Opening Illustration: New Born Babies come into this world – it is a beautiful thing to behold, one of the most precious tangible highlights (Top 10 moments) is seeing one of your own come into the world. What I didn’t expect with my first-born, and subsequently misremembered at each of my other children’s awakening, is the moment after labor, before I knew it I was holding scissors and cutting the umbilical cord, then the nurse swiftly takes the child over to the little incubation station & begins to rinse them off, followed by a shocking awakening ~ flipping this delicate new creature over on her forearm she gave her a smack on the back. It was more than I was ready for. (Do you know what I’m talking about?) Maybe this is why they never let fathers in the delivery room back in previous generations?
I quickly learned the startling effect serves multiple purposes, but mostly to clear the abiotic fluid out of their system, to get them to breath on their own, to startle & awaken them, and to work their lungs ~ crying is a good thing…
Makes sense now, seemed pretty rude at the time.
… although through rough patches of my kids’ adolescent years – I confess I sort-of look back on that moment with an inappropriate smirk …
There is something startling, gift giving, awakening about bringing a new born into this world. AWAKENING GRACE
Seeing things through their eyes as they discover a whole new world outside of the microcosm of the womb.
The Church @ Ephesus was Paul’s BABY. He spent more recoded time with this church than any other. Nurturing them through their infancy, growing them up, and launching them to follow Jesus, helping others to do the same. Helping others to latch on to their New Identity, taking hold of the gems of the gospel. (adopted, chosen, priests, temple, instruments, Secured by the King, and to opening the eyes of their heart– SO THAT at our very core we are transformed by Grace.
Side Note: there are number of scholars that believe – what we call the book of Ephesians was Paul’s Swan Song, His Preparation for how he would give a defense, for his day in court, while being held under house arrest in Rome. For back in the ADOLESCENT stage of the fledgling church @ Ephesus we can trace an oppositional religious voice that stirred riots, falsely accused Paul, and landed him in a string of incarcerations starting in Jerusalem ~ that eventually led him to Rome – to plead his case.
So what would Paul’s final words of encouragement be to his ADULT CHILDREN? What would your final words look like? If you could preach at your own funeral - your death… if you could prerecord and exhort others to live a full life?
What would you say?
I’m persuaded, that what Paul has recorded in the book of Ephesians is as important as a eulogy. And if so,
Then Ephesians 2:1-10 might be considered his epitaph. Not only what would you want said at your funeral?
But What can you fit on the 20+ characters of a tombstone? It is by Grace ~ you have been saved.
It is an AWAKENING GRACE – Startling & SCANDELOUS, Way Bigger more COSMIC than we can imagine,
and it is most INFECTIOUS in the ways of changing us from the inside out.
Let’s Read about it – Pull out your bibles | Turn to Ephesians 2:1-10 | Bibles under your chair PAGE 799
FOLLOW ALONG AS WE READ STRAIGHT THROUGH CH.2 vs. 1-10 -
SLIDE A (AWAKENING GRACE Scandalous)
How is Grace Scandalous? The Gospel (royal good news) is proclaiming ~ the reservoir of God’s Awakening Grace covers our dirt, our filth… Scandalous Good News of the Gospel is only credible if there is bad news
– a mysterious scandal to unveil
(note: some older translations make a premeditative interpretive jump in vs. 1 – “and you hath he quickened (awakened)”
DEAD in Your TRANSGRESSIONS (trespasses) & SIN (third Dirty word to round out the scandal – INIQUITY)
Layered metaphors to remind us of the scandal we were once caught up in – (ironically the way that You “LIVED”)
SLIDE B TRANSGRESSION = breaking trust
SIN = moral failure,
(INIQUITY = crooked behavior)
There is a gravity, weight, or better yet freight to our dirt that we can NOT fork lift on our own. (powerless)
~ but as we learned last week, we are to awaken our eyes to the incomparable power of the resurrection ~
Following the ways of the World (cosmos) – SYSTEMS, PHILOSOPHIES, CORPORAL or COLLECTIVE (Popular or Majority Rule)
Following the Ruler of the Kingdom (Prince of the Power) of the Air
The scandal that we are caught up in is Triangulated by YOU, the WORLD, and some other SPIRITUAL AGENT
(Who is actively at work as a Father progenerating children of DISOBEDIENCE)
As is every tangled scandal, our dirt is compounded, having a profound effect that leads to death.
