Summary: A sermon about God's saving work in Christ, and our opportunity to be transformed.
“Saving Us Is All God’s Idea”
In trying to follow directions to get to a certain place, have you ever turned down the wrong road and kept going happily for a long time…
…believing that you were going in the right direction?
Perhaps it was dark and raining and you managed to get on the wrong road.
Or maybe it was a sunny day, and you were sure you were on the correct road…
…cheerfully confident, in fact!
It is, after all, a well travelled road.
So maybe you are doing 80 when the speed limit says 65, but so is everyone else.
And the radio is blasting and perhaps Sammy Hagar is singing his song: “I can’t drive 55,” and you are humming along with him.
And since the person who gave you directions to the place you were trying to go told you not to worry about looking for the “turn-off” signs for 10 miles, you didn’t start to worry until you’d gone at least 12 or 15 miles and none of the signs were making any sense.
Perhaps you eventually turned off to the side of the road, and stopped at a gas station only to find out that you were totally in the wrong part of the county.
So you bought a map…
…this was before GPS systems…
…studied the map, and then gradually started to realize your mistake.
You had been driving confidently, believing you were doing the right thing, but with every minute you had been going further and further away from where you wanted or needed to be.
I’m saying this to illustrate a major point Paul is making in the first three verses of our Scripture Lesson.
We live in a world where human beings, left to ourselves, not only choose the wrong direction, but stay cheerfully confident that it is, in fact, the right one.
And, as I said, why wouldn’t it be the right one?
It’s the same road just about everyone else is traveling.
There are only a few cars going in the opposite direction!!!
Did not Jesus say, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”?
Clearly, just blindly going our own way leads us to ruin and destruction.
But the problem is, even if we realize this, what can we do about it?
If we are already “like a dead person,”…
…if we are already heading the wrong way down the road, with no hope of turning off…
…with no hope of avoiding the deadly cliff, let alone turning around…
…with no brakes on the car so we can stop—what hope can there be?
Might as well just turn the music up louder and close our eyes!!!
Verse 2 of Ephesians Chapter 2 says, “You used to act like most people in our world do.
You followed the rule of a destructive power.
This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience.”
In this present age there are forces which pull us, lure us, and compel us to
go in the wrong direction!
We are in a state of sin, we are under the control of Satan, and we are preoccupied by our egos—by self—by me, me, me!!!
And we don’t even know that there is another way.
We are completely blind to that.
Or, of course, we may be aware that others are going another way, but we have no idea how to go about that way ourselves, and we have no desire to go that way anyhow!!!
We are completely “out of control.”
We are going with the flow.
We are riding the wave of the world.
We are “hanging ten” with everyone else.
We’re doing what “seems right” to the world around us, even when it isn’t right!!!
We are so delusional!!!
What’s good is bad and what’s bad is good!
We are following “the rule of” the “destructive spiritual power,” or “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
We are “gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.”
Our actions are so crippling that our God-intended humanity is dead!
We are so egotistical and selfish that our spirit is not alive to God nor to love.
Therefore, we misjudge and mistake lust and desire for love.
And we misjudge and mistaken “what we want” for God!!!
And so we are like the blind following the blind—we all end up in the ditch!!!
Think for a moment about the things that control people.