Perfect People Can Stay Home - 8/5/18

PERFECT PEOPLE CAN STAY HOME

Ephesians 2: 8-10

Most of us look upon the late Dr. Billy Graham as a hero of the faith. … Most of
us have followed his ministry for many years. … Dr. Graham once said; …
“There are no perfect Churches … but if there were, … I couldn’t join because
they wouldn’t be perfect anymore.”
I agree. … The Scriptures are filled with stories of individuals who walked with
God … yet they made mistake after mistake. … All of them were imperfect.
God made a powerful promise to a woman named Sarah. … Her response: … she
laughed at Him.
Jacob deceived his Father and stole his brother’s birthright.
Jonah ran from God.
Martha worried too much
When Jesus asked the disciples to pray with Him, … the disciples all fell asleep.
Jacob, Jonah, Martha and the 12 disciples all shared at least two commonalities: …
1. They all loved the Lord … and
2. they were all imperfect.
You and I fall into that same category. … All of us are far … from perfect.
What we Christians overlook sometimes; … the Church is not for people who are
never disobedient. … The Church is not for those who think they have it all
together. … The Church is not for those who have arrived.
We are like “AA”: … We are basically, … Sinners Anonymous.
We’re the only organization besides Hell’s Angels … that you have to bleed in
order to get in; … Get my point?
Every growing believer I know has, at one time or another, said these words; …
“I’m struggling. … I’m making progress but I’m struggling.”
Look at these two passages with me; … Philippians 3:12a and 15a: …
12a “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature”
15a “Therefore, all who are mature should think this way”
Ephesians 2:8-10 (this should be our focus for the morning): … “For you are
saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9  not
from works, so that no one can boast. 10  For we are His creation, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in
them.”
Look at these three truths with me today: …
1. When we show grace to others, … we are doing what God does.

God saved you by grace when you believed … and you cannot take credit for this;
… it is a gift from God.
Think about this; … when you came to God and you first believed, … when you
were searching, … how would you describe your spiritual condition at the time?
Think about this; … the Bible call us to be fishers of men (people). …
We share something in common with fish. … The first step we have to make with
fish when we catch them, … is to clean them.
Did you ever clean a fish? … It’s a messy process most people don’t really enjoy.
It is messy … but it’s necessary. … When we catch fish, they’re not ready to eat.
When we first come to Christ, … we’re not quite ready to be used.
So Jesus begins the cleaning process. … Now He accepts us just as we are; …
that’s why we still sing the song … “Just as I Am” … because that’s the way we
come to God; … sinners, … messed up; … we were nothing without Christ …
and we need to be reminded of that: … We are nothing without His righteousness.
So we have to be careful that we never send out wrong signals to an unbeliever.
Because here is the problem; … There are many people who believe they are
simply not good enough to come to Christ. … They believe they have to get their
life “together” first … and then they can come to Christ … but nothing could be
further from the truth.
Here is the truth: …
The truth is, we are NOT good enough when we receive Christ … but it is only
when we realize we are NOT good enough … that we CAN come to Him.
This is a barrier that we need to tear down. … Here’s the process; … We come to
God Just as we are, … then God starts us in the process of what the Bible calls
sanctification. … I am being sanctified … but I have not been completely
sanctified. … It is progressive. … I am saved … but I am still in the process of
being cleaned up.
Here are a few things we need to allow unbelievers to do: …
1. Allow unbelievers to question our faith. … “Always be ready to give a defense
to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15b) 
In-other-words, … if someone asks about your hope as a believer, … always be
ready to explain it.
Show interest in their opinions; their doubts; their questions. … Even if we don’t
agree. … I never want to present myself as someone who thinks I have arrived or
have it all together.
Allow unbelievers to question our faith.

2. Allow unbelievers to wrestle with their unbelief. … A good example of this is
found in the 9th chapter of Mark. … A man brought his son to Jesus. … His son
was demon possessed … but even as His father brought his son to Jesus, … the
father was still struggling with his belief in who Christ really was.
Maybe he had never really seen God’s power for himself. … Jesus told the father;
anything is possible to those who believe; … this is what the father said: …
“I do believe! Help my unbelief.”
I have beliefs but I also have doubts.
Unless we are prefect, … we should be able to identify with that statement.
As a Church, we must always allow people to come here and search, … to ask
questions; … that is how we came to Christ … and we should allow others the
same privilege. … When we show grace to others, … we are following in the same
steps as Jesus.
3. Our attitude should be one of humility, … especially in connection with an
unbeliever. … Paul said salvation is not a reward for the good works we have done
… so none of us should brag about it or look down our noses at others.
The Bible is crystal clear on this subject. If we have been saved, … we have no
right to brag / boast / be prideful … about it. … We haven’t saved ourself!
Now this kind of attitude is very contagious. … People find humility to be
attractive and they find pride to be repulsive and unattractive.
Look at what the scripture says: … James 4:6b: … “God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble”
In this I think we usually have the same attitude as God. … We will go out of our
way to help someone who is humble … and we will also go out of our way to
avoid someone who is proud.
Karen and I enjoy watching AGT … where the judges and America get to vote as
to whether the individual is allowed to stay in the competition … and it is not rare
that a contestant is eliminated because of their proudful and holier than thou
attitude toward the judges and the American audience. … Confidence is one thing,
… Pride is another.
As believers, … you and I have to understand that it is not our goodness that has
earned us a place at the table with Jesus … and there are two practices we need to
take up … if we want to really understand this.
1. We must learn humility: … Ego can get the best of us. … This is what EGO is:
Edging God Out.
Instead, … we have to learn to act with humility. …

