Summary: A sermon dedicated to reminding all of God’s amazing grace and how it frees us, embraces us and is priceless.
Grace: It Really Is Amazing! Series: Part 1: An Amazing 5 Letter Word. February 18, 2007 Castalia Baptist Church. Ephesians 2: 1-10
Chrysta’s parents have a house on a lake in Danville VA. I remember one time we were up their years ago and Chrysta was going to pull me on the innnertube. Now the innertube is this huge round tube on which you lay on it and you hold onto the handles as the boat takes you up and over the waves. It is a exhilarating ride and also hard to hang on. Well I had been talking to her parents about Chrystas driving. I think I was asking her dad for some help in trying to help improve Chrysta’s driving skills ( as you can see I’m still working on it). Well she overheard and then said she wanted me to go innertubing and she was going to drive (yes, my mind was not as quick as it is today. I should have seen the warning signs). Well, into the boat she goes and as I get on that innertube she says Honey, hold on tight. I don’t want you to fall off. And I said don’t worry about me honey. You can’t throw me off (note to self: never say that to an aggressive driver whether it’s a boat or car) well for the next ten minutes she swerved and figured 8 and found the highest wakes and waves she could find. It was the worst ride of my life. She turns around surprised I am still on and I give her a big smile. And the next moment she hit this wave that no kidding threw me ten feet into the air off the innertube and crasing into the water. When I came back up and got my bearings straight and realized I had all my bones in order, I realized that I had a serious problem. I had made the mistake of not tying my bathing suit and as I sat in the middle of Lake Hyco I came to the frightening realization that I had lost my swimming trunks and they were nowhere to be found. As Chrysta pulled alongside me to make sure that I was alright and to ask if I was ready to go again (amidst the laughter and smile) I told her that I had a problem. Now I did not know how to tell her I did not have any pants because Chrysta’s sisters Kendra and Dana along with 4 other friends were in the boat. Needless to say everyone got a big kick out it and the way I treated Chrysta I did not deserve for her to ride around looking for my britches but because of her grace she went and found my trunks (although she put them on the back of the boat and challenged me to get up their and get them.)
Well, today I want to begin a new series that will probably take us through Easter. It is going to focus on probably the most popular Christian word used by many but probably the least understood word. It is the word GRACE. We begin this series today in preparation for a new movie that is about to come out on February 23. It is a movie that is known as Amazing Grace. I am somewhat dismayed that religious groups spent a lot of money and time talking about the Passion of Christ and Facing the Giants and have not given as much attention to this movie. This movie centers around a man named William Wilberforce who is a member of the British Parliament and through his relationship with John Newton the writer of the song Amazing Grace, Wilberforce is able to change the course of history by helping to abolish the slave trade in Britain which would lead to the abolition of slavery here in the United States. And the reason that all of this came about is through two men’s discovery of God’s grace. God’s grace changes lives and I pray that over these next few weeks that it will change our lives as well.
But to do that we must first understand what Grace is exactly. According to the dictionary Grace can mean many things: 1: elegance (my wife moves with grace) 2: politeness (dignified and polite behavior); 3) a generosity of spirit (by being able to forgive, tolerate and accommodate people; but it also means the infinite love and mercy favor and goodwill shown to humanity from God.
The word Grace appears 155 times in the New Testament with paul writing about grace 130 of those times. For Paul, the essence of life is grace. He opens, closes and dominates every letter with the subject of grace. His teaching is hinged upon grace. Now you may be surprised to know that Jesus never used the word grace himself. Rather he just taught it and most importantly he lived it out through not only his words but his actions.But what is grace: