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Gracious Resolution: The Plan for Grace | Ephesians 1.1-4

October 12, 2014 Speaker: Sam Ford Series: Grace | The glory of God in salvation

Topic: New Testament Passage: Ephesians 1:1–1:4

INTRO | A SERIES ABOUT GRACE

We are taking a break from our study of Matthew for a five-part series called Grace. Many of you know that we are members of a regional network of churches called 3Strand. We covenant together for the purpose of accountability, community, and cooperation. Once a year, the pastors of 3Strand agree to preach a common sermon series.

This year, when the 3Strand pastors sat down to discuss the series we quickly landed on the topic of GRACE. Grace, the UNMERITED UNDESERVED, and UNFAIR, favor of God is the centerpiece of the Christian faith; it is what distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. Sadly, most deep discussions about God’s grace over the years have led to more division in the church than unity. Historically, men have either abused the doctrines of grace or abandoned them all together for some cheap alternative. The doctrines of grace of uncomfortable…but Christianity is uncomfortable: “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” CS LEWIS. Due to discomfort and laziness (a five part series on 14 VERSES doesn’t sound exciting), rarely, have efforts been made to feast on some of the most difficult, yet beautiful, Bible texts on grace. Our hopes for this series are simple:

1. We hope to elevate a God-centered theology |GOD IS BIG the whole universe revolves around God. His grace is the force that keeps it all in order and moving. Because people are visible and circumstances are tangible, we tend to use them to develop our own man-centered belief systems. Our perceptions define our truth. Our experiences govern our understanding. Who God is and what He is doing becomes predicated on what feels good to me or what makes sense to me. A man-centered theology invariably makes God SMALL.

2. We hope to provide a framework to understand God’s Story | GOD MAKES ALL of LIFE MEANINGFUL. Too often the chaos of life just seems like a series of unconnected events. God assures us that he is at work. He gives us glimpses into how He intends to redeem all of creation and restore it to its intended beauty. Without good theology, our view of life is depressing at worst, and confusing at best because we wrongly believe we are the main character in a story that is basically God’s autobiography.

3. We hope to draw some distinctions for our network | GOD REVEALS HIMSELF and our network is confident in declaring God as He reveals Himself in Scripture. Though we could have chosen several things, we have chosen to make it clear that what both distinguishes and unites our churches is: THE GRACE OF GOD. This sermon series is our line in the sand, making it clear that God’s self-revelation is our mission, and His grace is the means by which we unify.  Read more.