You may think you already know well the love, mercy, and grace of God, but as we look at Ephesians 2 today, maybe you will begin to see how big and incomprehensible they actually are.
Last week, Pastor Miles wrapped up the Exposed message series, which exposed our hearts when we judge and criticize people. In light of that, we must understand our own condition. As our society becomes increasingly more concerned with “me,” it becomes easier to believe that we are in control and that we don’t really need God, which is a very dangerous place to be. It is only one indication that we don’t truly understand condition of our hearts or where we are as human beings.
1. Our condition is hopeless without Jesus.
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. Ephesians 2:103
We are blessed when we realize how much we need God because the reality is that we are all in desperate need of Him.
Jesus tells the crowds in Matthew 5:3, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” We are blessed when we realize how much we need God because the reality is that we are all in desperate need of Him. Many of us simply walk around with no idea how much we need Him!
We are so spiritually depraved that even when things are going well and we feel close to God, we have absolutely nothing to offer Him. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? How can a desperately wicked heart have anything to offer God?
2. Great blessings come from staying connected to Jesus.
Fortunately for us, our wicked state is not the end of the story. After recounting how dead in our sins we were, Paul continues in verse 4,
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. (v.4-7)
“But” is a word that we like to use for excuses for our behavior, but here it is a wonderful thing, as by this word, God negates all the death and sin that encompasses us. Here God interjects His mercy, grace and love extravagantly upon us. Mercy is God’s not giving what we deserve. The wages of sin is death, so in mercy God saves us from this death. Grace is God’s giving us a reward that we don’t deserve. And this love of God is expressed in action, as He sent his only Son to die for us.
Jesus’ sacrifice wipes away all of our death and connects us to Himself. Just as a child receives blessings (shelter, warmth, food, love, wisdom, education, etc.) by staying connected to his parents, so we receive blessings (discernment, wisdom, understanding, teaching, the fruits of the Spirit, etc.) when we remain connected to God.
3. God’s grace is incomprehensible.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (v. 8-10)
Incomprehensible: difficult or impossible to understand.
Pastor Darren likened this to using a cell phone. We may not understand all the intricate technical details of how a cell phone works, but we can still understand how to use it and receive the benefits of the technology.
We can’t fully understand God’s grace, but we can know that we were dead in our many sins and that our hearts were wicked. We can understand that our sinful nature keeps us from God, but that He provided a way for us to connect with Him. We don’t have to perfectly understand how all of this works in order to trust that God’s way is the best way for our lives.
4. God is more concerned with the finished product, so let Him finish what He started, or let Him get started.
Keep in mind that God is working out a process with you as well. Let Him finish what He has started!
Imagine you are making a cake by using a box mix. But halfway through the process, you look inside the bowl and decide to give up because the gooey, runny mess looks nothing like the flaky, fluffy picture on the box. That would be ridiculous! Making a cake is a process that has to be completed in order to have an acceptable result.
Keep in mind that God is working out a process with you as well. Let Him finish what He has started! Or maybe you’ve never even allowed Him to start His process – take a step toward His masterpiece today!