Summary: This message focuses on God's grace in action, His great plan for our life, as well as a short story of how God's great grace changed a life in just a few short weeks. Enjoy!
The topic I chose for today’s message is Grace. When we do what is right and just, when we follow God’s rules, when we step out of ourselves and let God lead our paths, we will have His grace and favor! Grace is God at work in us. God shows His great grace the most, when He gave up His son to die on the cross. Today I’m out of the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 5. But first, I want to bring up a point in Hebrews 4:15. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” This verse speaks volumes. It says that God came down to earth in human form, as Jesus Christ, and faced the tests and trials of life that we go through today! So, He himself understands our troubles. He himself understands our needs. He himself understands our weaknesses and faults. So I refer now to the very last verse of 2 Corinthians 5:21, which states this: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, [became sin Himself] so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” This is powerful stuff there. Jesus, when he was on the cross, not only died for you and me. He became SIN itself. He became all the lies you’ve been told, he became all the murders that have occurred and are yet to happen, He became a thief. He became all the bad things that this world puts in our lives. So essentially, when Jesus died, our SINS died with Him. That’s what it truly means to be forgiven. Yes, we are human, Yes, we will sin, BUT, those sins are already forgiven, by the precious blood of Jesus Christ! Now THAT in itself is something to get excited over!! We jump up to verse 13 which says this: “If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.” This means, sometimes when we are SO taken aback by God moving in our life, we just go crazy!! It’s because we “get it”, we understand fully that God is moving in our lives in a way we cannot explain in words, so we go absolutely crazy!! It’s not like “oh yea, that’s nice,” or “I’ve heard something like this before,” kind of thing. This is like the “I’m so excited that God is moving in my life that I just can’t control what I’m doing. Like, in altar call, it’s the people so moved by the spirit they fall to the ground. But we aren’t always going to be that way. There are people in our lives that don’t quite get the spirit of God the way we do, and it’s in those moments the 2nd part of the scripture reigns true: “And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.” See, we as Christians don’t want to offend our non-Christian friends by “going crazy” in the spirit, so we tend to hold back on it. We still worship God in everything, but we don’t act so crazy around them because they don’t get it like we do. It’s a tension that is put on us to stay in the normal realm of things, but in whatever we do, we will shine God’s light. The next verse, Verse 14 says this “Either way, Christ’s love controls us [urges us on]. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe we have all died to our old life [Since one died for all, then all died.] When we become a Christian, we believe that when Christ died, our old selves died along with him. We’re no longer the people we once were at one point. We don’t live for ourselves anymore. We are to live for Jesus who died for us. Pastor Don talks each week about how Jesus is right beside us at all times. He also shared this next verse, verse 17 with us: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” It is truly amazing to know that our past is gone, especially when our past wasn’t that great. When we are baptized in the water, we are our old selves, but when we dive down under the water and are brought back up for air, we are a brand new creation! Thank you Lord! Verse 18: “And all this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.” God is saying here that He will make us, his believers, right with Himself. And when we are right with God, he then gives us this same plan, to go out and tell others how they too can be right with God. This is a great plan that we must share with others around us. And the plan doesn’t stop there! No, it continues in the next verse, verse 19: “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” Look at the 2nd part of that first statement in the verse: God no longer counts our sins against us when we are made right with him!! So whatever we do wrong, whatever makes us stumble, whatever makes us make a mistake, it’s all in God’s wonderful plan that saves us from ourselves and keeps us from turning back to our sins. And this is the main worry of the non-believers. They think, oh, what I’ve done, God can’t erase. What I’ve done, God won’t forgive me for. They say those things because they don’t quite get the situation because they aren’t really connecting with God since they don’t even fully know Him. But this is the big message today: God was IN the WORLD, he reconnected people to himself through Jesus Christ, and he DOESN’T count people’s sins against them! Not yours, or yours or yours, or mine, or anybody else’s on the planet! Somebody said “time out!” Dustin, that’s way too easy! Way too easy!! And you know what I say?? How difficult is it for you to give up your son or daughter, because they want to defend this country, and become someone in the military? The people that sign up for the military are giving up all they have: their family, their homes, their pets, their free lifestyle, all so that they can defend Your country, My country, the United states of America! The same definitely holds true for God: it was VERY difficult when Mary was told she would be pregnant and Jesus was born on Christmas, only to find out later that her Son would DIE on the cross for our sins! Jesus suffered a long, hard day on that Good Friday morning. He was bracing himself for the things to come. He took all our burdens, all our transgressions, all our faults, all our doubts, all our fears, everything bad that’s ever happened to us on the cross with him, and in return, gave us new life, new hope, a newfound peace that everything is going to be alright. And you claim that’s “easy”? It was extremely difficult! In fact, it’s the most difficult thing that’s ever been done in all of humanity! Just because our sins don’t count against us, doesn’t mean we can sin all we want to and God will grant us His great Grace! No, every wrong we do WILL have a dire consequence against us, but it will be less of a problem when we look to the Cross where Jesus died! That’s grace. That’s love!