Sermon:  A Work in Progress

Summary:  God has transferred us from the dead, present course of this world to a 
Christ's course in the heavenly places because of his kindness and grace.  As a result, 
his purpose in us can be met, which is for us to serve him.  In order for us to carry 
out God's service, we need a Christian worldview that is no longer dominated according 
to the "course of this world," but by Christ.  This will enable us to have the correct 
attitudes toward ourselves, each other, and the world.

Know:  Since God has chosen a heavenly path for us, we need to realize that we are no 
longer to think of ourselves, each other, the world, and our goals as the world does, 
but as God does, which means constantly evaluating subtle views on these things that 
are contrary to God

Feel:  A need to be guarded and alert to the subtle influences on our attitudes and 
assumptions about ourselves and the world in which we live

Do:  Evaluate the messages of the world concerning the place of Christian faith in 
personal, daily, and public life and how that compares to God's perspective.  Reflect 
on how this perspective affects your daily ministry and service to God and to others.  
Formulate a plan to inoculate yourself against the subtle influence of the "course/way 
of this world," and live daily according to the course of God.  

Text:  Ephesians 2:1-10

Scripture Reading:  Romans 12:2

Meditation Scripture:  Romans 12:2

1.  An economist read 2 Pet 3:8 and was amazed
	a.  Asked God - So 1000 years is like a minute to you?  Yes, said God
	b.  So that means that 1 million dollars is like a penny?  Yes, said God
	c.  Well, can I have a million dollars?  God said, okay, in a minute
2.  God's perspective is different than worldly perspective.
	a.  As his people we need to be in tune to God's perspective on things
	b.  Context:  Ephesians about the church
		- Purpose to promote mission, maturity, and ministry
		- First chapter - Praises God for redemption summed up in Christ
		- First chapter - Prayer for church to know their place in God's plan
	c.  Chapter 2 - Reminds us of what we were, and what we are
	d.  Compare former existence to the existence we have in Christ
3.  Text teaches us that we are his workmanship
	a.  Why is this important?  So we can fulfill what we were re-created for
	b.  Paul outlines three stages in our transformation:

I.  (v.1-3)  Former Existence:  Dead in the world
	A.  Before you became a Christian, you were dead.
		1.  In your trespasses
			a.  ILL:  In High School, took Gremlin with friends fishing
				-  Drove along river looking for good spot
				-  Mud, Shawn said don't go, tried to go on side
				-  Slide to center, stuck, floor mats under tires
				-  Farmer came along in tractor, pushed us out
				-  Discovered we were trespassing
			b.  Didn't notice the gate.  He said it means "no trespassing
			c.  "No trespassing" means you do not go beyond
			d.  Don't commit adultery, don't lie, don't steal, etc.
		2.  In your sins
			a.  ILL:  Like a wimpy football throw, doesn't make it
			b.  Sin means to fall short, to miss the mark
			c.  All of us have not lived up to God's will, we all are sinners
	B.  But there is something more to sin that this
		1.  The course of this world - This is deep
			a.  Ways various translations render this:
				-  The course of this world
				-  The way of this world
				-  The age of this world
			b.  Lit -The aiwn "age/aeon/world" of this 
			     world/universe/totality kosmo" ( not gh - land, earth)
				-  Age, epoch, world as in a stage of the world
				-  We would say - "space age"  
				-  Immediately a whole type of world comes to mind
			c.  There is the wordly age, and the heavenly age
				-  Currently they both exist at the same time
				-  Could see it as two parallel dimensions
				-  Sounds like a science fiction movie
		2.  In other words, there two dimensions
			a.  There is the "heavenly" dimension
			b.  There is the "worldy" dimension
				- Ruled according to the prince of the power of the air
				-  2 Cor 4:4 - He is the ruler of this "age"
				-  "In the air" lurking everywhere, can't see him
	C.  ILL:  It often does not "look" evil to those in the world
		1.  Remember discussion in High School about choices
			a.  On what basis do you make sound choices?
			b.  Considered if it illegal, hurt anyone, hurt yourself
			c.  Considered rewards and consequences
		2.  What didn't come up:  Is it a sin against God?
			a.  A couple asked questions about ethics and morality
				- But without God in the picture, it is nebulous
				- Without God, man defines morality and ethics
			b.  Why didn't God come up?  We were at school!
		3.  If had same discussion at church, would have been different
			a.  God would have been central to the discussion
			b.  Probably refer to various scriptures
			c.  If God says no!  That settles it!
		4.  Do you see the problem?
			a.  We left God at church.  He was Sunday only
			b.  When it comes to real world, left God at church
				- With ecomonics, science, politics, education, etc. we
 				  used human "nature" to talk about it
				- Problem:  We were "by nature" children of wrath
				-  "Nature" is dominated by prince of power of the air
			c.  Worldly reasoning doesn't "sound" evil, sounds informed
			d.  Consequence of worldly reasoning?  Death and Wrath
	D.  We were by nature children of wrath
		1.  Sin means to fall short
			a.  When trying to make decisions with no thought of God,
			b.  You fall short - that is sin
		2.  Result of sin is dead - We were dead in our sin
		3.  By "nature" we were children of wrath
			a.  That is all human nature will get you
			b.  You need something above what is natural
		4.  Need something supernatural

