Summary: This sermon presents 5 characteristics of grace to help you identify genuine, Biblical, saving grace.
By: JB Hall
Introduction: Today I’d like to speak to you about something that is certainly an inexhaustible subject: the grace of God. The title of our message is Grace.
Grace is a topic that is often spoken of in Christian circles; and one that is given extensive treatment in the Scriptures. But, though it is such a familiar topic, it is one that so few seem to be able to wrap their understanding around. So few seem to grasp just what exactly it is, and how it relates to them personally.
While, like I said earlier, we could never exhaust the wealth of knowledge and benefits to us that the grace of God provides, I hope that our treatment of this subject today will help to clarify for you what grace is and what its relevance is to you personally.
I hope that it will cease to be just a lofty spiritual concept that has no practical application to your every day life; and that your understanding of God’s great work of grace as it relates to you personally will emerge with crystal clarity.
I’d like to approach this using the word G-R-A-C-E as an acrostic, with each letter representing a characteristic of God’s grace. So now you know this is a 5-point message.
1. Characteristic #1 is G – Gift
A. Grace, simply stated, is the unmerited favor of God.
B. Two of our text verses that we read earlier, Ephesians 2:8 & 9, say, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
C. So we see here that we are saved by grace; and that that grace is the gift of God.
D. It is not of works.
E. In other words, it cannot be obtained by works.
F. As many of you have heard me say many times, a gift cannot be achieved; it can only be received.
G. A gift cannot be earned; a gift cannot be qualified for; it can only be received as it is given; as a FREE gift given by the hand of the Giver.
H. Romans 4:4 & 5 say, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
I. In other words, if we could do something to earn, or qualify for, or achieve grace, it would not be grace. It would be God’s payment, or reward, or wage for what we had earned. It would not be a gift.
J. Our other text verse, Titus 2:11, says that the grace of God has appeared unto all men.
K. Sadly, all men have not benefited from the grace of God that has appeared unto them, though.
L. Since forgiveness of sin (salvation) cannot be accessed or obtained by working for it or qualifying for it because it is a gift; and since salvation is not a tangible item that one can reach out with their hand to accept, how does one access this favor of God that yields cleansing from sin in his/her life?
M. Well, Ephesians 2:8 says that God’s grace (favor) that saves us is transferred to us through faith.
N. Many of you have heard me say this, too. I like to think of faith as the pipeline through which God transfers His gift of forgiveness to each of us.
O. This, then, begs the question, what is faith?
P. Faith does not only believe that God can save the world; it believes that God, based upon His promise in His Word, applies that forgiveness to your life.
Q. This is not a process, but an act that happens at a moment in time.
R. In John 3:3 Jesus calls this being born again.
S. Natural birth happens at a moment in time.
T. Likewise, spiritual birth happens at a moment in time.
U. Though what God had to do to get you to the point of spiritual birth might have been a process (the witness of others and conviction by God), the new birth experience happens at a moment in time.
V. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world [that includes everyone; no one is excluded from this promise], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever [this brings the promise down to the personal level; meaning each person] who believeth in him [faith; trusting God to do what He has promised right here] should not perish, but have everlasting life [the new birth experience; a transfer of the grace that brings salvation to the recipient of that salvation by his faith pipeline reaching up to receive it].