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Lectures on Ephesians 2: 1- 10


We Are God’s Workmanship, Created in Christ Jesus




The book “New Life Lessons – 26 Lectures” is based on the Bible to discuss how to be on the path of receiving and growing the new life.

The “Lessons Topical Study Outline” explains the “New Life Lessons – 26 Lectures” in detail.  It contains 94 lessons and the lectures last a total of 120 hours.

The Lectures on Ephesians 2: 1–10 also explains the “New Life Lessons – 26 Lectures” but is a simplified version.  It covers the combined scriptures from Ephesians Chapter 2 verses 1 through 10 and Romans Chapters 1 through 8.  The lectures consist of 18 lessons each is approximately 40 minutes long, so the entire lectures last about 12 hours.  It briefly and yet clearly describes the path of receiving and growing the new life.  However, it does not cover the entire content of the book “New Life Lessons – 26 Lectures”.  You can find that in the “Lessons Topical Study Outline”.  Therefore, the outline of each lesson of this lecture series identifies the corresponding lesson in the Lessons Topical Study Outline for further studies.  I sincerely pray that the Holy Spirit leads us onto “the path of receiving and growing the life”.  I also hope that you will not only listen to and study the lessons but also put them into practice in your daily life.

Let’s pray together: “Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you in awe and respect to look up to you and to wait upon you.  We long for you to touch every one of us and fill us.  You know what each one of us is like on the inside and you also know what we need individually.  We look to you to fill our needs.  Lord, we thank you and lift up this lecture series into your hands, may you lead and guide us through it.  We are praying in oneness of heart, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.” 

This lecture series consists of the Foreword and four other parts:


Part 1:  Dead in transgressions and sins

Part 2:  He made us alive

Part 3:  God raised us up with Christ

Part 4:  Summary

During the lecture, the presentation will follow the “Outline of Questions” of each lesson.  I hope that all of you can study the contents of each lesson over and over again so as to master the material.


1.      After you were born again, did you have a strong desire to please God?  What kind of deeds do you think will please God?

Give thanks to the Lord, for God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, who completed the salvation plan on the cross so that we may receive a new life through faith.  I’m sure we all have this same experience, that is, after we were saved we were so attracted and inspired by the love of Christ that we were really eager to please God.  What does it mean to please God?

As for myself, for a long time I always thought that after coming to Christ I must try to please God because he loves me so much.  So I decided I should live my life according to the Bible.  The Bible told us to love your Lord with all your heart, to preach the gospel often, and to bear abundant spiritual fruits; therefore I eagerly devoted my time and life to God.  I wanted to be like a burning candle that gave out light for the Lord until there was nothing left.  To have this kind of attitude of mind to put forth your all for the Lord, although is a good thing but the question is, “What is the right way to go about this?”  “What kind of life must I have?”  “What is the path to take?”  “What are the things that really please God?”  When a person believes in Jesus, the life of Jesus Christ is in him and therefore the source that drives his actions has changed – before, he relied on himself but now he should rely on Jesus.  For example, before we have a car we rely on our own two legs to go places, but now it’s the machine that does the work.  However, now that we have a car are we allowed to roam anywhere we want, drive as fast as we like, or bump into things at will?  Of course not!  But that was exactly what my “serving the Lord” was like in the past – I thought I was on fire for Jesus and couldn’t care less about anything else.  If anyone stood in the way of my fever then that person was in cahoots with Satan and was trying to persecute me.  Consequently, my passion created many disharmonious and unbalanced situations.  Even my own mind and my own body were not in harmony that made me totally exhausted, and the more tired I got the worse my temper became.  To my children, did I fulfill my responsibility and duty as a parent?  To my husband, did I fulfill my responsibility and duty as a wife?  To my coworkers, did I fulfill my responsibility and duty?  If I had lived up to all my duties and responsibilities then why did arguments, complaints, troubles, and even bitterness occur?  Why?  If I do whatever I want while serving the Lord, does that please him?  Does the Bible say anything about how to please God?


