"God’s Work"

Preached by on March 13, 2016
— From the series,

Truth - I died in my sin. Truth - God raised me up from the dead. Love lifted me! I was sinking deep in sin, but God's love has lifted me and by grace saved me.

God’s Work

(Eph. 2:1-7)

 

Intro:

A.  I sin.  As much as I would love to stand before you in my own righteousness and perfection, I can’t.  I choose to sin and sometimes I choose it knowing it is sin because I simply want to sin at that moment.

B.  You want to know part of my problem?  I don’t believe sin is all that bad.  You see, my sin, as evil as it is before God is not as openly evil in the eyes of society.  They don’t see what’s going on in my head and heart, they just look at my outward actions.  Works!  How many good works have I done?  That is what people see.

C. I sin.  Until I come to terms with that thought, the cross has little effect on my life.  I use Jesus to make me feel good about my sin.  “Oh, Jesus saved me, I am a good person.  I do lots of good things for bad people.  Aren’t I good?”  Maybe you have never thought anything like that before, but others have.

D.  Sin.  It is a word we don’t want to use in our talk with other people.  So we make it politically correct and socially acceptable and talk about “mistakes I have probably made.”  Or “slips that just happen once in a while.”  We make up our list of tolerable sins and intolerable sins.  As long as I stay out of the ones I think are intolerable, I am okay.  I don’t even need to “feel bad.”  Isn’t that an interesting thought?

D.  Should sin make me feel bad? ” Well, I know it’s not a good thing, and God doesn’t really want me to mope around feeling sorrow all the time.”  Some of you have a word jumping in your head right now – GRACE.  Don’t worry, I am coming to that word.  But I can’t teach about

grace until I first face sin.  Otherwise grace as no effect.  So stay with me.

 

I.  Facing My Sin

A.  Listen to Paul in Eph. 2:1-3.  Remember, this comes right after he tells us about the blessings we have and of his prayer that our eyes are open to God at work in us.

B.  Paul reminds saved people, “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you used to walk.”  Paul reminds them that they once behaved in wicked ways that were worthy of God’s wrath.  That is a lesson on sin to saved people.  If you don’t face the fact you have sinned, then don’t tell me about your grace.  Face your sin with humility and sincerity.

C.   When Jesus tells a parable about people who couldn’t see themselves in the light of how God saw them.  They trusted in their own righteousness, not that of God.  Listen to Jesus (Luke 18:9-14).  “Be merciful to me a sinner.”  That was the extent of his prayer.  In the story the man saw himself for who he was and saw God for what God could.

 

II.  God’s Work

A.  Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 the same thing.

We were DEAD in our trespasses and sins BUT.  Let’s come back to our text and keep reading (Eph. 2:4-5).

B.  The very nature of God is described as “rich in mercy” and that God has “great love.”  What happens when God’s mercy and love are given to you a sinner?  God takes me from death to life.

C.  Jesus had his feet washed with the tears of a known sinful woman.  He didn’t kick that woman, push her away or act disgusted with her.  Instead, to the Pharisee, Simon, who did have those feelings Jesus said, “He who has been forgiven little loves little.”  Now listen to what Jesus says to the woman (Luke 7:48-50).  Jesus brought this woman from death to life in those words.  He gave her far more than what she deserved or probably even hoped would happen that day.

D.  Paul understood this transformation, because he also saw his past and what God had done for him.  Listen to how he described himself and God (1 Tim. 1:15-17).

 

Conclusion:

A.  Now let’s see the conclusion that Paul tells the Christians in Eph. 2:6-7.

B.  Think about what God has done.  Jesus lifted a sinful woman up to a new life, transformed Saul of Tarsus into the Apostle Paul, and has taken me – the wretch of a sinner that I am and has placed me with Jesus for eternity so that he can show off his immeasurable riches of grace in kindness toward me.  WOW!

C.  Instead of me traveling the pathway to destruction, God intersected my life and when I faced my sin, when I humbled myself and decided that my way was not way and God’s way was the only way, I understood grace and mercy.  By grace I have been saved.  AMEN!!

D.  What a life I live.  Paul does such a great job giving us powerful words to live by.  Let me close with these found in Gal. 2:20.

E.  Can you say those words?  Have you been crucified with Christ?  What that means is to die.  When we face our sin and accept God’s grace we show that in the beauty of immersion.  We are baptized into and with Christ.  I go into that water still dead, therefore I am buried, immersed in that water, and I rise up a new creation – every sin taken away, and the gift of God’s Spirit comes to live in me.

F.  If you are willing in humility to change the life you live and start living the life God has directed, then come as we stand and sing.