Summary: In the midst of transition, God provides the grace and mercy, while we provide the willingness to let God lead our journey.
“Admitting We Need God’s Mercy and Grace”
Making the Most of Transition
I John 1:5-9 (quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ May 1, 2005
Theme: In the midst of transition, God provides the grace and mercy, while we provide the willingness to let God lead our journey.
Introduction – Forgiven and pardoned…
So far, we’ve heard that in the midst of transition we rely on God’s power, not our own…that it is our choice to follow Christ…and that it takes an honest evaluation of ourselves, a moral inventory if you will, to make the most of this time.
For those of you who have kept up with your church leaders in promising to remain positive, in recommitting yourself to Christ and his church, and in taking that inventory, no doubt, you have felt the benefit of this exercise.
For those of you who have chosen to go alone, you may be finding something here and there to take from this experience or you may feel that this whole process is just another sermon series.
If you find yourself in the later category this morning, then this sermon is for you. While I believe there are ideas that people who have accepted this process can gain from this message…I know that they already know it.
If you’re trying to go it alone, however, then you need to admit that the mercy and grace of that God provides is worth your energy. In the midst of transition, God provides, but only if his people are willing to receive.
Illus. Forgiven and Pardoned (source: Illustrations Unlimited)
It reminds me of the story of a young employee who secretly misappropriated several hundred dollars of his business firm’s money. When this action was discovered, he walked up the stars toward the administrative office he was told to report to. He knew, with a heavy heart, that without a doubt he would lose his position in the firm, possibly face legal action, and he and his family would find their world collapsing around them.
Upon arrival at the office, the senior executive questioned the man about the whole affair. They young man held nothing back, but told about the every illegal act and his wish that he could take it all away.
Then the surprising question came, “If I keep you in your present position,” said the senior executive, “can I trust you in the future?” The younger worker not missing this chance brightened up and said, “Yes sir…you surely can!”
The senior executive continued, “I’m not going to press charges, and you can continue in your present responsibility, but let me tell you why…”
“About twenty years ago, someone like yourself, made the exact mistake you made. He came into this same office and he too spoke to the senior executive. It was the first time in the history of the firm that something like that had happened. That young man succumbed to temptation. Would you like to know what happened to that young man? He now occupies this office. What you have done I did. The mercy you are receiving, I received.”
God knows that we are bunch of screw-ups. We have all made mistakes. We have all fallen far short of whom God has intended us to be. But, when we least expect it, when we deserve the greatest punishment he could muster, God is willing and ready to offer his mercy and grace. And when we receive it we can’t help but share it with others.
When we least expect it, God is willing and ready to offer it. And for that we need to be
I – God offers the perfect offer – all light no darkness. (vs. 5)
But what is it? What is this mercy and grace exactly…
This past week I pulled my “Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms” (one of those books I bought in seminary but very rarely open today ) off my library shelf. While I often quote that grace is the “unmerited favor of God,” it was interesting to find that this dictionary had twenty entries for grace.
Are you ready? Listed were actual grace, cheap grace, common grace, cooperating grace, covenant of grace, efficacious grace, free grace, glorifying grace, habitual grace, irresistible grace, justifying grace, means of grace, prevenient grace, sanctifying grace, saving grace, special grace, sufficient grace, systems of grace, theology of grace, universal grace, Christian graces, and the grace of God.
And do you want me to read the list for mercy…(I thought not!)
If you’ve ever taken and Emmaus Walk or had a DeColores experience, you know that for the whole weekend all you hear is grace….grace….and more grace.
But what is it?
John gave it a definition. When he sat down and wrote the letter we now refer to as I John, he wrote to people in transition. They were being bombarded with false teaching. In the midst of division they cried out for fellowship (1:3). They wanted to know what was at the core of God’s love…the love that led God to call them his children. (3:1) John responded with a definition of grace.