Summary: 1. The Road of Sin and Death 2. The Crossroad of God's Grace 3. Walking In Christ through His Holy Spirit
Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10
Theme: Let's Go Traveling!
1. The Road of Sin and Death
2. The Crossroad of God's Grace
3. Walking in Christ through His Holy Spirit
Grace and peace from God our Father, from Jesus Christ our Savior and from the Holy Spirit who cleanses us and infills us with God's Power and Presence!
Each year while I was in grade school one of the things that we normally had to complete was one or two major projects for the year. I remember this one year that I decided that my project would be to collect and identify as many different types of tree leaves as possible. It was a fantastic project. After everything was done, I ended up with finding and collecting nearly 100 different types of leaves from all kinds of trees. How did I do it? First, of all our school system had a teacher that had amassed quite a collection of rare and unusual trees in her yard that helped out quite a bit. Then secondly, I wrote to the Forestry Department of all 50 US States and territories asking them to send me some information on their state tree along with any samples they could send as well. I was amazed at how much information and samples that they sent back.
The one that amazed me most was the information I received back from the state of California on the Redwood Tree. The more I read about the Redwoods the more I wanted to see them. And so, I made myself a promise. One day if at all possible I would travel out to California and spend some time in a Redwood forest. It took me over thirty years but I finally found myself deep in the heart of a redwood forest loving every second of it.
But I almost missed it. Our family had doubled up the trip to the redwoods with a trip to see Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens and travel down the coastline of the state of Oregon to the upper part of California. After traveling and seeing all those sites we found ourselves almost out of time and needing to make our "redwood" portion a quick look and see. The only place available to see them was at a commercial park which while it was highly entertaining and valuable, it left a little bit to be desired. I wanted to see and experience the redwoods in their natural environment. But they were still as majestic and beautiful as I had dreamed them to be.
We were running out of time and had to get back to Medford, Oregon where we were catching our flight and I was a little melancholy. I still wanted to see the redwoods in a forest setting away from all the commercial adventures and tourists. By happenstance, we stopped at a ranger's station near the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park where the ranger told us that if we would backtrack a few miles we would find ourselves off road and in the middle of a Virgin Redwood Forest. He warned us that we would find ourselves on some very narrow dirt roads stuck back in what would seem nowhere country. That was all it took. We quickly got back in the car and started backtracking.
Wow! Was my boyhood dream ever realized! For a whole day we got to enjoy hiking through those woods looking at these majesty redwood trees. It was just nature, pure wonderful glorious nature. I had the time of my life. It was God time. It was sacred. I got to be in an environment in which there were just trees, birds, animals and plants. I have nothing against tourists stops or commercial adventures but here the middle of this Redwood forest heaven and earth were touching. Those little dirt roads and little paths took us to places that I believe looked like part of the Garden of Eden.
Our scripture passage this morning talks about roads, paths and walkways. After sharing a prayer of blessing and a prayer for his readers to grow greatly in wisdom, knowledge, revelation and power the Apostle Paul shares with us some truths concerning a person's New Life Walk with Christ. He shares with us the road of death that all of us once traveled. He then shares with us the Cross walk of God's Amazing Grace. And finally he challenges us to walk in the power of our New Life in Christ.
I. Paul begins by reminding his readers both Gentile and Jew that once we all traveled down the road away from God. We all walked down the road of Sin and Death.
The Apostle Paul is not being negative in describing this walk. Rather, he is being quite realistic. Paul is wanting his readers both Jew and Gentile to remember that without God there is only the enslavement of sin and its ensuing destruction and death both physical and spiritual. Paul here takes a moment to step back and remind all of us what our LORD desires for us and has done for each and every one of us.