We tend to blame one or the other, but all THREE of these are major players in the scandal – that Grace must face.
Not the least of which is ME, MYSELF, & I must take ownership.
SLIDE C Susanna Wesley’s – “[take this rule] Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of our conscience, obscures your sense of God or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength of authority of your body over your mind; that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself”
How would you define the Dirt of your own sin? What secret Scandal would be devastating if others found out…
*We will never be able to forgive others, follow Jesus, and truly act with compassion
until we realize How Great the Scandalous Grace of Jesus - had to face off with my own freighted dirt.
ALL of US (Gentile & Jew) also lived among them at one time | Gratifying the Cravings of our Sinful Nature | Following its Desires & Thoughts | like the rest WE were by NATURE objects of WRATH (turned over to the consequences of sin).
- (note: Sequence of James ~ … each person is lured & enticed by his own desire, desire when conceived gives birth to sin,
& sin when it is fully grown brings forth death… ~ picture of a still born baby – living though dead – Beautiful Bundles of Iniquity)
Challenge – Today & this Week, when you catch yourself frustrated or consumed with the whatever the latest scandal is,
turn inward, and look at the dirt, the scandal of your own life, & thank God that His Grace Covers it.
And then posture yourself towards others, If Jesus graciously took on your scandal He can cover others…
(Two additional anticipatory challenges in advance😊)
Challenge – Today & this Week, spend time gaining perspective. God’s Grace is so much bigger than we can imagine. The Cosmic Proportion of is Grace is Cosmic – be overwhelmed & in awe of it…
Challenge – Today & this Week, Allow the Grace of God to be infectious. His favor is not something to be purchased or earned, rather humble yourself to receive it, believe it, allow it to transform you from the inside out (your core).
SLIDE D (AWAKENING GRACE Cosmic)
How is Grace Cosmic? This may come as an awakening shock to some of us, but the world (the Cosmos) does not revolve around you, around me. There is some universal narrative playing out and every infant born into this world learns that that hard way. Our selfish (primal) nature must eventually yield to this.
(note: we tipped our hat to this earlier, with the Trifecta of the My Sin, The World Systems (Cosmos itself), Prince/Kingdom of the Air (father to the sons of disobedience – whose terminal is Death)
But because of His GREAT LOVE for Us. (the muchness of his agape)
GOD who is RICH (the exorbitant cosmic wealth of God) in MERCY (khessed – Loyal Kindred Love). (note: Hosea 6:6)
The reservoir of God’s muchness, His cosmic dispensary default, His kindred loyalty is too big a match for the Trifecta.
This Cosmic Grace ~ (quickened us) ~ made us ALIVE with Christ. (woke us up, we’ve been on snooze, or more like a coma)
even when we were DEAD (PowerLESS) in our TRANSGRESSIONS (NOT-TRUST-WORTHY)
IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED!
GRACE that we have not qualified for. In fact, we should have received a pink slip / notification of WRATH
A great big heap of compounded consequences of my dirt catching up to me.
Instead we have been handed the will & testimony, the full inheritance, the signed/sealed/delivered Estate
of the Crown Prince of the Universe! This is a Cosmic Sized Salvation! It is a rags-to-riches story like non-other!
Read on, if you don’t believe me…
And God RAISED us UP with CHRIST
RAISED-UP is both the language of Resurrection from the Dead, and Ascension to the Cosmic Throne.
The old-english translation reads “quickened us together with Christ”
It is the vocabulary of Raising Lazarus from the Dead, & Jesus Himself being 3-days/ 3-nights DEAD now Made ALIVE.
It is also the vocabulary of bringing LOW the proud, But RAISING-UP the humble.
It is moreover, the terminology of Kings, Governing Agents, & Princes whose power is taken away or RAISED-UP to power.
