Summary: What God can do is not too good to be true.
Title: Is It Too Good To Be True?
Text: Ephesians 3:14-21
Thesis: What God can do is not too good to be true!
I don’t know if the adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is,” holds true but as a rule, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true.
Despite the fact that Bernie Madoff has become something of a whipping boy on several fronts, his $50 billion ponzi scheme is a prime example. In an article in a 2001 edition of MAR/Hedge, the publication was suspicious of the consistent returns and minimal volatility of his fund. Ironically, in the same article they praised Madoff for the consistent returns and minimal volatility of his hedge fund. (http://www.smallcapnetwork.com/scb/bernie-madoff-now-thenillegal-only-matters-when-someone-doesnt-get-paid/2427/)
Writing for the Harvard Business Review Karen Berman and Joe Knight pointed out, under the headline Too Good to Be True, “Madoff’s firm offered what most investors seek – low risk and high returns. This should have fallen under the ‘too good to be true’ category, as these concepts are fundamentally at odds.” (Low risk gives low returns and high risk often gives no returns.) Bernie Madoff’s firm was offering low risk investments and paying high risk returns of 12-13 per cent. Too good to be true! (http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/financial-intelligence/2009/06/what-did-bernard-madoff-do.html)
Some would say that what our bible text says today about God falls into that “too good to be true” category. God has a “too good to be true” kind of plan. But it’s not.
I. God’s plan is not too good to be true.
And this is the secret plan: The Gentiles have an equal share with the Jews in all the riches inherited by God’s children. Both groups have believed the Good News and both are part of the same body and enjoy together the promise of blessing through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:6 (10-11)
In the context of our story the Apostle Paul is in prison. His friends are terribly discouraged by this chain of events and Paul is writing to shake them loose so they can see the big picture. That is why he wrote, “So please don’t despair because of what they are doing to me here. It is for you that I am suffering, so you should feel honored and encouraged.” Ephesians 3:13
A. They were seeing the little picture. The only thing they could see is that the Apostle Paul was in prison.
B. There was a big picture. The Apostle Paul wanted them to see the big picture. The big picture was that God’s plan for all eternity was that Jews and Gentiles be joined together in the Church through faith in Jesus Christ.
We are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus… there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians – you are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28
In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Colossians 3:11
This is the first thing that prompts us to wonder if this is too good to be true. Does God really think that the Church of Jesus Christ can be the one influence in the world that can bring all people together as one people?
There are many things that bring people together but I know of none that make people one except the Church of Jesus Christ.
If we could just get everyone wrapped around The Brickyard, AKA the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where today they are running the Allstate 400, we would have everyone in one place. If everyone could all just once smell the vaporous exhausts and burning rubber and stale beer and hear the unified cheers of every fan for the same driver… the world would be one. But that isn’t how competitive racing works. It is about cheering for Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson. Racing teams are pitted against racing teams, pit crews against pit crews, drivers against drivers and fans against fans… everyone is vying for the checkered flag, the points, the trophy and the prize money.
What Jesus says is that it doesn’t matter what team you race for or what driver you root for. What Jesus says is that it doesn’t even matter if you are or are not a NASCAR fan. All differences are covered when Christ lives in all and all are one in Christ.
It may seem to good to be true but isn’t. And
when it isn’t, it isn’t because God does not wish it so… it is because we do not let it be so.
Paul prays a too good to be true prayer. But it’s not.