Summary: To experience a life of meaning and purpose we must first embrace and engage in the grace of God.
Live Out Loud – Our GRACE April 22, 2007
Recap: We’re in a series in Ephesians entitled – Live Out Loud. The intent of this series is to help us learn how to live in the grace and power of Christ in us so we might experience the abundant life Jesus promised. In reflecting on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we find a cliff notes view of the basic elements of the Christian life – God, Jesus, H.S., salvation, morality, marriage, parenting, work, and warfare. It’s all in there!
Note: Last week we focused on a prayer offered by Paul that we’d grasp the depth of what it means to be a Christian and have the power of God available to us – that we’d realize WHOSE are and WHAT we have.
Trans: Today we turn our focus to the instigator of these truths – GRACE. We have access to God’s abundant love/mercy b/c of His amazing grace.
Insert: One of my favorite all-time hymns is “Amazing Grace.” Every time I sing the words, I am humbled before God b/c of His free gift of grace. But what exactly is grace and what makes God’s it so amazing?
Trans: I believe to fully understand the grace of God we must first understand our condition and need.
I Our CONDITION – DEAD
Text: 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 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. 3 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.
Trans: Paul begins his discussion on grace by talking about our innate spiritual dilemma – we’re all sinners condemned to death. In fact, he deals w/ the predicament, penalty, and power of sin.
A The PREDICAMENT of Sin – Everyone is a Sinner
Trans: In considering the predicament of sin, one needs only to understand on simple reality – we’re all born sinners; we’re all destitute and depraved.
Verse: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away… For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Rm. 3:10, 23
Word: transgressions (paraptoma) or trespasses. It means to slip, stumble, deviate, or go the wrong direction. It means to choose a different direction from God. This is what Adam did and we are all condemned (Rm. 5:12).
Word: sin (harmartia) to miss the mark. It is failing to hit the target of God’s righteousness and holiness.
Note: B/c our nature and propensity is to sin, we find ourselves separated from a loving God condemned to die eternally and incapable of saving ourselves.
Insert: Imagine that we’re here on stage and God is at the back door of the church and everything in b/w is boiling acid. The only way to safety is to jump across the acid. We’d all be in trouble b/c no one can span the chasm. And while you might be able to jump farther than others, the result will be the same for all (ssss!) No matter how far one can jump, they still fall short. Why? B/c no one can jump that far – both are equal failures. We all fall short of God’s glory. Since we can’t redeem ourselves we need Jesus.
Quote: The only thing that a man can contribute to his redemption is the sin which he needs to be redeemed. William Temple
B The PENALTY of Sin – Wages of Sin is Death
Note: Sin is costly; it requires death. When the Bible speaks on the topic of sin and death, it refers to separation. In this text, Paul is dealing w/ our condition. He says that we’re physically born spiritually dead.
Note: The Bible uses two words for ‘dead’: (1) nekros – physical death – when the body separates from the soul; and (2) thanatos – spiritual death – when the soul is separated from God. In this text, Paul uses thanatos to explain that we’re born spiritually separated and condemned from God b/c of sin.
Verse: The wages of sin is death… Rm. 6:23 You will die, die.
Quote: We’re not dead b/c we’ve committed sinful acts, but b/c we are sinful. Sinful acts don’t make us sinners, we sin b/c we are sinners.
Insert: A man doesn’t become a liar b/c he tells lies; he tells lies b/c he is a liar. He doesn’t become a thief b/c he steals, he steals b/c he is a thief.