Word: Tell Them Again, Charles

Ephesians 2:1–10, especially verses 8–9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

In the mid-1500s, when Peter Gabriel began preaching Reformation truth in the reeds and thickets throughout Holland, it was announced there would be a great service outside Amsterdam on July 14, 1566. Authorities shut the city gates, but people swam the canals or forced their way out in the early hours when the milkmaids left for the fields. Thousands gathered. Gabriel announced his text—Ephesians 2:8–10—and preached for four hours, but nobody minded. They hadn’t heard the gospel in a thousand years, and they were hungry for its message. Gabriel’s sermon that day helped establish the Reformation in Holland.

The theme of the passage is salvation by grace through faith (vv. 5, 8). In church language, we say, “I got saved on such and such a date.” The word means, “to rescue from danger, to deliver.” Some years ago, there was a flash flood in Tennessee. A woman recovering from hip surgery was confined to bed. The flood occurred at night, and the waters swept into her house. Unable to save herself, she was in danger of drowning in her own bed until the paramedics arrived and rescued her. We are sinners; we can’t save ourselves. We need a divine paramedic to rescue us from drowning in the flood tides of God’s wrath. When we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we are saved.

  1. Human Condition (vv. 1–3). Verses 1–3 describe the hopelessness of our human condition.
    • Dead in our sins (v. 1). Most of our politicians, business leaders, educators, journalists, and work associates are dead. This world is being run by people who are spiritually and eternally dead.
    • Walking according to the course of this world (v. 2; see Matt. 7:13–14).
    • Following the prince of the power of the air (v. 2), Satan, whose demonic hosts fill the air and pollute the atmosphere.
    • Following the spirit now at work in the disobedient (v. 2).
    • Gratifying the cravings of the flesh (v. 3).
    • Objects of wrath (v. 3).
  2. Divine Motivation (v. 4). “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…”
    • His Rich Mercy
    • His Great Love
  3. Eternal Salvation (vvs. 5–9).
    • God makes us alive in Christ.
    • He seats us with Christ in heavenly realms.
    • He will show us the incomparable riches of His grace. Paul wrote this while imprisoned in Rome, but he had the attitude of someone living in heavenly realms.

When Charles Spurgeon was a teen, he was asked to preach at his grandfather’s church in Suffolk. His train was late, so Grandfather Spurgeon began the sermon, preaching from Ephesians 2:8–9. There was a commotion at the door, and in walked Charles. “Here comes my grandson,” exclaimed the old man. “He can preach the gospel better than I can, but you cannot preach a better gospel, can you, Charles?” Charles replied, “You can preach better than I can. Please go on.”

The grandfather refused, but he explained to Charles where he was in his sermon. The younger preacher stepped to the pulpit and took over just where his grandfather had left off. After a few minutes, the grandfather interrupted, wanting to preach a little more. Then he sat down again, and Charles resumed, with his grandfather sitting behind him, saying, “Good! Tell them that again, Charles. Tell them that again.”

Ever after, Charles Spurgeon said that whenever he preached from Ephesians 2, he could hear his grandfather whispering, “Tell them that again, Charles. Tell them that again.”
Maybe you’ve heard this truth before, but I’m glad to tell you again: By grace are we saved through faith. Perhaps you are dead in your sins, following the ways of the world, gratifying the cravings of your sinful nature, an object of wrath. God in His great love and rich mercy, wants to raise you from the dead, seat you with Himself in the heavenly reams, and show you the incomparable riches of his grace in Christ Jesus. Will you come to Him today?

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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