Summary: “God’s grace towards us is based on his love and our total inability to meet God’s standards.”
Amanda bought me a monkey for Christmas. I didn’t want a monkey in our house so I objected.
“Where is he going to eat?” I asked
“At our table”
“Where is he going to sleep?” I inquired.
“In our bed”
“What about the odor?” I demanded.
She said – “I got used to you; I guess the monkey can too.”
We make so many mistakes. As Christians living the life that God desires we live can be hard. But one of the biggest mistakes we can make is making the life that God calls us to live impossible. It’s easy to see all the standards in the Old Testament, the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament and just believe that it’s impossible to match up. And then you come to church and the preacher rambles on and on about what you should and shouldn’t do – which complicates this whole idea of Christian living even more. Instead of rambling on and on this morning I want to share a message that each of us needs regardless of where you are spiritually. This message applies if you are the prodigal, the older brother, or the one sitting there thinking – “I thought he promised not to ramble”. Our message this morning is on the wonderful grace of Jesus. What a better way to start off a new year than with a message of grace.
Turn with me if you have your Bibles to (advance) Titus 2:11-14 (read)
Paul wrote a letter to his helper Titus. Titus was a preacher, a fellow missionary with Paul to Ephesus and then Corinth. Titus was in Crete when he received this letter and there is no doubt that Titus was to understand this and preach it.
Grace does three things for the Christian – You can write these down. (advance)
I. Grace Brings Salvation (11)
Paul says that grace appeared to all men -- (advance)
a. Grace – GOD’S.RICHES.AT.CHRIST’S.EXPENSE
i. Paying a debt that you can’t pay
ii. It’s based on God’s love for us
We recently got a gas bill in our mail box that wasn’t ours. Ironically it belonged to another preacher in town. I personally delivered the bill. The other preacher asked me why didn’t I just go ahead and pay it, -- Jokingly, I said – “Because I don’t like you that much.” The truth is I consider him a good friend – but not good enough to pay his bills. Someone said this --
“When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award--yet receives such a gift anyway--that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.”
b. Without Grace appearing
The word “appear” brings forth the idea that without Christ we are all in this dark bottomless pit. When God sent Jesus into the world – he literally “turned on the light” so that we can see the way out of the pit.
i. There would be no salvation
1. You can’t earn your salvation – it’s a gift (advance)
Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
2. Not a salvation based on works, deeds and duty – it’s a gift.
We do complicate the gift. We might even take advantage of it. Do we ever compromise tonight, knowing we’ll confess tomorrow?
It’s easy to be like the guy visiting Las Vegas who called the preacher, wanting to know the hours of the Sunday service. The preacher was impressed. “Most people who come to Las Vegas don’t come to go to church.”
“Oh, I’m not coming for the church. I’m coming for the gambling and parties and wild women. If I have half as much fun as I intend to have, I’ll need a church come Sunday Morning.”
When we allow God’s grace to work in our lives it cleans the slate of our hearts. It makes us new again – we start fresh. Something like a how a garden is tilled before the planting. You don’t begin where you left off the season before – you remove all the old to make room for the new. God’s grace does something: 3 words – (advance)
II. Grace Teaches us (12-13)
a. We need to be teachable
Ignorance is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Ignorance says, when I see something I am doing wrong – I don’t have to change. You raise your voice at your spouse – a fight breaks out…but that’s not a shock because in the last 10 years, 2 years or 6 months that you have been married – it’s always happened like that – ignorance says, it will be different next time.