Summary: God gives us His salvation, wrapped up in his grace with faith as the bow on the top. The whole package is His gift and He even unwraps it for us.
What a piece of Work is Man
Scripture Reading Ephesians 2:1-10
"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! --From Hamlet (II, ii, 115-117)
Shakespeare wrote this as a parody, mocking humanity. Yet unfortunately today many believe that man is exactly this. But the Bible says otherwise.
Romans 3:10-18 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
II Our reading today from Ephesians opened with a rather gruesome image in verse 1, the Greek literally states “and you being a corpse shrouded in your failures at righteousness and your offenses”
A We are corpses, we didn’t become corpses we arrive into this world stillborn, dead on arrival. The KJV adds “hath he quickened” but verse 5 shows that it is justified since he is writing to those who are saved.
B But without Christ you are a dead man walking.
1 We are all familiar with that term which is used to describe a man given the death penalty
2 but even here where we don’t have the death penalty we can look out into the yard and see a lot of dead men walking. Why? Because of their rejection of Christ.
3 Perhaps it applies to some right here in this chapel.
4 Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
5 Thankfully there is hope in Christ Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
6 Dead people cannot save themselves.
Illustration: If you watch TV you will occasionally see on medical programs a person’s heartbeat on a monitor go “flatline” no heartbeat. They are dead and the doctor places the defibrillator paddles on him in an attempt to revive him. He does it because the dead person cannot. Dead people can do nothing for themselves.
C Last week in an AA meeting we discussed if there was a difference from a “defect of character” (Step 6) and a “shortcoming” (Step 7), I gave two examples. My Truck has been recalled twice due to “defects” things not being what they should be so theoretically it is now free of defects. But it only gets 17 MPG and I would like it to get 25, that is a shortcoming. The second example came from Scripture.
1 Your transgressions or lapses in righteousness are “defects in character” they are a part of your old nature. When a defect is removed the problem should be resolved. Just as my truck couldn’t get rid of its defect on its own neither can we.
2 Your offenses or sins are an “erring of the mind from the rule of truth” (Jamieson, Fauset, Brown Commentary) an unsaved person has faulty thinking.
a Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
b I have an associate who is an atheist. He is a very moral person, far more than some believers. But he still has faulty thinking because of his lack of faith.
c Getting back to the example of my truck I can perhaps adjust the fuel/air mixture or clean the jets and while still working with the original equipment improve the fuel efficiency by finding something faulty in how it processes things. But still the truck isn’t going to do it on its own and neither can we.
D In verses 2 and 3 Paul describes how we were before our salvation. He states that:
1 You followed everyone else in this world and age.
a We follow all the latest trends.
i We buy $150.00 brand name athletic shoes and never use them for sports and as such the $30.00 ones are just as good, but aren’t cool.