The Lie: I am not enough.
February 14, 2021 – Ephesians 2:1-10
This is the last in our series – The lies we tell ourselves. Next week is the first Sunday of lent. Through this Lenten season we are going to drop into various parts of Jesus’ life so that we can see who he is and who he wants to be for you. The Series is simply titled, – The Life and Death of Jesus. I want to encourage you to follow along as we journey with Jesus towards the cross.
This morning, to finish off this series, I want to talk about a lie that assails us many times throughout our lives. It is the lie – I am not enough. This lie has been around for a long time. We were told when we were growing up that you could be anything you wanted to be and do anything you wanted to do, if you just worked hard enough.
But if you have ever had marriage problems that don’t seem to resolve no matter how hard you try – then you know what it like to feel like “I am not enough.” Even if you have a good marriage you wonder if you can provide enough, be compassionate enough, if you can meet your partners need – you wonder if you are enough.
If you are having problems with your kids, then you wonder if you enough as a parent.
If you are a teenager, then oh my. Are you good enough to make the sports team, the band, get the part in the play, get into the in group? Are you good looking and the right person to attract the boy or the girl you like? Do you have the right social skills? Are you good enough to get into the university you want to get into? A lot of the time you feel like the answer is a resounding – NO!
If you are an employee – are you good enough to get a raise or to make it through the latest round of job cuts or just survive the stress. If you are a small business owner do you have what it takes to survive – or to build a business.
And if you are a Christian – am I good enough for God. Oh – I know about grace – but I also know he says be holy, have peace, be joyful – And so often I feel like a failure. Often we feel like we are not measuring up.
That whole question of – are we enough? – gets complicated by social media. We compare our every-day life to the best of other people’s lives. It gets more complicated as we watch commercials about stuff we don’t have but are told we need for to have a happy life. We work hard, but we want more.
The question – are you enough? Has been around for ages but it has come to the forefront of our culture in the 21st century. The answer most people are giving themselves is – no I am not enough – but I can’t let anyone know that.
So, we hide. For some of you not being enough will make you try harder. For others of you it will make you give up – I will never be enough. For most you what happens is that feeling of failure feeds the worst parts of you.
It feeds the self-doubt. It feeds our insecurity. Then we start to project our failures in one area to every area of our lives. Maybe I am worthless.
It feeds our need to pretend, so we try to project a false image of ourselves. We use the fake it until we make it motto. We cover up our souls and it drives the dysfunctions deeper.
What happens then is that we feel like we need to protect ourselves and protect the image of ourselves that we are trying to project. So, if that image is challenged – depending on how you are wired – we get angry, or we isolate and withdraw, we self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or food, or workaholism, or too much screen time – or we can even cover our self-doubt by becoming overly religious.
Here is the problem with the lie – I am not enough – It is partially true. It is a lie to say that we can do what every we want if we try hard enough. If I really worked at it – and nothing else – I could probably run a marathon. But I will never become a world class runner – I am not built like that.
If I worked hard enough, I might be able to become a singer – but not a world class singer because – well – all the rest of my family got the musical genes. There are just some things that we are not wired to do!
There are some situations where you are not going to be enough. If you have a medical emergency – I am not your guy. If you have a plumbing emergency – I am not your guy. There are just some situations where we are not going to be enough.
But here is what happens when we hit those situations where we feel like we are not enough – and those situations come to all of us from time to time. —What we do with those facts is what psychologists call “globalizing.” We take the data from where we feel we don’t measure up and we apply to every area of our life. We go from – I am not enough in a particular area to I am not enough, to I am a failure to I am worthless. And some of you can do that in a heartbeat.
Have you been there? Are you there right now? I want to take you to God’s word so that we can fight the lie with the truth. Come with me to Ephesians 2
Ephesians 2:1–3 (NIV)
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
Some of you are thinking – nice scripture pick pastor. You expose my heart for feeling I am not enough – and then you take me to a passage of scripture that says I am not enough. Hang in there. The gospel is always good news – but good news that is going to help us must always be grounded in reality.
Here is the reality. We were not enough for God. Why would we be? Verse 1 tells us that we were dead in our transgressions and sins. I don’t know if you have ever tried it – but a dead person isn’t much of a conversationalist. They don’t do much of anything. Why would we think that we were enough for God?
Not only that, verse 2 says we followed the ways of this world. Not only were we of no use to God, we following the ways of this world that were opposed to God and we were following the enemy of God – Satan himself.
But let me tell you this – the news gets a lot better.
Ephesians 2:4–9 (NIV)
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Verse 5 says we were made a live with Christ. Not only that, but you were also raised into the heavenly realms. This means that you were made a citizen of heaven, you have spiritual authority over the evil one, you have the ability and responsibility to talk to God.
Theologian Spence-Jones said, “The heavenly realm is the place where the privileges of heaven are dispensed, where the air of heaven is breathed, where the fellowship and enjoyment of heaven are known, where an elevation of your spirit is experienced as if heaven as already begun”.
