world and tell them of God’s Son and what He has done in our lives, saved us. If we love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, then we will go tell our neighbor of God’s grace and His free gift of salvation though Jesus Christ. “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)

As faith is the conduit that God’s grace which flows to us, then we have the power to be conduits of Christ living through us that others may see the light of His truth in this darkened world. That we may go and say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 22:17)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 17, 2017

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