Access To The Father
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. NIV
I want you to remember Ephesians 2:8-10. This is one of those foundation passages for understanding our relationship with God.
Our relationship with God needs to be the single most important thing in our lives.
Let me repeat that.
Our relationship with God needs to be the single most important thing in our lives.
Is that not what Jesus meant when He said that the greatest commandment is to love God? As we grow as disciples of Jesus Christ, the most important question we can ask ourselves is this: Is my relationship with God more important to me than anything else in my life?
If it is not, then you are breaking God's heart. He loves you so much that He wants you to have the best possible life you can have. The way to do that is to completely surrender your life to God.
This is what Paul is talking about here in his letter to the Ephesians. In the verses we read earlier, Paul tells us how to live in a relationship with God. We need to understand that we cannot save ourselves. We cannot have a relationship with God on our terms. Let me say that again. We cannot have a relationship with God on our terms.
If we are going to have a relationship with Him it can only be on His terms. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
This is how we begin a relationship with God, and it is how we maintain our relationship with God. You cannot be good enough to earn God's love. You cannot be bad enough for God to hate you. You must simply accept His love as a free gift and then you will be free to love Him.
Grace is God working in us. This comes as a free gift as we put our faith in Him. He begins working in us to help us love Him and other people. This is what God wants more than anything else.
When we begin trying to earn His love, to be good enough for Him to love us and save us, we get in His way. We stop the grace, we block the presence of God from doing what He wants to do in us. If we do what we do so that we can stay saved we are not loving God, we are loving ourselves.
Paul here talked about what we were before we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
We Were Separate from Christ
We did not have a relationship with God because we did not place our faith in the only thing, the only Person, who can give us what we really need. What is it we really need? More wisdom? More money? More things? More... whatever?
What we need most is to be loved by God. We ARE loved by God. Period. God loves us. But we must accept His love unconditionally, just as it was given. We must believe that God loved us so much that He Sent His Only Begotten Son into the world so that we could be restored to a relationship with God. To put it another way, so that we could have life. Life only comes as we live in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Before we were saved, we were separated from Christ.
We Were Excluded from Citizenship
We were not members of the kingdom of God. We were following our own agenda. We were citizens of the wrong kingdom. We were following the enemy of God and living to please ourselves. Loving God was not the most important thing in our lives.
We Were Without Hope
Without hope, we die. There is only one source of real hope for the world. It is in coming to understand that God loves us and wants what is best for us and what is best for us is to trust Him completely for everything in life. He is our HOPE. He is the only hope that really matters. Before we had a relationship with Him, we were without hope.
We Were Without God
This sums it up. Before Christ, we were without God. We lived as if God did not really matter to us. We lived for anything but God. We wasted our lives on things that will not last. We WERE WITHOUT GOD.
But now, in Christ and His cross:
The beauty of these truths. Does it not make you want to shout with Joy and praise God that life has forever changed for us? Do you not want to declare to the world that we are loved by God? Christ and His Cross have made all the difference for us. We have put our faith in God's love and grace. We have come to believe John 3:16 is meant for us. We have been restored to our Access to our Heavenly Father.
We Are Brought Near
Through Christ Jesus and His death at Calvary. He has made all the difference. WE have been brought near to God. God has wrapped His arms around us. He has killed the fatted calf. He has put the robes of righteousness around our shoulders and The Father's Love is secure. WE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT NEAR to God. Have you put your faith in Him? Do you choose to believe this gospel message? Are you now living in close proximity to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings? Are you living near to the throne of God? Do you run to Him when doubts and fear assail you?
Do you cling to His love and grace when you do not understand what He is doing?
In Christ we are brought near to God. We can stand up before Him and know that in Christ we have been brought into the presence of God, not because we are good, but because God is good. We love God because He loves us. He is not waiting to love us until we change those things that need to change. He is loving us and if we accept that love He will change us. We are created for good works.
It is God working in us when we accept Him by faith that makes us good. It is our nearness to God that changes us and makes us what we need to be to carry out God's plan for us, for the church and for the world. God is with us. We have been brought near to God.
We Are Reconciled to God
We have peace with God and the peace of God. In Christ the books have been balanced. Do you ever reconcile your bank account? Our account with God has been reconciled because of what Christ did. We are in right standing before God. Have you received this gift? Are you living life as if you have peace with God? Do you not see, dear one, that God loves you and that will never change.
You can change if you put your faith in Him. You can live a life worthy of the love of God if you live in relationship with God.
It is His Presence, His Grace that saves you and leads you through life. What are you living for? What are you praying for? Are you living for God? Is He the most important thing in your life? Is your relationship with Him more important than your comfort? Is your relationship with Him more important than your children?
Pastor, don't go to meddling? Are you truly believing that your relationship with God is a free gift that you accept by faith? Or are you still trying to be good enough to be accepted by Him?
We Have Access to the Father by the Spirit
Now that we have come to Christ, what have access to the Father by the Spirit. Now that we have put our faith in God, we have full access to God. He is with us. Immanuel. His Spirit comes to live within our hearts. He is closer to us than any one or any thing. He is with us.
We can turn to Him at any given moment and because He loves us and paid the price for our sinfulness He will not turn us away. He is Lord. WE come to Him on that basis. We do not come to Him demanding that He do what we want. We come in humility, trusting Him to lead us and be the Lord of our lives. He sets the standards.
We are in constant communication with Him, or at least we have that right and privilege, if we will believe it and trust that we do indeed have Access to the Father by the Spirit.
We are Fellow Citizens with God's People
Our citizenship has changed. We are no longer simply citizens of planet earth. We are citizens of God's kingdom. He is our King. He rules in our lives. He is Lord and I am not.
We can enjoy all the benefits of being a part of God family. Our inheritance is laid up for us and awaits our home coming. God will rule through out all eternity. We will either be part of that kingdom, or we will be alone and without God for all eternity.
It hinges on our surrendering to the truths of God's word. It is based on putting our faith in God to save us and lead us from today and on in to eternity.
WE Are Being Built To Become a Dwelling in which God Lives by His Spirit
We, those of us who have put our faith in God, are God's temple. WE are Christ's workmanship created for good works. Works that will further the kingdom of God. Works that will grow the Church of God. We are God's people and He wants to live in us by His Spirit.
Have you been saved by the grace of God? Are you living in a relationship with God. Are you sanctified and made holy by the presence of God in your life?
This is God working in us and we accept is as true, or we choose to reject it. Faith is trusting God. The opposite of faith is refusing to trust Him.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
Access to God is a gift. His presence in us is grace. What He does in us is up to Him, not up to us. We are to follow Him. We are to make Him the most important thing in our lives.
Access to the Father. Live in this truth. Live out this truth.
Is your relationship with God the single most important thing in your life?