What Grace Does!

The Glory of God’s Grace is in What it Does

Ephesians 1:3-12


January 11, 2015 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.       Introduction (Ephesians 1:6,7)


A.    Grace! The theme for all this year!

B.     Last week we learned, What Grace Is! And the glory of it!


1.       An Attitude that gives, and gives, and gives (James 4:6) – not demands

2.      Always linked to Mercy

3.      Free! (Eph 2:8,9; Romans 3:24)

4.      Greater than anything this side of heaven! (Romans 5:20)

5.      Not a license to sin (Titus 2:11,12) – the freedom to live as we please – THAT is NOT grace

6.      God’s work on my life to make me more like Jesus (Gal 2:20,21) – Changes me!

7.      The opposite of God’s WRATH! Which we all so richly deserve!


C.     This week, What Grace Does, and Can Do!


D.    An Illustration


1.      What effect would a gift of €1 have on you? Doesn’t even make you smile!

2.      Would it change your life? Your lifestyle? The way you see problems and handle them? Didn’t think so.

3.      But, What effect would a gift of €10 have on you?

4.      What effect would a gift of €1,000 have on you? Uh huh!

5.      What effect would a gift of €1,000,000 have on you and on your life?

6.      Would €1,000,000 change your life? Your lifestyle? The way you see problems and handle them? Probably yes!

7.      Why would more money change your life? Because of the value of the money – because of what money can do (at least what everyone believes it can do). The more you have, the more you can do!

8.      Well, Grace, God’s grace, has a life changing effect on people because of what IT can do. And the more you have of it, the more it changes your life!


II.    Message


A.    The Glory of God’s Grace is in the Priceless Things it DOES (Ephesians 1:3-12) – what effect does it have on a person?


1.      It Blesses us, when God ought to condemn us (1:3)


a.       We like that! We want that! We need a blessing! Tired of all the disasters, and disappointments in life!

b.      Well, GRACE blesses us


1)      Benefits us completely – nothing held back – God makes available to a person ALL spiritual blessings

2)      Makes us better people, happier, more joyful, at rest, satisfied than the expectations of the Law ever could!


c.       God is the righteous Judge that OUGHT to pour out His wrath upon you and me for all our wicked sins and all the times you and I have broken His laws!

d.      But instead,


1)      He Forgives you and saves you from His wrath – THAT’S a BLESSING!

2)      And cleanses you from sin’s stains – THAT’S a BLESSING!

3)      And makes you, YOU, a wicked, God-hating wretch, into a child of almighty God!

4)      And then, He blesses you with every spiritual blessing that God has to offer us!


a)      A mansion of a home in heaven

b)      A new nature that loves God and loves people

c)      The gift of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life – His comfort and His joy in us


e.       God’s grace gives us the opposite of what we deserve!

f.       And it is ONLY because of God’s grace, that we are blessed

g.      Now, Jesus Christ is the key – He is the door you enter to become blessed. He is the channel through which all of God’s blessings are given. If you try to get those blessing another way, you are a thief and a robber (John 10:10)

h.      If you want the blessings of God’s grace, instead of His wrath, then follow Jesus!


2.      God’s Grace Chooses us, when God should have abandoned us (1:4)


a.       The simple truth is, salvation begins with God and not with you and me. 


1)      Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). 

2)      No one just sits up one day in bed and independently says, “Hey! I think I will choose Jesus!”

3)      No! That choice always comes after much struggle with the reality that God has been seeking them first, and drawing them first, and humbling them first!

4)      They just finally are realizing the grace of God in their life, that seeks to save them from hell!


b.      Chosen means, God Adopts us


1)      God doesn’t just ‘like’ us… He adopts us into His family

2)      He chooses US to be with Him – IN His family (not just in heaven, but part of His own family now)! Think about it!

3)      Most people just want to escape hell, and wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall in heaven! But God chooses us to be IN HIS VERY FAMILY – THE FAMILY OF GOD!

