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Summary: FEBRUARY IS THE MONTH OF THE VALENTINE AND MATTERS OF THE HEART. THIS MESSAGE SPEAKS ABOUT GOD'S GREAT LOVE FOR US.

GRACE: GOD’S GIFT OF LOVE

EPHESIANS 2:1-10

FEBRUARY IS THE MONTH OF THE VALENTINE AND MATTERS OF THE HEART. I’M SURE THAT THIS WEEK THERE WILL BE MILLIONS OF BOXES OF CANDY, FLOWERS, AND CARDS PURCHASED FOR YOUR SPECIAL VALENTINE.

I’M REMINDED OF A STORY OF A BOY WHO HAD BEEN TRYING TO GET THIS GIRL TO GO OUT ON A DATE. SHE FINALLY SAID YES TO HIM AND INVITED HIM FOR A FAMILY DINNER.

THE BOY WALKED INTO THE DRUG STORE AND BOUGHT THREE BOXES OF CANDY. HE TOLD THE PHARMICIST HIS PLAN. IF SHE JUST HOLDS HANDS WITH ME, I’LL GIVE HER THE SMALL BOX, IF SHE GIVES ME A PECK ON THE CHEEK, I’LL GIVE HER THE MIDDLE SIZED BOX. IF SHE GIVES ME A BIG PASSIONATE KISS I’LL GIVE HER THE BIG BOX.

WHEN HE ARRIVED AT HER HOUSE FOR DINNER HE WAS UNDERSTANDABLY NERVOUS. WHEN IT CAME TIME FOR THE BLESSING, HE ASKED IF HE COULD PRAY. “IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL PRAYER” THE GIRL SAID, “WHEN DID YOU BECOME SO RELIGIOUS?” “WHEN I SAW THAT YOUR FATHER WAS THE PHARMICIST AT THE DRUG STORE!” HE REPLIED.

TODAY I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THE GREATEST GIFT OF LOVE YOU AND I CAN RECEIVE. IT IS THE GIFT THAT LED CHRIST TO GO TO CALVARY, AND THAT IS THE GIFT OF GOD’S GRACE.

GRACE HAS BEEN USED FOR MANY THINGS. WE SAY “GRACE” BEFORE A MEAL, WE NAME CHILDREN GRACE, WE SAY THAT A PERSON IS GRACEFUL IN DANCE FOR EXAMPLE, IF THEIR MOVEMENTS ARE SMOOTH AND APPEALING TO THE EYE. EACH OF THESE ARE FAR FROM THE DEFINITION OF GRACE THAT THE BIBLE PUTS FORWARD.

PAUL IN HIS TEACHING TO THE EPHESIAN CHURCH, OFFERS GREAT AND CONCLUSIVE TEACHING ON GOD’S GRACE TO US. FOR PAUL, GRACE IS THE ESSENCE OF GOD’S DECISIVE SAVING ACT IN JESUS CHRIST, WHICH TOOK PLACE AT CALVARY, BUT ALSO OF ALL IT’S CONSEQUENCES IN THE PAST AND FUTURE.

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO USE THIS PASSAGE IN EPHESIANS CHAPTER TWO TO DO THREE THINGS:

1. POINT US TOWARD A DEFINITION OF GRACE

2. ESTABLISH WHY WE NEED GOD’S GRACE

3. WE WILL LOOK AT SOME OF THE MIRACLE THAT IS GOD’S GRACE IN OUR LIVES.

POINT ONE: DEFINING GOD’S GRACE

GRACE IS A VERY DIFFICULT TERM TO DEFINE, NOT BECAUSE IT IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND, BUT BECAUSE IT IS DIFFICULT TO APPLY WHAT WE UNDERSTAND. OUR DIFFICULTY STEMS FROM THE FACT THAT GRACE IS AN UNDESERVED GIFT. WE WANT GRACE FOR OURSELVES, BUT GIVING GRACE CAN SOMETIMES BE ANOTHER MATTER. EVEN WITNESSING SOMEONE RECEIVING GRACE THAT WE FEEL DOESN’T DESERVE IT IS DIFFICULT TO ACCEPT.

THERE IS GREAT CONFUSION BETWEEN GRACE AND MERCY. GRACE IS AN ACTION WORD AND IS THE FULFILLMENT OF MERCY. ONE PERSON HAS SAID:

“JUSTICE IS GETTING WHAT WE DESERVE, MERCY IS NOT GETTING WHAT WE DESERVE, GRACE IS GETTING WHAT WE DO NOT DESERVE.”

GRACE IS UNDESERVED KINDNESS. IT IS EVERYTHING FOR NOTHING TO THOSE WHO DON’T DESERVE ANYTHING.

GRACE HAS BEEN DEFINED AS THE UNMERITED LOVE AND FAVOR OF GOD, BUT I INTEND TO SHOW YOU THAT IT IS MUCH MORE THAN THAT, AS YOU WILL SOON SEE.

OUR UNDERSTANDING OF GRACE MUST GO BACK TO IT’S OLD HEBREW TERM “CHEN” WHICH MEANT TO “BEND DOWN, TO STOOP”. IT IN TIME BECAME THE IDEA OF CONDESCENDING FAVOR.

NOW THE GREEK WORD THAT PAUL USES IN Vv. 8-9 FOR GRACE IS “CHARITI”, FROM THE ROOT “CHARIS” WHICH MEANS KINDNESS GIFT, GOODWILL, FAVOR. WE GET OUR ENGLISH WORD CHARITY FROM IT.

WHEN WE BLEND THESE IDEAS TOGETHER WE SEE GRACE AS “A KINDNESS, OR GOODWILL, STOOPING DOWN FROM ABOVE.”

DONALD BARKHOUSE SAID:

“LOVE THAT GOES UPWARD IS WORSHIP. LOVE THAT DOES OUTWARD IS AFFECTION. LOVE THAT STOOPS DOWNWARD IS GRACE.”

THE KEY WORD TO UNDERSTANDING GRACE IS THE WORD “UNDESERVED”. GRACE MEANS THE COMPLETELY UNDESERVED, LOVING COMMITMENT OF GOD TO US. FOR REASONS UNKNOWN TO US, BUT ROOTED IN HIS NATURE, GOD GIVES HIMSELF TO US, ATTACHES HIMSELF TO US, AND ACTS TO RESCUE US.

GOD LOVES US BECAUSE THAT IS HIS NATURE. GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU IS NOT BASED ON YOU OR YOUR WORTHINESS. THE WORD “LOVE” USED IN THIS PASSAGE SPEAKS OF AN AFFECTION AND CHARITABLENESS AND COMMITMENT TOWARD US.

COUPLED WITH GOD’S MERCY, HIS LOVE PRODUCES A DEPTH OF COMPASSION THAT WE CANNOT EVEN COMPREHEND. WE CAN ONLY STAND IN AWE THAT THE CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF THE UNIVERSE WOULD CONSIDER EACH OF US INDIVIDUALLY WITH SUCH GREAT DELIGHT AND FONDNESS.

JOHN 15:13: GREATER LOVE HAS NO ONE THAN THIS: TO LAY DOWN ONE’S LIFE FOR ONE’S FRIENDS

GOD GAVE HIS SON BECAUSE HE LOVED US. JESUS DIED ON CALVARY BECAUSE HE LOVED US. GOD’S LOVE IS THE STARTING POINT FOR ANY JOURNEY INTO THE REALM OF GOD’S AMAZING GRACE.

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