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Friday, March 17, 2023

Ephesians 2:4,5

"O But God"

Message summary: Today's message has bad news and good news, separated by a "but".

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:4-10).

Many years ago I was preaching from this text and in pointing out the significance of the opening word I said "Today we are going to consider one the most important buts in the Bible". Of course there are various ways such a statement could be received when presented verbally, but after hearing the words come off my tongue my face reddened as I quickly restated what I meant while trying to keep a steady voice and straight face!  Unexpected surprises can come to those who are new to public speaking and even to those who've been speakers for many years.

Early in my brother's ministry he made a similar but more egregious unintentional faux pas, although to the best of his observation the congregation did not pick up on it. His wife sure did but we'll spare him the embarrassment of our reprinting his statement in this message!

We've been enjoying a song titled "O But God" based on Ephesians 2:4. In fact we've posted a link to the song several times and of course will do so again today.

I was buried beneath my rebellion
Lost without hope of redemption
Blind in my need for a Savior
Oh but God

Crushed by the weight of my failure
Living the lie I created
Digging my grave without knowing
Oh but God oh but God

A conjunction is a word used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause. The "but" in our daily text connects the preceding thought with the succeeding thought. "But" introduces a contrast and in this case it's a marvelous contrast.

Paul had written in the preceding verses one of the most despairing truths in the Bible describing our condition before Christ; "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind" (Ephesians 2:1-3). That's the bad news!

J. Vernon McGee tells the story of a little boy down South who wanted to join a church. So the deacons were examining him. They asked, "How did you get saved?" His answer was, "God did His part, and I did my part." They thought there was something wrong with his doctrine, so they questioned further, "What was God's part, and what was your part?" His explanation was a good one. He said, "God's part was the saving, and my part was the sinning."

Ephesians 2:1-3 essentially describes our part: the sinning.

But Paul continues with our daily text, God's part, which is the good news. "But God!"

Rich in mercy how You loved me
Too much to let me stay lost
My salvation sent from heaven
Nailing my sin to a cross
Oh but God


Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)


Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we were dead in our trespasses and sins, destined for a miserable future without hope or purpose but You, our compassionate Father, rich in mercy and love made us alive in Christ Jesus. I consider the many hopeless situations we may confront over a lifetime or those we read about in Scripture, and am heartened by the word, "but", that turns darkness into light, impossibility to possibility, evil into good, temporary into eternal and on and on the Scriptures show the contrast.  "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Satan intended to harm me, "but God intended it for good to accomplish that which is now being done, the saving of many lives." For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." This world will someday perish and turn to rubble, but Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forevermore. Amen.

Matthew 19:26; Psalm 73:16; Genesis 50:20; Romans 6:23



Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"O But God"  Click to listen on YouTube   Davy Flowers with lyrics

"O But God"  Click to listen on YouTube   Shane & Shane

The words to this song really bless us!

I was buried beneath my rebellion
Lost without hope of redemption
Blind in my need for a Savior
Oh but God

Crushed by the weight of my failure
Living the lie I created
Digging my grave without knowing
Oh but God oh but God

Rich in mercy how You loved me
Too much to let me stay lost
My salvation sent from heaven
Nailing my sin to a cross
Oh but God

You gave me a truth worth believing
And I traded my chains for Your freedom
Cause You were the one that I needed
Oh but God

Resurrecting my heart from the ruins
My rescue came through like the morning
Now this is my sure testimony
Oh but God oh but God

Rich in mercy how You loved me
Too much to let me stay lost
My salvation sent from heaven
Nailing my sin to a cross
Oh but God

All the wreckage of my choices
You have turned to life from ashes
Lifted from death risen with Him
Now I stand in confidence

Rich in mercy how You loved me
Too much to let me stay lost
My salvation sent from heaven
Nailing my sin to a cross Oh
Rich in mercy how You loved me
Too much to let me stay lost
My salvation sent from heaven
Nailing my sin to a cross
Oh but God
Oh but God
Oh but God
Oh but God

Brooksyne's note: After writing the prayer for today's message I opened up a newly acquired poetry book by Helen Steiner Rice, a favorite poet of mine from my high school years. I was reading the FOREWORD and noticed that she too used the conjunction, "but" to contrast a wasted life when living for self to one worthwhile that spreads the great story of Christ.

Show me the way,
not to fortune and fame,
Not how to win laurels
or praise for my name
But show me the way
to spread the Great Story"
That "Thine is the Kingdom
and Power and glory.



We had a beautiful afternoon yesterday with temps reaching 60º so I went for a bike ride through rural Lancaster County.

Lancaster Junction rail trail
The Lancaster Junction rail trail runs along Chiques Creek.
Click on photo to enlarge

Schenk's Mill covered bridge, Lancaster County, PA
The Schenk's Mill covered bridge over Chiques Creek.
Click on photo to enlarge

Lancaster County, PA farm scene
A quintessential Lancaster County farm set way back off the road.



Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.



Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."



 
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