Two Words That Changed Everything

Bible Book: Ephesians  2 : 4
Subject: God, Intervention of

I will admit that I am not an English major. I had better grades in New Testament “Greek” than I did in my English class. I may not know how to speak very good English, but I do know that certain words, when placed in a sentence, can make an impact on what is being said.

The word “BUT” is a conjunction with a difference. I am aware that ‘and’ is a conjunction, ‘but’ it does not carry the same impact as “BUT”. “BUT” is always of the contrary opinion. “BUT” adds additional information and it also changes the impression and impact given by that which precedes its use. It qualifies, alters, and not infrequently completely negates that which has been said.

For example, most of us have said; “That is a good idea, BUT……….” Chances are that the proposed idea will be abandoned altogether. We have said; “That is a good man/woman, BUT…….” When we use the word “BUT” in this situation, we mean that we hesitate to put complete confidence in that person. We often say; “He/she is a good friend, BUT……….” This usually means that they are really a good friend. I think you understand the message that is being applied.

Throughout the Word of God we read time and time again the expression: “BUT GOD”. This means that whatever may have been stated is immediately qualified, and often corrected, by that which follows “BUT”.

Here in our text is a good example of this. We are told that all of us are by “nature the children of wrath, even as others; BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy.” We are made aware of that which precedes the conjunction, but after “BUT GOD” we are to believe that such promises and provision are to be appropriated by faith. Do you see how everything changes? These 2 words change everything. [2:4] could be translated this way: “BUT GOD! So rich is He in His Mercy. Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us.”

Here is what this verse is teaching us. We had no way in which to escape the bondage of Satan or to rise out of spiritual death into the life of God…BUT GOD could do that and has done this for every true believe in the Lord Jesus. It is of God’s Mercy that we were not destroyed when we were in sin; or that we were not left to our own devices.

God had so much compassion on this world, that He sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ the Great Shepherd of the sheep to give His life so that we might live ‘in’ Him and ‘for’ Him.

I want to use this one verse to help lay a foundation of how the 2 words “BUT GOD” can change anything and everything in your life…when these 2 words are appropriately used.

1)- You may be a sinner -- BUT GOD Loves you

Turn with me to [Romans 5:6-8]- “For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] BUT GOD commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I don’t know of too many times when I read these verses—that I’m not overwhelmed and startled at just how much God really loves us. *We are known to show our appreciation towards the “good person”…the kind, considerate, courteous, generous, exceptional person. We often will go out of our way to help such a person. Most of the time, we find ourselves taking sides with them and defending them.

On the other hand - - how many of us go out to find our enemies, that person that has been cruel to us; that person who has stabbed us in the back; that person who has scolded us and cursed us to our face; that person who has tried to ruin your life and your reputation…and tried to help them; love them; and even be willing to die for them; die in their place. *We deliberately shun them and walk the other way. We choose to have nothing to do with them because of their actions and attitude toward us.

BUT GOD---has chosen to deal with us another way. Before you were saved, you are an enemy of God. You were born in sin…and as you got older, you chose to live without God…you chose sin over the Lord…you chose to rebel against Him…some of you chose to deliberately use His name in vain.

Every person that does not belong to the family of God; every person who is not a child of God is a child of Satan. Your deeds are wicked…your life is headed for hell. Your sins have kept you from God’s Glory. Your lifestyle says that you don’t need God. Your words seem to say that you don’t want God fooling with your life and interfering with what you do.

BUT GOD comes to you anyway because He loves you. In fact, He loves you so much that He sent His Only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die in your place so that you won’t have to die without Him. CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY!

There is no one in this building that can say ‘no one loves me.” There is One Person that loves you. You do not need to sit in your seat and try to figure out His love for you. The Love of God cannot be comprehended. It is by faith that you receive God’s Love for you.


Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."

Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan "Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you're getting a divorce. That will really hurt him."

With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm; acting "as if."

For 2 months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn't return, Crane called. "Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?" "Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love him." Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion.

I want you to know that God didn’t have to learn to love us. There is nothing about us to really love.

· We are unholy!

· We are sinners!

· We have nothing good in us!

· We are wicked!

· We are vile!

· We are unclean!

God didn’t learn to love us—HE CHOSE TO LOVE US! He can’t help but love us! God doesn’t just give love, He IS Love!

1)- You may be a sinner—BUT GOD loves you!

