Monday, October 22, 2007

Grace: Sermon from Oct 21st

God’s Grace: What is it?

Proverbs 3:34. He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.


A man died and went before the pearly gates and of course there was Peter there. Peter greeted the man and began to explain that things are on a point system in order to get in.
The man stated “Great! This will be easy!” and then stated “I never cheated on my wife once…”
Peter stated, “That’s great! 3 points!, anything else”
The man proudly stated, “I never cheated on my taxes, yep paid every cent.”
“Wow!” said Peter, “That is another 2 points!”
Now this went on for about an hour until Peter said, “You have 35 points, anything else?”
“I have nothing more…” said the man.
The man began to realize his situation and trembling said, “It looks like the only way I will ever get in, is by the Grace of God…”
With that the Gates of Heaven swung open wide… and Peter announced loudly, “Enter in!”
Just to warn you we will be looking at a lot of verses today.

Grace the unmerited favor of God.
• This is the most used definition
• Pastor Allen’s definition brings out a fuller understanding of the definition being the way God feels about you… it is God’s emotion of compassionate love toward you.
• I still see that there is even a bigger understanding Grace as I see it as the very substance that holds all things together.

Our God is a Gracious God.

• The character of God is that of compassion. Exodus 33: 18-20. Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." 19. And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
• God’s Character is that of Goodness
• God created all things out His goodness
• Genesis God speaks of creation that “it is good” for it came from Him.

Now fast forward to the New Testament.

• John 1:1-3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was with God in the beginning. 3. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

• John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

• Galatians 5: 22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
God produces His fruit in us. We do not produce any “good” fruit.

• I touched on this a bit last time I talked, in Matthew 7:15-19. "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17. Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

• If one thinks that they can be good we must remember Jesus’ own words in Mark 10:18 "No one is good--except God alone.”

• To think any goodness comes from the human heart or human effort actually works against God’s grace.

God’s Grace is not by Human works

• The most famous verse of course is Ephesians 2:8-9 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9. not by works, so that no one can boast.

• Romans 11:6 if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

In order to have Grace one must have Jesus

• John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

• Again Jesus was the “Let there be…” those very first words of God that started the Great Conversation. It is through Jesus all things were created and all things were good… for all things passed through Jesus and passed through Grace and Truth that were in Him.
Some teach of different “graces”

• Some teach that there is more than one grace; I see this as missing that there is one and that is the same grace that was in Christ who was in the Father before all creation.

• This Grace is the very plan of God of salvation, called “the election” that was purposed in Jesus by the Father even before creation.

• Ephesians 1:4-6 4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5. he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6. to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Law versus Grace

Illustration of Law…

• The law is just: When I was in grade school they still spanked you when you broke the rules. One of the rules of the Southside School I attended was “Do not throw snowballs. Now that is a bit tough for a kid in the first place. One day after a nice snow fall, I was sitting on the swing in the play ground at recess. I suddenly felt a biff on the back of the neck and my neck became cold and wet. I told Tommy to stop as we are not supposed to throw snowballs… and biff he threw another one. Now once is enough, twice is a fight, but I was still under restraint of the Law… so I appealed to it again and biff… third time is a war! I picked up snow and packed it good and threw it… I don’t remember if it hit him or not, but I do remember the voice of the attendant yelling something about us being in a huge amount of trouble. I tried to explain I was only defending myself yet we both still were brought before the board of education… or rather the boards of education.
One was called Big Bertha it was the shorter of the two, the other was the Red Baron. These boards were paddles about 10 inches long and the other about 14 inches long… both had aerodynamic holes drilled in them for more precision. Now the Red Baron got its name of course because when it was used the person was bearing red when it was all done.

I appealed my case of self defense again, and the principal had his principles so he did not listen. I do remember that as I dropped my draws and Tommy did also, He received the Big Bertha… and I counted 1 then 2 swats… then it was my turn and of course I received the Red Baron… and I counted, 1 then 2 then to my surprise… 3 swats! Man… how was that fair?

• The Law is just and it has no mercy. It is what it is and one under must suffer the consequences even if the excuse for breaking it is a really good one like self defense from a snowball assault.

• James 2: 10. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

• Romans 9: 30-33 talks of those under the law stumbled over its purpose and those who did not even seek God were found by God by His grace. 30. What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31. but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." 33. As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." That stumbling Stone is Jesus.

• The Law was a “school master” that leads us to Jesus. (Galatians 3:24) In fact it is actually the slave that was in charge of the child to help them learn the essentials of life… after the child had matured there was no need for the slave to continue his teachings. This is true of the Law it is to lead us to Jesus and in that we are mature… though this is the beginning of a New Life (in capitals)

It is by Grace through faith we are saved.

• After placing one’s faith in Jesus we are no longer under the Law but under
• This grace is all in Jesus and is Jesus just as Jesus is literally truth incarnate Jesus being filled with Grace and Truth embodied both..
• Jesus is also in “very nature” God. (Philippians 2: 6)
All that is, is of Christ, through Christ and for Christ…
• The eternal plan we that we would be “in Christ”
• The creation was all through Christ
• And we were created to be God’s image and that is for Christ. As we now are being transformed into His image.

There are many misconceptions our there about God’s grace.

• Some think and I was taught that Grace saved us, yet we must maintain our salvation… Yet, Paul states that is not true in Galatians. Galatians 3: 3. Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
• Some teach that we can add to our own righteousness yet that negates grace as we are giving the righteousness of Jesus in exchange for our own.
• Some teach that grace is like a bar of soap and that we only use it when we sin…
These are all lies.
• Grace is what saves us and keeps us… it sustains us and transforms us. I personally believe that God maintains our salvation and we cannot add to it by anything we do.
• Some are in bondage to the lies that are taught and this is why Jesus came to set those in captive free.
• If you are under this type of teaching (which is not happening here) I recommend getting out from under it.

Grace is not a license to sin.

• The biggest fear that some have of the freedom that come from grace is that they see it as a license to sin
• Some even took Paul’s words that stated that where sin was, Grace abound even more as a mandate to sin more!
• Paul stated that was not the intention at all of grace…

Grace is to set us free to walk in the righteousness of Christ Jesus

• Romans 5, 6, 7 all emphasize that we died to sin.
• Romans 6:9 states this: For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
• Since He cannot die again and we are in Christ… we will not die again also.

The Promise of the Resurrection.

• This is the promise of Grace… Romans 5:10. For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
• We are saved from death to experience new Life in Christ… this is the Life of the same resurrection of Jesus.
• This resurrection is the power to transform Lives.

Grace is meant to give away

• As we have been forgiven… which is by grace… we also are to forgive by grace.
• Colossians 3:13 -14. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Now this may sound funny to some of you… but I forgive you. I forgive you of all your sins in the Name of Jesus. Now all I ask is that you rise in the Newness of Life and walk in the very Life of Christ Jesus.
You were once dead because of your sins, but now you are reconciled to God. In that your sins died with Jesus on the Cross… and I close with this passage. I hope that you actually pray this passage of scripture as I read it.

2 Corinthians 5: 14-21

For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteous of God.

1 comment:

Mike Messerli said...


great post. well written, well said. thanks.

and I love the new picture.

thanks, Mike