January 21 - Message Update

Dear SanLo Community, an update for the week of January 21, 2018

Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Ephesians 2:1-10, “Amazing Grace!” In our study of Ephesians, there is such richness and power in the grace of God as our theme illustrates, Saved by Grace, Live by Grace. The definition of mercy is not giving someone what was deserved, where showing grace is giving someone what they don’t deserve. The Apostle Paul is talking about the amazing grace of God. God not only gives us mercy as He withholds His judgment and punishment on us, but at the same time, He gives us grace by paying for our sin debt and then blesses with more. God rights our wrongs! Why is God’s grace so amazing?

1) …because God loves us despite our sin. (vv.1-4) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us… Paul writes these first three verses in the past tense, which is important to note. This is a Christian’s life before Christ. Paul instructs we are spiritually dead in trespasses and sin. A person before Christ is completely and utterly depraved of sin and so their only inclination and desire is against God rather than for God. Paul explains in three ways why we sin: (1) The world is under the power of sin, all things are under sin.  Sin is inescapable.  (2) The prince of the power of the air (Satan/devil), influences the world. This is a realm of evil Satan controls. (3) The evil spirit is now at work in the sons of disobedience and children of wrath. There is a powerful spirit that exists in all humans of sin and evil, this is our nature. Paul uses strong words to describe us, sons of disobedience and children of wrath. We deserve punishment and judgment from God because a Holy and perfect God can’t be with sin. But God, being rich in mercy and love decided to sacrifice His Son for us even when we disobeyed, turned away, and rebelled. God loves sinners and paid for our sin, all because of love. That’s amazing grace!

2) …because God rescues us from death to new life. (vv.5-7) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… Paul reminds us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive, together in Christ. For God to bring us to new life and raise us from the dead, we simply have to remember that we were once lost, blind, and dead. No man is able by his own goodness, strength, or power to save himself. In verse 6, the contrary happens to the previous verses. Instead of being dead in the depths of sin and Hell, we are raised with Christ in the heavenly place. Instead of being in debt, we are forgiven in Christ. Instead of wrath, we receive blessing. This is God’s rescue plan for our lives. No one is worthy enough, and there is nothing we can do to pay God back. All we have to do is believe. Trust Him that He’s paid it all for you. Believe in His complete rescue plan for your life.

3)  …because God blesses us with His undeserved riches. (vv.7-10)  so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. God could have stopped with mercy, love, even grace…but now He pours on immeasurable riches and kindness. We begin to see that all of salvation is never something we do. It is a gift. It is not of our own doing. It is only by the grace of God. A) God wants to give you the blessing of faith. (vv.8-9) Out of this grace, we are given eyes to see, faith to respond, and a new heart-beat for God. Grace is given through faith. You belonged to Him then you believed. God woke you up from your sinful state and raised you up so you can experience, love, and meet Him. Out of that resurrection, then you saw God and believed in Him. B) God wants to give you the blessing of His good work. (v.10) Our faith is now active and living. Our faith is not dead nor does it stand still. Our faith is motivated by grace, not out of obligation or duty, but out of love. God sets us on a new course to live for Him with purpose and a reason to live, not to pay God back, not to earn our way to God, but out of thanksgiving and gratitude. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. God has saved you and has made you a new creation in order that you might to do amazing and extraordinary things for Him. Our works are not a way to salvation (that’s religion, the way of the world), but our works are the fruit of our salvation. They are the response and the outpouring of what God has already done in our lives. God’s grace moves us into action for Him and His kingdom. This is a great blessing, part of God’s amazing grace. Work is not a dread but a privilege and honor to serve the King of Kings.

In this New Year, seek the Lord for what He wants you to do and how you might live and work for Him. God’s has lavished and spoiled us with His amazing grace to rescue, to save, to deliver us from our depravity, sin, and the grips of death. God has blessed us with His wonderful undeserved riches to work and to live for Him. Let us fall in love more and more everyday with Jesus and His grace that He might move us to serve Him.

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Calendar Items:

1/28        9:00am           Small Groups Kickoff Breakfast – join a small group, see Pastor Eric

1/28      12:15pm           Joint Fellowship Hour

 

2/2          7:11pm           B.A.M.

2/3          8:30am           Mission Prayer

2/4        12:30pm           NAOMI House Arizona Mission Information Meeting

2/9          5:30pm           Little House Potluck and Fellowship Time

2/18   both services       Missions Moment - Japan /Xian

2/25      12:15pm           Joint Fellowship Hour

2/25      12:30pm           Mission Team Meeting

2/25        4:00pm           JSei Crab Feed Fundraiser at El Cerrito Community Center 7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerriito

 

3/2-3                             Bay Area Sunday School Convention in Castro Valley

3/4      both services     Mission Moment - Special Camp

3/10   10am – 12pm       Special Camp Information Meeting

3/10-20                         Hosting Young Life Homestay Group

3/25      12:15pm           Palm Sunday annual photo and Joint Fellowship Hour

3/30        7:00pm           Good Friday services

 

Have an amazing week in the grace of God,

Stan, for slzjcc