Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
- Read Ephesians 2:1-3. What stands out to you in this passage and why? What in this passage best describes you before you came to Jesus?
- Read Ephesians 2:4-10. What stands out to you in this passage and why? What is one truth from this passage that you really need to personally choose to believe?
- If someone said to you, “I’m going to make it to Heaven because my good will outweigh my bad.”, how could you use these verses to help respond to this person?
- Read Ephesians 2:10 again. What are some “good works” that you believe God wants you to do this week?
Good morning. My name is Wes, and I get the privilege of sharing God's truth with you today. Last week, we talked about community, how God is serious about community so we want to be serious about community. So many of you jumped in and signed up for a community group. Super excited about that. We still have some openings, so go to TheChapel.com/community, and you can get engaged in one of those groups. Today, we're going to look at a community in action, a community that serves. You know, often, when Jesus was speaking, at the end of his parable or his teaching, he would say this phrase. He would say, "For he who has ears to hear, let him hear." Now, everybody in the place had ears, so he wasn't talking about that. He was saying, "Listen, if you really want to hear, you got to hear with the ears of your heart, where it matters, where it counts." We can fall into the same thing. We can come here week after week, and we can hear truth proclaimed in song and in the word, and we, if we're not careful, we can step into the same slumber.
We can just hear but not really hear where it matters, where it counts in our heart. Man, I've been praying for myself, and I've been praying for you. I've been praying for us, that we would have ears to hear, that God would give us ears to hear today, because if we do, if we listen to what he has to say, no matter where you are in your life, in your spiritual journey, I'm telling you, because I know the truth we're going to look at today, it can change the game in your life, in your relationships, and how you handle your resources, and the purpose for why you're on this planet. It's big. I don't want us to miss it. You have an enemy of your soul who hates you and wants you to miss everything. He wants you to be distracted. He wants you to think a bunch of different things, and I'm just asking that we would pray together, push that off to the side, and say, "God, give me ears to hear today."
Would you pray with me? I'm going to invite you to just bow your heads and close your eyes just for a moment and ask God, just silently, just say, "God, give me ears to hear what you have to say to me today. I want to hear it." God, we bow before you, and we acknowledge that you are the king of the universe. You have the words of life that we need to hear today. God, I ask you, please, in the name of Jesus that you would send your Spirit to be our teacher and that, Lord, you would give us ears to hear. Please don't allow anything about me to get in the way of what you want to communicate to these whom you love so deeply and desperately. Lord, I pray that you would have your way in our lives today, God, your word would penetrate, and that we would hear, and what we would respond, that we'd be different because we met with you, Christ. Thank you, Jesus. We pray this in your name and for your glory. Amen.
If you have your Bibles, please open up to the book of Ephesians chapter two, either in the hard copy you brought with you or your electronic device. This is going to be the passage that we're going to work through, and it's not going to be on the screen, so I want you to see it in front of you. If you could get it and turn to Ephesians chapter two, we're going to walk our way through it. Man, I want you to see it because it's really, really, really good stuff. I want to ask you a question to get started. How many of you either on a business trip or maybe when you're in college or just when you're on vacation, whatever, how many of you have ever arranged for a wake up call? Anybody? You know what that is, wake up call? How many of you have ever missed an important wake up call, your alarm? Yeah, okay.
Remember that? Remember that moment when you wake up and you're totally disoriented? You have that terrible sick feeling in the pit of your stomach like, "Oh my gosh. I'm in trouble." Remember that? Feel free to play along. Just say yeah. "Oh, yeah, Wes. Yeah, I get it." Thank you. Thanks. I was a junior in college, and my girlfriend was coming to visit me. We were having some challenges in our relationship, and so she came up. I said, "Let's meet the next morning." We decided we'd meet the next morning to have the talk. You know what I'm talking about, the talk? We're going to define. It was a big deal. There's a lot of things that hung in the balance here. I mean, I went back to my dorm. I'm like praying, "O God, help me," because in my mind, I'm like it's either going to be, "Hey, this is going to be awesome, my happily ever after," or I'm going to end up being alone, living in a trailer with a bunch of cats. Those were, in my mind, I'm going to be the scary cat guy. I was going to be that guy. I'm like, "O Lord, please."
