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Summary: A sermon for those in need of God's Grace

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3rd Pentecost 11

Experience Grace

Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30

There are many possible reasons for needing grace and a fresh start.

- Battling Illness

- Marital Stress

- Divorce or separation

- Job difficulty

- Unemployment

- Debt

- Death in the family

- Kid issues

I specifically want to call three groups of people to experience grace and start fresh today:

The first group is Those who are fainting.

To look at this group I want to focus on the previously read Gospel from the Message Paraphrase version of the Bible by Eugene Peterson. Matthew 11: 28-30 in this version reads: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."

In other words when you do not rely on God you tend to grow faint and wear down easily. Let me illustrate this : Imagine a wick that is placed in oil, and then lit. If the oil runs out, the wick burns. As long as there is oil, the wick doesn’t burn. By the same token, as long as we are living in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit, we don’t burn out. The question to ask: what’s burning?

Another reason people faint and grow weary is they are being manipulated.

Matthew 23: 4 spoke of the tactics of the Pharisees. Jesus said, “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

What fixed him of this problem? God!

If you are tired, thirsty and ready to faint, come and experience the grace that is in Jesus.

Start fresh! If you are exhausted from dancing to another person’s drum or if you have been manipulated by religion, come and experience grace and start fresh. If you stopped drinking in his presence, come and experience grace and start fresh.

The second group I want to address are Those who are hurting.

I know there are some here today who may have left the church for some time because of a deep wound they have received. Some may even have allowed it to fester and separate them from God altogether. The Lord is longing for you to return to Him and to the Body.

In 1Corinthians 12: 18-21 Paul tells us that we are all ONE body with many parts. One cannot say to the person next to them that they have no use in the church.

Let me illustrate this hurt that can happen.

Sometimes we are hurting because of what others have said about us. Even if it is true! A small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial -- a grandmotherly, elderly woman.

He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you will never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?"

She replied, "Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."

At this point, the judge ordered the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench.

In a very quiet voice, he said very seriously, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!"

And finally the 3rd group I want to address is Those who are alone.

This is a third group that appears in every church that I really want to speak to. You are the ones who either have no idea what I am talking about, or who think I am completely nuts. Some think you are a Christian ONLY if you go to church or your parents had you baptized.

If you have not had that moment when you know you met Jesus – you are trying to walk through life alone.

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