Summary: Paul was a man who had experienced Grace and he always referred to its power in the opening of his letters and in the closing of his letters because it changed his life. Grace changed a murderer of the church to a martyr of the church.
“Paul’s - Final Thoughts”
Opening Illustration: On the lighter side of life
I Cor. 16:21-24:
21I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. 22If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord! 23The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
1 Cor. 1:1-3:
1Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thesis: Paul was a man who had experienced Grace and he always referred to its power in the opening of his letters and in the closing of his letters because it changed his life. Grace changed a murderer of the church to a martyr of the church.
Grace could be traced in Paul’s life as being the key that transformed his character and his direction in life. He went from being a murdered of the Body of Christ to becoming a martyr for the Body of Christ. He went from becoming a religious fanatic filled with legalism and condemnation to a man filled grace and love.
We hear Paul talk often about this thing called grace – So what is it?
Video Illustration: What is Grace – Interviews on the street by Blue Fish Tv
We have just observed a man asking people on the street “What is Grace?”
The responses were very mixed a lot said “I don’t know!” some refused to answer they were in a big hurry to do something. Some immediately became defensive others tried to answer but could not. As I watched this clip I thought to myself many people have no clue to what Grace is or is about.
I then recalled Barna’s statistic that stated about 80% of the United States claims to be Christian.
I then asked myself the big question, “Can you be a Christian and not know about grace?” Other questions then started to flood into my mind:
Is grace that secretive?
Is grace not powerful enough to affect Christian lives?
Is grace a forgotten act of God?
Is grace confused with saying grace before a meal?
Is grace only related to my neighbor, whose name is grace?
Is grace real?
Is grace just someone who is eloquent?
Is grace recognizable?
Is grace being modeled or mishandled?
Has grace been aced from our minds?
Has grace been redefined?
Has grace lost its meaning?
Has grace been replaced?
Has grace been misplaced?
Has grace lost the race?
Whatever happened to talking about grace?
Whatever happened to knowing what grace is?
How did this Christian nation of ours misplace grace?
Who aced out grace from the human race?
The thoughts kept coming in like a flood and I have to admit I became worried that most people don’t know what grace looks like, acts like or even is. So today I would like to point us back to grace and remind us all what grace is. Paul loved to talk about grace because of its impact on his life.
Grace is a force a power that we all need to experience and to tap because it has power:
Grace has the power to transform a life filled with sorrow to a life filled with joy.
Grace has the power to deliver one from them self.
Grace has the power to bring love into a loveless life.
Grace has the power to bring forgiveness into a life that is filled with hatred and bitterness.
Grace has the power to bring hope to the hopeless.
Grace has the power to bring light into a life trapped in darkness.
Grace has power to find the lost and bring them home.
Grace has the power to heal the hurting and bring them health and wholeness.
Grace has the power to bring meaning to a meaningless life.
Grace has the power to bring revival to a place filled with death.
Grace has the power to open the eyes of the blind and to see the world as God sees it.
Grace has the power and the strength to break down the barrier between us and God. This power is only available by 1 source, by one person, by 1 life. That person is Jesus. Paul understood this truth and this truth is what set him free.
T.S. - So let’s understand how Paul viewed this thing called grace.
I. Paul understanding of Grace
a. Listen to Paul’s openings and closings of his letters to the churches: