Summary: Lent 4 (B) - God made us alive with Christ because he is rich in mercy. God made us alive with Christ when he saved us by grace.
GOD…MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST (Outline)
March 2, 2008 –
LENT 4 -
INTRO: Scripture uses earthly opposites to help believers understand the mysteries of things divine. Jesus used many common, earthly opposites to help the people of his day comprehend faith. A few of these earthly opposites: light/dark; lost/found; hot/cold; and dead/alive. Today’s text is no different. Our text’s words are re-emphasized in another portion of Scripture. "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins"(COLOSSIANS 2:13). Once dead – dead in sin: Now the believer is alive in Christ. All of this is because of God’s forgiveness. Knowing we were once dead in sins helps us to better understand what it means to be alive in Christ.
GOD…MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST.
We are no longer dead, lifeless
– but alive, alive with and in Christ.
I. God is rich in mercy.
II. God saves us by grace.
I. GOD IS RICH IN MERCY
A. The apostle Paul begins chapter 2 with many opposites before the opening verse 4 of today’s text.
1. Believers are described: dead in transgressions and sins, disobedient, objects of wrath.
2. Now our text begins, verse 4. God’s great love is the cure for all the wickedness of mankind.
B. Verse 5. Believers are no longer dead in sin. Just the opposite, believers are made alive with Christ.
1. The end of verse 5 explains how all of this happens. It is by grace you have been saved.
2. Why has God’s grace come to these believers? Verse 4b. God is rich in mercy, loving.
C. There is more to knowing God’s mercy. There is also believing in God’s providing mercy, verse 6.
1. Paul reminds these believers that their future is now. Their heavenly home is a present truth.
2. Christ has been raised. They have been raised. Christ is seated in heaven. They are also.
D. Christ lived and died and rose again. Jesus now sits at God’s right preparing a place for every one of us as well as every believer. Now this place, our heavenly home, is not just some far-off distant promise. Heaven, our eternal future, is also our present gift. We may not always think of heaven as something that is ours, right now in the present. We know that we must rid ourselves of the mortal to put on immortality. We are also told that eternity is ours – now. "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ"(PHILIPPIANS 3:20). We are all citizens of the country in which we are living. God tells us that we are right now, in the present living as citizens of heaven.
E. God is rich in mercy. For each of us our eternity is secure, safe, and sound. Our heavenly home is our home not because what we have done. Eternity is ours because our heavenly Father is rich in mercy. Through Christ we have been made alive. This is the exact opposite of what we were or even what we deserve. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear"(ISAIAH 59:2). Have you ever been separated from a loved one by a disagreement or misunderstanding? They do not listen. You are cut off. This is the same with the barrier of our sins that cut us off from God. Our sins separate us from God. But God does not separate himself from us.
F. Truly, our heavenly Father is rich in mercy. God is not just kindly. Nor is God just nice. Our Lord Almighty is much, much more. God is even more than just merciful. Our God is RICH in mercy. "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy"(MICAH 7:18). Who is like God that they would delight to show mercy!?!? We forgive but not always with a delight to show mercy. We forgive but still may have a hard time forgetting. Our rich-in-mercy God is just the opposite. God does not hold our sins against us. Instead God holds the righteous robe of Christ against us. This white robe of Jesus’ righteousness covers all the blackness of sin-diseased souls. God is rich in mercy.
GOD…MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST.
Our God is rich in mercy. That is just the beginning.
II. GOD SAVES US BY GRACE
A. Verse 8 presents to the world the heart of the message of salvation. By grace you have been saved.
1. Paul writes that grace and faith are God’s gifts. A gift is undeserved, sometimes unexpected.