2.      What does Ephesians 2: 10 tell us?

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  This scripture passage points out two things to us:

a)      We must first be made “right” by God:  Because everyone is born “self-centered” and wants to have his own way.  When we are saved and born again, God remakes us into new creations in Christ Jesus, so we are infants of the newly created race.  God wants to continue to nurture us in Christ Jesus so that our new life may grow.  Only a person who is being continually nurtured in Christ Jesus is the “right” man.

b)      Only the “right” man is capable of the “right” deeds:  This scripture passage says that we should do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  There are a lot of things to do in this world and many of them are must-do’s.  There are also many things to do at your church and many of them you are capable of doing, but should you try to do them all?  There are only 24 hours in a day, can you possibly fit them all in?  Some people may think that he can do this task as well as that task, and so on.  But, just because you can do the task does not necessarily mean that God wants you to do it.  If God does not call you to do a certain task but you do it anyway, then you won’t have time or energy to do what you are supposed to do.  This is not what pleases God because he also wants us to exercise self-control.  Therefore, we shouldn’t jump into everything; rather we should do what God has prepared for us to do.  Only those who are made “right” by God can discern what works God has prepared for us to do and can do them according to God’s will.  This is what the Bible calls “doing the good works.”


3.      Ephesians 4: 20-24 tells us to what extent God wants to remake us:

This scripture passage points out that God wants to remake us till we are constantly taking off our old-self and putting on the new-self so that our life gradually grows to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Colossians 3: 10 also mentions taking off the old-self and putting on the new-self to be “in the image of its Creator.”  Therefore, brothers and sisters, we must have the right goal in our life – knowing what kind of new man God wants to make us is very important.  Now let’s reflect on this, we have all participated in many ministries in the church and we all have given our all for the Lord, but do we have the image of the Lord?  We should take a closer look at ourselves in the light of the Lord:  Do we really look like him?  Do we have the true righteousness and holiness of God?


4.      How does God regard someone who is zealous for God but his zeal is not based on knowledge?

After someone is saved and born again, he is naturally very zealous and eager to live for Jesus and do good deeds.  It is good to have that as a goal for your life, but what we want to discuss is this: the person that lives for Jesus, what is he like?  If I want to go to Suzhou by car, first I must know how to drive.  Besides knowing where you want to go, you should also be trained to operate the vehicle and are familiar with the traffic rules and regulations.  Likewise, after we received the new life, how should we live out this new life?  In Romans 10: 1-4, Paul said, “I can testify about them (the Israelites) that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”  Therefore, God regards a person who is zealous for God but his zeal is not based on knowledge as being “non-submissive to God’s righteousness”.

What is “Knowledge”?  Here it means the understanding of God’s righteousness or knowing what God requires of you.  The Israelites did not know what God’s righteousness was so they sought to establish their own.  In other words, they didn’t know what God’s requirements were for them.  I have told this funny story before.  Soon after I first learned to ride a bicycle I rode to a market to buy some grocery.  I hung a basket on the handle bar to carry the grocery.  Because of the extra weight, the bike became unstable and hard for me to control.  As I was crossing a street I saw some traffic cops there.  Because the bike was zig-zagging and I couldn’t keep it going straight so I had to yell out to them to get out of the way so that I wouldn’t run into them.  They were all cracking up laughing.  At that time, I didn’t know why they were laughing but after I got home and had time to reflect on my little adventure then I realized that it was pretty funny.  Not only that I didn’t know the traffic rules, I even made up my own.  The cops were there to keep the traffic in order and I dared to tell them to get out of my way.  All I cared about was getting to where “I” wanted to go, it was indeed laughable!

While serving the Lord, often times when we encountered a setback we immediately attributed that to Satan’s doing, because we thought all that we were doing was for the Lord and the difficulties we had were because of persecution.  Granted that your goal is to serve the Lord but have you submitted yourself to God’s righteousness?  Have you been properly trained to serve the Lord?  You can’t just simply do whatever you like.  The Bible calls a person who acts according to his own will as being “of the sinful nature”.  In Romans 8: 6-8 we see that “the mind of a sinful man is death and the sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”  Brothers and sisters, I acted according to my own wish in asking the cops to move out of my way, wasn’t that an act of not submitting to the nation’s traffic law?  Likewise, if we just do what we wishes while trying to please God then we are going against the rules of the Kingdom; it is hostile to God, it is not submitting to God’s law.  Galatians 3: 10 says, “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse.”  The meaning of this passage is that if we try to meet God’s requirements by relying on our own way and efforts, it is cursed by God.

