Summary: God’s saving grace is so sufficient and inviting that we are compelled to experience it and be transformed by it.
GRACE: GOD THE FATHER’S OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSE (OR AT LEAST SHOULDN’T)
Big Idea: God’s saving grace is so sufficient and inviting that we are compelled to experience it and be transformed by it.
Two cows were grazing alongside a highway when a tank-truck of milk on its way to the distributor happened to pass. On one side of the truck in big red letters was a sign that read,: "Pasteurized, homogenized, standardized, Vitamin A added."
One cow turned to the other and remarked, "Makes you feel sort of inadequate, doesn’t it?"
This sermon is for anyone here who has ever felt inadequate!
• Inadequate to please God.
• Inadequate to please others
• Inadequate to face your problems
• Inadequate to change your life.*
Let’s read from scripture:
9And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Grace cannot be earned
The Movie “The God Father” is an American Icon. It, along with many John Wayne movies, defined the American male for more than a generation. One of the lines that has lasted long after the movie has been set aside is The God Father, Marlon Brando’s line “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
As I think of grace I often re-frame that line. To me, grace is God the Father making me an offer I can’t refuse … or at least shouldn’t.
Here’s my definition of Grace (charis): Grace is God’s undeserved and unearned kindness towards me. It guarantees his love and pardon while evoking thanksgiving and equipping me to follow Him.
Grace requires nothing from me – in fact that is the core element of grace; I cannot in any way add anything to God’s grace. To add anything to grace (i.e. human effort or even human responsibility) redefines and corrupts the word. It becomes “another Gospel” to use Paul’s phrase in Galatians (which is speaking directly about the corruption of grace (Galatians 1:6, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel”).
Many of you have heard me say over and over again, “Grace plus anything is not grace.” Unger’s Bible dictionary says, “Grace rules out all human merit. Any mixture of human effort violates grace.”
God taught me this lesson decades ago and it is as liberating and empowering now as it was when I first discovered it. I can do nothing to earn God’s grace and I cannot do anything to keep God’s grace. In fact, anything good I do is a gift of God’s empowerment – is a gift of grace. Grace is what saves me, keeps me saved, and sanctifies me. It is all the gift and work of God within me. I am saved by grace and I grow in grace.
That is hard for many (ironically even some Christians) to accept. But it is true and it is an inherent part of the word’s definition. The Gospel is “Good News” to people who do not, cannot, and never will “measure up” to God’s standard. It is a word of relief for those in need. It is favor and pardon given “on the house” … “with no strings attached.” It is too good to be true … but it is true!
Someone has said, “Grace is everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything.”
Chuck Swindoll would echo this when he says, “Grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it.”
Marin Luther described it as: “Grace is the favor or good will of God that accepts the sinner. The gift is the healing that comes from faith.”