Summary: Grace, Forgiveness, Redemption
Ephesians 2:1-10 (p. 814) February 9, 2014
When I lived in Louisville, almost every Friday for 10 years, “The Price Is RIGHT” was part of my day. I’d try to make it into Lexington by 11 a.m. so I’d get to watch the show with my brother Sam and my mother – and then the 3 of us bid on the showcase at the end. One of our favorite games was PLINKO.
Win the chips, drop it onto the board, let it bounce around and hopefully it will bounce into that $10,000 slot. I love it because it didn’t cost those contestants one cent, it didn’t cost those contestants one cent, it doesn’t depend on your skill, but the reward can be huge!
Grace is a little like that first chip. It doesn’t cost you anything, it’s a gift, it doesn’t depend on how good you are or how skilled you are, but the reward is huge...the difference is...grace doesn’t depend on luck or chance. Grace depends completely on the one who gives it.
Grace is a word that’s used in a variety of ways. Time for lunch guys, let’s say grace. Did you see Dancing with the Stars? Mario moved with such grace. Have I introduced you to my daughter Grace?
It’s a word that’s been used as an alternative for prayer. It’s been used to describe how smoothly a person moves. It’s been used by many parents to name their daughters including mine. Karissa and Kari is the greek word for Grace, Karissa means full of grace.
But these terms never seem to capture the true nature of grace. They fall short.
This morning I’d like to try to bring each of us to a closer understanding about the amazing grace of God and what it means for our lives. After all when it comes to grace – The Price is Right! Grace is the answer for our debt.
First of all
I. GRACE IS THE ANSWER FOR OUR PAST LIVES
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live, when you followed the ways of the world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time.”
As you know I love testimonies – let me read you one.
I was born in 1725, and I died 1807. The only godly influence in my life, as far back as I can remember, was my mother, whom I had for only seven years. When she left my life through death, I was virtually an orphan.
My father remarried, sent me to a strict military school, where the severity of discipline almost broke my back. I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I left in rebellion at age of ten. One year later, deciding that I would never enter formal education again, I became a seaman apprentice hoping somehow to step into my father’s trade and learn at least the ability to skillfully navigate a ship. And I determined that I would sin to my fill without restraint, now that the righteous lamp of my life had gone out. I did that all the days in the military service and I further rebelled.
My spirit would not break, and I became increasingly more and more a rebel. Because of a number of things that I disagreed with in the military, I finally deserted, only to be captured like a common criminal and beaten publicly several times. After enduring the punishment, I again fled.
I entertained thoughts of suicide on my way to Africa. I decided on Africa, because it would be the place I could get farthest from anyone that knew me. And again I made a pact with the devil to live for him.
Somehow, through a process of events, I got in touch with a Portuguese slave trader, and I lived in his home. His wife, who was brimming with hostility, took a lot out on me. She beat me, and I ate like a dog on the floor of the home. If I refused to do that, she would whip me with a lash.
I fled penniless, owning only the clothes on my back, to the shoreline of Africa where I built a fire, hoping to attract a ship that was passing by. The skipper thought that I had gold or slave or ivory to sell and was surprised that I was a skilled navigator. And it was there that I virtually lived for a long period of time.
I went through all sorts of narrow escapes with death only a hairbreadth away, on a number of occasions. One time I opened some crates of rum and got everybody on the crew drunk. The skipper, incensed with my actions, beat me, threw me down below, and I lived on stale bread and sour vegetable for an unendurable amount of time. He brought me above to beat me again, and I fell overboard. Because I couldn’t swim, he harpooned me to get me back on the ship. And I lived with the scar in my side, big enough for me to but my fist into, until the day of my death. On board, I was inflamed with fever and enraged with the humiliation.