God's Superabundant Grace
TEXT: Ephesians 2:1-10
TOPIC: God’s Superabundant Grace
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
February 5, 2006, Super Bowl Sunday
In recent years I have used Super Bowl Sunday as an opportunity to bring some very special messages. One year I preached on the topic, The First Super Sunday, a message about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Another year I brought a message centered around the question, What If the Church Played the Super Bowl? Other Super Bowl sermons have been Real Super Men, What Do You Do If You Don’t Make the Super Bowl, How to Win the Super Bowl of Life, Becoming a Super Servant for Jesus, and How to Build a Super Church.
Today I want to share with you the sermon I’ve entitled, God’s Superabundant Grace.
(Open your bibles to Ephesians 2:1-10).
1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
(Begin by sharing Leith Anderson’s story of Joe Gibbs)
The most important question to be answered here today is not, “Who will win the Super Bowl?” but “Will you commit your life to Jesus Christ today?”
The Scripture text we have read today was written to Christians nearly 20 centuries ago, half way around the world. Yet the truths they contain are as relevant today for us as the front page headlines.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesian Church, reminds the Christians there of God’s Superabundant Grace. In doing so he reminds them that God’s Superabundant Grace is sufficient in four wonderful ways,
God’s Superabundant Grace is Sufficient for our Past,
God’s Superabundant Grace is Sufficient for our Present, and
God’s Superabundant Grace is Sufficient for our Future, and one last and very important one,
God’s Superabundant Grace is Sufficient for our Salvation.
I. GOD’S SUPERABUNDANT GRACE - SUFFICIENT FOR OUR PAST, Ephesians 2:1-3
The Bible says that God’s superabundant grace is sufficient at all times of our lives. In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul made four statements about the past spiritual condition of the Ephesians.
A. In verse 1, Paul describes the past spiritual condition of Christians as Dead,
“dead in trespasses and sins”
The word “dead” (nekros) described life with no fellowship with God.
This is the description of those who are lost without Jesus Christ. They are
as good as dead without Christ.
The word “trespass” described sin as a false step or a fall.
The word “sin” described disobedience as missing the mark.
“Quickened” means to make alive, literally, “to give breath to”
Illustration--Vince Lombardi, the famed Green Bay Packers Coach, who won the first two Super Bowls, and for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named, is reported to have on one occasion when his team was performing rather poorly, took a football and said something like this, “Men, were going back to the basics with the game of football. We’re starting all over. Men, this is a football!” (Hold up the good football).
Suppose Lombardi had held up this football instead. (Hold up the flat football). Every football game, including the Super Bowl game, starts, revolves around and ends with a football like this one. (Go on to point out that this flat football could never be used in the Super Bowl. Imagine Bret Farve or what’s his name, trying to throw a fifty yard touchdown strike with a flat football. It’s only when the ball is properly inflated with air that it becomes valuable and useable).
That’s the way our lives are. We are body, soul and spirit. Body is obvious. The soul is who we are on the inside. The soul is our mind, our emotions and our will. The spirit is that unseen part of who we are. It is the only part of us that is eternal. The bible says our spirit is dead in trespasses and sin without the Spirit of God within us.
B. Furthermore, in verse 2 we are told of an external source of our disobedience, “the world and the devil.”
C. Verse 3 shows us the internal source of our disobedience, “lusts” and “the flesh.”
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (KJV)
These things include, pride, immorality, rebellion and resistance to God’s ways.
D. Finally, the last part of verse 3 tells us that “we were by nature the children of wrath”
We are by nature and choice sinners. It is quiet natural for a lost person to sin. As such, they are “children of wrath.” God’s wrath is His everyday anger against sin.
None of the above is good. Those without Christ’s spirit within them are under the wrath of God. They are controlled by their on lust of the flesh. They are subject to the world and the devil, and they are dead in trespasses and sins.
The good news is that just as many of us were one time in the same condition, God has “quickened” or made us alive in Christ. (Hold up the flat football and then the inflated football)
God’s Superabundant Grace is Sufficient for our past!
T/S But God’s Superabundant Grace is also sufficient for our present.
II. GOD’S SUPERABUNDANT GRACE - SUFFICIENT FOR OUR PRESENT, Ephesians 2:4-6
Look at verse 4. Paul focused on two characteristics of God which led Him to take action
for sinners, mercy and love. “But God,” don’t you just love that! “But God.” Talk about your eternal interjection! Wow! “But God.....”
Also in verses 5 and 6, Paul mentions three actions which God has completed for us. He uses three verbs, action words, to describe His actions:
1. “made us alive”
2. “raised us up”
3. “made us sit”
The fact that God raised you up and made you sit in the heavenlies, expresses spiritually your God-given privileges for the child of God at this present time. Just as God raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in heaven, He has done the same spiritually for you. Although you live on earth, you can experience the blessings of heaven -- eternal life, abundant life, life with meaning and purpose.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
Most of us recognize John Newton’s classic hymn, “Amazing Grace.”
What we may not know is the story John Newton’s life. The son of an infidel Sea Captain who little more than a Pirate, Newton himself would become a Captain of his own ship. A ship he would use to barter in human slavery, and inhumane torture. Following a storm that nearly took his ship and his boat, Newton gave his life to Christ and discovered the Superabundant Grace of God.
III. GOD’S SUPERABUNDANT GRACE - SUFFICIENT FOR OUR FUTURE, Ephesians 2:7
Paul reminds us that God’s superabundant grace will still be at work in our lives long into the future. Ephesians 2:7
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (KJV)
“the ages to come” throughout eternity. “exceeding” (hooperballo) to throw over, to surpass in throwing. SUPERABUNDANT. More than enough.
One of the keys for this evening’s Super Bowl will be the accuracy of Green Bay quarterback Brett Farve. He has a tendency to be overly excited early in a game. As a result he often overthrows his wide receivers. Or he throws rocket balls that are nearly impossible to catch.
God’s superabundant grace toward us will extend long beyond this lifetime into the next.
Last of all,
IV. GOD’S SUPERABUNDANT GRACE - SUFFICIENT FOR SALVATION, Ephesians 2:8-10
In these verses, Paul discusses the nature of grace, the source of grace and the results of grace.
A. The Nature of Grace, or what grace accomplished -- salvation. “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and
B. The Source of Grace “that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
C. The Result of Grace, “ we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (KJV)
I love the word “workmanship.” It comes from the word poiema from which we get our word poem. The word was often used to refer to a masterpiece of art or literature. When God works His grace in our lives through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ, there is a transformation that takes place. We are changed from being a nothing, a nobody, into a priceless work of art!
God’s Grace is truly superabundant and sufficient for all today.
(Appeal for the lost to trust Christ’s grace, love and mercy. Lead them in a prayer and then call them to respond)