Summary: A sermon about people who only go as far as salvation but never grow in Christ
Are You Paralyzed by Grace?
CCCAG July 28th, 2019
Week Two: “God’s Grace: Are You Paralyzed By Grace?”
The second week in our four-week series on God’s grace.
Last week, we discovered that God’s grace means so much more than forgiveness.
Grace isn’t just a slate wiped clean- grace can teach us a new way to live.
We also learned that often we can have a limited view of God’s grace.
We want to explore that point a little bit more today.
In many church’s and denominations Grace has been limited in our day; it’s been captured and domesticated for weekly use.
The grace of God, a grace capable of reaching across every culture, every gender, and every generation, has been reduced to mean simply, forgiveness for everyone.
We have turned this idea of grace to our uses, instead of everything that it means and is intended for.
Grace has been reduced to something we experience when we walk through the doors of the church, but then we leave it there when the services are over.
One of the ways we know this is that people use grace to excuse various sins in their life. How many people hear this today-“God made me this way, and He loves me just the way I am.”
Most people are comfortable with that statement. They use it as a “Get out of Jail Free” card whenever they get confronted with biblical truth that calls into question one of their beliefs or actions.
This idea that God made you that way and likes you just the way you are is a LIE of the enemy.
The bible teaches us truth- a truth that is the opposite of the worldly wisdom tossed around today is this-
“God loves you too much to let you stay the way you are”
Last week, we learned from Titus 2:11–14 that first his grace saves, then it teaches. Most of us are OK with receiving forgiveness. We revel and love the forgivenss and grace of God seen at the cross of Jesus Christ.
But often we stop there.
Richard Foster, a man who has spent his adult life encouraging Christians to grow in the grace of God, points out that the message of grace is something more than merely a means for gaining forgiveness. F
oster says that, in most pulpits, there is a disconnect between the good news of Jesus’ sacrifice and our calling to become the light of the world.
“Having been saved by gracem these people have been paralyzed by it.”
If we remain stuck at the notion that God’s grace is only another way to describe forgiveness, we will never discover that there this grace is also for everyday living, relationships, and ministry to others.
In the New Testament alone, grace is tied together with other vitally important truths such as:
grace and truth,
grace and power,
grace and spiritual gifts,
grace and thanksgiving,
grace and generosity,
grace and provision,
grace and suffering,
grace and destiny,
and this list is not complete!
If our view of grace is limited to only receiving forgiveness, Jesus cannot be our model for how to receive grace, live in grace, and depend upon grace.
If you have been around church for awhile, you have heard that that grace has been defined as
“not getting what we deserve,”
or “God’s unmerited favor,”
or the acronym “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
All of these ideas about grace are true, but they tell only part of the truth. These partial truths can actually harm our spiritual formation.
God’s grace has given us a rope to pull us out of sins slimy pit, but it also gives us a hose to wash all that slime off of us. Grace wants us out of the pit, AND give us a way to clean up our lives.
How many of you have heard the following statements-
“I’m just a sinner saved by grace,” we say.
“There’s nothing good inside of me. I’ll always be a sinner, because that’s what I always do.”
Some people have sung the same song for 40 years. When they agreed with the sin diagnosis, they apparently thought it described a permanent condition.
I knew a guy that was a dedicated follower of Jesus, and every time I heard him prayer he would end his prayer like this- “Forgive us for the many ways we’ve failed you. In Your name we pray, Amen.”
It doesn’t matter if he’s blessing the food before a meal or asking for wisdom in an important decision.
I’m sure he’s sincere every time he prays it, but I wonder if Jesus ever gets tired of hearing it. No friendship on earth could survive if one partner constantly affirmed, “I’m no good.” What kind of relationship requires a constant, constant, rehashing of our inadequacy?