Summary: A sermon based on the verses of the hymn "Amazing Grace" as John Newton wrote it. The original title of the hymn was - "Faiths Review and Expectation"
Faiths Review And Expectation
I Tim 1:12-17
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Here is a trivia question for you? Of all the songs ever written, which song has been recorded most – by the largest number of different vocal artists?
The answer is “Amazing Grace”. The classic Christian hymn written in 1779 by John Newton. For years “Amazing Grace” has been a favorite, particularly in southern churches. Nearly every hymnbook has it in it.
The Hymn was written by John Newton as a testimony of the grace of God in his life. Before his conversion John Newton had lived a wicked and sinful life. Among his many sins he had captained a slave ship and had brought slaves from Africa to the United States. He had made his living in the wickedest of ways. After his Conversion to Christ he became an Anglican minister.
The original title of the song was not “Amazing Grace” but was “Faiths Review And Expectation”. The title was later changed to the one we are familiar with.
Also the original hymn had six verses and not four as found in most of our hymnals. Interestingly one of the verses as found in our hymnals was added later and was not penned by John Newton. The melody that was added to John Newton’s Poem was a familiar folk song of the day, “Virginia Harmony”.
Around 25 years ago a recording artist was recording a new single album. On the flip side they needed another song before they could release the recording. The vocalist remembered a song that she used to sing as a young girl in church and since the song was public domain, they would not have to pay any royalties on it. The song was ‘Amazing Grace”.
The record was released to radio stations to play and promote the album. A strange thing began to happen. The radio stations began to play the flip side, “Amazing Grace”. The recording took off and became the number one song for several weeks. The secular world loved the music and the words and yet few really understood the full meaning of Grace and how amazing that it is.
What Is Grace?
I have found that Grace is much easier to illustrate than it is to define. It would take volumes to do the definition justice but here are some common definitions.
Grace is – Gods Riches At Christ’s Expense
Grace is – God’s love taking the initiative to meet man’s need, whatever that need may be.
Grace is – Love stooping (bending) down.
Mercy is – Not getting what you deserve.
Grace is – Getting what you don’t deserve.
Grace goes beyond mercy. Mercy is the Governor giving a guilty man a pardon.
Grace is the Governor giving the man a pardon and them taking him home to live with him.
The best single sentence definition of Grace that I have run across is this:
“Grace is God’s freely given, unmerited favor toward the sinful and failing, the expression of forgiving, redeeming, restoring love toward the unworthy.”
In John Newton’s Hymn – “Amazing Grace” – We can also find a definition of Grace.
This morning I want us to go through the six verses as John wrote them and discover his wonderful definition and testimony of Grace.
I. The Grace That Saves Us – “Saving Grace”
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Years ago I saw some graffiti on a bathroom wall – “Are you saved?”
Someone had written beside it – “Saved from what?”
What does the grace of God save us from?
The first thing that God’s grace saves us from is the penalty of sin. – Spiritual death – Eternal separation from God – Hell.