More Than Amazing - Grace Series 1 of 3
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Mar 1, 2000, 12:51
What is a miracle? That is a good question. A sixth grade theologian came up with this answer. A Miracle is when something extraordinary happens without any strings attached. I like that answer a lot. If you take the time to think about it one of the things that you would have to admit is that the grace that we are given by God is nothing short of miraculous. And that is what this article is about... GRACE.
This article was birthed in a series I taught a few years ago entitled "More than Amazing" and the series was about...you guessed it...grace. I panicked a few people when on the first Sunday I stood and boldly announced that "today I have 12 points." After the wave of people heading for the door slowed, I then added that I would just teach each week until we ran out of time, then start again the following week. The end result was 3 distinct studies on the topic of grace. So over the next few months in this center article in The Promise I will again tackle the topic of grace. I think it is one of the most important Biblical concepts we must understand if we are ever going to be all that Christ has called us to be. And this article will go until I run out of space then I will start there again the following month.
To begin with letís get a few preliminary things out of the way. They are important because everything you read beyond this will be related to these preliminary statements. I am convinced that as the pagan world looks at the Christian world it isnít always a pretty sight. One of the reasons that believers struggle is that they are missing a good understanding of grace. We will never be as obedient as we should be until we understand what the Bible has to say about grace. Purity, holiness, and obedience flow from grace...not vice versa. Let me say it another way. We donít experience His grace because we are pure, holy, or obedient. But we can be holy, pure, and obedient because of His grace.
Now one other piece of important information is to make sure you know what I am talking about when I say grace. In other words we need a definition. I believe that the Biblical definition of grace is as follows:
Grace (defined) is an objective grant of
undeserved favor from a superior
to an inferior.
That means that grace is available only from God (our superior) and offered to us (inferior to the Creator).
I also like that acrostic of GRACE that many have learned to help them to remember what grace is. Godís Riches At Christís Expense. That reminds us that we get all the good stuff that God offers because Jesus has bought it for us, not that we could earn it ourselves.
In the book of 1 Peter 5:6-14 we find the basis for this discussion. Let me point out a few things that are there for you. First notice The Need for Godís Grace. In verses 8-9 we are reminded that the enemy is roaming about like a lion and we must resist him. Also we are going to have struggles at times. In other words we need help, we live in a rough world.
That doesnít surprise you, it doesnít surprise me. It doesnít take a rocket scientist to figure out that the world we live in is rough. If it werenít for the grace of God I am not sure how we would make it through. Have you ver wondered what non-believers do? Who do they thank when a child is born and they witness the miracle of life? Who do they thank when they witness the majesty of a sunrise or sunset? Who do they call upon for help when they are in trouble?
We live in a world that is badly in need of Godís grace. The good news is that He offers it to each one of us.
Second notice The Enemy of Godís Grace. In verse 8 we read that "your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion." The enemy is Satan. And donít kid yourself for a minute, Satan is not happy about the grace that we as believers receive from God. Satan will spend a great deal of time trying to convince us that we donít really get Godís grace.
A few years ago someone was lecturing me on reasons why I should be afraid of Satan. They were telling me they were a part of the church of Satan. The founder of the church of Satan is Anton Levay. Have you ever seen him? He has a strange look to him. So do most of the folks who have aligned themselves with him and the church. I was able to tell the member of this group (who also had the look) that I didnít sweat folks like him or Levay. To me they were simply strange weird people doing strange weird things! Satan is a lot more creative than that. But we donít have to be afraid, just be aware. Each and every day a supernatural battle is taking place. 1 John 4:4 reminds us "greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world." Here is how it works. God is in charge, Satan is nothing more than a flunky, and in the end he loses. That is the truth, but it is also true that Satan would love to rob you of the grace that God has given you. One of the ways that Satan robs us is the "stinkiní thinkiní" that we have all heard before. Things like: "A REAL CHRISTIAN wouldnít say that." "If you do this then God just canít love you," or "You just donít measure up." All of these come straight from the pit of Hell and smell of smoke! Donít listen to the enemy!
Third notice The Source of Grace. In verse 10 the phrase is there, "the God of ALL GRACE." In other words, He is the source, the only source! You have met someone who for whatever reason accepts you just the way you are. We donít spend much time thinking about it, but to be loved and accepted unconditionally is a rare gift. That is what the Father does in your life, that is how he feels about you. It is a precious gift to be loved like that. You get it because of His grace.
Fourth notice The Relationship of Grace. In verse 6 we read, " Humble yourselves, therefore, under Godís mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time." Remember earlier the definition of grace that we gave?
Grace is an objective grant of undeserved favor from a superior to an inferior. That means that I cannot give you grace. You canít give it to me. We will try to model it, but I am not your
superior and you are not mine. He is the only source of grace, and that reminds us that the relationship of grace means that because of who we are, we are eligible to receive grace from the Father. He offers it to us, common sense should dictate that we would want to receive it.
Abraham Lincoln one time explained that in the midst of crisis he was forced to his knees in prayer. When someone asked why, he responded, "Because my friend I had nowhere else to go!"
The sixteen year old daughter at the dinner table asked the question, "Has anyone seen my sweater?"
Her father said, "The one that cost $60.00?"
Her sister said, "You mean the one you wonít let me wear?"
Her brother said, "You mean the ugly one that makes you look fat?"
Her grandma said, "You mean the one with the low neckline?"
Her mother said, "You mean the one that has to be washed by hand in cold water?"
They were all talking about the same sweater they just had different perspectives. Our perspective of grace and trying to understand it must begin in a simple way. In order to begin to understand grace, remember this, "We can receive it only because He gives it."
To be continued. . .
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