Summary: I want us to take a long hard look at ourselves this morning and glean some truths from Paul’s words. I want us to look at our condition, our need and what God has done to meet that need and then our response to God’s actions.
We, at times, don’t like the real us! Now before you attack that statement, listen to the latest statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons: since 1997 there has been an increase of 444 percent in the total number of elective cosmetic procedures. Surgical procedures have increased by 119 percent, nonsurgical procedures (mainly Botox injections) are up by 726 percent.
We, at times, don’t like the real us. We buy contraptions to make some curves smaller in certain areas and bigger in others. In 2006, the hair color industry garnered just over $1 billion. People with brown hair want blonde and people with blonde hair want red and people with gray hair don’t care what color it is as long as it’s not gray. People with straight hair want theirs curly, people with curly hair wants theirs straight and people with no hair don’t really care as long as there is hair. And the list goes on and on proving that we really don’t like ourselves very well. Otherwise, why would we want to go to such extremes to change our appearance? But I don’t want to talk about our physical appearance this morning. I want to take a look on the inside. What do we look like there? Do we like the REAL US?
My Pa Rube was not a very educated man, but he had more common sense than any man I’ve ever known. And one thing he didn’t like was people who were not genuine, people who put on heirs and tried to be somebody they weren’t. I once remembered him saying about his Ol’ Mule named Rock, “You know Timbo, I can put a tuxedo on Ol’ Rock and he’d still be a mule.” In other words, it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what is on the inside that counts.
I know that there are times when we don’t like the real us. We don’t even want to think about the real us. Because deep inside we know that the real us, at times, is someone we don’t like very well. And this morning I want us to look at the real us. I want us to examine who we are and what we need.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. It is a very practical guide to Christian living. And what Paul wrote to the Ephesians a couple thousand years ago, is still pertinent to us today. And Paul, in no uncertain terms, lets the Ephesians know exactly what they are. Read with me in Ephesians 2:1-10.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.