Summary: God saves us by his grace (undeserved favor) when we believe in Jesus. Our salvation is a gift from God, not a reward for the good things we have done.
GREAT GRACE AND FREEDOM #1: GOOD NEWS FOR RAGAMUFFINS
(Jan. 2013 – Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
INTRO TO TOPIC: This week, we are beginning a new series to look at one of the most important words to Christianity: GRACE. One of the most popular hymns of all time is Amazing Grace. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” But – what is grace?
QUOTES ON GRACE:
“Because God is gracious, therefore sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them or that ever can be in them that they are saved.” (Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace).
“The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt out…It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace… It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.” (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).
“As I look back on my own pilgrimage, marked by wanderings…I see now what pulled me along was my search for grace. I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else… Grace comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it and I am one of those people.” (Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?).
“To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it… Grace… is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried… My hope has been to create an appetite for grace that is so strong nothing will restrain us from pursuing the freedom and spontaneity it can bring – a longing so deep that a new spiritual dawn, a “grace awakening,” if you will, cannot help but burst through the wall of legalism.” (Charles Swindoll, The Grace Awakening).
THE BIG IDEA: God saves us by his grace (undeserved favor) when we believe in Jesus. Our salvation is a gift from God, not a reward for the good things we have done.
INTRO TO GALATIANS: (Galatians 1:1-7).
“1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
• Who was Paul? He was a terrorist whose story begins in Acts 9 as Jesus appears to him.
• “12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” (1 Tim. 1:12-16).
• God’s grace = saved Saul, a terrible sinner. If God will save Saul, He will save anyone!
• Before I became a Christian, I was a real bad sinner, but God loved & saved me.
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
• Grace defined = charis = unmerited favor of God; good will; lovingkindness.
• Paul wrote this letter because the Christians in Galatia were departing from the gospel.
• What is the Gospel? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9).
• God loved the world so much He sent His son Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins!
• So many people don’t understand God’s grace – His unmerited favor – today.
AN ILLUSTRATION OF GRACE: MEPHIBOSHETH
BEFORE GRACE: WHO WAS MEPHIBOSHETH?
“Saul's son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when Saul and Jonathan were killed at the battle of Jezreel. When news of the battle reached the capital, the child's nurse grabbed him and fled. But she fell and dropped him as she was running, and he became crippled as a result.” (2 Sam. 4:4).