2)- You may think that you have been forsaken - - BUT GOD is with you

Turn with me to the Old Testament, the Book of Genesis. [Genesis 48:1]- “And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

[48:8] And Israel behold Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these? [9] And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.

[48:20] And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. [21] And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: BUT GOD shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your father.”

Faith in the living God is the greatest heritage. Jacob had learned from his forefathers, Abraham and Isaac to have faith in God, and when he came to die, he entrusted that same heritage to his 12 sons. He spoke these words to Joseph; “BUT GOD SHALL BE WITH YOU.”

Jacob had lived a long and full life. He was a cheat, a schemer; a heel-grabber; a liar…But God changed his life. He had discovered throughout his life that God had been his unfailing helper.

God had tested Jacob by allowing him to experience sorrows and insurmountable difficulties. But through it all, Jacob had found God to be faithful and true. God had been his guide; his strength; and his provider.

In his deepest crisis, Jacob met God face to face…Jacob wrestled with God all night…God crippled him…and God changed his name to Israel.

Through the years, Jacob believed that his son Joseph was dead. Jacob lived with the grief that his son had been devoured by a wild beast. But one day his sorrow and his suffering were turned to joy in the midst of a famine. Jacob, in his old age, saw his sons bringing a wagon load of supplies from Egypt where his son Joseph ruled. Joseph was alive. Those wagons proved to Jacob that God had not forsaken him. In his old age, God was still with him.

Now, Jacob is passing this great truth on to Joseph. Jacob was reminding Joseph that GOD WOULD BE WITH HIM!

There have been times as your Pastor…as your friend that I have tried to come up with some new thought; some new theories; some new truth that would encourage you during your time of feeling lonely, discouraged, down-hearted, depressed…All I keep coming up with is BUT GOD SHALL BE WITH YOU!

I have learned down through the years that this one truth (GOD SHALL BE WITH YOU) is good to live by no matter what situation, sorrow, suffering you may experience. You may feel lonely at this very moment—BUT GOD SHALL BE WITH YOU!

The old song says:

“And He walks with me and He talks with me;

And He tells me I am His own.

And the joy we share as we tarry there.

None other, has ever known.”

1)- You may be a sinner—BUT GOD loves you!

2)- You may feel that you have been forsaken—BUT GOD is with you!

3)- You may have a great need - - BUT GOD will provide for you!

One of the most quoted verses in God’s Word is found in [Philippians 4:19]- “BUT MY GOD shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.”

We have come to an ocean without a bottom or shore. What we have here is just a small idea of the Divine possibility. God does not promise to satisfy our wishes nor gratify our wants. God promises to supply your need.

· When we needed light---God provided the sun!

· When we needed to breathe---God provided the air!

· When we needed food---God provided the ground to raise vegetables!

· When we were thirsty---God provided the water!

· When we desire to live---God provides life!

· When we reach our wits end---God provides hope!

There is not a need in your life that is so great that our Lord cannot supply and provide for.

Someone has said that “God is a fountain always overflowing; if the streams should fail there would be a universal bankruptcy of life…millions on millions can no more exhaust His store than we with the hollow of our hand could empty the sea.”

This verse simply teaches us that God supplies all our needs through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord’s supply is not measured by our need---it is measured according to His riches. SURELY THERE IS ENOUGH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO MEET YOUR NEED!

[note> That which fills an ocean will fill a bucket; that which will fill a gallon will fill a pint. There is always enough provision with the Lord.]


Years ago, there was a man that had wondered out into one of our western settlements, begging for food to keep him from starving. A bright-colored ribbon was seen around his neck, from which there hung a small dirty pouch. On being asked what it was, he said it was a charm given to him in his younger days.

He opened it, and took out a worn and crumpled paper, which he handed the person speaking to him. It proved, on examination, to be a regular discharge from the Federal Army, entitling him to a pension for life, and signed by General Washington himself. *Here was a man, with a promise duly signed, which, if presented in the right place, would have secured to him ample provision for his life; and yet he was wandering about hungry, helpless, and begging for bread to keep him from starving.

I want to teach you that this verse is conditional. The Christians in Philippi was taking care of Paul’s needs. He was teaching them that God would take of them because of their giving to help him.

God has promised us that when we give, when we become obedient unto the Lord, God will supply all our needs…BUT GOD will provide for you.

