I bring up this irrational fear of being a burden because I think this is how we sometimes approach God. Think about it, God literally owns everything. The trillions and trillions of dollars in money and assets in the world, that’s his. And he can give all that without any sacrifice. But he went beyond, he gave Jesus for us which was the most costly sacrifice he could make. We know that God is for us, and able to give us all things, and yet when we come to him in prayer, what do we ask for? We ask for the tiniest requests ever.
“God, good and loving creator of the universe, please give me good grades”. No think bigger. “God, give me a house and a new car”. No, ask for more. “God, give me a partner that loves me and a good family.” No no, we’re thinking too small here! These things are good but they amount to nothing by themselves and so they cannot be the main thing we ask for. We can go much much bigger because we know that God is able to give exceedingly more than what we can ask for and what we can imagine.
Our question for today is “What is the most you can ask God for?”
The answer to our question comes from our passage today, which focuses on a prayer. It’s a prayer that apostle Paul makes as he’s in prison, and it’s one of the most powerful prayers ever prayed. What would you imagine his prayer to look like? Mine would be, “God, get me out of prison, it’s depressing”. But Paul’s prayer is 100 times more extreme.
We are all different and we all come with our own baggage. But if we can overcome our differences and unite in a deep way, we can do amazing things for God and make great friends along the way.
But there are two kinds of sin that prevent us from experiencing that deep unity and friendship. The first kind of sin is religious sin. The kinds of sins demonstrated by the Pharisees in the Bible. The Pharisees were the religious snobs in the Bible- they were condescending and thought they were better than everyone. They represent the kind of religion that everyone loves to hate.
Then, there is unreligious sin, demonstrated by the pagans of that day. These were people that didn’t follow God and they rejected his ways. Some pagans would do awful things, like abusing other human beings and destroying families.
Most of us can identify at least a bit with both the Pharisees and the pagans. But the good news is that Jesus can transform us into something new and better.
So, my big question today is: How does God transform our relationships. I want to make the case today that:
We have a God that saves people- the Bible tells us that God wants to save everyone, not just from accidents, but he wants to save everyone from sin and death so that we can live with him forever.
And as Christians, we believe we’ve been saved, but some of us may not understand WHY he saved us. And it’s important to understand why, so we can appreciate what he’s done, and so we can work with his good plan for us.
So, my big question today is, why did God save us? Our passage teaches us that God saves us because of his grace. My main points today are:
1. We are saved BY grace.
2. We are saved FOR grace.
By that I mean, we are saved because he is good to us, and he wants us to share his goodness to others.