I want to show you a picture of something amazing, but I feel like I should prepare you for it before I show it to you.
Don’t worry – this picture isn’t offensive or inappropriate. It’s not too gross or gory, and it probably won’t keep you up at night. But, you’re about to be amazed by it. You might want to sit down.
Ok, are you ready? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Look at this:
All right, so I might have over-sold that just a little bit. Still, it’s pretty impressive, right?
I guess I should tell you what you’re looking at. This is one of the tables in our Grace Fellowship Center. There are several tables just like it where our church family gathers to share food and fellowship at various events throughout the year.
Of course, with that much use, the tables eventually start to show a little wear and tear, not to mention a little bit of dirt and grime collected through the years.
That’s where Greased Lightning comes in. Last week, Roberta Gullick and her granddaughter, Hannah, came by the church and cleaned the tables for us with a special cleaner called – you guessed it – Greased Lightning. I had never heard of it before, but you can bet I’m going to buy some the next time I’m at the store!
Roberta took that Greased Lightning and meticulously cleaned every one of the tables. As she was working even she was amazed at what a difference it made! So, she decided to let us take this picture before she finished cleaning that last table so that we could see just how dirty the tables really were. Take a look at that picture again: the left side has been cleaned, but the right side hasn’t.
Now, it’s not like these tables haven’t ever been cleaned before. They get wiped down after our Wednesday Night Supper each week, and they are cleaned more thoroughly on a regular basis, too. In fact, just a week or so before that picture was taken, they were cleaned extensively before a family reunion that was held at the church.
Still, look at the right side of that table. As much as we had tried to keep it clean, it had developed layer upon layer of gunk and grime that we just couldn’t get off by ourselves. We needed something stronger – we needed Roberta Gullick and Greased Lightning.
I bet you already know where I’m going with this.
The Bible teaches us that sin is a lot like the grime on those tables. We all have it – Romans 3:23 reminds us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” There is no one, from the purest “saint” to the most depraved “sinner,” who has lived a life that is worthy of God’s favor.
And, like the grime on those tables, there’s nothing we can do on our own to get rid of our sin. The Bible teaches us that we are not capable of living lives that are pure enough or perfect enough to overcome the stain of sin that is on each of us.
That sounds like bad news, right? Well, Romans 6:23 reminds us of the good news:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Think about that word “gift” for a second. By definition, a gift is something that is given voluntarily without payment in return. We don’t earn eternal life by doing something to please God or to earn God’s favor on our lives – He gives it to us without expecting anything from us in return.
So, while we could do nothing on our own to get rid of the sin in our lives, Jesus Christ acted on our behalf as only He could. He sacrificed Himself so that His righteousness could extend to us, as well. And, like that Greased Lightning removed layers of gunk and grime that we couldn’t get rid of any other way, Jesus’ sacrifice removes our sin and leaves us clean in the eyes of God.
That’s truly amazing, when you think about it. How blessed we are to serve a God who loves us enough that He would sacrifice His own Son in order to rescue us from our sin!
While we’re at it, could I briefly remind you about three other things that God wants to help you get rid of?
1. Guilt: Too often, we are consumed by guilt over past sin that has already been forgiven by God. It makes us feel as though we are not worthy to be a part of what God is doing in the world around us. A feeling of guilt is an appropriate response to sin, but we cannot allow it to control our lives and prevent us from living up to the plans God has for us. Let go of the guilt you feel over your past and know that God is ready to use you to do great things for His kingdom. (See 1 John 1:9 and Romans 8:1)
2. Fear: As we face the uncertainties of life, we are sometimes afraid of what the future holds. (“What if I lose my job?” “What if I get a horrible disease?” “What if my marriage falls on hard times?”) What we must always remember is that our future is in God’s hands, and that He has a plan that is far better than anything we can understand on our own. We are not promised an easy, pain-free life, but we are promised that God will carry us through whatever life may bring our way. (See Isaiah 41:10 and Philippians 4:6-7)
3. Insecurity: “How could God use me to accomplish his plans? I’m not smart enough/strong enough/well-spoken enough/important enough to be of any use to Him. Surely the best thing for me to do is to keep quiet and stay out of the way before I mess things up.” Does that thought process sound familiar? If so, you need to know this: God created you for a purpose. Whatever you think your limitations may be, don’t forget that you were made by God, and God doesn’t make junk. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
What layers of gunk and grime are you carrying around in your life today? Are you still stained by sin? Are you burdened with guilt or fear or insecurity?
Whatever you’re carrying, remember the Greased Lightning Gospel: God wants to help you get rid of it. On behalf of our church, we would love to help you figure out how to rid yourself of these unnecessary burdens – please get in touch and we will tell you how!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
P.S. – Thank you, Roberta and Hannah, for cleaning the tables! It made a huge difference and we appreciate having nice, clean tables to eat off of again!