Christians Are To Be Vessels Of Grace

Photo by Balaji Malliswamy on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Ephesians 4:29.

Last week we studied the miracle of the Christian. We were in Ephesians 2:8-10, which tells us:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The Christian is saved by grace, not by works. Before being a Christian we were all dead in trespasses and sins. We were alienated from the life of God. We were followers of the world, and of the darkness. We were in a spiritual condition where we were lost, and could not save ourselves. Then God in Grace stepped in. He called us to salvation. He opened our eyes by His Spirit, and beckoned us to Him. We, like Lazarus, stumbled out of the tomb of our lives at Jesus’ call. We were saved by Grace.

Then by Grace God begins to work on us. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works”. God did not save us to abandon us. He saved us to shape us. To make us. To work on us. You are God’s Masterpiece. You are not done, but God is working in you.

It is by Grace the Word of the Lord came to you.
It is by Grace that God called you.
God now calls you, as His people, into the ministry of Grace.

Christians Are To Be Vessels Of Grace

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister Grace unto the hearers.

The Bible says that Christians are earthen or clay vessels, called by and inhabited by God (2 Corinthians 4:5-7). We are jars of clay filled with Grace!

God calls us by Grace to minister with Him, sharing the Grace of God with others. We who are His people are to be focused on “ministering Grace unto the hearers”.

Who Are The “Hearers”?

God hears us. God indwells the Christian. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9). God indwells us. He is inside us. “The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Corinthians 3:17). “God is in you” (1 Corinthians 14:25). God is not in some distant place, far from His children. He has promised …

Hebrews 13:5 I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The Author of Eternity – the eternal and Great I AM – has said “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”. Our Lord has said in:

Matthew 28:20 … I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

God is with us. He is ever with us. He listens to the words we say every day. He listens for us to speak Grace to others. God hears every word you speak. God hears the kind words, and the unkind words. God hears everything. But God is not the only One Who hears. Our other “hearers” are those in proximity to us.

Our wives,
Our husbands,
Our children,
Our fellow believers,
Our enemies,
Our friends,
Our employers,
and every stranger we meet.

Whoever is close enough to hear our voice, as vessels of Grace we should be speaking Grace. We are God’s Workmanship, not the devil’s dupes. We speak Grace, not corruption.

Ephesians 4:29 Let NO corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister Grace unto the hearers.

Word Study This is not a command given to the lost, but to the saved. The plowing of the wicked is sin” (Proverbs 21:4). If even the most mundane act of the wicked is sin, their every godless word is sin. No, this command is not to the lost, but to those “saved by Grace” (Ephesians 2:5; 2:8). What is this corrupt communication we are to avoid?

  • The word translated “CORRUPT” is the Greek σαπρός saprós, {pronounced sap-ros’}, which means “rotten, putrefied, poor quality, worthless, unfit for use”. Jesus uses the word saprós in

Luke 6:43-45 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt {saprós} fruit; neither doth a corrupt {saprós} tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

“Good” trees – those saved by the Grace of God – are made alive from the inside out. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The lost person speaks without grace, speaks rotten words. The believer in Christ – the workmanship of God – is called to speak Grace, to speak Life, to speak Love.

One day Jesus’ disciples were following our Lord, and at that moment happened to pass a corn field. The disciples reached out, and in accordance with the Law of God, took an ear of corn to feed themselves. The Pharisees saw this, and asked Jesus, Why don’t your disciples wash their hands when they eat? This is the tradition of the elders!” (Matthew 15:2, my paraphrase). Jesus told them:

Matthew 15:10-11 … Hear, and understand: 11 not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Graceless or rotted words defile a person. Graceless talk hurts others, drives people away. Graceless talk labels others. It is in the Congresswoman who calls another a “White Supremacist”. It is in the media talking heads that slaps labels on people, like “Homophobic”, “Transphobic”, or “Racist”. An old saying is:

What’s down in the well, comes up in the bucket!

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-20 … those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.

If you have been born again, you have been born of Grace. The lost know nothing of Grace. But we are not to be like the lost.

Ephesians 4:17-24 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The world walks “in the vanity (the emptiness) of their mind”. They follow nothingness. Their “understanding is darkened” because they are “alienated or separated from the life of God”. God is not in them. They are yet in darkness. They are afflicted with “blindness of the heart”. They need Jesus. They need to be saved. They speak as they speak because they are bad trees – but God would make them good. We are to put off that old way, and put on the new man – put on Christ. We are to remember that we are vessels of Grace. Praise God!

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation

We have the “ministry of reconciliation”. We are to speak Grace, to share Grace, to be Grace oriented in act and speech.

Corrupt Communication Always Departs
From The Written Word Of God

The reason that we come together as a Church is to grow to be more like Jesus. We are to be like God’s Kingdom on this earth. When God established His Church, He gave the Church His Word through certain offices.

