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February 17, 2021 12:01 am
We do not work for our salvation, but the saving grace of God will manifest itself in our obedience to our Redeemer. Today, Sinclair Ferguson identifies the role of good works in the life of every Christian.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. We do not work for our salvation, but we ourselves in the salvation of become God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should do something by grace alone through Christ, it's not by works, so why is there such an emphasis in the Christian faith on doing good if those good works. Don't save us. Thankfully Scripture is not silent with regard to the question the apostle Paul addressed it clearly.
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson is our teacher today as we continue the series.
The central truths of the Christian faith want to ask you to turn with me on your Bibles to Paul's letter to the Ephesians and we will treat them in Ephesians chapter 2 from verse one through verse 10.
As you you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is not what can those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the last, we wild by nature, objects of raw, but because of his great love for us. God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus and Audra Vance in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus, for it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do about 20 years ago when I was still living in Scotland, and play a friend presented me with a manuscript of a little book that was being considered for publication. The book or booklet was in fact eventually published and I suspect many of you may already have read it.
It was called.
I think what shall we think of the carnal Christian, what shall we think of the carnal Christian is to say, what shall we think about a statement that suggests but it is possible to be saved by the grace of God and yet not to come really under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. But it is possible to be saved by grace and sustained that salvation even although there may be contrary evidence to it and the fact that we do no good works and it will tell you something about me and my na´vetÚ in those days that I read carefully through the manuscript and handed it back to my friend and said to him, surely there is no one last in the world who believes that kind of thing and he looked at me with a benign smile at my na´vetÚ and said prophetic words. Wait, he said until you've visited the United States of America and of course your response indicated that you know exactly what we are talking about here are subject is the necessity of good works and we live. Many of those in a context where we are surrounded by professing Christians who, at the very idea that a Christian minister might address the subject of the necessity of good works would flop their hands in horror and asked whether you want to talk confidence where the gospel of the grace of God was denied. And of course the reasoning of such thinking is something as follows that we are saved by grace and not by works therefore works cannot be necessary for being a Christian and of course the premise of that reasoning is true and right it is entirely by grace and not by works that we are justified and save but the conclusion is seriously un-biblical and seriously mistaken, and indeed disastrous as follows biblical Christianity is really concerned, and there is a host of passages in Scripture to which one could point to establish that principle in the simplest way possible lesson. For example, to the apostle Paul, as he writes to his friend.
Titus it is the grace of God that brings salvation, but back. Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this world for our Savior Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and purify for himself a people that his belly on eager to do what is good and Titus receives the Spybot exhortation in chapter 3 when the kindness and love of God our Savior PRT save does not because of righteous things we have done but because of his mercy he saved us, through the washing of rebirth so that being justified by his grace we might become air and I want you to stress these things so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good and so you can understand my na´vetÚ 20 years ago, but having a little knowledge of the surface text of Scripture I came to the conclusion surely there is no Christian in the universe was ever read the pages of the New Testament who doesn't understand but the logic of the gospel is not salvation by grace.
Therefore, good works become irrelevant, but salvation by grace, so that good works become the necessary consequence of grace in the life of the Christian believer. That is why I want especially to draw your attention to these words of Paul, particularly in the last three verses of the passage we read in Ephesians chapter 2 in verses eight and nine and 10 where in a crystal clear fashion.
The apostle Paul summarizes the apostolic teaching. It is by grace you have been saved through faith. This is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. Because we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good work. This is the Reformation formula for the gospel, salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for God's glory alone, but one of the manifestations of grace. One of the evidences of faith. One of the implications of belonging to Jesus Christ. One of the ways in which God's glory alone is displayed in our lives.
The apostle goes on to say in verse 10 lies in verse, but we do not work for our salvation, but we ourselves in the salvation of become God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should do. And here he presents to us. In a nutshell, one of his glorious pictures of what it means photos this morning to be Christian believers. What does it, it is my friend that you are nothing less, than God's workmanship. He has been the part-owner of great sewers picked up the shattered image of man and you and this big gun modeling you again after the likeness of Jesus Christ because he means to put you up the last on display before angels, archangels, and man, and say to the entire universe.
Behold my workmanship and this is what is happening in your life. This explains so much of your Christian life. But God as a potter is taking you on molding you and shaping you and is strong and fight him and other times gentle and subtle hands constantly at work in your life, because he is doing something glorious with your church. I used to attend when I was so young student in Scotland had and still has a very remarkable minister who created his own posters for the front door of the church at which buses regularly would stop on their way down the main street and I've never forgotten one of the best of them was this workshop inside showroom upstairs and this is what the apostle is saying he is saying.
By God's grace as we live our Christian lives. The workshop is here and now.
But God is working with and I on the show.
He is going to create for all creation for all the time. The tape when he puts on display in ways we can scarcely begin to imagine the perfection of his workmanship and every single one of his children. When I was a little boy. I may not really little boy I had done elder brother who was a couple of years before me on from time to time I suffered the fate of younger brothers when I was brought into the same teachers room as the one in which he himself had been taught and my brother was almost the opposite of everything I he was everything one might aspire to be, but was not.