You were made alive with Christ, you were seated with Christ in the heavenly realm, and you experience God’s grace.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
God’s grace is his underserved favour. Simply put, all of what have been talking about – being raised to life, given a new spiritual life, being able to seated with Christ in the heavenly realm – cannot be earned. It is a gift of God – a gift given to anyone who reaches out in faith.
If you have never given your life to Jesus, I would invite you to do that right now. He wants you to experience all the joy he has for you. You can do that by praying a prayer like this.
Lord Jesus Christ, come into my life. Forgive me of my sin. I receive your love. I receive your forgiveness. I receive your grace. Lord I want a relationship with you – I want to know you – help me to follow you.
If you have prayed that prayer, we would be happy to help you move forward into your relationship with Jesus. Please let us know of your decision to follow Jesus.
Now let me sum up. You and I were not enough for God. We were dead in our transgressions and sins. But for those of you who have put your faith in Jesus like we just talked about – he has made you alive in Christ. He has forgiven you sins. He has raised you and seated you with Christ in the heavenly realm.
But catch this next part.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
That word handiwork or masterpiece or workmanship is a hard word to translate – but you get the idea. God made you. He knows you. You have a purpose. God has a plan. And you are enough to fulfill is purpose and his plan.
Your boss may tell you that you are not enough. Your spouse may tell you that you are not enough. The bullies at your school may tell you that you are not enough. You may hear all kinds of messages that say that you are not enough.
But I want you to hear the words of Jesus. You are loved – Even before you did anything, you are loved. You have been made alive, spiritually alive. I know some of you, especially during this pandemic are feeling like death warmed over – but down in the core of who you are – you have been made alive. – I want you to know that that life can be fanned into flame.
Not only have you been made alive, but you have been given the privileges attached to being part of the heavenly realm. You are a child of God and a citizen of heaven. God hears when you when you pray. More than anything else I want you to hear this – you are accepted by God. That is part of grace. God loves you – he is especially fond of you – he knows you and he wants to embrace you.
I know that there are some of you who are saying pastor, I’ve got all the data – My parents told me I wasn’t enough, my boss told me I wasn’t enough. My spouse told me I am not enough. The reality is I feel deep down inside that I am not enough.
Oh, I know when you see me that I have a smile on my face, and I know I come across as having it together – but inside I am a mess.
Hear this, you are loved by God, and you are accepted by God. But more than that you are God’s masterpiece – and before you object just hear me out. First hear the word of God and then let me tell you as story.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
In 2019, Philomène Wolf, a French Auctioneer was given one week to clear a house and was told after that time what was left would go to the dump.
It was the house of a little old French lady. Over the place in her kitchen where she cooked on a hotplate hung a picture. It had been stained by the steam. There were worm holes in the wood on which the painting was painted on. It was a dark dingy little painting.
The painting portrays Christ as being mocked. It was a small painting, a damaged painting.
Some of you feel very much like that painting. To my eye the painting is not very beautiful. It is dingy; it is stained. It was just something you put in the kitchen as filler – hang it on the wall over a hotplate. As you look at your life, you are thinking it is not very beautiful it is pretty banged up. It is not worth much.
Mr. Wolfe, the auctioneer, was bright enough to bring the painting to an expert in art. He was able to identify it as being painted in 1280 by an Italian master named Cenni di Pepo.
It doesn’t matter what it looks like it matters who painted it. You are God’s masterpiece. You need to see yourself for what you are. God’s workmanship.
If you had seen this painting kicking around – you might have thought it junk. But it was restored and put out for auction.
In October of 2019 it brought 26.8 million dollars at auction. That dingy, damaged picture, that many of us would have tossed aside was worth millions.
You are like that painting. You are more valuable than you think – you are God’s masterpiece.
For those of you who are struggling with the lie, I am not enough – and that MP3 file seems to be on loop in your head. – Will you take to heart what God speaks over you. You are loved, you are accepted, you are valuable, you are his masterpiece.
You are made for a purpose. The one who is in the process of restoring all things, wants to restore you – to heal the damage, cleanse the crud, and show you as someone of beauty.
It is not about what you can do for God – but it is about whether you will let God work on you.
You are going to get all kinds of messages about who you are from this world. Many of those messages will be lies. Don’t buy the lie, listen to the one who speaks truth, listen to God.
Sermon Questions – The Lies we tell ourselves – Part 7
The Lie: I am not enough.
1. Where did you sense God closest to you in the last week?
2. What are you celebrating this week?
3. As you look over your past, where have you received the message “you are not enough?”
4. How does media, and social media exaggerate this message?
5. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. These verses describe a person before they come to know Christ. What are the characteristics of such a person?
6. In that state we were not enough for God. Why is that true?
7. Read Ephesians 2:4-9. What this passage tell us that God has done for us?
8. What does it meant that we were “raised and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms?” (vs. 6)
9. Read verses 8-9 again. How have you experienced the grace of God?
10. Read verse 10. What is this verse saying about those who are in Christ? How does this verse contradict the lie that says, “I am not enough?”
11. What messages does God want us to believe instead of the lie “I am not enough?” What practices can a person engage in to replace the lie with the truth?