Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

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. Part 7

Grace Happens - 7

December 23, 2012

VIDEO of Orphan Train from You tube.

Among the many stories of the children of the Orphan Train, is the story about a little boy named Lee. He was one of 3 sons, and his biological father decided he couldn’t care for his 3 sons. So, he took them to the orphan rescue center, where they would be loaded onto the orphan train. At 8 years old, Lee was the oldest. As the train approached them, his father said goodbye and placed a pink envelope in his pocket, containing the name and address of his father.

He instructed Lee that when he arrived at his new home, he should contact his father. The train came and the boys took off. They sat together on their long journey from New York City to Texas. They fell asleep and when Lee woke up the next morning, the pink envelope was gone. Lee had no idea what happened to it. He never found it. I’d love to tell you that Lee’s father found him and they had an amazing reunion, that he found all 3 boys and they went back to New Your City with their father. But, I can’t tell you that story, because it didn’t happen.

But, in your case, it did. At the heart of the story of the Bible is God’s pursuit of you. His determination to find you, claim you, to name you, and to bring you into His family, as His own. It’s not enough for God to call you forgiven, God wants to call you His ‘family.’

Listen to this great promise in Romans 8, 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family -- calling him "Father, dear Father."

17 And since we are His children, we will share His treasures -- for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share His suffering.

You see, God didn’t just acquit us, He adopted us. He didn’t just declare us forgiven, He declared us part of His family, as His children. Although the forgiveness is no small matter. In fact, when you try to understand grace you realize there must be acquittal before adoption. God must deal with our sin before He can call us His children. He must take us into a courtroom before He can take us to the dinner table. And it is in the courtroom that God acquits us.

Have you ever been in a courtroom? May be you’ve received a traffic ticket and you were sure you could go before the judge and explain your extenuating circumstances. If you’ve ever tried to do that, you know the judge is not really concerned if you have been naughty or nice, but is more concerned at that moment if you broke the law. Were you speeding? Did you park in the no parking zone? Did you come to a complete stop at the stop sign? Answering “yes, but. . .” doesn’t get you anywhere. The judge will pound the gavel and proclaim GUILTY.

It’s the judges job to enforce the law. It’s his or her job to determine guilty or innocent. His job to promote justice, to interpret the law and apply it as consistently and clearly as possible.

Now, you and I have violated God’s law. We’ve broken the law. At the minimum, it’s the law of our conscience – the law of society, and ultimately, the law of God. We stand in His courtroom, before the judge of the universe. One of the characteristics of God is that He is a just God. He’s the Creator of the law and He can’t misinterpret the law. Our judge, Almighty God, also hates sin.

One prophet wrote this about God ~ Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong - Habakkuk 1:13. It’s absolutely impossible for God to look upon a sinner and have no response. A just judge must punish that wrong. When you stand before God, you become speechless. As Isaiah stood before God, he cried, Woe is me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty. – Isaiah 6:5

He didn’t try to defend himself. He knew he was before THE judge. So, the just judge will judge each person according to what they have done. – Psalm 62:12

You see, God hates evil and He judges fairly. Wouldn’t you agree, you and I have committed evil. It’s like we’ve parked in the no parking zone because we simply missed the sign, but at other times we saw the sign and parked there anyway. We chose to deliberately disobey the teachings of God. Where does that leave us? Evildoers, standing in God’s courtroom.

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