Sermon Date: 1/25/09
Text: Ephesians 3: 7-12 – 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
1. Paul experienced God’s grace
2. Paul expressed God’s grace
3. Paul enjoyed God’s grace
Reflections: I knew my pastor wouldn’t end up letting me down. After the last two messages, which I felt were lacking a strong emphasis on God’s grace, he comes up big with his current sermon. He taught on the Apostle Paul’s grace, or more specifically, to the message of God’s grace through the cross of Christ that Paul emphasized in his various epistles. He taught us how Paul, the least of the saints, the chief of all sinners, became a recipient of God’s grace. He expounded on the ways Paul expressed the gift of grace he had received: by becoming a missionary to the world, preaching from a renewed heart to all people and emphasizing Christ as the one and only subject of his message. Pastor finished up by explaining to us how Paul enjoyed grace on a permanent and ever increasing basis.
Personal Application: I gleaned several truths from Pastor’s excellent message. For the sake of brevity I’ll concentrate on only one. I like how he emphasized Paul’s determination to preach the gospel to all people. Raised up as a Pharisee, grounded in orthodox Judaism, Paul once believed that God’s word was meant only for God’s chosen people – the Jews. However, when he came to Christ, he spread the word without prejudice to all who would lend an ear to him.
Pastor exhorted the congregation to share the gospel with everyone we have opportunity to. We shouldn’t pre-judge people as to whether or not we think they will accept or reject Christ based on their outward behavior or appearance. Pastor told the story of an older, plain-spoken gentleman that he had become friends with. He would share the gospel with this gentleman from time to time. One Easter Sunday, when Pastor said no one usually ever responds to an altar call, the man, the least likely of anyone in the congregation to boldly step out in faith, came forward and expressed his desire to accept Jesus and be baptized. Pastor’s experience serves as the perfect illustration that we can never know with certainty who will accept and who will reject God’s saving grace.
He also refuted the popular notion that in order to ‘get saved’ one must ‘clean up his act’ first. He reminded us that God is the one who cleans us up through the finished work of Christ. We must come to God as we are with a humble heart and allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all sin. I am loathe to admit it, but I know there was a time in my unenlightened Christian walk that I would look at someone and make a judgment call on whether or not I thought they would be receptive to the gospel. If I determined that they would not respond in a positive manner I would pass over any opportunity to share with them.
I can’t possibly know who the called of God are by mere appearances, or any other means for that matter. I can only remain faithful to that which I am assured. My Lord commanded his disciples to preach the gospel to every creature and that I must do. I may plant seeds in dusty soil, and I may water thirsty ground, but only God can bring about a harvest.