And part of Mrs. words classroom routine was at the beginning of the day we were all brought to the front of the classroom for the daily inspection of hair wasn't clean ears with a clean can you imagine a teacher actually wanting to look into the ears of seven-year-old children who have just come in from playing football in the playground and then that was the investigation of the nails, what they clean had the back of the hands being clean and then to me. Worst of all, what about the shoes we'd almost kicked them broken in the playground and it wasn't just the front of the shoes that Mrs. words would investigate. She then would march around the back to see which children had polished the heels of the shoes she was of my mother's role but believed you should never marry a man who doesn't polish the heels of insurance and Mrs. words I don't know if these beauty competitions were in evidence in the 1950s, but Mrs. words way of doing things was to dismiss the when I first and the loser of losers. Last but not a few occasions. I am now able to confess with equanimity by distance. The last person standing there was myself and her invariable comment was in a shrill voice that would give me nightmares. Ferguson and she would say Anderson you're nothing like your elder brother. While I'm glad to say I remember what Mrs. Wood said and have defunct some spiritual profit out of it because I often feel that way but this is the truth of my Christian life I am not yet and nothing really like my elder brother, but the glory of the Christian gospel, my friends, is this but it is God's set purpose in his heart that one day he will conform most to the image of his son that he will be the first bar none preeminent one among many who are quite evidently his brothers and sisters because they bear the family likeness in 20 presents as our Lord Jesus to his heavenly father and says my father here is my younger brother my younger sister than the heavenly father will say in response, Jesus I know they are sold like their elder brother and noticed what he is saying here he is saying we are God's workmanship and he means that the last two printers on display and it is within back contacts that the apostle of Jesus, therefore, to see the glorious significance of what God wants to produce an online creator knows for the good works which he is forbidden, but we should walk in them. Why is that of the Christian does good works very simply because that is what the Christian is created for in Jesus Christ.
That is what the Christian is created for. We are God's workmanship, created in Jesus Christ for good work.
This on the foundation of this lies in what he is there said in verses 4 to 7. What is this creation of God. While he says because of his great love photos in Christ God has raised us up with Christ. God has brought us to sit with Christ. He says about right hand of the father in heavenly realms in order that he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to others in Jesus Christ. What is he saying he is saying. But God is done. This follows. He has brought us into a new art but of reality altogether if anyone is in Christ, says Paul in second Corinthians 517 then literally he says if Andy and Christ's new creation and is saying already here upon, they asked the Christian believer participates in the blessings and the privileges of the final kingdom of God and already begins to fail and experience what it means to be part of the new creation of God so loved because he says also in second Corinthians 5 we recognize that we no longer live for ourselves, our work for ourselves, but we live and work for him who died follows and was raised again. What is the point he is making. What his logic is this, if you will only come to recognize who you are and what you are in Christ, then you will inevitably see the logic of doing good works for the glory of Jesus Christ and this is something we need to learn and relearn. Throughout the whole course of our Christian lives.
No more frequent mistake is made in the New Testament churches, and presumably in the churches in which we live. No more important mistake is made in living the Christian life than this, but we forget who we really are in Christ's. We forget that we are a new creation.
We forget what this means, says Paul, we forget that this means that we have died to the dominion of sin is a teachers enrollment six but we have been raised into newness of life that we are no longer the kind of people who are in bondage to sin. But the kind of people who are identified by the name of Jesus Christ, as Christians, that is, those in whom Jesus Christ has deigned to dwell in the presence and the power of his Holy Spirit and he is saying in a similar way to B's Ephesians if you only realized what you were but you are God's workmanship, created in union with Jesus Christ than it would become as clear as the noonday sun.
But the only thing you could do for Jesus Christ was to walk in the good works which God has foreordained for you. I wonder if you recognize that principle it may put it like this.
What if Alister bag and I had found you at a weak moment and both being loyal citizens of her Majesty the Queen at some moment of high emotion had urged you to join together with us in the parking lot where the buses were waiting to drive to Washington and together that are several thousand dollars. We could mount from the White House and totally oval office.
Remove the sitting president and return this great nation to its lawful monarch Majesty the Queen. While I know the stomach of conservative Americans to recognize that we might get quite a number of supporters for that idea, but but what would be your instinctive response. Your instinctive response would be to spare matters and say two words, how can we possibly do that.
We're Americans will no longer under dominion. We were delivered from that dominion over 200 years ago and her authority has nothing to do with us. We are Americans and our way of life is the great American way of life see when you recognize your nationality but out implications for your actions and the same is true when we have been made a kingdom and nation of priests, royal priests unto God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
We recognize that if we are Christ's, one, and all we can do and respond is to live in his standards as Dr. Sinclair Ferguson in a message from the series essential truths of the Christian faith listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Wednesday, probably web and thank you for being with us this is a 12 part series that explores key truths of what it means to live as a Christian we like to send you the entire series on a single USB drive that you send a donation of any amount to your ministries when you requested. We've included a bonus series on the drive for its RC Sproul's classic collection tell of his most requested messages you can give your gift firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call inherently good. Here are number 800-435-4343. Perhaps you have asked the question how many good works. Do I have to do before God is pleased with me. Fortunately, the answer that question is none God's pleasure with us his favor is not based on what we've done or even will do.
It's based on what Christ has already done for us and any good works that we do flow out of gratitude for him. If you are searching for answers to questions like that.
We do hope your member of a local church and under the care and teaching of a faithful pastor was able to provide you with answers.
Padilla may also encourage you to use leg and ears live question-and-answer service.
We called ask Ligon near train team members here Ligon near ready to answer your biblical and theological questions 24 hours a day six days a week. Just go to ask that Ligon near.org ľ speaking of frequently asked questions. If you're Christian, can you lose your salvation. Alister bag bullet description to provide the answer tomorrow. Here I Renewing Your Mind