Summary: This sermon focuses on what grace really is and how it affects our lives today.
April 1, 2001
A. Ever wonder how the "Got Milk" ads got started? Well there is a "Got Milk" internet site that tells the story…
In 1993 milk consumption in California had declined steadily for 20 years, so milk processors from all over the state banded together to do something about it.
The research that followed revealed some very interesting insights.
First, people know just about all they need to know about milk.
Its white, comes in gallons, and is good for you.
Second, you can’t substitute any other beverage for milk when you’ve got a mouth full of chocolate chip cookies or a bowl of your favorite cereal.
Finally, and most importantly, people notice milk most when they suddenly run out of it.
Thus was born an advertising campaign of poor souls, bereft of milk at the most painful and inconvenient times.
B. The "Got Milk" campaign has been a humorous addition to our culture.
1. But there are also millions of poor souls that are bereft of grace at the most painful and inconvenient times.
2. There are millions of people who go through the most painful and inconvenient times in their lives without grace.
3. And even sadder is the reality that many of those people are people who go to church every Sunday.
4. There are even people who think they are Christians that don’t have any understanding of grace whatsoever and they have to go through the ups and downs of life without this power in their life.
5. So this morning I want to ask an even more important question: "Got Grace?"
6. And the very first thing we need to understand in order to get grace is…
I. Salvation is not earned.
A. A lot of us were raised by parents who didn’t have a lot of money.
1. We were raised and taught to make due with what we have.
2. Most of us were taught to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.
3. We were taught that the harder we work the more we will earn.
4. And those are good things to teach children.
5. There are a lot of things that we can earn by hard work…
a. A college degree and a good salary.
b. Food and clothing.
c. Nice homes and nice cars.
d. Comfortable furniture and televisions.
5. Those are all things that we can earn, but try as we might, salvation is not something that we earn through hard work.
B. Ray read Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
1. That passage very specifically tells us that we can not earn salvation.
2. Salvation is by God’s grace which can be obtained only through faith.
3. We don’t obtain God’s grace by works (or good deeds).
4. Salvation is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.
5. We cannot earn salvation by any amount of good deeds, we simply receive it as a gift from God.
6. That’s a hard thing for a lot of us!
7. Since we have been taught to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we instinctively want to do some work in order to earn our salvation.
8. We somehow think we feel better about ourselves when we work to obtain something instead of it being given to us.
9. Since we have brought ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we have a difficult time accepting hand-outs—but that is exactly what salvation is: a HAND-OUT!
10. We have a hard time with that because we think of ourselves as good people.
11. We have a hard time with that because we think we are fully capable of earning what we need.
12. And so many people walk right past God’s gift.
13. So many people go to church all of their lives trying to be good enough for God to let them into heaven.
14. Its very difficult for them to admit that they have any weaknesses.
15. Its very difficult for them to admit that they have any needs that they can’t meet themselves.
16. Its very difficult for them to admit that they really are bad people.
17. Its very difficult to admit that they struggle with anger.
18. Its difficult to admit that they struggle with coveting.
19. Its difficult to admit that they struggle with sexual desires.
20. Its difficult to admit that they struggle with gossiping.
21. But I’m here to tell you today that if you can’t admit that you have some real struggles with sin raging within you—you don’t understand grace!
22. Even the apostle Paul talked about his struggle with sin.