Summary: If we don’t know the sin problem we won’t want the Grace cure.
Who Needs GRACE?
Amazing Grace Sunday
February 18, 2007
Ephesians 2:1-10It is like you have an uncle you hated, mistreated, made fun of, never did a kind thing to,
because someone told you lies about him, you never visited, you hung out with his mortal enemy. In your total poverty, as you
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 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. 3 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.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 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. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV
Intro :If people do not know how bad the condition is they won’t take the treatment. If you haven’t been told you have cancer or leukemia and how bad it is, and how much time you have. You wouldn’t take cemo, radiation, or bone marrow transplant. You would think it was unnecessary, optional, or even harmful to your life.We often offer people salvation, and they say from what? They realize how dire their condition.
Bill Hybels and Soccer Coach (Across the Room p30)
Bill tells about his sons soccer coach (Brian). One day he felt prompted to leave the sideline and go introduce himself and help put the balls and equiptment away. He wasn’t thrilled to find out Bill was a pastor. After several months of small converstations he asked Brian if he would come to church. Brian said, “I knew it would come to this. I know about Willow Creek, and all the traffic frustrates me. God is not part of my life, church is not part of my life, and I’d just as soon take this whole thing off the agenda here.” He said, Ok, no pressure. Bill continued to help him and ask about his business. After 3 years his son was out of the league and he lost touch with Brian. Then after several years past Brians world was turned upside down. Business issues, and his family life begin to give his problems. He called Bill and said he wanted to talk, not come to a service. They met a few times then it was over. Months later as he was preparing a group of new converts for their upcoming baptism he saw Brian in the group. Bill was shocked, and thought he must have stumbled into the wrong place. So afterward he asked him, “What were you doing there?” Brian said a couple of months ago I snuck in a service, and you talked about giving up the self improvement and get into the grace plan. You said we needed to open up to God through accepting the work of his Son, Jesus Christ. I gave my heart to Christ, and I was here to be baptized. Brian wasn’t aware he needed saved until God used the events of life to open his eyes.
The first verse of Amazing Grace says, “I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.”
John Newton is the author of one of the most beloved songs of the Christian faith -- Amazing Grace. He was born in London July 24, 1725, to a pious Christian woman. In July of 1732, thirteen days before his seventh birthday, death took his saintly mother who had, since his third birthday, been his teacher and friend. He was left with only the memory of a godly mother and her Christian teaching.
When he was eleven, John went to sea and it was not long before he was wholly involved in the ungodly vices of seamen. As one author put it, "he became a dissipated sailor." He followed this ungodly path for many years, but finally, the memory of his mother brought him to himself. He remembered her Christian teaching and her godly life, and considered his ungodly lifestyle and his wretched life. The recollection of his mother prompted him to again seek Christ. He searched the slave ship for a Bible or some other book about Christ and found Imitations of Christ Imitations of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. This book sowed the seeds of his conversion. On May 10, 1748 when the ship nearly sunk in a violent storm he trusted Christ as his personal Savior. As a result of his mother’s influence a stream of boundless influence flowed forward throughout the world. John Newton became a preacher of the Gospel.