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Eph. 2:1-10 WHAT A DIFFERENCE JESUS MAKES

Intro: Ill. An illiterate couple had just been saved. They met with a group of believers who dressed alike. The men wore red shirts while engaged in a certain project, so the woman made one for her husband. He came home after the meeting, however, with a look of disappointment on his face because the others had a message printed on their shirts but he did not. His wife, undaunted by her inability to read, sewed three words on his shirt, which she copied from a sign in a store window across the street. He wore it to the next meeting and came home bubbling with joy. He said all of the men really liked the inscription because it so aptly described the wonderful change they had seen in his life. It turned out that his wife had written, "UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT."

This brother knew he was different and so did everyone around him. That’s what Jesus does! He makes a difference in all those who come to Him. There is a verse in the Bible that speaks to this thought, Jer. 13:23, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" The truth is, man is a sinner, lost and undone, separated from God by a wide chasm of sin. He needs something done in his life that he will never be able to do for himself. He needs what Jesus and Jesus alone can do. It is Jesus who makes the difference in the lives of fallen men.

This passage is all about the great difference that Jesus makes in the hearts and lives of fallen men. As God gives liberty this evening, I want us to look together at these verses and consider for a few minutes, What A Difference Jesus Makes.

I. v. 1-3 THE PITIFUL NATURE OF MAN’S SIN

A. v. 1 Lost Men Live A Wretched Life – Ill. They are dead and separated from God by a sea of sin, Isa. 59:2. Theirs is a wretched condition, Ill. Eph. 2:12. (Ill. They are dead to God and to everything He represents and is able to do for them. They are Dead!)

B. v. 2-3a Lost Men Live A Wayward Live – According to these verses, the lost man is not in control of his life. (Ill. Men have this great desire to control their own destiny, yet they are really just little pawns, pushed about by the whims of the flesh, the world and the devil.) (Ill. John 8:44!!) (Ill. Every lost sinner is a wretched, wayward soul this evening – Isa. 53:6. The end of their waywardness is death – Pro. 16:25; Rom. 6:23.)

C. v. 3b Lost Men Live A Life Under The Wrath Of God – (Ill. John 3:36) At this very moment, every person outside of the shelter of the blood of Jesus is under the wrath of God. The only thing that keeps you from dropping off into Hell at this very moment is the grace and mercy of Almighty God. At this very moment, you stand at the edge of a great precipice with nothing between you and hell but God’s grace. (Ill. He doesn’t hate you, but He does hate your sin. His holiness demands that the sentence on sin be carried out, and it shall be, in His time and in His way!)

D. What a Pitiful situation to be in! Yet, you have neighbors, friend, family and acquaintances that are in this very shape tonight. Some of you may be there. Lost and undone without Jesus and headed to Hell. One thing is for sure, each of us has been there. I remember it all too well! That’s why I am grateful for those next two words: "But God!" That is all that stands between the sinner and Hell this evening! Yet these two little words, "But God!" may just be the greatest in the entire Bible. In them, we find the supply for our need, blessings without end and glories beyond description. Not only do these verses speak of the Pitiful Nature Of Man’s Sin, but they also point out:

II. v. 4-6 THE GLORIOUS PROVISIONS OF OUR SAVIOR

A. v. 4 He Gave Us Love – (Ill. Great Love) God loves the sinner with an everlasting, undying, never ceasing love – Jer. 31:1; Rom. 8:38-39. It was this great love of the Father that propelled Him to send His Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. It was this love that bound Jesus to that cross. It was His love for sinners that caused Him to willingly drink that most bitter of cups. Thank God for the awesome love of God for sinners this evening!

(Ill. Years ago a drunken man in Chicago headed toward Lake Michigan to drown himself. As he stumbled past the Pacific Garden Mission, someone helped him through the open door. He collapsed in front of the preacher and fell asleep. The superintendent cared for him, gave him a bed, and explained the Gospel to him the next morning. That day Harry Monroe was transformed by the grace of God. Later he was to preach the Gospel from that same platform where once he had slept in a drunken stupor. Mr. Monroe became superintendent of the mission, and when he died, it took all day for people to pay their respects. A newspaper editorial described him as one of the most useful men in Chicago. Mr. Campbell then raised this penetrating question: "What made the difference? The world would not have missed the penniless derelict if he had jumped into the lake, but God saw great value in him!")

(Ill. The world may not care if you live or die, but Jesus cares for you! He died to save you from sin and He lives to make you free!)

B. v. 5 He Gave Us Life – When we received Jesus, He made us alive in Him! Oh, we died to sin, and Satan, and self, but we became alive to the Lord.

