Ephesians 2:1-10 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 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. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
John Stott says about this passage, “Paul first plumbs the depths of pessimism about man, and then rises to the heights of optimism about God. It is this combination of pessimism and optimism, of despair and faith, which constitutes the refreshing realism of the Bible. For what Paul does in this passage is to paint a vivid contrast between what man is by nature and what he can become by grace.”
This past Sunday morning we had a great service celebrating Memorial Day. During the preaching time we returned to our series, “God is Big, Really Big!” with a message entitled, “God’s Grace is Bigger Than My Sin.” (1) Our Condition – It is Worse than You Think, (2) God’s Character – He is More Wonderful than We Deserve, (3) Salvation’s Conclusion – Genuine Salvation Results in Genuine Works. You can listen to this message by following this link or visit our sermons page.
There was a motorcycle officer who was going through a Los Angeles suburb on his way to work. As he neared an intersection, a red pickup truck went past him without even slowing down for the stop sign. The officer turned on his flashing lights and radioed the station that he was in pursuit of this truck. As his unit pulled up behind the truck the officer was thinking, “This guy is just probably late for work”, but unknown to the officer the driver of that pickup had just robbed a grocery store. Sitting on the seat beside that driver was the paper bag with the money and the gun he had used to pull off this robbery. As the officer pulled up beside him this man put his hand on the gun. The truck pulled to the side of the roadway and stopped. The officer parked his motorcycle, walked over to the driver’s side of the pickup and he said, “Good morning sir, may I see your license?” Those were the last words he said. The driver stuck his arm out of that truck and fired the gun. The barrel of the gun was only two inches away from that officer and the bullet hit the officer in the center of his chest and he was knocked to the ground seven feet away. For a few moments all was quiet, then to the shocked amazement of the gunman, the officer slowly stood to his feet. The driver couldn’t believe it. He even said out loud, “You must be Clark Kent!” Still in shock, the policeman slowly began to brush the dirt from his uniform. After two or three seconds the officer came to his senses, pulled his service revolver and fired two rounds into the side of the truck. The first round went through the window destroying the windshield. The second round went through the side of the door and ripped into the driver’s left leg. The terrified robber screamed, “Don’t shoot any more” and threw the gun out along with the bag of money. That officer’s life had been spared because he was wearing a bullet proof vest; a vest that was only 3/8 of an inch thick made of dozens of layers of an extremely tough fabric called “kevlar”.
Now fast forward. A few months later, another officer, Ray Hicks and his partner went to serve a search warrant on a well known drug dealer in the city of Inglewood, California. As his partner knocked on the door, Hicks yelled out, “Police!” and started to knock down the door. Four slugs were fired through that door and one hit Ray Hicks. The impact was almost exactly where the motorcycle officer had been hit only a few weeks before – squarely in the center of the chest. The last words of Ray Hicks were “I am hit” as he sank to the floor. The coroner later reported that the policeman probably lived less than a minute, because the bullet had ruptured an artery that fed blood to the brain. Police officer, Ray Hicks was 27 years old. He left a wife, three children and the bullet proof vest in the trunk of his car parked thirty feet from where he died.
What’s the point? A police officer can believe in a bullet proof vest all he wants to, but until he puts that bullet proof vest on and commits his life to it; it won’t do him any good. It is not enough just to believe that a man named, Jesus Christ, lived 2000 years ago or believe He was born of a virgin or believe He performed miracles or believe He died on the cross or even believe He was raised from the dead. It is only when you, by faith and complete trust, surrender your live to Him that He becomes your Lord and your Savior and you then have a relationship with God.