Summary: What Grace truely means
INTRO: In Max Lucado’s book In The Grip of Grace he writes: You know what disturbs me most about Jeffrey Dahmer?
What disturbs me most are not his acts, though they are disgusting. Dahmer was convicted of seventeen murders. Eleven corpses were found in his apartment. He cut off arms. He ate body parts. My thesaurus has 204 synonyms for vile, but each falls short of describing a man who kept skulls in his refrigerator and hoarded a human heart. He redefined the boundary for brutality. The Milwaukee monster dangled from the lowest rung of human conduct and then dropped. But that’s not what troubles me most.
Can I tell you what troubles me most about Jeffrey Dahmer? Not his trial, as disturbing as it was, with all those pictures of him sitting serenely in court, face frozen, motionless. No sign of remorse, no hint of regret. Remember his steely eyes and impassive face? But I don’t speak of him because of his trial. There is another reason. Can I tell you what really troubles me about Jeffrey Dahmer?
Not his punishment, though life without parole is hardly an exchange for his actions. How many years would satisfy justice? A lifetime in jail for every life he took? But that’s another matter, and that’s not what troubles me most about Jeffrey Dahmer. May I tell you what does?
Months before an inmate murdered him, Jeffrey Dahmer became a Christian. Said he repented. Was sorry for what he did. Profoundly sorry. Said he put his faith in Christ. Was baptized. Started life over. Began reading Christian books and attending chapel.
Sins washed. Soul cleansed. Past forgiven.
That troubles me. It shouldn’t. but it does. Grace for a cannibal?
Maybe you have the same reservations. If not about Dahmer perhaps about someone else.
-It’s hard to understand God’s grace when it is applied to such a monster/Lord willing over the next several weeks we will have a better understanding.
TITLE: Grace "The Lord’s Gift"
TEXT: Eph. 2:8-9
I. Explanation of term: grace - what are we saved by? A. Wide range of meaning for grace:
-A well-coordinated athlete or dancer.
-Good manners and being considerate of others. -Beautiful, well-chosen words.
-Consideration and care for other people. -Various expressions of kindness and mercy.
1. Jesus never used the word himself (he just taught it and lived it).
-To understand grace, we need to go back to an old Hebrew term that meant: "To bend, to stoop." In time came the idea of condescending favor. Donald Barnhouse said it best: Love that goes upward is worship. Love that goes outward is affection. Love that stoops is grace.
2. Meaning: Grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it according to Chuck Swindol.
B. Illustrate: An old Indian, after living many years in sin, was led to Christ by a missionary. Friends asked him to explain the change in his life. Reaching down, he picked up a little worm and placed it on a pile of leaves. Then, touching a match to the leaves, he watched them smolder and burst into flames. As the flames worked their way up to the center where the worm lay, the old chief suddenly plunged his hand into the center of the burning pile and snatched out the worm. Holding the worm gently in his hand, he gave this testimony to the grace of God: "Me. . .that worm!"
-Justice is getting what we deserve. -Mercy is not getting what we deserve. -Grace is getting what we do not deserve.
C. Best Definition of Grace - does not come from a dictionary, but from the pages of our Lord’s life.
-Grace comes through the story of the women caught in adultery (deserved to be stoned to death). Jesus says he who has no sin cast the first stone.
-Story of the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son. II. What happens to us when we truly understand grace?
A. Greater appreciation for God and his gifts.
-We begin to get a better understanding of all that God does for us, and the longer we walk with him the more he reveals.
Col. 3:9-10 - "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self; which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator."
-The word renewed means: "renovated" (Have you ever been involved in renovating something, problems that arise are time and money. You either run out of time or energy and never have enough money to finish.)
-Good thing about God is he never runs out of time or money. (He will finish the renovation in your life if you will allow him.)