Summary: A powerful series based on the book "Grace: More than we Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine." The series will look at the many different aspects of Grace.

November 11, 2012

Grace - Part 1

Have you ever been stuck? Not just stuck for an answer, but really, really stuck. Maybe your vehicle is stuck. The people in this car tried to cross the border from Mexico to the U.S. illegally and didn’t quite make it.

Maybe you went off the road and you’re stuck in the mud or snow. You do know snow season is coming. Maybe you got in trouble . . . and now your stuck and you need someone to get you out or just help you in your time of need.

Maybe you were literally stuck. You got into something and couldn’t get out. Has that ever happened to you? Actually, most of us wouldn’t want to admit it.

Do you remember just two years ago when 33 Chilean miners were stuck 2,300 feet below ground in the mine they were working in? It took 69 days before they were able to be rescued. They survived on just a small amount of food. Yet, their spirits were good, even though they lost an average of 18 pounds per man. They even had a miner who served as their pastor. They had a daily Bible study. And I can imagine attendance was probably pretty good.

When we’re stuck like that, do you know what? Nobody responds with the answer, “I can handle this myself. Just give me time and I’ll get out of here. I’m just a day or two away and I’ll make it. Don’t worry, it’s not a problem.” Nobody tried to save themselves. They needed help from above. They needed someone from up there to come into their world to pull them out.

Maybe you’ve reached that conclusion, too. It’s not that this world is so bad, it’s just that we’ve come to the realization that we weren’t made for this world. Even though we have great moments of victory and celebration, this world is still filled with a great deal of darkness. We can do everything humanly possible to make our world better. We can buy and accumulate things, we can become bigger, stronger, faster, go on more diets, have plastic surgery, become more educated, get better jobs, bigger homes . . . and we weren’t meant to live in a world filled with despair, depression, death and decay. So, how do we get out of it?

God answers us with a simple word . . . Grace. We use that word quite a bit, don’t we? We talk as though we really know what grace means.

The bank gives us a grace period. People can fall from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe a dinner host as gracious. We proclaim a wonderful dancer is graceful. We use the word to name our daughters, and churches and we even ask to say grace before a meal. One of the most famous of all hymns is called Amazing Grace. But, really, how much of grace do we really understand? Lucado suggests, we have settled for a ‘wimpy grace.’ A grace which fits nicely in a hymn, fits nicely on a church sign and never causes trouble or demands a response. After all, he concludes, when asked if you believe in grace? Who could say no?

So, when does grace actually appear in the Bible? Most people might say it was the apostle Paul, after all, nobody wrote about grace more than he did. But that’s not correct. You may say Jesus, He lived the grace-filled life; but it wasn’t Him. King David relied on God’s grace, but he wasn’t the first one. Okay, so when do we first hear about grace?

You may not be surprised, but grace occurs in the book of beginnings, in Genesis 6:8. We read, But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Some versions of the Bible, use the word favor instead of grace. It’s interesting that the first time grace is used, is also when Noah’s name is first introduced to us. When we look at the verses right before this, we see they are not flattering words. They are words which brought sorrow to the heart of God.

5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. – Genesis 6:5

Do you hear the harshness, can you feel the power and force of these words. There was great wickedness, every intent was only evil continually. This was real; and we know it’s real because in modern times we’ve read or even experienced the horror of terrible human depravity and wickedness. Places like concentration camps, Rwanda, Cambodian killing fields, terrorism. We realize it is possible that society can sink to the point where a society can sink so low that every thought is about evil, continually.

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