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Summary: We are sharing the grace of God when we are imitating the God of grace. So, the question is, How did Christ display grace to us? There is no greater display of the grace of God than the Cross of Christ.

Purpose: To describe who Christ's real followers are.

Aim: I want the listener to imitate Christ's willingness to give His life.

INTRODUCTION: The grace of God is so complete and full that we could never exhaust all there is to know about it. In an attempt to learn more about God's grace as we begin 2012 we have already talked about God's common grace, saving grace, and growing grace.

Today we are going to explore a little bit about how we can share or imitate God's grace.

We are sharing the grace of God when we are imitating the God of grace.

So, the question is, How did Christ display grace to us? There is no greater display of the grace of God than the Cross of Christ.

These seven verses are divided into two parts.

►Vs.21-23 I. The Grace of Christ

► Vs.21 A. God's path to grace

► 1. Surrender "He must go"

Peter proclaimed that Jesus was Acts 2:23 ... delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (NAU)

On several occasions Jesus said that He came to do the Father's will.

► 2. Suffer "suffer many things"

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NAU)

► 3. Die "be killed"

Philippians 2:7--8 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (NAU)

► 4. Conquer "be raised up"

Romans 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, (NAU)

Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection ... (NAU)

► Vs.22-23 B. Man's path to grace

► Vs.22 1. No suffering "This shall never happen"

"By protesting against Calvary, Peter became a hindrance to the Savior." [1]

"Peter had enough faith to confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but he did not have the faith to believe that it was right for Jesus to suffer and die." [2]

► Vs.23 2. Human logic "not...God's interests"

"Moulton and Milligan note that Aristophanes used the word for "the stick of a mouse-trap" (Vocabulary, p. 576). Peter's suggestion was just bait to avoid the cross (Morris, Matt., p. 430, note 49)." [3]

Peter was thinking like a human being. We must learn to think the way God thinks.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was martyred by the Nazis during World War II wrote "Cost of Discipleship" in which he says that Christian today are living by cheap grace. He says, "Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

►Vs.24-27 II. Sharing the Grace of Christ

► Vs.24,27 A. God's path to grace

► Vs.24a 1. We must desire Christ "If anyone wishes to come after me"

Pride is produced anytime that a sacrifice for Christ is not motivated by a love for Christ. Otherwise, we can say, "I deserve some credit for all that I have given up for Christ."

Paul was a man who gave up a lot in order to follow Christ. He gave up a promising career, the respect of many prominent leaders, wealth, and an easy life, and yet he did all that with joy because he loved Christ so much. Philippians 3:7--8 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (NAU)

► Vs.24b 2. We must deny ourselves "deny himself"

"...those who hug their lives for selfish purposes would never find fulfillment; those who recklessly abandon their lives to Him, not counting the cost, would find the reason for their existence." [4]

►What Does it Mean to Deny Yourself?

► #1 Don't trust in your own righteousness

Philippians 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, (NAU)

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