You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. [NRSV]
- What is it that someone who is feeling as though they don’t matter need to hear?
- What is it that someone who is feeling unworthy because of poor choices they have made need to hear?
- What is it that someone who feels helpless and vulnerable need to hear?
- What is it that someone who feels broken and worn out from not achieving or completely their work need to hear?
- What is it that someone who is feeling distant from God, with unanswered prayers need to hear?
- What is it that someone who is searching but not finding faith need to hear?
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God [NRSV]
What do I tell someone who is alone, empty, guilty, broken, weary, failing, lost and afraid?
By grace, you are saved through faith, not for what you have done, not done, failed doing or never tried, but by God’s love, God is saving you to be in relationship with God.
What is it that you and I are called to share with a broken and hurting world?
God’s gift for us
God so loves the world that he gave us himself, in Jesus Christ, that we might believe and trust him as the way to find God’s love.
How many people are afraid where you live and work?
All they talk about is how worried, afraid, alone, unworthy, or unhappy they are… all symptoms and signs of not knowing God’s love.
99.9% of those who say that don’t believe in God are also saying they don’t feel or sense God loves them. “How could a God, if there is one, love? And more miraculously, how could God love me?
Look into your own mirror, your own spiritual self: Do you know God loves you?
The correct answer is Yes, because Jesus Christ saves me to prove God’s love for me.
But the question is not what is the correct answer, the question is: “Do you believe this is true for you?”
I know that God loves me and yet I struggle trusting it at times?
It is most clear when I look back at God’s presence in grand mothers, a grand father, a father, teachers, neighbors, church members, authors, theologians, and friends who have revealed God’s love to me, because they have shown me what God’s love is.
Rather than boast in my or your failures, it is essential to focus on the prize, the gift.
God’s love is awesome: For all the reason God should not love me, my behavior, my selfishness, my greed, my pride, my self determination, my hard work, my correct answers, my untruths, my fears, my failures, none of these are the reason that God loves me.
God loves me because I am created of God. Formed of the stuff and creatures of God’s creation. God has never forsaken us and will never forget us. God love is with us.
- This is what the world needs to hear.
- This is what people are dying to know.
- This is why people are fighting and they don’t even realize how far off base they have become.
So what do we do?
Look to verse 10 “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” [NRSV]
Our purpose is to be loved and to show love.
Our purpose is to be in Christ Jesus for the world, that is hurting, afraid, clueless and against us.
Our purpose is determined before we decided, our purpose to learn to love God and God’s people in response.
- God loves us when we were enemies.
- God’s hope, dream and desire is for us to find our belonging and once we are whole our works become the signs for others.
- We love the poor, not to prove our worthiness, but because, before we had Christ, we were totally poor, no matter how rich or poor the world might label us.
- We feed the hungry, not to earn our way, but because our hunger is satisfied in Christ. When we think and are driven my/our worldly worries and fears, we remain malnourished.
- Once we have feasted in the love and power of God’s table our spirits are filled. But we see, hear and know word full of those who hunger for what is right, who trade their own understanding or perspective for what is good in the moment or good in principles, but far from Good in God’s love.
The greatest way to find assurance of our own faith and trust, is to share the gift with others.
I offer that it is not just feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, comforting the sick, healing the broken, forgiving the debt and trespasses, it is when we learn to love our enemies that God’s love and lesson comes full circle and complete.
You can surely find someone in this fellowship this morning who will love you, yet while we are not perfect, I doubt that our enemies are fellow church members.
When we understand and experience love for someone that is not based on what they can do for us, but what we do for God that we understand love.
This is the simple task that is the most difficult of our lives. Loving without expecting reciprocal love.
Typically we say, if I show them love, they will love me back. What if love says, if I show them live, they will know how to love me back, but they might never do that.
This is what makes our task difficult, even with God as our example and our salvation.
What it proves is that that we actually cannot complete this without God’s work.
When we reach the breaking point of our own limitation, we see/know where God’s salvation and love makes us whole.
- So the answer to the question, “Do I love God?” is never enough, I need God’s help.
- So the answer to the question, “Do I love my enemy?” never enough without God’s love.
- So the answer to the question, “Do I need God help?” the answer is Always, even to the end.
God’s joy is to love us.
Christ is the proof and our eternal hope.
Our purpose is to trust God to love and help love the world, including our enemies.
Let’s get to trusting God, because we love God, not just need to be saved. We are saved to love, that ‘s gift.