Summary: Salvation is not just about getting you to heaven it is about redeeming your life here on earth.
GRACE TO YOU
Big Idea: Salvation is not just about getting you to heaven it is about redeeming your life here on earth.
Well, we have done it. We have finally come to my last sermon from The Revelation of John. It has taken us 32 months but we are at the end.
Speaking of the end -- if you had written this letter how would you have ended it? What would be your parting words? What would be your last sentence?
Would you end it with:
• “Now, do what I say and remain faithful!”
• “Hang in there!”
• “People get ready, Jesus is coming!”
• “Remember; we win!!!!”
I suspect John gave his ending a lot of thought. This was a heavy and sobering book for a heavy and sober time. Let’s see what the last words John chooses to leave with his parishioners might be:
Rev. 22: 21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Wow! John ends it with … “Grace.” John ends with a desire to see God’s grace poured out on everyone who reads and hears this book. What fabulous parting words. They are certainly fitting aren’t they? In fact, to take it a step further – it is certainly fitting that the last words of the New Testament – indeed the whole Christian Bible should be … an offer of Grace.
I cannot help but notice this offer is in the present tense. The Greek used suggests that this grace is an ever present possibility. It is available, active, and effectual for them (us) … now … in their (our) present place.
That is so very consistent with New Testament theology isn’t it? Grace is about bringing and fulfilling God’s salvation in his people. Salvation is not just about getting you to heaven it is about redeeming your life here on earth. Hence grace has impact on you here and now.
• What is happening in your life today that needs God’s intervention?
• Are the pressing demands in your life requiring you to be faithful, patient, and persistent while enduring to their conclusion?
• What personal, moral or character issues do you wish to see refined?
• Do you need God’ wisdom or strength or provision to help with something?
• Are you facing some fear or fears that you need to overcome?
• Is there a calling of God that you need help to obey?
These are all opportunities for you to experience the victorious grace of God.
Grace is a gift from God. That is actually an inherent element in the word’s definition. It is an offer God makes; not a status we create or earn. You cannot earn it – you can only receive it. Receiving God’s gift of grace is referred to as faith.
One of ladies in our congregation had a baby shower yesterday. She was “showered with gifts” but, in order to receive those gifts she had to attend the shower and take the offerings. She trusted the gifts would be good and acted on that trust. That is what faith is like … it is trusting God’s offer is good and moving to receive it.
Understanding God’s invitation to grace usually falls into two large categories.
1. Grace is God’s gift for overcoming the prevailing power of sin (Ephesians 2:8-9)
It is only by God’s grace that we find his favor. We are made right with God … by God and God alone. Remember “Grace plus anything is not grace.” Only His grace can release us from the shackles of sin. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For 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.”
This happens first and foremost when God pardons our personal sin and cleanses us from sin’s guilt. But, grace not only saves us from the penalty of sin, it also empowers us to live lives free from sin’s grip.
Have you ever experienced God’s pardon from sin? Have you ever experienced the freedom that comes when your guilt is washed away? The Bible says “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20-21)
There really is nothing you can do to earn this forgiveness. Any effort put forth only frustrates the process because we are incapable of pleasing God – we are sinful. It is only by God’s grace that we can find forgiveness.
That is a stumbling block for some. They feel they need to earn it, or first become a better person, or something, but there is only one way to find forgiveness and that is through the grace of Jesus Christ!