Summary: God’s grace begins with salvation.
I. Complete these common American phrases for me:
A. If it sounds too good to be true... it is.
B. We make money the old fashion way, we ... earn it.
C. There’s no such thing as a free ... lunch.
D. There is no gain without ... pain.
E. God helps those who ... help themselves.
II. Everything about the American way of life teaches us that
A. You get what you earn in life,
B. There’s no free lunch,
C. You make your bed and then you lay in it.
III. In America we are very aware of the values of competition and winning and we know what it means to work hard and use elbow grease. We value effort and sweat. We tell people, "You get what you deserve in life" and "If you want to make something of your life it’s up to you" and "If it is to be, it’s up to me".
IV. This is called the American work ethic.
A. When it come to understanding God, and most especially salvation there is only one problem,
B. That’s not the way God works.
V. Psalm 145:8 tells us that God, rather than being in a work ethic mode, is in a grace mode, "The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness." Circle "gracious".
VI. The Bible says God is a gracious God.
A. That means He loves to be gracious to you.
B. God loves to bless people who don’t deserve it.
VII. You can’t understand the Christian life at all unless you understand grace.
A. It is the heart of our faith. It is the heart of our relationship to God.
B. When you understand grace you’re going to feel closer to God.
C. The more you understand grace the more you’re going to be drawn to God, the more you’re going to love God, the more you’re going to be grateful to God.
D. It is by that system of grace that God brings us to Himself.
VIII. One definition of grace is
A. "God’s love in action."
B. Another definition: "God giving me what I need, not what I deserve."
IX. Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve - blessing.
X. For the next several weeks, we are going to be looking at various aspects of grace, and today we will specifically looking at God’s Saving Grace.
A. We will look at “God’s Saving Grace” through the acrostic, -- G.R.A.C.E.
B. So what does the G stand for, “God’s Gift to Me.”
G- God’s Gift to Me
I. All of us need to be made right with God but how?
A. Rom. 3:24 reads,"being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Rom. 3:24, NASB)
B. What that means is that God saves us through free gift.
II. Now, because of our American work ethic many people think that they’re saved by works,
A. By earning their way to heaven,
B. By being good enough that God says, "OK, come on in."
III. If you were to ask fifty to a hundred people along the sidewalk "How do you get to heaven?" you’d get a lot of different answers. But basically they would all be summarized in, "You’ve got to earn your way to heaven. You’d hear things like,
A. "The way you get to heaven is you try to be good and do your best"
B. "Work real hard at being good and just try to be a good, moral person"
C. "Do more good things in life than you do bad things in life and if your good pile is higher than you bad pile, God’s going to say, `You’re a good guy. Come on in.’" It’s all based on works, not grace.
IV. You need to understand that God says here that salvation is absolutely free.
A. Circle "gift". You don’t work for a gift. It’s a free gift.
B. God says salvation is absolutely free.
1. You can’t earn it,
2. You can’t buy it,
3. You can’t work for it.
V. This is the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion.
A. Every other faith, every other belief system, you can summarize in one word, “DO.”
1. You have to do something in order to gain God’s approval.
a. You have to follow the rules and regulations.
b. You have to sacrifice enough of your time, money sometimes even your life.
2. But how do you know if you have done enough.
B. Of all the other religions, Christianity is the only religion that’s built on grace.
1. That says God gives you salvation.
a. You don’t do anything to earn it.
b. You can’t possibly do enough to earn it.