4)      That’s what Grace does – it chooses SINNERS, enemies of God, self-centred rebels, and goes out of the way to seek and SAVE them like a Shepherd goes after a lost sheep!


c.       Knowing full well what God was getting when He chose us


1)      Depraved, ruined, worthless rebels, who will turn against Him, and distrust Him, and blame Him, and even CRUCIFY HIS OWN SON ONE DAY! (Isa 53:6)!

2)      God could have walked away from this sin-cursed world, but he didn’t. He chose to stay and work with sinners

3)      Because that is what grace DOES!!!

4)      Grace is not blind, anymore than true love is! It just CHOOSES to ignore the faults, and adopts, accepts, receives the enemy, the sinner into your home and family!


d.      And chooses us instantly when we get into Christ. Jesus Christ is the key again – God would not have chosen us if we neglected to believe on Jesus, and got into HIM!

e.       Notice what God has chosen for our lives to be:


1)      Holy – clean, forgiven! God’s grace lovingly makes a person holy!

2)      Without blame before Him – every wrong made right

3)      In Love – no longer in fear

4)      Grace never leaves you as you are

5)      It gently makes you more like Jesus!

6)      Holy, godly, clean, pure, harmless

7)      THAT is what Grace Does! It helps transform us into all that!


f.       Summary:


1)      So, God chose this wicked world before He ever created anything in the universe. 

2)      He actually chose EVERYBODY – all His creation to be with Him

3)      Man opted out – chose to go his own way

4)      God waits for us to choose Him – like a marriage proposal!

5)      And as you well know, not everyone chooses Him! THAT is the saddest part of the Bible

6)      God foreknew man would do that and made a way for man to return – through the Sacrificial Lamb in the place of every sinful person!

7)      Man rejects that way, and instead attempts at his own righteousness (i.e., Cain) – loses out on reconciliation

8)      But those that do accept (choose) Christ’s way of salvation, get reconciled to God

9)      These are “elected” because THEY have elected to come through “the door” of Jesus their Saviour (John 10:7-10; 14:6)


g.      Foreknowledge does not mean foreordained


1)      Just because God knows what will happen, does not mean He has made it happen that way!

2)      No one is “in Christ” until they are born again. At birth we are all “in Adam” (1Cor 15:22)

3)      Until you get born again, you are an alien, alone in the world, the children of wrath, dead in trespasses and sins, etc.

4)      God knows everything – past and future (Acts 15:18; Ps 90:1,2; Isa 46:9,10)

5)      The fact is, God wouldn’t be God if He didn’t know who would and who wouldn’t get saved, yet, there is man’s free will to either accept or reject God’s Son as Saviour!  Note: 2Peter 3:9.

6)      God’s foreknowledge does not mean that he makes things happen like he wants, but rather that He just knows how they will turn out, and even though he meddles and adjusts world events, He leaves the final choices up to us.


3.      Grace Predestinated us (1:5)


a.       Do you hear the word DESTINATION?

b.      Predestination means our destiny is settled – our purpose is fixed – not our hearts!


1)      In Calvin’s theology, the heart of a man is forcibly changed to match their destination

2)      But the Bible is much clearer:


a)      We are born lost, sinful, and condemned – our destiny is set for hell! Our nature is that of the devil

b)      At the new birth, that destiny is CHANGED (John 5:24; 1John 3:14) – to heaven – we are SAVED

c)      And it is forever fixed now! You cannot lose your salvation!


c.       But it only happens AFTER we have believed, NOT before!

d.      Jesus Christ is the key again – Since HE is in heaven, then God HAS to make sure we go where He already is! AMEN!