To Rule & Reign, to practice Dominion, to Cultivate & Subdue ~ as was the Genesis of Adam & Eve in the Garden.
…lest we forget each and every meta-narrative pointed to the cosmic narrative of a PROMISED SEED.
Every Rule & Reign, King, Governing Agent, & Prince became a CROOKED behavior, moral FAILURE, or broken TRUST.
…but through the Covenant Narrative humanity needed the eyes of their heart opened to HOPE that there would come a promised seed ~ That had what it would take – That hope became incapsulated into one who would fill out the title of a Cosmic Prince, called the ANOINTED ONE, MESSIAH, CHRIST!
And God SEATED us with CHRIST
SEATED – where the CHRIST is seated? (ch.1 vs. 20)
SEATED @ the RIGHT HAND of God – All delegated authority, privilege, and agency
… do you have eyes to see, and ears to hear the Cosmic Grace that should shake us awake?
WE have been RAISED UP / SEATED / at the RIGHT HAND with CHRIST in HEAVENLY PLACES / REALM
(Note: Over 35 times and counting the Cosmic Perspective [time & space] is assumed in the letter to Ephesians)
VIDEOS 1 (DRONE TAKE 1 ~ 400 FT VIEW)) | VIDEOS 2(DRONE TAKE 2 ~ 20 MILES)) | VIDEOS 3 (DRONE TAKE 3 ~ COSMIC VIEW))
SLIDE E (Renovation Church GOOGLE EARTH ~ BEFORE)
IN ORDER THAT / SO THAT in the coming ages he might SHOW the INCOMPARABLE RICHES of His GRACE (favor)
Expressed to his KINDNESS to us in Christ JESUS (GOODNESS IN KIND – that we would GET TO SHARE in the muchness ALL THAT IS IN CHRIST)
(note: Greek LXX renders Ps. 14: 1 & 3 ~ none of us possess this KINDNESS on our own – no not one)
SLIDE F (AWAKENING GRACE Infectious)
How is Grace Infectious? We do not garner “grace” by our own volition, We can NOT work hard enough, We can NOT try more, We can NOT ~ BE or DO what is require of us to be or do… we are in a desperate position
(as though we were dead) for someone to “be” & “do” for us what we can not do for ourselves.
Illus. Like a giggle or laugh that stirs in us an INVOLUNTARY laughter. MUSCLE MEMORY that you yield to and don’t realize. Something that becomes SECOND NATURE, or a MANNERISM that is caught rather than taught.
So too is INFECTIOUS GRACE – Backwards & Upside Down - Dyslexic, Reverse Engineered, Contagious, Transmittable
(vs. 8-10) (PROCESS THIS PASSAGE IN REVERSE 10-8)
10 – His Workmanship (Masterpiece) Created “to Be” IN CHRIST JESUS “to Do” good works,
Which God prepared in advance for us “to Do”
INFECTIOUS GRACE is contagious because when JESUS looks at my Dirt and takes it on himself,
I can’t help but be shaken by such a gift. It makes me want to be like HIM, it’s infectious.
9 – NOT by “our own” WORKS, SO THAT NO ONE can BOAST
I can NOT humble brag, boast, or arrogantly speak of a mannerism, muscle memory, or involuntary 2nd Nature
When it is NOT MY PRIMAMAL MOTIVE.
8 – for it is by GRACE - YOU have been SAVED! (Double Down – No other way)
THROUGH FAITH | It’s NOT of YOURSELVES | It’s a GIFT of GOD | NOT by Works
(FAITH is our part, it is our roll, it is our contribution to narrative)
How is Grace Infectious? We Trust, Believe, Yield, Confess, Give Up our own narrative,
And Surrender to the INFECTIOUS, COSMIC, SCANDELOUS narrative of GRACE that is purchased by Jesus alone!
Trust that His LIFE lived without any Dirt, and Cosmic Mystery of His Death, Burial, & Resurrection.
Offers us an Infectious Grace, were we trade him our Sin - for His Kindness – that Re-Creates me via Faith.