Summary: Epiphany 2(A) - We always thank God because of his grace! Our loving God graciously calls believers into His church and then our gracious God richly provides for His church.
ALWAYS THANK GOD BECAUSE OF HIS GRACE (Outline)
January 14, 2007 - EPIPHANY 2 - 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
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INTRO: A quick reminder that Epiphany means appearance (or manifestation). During Epiphany we come to see Jesus’ appearance as the very Son of God. Last month during Advent and Christmas we saw Jesus as the Son of Mary and Joseph. In this Epiphany season the Light of the world is fully revealed. Christ has come as the very Word of God, which shines in a dark place. Here is the miracle worker at the wedding of Cana. We are thankful to be able to see God’s grace fulfilled in Christ the Lord, Jesus our Savior. Scripture also declares that fact: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men"(TITUS 2:11). This is God’s grace: God’s Son and the Son of the carpenter revealed to us. We agree with Paul in the words of today’s text: I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus (verse 4). Thus we discover the sermon theme for today. ALWAYS THANK GOD BE-CAUSE OF HIS GRACE. We are thankful always because I. Our God calls believers into his church, and; II. Our God richly provides for his church.
I. OUR GOD CALLS BELIEVERS INTO HIS CHURCH
A. In verse 1 Paul puts to rest his detractors. It was God who called him to serve Christ Jesus.
1. Paul was not self-appointed, far from it. It was God’s free grace that saved / called him.
2. Verse 2 reminds the believers of God’s grace, which also called them to be saved.
B. An entire series of sermons could be written just on verse 3. Here is Paul’s ultimate godly greeting.
1. Grace is God’s undeserved love. One translation: God treats us much better than we deserve.
2. God’s peace is that peace that the world cannot provide. God’s peace is from forgiveness.
3. God’s grace and peace was Paul’s wish and blessing for these believers always.
C. Paul knew now what it was to experience God’s grace and peace. His early life was misspent.
1. It is no wonder we find Paul thankful, almost beyond words. Verse 4. Thankful – always.
2. In verse 9 Paul writes of the faithfulness of God. This faithful God has called believers, grace..
D. God is faithful! We are faithless but our God remains faithful. We are imperfect and our God remains perfect. We are hurtful and full of sin but our God is loving and full of forgiveness. Though we truly de-served eternal punishment God does not treat us as our sins deserve. This is God’s grace. Adam and Eve destroyed God’s perfect creation with disobedience and sin. God did not destroy them. In his grace God promised a Savior. As God promises so he does. "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands"(DEUTERONOMY 7:9). Always thank God because of his grace.
E. Notice the emphasis of God’s grace in the words of our text. Paul never takes credit for his salvation. He cannot – by God’s grace he was saved. Neither could the believers claim that they had decided to ac-cept Christ. Just like Paul they had been saved by God’s grace. We cannot earn God’s grace. We cannot buy God’s grace. Most of all, we do not deserve God’s grace. That is what is so amazing. In spite of us God by his grace calls believers into his church. God’s grace turned Paul’s life around completely. God’s grace is God’s divine, eternal gift of salvation for every believer called into his church. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast"(EPHESIANS 2:8,9). Always thank God because of his grace.
F. It is certainly true that we cannot by our own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ or come to him. On our own we are truly lost and condemned creatures born into this world as enemies of God. Al-ways thank God because of his amazing grace. God’s grace has saved us. Our life on earth is called our time of grace. Our loving, heavenly Father has called us into his church. During this time of grace we are encouraged and invited to learn more about it truly means to be a member of the church / body of Christ. "Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David"(ISAIAH 55:3). As we hear God’s word, read God’s word, and study God’s his grace becomes ever more near and dear to us. Always thank God because of his grace.