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Summary: A sermon one of two that considers the call of the Christian to grow in grace and suggests what we can to to enable this.(Sermon central story in it)

How to grow in Grace.

2nd Peter 3 verse 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I wonder what the greatest gift you have ever received was?

I wonder if the most valuable gift was also the greatest!!!!

I remember once getting a push bike given to me when I was beginning as a minister - it was a great gift because the person who gave it to me was a humble man who saw I had a real need . I had been cycling around the parish on an antique boneshaker I really needed something better.. It was a great gift because he couldn’t really afford to give it to me. It was a great gift because I had really done nothing to deserve it.

But there are in fact greater gifts than this. One such gift is grace!!!

The New Testament is seasoned with grace:- 2nd Peter 3 verse 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

As Christians we are instructed to grow in the grace of Jesus.

When I was a child our family travelled to Christchurch and we took time to visit some relatives of my Father.

They were a very old couple who had been married for a long long time or it seemed so to me.

He was a thin old man with a big white moustache but what stood out for me was the depth of love that he had for his wife. Somewhere I have a photo of them standing outside their home. He has his arm around her and they are obviously very much in love with each other.

Their love for each other was obvious.

Contrast this with a woman I once worked with - she had had a relationship with her married boss. The night before her wedding her boss and her had gone out on a date. After her wedding nothing changed - she would continue to go out with her husband to functions but it became obvious that she was really with her boss.

Some years later I met this womans unfortunate husband on the streets of Dunedin he had left his wife and had sunk into a life of drunkedness and alcohol. His wife had divorced him and was now married to someone else again.

What a contrast between these two marriages.

Which one do we think is ideal - We would have to declare it a no contest awarding the medalion to the first couple.

But I wonder which marriage best represents, as a parable, the average New Zealand christian’s ongoing relationship with God. How many of us pay lip service to our relationship to the Kingdom of God, and to Jesus yet maintain an ongoing adulterous relationship with the world.

Are we a people growing in Grace or are we a people who have progresively dis - graced ourselves so that what is left is a remnant of grace.

This morning I would like time to consider grace and to consider ways in which we can grow in grace.

REV 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

If, by taking a sober look at our christian walk we discover that we have drifted from our first love then it may be time that we considered the importance of grace in our lives and once again anchored our boats in the bay of grace and then began plotting the wall planner of our lives in such a way that we could grow in grace.

The relationship between a bride and a groom is often the image that is used to compare the relationship between Christ and his church.

REV 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad

and give him glory!

For the wedding of the Lamb has come,

and his bride has made herself ready.

REV 19:8 Fine linen, bright and clean,

was given her to wear."

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

The marital relationship is sharply focussed to describe the church. The bride makes herself ready for the coming of the Lamb Christ) for the marriage. The church prepares for the wedding by wittnesing, by right living, and by those actions which please the lamb. The church must remain morally pure as it waits for the bridegrooms appearance. (NIV Bible commentary.)

As Christians we do not start off our relationship with Christ as the perfect bride. Indeed it is quite the opposite.

Indeed the very thought of Christ being connected with even the best of us, without grace, is an absurd thought.

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