Ephesians 4:11-12 {God} gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

And God set in the Church Apostles and Prophets” (1 Corinthians 12:28). The Apostles and Prophets were used by God to write the Scripture, this Holy Bible, that we cherish. When you enter this Church, the first thing you see is the Communion Table, and on it, elevated, the Bible. This is the Prophets and the Apostles. The Bible says that the Church is …

Ephesians 2:20 … built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone ..

It is the Bible that is true. When Jesus prayed for His Church, our Lord said:

John 17:17 Sanctify them through Thy truth {o God}: Thy Word is truth

The Bible is true. God gave the Scripture to us, His Children by faith,

Ephesians 4:12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

  • This Bible “perfects the saints”. Beloved, if you are saved by faith in Christ, you are a saint. You are set apart for God’s use. But you are – as we studied last week – God’s Workmanship, God’s Masterpiece. The Bible was given to shape you, and make you more like Jesus. WE MUST UNFLINCHINGLY SPEAK HIS WORD AND LIVE HIS WORD IF WE WILL GROW, being what God wants us to be.
  • This Bible is also “for the work of the ministry”. How is a person saved? By being good? No! By being saved by faith in Christ. By repenting of sin, and seizing the Savior in love.

Romans 10:9-13 if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I have seen famous “Christian” music artists and actors, famous “Christian” preachers interviewed who were asked, “Do you believe that faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to be saved?” Several years ago Larry King (now deceased and standing before the righteous Judge of all) asked a famous preacher questions. King said:

We’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.”

King asked this preacher if someone who rejected Christ as Savior would go to Heaven. The preacher choked. He spoke corrupt communication. He said,

You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …”.

This is contrary to what Jesus said. He said:

John 14:6 … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

To be fair, this same preacher later posted on his web site an open apology for that interview. I commend him for his retraction, and his apology. There but for the Grace of God go we. But corrupt communication kept Larry King from hearing the Gospel message before he died, and kept millions of Americans from hearing about the Grace of God only available through Christ. How many people will leave this life without Jesus because of corrupt communication?

Ephesians 4:12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

  • The Bible also edifies or builds up the Body of Christ. When God’s Church departs from the Bible, or begins deleting sections of the Scripture, then the Church is no longer the Church but the world. It is the devil that twists the Word of God. He did this in the Garden of Eden, and does it today.

Genesis 3:1 … Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? … {you may eat of that forbidden tree} … 4-5 Ye shall not surely die: 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Just as the self righteous Pharisees and the corrupt Politicians struck at Jesus, they will strike at us. We will be tempted and pressured to go the way of the world, to get off the path of righteousness. Jesus said,

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

The Church is not to be like the world. The Christian is not to be like the lost. The standard that God has for His Church is that …

Ephesians 4:13-15 we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 14 that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

The Church is the Kingdom of Christ. The believer is to be like Christ. We are not to be like the world, tossed about, confused and frightened. Corrupt communication leads to this type of instability. We have the Word of God. We Cherish the Word of God. We live the Word of God.

We Are Called To Speak The Truth In Love
Not Hatefully, Nor Vengefully, But Lovingly

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

You tell a lie when you do not say that marriage is what God says it is. You tell a lie when you condone aberrations from the Divine Design of human sexuality. Beloved, speak the truth, speak the Scripture … for it is true! Jesus declared God’s Word is truth” (John 17:17).

Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Beloved, the truth is in Jesus (Ephesians 4:21). We are to let the Word of God be in us, and flow from us. We are to affirm what God affirms, and reject what God rejects. Corrupt communication will never bless others. It always tears down. “We are members one of another”. If our nation keeps drifting from the Word of God, our nation will collapse. Christians, we must speak His truth in love.

Ephesians 4:28 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 neither give place to the devil.

Guard your tongue when you are angry. When you are angry you are often going to say something that you will later regret. Before you say it, ask “Does this build up or does this tear down? Is this true to God’s Word, or is it my emotion talking”. Be like Jesus in your anger.

Ephesians 4:29 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Quit living your lives to satisfy yourselves. Live so as to satisfy the Lord Who saved you. Live so as to lead others to Christ. Live so as to lift others up to the Grace of God.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Remember, God is listening. God the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. We are to love God with all our hearts, so live and speak so as to please the Lord Who saved. To sum it up, Christian,

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

John Piper put it this way:

…it is not Christian just to stop stealing. It is not Christian just to work honestly in order to have things. It is Christian to work to have in order to give {to those in need} – to meet needs. All our work is to be a display of Grace. It is Christian to ask the deeper, internal question: am I speaking now to edify? … It is out of hopeless hearts of discouragement and frustration and anger and bitterness and resentment that all rotten and hurtful language comes … Is your mouth a means of Grace? … all our speech is to be a display of Grace.”

When we speak without Grace, we do not lead to Christ, nor do we build up the Kingdom of God. We must speak the truth in love. We must love God, and love our neighbor for the glory of God. Beloved, let us shine for Jesus in these Pandemic addled days. Let us grow in His Grace, and speak life to those around us. America needs Jesus. Let us lead others to Jesus.

May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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