(Ill. When death came to a notorious character in a small community and his coffin was being carried in a hearse to the cemetery, his mourners passed some of the places he had formerly frequented. First they drove by a tavern where he had spent much time and squandered many a paycheck, but the old temptation to indulge in alcohol no longer enticed him. A few blocks down the street they came to a racetrack where he had lost thousands of dollars "on the horses," but the urge to gamble was no longer felt. A little farther on, the procession went by a theater he had often attended, but the vulgar titles on the marquee and the suggestive pictures plastered around the entrance had no effect on him now. None of these vices and allurements could attract him, for he was dead to them all! – Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:4-6)

His Word, His Glory, His Music, His People, Etc. All these things became precious to us when we were saved. What a difference Jesus makes!

(Ill. Lazarus – John 11:35-44 – In that cold, dark tomb, Lazarus was oblivious to the tumult going on just outside. He didn’t hear the mourners, he didn’t know that Jesus and the disciples were there. He knew nothing, because he was dead! But, just a word from Jesus and everything changed! No longer was he dead, but he was alive and walking about looking for someone to set him free from the grave clothes!)

When Jesus comes in, He gives the believer "New Life" in Himself. This is what being "Born Again" is all about!


(Ill. You've probably heard the familiar story of the man whose name was printed in the obituary column of a daily paper by mistake. Greatly disturbed, he went to the newspaper office and exclaimed, "This is terrible! Your error will cause me no end of embarrassment and may even mean a loss of business. How could you do such a thing?" The editor expressed regrets, but the man remained angry and unreasonable. Finally the editor said in disgust, "Cheer up, fellow, I'll put your name in the birth column tomorrow and give you a fresh start!" We laugh at this suggestion, but in the spiritual realm that's exactly what happens when we find new life in Christ.)

The life Jesus gives is no ordinary life! It is abundant, free, and everlasting!

(Ill. When Jesus died on that cross, I died also. When He got up, so did I! Those who have their faith in Jesus have passed from death unto life – John 5:24.)

C. v. 6 He Gave Us A Lift – According to this verse, we have been seated in the heavenlies in Jesus Christ! You see, I have never been to Heaven, but my head has been seen over there! When a sinner comes to Jesus, he is baptized into the Body of Christ, 1 Cor. 12:13. At that same instant, Jesus, through the Person of the Holy Spirit, enters the new Christian, Col. 1:27.

(Ill. The saints of God are as good for Heaven as though they were already there! In fact, every time God looks to His right and sees the Son, He also sees you and me. He sees His saints and in the mind of God, we are reckoned to be home, even though we are still here! Now, that’s a blessing! Ill. Rom. 8:29-30.)

D. These verses teach us about the Pitiful Nature Of Man’s Sin, the Glorious Provisions Of Our Savior and:

III. v. 7-10 PRECIOUS PROMISES TO THE SAINTS

A. v. 7 A New Destination – This verse reminds us that one of these days, we are going to finally be home in glory! When we arrive there, we will have eternity to enjoy the blessings of the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to Heaven! A land of splendor, glory and Jesus!

(Ill. The glories of that city:

1. No Death – Rev. 21:4

2. No Disease

3. No Sorrow

4. No Separation

5. No Tears

6. Eternity with Jesus – 1 Thes. 4:17

7. See the Father – Rev. 22:4

8. A City Beyond Compare – Rev. 21:11-23)

(Ill. This verse teaches us that it will take God all of eternity to reveal to us the extent of His grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. We think we know a lot about it tonight. In reality, we haven’t even scratched the surface of understanding what the Lord has done for us.)

(Ill. He will reveal one thing. We’ll praise Him for that a while, then He will reveal something else! What a time we’ll have over there!)

B. v. 8-9 A New Designation – (Ill. These verses tell of the only way of salvation. It is through faith and grace alone! Ill. Religion, good deeds, church membership, baptism, clean living, family associations will all fail to produce salvation. It takes the blood of Jesus applied via the avenue of faith to save the sinner’s soul! No one will ever get to Heaven and be able to brag about how they got there! In Heaven every story will end the same, old blood bought sinners will point to the throne and say, "Right there sits the reason I am here!" Our song throughout the ages will be an anthem to the grace of God is saving the lost!)

(Ill. There was an old man who lived in a broken-down shack on a corner lot that was very valuable. He had secured this property before the area was developed, and now it was the section of the city where millionaires built their homes. While dozing off one afternoon on his porch, he was roused by a man who wanted to purchase his land. "What's your price?" he inquired. "A hundred thousand" came the reply. "Fine, I'll buy it," said the stranger without hesitation. Before leaving, he handed the owner a check for $10,000 to bind the contract. In the weeks that followed, the old gentleman felt guilty about asking so much for his worthless shack. Thinking he could make it more presentable, he began fixing it up. On the day of the closing, the buyer came to complete the transaction. After the final payment had been made, the old fellow turned to the rich man and said, "Don't you think you've got a nice little place here? See, I've painted it, patched the roof, and put new boards on the floor. You can sure be proud of it." The new owner responded, "I can't use it. It must come down, for I'm going to build a brand new house!" God doesn’t want you fixing up your old house, He wants to tear you down and rebuild you in His image! He wants to start over!)