Therefore, we can draw the following conclusion:  if you just go by your zeal and do whatever you like but without the knowledge, then you are not submitting to God’s law and righteousness, so you are hostile to God and also under his curse.  One time while I was lecturing on this very point a sister said, ”That’s too difficult, we worked so hard to serve the Lord, how could you still say that?”  My dear brothers and sisters, it was not “I” who said those things.  Please read carefully the scriptures in Romans 8: 7-8 and Galatians 3: 10 and pay particular attention to the part that says, “… is hostile to God, and … is under a curse …”  


5.      The Knowledge – The Way to Please the Lord:

What is the right way to please the Lord after all?  Where is this “knowledge” that can please the Lord?  Galatians 2: 20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  We must get this right; now that I believe in Jesus, my old-self dies with Him on the cross and his life is in me to live for me.  So the number one thing of this “knowledge” is, “knowing that now you no longer live and you are no longer your own person.”  The truth is that we shouldn’t be living our own life but instead we should let Jesus live in us and live for us.  We shouldn’t just do whatever we feel like doing, rather, we should let Jesus tell us what to do.  You are probably wondering, “What does it mean to have Jesus live inside us?”  In John 14: 6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  In Luke 9: 23-25 he also said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”  Therefore, what is this God-pleasing “knowledge”?  What way of life is this?  It is “the Way of the Cross” – the way of “losing life so as to gain life.”  It is by grace and also through faith that we have received Jesus as our personal savior so that we are saved and born again and are able to go before our Father.  After our conversion, we must still, by grace and through faith, constantly call on the name of the Lord to seek his will and not live by our own.  Only when you are willing to let Jesus take charge of your life, you will be able to surrender your own will.  It is clear from the example we saw earlier about the traffic rules, when you ride a bike you should obey the traffic laws and not do whatever you please; similarly, in our life we should act according to God’s will and not do whatever we please.

In the discussion of “living by faith” Romans 10: 8 says, “The word is near you; …”  So where is the “way of the knowledge?”  It’s near you!  It is in your mouth and in your heart.  When we are faced with situations, we should not be trying to find a solution right away; rather we should first acknowledge that he is the Lord and call on his name to resolve the issue.

I like Uncle Xu’s testimony very much.  One time he wanted to attend the Wednesday prayer meeting but since he’s elderly and doesn’t drive so he asked someone from church for a ride.  However, this person despite giving assurances forgot to take him.  Come Saturday Uncle Xu called this brother to remind him about giving him a ride for the Sunday service.  Unfortunately, he forgot again.  At a time like this, how do we live out “I no longer live but Christ lives in me”?  What should we do in order to fulfill “losing life so as to gain life”?  Brothers and sisters, “the word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.”   In his heart, Uncle Xu truly believes that God is in control of everything and with his mouth he acknowledges that he is the Lord.  When others learned of what had happened they said, “Uncle Xu, it must be really hard for you.”  He replied, “Give thanks to the Lord, thank and praise Jesus, for everything he does is good.  That person is a dear brother in Christ, it is the Lord who allowed him to forget, praise Jesus!”  With his mouth, Uncle Xu acknowledges that he is the Lord, which is putting into practice “I no longer live but Christ lives in me,” and “losing your life so as to gain a new life.”  Thus Uncle Xu is showing us what the new life is like.  Follow the guidance of Jesus and acknowledge that he is your Lord – this is the way of “knowledge.”  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.”  Therefore, we should focus solely on following Jesus and acknowledge that he is the Lord.  Praise Jesus, yes, you are the Lord, all you’ve done is good – this is the way of the “Knowledge.”

6.      What is the only thing in this world that has value?

The way of “the knowledge” is the way of “losing life so as to gain life.”  Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his life?”  What can a man give up to redeem his life?  We spend our whole life chasing worldly things and squandering our life away.  Even when we get old we continue to chase after longevity.  Someone puts it this way:  when you are young you spend your life to gain money; when you are old you spend money to gain life.  People will do anything even just to live one extra minute, but what can we really offer in exchange for more life?  What’s more valuable than life?  We deem the life of our physical body as being so precious and yet it is only mortal and will come to pass one day.  What about our eternal life (the new life), shouldn’t we treasure it that much more?  The Bible says the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does will pass away; only the man who does the will of God lives forever.  Only the new life is everlasting, is the only thing you can take with you to Heaven.  Therefore, we should regard pursuing the growth of the new life as our only goal of value in life.  Only through walking on this path of new life growth can I get along with others as well as with myself, which will lead to greater inner peace in me and greater love towards others.  Pursuing the growth of the new life does not mean we have to live in the woods and become a hermit; rather, we should, in our daily life, take up the cross and follow the Lord, get on the “way of the cross” so as to grow our new life.