I went to bed and woke up the next morning to the ringing of my phone. Not a good sign, because it wasn't my alarm. I looked at my alarm. It didn't go off. It was the devil. It didn't go off. I'm like, "Oh my gosh. I'm 30 minutes late already." I reach for the phone. I didn't even answer it right. I just said, "I'll be there in five minutes." I'm like, "Oh, man. Maybe it wasn't her." That would have been trouble. It's just the pizza guy, "Hi." I hung that up. Quickly, I threw some clothes on. I hosed myself down with cologne because dudes, that's what we do. We're like, "Oh, I'm better," so we go on. Threw some gum in my mouth and out there. I was 40 minutes late for the meeting, for the talk. Needless to say, the talk didn't go very well. Yeah, that relationship kind of (noise), but God rescued me. He led me to my wife. Now we've been married over 25 years. She saved me from being the scary cat guy, so yay.
That's a good story, but here's the thing. Thank you. Yes, praise God he's not a cat wrangler. Here's the thing. Wake up calls are important in the physical realm, but can I tell you something? Spiritual wake up calls, way more important because there's way more at stake in the spiritual realm. Spiritual wake up calls that we get in scripture from God are meant to open our hearts, to open our minds, to open our perspective, and it's meant to move us in a direction for our good. Throughout the Bible, there's wake up after wake up call after wake up call. Some are very aggressive, in your face. Others, little more subtle, but they all have the same point. They are meant to move us in a direction. We're going to look at a wake up call today from the apostle Paul that he gives to the Ephesians. He was writing this letter to Ephesus, to the Ephesian Christians. They were gathered in church much like us.
Here's the thing. Listen, no matter where you are in the spiritual spectrum today, if you're on this side like, "Man, I'm just running hard after Jesus," or if you're like, "Man, I have some doubts because some crushing things have happened in my life. I'm not sure about God," or if you're all the way over here, "Man, I don't even know if God exists." Here's the great news. No matter what you are on that continuum, you can find yourself in this passage in Ephesians chapter two. If you'll listen, you're going to hear some incredible, game-changing things. Let's start Ephesians chapter two verse one. Here we go. "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."
I'm going to push pause right there. Paul is painting a picture of what every single one of us is like before Jesus Christ, and it is not good. It is dark. It is stark. It is realistic. He's saying, "Listen, you need to understand where you were. Remember where you were? You were enslaved to the cravings of your nature, and you thought you were just doing your own thing, following the ways of the world. Wrong, you were actually following the wrong ruler. Who do you think was leading you? Who do you think was out in front enticing you? Who do you think that was? You think you were just doing your own thing? No. You were following of the ruler of the kingdom, the spirit who's now at work in those who are disobedient."
There's only two kingdoms. You got God and Satan. There's no middle ground. They're not even close, obviously, but he says, "You were following this one. You were captive, and this one has an endgame for you, objects of wrath." Your version might say deserving of wrath, because that's what it means. That's where we end up. That's what Satan's endgame is for every single one. When we leave this planet, the brokenness that is inside of us that has worked its way out into every phase of our life, we step off this planet, we're separated from God forever in a place of unending wrath and a payment of our sins called hell. Paul says, "Remember that? That's who you were."
Verse four, first word, "But." Now he's just like ripping the curtain open, man, and allowing the blinding light of God. When God shows up, man, it changes everything. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy ..." That word rich means unlimited, unending, you can't exhaust it. "... rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions." He says, "You used to be dead, but Jesus came, and he rescued you. He made you alive on the inside. You start to live on the inside, inside out. "It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus ..." That's the supernatural realm where God rules. That is where, positionally, as Christians, that's why we have authority that God has given us because of where we're seated. "... in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."
