The Blessings of God’s Grace
A. This is an exciting time of year - if you are a Baseball fan. The season is coming to an end and play-off positions are still open. I am a fan, in fact this week I had to stay up a little later to watch the Dodger - Giant game. They are battling for a play off spot in the National League with only this week left.
If you are really Baseball Fan - the 1995 season was a memorable one. Why? It wasn’t because of any great play or record broken. But for a few weeks in the Spring professional baseball was different. The regular professionals went on Strike; the big name stars, the big bats, the golden glove award winners, the 100 mile an hour pitchers were all on strike. So was the Miner league players as part of the Professional Baseball.
But the Game went on for those few weeks. The General Managers went out and hired other players. They didn’t have all the great plays like the Major league players, but they loved to play the game. They didn’t make it to the big leagues by their skill; they weren’t picked because they were good; they didn’t deserve to be playing professional Baseball on the Major League level - but they did - and the game went on and people enjoyed it - and the strike came to an end.
B. You know - in God’s view of life and eternal life, we are all just like those scab players in the Spring of 1995. We can’t get to the Kingdom by our own merits or righteousness; by being good; we don’t deserve to be called God’s Son/daughter or to inherit the Kingdom of God; but through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we will -we are!
C. Paul in this letter of Romans makes it clear that no one - not one is Righteous - we all have fallen short of God’s glory and sinned against God. But as our Passage here tells us:
Vs. 8; God demonstrated His love to us in this: When we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
- That is the Wonder of Grace that we talked about last week from Eph. 2; That God loves us, accept us, even with our sin; that God saves us, through faith in JC; that God’s grace Transforms us to live right in Christ. What a Wonder this Grace of God is for us!
- Think about it: As Max Lucado states: "Ponder the achievement of God. He doesn’t condone our sin, nor does he compromise his standard. He doesn’t ignore our rebellion, nor does he relax his demands. Rather than dismiss our sin, he assumes our sin, and incredibly, sentences himself. God’s holiness is honored. Our sin is punished… and we are redeemed (saved). God does what we cannot so we ca be what we dare not dream: perfect before God." Grip of Grace, pg. 55.
D. Wow! As we come to this passage today we are reminded about the Wonder of God’s Grace for us but we also learn about the Blessings of God’s Grace. What are the Blessings of God’s Grace?
A. Blessing 1 - We have a position with God.
- Look at the text - God’s Word says that as we receive the Grace of God through faith in Jesus as Lord, we are now Justified (vs. 1); Saved from God’s Wrath (vs.9); Reconciled with God (vs. 10-11).
- Think about this new Position you have with God by considering for a moment the opposite of these: UnJustified = guilty; Unsaved = lost, receiving God’s Wrath and Judgment; Not Reconciled = separated from God, Enemy of God.
- Our Position: place with God, our standing, our mindset is that because of God’s Grace, as we trust in JC as our Savior an Lord we are now Justified, Saved, Reconciled with God. We are his children! WHAT A BLESSING God’s Grace is for you and Me!
B. Blessing 2 - We have Peace… with God. Vs. 1
- From the prophecies of Jesus’ coming to the proclamation of His coming, Peace was always part of the deal. Is. 9:6 Jesus = the Prince of Peace. Luke 2:14; the Angels proclaimed at Jesus’ birth "… Peace to men, on whom His favor rests."
- Vs. 1; we have Peace with God What value can you place on PEACE! In our society today, people everywhere are looking for Peace.
- God’s peace is not the absence of strife or conflict but the solid foundation which stands firm as we walk through the difficulties of life.
- It is why Jesus said, John 16:33, "I have told you these things so that in me you may have Peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."
- What a Blessing that because of God’s Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ we have PEACE! Do you have Peace… with God?
C. Blessing 3 - We have Access to God. Vs. 2
- Access by Faith into this Grace - into the Blessings of God, in which we now stand. The Phrase "from whom we have gained access" means to be "ushered into the presence of royalty".
- Through God’s Grace and our Faith in JC, we are brought into the presence of God - we have access to God’s blessings of Grace and access to Him.
- Scripture teaches us that we also have Access to God. Eph. 3:12; "In Him (Christ) and through him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."
- Heb. 4:16; "Let us then approach the throne of Grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
- Heb. 10:19, 22; "Therefore, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus… let us draw near to God."
- That’s why prayer is so important - why Jesus taught us to pray, because we have access to the God and His Grace. We stand in His presence and are called to come before with Confidence and Freedom.
- Are you living in the Presence of God?
D. Blessing 4 - WE have Hope, vs. 2-5
- Hope of the Glory of God; vs. 2b. We will one day be Glorified, even as Christ was after the Rez. and His ascension.
- Hope through Sufferings, vs. 3-4. God is in control. He will bring good from our difficulties and sufferings; like perseverance, character and the assurance of our Hope.
- Hope doesn’t disappoint us. Vs. 5 We might find disappointments in life (in ourselves, others, our society) the Blessings of God’s Grace is that we have Hope and the Lord wants us to know that this Hope will not Disappoint us!
- Hope = God’s love poured out, into our hearts - the Holy Spirit given to us. The HS is there to guide us, teach us, comfort us, assure us, He is there to sanctify us in the Lord and empower us to serve Him, and to pour out God’s love to us.
- This is a Great Hope we have in Christ. What a Blessing to us! Because of God’s Grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we have HOPE. ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE IN THE BLESSING OF HOPE?
A. Well the Baseball season is almost over - this is the last week. I am not sure if the Dodgers will make it to the playoffs - that’s ok! Because you know what? There are a lot more important things in life than Baseball - any sport for that matter. There are more important things in life than our Careers, our recreation, and our favorite past-times.
B. The most important Question for us is this: When Jesus Christ returns, will He welcome you in to the Kingdom for eternity? Like those Baseball players of the 1995 season - Your entrance into the Kingdom won’t happen because you are "good enough" or because of your own abilities or accomplishments. No. We know that our Promise of Eternal Life is by God’s Grace demonstrated to us in Jesus’ death and Rez., through faith. As we believe that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead and confess Him as Lord - we shall be Saved.
If you have not made that confession of Faith then today is your day - as we close in prayer.
C. God’s Grace truly is Amazing - but it is also a Blessing for us now. God in His Grace wants to Bless you today and everyday; with a Better position with Him; with Peace; with Access to Him; with HOPE - no matter what.
If you know Christ as your Savior and Lord, how are you living in His Presence? How is your Peace in life? How are regularly Accessing God through prayer and worship? How are you living with HOPE?
As we close in prayer, ask the Lord, in His Grace to bless you in any area of Blessing you’re struggling with today.