Summary: The world tries to label you. Those labels will hold you back. Let yourself be defined by God's grace. It is liberated.
• SLIDE #1
• How do you define yourself?
• Do you define yourself by your vocation (I am a teacher)? By your accomplishments (I am in the Hall of fame)? By a title (I am A CEO)?
• How do you define yourself?
• What kinds of labels do we use on one another? Thin, fat, smart, dumb, attractive, athletic, old, young?
• What happens to us once we get caught up in the label game? We allow the labels to define us. One of the areas we recognize this is in football. If you are a coach or quarterback, and you are African American, you will be called an African American Coach or Quarterback. It is if we cannot tell that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffith III is African American or that Bears coach Lovie Smith is African American.
• I remember when the Washington Redskins went to a Super Bowl with Doug Williams as their quarterback. Mr. Williams is an African American. One reporter asked him how long he had been a black quarterback. Think about that one for a moment.
• When we allow the world to define us, it will lead us to become thirsty in our souls because we may not like how we have been labeled, maybe we cannot live up to the label we have been given.
• In life we can get stuck in allowing the world to define who we are, One of the more difficult things we need to do in life is to ignore what the world has to say about us, how the world would define us and instead to listen to what God says about us.
• He tells us who we are. We are defined by grace.
• Let us turn to Ephesians 2:4-9 together this morning as we see the wonderful picture of whom we are from the Apostle Paul. Today we are going to look together at the 5 Pillars of God’s Grace.
• These pillars of God’s grace are what we should allow ourselves to be defined by instead of the labels the word tries to tag us with.
• SLIDE #2
• Ephesians 2:4–5 (ESV) 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
• SLIDE #3
God’s grace that defines us because by God’s Grace:
I. WE ARE SPIRITUALLY ALIVE. (5)
• God’s rich mercy has allowed us to be reconciled to Him. If we are not right with God, it is not God’s fault.
• If you are not walking with the Lord today, it is not because of God, it is because of your choice as of now.
• When we come to the WELL that God offers to us, part of the refreshment is being spiritually alive!
• We need to realize that…
• Those who were dead in their sins have been brought to new life by God’s grace.
• In verse 4and 5 we see that even though we were dead because of our sins, we have been given new life because of God’s love and mercy.
• SLIDE #4
• Romans 6:4 (ESV) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
• Why do we need this blessing from God?
• First of all, we were dead in our sins. (Ephesians 2:4)
• Verse 4 tells us we were dead in our sins. When Adam and Eve committed their first sin, they died spiritually and they started the process of dying physically.
• In part Genesis 2:17 literally reads, “dying you shall die,” when God told them they would die if they would eat of the forbidden fruit.
• Because of sin, physical death entered into the world also. We will all die because of Adam’s first sin.
• We will all die a physical death because of Adam, but we will die a spiritual death when we commit OUR first sin.
• But through Jesus we receive a GREAT blessing!
• We are alive in Christ!
• Because of Jesus, we are a new creation and our spirit is alive. Because of this we are again sensitive to the things of God. We are dead to sin.
• SLIDE #5
• 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
• WE also receive another gift from God as a result of belonging to Jesus!
• God’s grace empowers us to live for Him! (Romans 6:11)