Summary: Seventh in a series about the attributes of God and how to reflect them to others.
KNOWING GOD - #5
God is Gracious
Preacher Charles Swindoll recalled his last spanking when he turned thirteen years old. Chuck said, “Having just broken into the sophisticated ranks of the teen world, I thought I was something on a stick. My father wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was with my great importance and new-found independence.
“I was lying on my bed. He was outside the window on a muggy October afternoon in Houston, TX, weeding the garden. He said, ‘Charles, come out and help me weed the garden.’ I said something like, ‘NO, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, REMEMBER?’
“My tone was sassy and my deliberate lack of respect was eloquent. I knew better than to disobey my dad, but after all, I was the ripe old age of thirteen. Dad set a new 100-meter record that autumn afternoon. He was in the house in a flash and all over me like white on rice, spanking me all the way out to the garden. As I recall, I weeded until the moonlight was shining on the pansies.
“That same night he took me out to a surprise dinner. He gave me what I deserved earlier. LATER HE GAVE ME WHAT I DID NOT DESERVE. The birthday dinner was a matter of grace. He showered his favor on this rebellious young man. And I enjoyed grace.”
Grace defined: getting what we do not deserve. Another way to say it is that grace is the unmerited, or undeserved, favor from God.
We talked two weeks ago about compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. I mentioned that mercy is “not getting what we deserve.”
Grace follows by giving us what we don’t deserve.
Grace carries the idea of a gift. A gift is not something you deserve. That is a wage. A gift is something given by someone who loves the recipient.
Understanding the grace of God is crucial to experiencing the abundant life Jesus desires for us. You will see why as we progress through this message.
My purpose this morning is to urge you on to a deeper appreciation of the grace of God, and to a sense of urgency in extending it to others.
We begin by turning to John 1:16-17. John is the 4th book in the New Testament, and if you are using one of the Bibles in the seats, it can be found on page 750.
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Our first point this morning is that grace is…
I. Given by God.
This passage tells us that, first of all,…
A. He is the Source.
Grace originates from God. Without God we cannot experience grace.
“Why’s that, Preacher? Can’t other’s show us grace?
Without God, the best that people can do is give out a cheap copy of the real thing.
In the office furniture business, I have to educate people on the difference between chairs or copiers, or fax machines they see at discount stores, and the ones only available through your local office products dealer.
There are two types of furniture and machines: consumer grade and commercial grade.
They might look the same from the outside, but when you open them up, it is usually a different story.
The commercial grade stuff is built to take the heavy-duty toil of daily and continuous use.
The consumer grade stuff is not. And you will be sorely disappointed if you try to get commercial grade use from a consumer grade product.
Grace from God is heavy-duty, commercial grade stuff. Human grace apart from God is a cheap imitation.
And since it originates from Him, it is perfect in all its aspects and purposes. And that is a comforting and encouraging thought to me.
And since it originates from Him, it stands to reason that…
B. He determines the…
1. Who. God’s grace is available to everybody, but nobody deserves it. That’s what grace is, remember?
My point here is that since none of us is deserving, we have no right to demand grace from God, whether for yourself or someone else.
He decides, not us. We can and should pray that God would shower His grace on us, or others, but we are in no position to demand.
He also determines the…
2. How. If you are anything like me, I have my ideas about how God should do things, sometimes.
And I pray rather specifically about how I would like God to act in a given situation.
Yet I am constantly reminded that not only does God not owe me grace at all, He does not owe it to me to act in a certain way.
I have learned that if God acted in the way I always wanted, things would be a real mess.