ESSAY-LIKE SUNDAY MORNING: Today’s lesson was expertly taught by Sister Johnson. We were also blessed to have the input of legendary Sunday School Teacher Sister Murrie Simmons. The lesson was entitled, “SAVING GRACE”. The Scripture was from Ephesians 1:1-10. The KEY VERSE was verse 5 which reads; “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). (KJV)
The lesson is all about GRACE. The text defines GRACE as, “the unmerited gift of God to humankind…GRACE is the love of God actualized in the lives of the believers”. In other words, it is the action part of God’s LOVE. It is the part of God’s love we see moving in our lives. It is the part of God’s love that lets us know that His love is REAL! By saying that this grace is UNMERITED, is to say that, we don’t deserve it. We have done nothing to earn it. It is a gift given out of PURE LOVE, to us, by God!
GRACE is not the same as MERCY. Grace means receiving something you don’t deserve. Mercy means you don’t receive something you deserve (like when your child does something wrong, but you let them off the hook with a warning instead of a spanking).
The text tells us that Paul was reminding the Ephesians of their past sinful nature. They were “dead” in their transgressions (1st verse). Reminding them (and us) how far we have come. My father used to say, “You can’t know where you’re going, unless you know where you came from”. The essence of this statement is that you need a reference point, in order to know the “distance” you have traveled.
Believe it or not, we have all been “dead”, at some point. Some of us are STILL dead; DEAD MEN WALKING (and women too). Some of us are like the zombies on the hit TV show, “THE WALKING DEAD”. Some of us are like the horror movie vampires— “THE LIVING DEAD”. HOWEVER, just because one is DEAD, doesn’t mean one has to stay DEAD. Because of God’s love for us, we can be RESURRECTED, RESUSCITATED and REJUVENATED by God’s Grace; the “unmerited” gift of His only Son’s life, in exchange for ours.
There are, debatably, phenomenon known as, “Near Death Experiences”. At the core of these phenomenon is the belief that some people, whether due to accidents, or complications during medical procedures, have “died”, or come so “near death” that they were able to experience what it is like “on the other side”.
While in the midst of this experience, some claim to have met and spoken to deceased loved ones. Some have even interacted with Jesus or God. The commonality of all of these alleged events is that the “dead” individual was not allowed to stay “dead”, they were sent back to this life to complete some “mission”. Another motif is that they were all PROFOUNDLY changed forever. They went on to live the rest of their lives doing good and living righteously.
When one is DEAD in SIN, and then RESURRECTED from this DEATH by the GRACE of God, they are PROFOUNDLY changed forever, just as those who experience the “near death” are changed. There is something about being DEAD and then being GIFTED LIFE, is LIFE CHANGING!
The Bible says that ALL MEN HAVE SINNED and FALLEN SHORT of the GLORY of GOD. No matter what we do, we cannot meet the standards that God has set, without the help of GRACE. Think of yourself, travelling on a road to a place…let’s call it HEAVENLYLAND. You travel for miles and miles along this road…let’s call the road LIFE’S ROAD.
You’re almost to HEAVENLYLAND, you can see the lights of the city, shining against the sky, but then TRAGEDY! The road ends abruptly. A sinkhole has suddenly appeared and it is miles long and miles wide. How will you cross over into HEAVENLYLAND NOW? Then suddenly, a golden bridge descends from the sky and positions itself across the chasm. Now you can complete the trip. This bridge is called GRACE and without it, you cannot make it to HEAVENLYLAND.
John 3:16 says; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so that, whosever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting LIFE”.