Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                          Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Apr 8, 2012:                             "Hope Hinged on his Grace!" 
Sun AM Worship                                              

Text: Eph 2:1-10 (King James Version)         

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                       The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"

 

Intro: This being Easter our leadership met and decided, "You know, we want to get a really special speaker. Why don't we call the best preacher in the world and ask him to speak."
And they did and he said "No".
So they said, "Well if we can't have the best speaker, as least we can get the smartest one."
So they called him and he said "No".
And then they said, "Well, if we can't get the best or the smartest, at least we can get the best looking."
And they called him and he said "No".
And finally one of them said, "Well, we can always ask our preacher." And so they did. And what could I say, I'd already told them "no" three times. 

Joseph of Arimathea was a very wealthy Pharisee, a member of the council, and a secret follower of Jesus. It was Joseph who went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body after the crucifixion. And it was Joseph who supplied the tomb for Jesus' burial.

Well, it seems that someone pulled him aside and said, "Joseph, that was such beautiful, costly, hand-hewn tomb. Why on earth did you give it to someone else to be buried in?"
Joseph just smiled. "Why not? He only needed it for the weekend." 

 That's what we celebrate today, that empty borrowed tomb.
 Easter is my favorite day of the year.
 It's the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
 Most preachers look forward to Easter also because Easter Sunday is usually the largest crowd of the year and we get to share with you what God did for you that day over 2000 years ago.

 Jesus had been crucified like a common criminal
 He had been buried in the tomb that Joseph of Arimathea had provided.
 Three days later He arose from the grave.
 Conquering death scripture tells us so that we might live

 So that we might have eternal life. Praise God for the empty tomb
 Without this, there would be no Christianity.
 Without Easter, Jesus would have been just a good man.
If it wasn't for the empty tomb, Jesus would have been a good man.
 A prophet, healer, preacher
 A good teacher but that would be it. He would still have been dead.
 After He died, there would have been nothing He could have done for us.
 Our scripture this morning tells us that God loved us so much that He gives us life through the risen Lord.

 As I prayed and meditated on today's sermon, God made it clear to me that I would have three distinct audiences this morning.
 There would be those who are lost
 There would be those who are saved but are struggling in their faith.
 There would be those who are saved and want to hear a reassuring word this morning from God.
 They want to worship the risen Lord today.
 As these thoughts ran through my mind, God brought this scripture to mind because it really addresses all who are here this morning.
 let's read our scripture.

 

Ephesians 2:1   And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:

Ephesians 2:2   Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:3   Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Ephesians 2:4   But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5   Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:6   And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 2:7   That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8   For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:9   Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:10   For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Let's pray. Father,  Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.   

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

 Verse four here says that even though we deserve death because of our sins, God still loves us and wants to provide a way to be reconciled or back into a relationship with Him.

 God desires a relationship with all of His creation.
 He provides that with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 What I really want to concentrate on this morning are what verses 8-10 say to us.

 Lets look at them again

Ephesians 2:8   For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:9   Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:10   For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

good things he planned for us long ago.

 God saves you by His GRACE

 Grace is a word that we hear bandied about a lot in Christendom and we assume that everybody understands what it means.

 After all doesn't everybody know, "amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me"

 From the pulpits we thunder that grace is Gods unmerited favor on mankind.

 Something we can't earn.

Our eternal Hope hinges on the fact that he is Risen!

 

1 Corinthians 15:20   But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Corinthians 15:12   Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

1 Corinthians 15:13   But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

1 Corinthians 15:14   And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

1 Corinthians 15:15   Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

1 Corinthians 15:16   For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

1 Corinthians 15:17   And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:18   Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

1 Corinthians 15:19   If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

1 Corinthians 15:20   But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Corinthians 15:21   For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:22   For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.


1 Thessalonians 4:13   But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:14   For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1 Thessalonians 4:15   For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:16   For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1 Thessalonians 4:17   Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:18   Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

 

I was trying to come up with a good illustration that could explain grace to those who may not quite understand it.

 

Recently a seminary professor came into class and announced that they were having a pop test. He instructed to put everything away but a pencil or pen and then he proceeded to hand out a three page test.

As the surprised students looked at the test they saw they didn't have a chance of passing it.

 He had questions on there that didn't even relate to the class nor had theystudied these items.

As they looked at the test and was panicking  they began to  look around and saw that the rest of the class was reacting the same way.

Nobody had a clue and all knew that we were going to fail.

The professor came back into the classroom and they all started complaining about the test.

 He finally said that he could either give mercy or show them grace. Which one did they want?

 One student said give me mercy, so the professor gave him mercy.

 He said that he would allow him to take the test again the next day but his grade would be whatever he scored the next day.

To the rest of he gave grace.

 He told us to write Grace across the top of our papers and that we would receive a 100 for that test.

 The guy that wanted mercy started to complain but the professor told him that he had gotten what he had asked for; You see mercy is something you can ask for and receive.

 Grace is something that is given freely even though you don't deserve it.

 Paul writes here in Ephesians that we are saved by something we can't work for nor deserve.  God's grace.   Out of His love He saves us.

 We are not saved by good works or anything else we can do but we are saved for good works.

Because he Lives

 

2 Corinthians 5:17   Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Acts 1:11   Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

 

He has become my Peace in time of Trouble.

 

Philippians 4:7   And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

My Hope

 

Colossians 1:27   To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

 

My Joy

1 Peter 1:7   That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 1:8   Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

1 Peter 1:9   Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.