Summary: On Grace, based on session #2 of Fully Devoted; pursuing spiritual transformation by Willow Creek and Zondervan
“Coming Home to God’s Grace”
Have you ever had one of those days were your kids are driving you beyond sanity. My daughter Megan is a very strong willed child. She is also very intelligent, and what is worse is the fact that she knows it. She is always pushing the very edges of her boundaries. She carefully considers our words and like a lawyer finds every loop hole to justify her actions. After about what seemed like the fifth time of asking her to clean her room and telling her it had to be done today, she says to me. When does the day end daddy, don’t I have until midnight. Does that mean I get to stay up late tonight and watch TV as long as I get my room clean?
I remember one day towering over her, just steaming with anger as it seemed all week long she was getting into trouble, pushing those boundaries. I had dished out every punishment I could think of, all to no effect. What could I do to this little girl to get her listen to me and obey? After all, what I really wanted was to protect her from harm and help her to grow up to be a good person.
And so I did the only thing I could do for someone who just kept messing up, who continued to fail, to disappoint me at every turn. I held Megan in my arms and said; “Megan, Megan, Megan; whatever am I going to do with you.” She replied, “I’m sorry daddy, Are you going to spank me again daddy, because I did bad.” “No Megan, I said; I’m going to give you grace.”
I held her tightly and let the anger melt into love for this little wayward girl.
A good parent places boundaries and sets up rules for their children because they love them and want to protect them from harm. A good parent disciplines their children in an effort to mold their lives to be better people. And a good parent extends grace when that child breaks that last straw.
Grace is unmerited favor, it is that love that is poured out to a child that deserves punishment.
Today we are going to continue talking about spirituality. More specifically how the acceptance of God’s grace allows us to have a deep walk with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Turn with me to Luke 15:11ff as we look at the lives of two brothers and their response to their father’s grace.
I. Saved by Grace
A. Running Away from God
(Read Luke 15:11-16)
-The younger son got a third of the farm and the older son got two-thirds of the farm as was the custom.
-The younger son had wasted his inheritance on “wild living.”
-The famine made employment and food hard to get.
-So he hired himself out to a pig farmer, for the Jew the pig was an unclean animal and to even consider raising pigs was detestable in their eyes.
-The pods from the seeds of the carob tree were commonly used for pig food.
*Growing up as a kid in Kolona, Iowa we would feed the pigs while an Amish family babysitted us. My brother Matt and I would sneak over to the pigs and feed bucket after bucket of corn to the pigs. We figured as long as they kept eating, they must still be hungry. I remember trying some of that dry nasty corn and spitting it out. I told my brother, “Boy Matt, we need to get some more corn those pigs must really be hungry if they like eating this nasty stuff.”
B. Coming to our Senses
(Read Luke 15:17-20a)
-literally; “he came to himself”; he repented of his ways, he took a look at his life and didn’t like what he saw and was determined to make a change.
-v20 You know what; it not only talked about making a change, but he got up and did it.
*I meet so many people who say, I want to start coming to church, or I’ll be there Sunday; or Mike, I want to change my ways, I want to get rid of these bad habits, yet they give you every excuse in the book as to why they never change.
-Sometimes God has to take us down to rock bottom, before we will even look up and listen, or come to our senses.
-And so the young man went home to face his father, to take his lumps, to face the music. Time to eat some humble pie.
-Think how hard it is to swallow your pride, how hard it is for us to admit when we are wrong?
-But that is exactly what this young man did. He knew he had no right to return as the father’s son after wasting what his father gave him.