Summary: A reflection in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti on the truth that 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord' Psalm 33:12
THE POWER OF CHRIST TO SAVE Ephesians 2:1-10
The News this week has dominated by the events following the earthquake in Haiti, and not surprisingly. The UN have described the scale of the disaster as unprecedented. I don’t suppose it will be possible to calculate how many people will die as a result of this disaster but already 40,000 have been buried, and if it reaches 100,000 then this is about 1 in every 100 people of the population.
The people of Haiti are very poor – not only financially but also spiritually. We had a friend who worked as a missionary in Haiti. He told us of how the people are steeped in voodoo worship and of an alleged pact with Satan that the voodoo leaders made in 1791 at the beginning of the Haitian revolution – that ‘If Satan would deliver them from the French they would serve the devil for 200 years’. (a pact allegedly renewed by President Aristide in 1991).
There is no correlation between the earthquake and the pact, but the decision the leaders made over 200 years ago cannot but have been harmful to the people and the nation of which the official religion is Roman Catholicism, but which national religion is voodoo (A syncretism of African animistic religion with Roman Catholicism). Before the earthquake the country already needed peacekeepers to control power struggles between factions in the country, and now the infrastructure has been all but destroyed. These people are desperate.
Psalm 33:12 says ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord’. And it is true that wherever Jesus is honoured and the people of a nation seek to live their lives according to the word of God, the nation stands a better chance of experiencing order, justice, security and prosperity. If ever a people needed the Gospel it’s the people of Haiti, and if ever a people needed compassion from the Christian community it is now. This also may be a moment of opportunity for the people and the land to look to God instead of Satan for their deliverance.
The true Gospel of Christ in all its fullness can, and does, make a huge difference for the better in human society – and our Bible reading illustrates this, and how it is in the nature of God to show grace and loving-kindness to the undeserving.
READING Ephesians 2:1-10
Isn’t it interesting to read here that the people of Ephesus were no different from either ourselves or the Haitian people. Paul writes to them saying: ‘you followed he ways of this world… the ruler of the kingdom of the air… the spirit who Is now at work in those who are disobedient.’ Isn’t that familiar?
This passage from the letter reminds us of:
1. WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM
'you have been saved'.
POINT The very statement 'you have been saved' means that there was a time at which they had not been saved.
v1 "you were DEAD in your transgressions and sins"
= separated from the life God gives.
This is a description of what we read in verse 12: life ‘ without hope and without God in the world’.
Paul gave this description of their life without God:
v2 "you followed the ways of this world"
v3 'gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature'
v3 'we were by nature objects of wrath'
We all need God’s intervention if we are going to change.
We need the miracle of the new birth.
ILLUSTR A corpse cannot be resuscitated. It needs RESURRECTION.
What EVERYONE needs, including the people of Haiti, is the new birth that comes through the power of Christ.
So we come to:
2. WHAT WE ARE SAVED TO v4-7
v5 "He made us alive with Christ"
v6 he 'raised us up with Christ'
v6 he 'seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms'
This is what we were looking at on the last two Sunday mornings:
• We looked at the blessings we have from God our Father NOW: Forgiveness, redemption, sonship and salvation, and the gifts the Holy Spirit gives.
• We gave thought to the special relationship we have with the Father as his ADOPTED children.
• Then we reminded ourselves of the security we have in Christ as those SEALED with the Spirit of God.
• And we were encouraged to get to know God better
God has given us an incredible lift – lifting us up from spiritual death and elevating us to a place alongside Christ!
3. WHAT WE ARE SAVED BY QUOTE v8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no-one can boast.