Paul's saying this is who you are, so you need to wake up and realize who you are, see where you were, but now look at who you are. It starts in verse four, "But because of," what? Because of you? Because you were so great? Because you were living life so well? Because you were so pleasing to God? Because were on point? Because you're the coolest guy in the room? Because God really wanted you on his team? No, because of his great love for us, he rescued us. God is saying, "Listen, I'm not just going to reach down and save you. It's not because of you. Because of me, because of my grace, I'm also going to seat you in a place that is unbelievable and I'm going to give you spiritual blessings and privileges, some you'll know here but not most."
Most of the grace that you'll experience, God says, won't be here on this planet. Why? Because it's not permanent. This is not your home. When you get to your true home, then you're going to see my amazing grace upon grace upon grace for you. We are recipients and trophies of God's grace. We get to show off his grace. This is what God is saying here, saying, "It's not just in this world. It's in the next world. I'm going to blow your mind by how much grace I'm going to give you." You know, when you receive something and you're not really deserving, but you receive this incredible, over-the-top, massive gift that's like, "Oh my gosh. What's happening?" Who does that show off? Whose heart of generosity does that show off, yours? No, shows off the giver.
It's the same way with God. When we see that all God has blessed us with, his forgiveness, his acceptance, his love, his rescue, none of which we deserve, by the way, it shows off his grace, not ours. It's like, "Wait a minute, God. Let me get this straight. Wait a minute. You're going to take Wes, this foolish, stupid, wicked, dirty, sinner, vile sinner, you're going to, not only save him, you're going to forgive him. You're going to sacrifice for him. You're going to put him in this amazing place. You're going to give him a relationship with you. You're going to give him a home in heaven. You're going to let him walk with you in privileges and graces. You're going to do that, God?" Yeah, man. I am an object of God's grace. I used to be an object of his wrath, but now, because of Jesus, I'm an object of his grace.
If you're a believer, if you've invited Christ in, so are you. That's who you are. Paul says, "Remember who were. This is who you are. Have you forgotten that? This is who you are." It is stunning. It is amazing, and we are to live our lives in such a way that when people look at us, they're going, "There's something about that man." We point to God by the way we live with hope. By the way we walk through difficult things, by the way we live, by the choices we make, things we watch, the music we listen to, how we live our lives is all to be a spotlight that shows how good God is because we realize who we are in Christ, where we've come. Listen, when I forget where I've been rescued from, I can become very critical. I can become self-righteous. Man, I can lend in that way. That's why I pray all the time, "God, don't let me forget where I've come from, don't let me forget where I've been rescued from."
You can say, "Well, Wes, when'd you get saved?" Listen, I don't have this big juicy testimony where like, "Yeah, I was involved in drugs and sex and stealing cars, and then I got saved at the age of four." It's not my story. I did. I got saved at a young age, but you know what? That was my story. That's who I was. The only reason I didn't play out more in my life, time and opportunity. That's the only reason because that's who I was, but God saved me. Man, I see him saving me all the time in my life now as I walk with him, and he helps me and encourages me and strengthens me. He saves me all the time. That's who I am. That's who you are as a believer. That's who we are. That's supposed to be overwhelming to us.
Here's the great news. None of it depends on you or on me. Look at verse eight, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast." You can't work for it. You can't earn it. You don't deserve it. Neither do I. You can't say, "Hey, God, man, look at me. See, I'm doing pretty good here. I'm not perfect, but I'm doing pretty good, and I think you owe me." Listen, you will never put God in your depth because you've got nothing to bring to the table, man. You've got nothing to bring to the table. You know what you've got to bring to the table? Verses one through three. That's all you got. When you pick that up and you dump that bin out all over the table, it stinks. It's garbage. It's sin. It's wretched. It's awful, and you're going to negotiate with a Holy God with that? Are you kidding me?
Man, we have been rescued. Man, that's all I have too. That's why, listen, it's not about what's in you. It's about what's in God. He says, "It's my love for you and my rich mercy that I'm going reach, and I'm going to rescue you. I'm going to wipe the slate clean. I'm going to push all the stuff off the table. Man, I'm going to give you a relationship with me. You can't work for it, and you can't earn it." You know why that's such great news and just takes the stress right out of my relationship with God and should yours as well? Because none of this is sourced from me. That means it doesn't depend on me. I don't have to be insecure or stressed about my salvation because it's not from me. I couldn't earn it in work, so that means I don't have to maintain it. God does that. I don't go to bed going, "Man, did I do enough today? Did I read enough of the Bible? I got to do five more chapters." I don't do that.
