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But God...

posted Dec 14, 2014, 7:06 AM by Website Administrator   [ updated Dec 14, 2014, 7:06 AM ]
December 14, 2014
Key Passage: Ephesians 2:1-10

"But God …"

Perhaps the greatest two words in the Bible are “But God,” because they sum up the Gospel message: that we were hopelessly lost in sin, living dreary, purposeless lives …  But God, because of a sheer love for us (in the form of mercy), has made us alive in Christ.  That’s the ultimate Good News.  The bad news?  The main reason Christians fall into the trap of "relative truth" is because, as Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, we can't handle the Truth.  Today's passage in Ephesians contains the ugly truth about us, and few are willing to accept it, so we make it "relative."  Here's a great example – almost 80% of Christians believe "good works" play a role in their salvation; heck, even 40% of "born-again" Christians believe this.  Wow…that continually blows my mind! We believe “works” have something to do with reaching God because, at the heart, we’re full of pride and sin.  Of all the great problems in the world today – war, violence, injustice, abuse, dishonesty – the greatest is the “sin problem.”  Let’s be honest: we’re all driven by our hormones and our appetites.  We’re not sinners because we sin – we sin because we’re sinners.  If you’re like me, maybe you’re worn out because you’ve sought the hand of God (salvation, forgiveness, justification, adoption) rather than the face of God.  We’re more interested in the benefits of the relationship rather than the relationship itself.  “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”

Ephesians 2:1-3 The Bad News … Our Condition

Virtually no one, outside of a fairly small group of evangelical Christians, seriously believes:
  • That without a Savior, all people are dead in sin and incapable of any spiritual good
  • That without a Savior, the most vital part of our personality – the spirit – is dead to the most important factor in life - God
  • That without a Savior, all people are captured and blinded by an evil entity named Satan
  • That without a Savior, all people are under the wrath of God and doomed to hell

Ephesians 2:4-7 The Good News … God's Remedy

"But…God…"  Again, these are the two greatest words in the Bible – "But God…has made us alive in Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions."   What blows me away is why he did it…notice it has absolutely nothing to do with us!  It's entirely prompted by God's character – his love, in the form of grace and mercy.

Ephesians 2:8-10 The Good News = Good Works

We're saved by grace through faith apart from works (that'll do it for the 80% who believe "works" play a part in salvation), but the faith that saves always results in good works.  Because he reached down and rescued us when we were spiritually and eternally dead, we should be fired up about glorifying him through our words and works.

Q:  How would you explain “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” to a lost person?

Q: What are some lies we in the church believe in contrast to what God’s Word says about our sin?

Q:  Why do we prefer the word “mistakes” over “sin” when speaking of our attitudes and actions?

Bottom Line: Frankly, we’ll never appreciate the riches of God’s grace and the depths of His love if we don’t understand the depths of sin from which God has rescued us.  It’s unfortunate that people often stereotype Christians as those who think they’re better than others.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is, to be a true Christian you have to admit that you’re a person addicted to sin.  The church is like an AA meeting.  We must never forget the blessings of salvation and new life aren’t ours because we’ve earned them.  They’re ours because of God’s grace and mercy.  Honestly, we should be the most humble and grateful people around.