Summary: *This sermon was adapted from a series on Sermon Central and is not all my original content* A sermon addressing that God's grace is for more than forgiveness, but also for a changed life.
“God’s Grace: More Than Forgiveness”
CCCAG July 21st, 2019
Scripture- Titus 2:11-14
Today we set out on a four-week journey that has the potential to change our lives. Together, we will examine the Scriptures and listen to the Holy Spirit as we consider the topic of God’s grace.
Prayer- understand and live by God’s grace
Have you ever taken the time to think deeply about grace?
Have you ever taken the time to study God’s Word about grace?
This is a journey for all of us to take together: seasoned saints, new believers, and those who are exploring whether the good news of Jesus is really true. The topic of God’s grace is vast and certainly much more than we can cover in four weeks.
As we begin this journey together, I hope that it will be the start of a wonderful time of learning and entering into God’s grace in greater and greater measure.
One of the big ideas for today is to focus on and discover that God’s grace is more than just forgiveness; God sends his grace to teach us a new way to live.
I’m going to frame this by telling you a story, and it might be difficult for some as this is unfortunately a common occurrence in our world.
It’s a story about an abusive husband and his wife. The husband was a rage-aholic, given to fits of anger and, horribly in those moments sometimes became violent.
Like the time he slammed his wife up against the kitchen cabinets.
Or the time he slapped her across the face and then, in horror and shame, ran off to find a quiet place to tremble and cry.
The wife, a Christian, forgave her husband each time he came home.
Her husband would say (quite accurately), “I don’t know what comes over me.” The wife loved her husband deeply, and saw the many good sides of this flawed man, but she lived in fear that the next rage-riot might bring a harm that would not heal.
She stayed with her husband because, each time, he sincerely begged for forgiveness. She felt her duty as a Christian was to forgive and extend grace.
And there is the problem- The only thing she knew of God’s grace was forgiveness.
She had been told all her life that she was powerless over sin and that God’s grace came to forgive and restore her relationship with God. She was enough of a Christian to understand that, if God had forgiven her, she should extend the same grace to others, especially her husband.
She knew a small piece of God’s grace, but only enough to put her in danger.
It’s God’s grace that forgives and restores.
Forgiveness is an awesome result of God’s grace. WE should extend the same forgiveness toward others that God has given us.
But it doesn’t stop at forgiveness
In the story you heard, forgiveness alone was filling this woman with torment.
If we look at the wife in this story, we want to scream, “Get out! It’s not safe!” Any sane Christian understands the woman has no duty to remain at home and risk injury or death because of some notion of grace, expressed as constant forgiveness.
Grace truly realized means a changed life.
If we look at the husband in this story, we see a man trapped in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that will harm everyone he loves and ruin his own life, as well.
A sympathetic view of the husband understands that he, too, is a tormented soul in desperate need of help—help beyond merely wiping clean his sinful slate. The most gracious thing his wife could do would be to move out and demand that he get the help he needs to overcome his deep anger and pain.
That is why Grace is meant not only for forgiveness, but something that changes our fundamental nature into one that reflects the nature of Christ Himself.
Speaking of Jesus- He is the third member of this marriage.
We could no more imagine Jesus leaving this husband alone in his condition (a captive to anger and fits of rage) than we could imagine Jesus telling a homeless man, “Go your way, be warm and filled,” without giving him food and clothing.
Beyond the characters in this simple story lies a larger question: what about us?
Would a grace-filled God leave us in the condition he finds us?
Would he spend his days reminding us of our shortcomings, demanding, again and again, prayers of repentance and sorrow? Would the loving Creator wave his hand and say, “You are forgiven, now—go and sin no more,” without lifting even one finger to give us His power to gain victory over our sin?
The example I used is extreme and disturbing, but it is a true story, one that’s been repeated over and over in many Christian families. Sometimes an extreme example is necessary to grab our hearts and free our minds.