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Summary: If grace sounds too good to be true, it isn't!

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Title: “But wait! There’s more!”

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10 (John 3:1-18)

Thesis: If grace sounds too good to be true, it isn’t!

Introduction

Commercials are designed to get us to do something.

My current favorite commercial is the AutoNation commercial. A pretty young woman is the pitchperson. But the reason I like the commercial is that I know her. Her name is Monica. She is one of identical triplets… Leanna and Joy are the other two. She and her sisters have done stints on Growing Pains and were featured in one of the Disney Parent Trap movies. Their dad, Winston, and I are friends. I knew them when they were in high school and that’s about the extent of my claim to fame.

The commercial I like least is the one by the American Cancer Society that features a woman who has suffered the consequences of smoking… a once beautiful woman has become a poster child for what smoking can do to you.

The commercials I remember most are the ones featured as infomercials. I am going to use the late night television infomercial as a pattern for unpacking this text. Begin with the problem. Then the solution. And finally, “But wait, there’s more!”

People have a problem.

I. The Problem, Ephesians 2:1-3 (“Tired of doing things this way?”)

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and you many sins…” Ephesians 2:1-3

Verses 1-3 detail the nature of our problem. We have a sin problem. Two words are used to describe the nature of sin here. One is a shooting word that means to miss the mark or to fail to be what we should be or are meant to be or could be. The other means to lose one’s way or to slip and fall or stray off the path. In any case we are living in a sinful cycle of spiritual death.

The problem is we are…

A. Dead because of disobedience and sins, 2:1

And if being spiritually dead and separated from God were not enough, we are living in world that is characterized by satanic values and influences pursuant of satisfying the passions of our sinful nature.

B. Obedient to the devil, 2:2

The consequence then is that we are subject to God’s wrath poured out against all ungodliness.

C. Subject to God’s anger, 2:3

In Romans we read that God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. Romans 1:18

Because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory, honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath against those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. Romans 2:5-8

But I can’t just leave it at that… God in his mercy and love does not want anyone to experience his anger. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. II Peter 3:9

Injectable polio vaccinations started in 1952 when Jonas Salk developed the inactivated poliovirus vaccine. A few years later, in 1957 Albert Sabin developed the attenuated poliovirus vaccine which was an oral vaccine.

When I was in the 5th grade the children in our community received the attenuated poliovirus vaccination. It was taken orally… on a sugar cube if I remember correctly. Polio was an awful disease and we were eager to receive the vaccination.

As late as 1988 there were still 350,000 polio victims in the world but by 2012 there were 223. Polio was eradicated in the world until 2013 when another outbreak occurred in Syria. The World Health Organization quickly swooped in to quell that outbreak.

My point is not to get in the middle of a vaxer/anti-vaxer controversy but I am eternally grateful for those who offered a solution to a serious problem. My parents had us boys vaccinated against all the childhood diseases. And as an adult I have chosen to keep my tetanus vaccination current and I opted to receive the Shingles Vaccine.

In a similar way God intervened in the human condition. We were dead in our sins and destined to suffer the consequences of our circumstances.

In John 3 we read the story of how Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader, secretly made his way to see Jesus. His opening line to Jesus was, “We all know that God sent you to teach us…” And then we hear Jesus speak of the new birth and of God’s love for mankind.

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