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Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
How God Works in Our Lives
1. How our works relate to our salvation has long been a point of question, misunderstanding, and controversy.
2. Without a doubt, God expects us to be active in our salvation and service to Him, Jno. 6:27-29; Jas. 2:14-17.
3. When we obey the truth, is it God at work in us, or, are us working?
4. In fact, the answer is, BOTH are at work, cf. Jno. 6:29, 44-45.
a. Without Christ, we can do nothing (implies that with Christ, we are able – and expected – to do some things), Jno. 15:4-5.
b. I can do all things through Christ (Paul was working), Phil. 4:13.
c. As one lives in a relationship of faith with Christ (Jno. 15:4-5), he is strengthened by Christ and can do all the things God wants him to do, Eph. 2:10.
I. YES, GOD WORKS IN US.
A. "The Power that Works in Us," Eph. 3:20-21.
1. Some make this a mystical experience; Others, a direct, miraculous action of the Holy Spirit in Christian's life.
2. CONTEXT explains the matter for us:
a. Father grant you to be strengthened, Eph. 3:14-16.
b. His Spirit works upon the inner man, Eph. 3:16.
c. Results in Christ dwelling in heart by faith, Eph. 3:17.
d. Benefits: Rooted in love, apprehend, know, filled unto all the fullness of God, Eph. 3:17-19.
e. Power works in us: The power of faith – The power of God in our lives, Eph. 3:20; 1 Jno. 5:4.
3. Parallel: God is petitioned to act (fill us); and we are active in being filled with knowledge, understanding, worthy walk, and bearing fruit. We cannot eliminate God or man from this action.
4. The person and God work together to accomplish God's will in His/her life, Phil. 2:12-13.
5. God works in us as we act in faith, Heb. 13:20-21 [2 Cor. 5:9].
II. HOW DOES GOD WORK IN OUR LIVES?
A. Through Obeying the Gospel, Acts 2:37, 39; 16:13-15.
1. God calls through gospel – Convicted, Acts 2:39.
2. Heard – Believed – Obeyed, Acts 16:14. God opened Lydia’s heart to obey (give heed) same way He does all men – Through contact with His word (Rom. 10:17).
3. God uses moral persuasion to convict and convert via gospel.
4. If it is otherwise, God is blamed for closing some hearts, while opening others, Acts 10:34-35. (cf. Pharaoh, Exo. 7:3; 8:15)
5. Baptism: Faith in the working (operation) of God, Col. 2:11-12.
B. Through Others (Human Agents), Acts 8:26ff; 16:9-10; 1 Cor. 3:9.
1. Conversion of Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-35): Many agents (Lord and His angel, Holy Spirit, preacher, Scriptures, treasurer). None negated God's power and grace, that saved the Ethiopian,
2. Macedonian call (Acts 16:9-10): God was already there...But God called men to preach to the lost so they could be "help(ed)."
3. "Laborers together with God" (1 Cor. 3:9) (God’s fellow-workers).
C. Through Prayer, Matt. 7:7, 11; Jno. 14:13-14.
1. Prayer taps into the Power of the universe, the love of the Father, and the devotion of a trusted Friend.
2. God works through prayer in lives of faithful Christians, Jno. 15:7.
III. CAN WE DO GOD'S WORK IN THEIR LIVES?
A. Not Only Can We – We Must, Jno. 6:27-29; 9:4. ("Trust and Obey")
1. Faith is a work we must do. Trust in God that when we obey his word – He works in us (His will is accomplished in our lives).
2. God works are accomplished in us as we obey, Phil. 2:12-13.
B. False Notions We Must Carefully Avoid, Joshua 6.
1. Any "work" is earning salvation (merit) (Eph. 2:9; Jas. 2:24); 6:2.
2. Any "work" denies grace (Acts 10:34-35), 6:3-5.
3. Any "work" is of human origin (Eph. 2:10), 6:2 (“Lord said…”).
4. Any "work" we do denies God's power (Phil. 2:12-13), 6:16, 20.
1. God will only work in our lives if we let Him. He does not force Himself and His will on anyone.
2. When we live by faith, God is working in us to produce His good pleasure through us.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: November 6, 2017