Summary: Christianity never becomes about human effort. We do not move on from grace – we move deeper and deeper into it. The gospel not only ignites us to faith, it fuels our entire journey.
Dakota Community Church
September 25, 2011
Grace Transforms 3
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.
1. What is biblical grace?
2. Where does grace originate?
3. Grace transforms; but how?
If you hadn’t realized it I am fired up about grace.
I have known and preached the gospel for years; at Christianview I was always the speaker for “Salvation Sunday Services” which were gospel focused.
Those services were directed toward visitors; we challenged the congregation to bring non-believing family and friends because those people need the gospel.
Something new is happening in me where the gospel is concerned.
I think it is happening in pastors and churches all over the world, the blogs and podcasts seem to be exploding with a fresh passion for the power of the gospel for today, for long time Christians, for preachers like me – it is revolutionary and exhilarating because it is so liberating.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul tells the Colossian Church that He is praying for what we all want – changed lives!
He wants them living worthily, pleasing God with their lifestyles, bearing fruit, growing, becoming stronger, more tenacious, patient, joyful and thankful to God.
Who doesn’t want that?
So we read the passage and others like it and we do what?
WE GET BUSY - We miss where Paul says the power for that transformation is found!
A. When the gospel is central.
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
“The gospel is not simply the ABC’S of Christianity; it is the A-Z of Christianity” – Tim Keller
Even though I have been in full time ministry for the last 22 years, I missed a part; a vital part of the message I was commissioned to announce.
Like most evangelicals I believed the gospel was simply what non-believers need to believe in order to become “saved”. Then I thought God moves us on to the work portion of this event also known as spiritual growth or discipleship.
Christianity never becomes about human effort.
We do not move on from grace – we move deeper and deeper into it.
The gospel not only ignites us to faith, it fuels our entire journey.
Legalism and moral deism have been running rampant in the church but this now power of the gospel is exposing them for the traps that they are.
Not only are we justified by grace – we are also sanctified by grace!
Grace not only gets us in, it also keeps us in and must remain the main thing.
B. When the gospel is not turned into law
Legalism and moralism turn the gospel back into law.
Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
The gospel is not a command to do anything. Gospel means “good news” – it is a declaration not an instruction.
In New Testament times an evangelist was simply someone who came to announce victory on the battlefield. The war is over and we won send the evangelist back to town to let everyone know, victory is ours.
The work is done, we enter into Christ our Sabbath, when Jesus declared “It is finished” – He meant it. From now on and forever my relationship to God is based on His obedience, not mine.
What matters is not my performance rather it’s His performance!
The law does not create willing submission.
The more rules there are the harder people rebel.