ILL.- Preacher Charles Swindoll recalled his last spanking when he turned thirteen years old. Chuck said, “Having just broken into the sophisticated ranks of the teen world, I thought I was something on a stick. My father wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was with my great importance and new-found independence.
“I was lying on my bed. He was outside the window on a muggy October afternoon in Houston, TX, weeding the garden. He said, ‘Charles, come out and help me weed the garden.’ I said something like, ‘NO, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, REMEMBER?’
“My tone was sassy and my deliberate lack of respect was eloquent. I knew better than to disobey my dad, but after all, I was the ripe old age of thirteen. Dad set a new 100-meter record that autumn afternoon. He was in the house in a flash and all over me like white on rice, spanking me all the way out to the garden. As I recall, I weeded until the moonlight was shining on the pansies.
“That same night he took me out to a surprise dinner. He gave me what I deserved earlier. LATER HE GAVE ME WHAT I DID NOT DESERVE. The birthday dinner was a matter of grace.”
It's been understated...
It's been overstated...
It's been abused some might say...
It's been underappreciated to say the least...
And yet it continues to give nonstop, to all who will accept it and believe
what it can do for them in their situation and life..
Grace what is it?
Something you say before meal time?
Something you do with your presence?
Something that other people want to stay on the good side of you, concerning your kindness towards them?
Grace: on the Internet there are many definitions, but the one I want to talk about this morning is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
God's redemption at Christ's expense....
Mark 2:1-7 MSG
1-5 After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”
6-7 Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, “He can’t talk that way! That’s blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins.”
From the moment Grace walked on the scene..for those who sought it
they thought it was nothing short of spectacular, miraculous,
more than amazing, more than wonderful!
The pharisee's from the church world felt threatened by it..
It was scandalous, it threatened the very existence
of the status quo...the way things had always been
It not only rocked the boat… But was capable of pushing the boat over...
And they knew it. Amen??
Mark 2:8-12 MSG
8-12 Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, “Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . .” (he looked now at the paraplegic), “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”
And still to this day the whole world says the same thing
we have never seen anything like this...
What Jesus did was scandalous...
And still is..if you dare to believe...
He was on a mission...
He was taking care of his Fathers business...
He didn't care about how the way things had always been...
His Father...had sent Him to do a new thing
To introduce a new covenant to replace an old, worn out, impossible one....
Another thing that rocked the boat was the fact that
He shared it with anyone and everyone that would accept it...
He never had to force it on anyone...it was so incredible
that once a person realized what it was capable of…
They would go to great length's to seek it out and Jesus never turned
anyone who came looking for it...
He continually encouraged, and still does to this day encourage
everyone to come...all are welcome
Mark 2:13-17 MSG
13-14 Then Jesus went again to walk alongside the lake. Again a crowd came to him, and he taught them. Strolling along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” He came.
15-16 Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: “What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?”
17 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.”
In modern Language the church nowadays in some regards is just as guilty as the Pharisees and the religious scholars of Jesus day were...
The church is a hospital for sinners…
Not a hotel for Saints is what Jesus was saying. Amen??
Far too often we get the notion that Jesus might not
Want the undesirables in the church...or that
He might not want us being seen befriending the questionable's...
I mean what would people think of us?
Those people are dirty…
Those people are down and out...
Those people have a record...
Those people are sinners...
Those kind of people scare me…
Those people are exactly the kind of people Jesus was talking about
and that's why the pharisee's and the church world today...
Still think that Grace for "those people" is Scandalous!
I'll tell you what is scandalous..grace that is large enough
To even forgive those who like to judge others...
Grace is for us they think....you have to find grace
Grace doesn't find you!
There are still those in the church world...Who are of the same caliber
of those who ridiculed and questioned Jesus in His day...
Mark 3:1-6 MSG
3 1-3 Then he went back in the meeting place where he found a man with a crippled hand.
( I'm sorry...He did what? Did that say He found a man
with a crippled hand? I believe it did…He found a man)
The Pharisees had their eyes on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction. He said to the man with the crippled hand, “Stand here where we can see you.”
4 Then he spoke to the people: “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?” No one said a word.
5-6 He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod’s followers and ruin him.
Grace was never intended to be hoarded…
It was and has always been intended to be shared
and extended to all...no exceptions
No matter which social status is…
No matter what your religious status is...
No matter what your race, color, or creed is...
Grace was introduced to the world for you…
A gift.. so you could
Establish a relationship with God the Father...
Through the Jesus Gods one and only Son..
Can you earn it?
Can you get too much of it?
Can you use too much of it?
Is there enough of it?
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJ
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Romans 5:15-17 MSG
15-17 Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
Gods gift of Grace is so much more than sufficient
for any need it will ever come up against..
It's there to draw you, to find you and to establish
and give you what you need you're whole life long...
It's merciful from beginning to end
It's exactly what the world needed when it arrived
and it's exactly what the world still needs today!
I was reading “everything we are, do and become
in the Christian walk comes by grace through faith”
and I believe it....everything we receive in our walk with God
comes the same way, By Faith....
We received salvation…by grace through faith…and so does everyone else
Sometimes we might not realize it..but with God everyone is on an equal playing field. No one is more saved than anyone else, no one is more holy than anyone else, no one is more righteous than anyone else because everyone has the same holiness, the same righteousness, the same salvation, and everyone that receives anything from God is all received the same way…by grace through faith.
The key is the pursuit of our relationship faith has given us...
Grace is there and has always been there to deliver
however much you might need...
But the questions is...How much of Gods Grace
and Unmerited Favor DO YOU WANT!!
Because Grace will give you every opportunity to
Receive however much it is that you need
Illus. A CHANGE OF POLICY
In June 2012, the city of Alameda, California first responders stood by and watched a man drown in the San Francisco Bay. The first responders didn’t venture out into the muddy waters of the bay, even as the man started treading water and then eventually went under.
According to the Fire Chief, two things prevented the authorities from taking action: First, because it was a crime scene (the man was trying to commit suicide), the police "felt that going into the water initially might not be the best idea because they were unsure if this individual was armed." Second, the chief said, "There was a policy in place that pretty much stopped our people from entering the water."
Local officials also noted that due to a lack of funding, firefighters had no one properly trained to go into the water. The Alameda Police Chief was also quoted to say, "It’s muddy out there. We don’t want [the police officers] sinking. We don’t want them in distress."
Last June, in the city of Alameda, California first responders watched a man who had decided to commit suicide in the San Francisco Bay. Apparently, he changed his mind for as they watched, he began to tread water. Their interpretation of the law would not allow them to save the man. Eventually his body became so tired that he went under.
By the grace of God, thank goodness their policies were changed only a few days after this horrifying incident...
What policies do we need to change in our hearts and minds in order to better follow Christ and do His will?
(From a sermon by Kenneth Sauer, "A New Way of Understaning Who God Is" 6/21/2012)
It's time to quit singing about amazing Grace...
and let the world around us know that we are living
in God's amazing grace and how they can as well...
We were all once and the undesirable category
TBS all of our garments were as filthy rags
and we can all say the same thing…
Their go I..but for the grace of God
Illus. song lyrics "Call it Grace" by the group Unspoken
It's the light that pierces through you
To the darkest hidden place
It knows your deepest secrets
But it never looks away
It's the gentle hand that pulls you
From the judgement of the crowd
When you stand before them guilty
And you got no way out
It's the breath that's breathing new life
Into what we thought was dead
It's the favor that takes orphans
Placing crowns upon their heads
It's the hope for our tomorrows
The rock on which we stand
It's a strong and mighty fortress
Even Hell can't stand against
Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle
It's nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!