See, when you realize where you've been rescued from, man, you want to run after to God. You want to do that. Listen, you want to change your life today, I'm going to give you little things that can change your life. We spend hours in front of our screens. Look at that at that cat. He's making a cake. We spend hours in front of our screens, hours. Spend five minutes. Take five minutes and camp out in verse four. Just five minutes and read that over and over again today, five minutes, say, "God, open my eyes to this." I mean, look at this, "But because of his great love for us, God," you don't have to go any further than that. "But because of his great love for us, God." Listen to me. You know what this means about your salvation if you've invited Christ in? It is not about how much you love him. It's about how much he loves you. It's never about how strong you're holding on to him. It's about how strong he's holding on to you. He says, "I'm never letting you go."
Read John 10 sometime today, the gospel of John chapter 10. Pay attention to verses 28, 29, 30. Take a look at that. God says, "I'm never letting you go. Once you step into a relationship with me, I got you, and I love you. That's never going to stop." On my best day or on my worst day, Jesus is still my best friend. He still believes in me. He's still with me. Of course, he doesn't want me to sin because that's poison in my life, but none of that is going to make him go, "Changed my mind about you," because I'm seated in the heavenlies. Jesus paid for all my sin. He died for your sin one time, past, present, and future. All done. Sin commit tomorrow, next month, next year, Jesus paid for that. That means we can run to him.
Look at verse 10. I mean, it just keeps going. Look at verse 10, "For we are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus ..." You're his workmanship. You're his handiwork. The fingertips that created the universe sculpted you. That's what that says. Listen, you know where that leaves us? Ephesians two verses one through nine and 10A, it answers three of the ultimate questions that every single human being has in their life. We call them ultimate because they're common to every human being. You are going to try to figure out how to answer these questions in your life. One way or another, you do it every day, so I do, because they're ultimate. They're this: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I worth?
Who am I? It speaks to my identity. What is it anchored to? Is it at the cost of the whims of culture or people's opinions or my own feelings? Who am I? What's my identity? To why am I here? What's my purpose? What's the point of my life being on this planet? Three, what's my worth? What am I worth? What's my value, and what is that anchored to, and how fragile is it? We go living our lives trying answer those three questions. For example, if you're an atheist, you know how you answer those questions? One, who am I? You're a total, complete act of random chance. You're a bunch of chemicals and DNA thrown together, and here you are. There is no ultimate meaning because you only believe in the natural. It's naturalism. You don't believe in the supernatural. You just believe in naturalism, so all you have is what you see.
Who you are, as your identity, there's no ultimate meaning to your life. Purpose, why am I here? Again, without any ultimate meaning, there is no ultimate purpose. Because there's no ultimate standard of right or wrong, of truth, of good or evil, so what you got is what you see. You get to make it all on your own. That sounds real freeing until you live that out. Man, it is bondage and zero hope. Why am I here? What am I worth? Well, if you're an atheist, you're worth whatever dollar amount either the culture or science can attach to your body because there's no ultimate meaning, no ultimate purpose. There's no ultimate intrinsic value. Man, that's hopeless. It's hopeless. You can wordsmith around that. You can try to massage that all you want, but, man, there's where you land.
If you're a believer, if you believe the Bible is true, if there really is a God, you really do matter to him and you can know him, a relationship with Jesus Christ, then those three questions, they explode with hope. Why am I here? What am I worth? Who am I? They explode with hope. Who am I? I am a wanted, desired, designed, specific creation of the king of the universe. That's what it's anchored to. My identity is bulletproof. It is not dependent on what I feel or what other people say or the whims of the culture. What is most true about me is what God says about me. What is most true about you is what God says about you. Why am I here? What's my purpose? My purpose is to know God and to live life on mission with him because he's got a plan for my life. We're going to talk about that in just a second.
