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Summary: Grace is one of three great motivators for living the Christian life.

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GROWING IN GRACE 1 – THE GENESIS OF GRACE (outline with manuscript after the dotted line)

Text: Genesis 1:1-3

Introduction

1. This morning we begin a study of one of the most significant concepts in the entire Bible. The

concept of Grace

2. How radical is the concept of grace?

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world

debated what belief, if any, was unique to the Christian faith. They began by eliminating

the possibilities. Incarnation? No, other religions had different versions of gods

appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return

from death experiences. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered

into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked. His colleagues replied, "We're

discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions." Lewis responded,

“Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

After further discussion the conferees agreed. The notion of God’s love coming to us

free of charge, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold

path to enlightenment, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish conditions for covenant,

and the Muslim code of law – each present a way to earn our approval. It's true; only

Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.(1)

3. So what does this important word mean?

The linguistic starting-point is the sense of “making glad by gifts,” of showing free

unmerited grace. The element of freedom in giving is constitutive(2)

4. And yet we have to be careful how we handle this beautiful word. David Miller has observed,

“We cannot overemphasize the grace of God. But we can misemphasize, misrepresent,

misdefine, [and] misunderstand the grace of God. We can use the marvelous grace of

God as a pretext for corrupting worship and relaxing the high moral standards of the

gospel.”(3)

5. God warned us,

2 Corinthians 6:1

1

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive

the grace of God in vain.

6. I see two predominant abuses of Grace.

7. First is the person who teaches A Phariseeistic legalism that causes people to live a life that robs

them of the joy of their salvation by following an impossible list of man-made doctrines and

constantly shifting theories

1) Their service to God becomes “The constant rolling of a stone that was always to be lifted

anew.”(4)

2) They are driven by the feeling that they are never good enough, never give enough, never do

enough, never pray enough, never study enough, never serve enough.

3) So it’s little wonder that,

1

http://www.kenlroberts.com/blog/2013/6/3/cslewis-grace.html

2

Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of

the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 394.

3

Dave Miller, The Empowering Grace of God.pdf. Ohio Valley University Faulkner Lectureship 2014.

4

Rauch's Psychology, p. 343

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Manuscript

Growing in Grace 1 – the Genesis of Grace

This morning we’re going to talk about one of the most important concepts in the Bible. We’re going to begin a series that’s going to span a number of weeks and we’re going to cover this topic in-depth. That important concept is the concept of ‘grace’. It’s one of the most radical concepts ever conceived in the religious world. During a British conference on comparative religion, several years ago, experts from around the world were debating what belief, if any, was truly unique to Christianity. They began by eliminating the possibilities.

The looked at:

Incarnation - They thought, there are cases in man-made religions of doctrines of people of different versions of Gods appearing in human form. So that’s not so unique.

Resurrection - They could think of stories and the myths, of ages past, where people came back from the dead; so that wasn’t it. As they went through the process C. S. Lewis a famous atheist turned apologist wandered into the room and in his typical British way said, “What’s the rumpus about?” They explained to him they were trying to figure out what, if anything was unique in the teaching of Christianity. Without even thinking he responded, “That’s easy – grace.” As they discussed the issue the conferees agreed. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhists have their eight fold path of enlightenment, the Hindus their doctrine of karma, the Jewish conditions of covenant, and the Muslim code of law/pillars of Islam. Each present a way to earn approval; but only Christianity has an example of a God whose love is unconditional and a love based on who He is instead of who we are.

So what does this important word grace mean? One of the most complete sources for the meaning of New Testament words is called Kittel’s theological dictionary; it’s like a ten volume dictionary. For example, its definition of the word Baptizo or Baptism runs about sixty five pages as it explains what it meant in ancient Greek and what the parallels to the word meant in the Hebrew Old Testament, it then explains what the word meant in the New Testament. Its explanation and definition of the word for grace (charis) runs about forty five pages and right in the middle of it is this precious passage that I just had to share with you.

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