Message for a local congregation on January 18, 2015
- How I met Pastor Zane
- Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and New Hope of Dillon
- Testimony of Christian Rapper Lecrae
with John Piper and John Ensor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wauaI7rL0vM Beginning to 9.33 minutes
Message Focus – Every one of us needs God’s mercy and grace and the healing it brings from sin!
Def: Mercy – not getting what we deserve. Grace – Getting what we don’t deserve.
Today I want to focus on God’s grace because that is what the book of I Thessalonians begins with and ends with – It is also a word I heard a lot last week in Zane’s message and the prayers that were offered up in worship of God.
- . . . to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 1 Thessalonians 1:1
- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Thessalonians 5:28
Question 1: What is grace? The word occurs in the Bible over 130 times, mostly in the N.T.
1828 Noah Webster Dictionary – first American English Dictionary
Def. # 2. “Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.”
Def. #3. “Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the Spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.”
My definition: A divine enablement, empowerment, or gifting, to have or to do what we could not have or do without God’s favorable help.
- Gift of eternal life: Salvation – 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
- Gifts of the Spirit: Service of God and others – Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11
Question 2: How do you receive God’s grace? Humble Ask in faith
- Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. I Peter 5:5b-7
- What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:1-10
Question 3: What does God’s grace look like in real life? Paul’s example:
- For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
- So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Conclusion: Is there a victor over sin that God want for you this year, or a special good work that he is calling you to do for Him? By His grace you can do it for the glory of God!
- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
If time permits: Reading of Thomas Brooks exhortation on Romans 8:28
Thomas Brooks, 1662
All the sins of the saints
“We know that all things work together for good,
to those who love God, to those who are called
according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
All the afflictions, and
all the temptations, and
all the desertions, and
all the oppressions, and
all the oppositions, and
all the persecutions—
which befall a godly man,
shall work for his good.
Every cross, and
every loss, and
which befall the holy man,
shall work for his good.
and every enterprise of Satan against
the holy man, shall work for his good.
They shall all help to make him . . .
Every prosperity and every adversity;
every storm and every calm;
every bitter and every sweet;
every cross and every comfort—
shall work for the holy man’s good.
When God gives a mercy—
that shall work for his good.
When God takes away a mercy—
that shall work for his good.
Yes, even all the falls and all the sins of
the saints shall work for their good. Oh . . .
which God raises in the souls of His saints by their
very falls! Oh the hatred, the indignation, and the
detestation—which God raises in the hearts of His
children against sin—by their very falling into sin!
Oh what love to Christ,
what thankfulness for Christ,
what admiration of Christ,
what cleaving to Christ,
what exalting of Christ,
what drawings from Christ’s grace—
are saints led to, by their very falls!
It is the glory of God’s holiness, that . . .
He can turn spiritual diseases—into holy remedies!
He can turn soul poisons—into heavenly cordials!
He can prevent sin by sin, and cure falling by falling!
O Christian! What though friends and relations frown upon you,
what though enemies are plotting and conspiring against you,
what though needs, like armed men, are breaking in upon you,
what though men rage, and devils roar against you,
what though sickness is devastating your family,
what though death stands every day at your elbow—
yet there is no reason for you to fear nor faint, because
all these things shall work for your good! Yes, there is
wonderful cause of joy and rejoicing in all the afflictions
and tribulations which come upon you—considering that
they shall all work for your good.
O Christians! I am afraid, I am afraid—that you do not
run so often as you should—to the breasts of this promise,
nor draw that sweetness and comfort from it, that it would
yield, and that your several cases may require. “We know
that all things work together for good, to those who love
God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I
have been the longer upon this verse, because the condition
of God’s people calls for the strongest cordials, and the
choicest and the sweetest comforts.