Summary: God’s grace is so incredible it deserves the title amazing!
God’s Amazing Grace
November 25, 2001
A story is told about Fiorello LaGuardia, who, when he was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of WWII, was called by adoring New Yorkers ’the Little Flower’ because he was only five foot four and always wore a carnation in his lapel. He was a colorful character who used to ride the New York City fire trucks, raid speakeasies with the police department, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids. One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself.
Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It’s a real bad neighborhood, your Honor." the man told the mayor. "She’s got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson." LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said "I’ve got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions--ten dollars or ten days in jail." But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. He extracted a bill and tossed it into his famous sombrero saying: "Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Baliff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant." So the following day the New York City newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, fifty cents of that amount being contributed by the red-faced grocery store owner, while some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen, each of whom had just paid fifty cents for the privilege of doing so, gave the mayor a standing ovation.
Now that is grace! Paul describes God’s grace in a unique and wonderful way in his letter to Titus. If you have your Bibles open with me to the second chapter starting at verse 11.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
I. Grace that leads to Eternity
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men
A. Grace opens the door to eternity
1. It is only by the grace of God that we can have salvation
a.) Every person needs grace because we have sinned. Paul teaches us that everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23) and everyone acts in rebellion to God’s will.
b.) Every person needs grace because we will die. The simple fact of life is that we will all one day die. Our human nature is not eternal.
c.) The good news is that God has given us grace and offers us salvation. Through Christ, God has made His grace known to humanity
2. The reality of God’s grace
a.) Grace defined:
Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill deserving – George Sweeting
Grace is complete undeserved and unmerited favor
b.) God has given because He knows we would be completely lost without it. God has shown us all mercy beyond what we can understand and far beyond what we deserve.
B. Grace is offered to all people
1. God has made His grace completely inclusive
a.) Paul states the grace of God “appeared to all men” which means that God has extended His call of grace to every person. There is not a single person that God does not desire to see saved and redeemed.
b.) Since God is gracious, he allows every person a choice to accept this grace or decline it. God does not force us to follow Him.
2. The grace of God
a.) God’s grace is a gift. It cannot be earned in any way. Salvation is a gift and it is one that we do not deserve. Ephesians 2:4-5