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Summary: We hear a lot about grace in church, such things as "unmerited favor" or "God's Riches At Christ's Expense" but what does it actually mean in the life of a person before and after salvation? How does it function? This needs to be explained to those who

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Let’s take a look at this short video …

Amazing Grace history - embedded in PPT slide

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmhqszfmLu8

Amazing Grace! One of the world’s most popular songs.

But what is Grace? What does it mean?

The dictionary defines grace as:

elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action

a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment

favor or goodwill

a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior

mercy; clemency; pardon

But, what is this amazing grace that this song is proclaiming?

Grace is the power of God flowing to us, in us and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s see if we can unfold grace in a way that we can understand it.

So, what’s the need for grace anyway!

Sin! Sin is the need for grace.

So, what is Sin? Sin is rebellion against God.

In the beginning Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and pure holiness was the natural way of life.

Disobedience of the one law that God put into place was a choice, a choice that had never before been chosen by a human.

God gave Adam and Eve, humanity, moral freedom and with moral freedom comes moral responsibility.

After Adam and Eve sinned, sin was no longer a choice, humanity was now enslaved to sin, with no escape.

This was not God’s desire!

In the Old Testament God repeatedly says

“…I will be your God and you will be my people.” - Jeremiah 7:23b and when the people of Israel disobeyed, over and over,

He would say to them, “Return to Me.” - Nehemiah 1:9

We can’t do it so the Father sent His son.

The first aspect of Grace we want to discuss today is Prevenient Grace or grace that goes ahead of us.

Illustration:

Infant in the womb

Doesn’t know it even has a mother

Mom is supplying baby with oxygen and nutrition

Mom is taking vitamins and eating healthful foods

Mom is exercising

Mom is getting a sufficient amount of rest (or at least as much as possible)

Mom is planning for the delivery

Did the baby have any clue as to what Mom was doing or why?

No - not aware of any of this but baby is being drawn to birth.

By comparison, in the life of a person who has not yet turned to Christ for salvation grace is at work. They may not even know it but it is at work and God is pulling them toward salvation.

There is a longing for God and communion with Him that is placed in the hearts of all people.

In John 12:32 Jesus Himself says,

“‘And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself.’ He said this to indicate how He was going to die.”

And Titus 2:11 says,

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”

This is prevenient or preceding grace that is placed within the heart of all people to draw everyone to Him and making the truth known to them within their very spirits. And, just as the unborn infants are not aware of their mothers, the unborn Christian may not even recognize or realize that God is drawing them to salvation through faith in Christ.

Another avenue of this Prevenient or preceding grace is through those who already belong to Christ. Or, at least it should.

We should be conduits of God’s grace to the lost

We should be comforting those in distress with no hope

We should be encouraging the lost to come to Christ

We should be bringing light into lives of darkness and despair

The last aspect of Prevenient or preceding grace we will discuss this morning is the awakening and realization of eternal choices in the mind and heart of the unsaved person.

For instance Romans 6:23 states this choice clearly

when it says:

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in (and through) Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The Prevenient or preceding grace brings the unsaved person to the place of decision.

Am I a wretch like is says in Amazing Grace?

It brings to the forefront of awareness, Yes, there is a heaven and Yes, there is a hell but what can I do?

Once the Prevenient or preceding grace has brought the person to that point of decision it is time for the birth.

The song Amazing Grace says it like this:

“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved! How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed!”

“Grace that taught my heart to fear” - Prevenient Grace bringing the reality of eternal lostness to the heart of the unbeliever

“And Grace my fears relieved” - the birth - Saving Grace

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