Third, what am I worth? Ultimately, the value of something is determined by what someone will pay for it. What paid for you? What is the price paid for you, for me? The life and the death of Jesus Christ, the greatest price that could be paid. That value is not dependent on your job, on your money, on your finances, on your status. It's dependent on who Jesus is. Man, that is where Ephesians 2:1 through 9 leave us and 10A. After we get pummeled with that awesome, wonderful truth, we're ready to hear verse 10. Here it is in its entirety, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus," here it is, "to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." To do good works.
God says, "I got a plan for you. I got stuff for you to do. Look, I didn't just rescue you. I didn't create you and rescue you and save you and bless you with everything through verses one through nine so that you could just wander around through life like everybody else, so that you can just try to work a job, live for the weekend, so that you start to chase and prioritize everything before Jesus like the rest of the world. No way. I rescued you and saved you for good works. I got a plan for your life. I got good works for you to do." Look what it says here, " ... good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." In advance. God says, "I planned ahead for you. You didn't surprise me. I planned ahead for you."
Ever show up someplace where they didn't plan ahead for you, where they didn't expect you? Isn't that fun? That happened to me a couple of times. You go to like a motel, you go to check in, say, "Hey, reservation." "Oh, we don't have you." "Oh, wow. Okay. But I called." "No, we don't have you." You show up at a party. This is always fun. You show up and somebody looks, and you go, "Wow. What are you doing here?" Thank you. Apparently your spiritual gift is being a jerk. Thought that in my head, didn't say it out loud. I prayed about it, said, "God, I'm sorry." Your superpower is being clueless, so congratulations. You're rocking it. When you show up to a place that has planned ahead for you, that is expecting you, it's a different ballgame, isn't it? Doesn't it make you feel great?
God says, "I planned in advance for you. I planned ahead for you. I have good works for you to do." If you got your notes, this is the first blanks to fill in because this is what this means. Look at this. You are not just a recipient of God's grace. You're also an instrument of God's grace. You're not just to receive. God says, "I want to use you to be a distributor and an instrument of me and my grace in this world. It's you. That's what I want for you today. I want you to serve me so your life can make a difference." You know, I have a degree in Bible. I've read the Bible a lot of times. I've read through the book of Acts a lot of times, but there was one time when I was reading and God just, he grabbed my heart with this verse. He just popped it off the page. It's a little verse tucked away in chapter 13.
Look at what it says, "Now when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep." That means he died. "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation," one sentence, that is the definition of a life well lived, right there. David served God's purpose in his generation. That changed how I prayed for myself, how I prayed for my family, how I prayed for people who are under my leadership. I say, "God, I want that. I want you to write that about me. And when Wes had served God's purpose in his own generation, he died." He says, "Time done. Come." God wants to write that over your life. He's got good works for you to do. He's got things for you to do. That's what he wants. He wants to do those in your life. Make no mistake. He's got stuff for you to do.
Let me ask you this. As you read through verses one through nine and you see all that God has done for you and how he feels about you, does any of that, when you get to verse 10 talking about serving God, does any of that sound like you should be motivated by guilt or shame or duty? "I guess I got to do this for God." When you understand where you've been rescued from and what you've been rescued to and where God is ultimately going to put you, and he says, "Now I want you to serve me," when you get all that, you're like, "I'm in. I'm running. God, I get to serve you. Yes. What do you want? Here's my life. What do you want? Here." Believe me, you got something to offer because God has given it to you. Lots of scriptures that talk about this.
Let me give you one real quick. "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them." This is talking about spiritual gifts. "There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them, and in every one, it is the same God at work. Now, to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." Spiritual gifts, when you become a believer, God gives you spiritual gifts. It's a spiritually empowered ability, a God-empowered ability to accomplish the good works that God wants you to do in this planet. Listen, people get really sideways on the whole spiritual gifts thing really fast. It's real easy. A lot of the confusion can be cleared away if you just ask and answer one simple question. Here it is. What is the purpose of the gifts? It's for the common good. It's for everybody else, not for me.
