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Summary: There is nothign left to pay for the price of sin.

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“Grace Pays the Bill”

July 22, 2007

Me: Having dinner with Alana at Carabba’s when the waitress says someone has paid my bill. I am at a loss. It is a great feeling that someone else has paid the price for me.

You: have you ever experienced such generosity? Have you ever had someone do something for you totally undeserved?

Today we are going to look at one of the most famous of all bible passages that talks about this very idea.

God: Jesus is meeting with a religious leader named Nicodemus. He has been telling him about the concept that religion is not what gives us a relationship with God, but it is a new life and a new birth. Nicodemus is confused because he has never heard anything like this in his religious instruction. In fact, he has been taught since childhood that obeying the law and the religious ritual is what is required to have a relationship with God.

So many people are afraid of church life and afraid of seeking after God because they know they will never be able to match up to God’s standard. So many people are interested in God and even Jesus; they just are not interested in church because the church has been a place of rules and regulations.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. 17 God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. 18 Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-19 (The Message)

People have a hard time seeing God as a God of love.

When most people view God they view him with a bad temper that is waiting to harm them.

71% of Americans view God as authoritarian, critical, or distant.

23% of Americans view God as forgiving and accepting of anyone who repents.

* Cathy Lynn Grossman, “America’s Image of God Varies,” USA Today.com (9/11006)

Jesus said that his mission on earth was to give life and love.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” John 3:16

Jesus did not come to accuse those who have done wrong.

“God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” John 3:17

Right relationship with God requires faith in Jesus.

“Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted” John 3:18

Those who choose not to trust Christ are already guilty.

“anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

John 3:18-19

When the person at the restaurant paid my bill, I was faced with a decision. I could either accept what the waitress told me, or I could reject it.

That is the spiritual reality that we live in. We are faced with a choice to accept what Jesus ahs done for us or not.

“That is our invitation—to trust that we do not owe anything. To trust that something is already true about us, something has already been done. To trust that grace pays the bill.” Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis

The difference in those who believe in Jesus and those who don’t is their response to truth.

"This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. 20 Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. 21 But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is." John 3:19-21

The person who trusts Christ comes toward the light so that his heart may be revealed before God.

The person who does not trust in Christ shrinks from the light afraid that his heart will be revealed.

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