1)- You may be a sinner—BUT GOD loves you!

2)- You may feel that you have been forsaken—BUT GOD is with you!

3)- You may have a great need—BUT GOD will provide for you!

4)- You may think that you are inadequate in your service for the Lord - - BUT GOD has chosen you!

Turn with me to [I Corinthians 1:26-31]- “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, [27] BUT GOD hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

[28] And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: [29] That no flesh should glory in His presence.

[30] But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: [31] That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

I won’t take the time to get into the depth of these verses…Over and over again, God astounds and amazes us with those He chooses to sue. God will take the foolish things to confound the wise. God will take ‘nobodies’ and use them to bring our sinful world to shame.

God takes the base things; the despised things to overcome those things which are great.

God used Moses….his 40 years of life he learned how to be a somebody. The next 40 years in the desert he learned to be a nobody. Then for the last 40 years he learned that God could take a ‘nobody’ and make them a ‘somebody’ and lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses was a prince; then a pauper; then finally God’s Prophet.

God used David…..God used a small shepherd boy named David to confront and defeat Goliath.

God used Gideon…God wanted to use Gideon as a mighty judge to gain victory over His enemies. But Gideon was scared to death of the enemy, and so he was threshing wheat in a hiding place when the Lord appeared to him and said; ‘The Lord is with thee, HOU MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR.” Gideon looked around and said; “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold my family is poor in the tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

In spite of what Gideon thought of himself and in spite of his fears, God told him; “I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. Gideon then led an attack with only 300 men and routed the entire Midianite army.

I want to say to you and encourage you with the fact that God can do amazing things with our lives if we let Him. It doesn’t matter what our backgrounds are. It doesn’t matter if we came from the wrong side of the tracks. Although we may be poor and from different backgrounds God can still use us.


I think of Jonathan Edwards'. He was the primary instrument that God used to kindle the fires of the Great Awakening. In Enfield, Connecticut, he preached a message entitled, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which may be the most famous sermon in American history. Yet, Jonathan Edwards was marked by physical weakness.

He was a very frail man. He was asthmatic. It was not unusual for him to wheeze, cough, and hack while preaching. He read his sermons from a prepared manuscript. He read them at a very low volume because his voice was so weak. People often had to strain to hear him. He had horrible eyesight. His eyesight was so poor, that not only did he have to wear thick glasses, but to read them, he had to hold his message about an inch from his nose.

Yet, in spite of his disabilities, when he preached, the power of God fell in such a manner, that people often writhed in conviction. He, as much as any other, was the instrument that God used to bring revival to America in the mid-1700's.


God used a man by the name of Billy Sunday. He was a converted major league baseball player who some people considered to be God’s joke on the ministry. Billy Sunday astounded and embarrassed the cultured people of his day. In one of his services, a distinguished man with a long, white beard, came down toe aisle to receive Christ. When Billy Sunday saw this man’s beard, he shouted; “Glory to God”; he ran down the aisle, grabbed that man by the beard, and said; “Honk; honk.” We think; ‘How foolish he must have been’ - yet God used Billy Sunday to win more than a million people to faith in Christ Jesus.

We don’t have to be a flashy Church; you don’t have to be a famous Christian…all we have to do is put our lives in God’s hands and allow Him to use it for His Glory and honor,

1)- You may be a sinner—BUT GOD loves you!

2)- You may feel that you have been forsaken—BUT GOD is with you!

3)- You may have a great need—BUT GOD will provide for you!

4)- You may think that you are inadequate in your service for the Lord - - BUT GOD has chosen you!

5)- You may believe that you can’t make it through your daily struggles - - BUT GOD will is Faithful to you!

Look with me in [I Corinthians 10:12,13]- “”Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. [13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: BUT GOD is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

There is not one person in this building that is exempt from difficulties, temptations, trials, and testings. For some the distress goes deeper than for others. The trial comes more suddenly and lasts longer for some than for others. Many times when the pain persists and deepens, we reason that they are unnecessary and undeserved. They may seem meaningless, and to all appearance endless.

God knows that there is a limit to human endurance. Many times we think that we have gone beyond our limit. BUT GOD is faithful to make a way to escape. We are to look to our Faithful Lord for His help…He may not change our circumstances. BUT GOD in His time will deliver His children.

BUT GOD---has a way of changing things.