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This I Believe

“God’s Power of Salvation” Ephesians 2:1-10

Date:November 20, 2022
Author: Wayne J. Edwards


 According to a recent survey, 2/3rds of American adults over the age of 18 identified themselves as Christians. However, as we see the sinfulness of our culture today, we must question the validity of those conversions. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

   Sadly, some have confused the Pure gospel with:

  • The Prosperity Gospel – believing in Jesus is the way to health, wealth, and financial prosperity, for God wants His children to have their best life now. In other words, if they are prospering financially, they must be saved.
  • The Personal Gospel – this can also be called the “self-help” gospel; that Jesus died to meet our needs and to make our lives better, because life is all about me, my, and mine, never about others.
  • The Political Gospel – this false gospel says it is possible to proclaim Jesus as our Savior, but put our hope for the future in a political party.

The pure gospel is to believe the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the way for the lost man to be forgiven of his sins and reconciled to God. Anything we add to that or take away from it belittles God’s grace.

We will explain this further in our next sermon, “This I Believe: Saved by Grace – The Power of Salvation.” 

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Old Testament Reading – Psalm 100
New Testament Reading – Colossians 3:1-25

This I Believe
We Are Saved by Grace
“God’s Power of Salvation”
Ephesians 2:1-10

Wayne J. Edwards, Pastor

   In our last sermon, we looked at God’s plan of salvation.

  • How God the Father made the plan before He laid the foundation of the heavens and the earth and created man to inhabit it.
  • How God the Son made the plan of salvation possible by His obedience to God the Father in giving His life a ransom for our sins.
  • How God the Holy Spirit makes the plan work by convicting lost man of his sins and his unbelief in God, convincing him of his need for a Savior, and Jesus Christ as the Savior he needs.
  • While this plan originated in the counsel of God’s own will in eternity past, it will not be complete until this heaven and this earth have passed away and all those who trusted in God’s plan for their salvation are with Him in eternity, world without end.

   The Two “Great Awakenings” occurred between 1720 and 1740, and God used them to revitalize Christianity in the new colonies.

  • The positive results included increasing the number and size of churches and establishing a code of moral values.
  • The negative result was a modification of the gospel of salvation.
  • Legalism – the desire to earn God’s favor by keeping the Law or living according to the code of ethics.
  • Antinomianism – since God has already forgiven our sins, Christians can disregard God’s Laws and continue living sinful lives and still be saved.
  • Those modifications metastasized into doctrinal errors in the majority of gospel presentations.
  • True salvation begins with conviction of our sins, followed by shameful remorse, which leads to guilt, confession, and genuine repentance.
  • False salvation is based upon the love of God for sinful man without any requirement of confession or repentance.
  • The cheapening of the gospel also led to the abuse of the “altar call,” or the preacher’s invitation for sinners to publicly express their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
    • While these actions were with good intentions, they produced false conversions, i.e., those who thought they were saved by walking the aisle and repeating a printed prayer.
    • The results of the altar call became a measure of a preacher’s effectiveness or the evidence of the power of God upon him.
    • The power of salvation is not within the person that proclaims the gospel, nor is it the method used to share it.
    • The power of salvation rests with the One who planned our salvation, for as Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them.
  • The cheapening of the gospel also led to many false gospels:
    • The prosperity gospel – believing in Jesus is the way to health, wealth, and financial prosperity.
    • The personal gospel – believing Jesus died to meet our felt needs.
    • The political gospel – believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior but putting our hope in a political party or system.
    • The pure gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the way for lost man to be forgiven of his sins and reconciled to God.

   The power of salvation is not in any man, message, or method. The power of salvation is within God Himself, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ was to prove that God and God alone can deliver us from spiritual death into everlasting life.

1.  The Necessity of God’s Power to be saved – Vs. 1-3 – “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

  • The word “sin” is from the Greek word “hamartia,” which means to miss the mark, and God’s mark is “Be holy as I am holy.”
  • God’s standard is total perfection, and absolute holiness, and only Jesus has measured up to that standard.
  • In Romans 3:23, the Apostle Paul said, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
  • The Bible gives seven characteristics of a person living under God’s wrath.
    • They are lost – to be spiritually lost is to be far away from God and not even be aware of it.
    • They are separated from God – their unconfessed sins are a barrier to their acceptance by God.
    • They are spiritually blind – they cannot see things from God’s perspective or understand the Holy Scriptures.
    • They are spiritually dead – unaware of their need for God.
    • They are enslaved to their lusts – they cannot help but sin.
    • They cannot set themselves free – regardless of their achievements or accomplishments, their hunger for meaning and purpose in life will never be satisfied.
    • They are helpless – trapped in their depravity with no hope of being free.
  • Consequently, it takes a complete regeneration to bring a sinner to salvation, and only God can deliver us from the domain of darkness and into the Kingdom of His dear Son.

2.  The Application of God’s Power to Save – Vs. 4-6 – “But God, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

  • The one truth every believer must realize is that our salvation had to be initiated by God because dead men cannot raise themselves.
  • Just as the Holy Spirit quickened the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and raised Him from the dead, He quickened our dead spirit, and we were born again, never to die again, and the proof of that is the power of the Holy Spirit who now dwells within us.
  • God also raised us up together with Christ, giving us victory over our sinful nature.
  • God also seated us in the heavenlies with Christ, which means we are citizens of two worlds:
    • Physically, we will live on this earth until we die or are raptured.
    • Spiritually, we are already seated with Christ in heaven, and that is where our heart is.
  • The heart of Christianity is the definition of our salvation:
    • Christ’s death became our death.
    • Christ’s resurrection became our resurrection.
    • Christ’s ascension became our ascension.
    • Christ’s affirmation and confirmation from God the Father assured our salvation.

3.  The Purpose of God’s Power Expressed – Vs. 7 – “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

  • The word “ages” means to “roll in upon the other,” which means “ages upon ages.”
  • Throughout eternity, God will be glorified for His grace towards us, and the heavenly host will be amazed at what His love and grace have done.
  • This is why Paul said our salvation is a gift of God’s power and not man’s desire, for:
    • Only God has the power to bring a dead man back to life.
    • Only God can adopt a child of the devil and make him a child of the King.
  • No one is born into this world as a child of the family of God. The truth is, we are born as children of wrath and under the judgment of God’s wrath.
  • The only way we can enter into the family of God is by adoption, and our adoption occurs when we are united with God through our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
  • Therefore, the only way we can express our faith in Jesus Christ is to be born again by the power of the Holy Spirit.