Summary: This is the summary sermon where I finally reveal that this series covers the same material that is often called the "5 Points of Calvinism." It emphasizes God's grace and that our faith response is us just showing up and accepting what Jesus has already
Today is the wrap up sermon of our winter sermon series. Sadly, though, it is still winter. We have been talking about salvation for five weeks. Today I want to review a bit and maybe tie some loose ends together. This concept is really important: that we understand our salvation so that we value the gift of eternal life, that we thank and praise the giver of that gift, and that we have a better idea how that gift extends beyond our lives to the lives of other people, those not yet saved.
“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. [that is the bad news–it is terrible, hopeless, news. Thankfully it isn’t the end of the story.] 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 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. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We began this series talking about sin, just as Ephesians 2 begins with a frank assessment of sin. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” A grim assessment.
But if you go to the doctor with a head ache and he prescribes aspirin, tells you to take it easy and have a glass of red wine, and it turns out you have a brain tumor, you under-diagnosed, under-estimated the problem and therefore came up with the WRONG cure, in fact the deadly cure.
Getting hit with the bad news opens up the door to the right cure, and ultimately delivers the life-giving cure.
Having an accurate assessment of the problem helps figure out the cure.
The problem with so much “faith” and “religion” is that it under-diagnoses, under-estimates the problem and therefore does not come up with an accurate cure.
WE under diagnose the problem of sin and therefore we don’t get the cure. The problem is a radical one, the cure needs to be equally severe.
I. Radical Sin, Radical Salvation
A. When I was preaching in seminary I came up with a little drawing, which I have tried to duplicate in Powerpoint. To me it helps understand the importance of a proper understanding of sin.
1. This is the sea of sin (“sin” is the Bible’s world for what is wrong with us and the world). It is a sea, an image of chaos and death. If you are left on your own in this sea of sin, you will die.
2. In the sea of sin is the boat of salvation–the safe place where we are free from sin (the devastating consequences of sin).
3. I’m going to lump every religious view (not just Christian) together and say that some people have a mild view of sin. It’s like when you are a kid and you aren’t suppose to sit too close to the edge and dangle your feet in the water, and you do.
4. You end up getting your feet wet with sin. Ruin a good pair of Sunday shoes. I once kicked my shoes into the badlands in South Dakota.
5. A moderate view of sin is when you take it a step farther–literally, and you have fallen over board. You are in the sea of sin, in real trouble, in danger of dying in that chaos.
6. You need help. Then there is
7. what I consider the radical view of sin. You are laying on the bottom of the sea of sin. Without a pulse. Decaying.
8. This is the image of what the Bible calls “Dead in your trespasses and sins.” This is a little more severe than falling over board.