(Ill. If you will notice Paul says, "But now are ye saved!" He tells us we have a new call sign. No longer are we called sinner, now we are called saint. Not children of the devil, but child of God. Not lost, but found. Not enemy, but friend! When we come to Jesus, everything changes – 2 Cor. 5:17. We are changed forever!)

(Ill. The story is told of two brothers, convicted of stealing sheep, who were branded on the forehead with the letters ST, to indicate "sheep thief." The one couldn't bear the stigma, became bitter, and moved away. Eventually he died and was forgotten. The other brother chose a different course, he gave his life to Jesus and was drastically changed. He said, "I can't run from what I did, so I'll stay here and win back the respect of my neighbors and myself." As the years passed, he built a solid reputation for integrity. One day a stranger saw him, now an old man, with the letters on his forehead. He asked a townsman what they signified. "It happened a long time ago," said the villager. "I've forgotten the particulars, but I think the letters are an abbreviation for`saint.'" That is want Jesus will do in your life!)

(Ill. The story is told on an English earl who visited the Fiji Islands. Being an infidel, he critically remarked to an elderly chief, "You're a great leader, but it's a pity you've been taken in by those foreign missionaries. They only want to get rich through you. No one believes the Bible anymore. People are tired of the threadbare story of Christ dying on a cross for the sins of mankind. They know better now. I'm sorry you've been so foolish as to accept their story." The old chief's eyes flashed as he answered, "See that great rock over there? On it we smashed the heads of our victims. Notice the furnace next to it? In that oven we formerly roasted the bodies of our enemies. If it hadn't been for those good missionaries and the love of Jesus that changed us from cannibals into Christians, you'd never leave this place alive! You'd better thank the Lord for the Gospel; otherwise we'd already be feasting on you. If it weren't for the Bible, you'd now be our supper!")

(Ill. A woman was contacting her high school classmates about their 35th reunion. Many were excited about seeing their old friends. One man wrote back to the woman, "I have the 5 Bs--baldness, bifocals, bridgework, bulges, and bunions." A woman quipped, "I wasn't half the woman then that I am today" (referring to her weight).

But another woman said, "I can't wait to see everyone. I've changed completely. In high school I was the class `tramp.' I had no standards and everybody knew it. But a few years after high school I received the Lord Jesus as my Savior. My life was transformed. Because of Christ, I'm not the person I was, and I want my classmates to know about it.")

(Ill. This is the power of God in Jesus! He has the ability to take that, which has been wrecked by sin and the devil and turn it around for His glory. He is in the life altering business this evening!)

C. v. 10 A New Direction – After Jesus comes in and saves the soul, He changes the life and sets the sinner on a new path. He saves us to put us to work for His glory!

(Ill. James 2:18 – Ill. It doesn’t all fall to the preacher! If it does, there are some people letting down on their end of the bargain! He saves every one of us with a job in mind. His plan is that we get busy for Him!)

(Ill. He never saved anyone just to fill up 18" of pew!)

(Ill. This verse says that we are His "Workmanship." This word literally means that we are His "Masterpiece." We are the crowning achievement of Almighty God! Just let that sink in for a moment! God Almighty has determined that He will receive His greatest glory from taking old sinners from the gutter of life, saving them by His grace and them putting them into His work. We are literally "Trophies of His Grace" and He delights in displaying us for the entire world to see. It seems that nothing else brings Him as much glory as the life of one who has been saved by grace!)

(Ill. An artist, a musician, a writer, etc all desire to bring their great works before others. This is God’s desire and He accomplishes it when we are saved and living for His glory!)

(Ill. A diamond is found in the ground. It is rough and ugly, but in the hands of a master diamond cutter, that rough, ugly stone is transformed into a thing of tremendous value and beauty. It may adorn a queen or hang around the neck of someone famous. That is the same thing the Lord does in our lives! He takes old rough sinners and transforms them by His grace and His patient work in their lives, then He puts them on display where they bring glory and honor to His name!)

Conc: No force in Heaven above down to Hell beneath has the awesome power to make the changes we have mentioned here tonight, except the grace of God! Yet, when I remember where I was when He found me, I rejoice that still loves old sinners! I praise His name that He can take them from where they are, save them by grace and make something out of them for His glory! What a Saviour the redeemed have this evening! If you aren’t saved then I invite you to come to Jesus tonight. He is still saving souls and making dead men live! Find out first hand why we say, "What a difference Jesus makes!" Saint of God, I challenge you to live like you are saved! Rejoice in what and who you are in the Lord Jesus this evening. If the Lord had dealt with your heart tonight, or if you just want to say thank you, then this altar is open. You come right now and the Lord will meet your need tonight!

Sermon By Alan Carr

 



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