7.      If we are to be on the right path for life, what should our attitude of minds be?

The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4: 23)  One’s attitude of mind determines the path of his entire life.  Everyone in this world is always seeking to preserve his own self interest – all I want is to be good for me, my family, and my circle of friends.  There may be different degrees among people, but ultimately it’s still all about “me”.  It is human nature indeed!  Now that we are followers of Jesus, we should choose to be on the path of the new life.  Ephesians 4: 22-24 talk about “being made new in the attitude of the minds”, i.e. to have this commitment: “Lord, I am willing to acknowledge that you are my Lord; let Jesus, not “I”, live inside me.  I am willing to give up my life for Him.”  Brothers and sisters, are you willing to renew yourself and come before God to sincerely say, “Oh Lord, I am willing to have my attitude of mind renewed by you.  I do not want ‘I’ to live because I want ‘you’ to live in me.”  Are you willing?  Once we express our willingness, step by step, God will do his work inside us.  We can also constantly ask God by saying, “Oh God, I pray that you destroy the stronghold in me – my inborn nature of self-centeredness.”  Just think for a moment, why do we have quarrels with others?  It is because “I” don’t know what else to do; it is because “I” want to impose my will on others; it is because “I” am frustrated that others misunderstand me; or it is because “I” don’t like what others are doing …. .  All day long, our thoughts and actions revolve around this word “I”.  If your attitude of mind is made new and you say, “Thank you Lord, all that you have done is good;” then the Lord is exalted and “I” will diminish.  We earnestly pray that the Holy Spirit will renew our attitude of minds so that we can say from our heart, “Oh Lord, I am willing to let you live inside of me so that I no longer live.  Give thanks to the Lord, although I cannot do this by myself but I trust that he will accomplish the work of renewing our attitude of minds in us.”  The real key is whether you are willing to die so that Jesus can live instead of you.  “Whether you want it or not” is determined by the attitude of your minds, and “whether it can be accomplished or not” is in God’s hand.  Do you want it?  If you say yes, it’s like putting your signature on a contract and God will gradually transform you into a person who is indwelled by Christ Jesus.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace so when he lives in us then we will be full of peace, love, righteousness, and holiness.  Amen.

8.      What is 1 Corinthians 9: 26 referring to?

1 Corinthians 9: 26 says “I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.”  Brothers and sisters, after you have come to Christ, what has been keeping you busy everyday?  When you run, do you have an aim in mind?  What is the direction of your life?  Everyday you work hard, what are you striving for?  Everyday you fight, what are you fighting for?  Lord Jesus is calling on us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  May the Holy Spirit accomplish his work in every one of us so that we can respond to his call this way, “Oh Lord, I am willing to deny myself, it is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me.  I will follow you to walk on the way of the cross.  I truly want to please you and I want to be made into a person who is pleasing to you.”

After I was saved and born again, I always thought I should live my life according to the Bible.  If I can’t live up to it, then I attribute my failures to my own weakness.  Take a look at the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt for Canaan -- when they got out of Egypt, they didn’t immediately go straight to Canaan.  God provided the pillars of cloud and fire to lead them wherever and whenever.  They proceeded to follow the guidance of the pillars of cloud and fire – where and when the pillar of cloud stopped, they would stop there and then.  When the pillar of cloud started to rise then the Israelites would start to move.  Just like Andrew Murray put it: God not only pointed out the rich and fertile land of Canaan, he also pointed out the way to get there – i.e. by following the guidance of the pillars of cloud and fire and we will be led there every step of the way.  The rich and fertile land of Canaan is like the criteria in the Bible that we all strive to achieve, it is also like reaching the state of maturity in our spiritual life.  Both of these can’t be achieved overnight, rather we should practice, one step at a time, calling out to the Lord, following him, and relying on the Lord: “Oh Lord, you take charge of my life.  Oh Lord, I’ll follow your lead on this matter.”  This way, we may constantly experience dying and being raised with the Lord and follow the step by step guidance of the Holy Spirit to enable us to take off our old-self and put on the new-self.  Thereby, our new life may grow gradually to meet the requirements laid out in the Bible.  Therefore, being a Christian does not mean we have to exert ourselves to do everything according to the Bible, because that is still “us” trying to use “our own efforts” to achieve the requirements of the Bible.  What we need to pay attention to is that the path God had prepared for us to meet the requirements and criteria of the Bible is “the way of the cross”, which together with “relying on the Holy Spirit to live” are the central themes of this lecture series.

