Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. When the church is functioning according to God's design, she is beautiful. So what does it look like when a church body is walking together in grace?
In Rich's message titled Walk in Grace Part 2, we will look at five marks of a healthy church. You know when you were a kid you were fascinated to see these caterpillars crawling on the ground and then eventually those caterpillars would form a cocoon and they'd be in there for a while. My daughter actually got one of those and put it in a jar and watched it produce a butterfly. We have pictures of that.
It says don't touch this and you know imagine if that butterfly once it gets out forgets the fact in this beautiful transformation the butterfly forgets that it has wings and then it just starts once again crawling all around the ground and wondering what's this all about what are these big things I've got going on here didn't realize it could fly it would die it would starve right because you know a butterfly counts on its wings to be able to transport and to find the food that it needs it's no longer grounded. What Paul the apostle gives us in the first three chapters of Ephesians chapters one to three is the fact that you and I have been transformed. You and I have been equipped. You and I have been as he says blessed with every spiritual blessing.
What he is saying is that God in Christ and through his spirit has with profusion lavished upon us everything that is in Christ. We have been forgiven. We have been redeemed. We have access to the father.
We have been given his spirit. All of these are true of us. We need to know what these truths are. If we don't know these truths we will be like a butterfly thinking it's still a caterpillar.
How tragic would that be? That is why it is so important for us to know the first three chapters of Ephesians and that is why when we come to chapter four the way he begins chapter four he says I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. Let me translate that according to the illustration I just used. You're no longer caterpillars grounded. You are butterflies so fly. It is not about earn this. It's not about and a butterfly doesn't fly because well I'm supposed to fly so I guess I'll fly.
That doesn't make sense, does it? And a butterfly doesn't fly out of a sense of well he did this for me. The only right thing for me to do is just to fly to let him know how thankful I am. That's not why a butterfly flies. You know why a butterfly flies? Because he's a butterfly.
He's not a caterpillar anymore. Christian, do you understand this about you? You need to go back and review Ephesians one to three because those are three chapters chock full of what God says about you and who you are in Christ. Because as I've said before is why he begins chapter four walk worthy of the calling with which you've been called. You can't do chapters four to six unless you've come to grips with chapters one to three. So I begin once again by urging you to understand that. Let chapters one to three be the stuff upon which you meditate and you memorize. Let it be the truth, the information that informs your attitudes. An attitude is a habit of thought. Let chapters one to three be the substance of your habits of thought. It's so easy for us to go to four to six. Ah, things I can do.
But if you try to do four to six without coming to grips with one to three, you will get frustrated. Now, as we're going to talk about these things this morning, the Holy Spirit has to be working on our hearts today with things that he has for us from the word of God. Because he's going to paint a portrait for us of what it is for the church to walk in grace. Because having communicated all the profound truths of one to three, then he begins chapter four by saying, walk worthy of the calling with which you've been called. Now, as we've discussed before, what that does not mean is the butterfly saying, well, my creator says I have to fly, so I guess I better fly.
Doesn't make sense, does it? He flies, why? Because he's a butterfly. Walk worthy of the calling with which you've been called.
Rich Powell translation with this illustration. You're a butterfly, so fly. Don't be crawling on the ground, feeding off the earth.
Fly, because that's who you are. That's what Paul is saying when he says, walk worthy of the calling with which you've been called. And to begin with, that looks like walking in unity as one new people, as one radical new community, as one new people in Christ with all the grace that he has lavished upon us. And then secondly, to walk in grace. In verse seven, Ephesians 4-7, look at that with me once again. He says, but grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Grace was given to how many of us?
Each one of us, all of us, every one of us. And this is not talking about the grace for salvation. For many people, the only thing they know of the grace of God is that by grace you are saved. Did you know that by grace you also live? By grace you walk in newness of life.
It's not a matter of trying harder to be better. It's by God's grace, the fact that he has invested himself in you. He has lavished upon you all of this equipping. And so as you consume his word, as you walk with him, as we're studying in Sunday school, walking in the Spirit, the natural outflow of that is the fruit of the Spirit.
It's not a checklist of things you're supposed to be working harder at. And so it will be today, and I pray that the Holy Spirit will be working in each one of our hearts with the things that we discussed today. Because walking in grace, the grace that God has given us, as we said last time, part of following Jesus is helping others follow Jesus. And the formal statement is this, walking in grace means employing the outflow of your faith to invest in others for their Godward movement. Employing the outflow of your faith to invest in others for their Godward movement. Because that's exactly what God has done for us. That the infinite sovereign of the universe did not stand aloof and say, you have to make it to me.
So work hard at it. That's what religion does. But God invested himself to us. He came to rescue us. That's what grace is all about.
We'll discuss that in a few minutes. And so employ the outflow of your faith to invest in others for their Godward movement. Christians, this is our calling.
Do you understand this? This is our calling. Because you have been equipped, you've been lavished upon with the grace of God to do this.
So let's fly. So what does it look like, a church walking in grace? Look with me beginning at verse 13. What I want to discuss today are the marks of a healthy church walking in grace. Five of them that we have in verses 13 through 16.
And the first one is at the beginning of verse 13. So we go back where he talks about and he gave, verse 11, he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ. That's his objective, to build up the body of Christ. That is the church to build it up, to grow it.
This one radical new community of one new people. The church to build us up, to accomplish his mission of reconciliation in the world. So what does this church walking in grace look like?
Verse 13, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. The first mark of a healthy church walking in grace is that there is a clear and common grasp of the gospel of grace in Christ. A clear and common grasp of the gospel of grace in Christ, the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Do you know Christ?
Is your idea of church, well, that's someplace I go to on Sunday, we hear a good sermon, we sing good songs and sometimes we do some ministry projects together. Is that your idea of the walk of Christianity? Do you have a clear and common grasp of the gospel of grace in Christ? Do we have as a church a common understanding?
Is there among us a culture with the understanding of who we are and what we are about? Because if you don't know the gospel of grace, then you can't preach it to yourself. And if you're not preaching the gospel of grace to yourself, you don't know your identity in Christ.
And how can you be Christ-like if you don't know your identity in Christ? The gospel of grace. What does the word gospel mean? Good news. Why do we call it good news? Because there's bad news. And the good news means that there is remedy for the bad news.
That's where people fall off the bus, because they're not willing to hear the bad news. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others any time by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, 7 Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. 7 Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-11 20:31:13 / 2023-01-11 20:35:40 / 4