Summary: Our God is a giving God who provides the GIFT of salvation.
1. Who and Where
The story is told of the time Albert Einstein was taking a train to an out of town engagement. The conductor stopped by to punch his ticket, but the great scientist preoccupied with his work, explained that he couldn't find his ticket. Not in the coat pockets, not in the briefcase.
The conductor said, "We all know who you are, Dr. Einstein. I'm sure you bought ticket. Don't worry about it."
As the conductor moved along, he looked back to see Einstein on his hands and knees searching under the seats for his ticket. The conductor walked back, "Dr. Einstein, please, don't worry about it. I know who you are."
Exasperated, Einstein looked up and said, "I too know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going."
He knew who he was... he just didn't know where he was going...
There are a lot of Christians know WHO they are -- they are children of God/belong to Jesus. BUT... they don't quite know where they're going. They seem to wander aimlessly about in their faith, just like the Hebrews in the wilderness.
a. We have salvation -- we know we are children of God
b. We know we are on our way to Heaven
c. But, what do we do, where do we go in the mean time?
2. God has given us all spiritual gifts -- spiritual abilities that are supernaturally integrated into our lives -- we need to unwrap those gifts.
3. Let's begin with the gift of salvation -- Ephesians 2.1-10
I. Salvation is a Gift of Honor
A. Our Grievous Past (2.1-5)
1. Missing the Mark
On his final shot in the 50-meter three-position rifle final on Sunday, August 22, 2004, Matt Emmons needed only to get near the bull's eye to win the gold medal. Focusing on remaining calm, he aimed, fired, and hit the bull's eye! There was only one problem: Emmons had fired at the wrong target!
Known as a "crossfire," Emmons had accidentally fired at the target in lane three while he was shooting in lane two. Had the target been the correct one, Emmons' score would have been an 8.1 -- enough to win the gold medal. Unfortunately, Emmons received a score of zero, which knocked him out of the medal competition to eighth place.
2. God lets us fire and then draw the bull's eye.
B. Our Gracious God (2.6-7)
Jerome was a Church Father who translated the Greek manuscripts into Latin and put the Bible in the language of the people. He purposefully lived in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. One night while living in Bethlehem, Jerome had a dream that Jesus visited him. The dream was so real to him that he collected all his money and offered it to Jesus as a gift. The Lord said, "I don't want your money." So Jerome rounded up all of his possessions and tried to give them to Jesus. Again the Lord said, "I don't want your possessions. Jerome then recalled the moment in his dream when he turned to Christ and asked, "What can I give you? What do you want?" Jesus simply replied, "Give Me your sin, that's what I came for, I came to take away your sin. Give Me your sin.
II. Salvation is a Gift Received by Faith (2.8-9)
A. Faith Is a Muscle to be Exercised
A retired couple decided that they should walk two miles a day to stay in shape. They chose to walk a mile out on a lonely country road so they would have no choice but to walk back. At the one-mile mark on their first venture, the man asked his wife, "Do you think you can make it back all right, or are you too tired?" "Oh, no," she said. "I'm not tired. I can make it fine." "Good," he replied. "I'll wait here. You go back, get the car and come get me."
1. Emuna (Steady) and Imun (Train)
2. Types of Faith
a. Little -- Matthew 6.30
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
b. Weak -- Romans 14.1
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
c. Strong -- 1 Corinthians 16.13
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
B. Faith is Belief in Action
1. Comes by Hearing -- Romans 10.17
2. Israel at Sinai -- we will do and we will hear -- Exodus 19.8
8 All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do."
3. Deuteronomy 6 -- HEAR O Israel