Summary: The Bible teaches that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. However, we must beware the spirit of the Pharisee, because they will try to keep you from experiencing God’s grace.
SUPERNATURAL #16: GOD’S AMAZING GRACE
“I heard (this story) from a friend who works with the down-and-out in Chicago:
A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter – two years old… She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story… I had no idea what to say to this woman.
At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naïve shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried, “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”
What struck me about my friend’s story is that women much like the prostitute fled toward Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. Has the church lost that gift? Evidently the down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer feel welcome among his followers.”
(Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?).
INTRO: Something is wrong in the church today!
• We’ve forgotten all about God’s Amazing Grace! When I first moved out to Surrey to go to Bible College, I attended a mega church that knew little of the grace of God.
• When they would sing the famous old hymn, they would actually change the words to: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved someone like me.”
• The pastor would literally say from the pulpit, “If I ever ask you how you’re doing, I don’t want to hear about all of your problems. I want you to say: Bless God, I’m on top and rising!” They didn’t understand grace.
• Thank God in the midst of our time at that church, I discovered a book that radically revolutionized my understanding of Christianity. It’s called “The Ragamuffin Gospel.”
QUOTE: (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).
“The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind. This book is not for the super-spiritual… It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules rather than run the risk of living in union with Jesus…
The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out… It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace… It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents… It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grace disappointment to God… it is for anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the way.”
However, the one quote that impacted me the most was this one: “Morton Kelsey wrote: The Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”
“Jesus said, "Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do…” For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” (Matthew 9:12-13, NLT).
BIBLE STORY: Why do so few people understand God’s grace?
This is a problem they had in the early church as well.
“1 While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the Christians: "Unless you keep the ancient Jewish custom of circumcision taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 Paul and Barnabas, disagreeing with them, argued forcefully and at length. Finally, Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question… 4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported on what God had been doing through their ministry. 5 But then some of the men who had been Pharisees before their conversion stood up and declared that all Gentile converts must be circumcised and be required to follow the law of Moses. 6 So the apostles and church elders got together to decide this question. 7 At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: "Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8 God, who knows people’s hearts, confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he gave him to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he also cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 Why are you now questioning God’s way by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” (Acts 15:1-11).