II.  (v.4-7)  Transfer:  To the Heavenlies
	A.  "But God" saved us from wrath.  Why?
		1.  Because deserve it?  Earn it?  By nature we children of wrath
		2.  Because of his mercy, love, grace, and kindness
		3.  Raised us up with Christ - Allusion to our baptism
			a.  Heard the Gospel and believed
			b.  Buried and raised up
			c.  Sins washed away and we were saved
	B.  Didn't just save us, seated us in the heavenlies - a spiritual dimension
		1.  We simultaneously live here and in a parallel dimension
		2.  We are able to see and perceive true reality
		3.  Wordly perspective - 
			a. Can't see it, hear it, touch it, doesn't exist
			b. Result - Consider only worldly consequences
				- Secretly take revenge on someone
				- Cheat on a test, no one finds out
				- Live together - Seems to make sense
		4.  Perspective from the heavenlies - see things spiritually
			a (2 Cor 4:18) - What you can't see is the true reality
				- What you see:  Media, government, philosophy, 
				   schools, institutions, books on ethics, etc.
				- What you can't see:  God and his will - it lasts
				- Spiritual things are more real than mere physical
			b. Result - Consider eternal consequences
				- Not:  Does it sound reasonable
				- But: Is God pleased with this decision?
				- Consider ultimate consequence - Hell
	C.  ILL:  Went to a 3D Indiana Jones movie - given 3d glasses
		1.  Funny, arrows would shoot, everyone in theater dodge them
		2.  3D means - "3 dimensions"  Need the glasses to see it
		3.  God have given us a pair of spiritual 3D glasses
		4.  (Eph 6:12) No longer about what you can see, perceive
			a.  Struggle not against flesh and blood - What can see
			b.  Against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies
			c.  You have been seated with Christ in the heavenlies
	D.  When you leave today, leave your 3D glasses on
		1.  They need to be permanently mounted on your face
		2.  You live by God and his word in the Bible
		3.  2 Cor 10:5 - Bring every thought captive to Christ
		4.  He determines right from wrong, and direction of your life
			a.  Not your professor, counselor, coach, boss, police, law
			b.  Not scientists, politicians, philosophers, musicians, media
			c.  We are not of this world, our citizenship is in Heaven
			d.  This world will pass away, Heaven will not

III.  (v.8-10)  New Life:  Ministry
	A.  God created you for one reason, and one reason only - To serve 
	B.  Everything you are is because of God
		1.  You are saved by works…. HIS works
		2.  You are his workmanship, not your own workmanship
	C.  ILL: Examples of people who recognize they are God's workmanship
		1.  Tom Chappell, CEO of "Tom's of Maine"
			a.  Guided company to successful growth, but was drained
			b.  Business friends said to sell company and get sailboat
			c.  Minister's wife - "Why do you think Tom's of Maine is not 
			     your ministry?"  --  Never thought of "ministry" in that way
			d.  Changed the way he viewed his job, transformed him
		2.  Bill Merriam - Mail Carrier from Cleveland OH.
			a.  Featured in city's newspaper
			b.  Did more than deliver the mail
				- Took time to listen to people on his route
				- Big help to some shut ins
				- Helped recent immigrants find some tutors
				- Referred battered women to shelters
			c.  Constantly looking for ways to help and to serve
		3.  A foreman of a moving crew, moved a family from PA to NY
			a.  Minister impressed with care he took for their things
			b.  Foreman's reply:  Moving is hard for most people
				- Very vulnerable time
				- Nervous about new place 
				- Anxious about strangers handling their most 
				   precious possessions
			c.  Then said:  "I think God wants me to treat my customers 
			      with love and feel that I care about their life"
		4.  Someone put it this way:
			a.  "In a job you give something to get something"
			b.  "In a ministry, you return something that has already been 
			     given to you"
			c.  "A job depends on your ability, a ministry on your 
			      availability to God"
	D.  If you all are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works
		1.  You will wear HIS 3D glasses
		2.  You will recognize every aspect of your life as ministry
			a.  You are created by him for him
			b.  You exist for him
		3.  Your place in school, your job, your life is all a ministry
			a.  Whether a student, wife, husband, employee, 
			b.  It is a ministry

1.  3 Stages.  Where are you?
	a.  Dead in sins?  
		- Can be saved by grace through faith (Invitation)
	b.  Transferred
	c.  Life of Ministry - You are his work, a work in progress
2.  Don't leave God behind when you leave this morning
	a.  In school, on the job, with friends
	b.  When dealing with Politics, Economics, Education, Social Issues, 
	     Ethics, Science, etc.
3.  What role does God play in your life on Sunday AND on Monday?
	a.  Do you leave him and your 3D glasses here when you leave?
		- Do you look like, act like, and think like everyone else
		- Do you let government, supervisors, friends, neighbors determine 
  		  how to think and act
	b.  Or are you aware of God's presence when you leave here?
		- Do you take your 3D glasses with you
		- Do you take every thought captive to Christ?
4.  Remember, you are HIS workmanship, all you are belongs to him

Questions for Small Group Discussion