We find a great promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14: … “If my people will humble
themselves and pray.” … That word “humble” … translates literally as “to bend
the knee.” … To humble ourself means, … that you and I must take the
responsibility for being humble. … We have a choice. … We can humble
ourselves … or we can let God humble us.
Wanna take a guess as to which is the most painful?!!!
2. We must become childlike. … Look at Matthew 18:4: … “Therefore, whoever
humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Why would Jesus say that? … What is it about children that Jesus is telling us to
imitate? … Well, for one, … children don’t wear a mask. … They just say what’s
on their mind. … They’re real; … Genuine. … As adults, … we’re too afraid that
if people see us as we really are, … they might not like us. … So we fake it.
We exaggerate our abilities and sometimes this carries over into adult life /
marriage.
People marry … and then one says; … “you’re not who I thought you were.”
It’s because they never really knew them. … They were never real with each
other. … Those relationships take time.
As believers we need to be willing to allow people to see us for who we really are.
We don’t have to wear a mask. … We don’t have to be perfect. … We don’t have
to appear to be happy all the time. … We have struggles … but if we are HONEST
about them; … it can be contagious.
People love transparency in other people. … Unbelievers need to understand that
we are on a journey together; … we are broken people on a journey together
toward someone … who IS perfect.
We are God’s masterpiece. … Ephesians 2:10: … “For we are His creation,
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that
we should walk in them”
God is crafting a great work of art out of every life that is committed to Him.
Paul said we have been created anew in Christ. … When we read the book of
Ephesians, … we really need to keep one word at the forefront of our mind: …
“GRACE”. … “Grace” wasn’t offered to us AFTER we came to Christ. …
“Grace” was offered BEFORE we came to Christ. … Paul instructed the Romans
in Romans 15: 7: … “Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also
accepted you, to the glory of God”
So how do we do this? … Again, two reminders: …
1. Put on a face of grace. … Be grace with skin on. …

Ever heard that expression?: … Flesh it out, in-other-words. … Be grace to others.
If you have ever been to an art museum, … you know what it’s like to stand and
look at the great works created by master artists. … Some of those paintings are
worth tens of millions of dollars. … Others are considered to be priceless.
Now who gets the credit for those paintings? … The one who painted them; …
Michelangelo?, … Rembrandt?. … You or I wouldn’t walk in and begin to take
credit for them … and neither should we take credit for what God is doing in our
lives. … We accept others by grace … just as God accepted us by grace. He
didn’t wait for us to become perfect before he established a relationship with us. …
Now don’t confuse these two words; … “Accept” and “Approve”. Just
because I accept someone … does not mean I approve of their lifestyle or actions.
… There is a difference. … This is how grace came to us. … This is how it should
go out to others: … “Acceptance”.
2. Do “good works.” … So you have this beautiful work of art. … What do you do
with it? … You put it on display. … You put it in a prominent place for people to
see. … You and I need to be a living, … breathing trophy of God’s grace.
WE need to be God’s masterpiece on public display for others to see.
Especially unbelievers.
Ephesians 2:10: … “   For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good
works, which God prepared ahead of time.”
I think Paul got this idea from Jesus. … Jesus taught us to let our light shine in
front of us so that they will see the good things you and I do … and will honor our
Father who is in Heaven.
It takes grace to: …
• Love others when they act unlovable
• To accept others who are different
• To forgive others when they have wronged us
• To treat others right, when they have treated us wrong.
This is not a perfect Church. … We are not a perfect people … but we do serve a
perfect God.
A lady who apparently was a bit desperate decided to write a letter to Dear Abby.
It read like this: … Dear Abby, I am 44, unmarried and would like to meet a man
my age with no bad habits. … She signed her name, “Rose.”
Abby replies: … “Dear Rose: … So would I.”
I suppose everyone has wanted that at one time or another … but that person
doesn’t exist. …

I’ll tell you what I am thankful for: … The only one who is perfect, … ever has
been … and ever will be. …. Jesus Christ accepts us exactly as we are.
With all of our sin, … our imperfections; … He accepts us … just as we are.
You can come to Him, … just as you are … so that He can help you become all
that you can be. … Most of us never reach our potential in Christ. … Let’s try to
turn that around, … starting today!
AMEN