My spiritual gift isn't about me. It's not about blessing me. It's not about giving me a spiritual hit. It's about blessing you. It's for the common good. Put it this way. It's about serving God by serving others. That's what it is. God has given you, he's gifted you to serve him by serving others. A lot of verses that speak to that, three real quick. "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh." In other words, it's about me. "Rather, serve one another humbly in love." You want to nurture a relationship, serve one another humbly in love. It's what God wants. Look at this one, a familiar verse. Jesus was teaching, but, man, let's connect the dots to Ephesians two. "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds," good works, "and glorify your Father in heaven." When they look at your life, by looking at your life and how you operate and how you choose, you're shining the spotlight somewhere. You're shining it somewhere.
If you follow God and say, "Lord, I want to honor you. I want to live for you. I want to make my choices what you want them to be according to your word," you're going to shine a bright light on God. You're going to make belief in God believable by your life. I get to do that too. One more. Here it is. "So Christ himself gave the apostles," this is Jesus. This is what he did. "He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers to equip his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up. From him, Christ the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work." You've got a work to do. Its work, your work. Satan wants you to look side to side. God goes, "No, I got a lane for you. I got works for you to do." Listen, you each have individual fingerprints. No two fingerprints are alike. God has designed you as an individual. He's got a plan for you. He's got good works for you to do and says, "I want you to do good works. I want you to serve me by serving others."
Practically, what does that look like? Well, I want to use an illustration of Thanksgiving dinner, so follow me over here to the table. My mom was born and grew up in Pennsylvania, so whenever Thanksgiving came around, no matter where we were on the planet, we jumped in the car, and we drove to Pennsylvania, made the drive. All the relatives, aunts, uncles, cousins, everybody was there. The ladies were in there. They're cooking up a storm. Food's flying everywhere. It was awesome. Everybody had a role to play. Some were cooking this. Some were cooking that. Some were getting beverages. Me, because I was a little younger, I had to help set the table, but we all played our role so that the end result could happen, an awesome meal with family and friends.
I mean, we were in the basement with the long table. We put card tables on the end. They'd stack it because they wanted to keep everybody together. They didn't have like the obligatory kids' table out in the garage, "Hey, have some chicken nuggets. God bless you." They put them all together. There's no way you're getting from that table to the big table unless somebody leaves or moves or, "He became a missionary in Africa." "Great, I get to go to the big table," you know, that kind of thing. The reason we all did this and played our role is so that we could enjoy the end result, an awesome meal with family and friends. It's the same way in the body of Christ at the family table. If you're a Christian, you got a seat at this table. Let me show you what I mean.
This seat right here, this is Cathy. Cathy works in our worship and creative arts ministry. She's been doing it since the 90s. Most of you don't know who Cathy is, but every single week, you get to enjoy the labors of her service to God. She is responsible for putting stuff on the screen, to format it, to create it. She's run it. She's back there now running it. She's doing all this. This is her service to God serving others. It's the role that God's given her play. Her words, she says this. She said, "I've come to realize that not only is God using me to be part of reaching other people for him, but in the process, he has used people I come in contact with to minister to me." She's an all-star at what she's done. She's been faithful at doing it all these years. This is the seat that she sits at the family table, the role she plays.
Over here, this seat is Steve. Steve works as a life coach with one of our partnered ministries outside here of The Chapel, 716 Ministries. He's also been engaged in helping take care of a widow. Most recently, he and his wife have signed up to become a Wrap Around family to our Every Child ministry to help a family in Niagara Falls that are fostering a bunch of kids. This is what Steve says. He says, "I've been able to show the love of Jesus to others by meeting their practical needs. It's a blessing to them, but I think it's even more of a blessing to me." This is the seat at the table that Steve has. This seat, this is Sue. Sue works in our King's World ministry. She's been doing it for 14 years, over 14 years.
Our King's World ministry on all of our campuses is our children's ministry so that you can drop your child off so that, as an adult, you can come in here and engage with the truth and not be distracted, knowing that your kids are well-cared for and loved and shown the truth and the love of Jesus. Sue's been doing this for over 14 years. She says this, "I used to view the church as just a building to go to and worship. Since I started serving, my whole view has changed. The people of the church and we are one body. Everyone has their own special God-given gifts." It's a family table. This is the seat that Sue has. She serves God by serving others. Good works God has for her to do.
