God Works IN Before He Works THROUGH.doc
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God Works IN Before He Works THROUGH

Ephesians 2:8-10



Salvation is not the end of God's plans for you, it is just the beginning.  Our past guilt led to present grace and by that grace we are saved...and yet a future glory awaits, and not just in heaven...it is supposed to start now!

Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The Christian life is to be much more than menial existence.  It's a glorious adventure...purpose filled living.

v. 10        God has chosen you, called you, saved you, and has a plan for you!


After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He said, "Loose him and let him go."  He's alive now, so allow him to look like it, live like it, act like it.  Get out of those grave clothes and into the grace clothes! 

        That same resurrection power that saves us from the graveyard of sin is the same power that will help us live for Christ and find purpose!


God worked FOR us in salvation.  Now He wants to work IN us and THROUGH us.


vv. 8-9 make clear the point that we are not saved by works.  V. 10 balances this with the fact that we are saved TO work.


Faith alone saves...but the faith that saves is not alone!


v. 10        God works in us.

'workmanship' comes from the Greek 'poeima' = poem.  God is arranging your life into a beautiful work of art.  There are differing stanzas and meter, and some things seem to have no rhyme or reason, but He works it all together into a finished product that will someday make sense.  Until then we must trust and just go with His program.


God uses these tools to work on us:  His Word, prayer, suffering.



1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

The key to this tool working on us is found in how we perceive it as from God and not from man.  So I ask, how do you respond when the Word works on you?  When it reveals sin in your life, do you receive it from the Lord or get mad at the messenger?  For some, it is like having salt poured into a wound and they get angry or irritated.  I hear all the time from people that I was talking right to them for their benefit.  I'll agree that it is for their benefit, but God gets the credit for the 'aim.'

        Don't give yourself a false sense of unjustified importance!  I've got enough in my own life to deal with!  But the Bible says it cuts as sharp as a two-edged sword, so don't be surprised when it cuts.


So which will you do?  Criticize the messenger or conform to the message?


Preaching is God's foremost form of judgment.  We should be thankful to have our toes stepped on.  God knows your phone # and how to ring your bell.


[sign said:] "Come to church and we promise not to throw the book at you."  We won't make that promise here.


James 1:23
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

The Bible is like a mirror that shows us what we need to be aware of.


ill.--you'll notice in paintings of Abe Lincoln that in some he has a wart on his face and in some he does not.  In his writings he recalled a certain painter that kept repositioning him with different angles.  He asked, "How shall you have me to paint you?"  Lincoln replied, "Just as I am, warts and all!"


Some avoid the Bible and churches which preach it unashamedly because they don't want to look into the mirror.  Preachers today are picking and choosing 'feel good' verses and avoiding those others. [ear tickling]


The Bible is positive, not negative.  By letting the Word of God do the work of God I can tell you that I am POSITIVE that there's a place called hell, and POSITIVE that those who die without Christ go to that place, and it's a POSITIVE thing when people allow God to save them from that negative place.


Don't be confused as to who that is in the mirror.  It is you!  Don't listen to preaching and think about others...God is showing you what you look like.

ill.--picture of pappy / the old hag



Ephesians 3:20
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

[context is prayer]


whole prayer is vv. 14-21 [read]


Paul makes 4 requests:

v. 16        Strength-prayer strengthens the inner man...the new man who comes in to live at salvation...born again with new spiritual faculties which need strengthening.


v. 17        Depth-a deeper experience of knowing God in a more personal way. 

"Dwell" = to settle down and feel at home.

ill.--the Lord and two angels visited Abraham in his home and they had a great visit/fellowship.  Next it was time to visit Lot's home, and the Lord sent the angels, but didn't go along Himself.  Why?  Could it be He wouldn't feel at home there because of the competing influences present?

"Rooted" = a tree needs nourishment and stability by digging deeper [prayer]

"Grounded" = foundation.  If you don't go deep, you can't go high!  People want to soar higher in life...are they willing to dig deeper?

ill.--you can build a dog house w/ no foundation, and a storage shed on a little slab, but a skyscraper will not stand without a serious foundation.

        Our church will only go as high as prayer warriors are willing to get down low.  Every visible fruit above ground is going to be a direct result of prayer in depth that goes beneath the surface!


v. 18        Comprehension = to grasp or lay hold of.

"Breadth":  God puts His arms out and gathers in anyone and everyone He can.  If you want Jesus, He wants you.

"Length":  The Lamb slain from the foundation the world.  God's plan existed before we existed, and no wonder that Lamb will exist in heaven forevermore!

"Depth":  The love shown at Calvary.  That love went deeper than the crown of thorns placed on His head / the stripes on His back when the blood ran crimson red / the nails in His hands and feet / the hole they dug into which they dropped the old rugged cross / deeper than the depths of hell...deep enough to take our place!

"Height":  The throne of God where someday we will be privileged to bow the knee and cry Holy, Holy, Holy!


v. 19        Christ wants us to know the depths of this love [and now a paradox] "which passeth knowledge".  It passes human understanding, and yet we are to strive to grasp it.

        "filled with fulness" = God's divine nature is good at filling a vacuum.  And we should pray for these things. [recount]


God uses the tools of the Word and prayer...also,


Suffering: [we like this least]

1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

God spent 40 years working IN Moses before He ever worked THROUGH him.  Joseph didn't know during decades of suffering all God planned to do through him.  As far as these were concerned, their lot in life was something far different than they thought.


David was chased and hunted like an animal for years.  We know those times as David's 'pre-king' days.  But David did not know that.


We are His workmanship, and we should let Him work on us through His Word, prayer, and suffering.

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