Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 18:13–19:37, Eph 2:1–3:21, Prov 8:19–26
Today’s Theme: Saved by Grace
Today’s reading was rich with deep truths in all three passages. In the Old Testament we learn about the sovereignty of God over the enemy and history so we don’t have to fear or even respond to the devil.
In the Proverbs we learn about the supreme value of wisdom and that with it we have an inheritance.
However the greatest lessons come from our reading in the wonderful book of Ephesians. We learn that although we were dead in sin God made us alive in Christ, saving us by His grace for the good works he prepared for us to do.
We also learn about the importance of the Bible and the riches of our new nature and inheritance in Christ, both Jew and Gentile as the one new man.
2 Kings 18:13–19:37
Don’t lean on the flesh
Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. (2 Kings 18:21, ESV)
This is like a picture of Satan, those who trust in him and their own ways will be cut by leaning on him/it.
God is sovereign
Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.’ ” (2 Kings 18:25, ESV)
A misunderstanding about the sovereignty of God. Although He allowed and used this it does not change His commitments, devotion and defence of His people.
You can’t make peace with the devil
Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, (2 Kings 18:31, ESV)
This is the call of the devil and the flesh but we must resist. You can’t make peace with the devil, he is hell bent on your misery and destruction. You can’t make peace with your flesh, it seeks only its own pleasure and hates God.
We are at war and there is no peace with the enemy but there is peace from and with God.
Don’t talk to the devil
But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” (2 Kings 18:36, ESV)
We do not need to dignify the devil with a response. We don’t find prayers in the Bible where the devil is addressed directly, instead he is bypassed because in prayer we just talk to the boss, God Himself.
Jesus addresses the devil directly in His temptation but this was the actual devil himself and Jesus answered him with the word of God.
When Jesus taught us to pray the devil was not addressed even once, instead we were taught to entreat the Father to deliver us from evil including the evil of the devil.
We may talk about the devil when we pray but we do not talk to him, instead we talk over him. The only response he will get from us is the word of God when he tempts us like Jesus showed us and the Lord’s rebuke as we saw in Jude.
Sovereign over devils
Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’ ” (2 Kings 19:7, ESV)
Demonic spirits are under God’s Sovereign control, this is why we don’t need to enter into conversation with them. We appeal to the God who is the sovereign king even over them and commands them and they must obey.
Go to God with your problems
Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. (2 Kings 19:14, ESV)
We can tell his heart was for God, because he would always go to God first (realising the time he tried to buy someone off did not work).
We need to do that, to spread out our problem before The Lord.
God, king over the earth
And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. (2 Kings 19:15, ESV)
God, not Satan is king over the whole earth.
Sovereign over history
“Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins, (2 Kings 19:25, ESV)
God is sovereign over history, His plans and purposes are continually being worked out. History is not on it’s own random course and is not solely in the hands of men, demons or angels. God is directing history in such a way as to glorify His name in all the earth.
Roots and Fruits
And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. (2 Kings 19:30, ESV)
Yes we need to take root downwards (in the word and Spirit) and bear fruit upwards (praise and behaviour).
We were dead
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1, ESV)
This is the awful and serious state we were in before salvation, we could not respond to the Gospel because we were dead, we needed to be made alive.
Children of wrath
among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:3, ESV)
This is a summary of life outside Christ. We are cheating people by telling them God loves them just the way they are, it just is not true, before we were saved, we were children of wrath. Those who do not know God are under God’s wrath (righteous anger).
Made alive in Christ
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:5, ESV)
God made us alive, this is more than an analogy, the edict from Eden is true, all men from Adam were dead, dead in trespasses and sin.
This is so profound, it is by grace, not sense or response but grace by which we dead people have been made alive and saved.
Us being made alive, spiritually made as brand new creations, born all over again, regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit is the single most amazing miracle any of us will ever experience.
Look at the strength of the words used here, we were dead in our sins and while in that state where we could not help ourselves (dead people can’t do anything or even respond to anything) God does the IMPOSSIBLE, He by His unfathomable grace MADE US ALIVE!
Saved by grace
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9, ESV)
The sum of reformed soteriology (the theology of salvation). We hold to what the reformers discovered in the word of God and so broke away from the Church of Rome which is that man is not saved by his own works, instead man is saved by God’s own grace.
God has saved us in this way so no one can boast that they had the common sense to respond to the Gospel and so essentially saved themselves and technically becomes the initiating agent of His own salvation.
The beautiful reality is that it is God Himself who saves us and not ourselves. If we saved ourselves we would have to keep ourselves which is not going to happen and makes us no different to all the futile religions of this world where the religious mind set / stronghold / spirit causes men to run after “God” through good works and human effort.
God is the one who saves us and keeps us, this truth should cause us to burst out in praise to God for His amazing grace which has saved us, not generally made salvation possible but actually, consciously, deliberately, specifically, chosen and really saved us.