These people have been captured by the grace of God. They realize where they've been, who they are, where God is calling them to. He says, "I've got good works for you," and they go, "I'm in. What does that look like, God? Whatever you want, I'm in." They have a seat at the table because they're believers and they're serving. This seat is yours. If you're a believer, it's your seat. You're at the table now. What are you doing? How are you serving? God's got good works for you to do. What are you doing? You say, "Wes, I'm not even sure. Spiritual gifts, I don't know what that is. I have no idea." That's great. I'm so glad you're here today because our staff has been working for months and months and months on crafting a tool that will help you understand what your spiritual gift is and some places that you can get potentially connected to, that you can be passionate about, and that you can serve and do and live out the good works that God has for you.
On all of our campuses today, when you get dismissed out of here, your campus pastors on our other campuses are going to direct you where to go. At CrossPoint, it's in the Fireside Room. The Fireside Room is set up so that as soon we as dismiss, if you're like, "I'm in. I want to know. I want to start the conversation, find out my spiritual gifts, where I can get connected to, where I can serve," go into the Fireside Room. There's people waiting for you with this tool that can help to start the conversation because God has called you to good works. Let me ask you: What do you want to have written over your life? Because something's going to be written over your life. What do you want written over your life? What do you want God to write over your life? He's got good works for you to do.
As we close, to take this truth, truth is meant to be applied. It's meant to be lived out. What does that look like for you? Let me give you four quick suggestions. One, maybe one of the reasons you're here today is God brought you here because you needed to hear and be reminded of who you are in Christ as a believer because the enemy has been lying to you about your identity. He's been lying to you about your purpose. He's been lying to you about your worth. God brought you here to remind you who you are in Christ, that your identity is not based in the culture, on your own feelings, on the opinions of others. It's based on what God says about you. It is bomb-proof, and you have an identity that you can anchor to and live out. God wants that for you.
Your purpose, you know him, to follow him, surrender your life to him to do good works. You were created for good works. If you don't do them, you will live a life that is unfulfilled because God made you for good works. He wants you to know that. Your worth, he says, "I want you to understand your value to me. Your value to me is worth ..." If this is God, and you are standing there, and Jesus was standing there, God would look at you both, and he would go, "I choose you." He'd look right at you and say, "I choose you." Jesus would look to you and go, "I choose you too." That's the worth that you have. No one can take that from you because that's what's real. Maybe God brought you here to encourage you because the lies of the enemy have been eating you alive. God says, "This is my truth."
Maybe he brought you here to be reminded it's not about how strong you hold on to God. It's about how strong he's holding on to you. He's never letting you go. If you're a believer, he's never letting you go. It's settled. He says, "I got you." Maybe you've been struggling, and you've been blowing it. The enemy is right there going, "God is tired of you. He's fed up with you. Give it up." It's not true. It's a lie. God says, "I got you. I love you. My heart is for you." That's never going to change because Jesus paid for everything that could change that, that could turn God's love into condemnation. Jesus paid for that, so he's got you. Listen to me. If when you sin as a believer, you run from God instead of to God, you don't know who he is because his heart is for you. He says, "Come on. Get up. Repent. Run to me. Let me wash you clean. Let's get this thing going because I'm for you."
Thirdly, for some of you, God brought you here because you need to start serving, man. You know it. God's been scratching on your heart. You've been hogging your gifts. God's given you gifts. You've been hogging them, and you need to start serving. You need to step out and say, "God, I'm going to serve. I'm going to do the good works you have for me on my campus, in this church, my workspace, my family," whatever it looks like. Fourth, lastly, God brought you here because Ephesians 2:1 through 3 is you. It's you. You're lost. Man, that picture is real, and it's true. If you don't come to know Christ, that's going to be you forever. God brought you here to say, "That's not what I want. I want you to know me. I want you to be in a relationship with me. I gave my Son for you. You don't have to live in that slavery. You can come to know me."
