A New Creation in Ephesians

Four things are created in Ephesians:

First, we are created for good works (2:10).
Second, God created one new man from the Jew and Gentile (2:15).
Third, God created all things (3:9).
Fourth, God created a new self in his likeness (4:24).
Our salvation is viewed as a new creation, a making something new which is equal to the making of the world. By His Word and Spirit the worlds were made. By His Word and Spirit we are remade. By His Word and Spirit Heaven and Earth made. By His Word and Spirit Jew and Gentile are made into one new body. By His Word and Spirit Adam and Eve were made in the likeness of the living God. By His Word and Spirit we are remade into the likeness of express image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. By His Word and Spirit that which was formless and void was made into the stars, sky, Sun, moon, and earth. By His Word and Spirit our dead souls are made alive in Christ. 

We should stand amazed at the beauty of the world, the stars hanging in the black heavens. But we should also stand amazed at the 4 year old who loves to lift her voice like the children in Psalm 8 in praise to her Savior.  And we should stand in awe of the 94 year old whose body is broken, but whose soul is being remade in the likeness of Christ. The new creation of a fallen human is no less a feat than the original creation of the world from nothing. 

A Good, Firm Support

“We have already seen how God has sufficiently declared to us that if we have and possess his only Son, Jesus Christ, we have the full perfection of all good, so that if we cast our eye upon him, we may see all that can be desired. And thus, although there are many blameworthy things in us, and even though we find nothing but frailty in ourselves, yet we have a good, firm support to lean on, in that our Lord Jesus Christ call us to him an tells us that the things he has received from God his Father are for us all, and that although we do not yet enjoy them  to the full, we cannot come short of them.  In short, our Lord Jesus Christ is set at the right hand of God his Father, in order that we might be sure that all things are under his control, and that he rules the whole world, and that all good things are from him and he is able to prevent all injuries, so that if we are under his protection, we may defy the devil and our enemies.” (John Calvin, First paragraph of a sermon on Ephesians 1:19-23)

Sermon Notes: Ephesians 6:5-9

Here is the application portion of my sermon from this past Sunday. 

1.       This passage makes all of our jobs holy. It breaks down the divide between secular and sacred. It means you can honor God typing in data just as much as you can honor him in prayer. In the Kingdom the man is holy because he is united to Christ. Thus his vocation becomes holy.
a.       O’ Brien: Any and every task, however menial, falls within the sphere of his lordship and is done in order to please him.
b.      Why is the view that there are levels of holiness so deadly for the Christian life?
                                                              i.      It creates 2nd class citizens in the Kingdom. There are the less holy ones who are auto-mechanics and the more holy ones who are missionaries. It drags us back to the Old Covenant.
                                                            ii.      It leaves the world to the Devil. Both the dominion mandate and the great commission go unfulfilled.  Journalism, medicine, art, politics, building cars, etc. are all part of the world. We tolerate these things, but they are not really spiritual or holy. Thus we leave them to Satan. Which means the whole world is left to Satan except my devotions and Sunday worship.
                                                          iii.      It creates a spirit only view of the Christian life.  The Christian life becomes something primarily internal. It can be the life of the mind or the life of the heart, but what it is not is a life of the body.  Thus our Christian life is not worked out in making casseroles, building houses or mowing lawns, but primarily in Bible study and prayer.
c.       We should not assume that more Bible reading and prayer will make us holier. Even in our free time we should not assume this. Yes, we should read our Bibles and pray. But then we should live. We should build houses and fix cars and write briefs and cook meals and read books and make movies. This passage makes the whole world our workshop. There is no area of human endeavor where we cannot honor Christ.  
d.      We do not need to continually add more “spiritual disciplines” to our lives.  God has called us to work, to labor, to a vocation. Our calling is to productive labor. There are biblical disciplines that should be cultivated. But too often we add extra disciplines, such as fasting or personal evangelism or numerous Bible studies, to our lives. God wants us to honor him with productive labor in our vocations.
2.       Christ is honored when we are skilled in our labors and productive for your employers. We do this because it is right not because we are trying to manipulate the system.  Everyone here should be striving to do their jobs better. If we are working for the Lord then we should want to do our best. Wives in your homes there should be regular evaluation of your labor.  Are there things you could do better? Is your home a place of joy? Why not?
3.       External obedience is not enough.  We must throw ourselves into our vocations with joy and vigor. Paul, indeed the Bible, never leaves us with only external obedience.  In our work, we are to honor Christ by doing our jobs with our whole being.  This includes a heart that is sincere, joyful, and seeks to please God in all things.
4.       There are rewards for obedience.

Quick Sermon Outline: Ephesians 4:28-30

My Translation

Let the one who is stealing, steal no longer
            But rather let him labor hard by means of working with his hands
                        So that he might have something to share with the one who has need. 
Do not let any corrupt/foul word come out of your mouth, but only what is good
            To build up according to the need
                        In order that it [the word] might give grace to the one who hears
      And do not grieve/pain the Holy Spirit of God
                        By whom you were sealed to the day of redemption
Points from verse 28
1. We earn through hard work, not from theft or chasing pipe dreams. 
2. We earn more so we might have more to give. 
3. There are often legitimate needs in the Body of Christ. Just because someone has a need does not mean they were lazy. 
4. The first line for meeting needs is the individual members of the body, not the deacons. 

Points from verses 29-30
1. Words are powerful. See Proverbs 18:21
2. Our words are to meet need of the moment. This requires wisdom, which in turn requires listening. 
3. Corrupt words grieve the Holy Spirit. One excellent way to not grieve the Spirit is to biblical language. This does not guarantee that your words are not corrupt, but it will help.

The Privilege of Preaching

Charles Hodge commenting on Ephesians 3:2:

“Paul esteemed the office of a messenger of Christ as a manifestation of the undeserved kindness of God towards him, and he always speaks of it with gratitude and humility. It was not its honours, nor its authority,  much less any emolument [payment] connected with it, which gave it value in his eyes; but the privilege which it involved of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ.