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Summary: This sermon looks at five aspects of God’s Saving Grace. 1. It is a GIFT 2. It must be RECEIVED 3. It is available to EVERYONE 4. It comes through JESUS CHRIST 5. It is extended for ETERNITY

GOD’S SAVING GRACE

Today we are going to talk about God’s Saving Grace – that is – God’s grace that reaches from the highest heaven and touches our lives in an effort to save us. Our text for today is found in Psalm One Hundred Forty Five – it is verse eight. Please follow along with me as I read:

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.” Psalms 145:8 (NKJV)

In America we have some common phrases – please complete these with me:

If it sounds too good to be true... it probably is.

We make money the old fashion way ... we earn it.

There’s no such thing as a free ... lunch.

There is no gain without ... pain.

God helps those who ... help themselves.

These phrases are part of the American work ethic. In America we are very aware of the values of competition and free enterprise. We know what it means to work hard and earn a living by the sweat of our brows. We tell people, "You get what you deserve in life" and "If you want to get ahead in life – you can do it by your own efforts.”

Here is the problem – when it comes to our salvation we think that if we work hard enough – we can earn it. We think – if I’m good enough – if I go to church enough – if I pray enough – if I give enough money to the church – if I read the Bible enough – then God will love me and save me. But here is the truth – God doesn’t operate on the American work ethic. Let’s read our focal text again:

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.” Psalms 145:8 (NKJV)

Go ahead and circle the word – "gracious". The Bible teaches that God is gracious. He loves to be gracious to you and to me. That means that God loves to bless people who don’t deserve it – God showing favor to you and me even though we didn’t earn it.

For the Christian – grace is the heart of our faith. It is the center of our relationship with God. When we come to understand that our salvation is based on grace – we will be drawn closer to God and we will love God more. Grace is like a multi-faceted diamond – there are many aspects to it. Grace has been defined in a variety of ways: some have said – grace is “God’s unmerited favor.” Some have said grace is, "God’s love in action." Others define it as: "God giving me what I need – not what I deserve." One of my favorite definitions is – "Grace is the face that God wears when He looks at my failures." For you see that God is always – “gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.”

There is a great difference between grace and mercy – even though they walk hand in hand. Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we deserve – punishment. Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve – blessing. God’s saving grace is a blessing to anyone who will receive it.

Today I want us to look at five aspects of God’s Saving Grace.

1. God’s Saving Grace is a GIFT

Follow along with me as I read Ephesians chapter two and verse eight:

“By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

Go ahead and circle – “it is the gift of God.” Salvation is God’s free gift to you. But many people think that they can earn their way to heaven by being good. I have heard people say: “The way you get to heaven is that you try to do good and do your best – work real hard and be a moral person then God may let you into heaven.” Folks that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift of God. I like the way the New Living Translation expresses Ephesians chapter two and verse eight – read along with me:

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8 (NLT)

If my salvation is based on the fact that I am “good” – then I CAN take credit for it. But if it is a free gift of God – I have nothing to brag about. I can take no credit for it at all. God in His mercy and grace has given it to me – I don’t deserve it. But “the Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.”

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