Brothers and sisters, our running is not aimless, the standards of the biblical truth is what we must achieve.  But the question is: how is it possible for a person like me to achieve this?  We have mentioned this again and again, the only way people like us can achieve the goal is for us to be led by the Holy Spirit and to be cultivated by God continually.  Let me give you an example, in the Old Testament, the people of Israel sinned against God and drifted far away from God, so God allowed the ark of the Lord’s covenant to be captured and taken out of the country.  Later, it was because of God’s mercy, the Philistines returned the ark to Kiriath Jearim in Israel.  When David was anointed the king over Israel, he wanted to bring the ark of God back.  Where did they put the ark?  They set it on an ox cart!  During transit the oxen tripped so the cart was out of balance and the ark was about to fall.  A man by the name of Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, and because of that he was struck down by God and died there.  Many people asked why God was so full of wrath and killed Uzzah.  Let me ask you this, if today you are under a high voltage line and a sign says “Danger, High Voltage, Hands Off,” would anyone touch it?  Of course not, and if someone really touches it, would you say it’s the fault of the high voltage line?  No.  Why?  Because he should have known he was not supposed to touch it.  Let me ask you a couple of questions.  First, do we know that when the ark was constructed there were four rings affixed to it and two poles were inserted into these two pairs of rings to carry it?  The ark must be carried by people, and not put on a cart pulled by oxen. (Exodus 25: 10-15)  Second, do we know the ark cannot be touched?  It is clearly written in the Bible (see Numbers 4: 15).  From this ark of God example we can see the thoughts and actions of men.  One man probably thought the ark was too heavy so instead of carrying it he decided to use an ox cart; another man thought the ark was about to fall so he ought to catch it, isn’t that so?  This is what we have been talking about: there is a difference between a man that has been remade by God and a man that hasn’t been touched by God.

Do you think this kind of situation rarely happens among us?  Today when we manage church affairs, most of the time it is done through discussions by a group of people rather than through prayers.  When something was not handled properly, we would “send” someone to talk to the person involved, or “dispatch” you to do something instead of relying on prayers.  In fact, we are not trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit but relying on ourselves to get things done.  This is what Romans 10: 3 was referring to: not knowing the righteousness that comes from God and seeking to establish one’s own – that is, not submitting to God’s righteousness.  Because the ancient Israelites didn’t receive the teachings of God so they didn’t know to follow God’s rules and ended up using the ox cart to transport the ark; and because the oxen tripped causing Uzzah to touch the ark that resulted in his death.  If a person had been trained by God then he would proceed following God’s will, one step at a time, and not just do whatever he wishes.  Since the Bible says the holy things are not to be touched then we ought not to, that’s the right thing to do.  Many times these days when something goes awry, we immediately rush to look for ways to resolve the problem; why don’t we pray first?  David had set a very good example for us – we ought to first pray and seek God’s guidance.  The Lord is waiting to grant favors to those who have waited for him.  In regard to the matter of the Lord, we should first hallow his name and ask him what we should do.  Being able to first ask God what to do, is a tangible demonstration of “renouncing yourself” or “He must become greater; I must become less.”  Paul said that we were not running aimlessly which meant we shouldn’t be just doing whatever we wished, rather, in all things we should be calling on the Lord and walking on the way of the cross, constantly losing our life and thereby gaining life (i.e. growing the new life).  Over the years, I myself have suffered from failures after failures.  Although I thought I had done many good things for the Lord, had preached many sermons, and had brought many people to Christ, but I did not know the righteousness of God.  I had a quick temper that I couldn’t control.  I was so prideful and couldn’t make my conceitedness go away.  I loved to criticize and pass judgment on others.  My bad temper hadn’t changed and I always wanted to have the last word.  Such was the awful picture of me – one minute, I was giving a sermon, the next minute, I was having a fit criticizing and judging people.  I was indeed running aimlessly with only my zeal.

Brothers and sisters, our running shouldn’t be aimless.  Let us not only have the right goal but as individuals we must also be in the right frame of mind.  We must be taught and trained by God until we are constantly shedding our old-self and putting on the new-self so that we are prepared to do what God had planned for us to do.

Let’s pray:  “Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful, so full of gratitude.  Oh, Lord, you not only showed us the goal that we should be pursuing but you also showed us the way to reach this goal.  Oh, Lord, we give you thanks.  You are not only the truth, but also the way and the life to have the truth.  Only by following you we won’t stray into darkness.  Lord, only through denying ourselves and taking up the cross to follow you that we may constantly diminish our old-self and receive the new life.  We pray that the Holy Spirit will continually prepare our hearts and renew our attitude of minds so that we no longer live but Christ lives in us.  Lord, we thank you, when we offer up our minds to you, we trust that you will keep them and will do your work in us, thank you Lord!  May all the glory be unto the Lord!  We pray this in Lord Jesus’ name.  Amen.”