(Sermon preached on Oct 12, 2014)
Ephesians 2:1-7 (NLT)
Grace! Just exactly what is the definition of
grace? It’s unmerited favor from
God. It’s His abundant love and
forgiveness given as a gift to us who are incapable of doing anything to
deserve it. It’s love. It’s forgiveness. It’s free. And it’s available for you and me.
(Read Ephesians 2:1-7)
Paul tells us
that there’s a diff between then and now for those of us who’ve accepted
Christ. We’re changed. If we’re not changed then that means we
don’t have Jesus in us.
Vs. 1 – Dead
because of disobedience (separated from the life of God)
o Dead – living verses Zoe living
Vs. 2 – Do we
literally obey the devil? Yes, when we disobey God – He is real. He is here on this earth. And his one sole purpose is to do
whatever is needed to take bring you away from God. He is a very jealous being and will do whatever he can to
accomplish his goals.
Vs. 3 – Sinful
Vs. 4 & 5 –
God’s grace leads to life (Zoe life now / eternal Zoe life later)
Why God loves us
you read the Psalms that David wrote, you will find a man who is desperate for
God. And if you read 1 John 4:19
you we see that we love because God first loved us.
why is He so desperate for us?
It’s because as 1 John also says, “God is Love”. It’s in His nature to love us and
there’s proof of this ever since our existence.
showed His love through the very act of creation. He created the Garden and everything in it perfectly for
us. Then He created us out of love
with freedom instead of into slavery.
Over and over in the OT He comes to His children’s rescue even though
they continually turn their backs on Him.
then the ultimate show of love came in the person of Jesus Christ. He sacrificed His one and only
Son for us to show us just how great His love was.
The three-in-one Grace
love, or grace, is always given to us and is always the same. But we speak of it in three different
ways. There’s prevenient grace,
which is God’s love that comes to us before we even know God. It woos us into a relationship with Him
through His Son Jesus. Then
there’s His justifying grace, which is God’s love as we come to that know
God. You could call it the grace
that brings about salvation in our lives.
And then there’s sanctifying grace that leads us towards sanctification,
or perfection after we’ve been saved.
no matter where we are in our spiritual journey…or even if we don’t even know
we’re on a spiritual journey…God’s everlasting grace (His love and forgiveness)
is always with us…always readily available for us.
hard part for people of our culture today is the fact that on the whole we’re
taught that we deserve certain things.
We’re a privileged nation with many freedoms who’ve taken them for
granted. We’re taught from
childhood that we can do anything that we set out minds too.
This leads to many
people that they be good enough for salvation. They feel that they’re not all that bad. Christians time and again will say that
they’re going to Heaven because they’re good people.
And we can shirk at the
fact that we actually deserve punishment for our sins instead of
forgiveness. Paul makes it clear
that before we choose Christ it doesn’t matter how good or bad we are, we’re
still dead in our sins. (Read
There is a way of
believing called total depravity that teaches us that we are totally bad. Nothing about our physical selves is
good. And since I’ve taught you
before that David spoke of being born a sinner and that we are basically sinful
since birth, I want to make sure that today I place this in perspective so that
we don’t go down that road of total depravity.
You see, we were created
in the image of God. We were
created with the capacity to do great and wonderful things. But we also have free will, which means
that we are continually choosing between what the Holy Spirit leads us to and
what our sinful (human) nature leads us to.
All you have to do is
read your bible and you will see where people so often choose the road of their
sinful nature. As a matter of
fact, all you would have to do is look back at your own life and if you are honest
you will see where you, yourself have chosen the road of your sinful nature
over and over. We all have. It IS human nature.
there’s God’s Grace. It’s a gift
given to us that we don’t deserve.
It’d be like us losing our jobs and the bank telling us not to worry,
that they’d just write our house notes off. It’d be like gas stations putting out a sign saying that
since the cost of living had gone up so much, they’d give us our gas for free.
God does even more than that though.
He says that we’ve turned our backs on Him and been selfish and
overindulgent and at times pretty ugly.
In truth, the wickedness of this world (including our own selves who’ve
sinned against God) is deserving of the punishment of hell, whether we want to
admit it or not.
But in spite of this God
is willing to give us His love and forgiveness (and a ton of second chances).
One such person that surely
came to understand this is the man who wrote the song Amazing Grace. His name was John Newton.
From his late teens
until around the age of 30 Newton had been a man who spit in the face of
God. He was a sailor that got
kicked off of many boats because he couldn’t deal with authority. He was spoiled and had been gotten out
of trouble many times by his father.
He caused riots aboard
his ships and taught others to disrespect the captain and God. He became a slave trader and was a
blasphemer and a true foul mouth devil.
That was until one
stormy day when his ship was coming back from the African Coast. A storm came up that basically did the
ship in. More than once John
Newton and the rest of the crew thought that their lives were over. And something happened to John. He later wrote in his journal regarding
“about six in the evening (I heard) that the ship
was freed from water, there rose a gleam of hope. I thought I saw the hand of
God displayed in our favour; I began to pray.”
this began a process that changed John Newton’s life forever. This change is written about in his
most famous hymn entitled Amazing Grace.
How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost,
but now am found;
was blind, but now I see.
Newton realized what a wretch he’d been as he remembered the days that he was
involved in the slave trade. John
Wesley understood how much of a wretch that he’d been before God’s mercy was
shone to him. Your pastor stands
before you admitting how much of a failure he was before he gave control of his
life over to Christ.
about you? When you sing this song
for possibly the millionth time, does it remind you of what a wretch you’d
still be without Jesus?
John Newton was nearing the end of his lifetime he got to where he could barely
see his hands before his face.
Ironically, even though he couldn’t see physically, he still sang this
song and believed that he could see better then than ever. He saw how the grace of God had
literally saved his life over and over.
There were times in his life where for all intense purposes he should’ve
died. Even though Newton didn’t
see at the time…he eventually did.
What is it that God
might be trying to get you to see in your life?
as God’s amazing grace called out to John Newton while he was still a heathen,
saved him at just that right time, and worked in him perfecting him until the
day he went to be with the Lord, it can do the same for each of us.
of us may be being called by God’s prevenient grace to come into a relationship
with Him through His Son today.
Others of us might have experienced his justifying grace and have
assurance of our salvation and are being urged by His sanctifying grace.
up to us to choose though. Will we
allow God’s grace to cover our sins and change us? Will we allow our eyes to be opened to our sinfulness so
that we will see a better way in our Lord Jesus?