Summary: Am I a grace receptacle or a conduit of God's amazing Gace
AMAZING GRACE 6 – GIVING GRACE IN A GRACELESS WORLD
Text: Matthew 18:21-35
One of the amazing things about the grace of God is that it was never intended by God to be a river flowing to us; he intended it to be a river flowing through us. You see we tend to think of grace as something that comes to us, but we never stop to think that God never intended it to stop there. His ultimate goal was for us to be sharing that grace with those around us.
After being saved by His grace, we are overwhelmed by the realization that there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve the grace of God manifested by the death of His one and only son on the cruel cross. Then we reach the point where, once we have realized that, we are just so impressed with our spiritual growth. We’ve realized that not only have we received the grace of God but he expects us to use that as motivation to serve him with all of our ability.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. That not of your own selves but as a gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before the foundation of the earth, that we should walk in them.
We come to that point where we realize, “Wow I’ve grown; I am just not saved to sit. I’m saved to serve.” However, there’s still one more step we need to take. Yes, we are saved to serve but do we realize that included in the good works God expects from us is one of the best of all of the gifts of grace? That is - extending grace to others. Giving grace in a graceless world, that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
We do live in a graceless world. You know that. All you have to do is look around you. It’s dog-eat-dog every man for himself. Philip Yancey wrote, “If you ask a bomb-throwing teenager in Northern Ireland or a machete-wielding soldier in Rwanda or a sniper in the former Yugoslavia why they are killing, they may not even know why. Ireland is still seeking revenge for atrocities Oliver Cromwell committed in the seventeenth century; Rwanda and Burundi are carrying on tribal feuds that have existed long past anybody’s memory of why; Yugoslavia is avenging memories of World War II and trying to prevent a replay of event that happened six centuries ago.” (What’s So Amazing About Grace?)
When I think about these words,I wonder how many of the school yard atrocities we have seen as – teenagers walk into school cafeterias and begin killing the people around them either at random or by pre-design – how many of these students or snipers we see that are ambushing police as they’re doing about their duty keeping the peace? How many of these people are doing these things because in their own minds they have been injured, they’ve been bullied or the government has been unfair to them and they’re going to get even. They’re going to mete out justice. We live in a graceless world and God expects you and me to be conduits for the rivers of grace that flow to us and through us.
My question to you today is – are you giving grace in a graceless world? If you think I’m asking, is your neighbor giving grace in a graceless world, you’ve missed the point. Is your wife giving grace or is your husband giving grace or your children – no it’s are you giving grace in a graceless world. C.S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you (Yancey p.64). Think about that statement. Somehow in our minds as we look at others we say to ourselves, “I’m such a terrible sinner, I’m just overwhelmed by God’s grace.” Then we look at the people around us and think, “oh gross. How could God expect me to forgive such a terrible sinner?” What do you mean how could God expect you to forgive? You nailed His son to a cross and you think what this person has done to you is worse then what you’ve done by sending his son to a cross? No, C.S Lewis is right - ‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’
Consider the parable of ‘The Prodigal Son’.
Margaret was devout Christian who refused to forgive her son because of the things that he had done in his teen age years back in the sixty’s. The preacher who was dealing with her (Philip Yancey) said,