If you're here and you've never invited Christ into your life, that can change right now. This is the truth. What will we do with it? Do we heave ears to hear? Let's pray. Heads bowed and eyes closed as we wrap this up, thank you so much for your gracious attention. I'm so grateful. What has talked to you about and what are you going to do with it? Right now, in this moment, what is that for you? What did the king of the universe talk to you about and what will you do with this truth? If you had ears to hear, if God gave you that, then, man, you've got something that's in front of you that God, who loves you and is passionate about you, is calling you to. What do you need to do? Take a moment and just talk with him. Because of his great love for us, God. Take a moment and talk to him.
Final question. If you're here and you've never invited Christ into your life, if you died today, you do not know for sure you'd go to heaven or you're sure you wouldn't because Ephesians 2:1 through 3 paints a very real picture and that's you, God says, "I want to paint you out of that picture. I want to rescue you, and I want to do it right now." If that's you, you say, "I want to give my life to Jesus. I want to know I'm going to heaven," every relationship starts with an introduction. Let me introduce you to Jesus right now. Say, "Wes, how does that happen?" You talk to him. You let him know. Just tell him what you want. That's what prayer's all about.
With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, if that's you, if I'm talking to you, just tell Jesus you want him in your life silently. In fact, let me give you some words. As I've told you before, somebody loved me enough one day to give me some words. Let me give them to you. They're not magic. Just mean them as your own. Silently, just say, "Dear Jesus, I'm lost. I'm a sinner. I get it. I need a Savior. I believe you died for me. I know I can't save myself, but you can save me, and you want to. I turn from my sin. I repent. Jesus, come into my life. I turn to you. I believe you. I'm all yours. Save me because I'm all yours." Heads bowed, eyes closed, no one looking around, if you just prayed that and you prayed something like it and you meant it, I want to pray for you. That's what I want to do.
I want to pray for you right now, no one looking around. If that's you, I want you to raise your hand nice and high and look right at me just for a moment because I want to pray for you. Somebody prayed for me. I want to pray for you. As a testimony to God's activity in your life right now, just raise your hand and say, "Man, that was me, Wes. I gave my life to Jesus right now. Yes. I'm in. Pray for me. God spoke to me. Pray for me." If that's you, raise it up nice and high. I don't want to miss everybody. If you're in the East Worship Center or anywhere else, do it. Yeah, man. Awesome. Thank you. God bless you. Anybody else? Looking, yeah, see you. Thank you. Yeah, see you. Awesome. Thank you.
God, I only see hands. You see hearts. You know what's going on. Make it real to them. Help them to know that you mean business, that, Jesus, you're for real. Your words are true. Help them to know they belong to you. God, I pray they'd live their lives full out for you and that you'd give them the strength and the courage to take the next step. Father, for the rest of us, I pray that you'd help us, Lord, to live our lives on mission for you, that we'd say, "Lord, whatever you want. Yes, help yourself to me. Yes, I'm in, God. I'm in." Help us remember where you saved us from and who you tell us we are now. You tell us the truth and where we're going. May we have hope today. May we live our lives like that's real because it is. Thank you, Christ. May we serve you well this week by serving others. In your name and for your glory, amen.
Two quick things before you cut out of here real quick. One, listen to me, if you raised your hand, if you're in the East Worship Center, you did it, or you're here, or you're out in the atrium, if you raised your hand or if you didn't, but you know you invited Christ into your life, here's what we're going to do. We're not going to go to the Fireside Room. We're going to turn this into an altar right here. If you made that decision and said, "Man, I gave my life to Christ," I'm going to be right down here. As everybody's moving this way, I want you to come this way. I want you to come to me, put your hand in mine, say, "Wes, I just gave my life to Christ."
Yes, I want to celebrate with you. I want to give you some material. It's going to help you. If you did that, I want you to come, just like they did in the first service. I want you to come right down here, put your hand in mine and say, "Man, I gave my life to Christ." Secondly, if God talked to you about, "I want to find out about my spiritual gift. I want to know where I can serve, where I can get connected in church, outside of church," if that's you and you want to start that conversation, I want to invite you to go to the Fireside Room. There's people waiting to have that conversation with you, man, so I don't want you to miss out because God has created you for good works.