4.      It Makes us “Accepted” (1:6)


a.       Not just acceptable, but actually welcomed in God’s Beloved family


1)      It is one thing to be IN a family

2)      It is another to be ACCEPTED and LOVED in that family, to the SAME DEGREE as those that are natural born!


b.      This is more than just being loved, or beloved:


1)      Israel is beloved of God (Rom 11:28) even though they as a nation lost

2)      The world is loved of God even though lost (John 3:16)


c.       It means being treated as a son or daughter, when we were in an entirely different family

d.      So, God accepts “Craig Ledbetter” into what was a very close knit family called the Trinity

e.       “In the beloved” is referring to being included in the closeness of the Trinity (2Pet 1:17)

f.       That is what GRACE does!

g.      And by the way! I am accepted ONLY because I am in Christ! I am hiding under His shadow! On my own, I would be rejected and thrown out! My righteousnesses are as filthy rags in God’s sight


5.      Grace Redeemed us (1:7) – it means He personally paid all our sin-debts off Himself


a.       Example:


1)      You buy a house, or an expensive car, and you start making payments

2)      You are redeeming the car or house from the bank

3)      You don’t own it yet, until it is completely paid off, 5 years or 35 years later!


b.      Well. We are owned by the grave, and Satan, and hell, because of our sinful lifestyles

c.       But because of God’s grace, Christ paid off ALL our debt, and redeemed us from the grave and from hell (Hosea 13:14)

d.      Jesus bought us back from the bondage and penalties of our sins!

e.       That’s why Paul says in 1Cor 6:20, “ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit

f.       Christ is the key – HE personally paid off the sin-debts of all of us!


6.      It Forgave us (1:7) Whom God has forgiven, He holds nothing against! The record is clean


a.       What a wonderful word – forgiveness

b.      For GOD to forgive, it was not easy

c.       Because HE has been hurt the worst. Mistreated, blamed, used, blasphemed, rejected, and even crucified when he became a man 2,000 years ago!

d.      Yet, God forgave us, by His grace! Because GRACE is His nature! It is the way He works!


7.      It Supplies us with all wisdom and prudence and purpose (1:8,9)


a.       Wisdom is knowing what to do

b.      Prudence is being careful and precise to do what God tells you to do – not be flippant, or on and then off again! But determined to figure out how to do what you ought to do!

c.       Grace makes sure you know what is right to do, and then helps you do it well!

d.      And God gives you all this grace for a great purpose – for HIS will (1:9)


8.      All of those things are done in each of us so that we could prove that God’s grace is amazing! And bring glory and honour to God (1:12)


B.     The Cost of Grace (Ephesians 1:3,4,5,7)


1.      Personal cost to Jesus Christ – not to you or me, or anyone else

2.      Through His blood – missing in almost all of the “new” bible versions


a.       The crucifixion

b.      At the hands of very devout, very religious people

c.       At the hands of very disciplined Roman soldiers

d.      At the hands of highly intellectual leaders and governors and statesmen

e.       And at the hands of the common people, in the crowd!

f.       The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son was shed, spilled out, so that God could be gracious to sinners like us!


3.      There is an INFINITE supply (according to the riches of His grace) – not limited!


III. Conclusion


A.    What would you like God to do for you?


1.      Give you whatever you desire?

2.      It won’t last and it won’t satisfy


B.     But if you accept God’s grace, AS HE IS GIVING IT – in the person of Jesus Christ, in your place…


1.      It will Bless you when God ought to condemn you

2.      It will Choose you when God should abandon you

3.      It will Predestinate you – change your destiny

4.      It will Make you Accepted in heaven

5.      It will Redeem you – personally pay all your sin debts off Himself

6.      It will Forgive you – holds nothing against you

7.      It will Supply you with all the wisdom and prudence you will ever need


C.     But it can’t do any of that until you receive it!

D.    Now, Maybe that doesn’t excite you, but it delights ME!


1.      It so overwhelms and blesses the believer that it ends up changing their life!

2.      It excites me! I just want to praise God, and praise His grace!

3.      I just want to live differently, and more godly, because I want to be like the One who died for me, and now lives at the right hand of God the Father!


E.     But it comes at a cost! A very HIGH price!


1.      It should be ME who has to pay for heaven, and for all the good I continually get every day

2.      But the price of grace could never be paid for by the best of the best of us!

3.      It cost God’s Son!

4.      It cost His blood, for yours!


F.      Will you accept the free gift of eternal life, at His expense?

G.    It is already paid for. All you have to do is accept it, by faith! Right now!