Summary: "Grace is giving or receiving something that is needed but not deserved." That definition fits beautifully into many places where the word "grace" is used in the New Testament. (Powerpoints available - #187)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #187.)
There is a very interesting Greek word in the Bible that we translate into the English word "grace." And this word "grace" is used time & time again throughout the New Testament.
In fact, let's turn to the Book of Ephesians & see just a few of the places where it is used. Ephesians 1:2, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 1:6-8, "...to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgive-ness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."
Ephesians 2:4 5, "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - its is by grace you have been saved."
Ephesians 2:8-9, "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
Ephesians 4:7, "But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it."
"Grace" sounds like a very important word. But what does it mean?
You have probably heard before that "grace" means "unmerited favor." But what exactly does that mean? Maybe this definition will help make it a little easier to understand: "Grace is giving or receiving something that is needed but not deserved."
ILL. A Sunday School teacher by the name of Lindsay heard this definition of grace, & was quite impressed with its clarity & simplicity. So he tried it out on his class of Juniors. He repeated this definition to them several times, but it didn't seem to sink in very well.
The next day he was walking down the street, making his way through the piles of snow & slush. Bobby, one of the boys in his S.S. class, saw him coming, ducked behind a hedge & made a couple of snowballs.
Lindsay said, "When I went past him he fired away. But he missed my back & hit me right on the ear. I saw stars, & my hat flew into the mud. Bobby saw what he had done, bolted from the hedge & ran for home.
"When my head cleared, I was sorely tempted to try to catch him & whale the daylights out of him, or at least go & tell his father. But then I thought of the S.S. lesson, & decided to practice grace on him.
"He needed a fishing pole, for he had borrowed mine at times, so I bought him a three piece rod & took it by his home. I guess Bobby saw me coming, for he was nowhere around when I arrived.
"I handed it to his mother & told her to give it to Bobby for a birthday present & to tell him that I knew his birthday was two months off. I asked her particularly to tell him that I knew he needed a fishing pole.
"About an hour later, there was a timid knock on my door, & when I opened it, Bobby held the fishing pole out to me. He said, 'I brought your fishing pole back. I can't take it.'
"When I asked him, 'Why?' he answered, "If you had known it was me that hit you in the ear with that snowball, you wouldn't have given it to me.'
"My answer startled him. I said, 'That's why I gave it to you, Bobby.' 'I don't understand.' he replied."
"Bobby, what was the S.S. lesson about yesterday?" "I don't remember."
"I said, 'It was about grace, & grace is giving or receiving something that is needed but not deserved.' His eyes brightened, & a slow grin spread over his face as he began to understand.
"I said, 'All right, Bobby question & answer What is grace?'
"Quick as a flash he answered, 'It's a fishing pole!' I said, 'That's right, Bobby. It's a fishing pole when you need a fishing pole & don't deserve it.'"
That definition fits beautifully into many places where the word "grace" is used in the N.T.
I. LOOK AT THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS
A. First, let's look at the teachings of Jesus. The two most beautiful stories that Jesus ever told revolve around the theme of "grace."
ILL. In the story of the prodigal son the word "grace" does not appear, but the word "deserve" does. The prodigal son said, "I will set out and go back to my father & say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.'" (Luke 15:18-19)