Summary: God’s gift was sent at Christ’s birth. Sermon is organized around an acronym (G.I.F.T.) which describes the gift of salvation.
The First Gift
Rev. Sean Lester
December 21, 2003 morning service
Text: Ephesians 2:1-10
A. What do you get the person who has absolutely nothing? The answer is anything practical would be a blessing. For instance, when a young couple gets married, they often begin their lives with very little of what is necessary to begin a family. Typically, the couple puts together a list of what they need, or place a registry at a store so that friends and family can buy them presents that will do the most good.
Likewise, a couple having their first child often starts with very little that is necessary for raising a child. So, it is customary for friends to hold a baby shower so that the couple may rejoice over the blessed event and receive very needed gifts. Usually, the more diapers that are given, the better.
B. At Christmas, we pay homage to God for giving us the most valuable gift possible. We needed the gift of salvation because we are people who have nothing.
1. Salvation is needed by people because we are by nature disobedient to God. We are dead in trespasses, that is, we do things that are forbidden by God and we go places where we are not allowed to go. By nature, we like to do things that are forbidden.
2. Salvation is needed by people because we are by nature unable to be good enough to be considered righteous. We are dead in our sins. We know what we are supposed to do, but our nature is not to do them so that we can do things that please ourselves. In this way, we are by nature lazy. And because we are lazy, we fall short of what is necessary to be considered righteous.
C. We are dead in our sins, and have no way to make ourselves alive.
1. We are only capable of doing what makes us happy, or feels good to us. By following our instincts, we are led in our spirits by the prince and power of the air, the devil. We do what comes naturally to us, which is the same as what comes naturally to Satan. It is the same thing as when long time married people can hold conversations without saying a word. Kindred spirits relate without saying a word.
2. In this way, all people are in nature the same. They are children of wrath. That is, they are motivated by fear. All people tend to seek peace and safety by avoiding strife and conflict. By people are self-defeating, and while seeking peace, they cause war.
3. The Peter Principle describes human nature perfectly. In an organization, people tend to rise until they find a place where they are not good at the job, and there they stay. The result, any organization over time will become self-defeating.
Proposition: The only escape from are own sinful nature is to be saved by an act of God.
Interrogative: Will God save people from themselves?
Transition: Here is the good news, the first and best gift God ever gave you came at the very first Christmas, it is the gift of salvation. For memory’s sake, I will express my points this morning as an acronym, G.I.F.T.
G. is for the Grace of God.
" But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, (2:5) made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved"
A. This gift was provided for you even before you came to Christ in repentance.
While you were partying and enjoying life without any thought for God, God was thinking about you and preparing to call you to himself.
While you were committing acts of immorality, God was thinking about you and planning to save you.
While you were lost and unable to find you way through life, God was preparing to find you and bring you to himself.
B. The Holy Spirit is pregnant with souls to be birthed. When a couple are with child, they don’t wait until the baby is born to set up the crib and buy clothes. If they are smart, they begin to buy what is needed long beforehand. They set up the nursery so it is ready for when they come home. They stock up on diapers and formula.
C. And that is what God did for you. Before you were saved, God was storing up his riches for you. Jesus 1was already preparing your place in heaven. You didn’t deserve it, but you got it because God is graceful.
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (2:7) in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. "