Glory to his name forever!!
How should we then live?
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
This is how we should then live… We were saved to work good works. Our salvation is not an end in itself, we were saved for a purpose.
Works do not get us to salvation but we have been saved to work, we work BECAUSE we are saved.
The work God has for us has been predestined for us to do. We can have confidence in God’s purpose and provision for our lives.
The pathway has been prepared, now walk in it by faith working the good works of the one who has created us anew in Christ.
We are His workmanship, we are not generally, or mass manufactured, each of us has been created specifically by the great workmanship of God. Each a particular tool to be used in the building of God’s kingdom and for the glory of God’s great name.
May all the earth rejoice today, may the church rejoice, we are His workmanship, He has moulded and formed us for His purpose. Your life is not an accident, you are not a number, you are not random or general, you are special, God has created you specially in Christ to work the works He prepared for you specifically long before the world began.
One new man
by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:15–16, ESV)
We are indeed one new man in Christ, we should no longer distinguish ourselves as different or better because of being a physical Jew or Greek, we are one new man in Christ we are the church. We are not the messianic and gentile church, not the black and white church just the church.
Members of God’s household
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (Ephesians 2:19, ESV)
We are fellow citizens with the saints of Israel. God has made us members of His own household. We read yesterday that He adopted us in love, that means He was not our father in the spiritual sense or He would not need to adopt us.
Like Jesus said, if we call God Father we would do His works but we do the devil’s works proving the devil is our father. It is only by God’s magnanimous act of adoption that we become God’s children and members of His household.
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, (Ephesians 2:20, ESV)
The Apostles and Prophets are foundational to the church, their life and works were special and can not be repeated in the sense that they were the founders of the church. Their writings are considered holy scripture, divinely and specially inspired by God.
The canon of scripture is CLOSED and the church is already established so no Prophet or Apostle today can be seen on the same level or with the same office as the first ones who had a specific and special mission given to them by Jesus Himself.
We stand upon the foundation of their life and teaching as captured in the Bible with Jesus as the ultimate foundation.
God’s dwelling place
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22, ESV)
We are not only personally but corporately a dwelling place for God. Church is essential and critical for every believer, when we come together God dwells in our midst as we are built up each week.
None of us is being built up individually, we are being built alongside one another. It is not about one of us being such a big brick that it can’t be used in the wall.
God has set up the body of Christ, the Church, in such a way that we need each other to genuinely grow and without each other growth is stunted. If there is anyone reading this today who is out of fellowship with other believers you need to humble yourself and get connected or you will not grow… you may get head knowledge but you won’t be built up together with the saints by the Spirit of God.
Attending church is not enough, you need to actually fellowship, live and serve with other believers to be built up together into a dwelling place for God.
which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. (Ephesians 3:5, ESV)
Revealed to them to write it down in the Bible. Now we have the Bible there are no new revelations in that sense, the foundation as mentioned earlier has been laid.
This is why the Bible is so important, it is the record of God’s revelation.
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:6, ESV)
The gentiles have been made fellow heirs with the faithful of Israel and receive the messianic promises that were given to the children of Israel. We are joint heirs, the Jews get no more or less than us, we are one in Christ.
We are rich
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, (Ephesians 3:8, ESV)
We have unsearchable riches in Christ. We are rich beyond our wildest dreams. The inheritance we have is priceless and eternal… Hallelujah
The light for everyone
and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, (Ephesians 3:9, ESV)
This is what Paul has done through his writings, the light for everyone is the Bible.
God’s purpose realised
This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Ephesians 3:11, ESV)
God’s eternal purpose is realised in the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You have accesses
in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. (Ephesians 3:12, ESV)
All saints through our faith in Christ have access to God, no intermediary is needed. Again the reformers were right, we don’t need priests, monks, pope’s, nuns, Mary or dead saints.
This is amazing, we have direct access to God, go to Him and talk to Him TODAY.
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Ephesians 3:16, ESV)
Yes Lord may our inner being be strengthened in You today as we rejoice in Your word by your Spirit.
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (Ephesians 3:18, ESV)
God made our minds and wants them to be engaged and used for Him. May our minds be strengthened as we meditate on and study the word of God that we might know mentally / intellectually and by experience the love of God.
The fullness of God
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19, ESV)
A knowing that goes beyond just books but finds its form in reality and experience.
We cannot be filled with the fullness of God without studying His word.
God’s power at work in us
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, (Ephesians 3:20, ESV)
It is God who is able through His power at work in us (not our powerful words).
The value of wisdom
My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. (Proverbs 8:19, ESV)
What comes from wisdom (its fruit) is far more valuable than money or what money can buy.
granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. (Proverbs 8:21, ESV)
When we gain wisdom we will also gain an inheritance and we will also prosper in the physical world.
The wise creator
Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. (Proverbs 8:23, ESV)
God used wisdom to create the world.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.