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. Eph 2:4-9
Here is a moving illustration to explain God’s grace. An old Indian, after living many years in sin, was led to Christ by a missionary. Friends asked him to explain the change in his life. Reaching down, he picked up a little worm and placed it on a pile of leaves. Then, touching a match to the leaves, he watched them smolder and burst into flames. As the flames worked their way up to the center where the worm lay, the old chief suddenly plunged his hand into the center of the burning pile and snatched out the worm. Holding the worm gently in his hand, he gave this testimony to the grace of God: “Me. . . that worm.”
Grace should be a straightforward concept but it wages war against all mortal reason. Why would anyone give us anything for free? Something we didn’t earn, or buy or barter? God offers us forgiveness before we ask for it. In the verse from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he lays out this grand image of the nature of God.
“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,…” Ephesians 2:4-6
God has an everlasting desire to keep us with Him for all eternity. The Almighty, knowing our weakness created a plan to rescue us from sin that was totally independent of any efforts on our part. Thank God we are not saved by the good things we do and fall from grace by the bad things we do. If that was the merit system we were working under we would all be lost. God’s grace means salvation is completely apart from any virtue we may think we have garnered. Grace means that Jesus did it all for our sakes! Our salvation is a free gift of God.
So, if the Father of Lies, Satan, is trying to convince you that you are not worthy of God’s love, well you are not and neither am I. But we are worthy of God’s grace, not because of what we may do but because of what Jesus DID for us on the cross. Jesus gave up His life so that God “…might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7 God loves us so deeply that He sent His son Jesus Christ to reach into the fires of hell and pull us out. He values our relationship so much that God will not be satisfied with a surface connection. God desires to draw all people to himself for eternity. God sent Jesus to bring back all the lost sheep into the Fathers sheepfold. People matter to God. You matter to God!
If you are feeling lost or are experiencing a sense of confusion and “disconnectedness” in life, Jesus the Good Shepherd is seeking you. Jesus will not stop searching and with relentless grace won’t stop until He finds you.
If your spirits are down, if you are feeling a sense of hopelessness, or if you are searching for joy, the God of joy and life wants to connect with you. You can stop running away from Him and instead return to Him. He is waiting there for you with open and forgiving arms. Move into the waiting arms of your Savior the Good Shepherd. It is there that you will find the desires of your heart.
All people matter to God. All people are equally important to God. We have not only been found, but we are also redeemed. We are loved!
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Eph 2:4–9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
 Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
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