Summary: Today's sermon, A Grace-Filled Heart is part of the "A Christian Heart" series. It looks at a heart that is grateful, enduring, and a heart that fears God. It also walks through John Newton's hymn, "Amazing Grace."
A Christian’s Heart
“A Grace-Filled Heart”
In this series on a Christian’s heart we’re looking at those qualities a Christian should and needs to possess, qualities that should be deep within our hearts.
Today we’re going to be looking at a grace-filled heart, a heart filled with the grace of God. But what exactly is grace? This is important because we really can’t proceed until we get this established.
Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve, which is nothing less than His blessings and eternal life in heaven. It was by grace through faith that we’re saved and became a part of God’s family. This is why our hearts should be grace-filled.
Now, there are two truths that everyone should know, and once we get these down they’ll transform our thinking when it comes to God’s grace.
• First, there’s nothing we can do to make God love us more, and
• Second, there’s nothing we can do to make God love us less.
Grace is God’s gift to us. It’s a gift of God. Therefore we can’t earn it, because no one earns a gift. What we need to do then is to receive it and open it up for our lives.
There are three aspects to having a grace-filled heart that I’d like to share with you. These are hearts that are filled with gratitude, endurance, and the fear God.
1. A Grateful Heart
Thinking about someone who had a grateful heart, the woman with the Alabaster jar comes to mind.
“And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and
“(She) stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. (Luke 7:37-38 NKJV)
This woman recognized she was a sinner and she also recognized who Jesus was, and she show her gratitude in the best and highest way possible as she knelt at His feet, praising and serving Him by cleaning His feet with her tears and anointing them with fragrant oil. It was her way of saying, “I’m sorry,” “thank you,” and “I love you.”
It is by God’s grace that we’re even here this morning. God didn’t have to wake us up and give us another breath of life, but by His grace He did. It’s with this knowledge that we should then have a grace-filled heart of gratitude.
Another person with such a grace-filled heart of gratitude was John Newton, author of the hymn, “Amazing Grace.”
God spared his life in a storm that should have sunk the ship he was piloting. After this experience he became a minister of the gospel and wrote down his words of gratitude.
In the verses one and three he says,
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”
“Through many danger, toils and snares, I have already come; this grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. “
It’s having such a grace-filled heart of gratitude that changes our lives. But how does such a grace-fill heart of gratitude respond?
When we look at God’s amazing grace, grace we don’t deserve and that keeps and saves us when we deserve death and hell, a grace-filled heart of gratitude responds by praising God’s wonderful, marvelous, and amazing grace.
Such was the heart of John Newton when he wrote this hymn.
But such a grace-filled heart responds also through generosity.
Consider Jesus who gave it all. If we want a measuring stick to see how we stack up and are living up to God’s wondrous grace, we need to consider Jesus’ generosity as He died to take our place and set us free.
Jesus’ generosity is seen in Paul letter to the Philippian Church.
“Who being in the form of God…made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death.” (Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV)
When we show such generosity from a heart filled with gratitude, God will make all grace abound in our hearts, and where we’ll have everything we need in abundance to do what God has called for us to do.
“God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:7b-8 NKJV)
Such generosity, however, involves far more than our finances; it also involves our time if not our entire lives. It’s the giving of ourselves completely, cheerfully, liberally, and abundantly.