Summary: Does the grace that has been given to you extend from you?
God’s grace permeated Paul’s thinking. One scholar writes, “Paul could not think of Christian truth and conduct apart from God’s grace” (D. Edmond Hiebert, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. by Frank Gaebelein [Zondervan], 11:439).
vs. 1 – notice the progression of the gospel
- Preached, Received, Stand, Being Saved
vs. 3 – Delivered – literally - Hand off…
This gospel came to them…but it also came to me…
1. GRACE CHANGES THE WORST PASTS
Moses—murdered a man…David—committed adultery… Zach—I stole from people…Peter—I denied Christ
For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace…Galatians 1:13-15
…Though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:13-14
Line you past up to Paul’s…
Said something you shouldn’t have said...Regret it.
Bad decisions—catching up with you.
Sexual past, Recurring sin—promised won’t—I do.
Committed adultery—can’t get over it.
Fear someone finding out.
Bankruptcy—or you are flirting with it... if I do, I’ll fail.
Divorced—if I had only tried a little harder.
Kids didn’t turn out like you’d hoped—second-guessing yourself.
Didn’t measure up... Failure.
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. Ps 38:4
This means God’s grace is not above any sinner in your life
YOUR BIGGEST SINS ARE NOT TOO BIG FOR GOD’S GRACE.
Every saint has a past—ever sinner has a future.
Now here is where the problem lies…If we stop the story here…we have what I would call stifled grace…grace ends at my transformation…at my conversion…
BIG IDEA: GRACE BECOMES AN IDOL WHEN WE EXPERIENCE THE GRACE OF GOD BUT DON'T EXTEND THE GRACE OF GOD
- I DON'T EXTEND GRACE TO MYSELF
Now one would think…what I have done would hinder me…
Want to mentor someone—feel so unworthy.
Want a good marriage but you feel as if don’t deserve it.
Love to make a difference…but I can’t after what I’ve done!
- I DON'T EXTEND GRACE TO OTHERS
Or I don’t extend the grace of God to others…I keep it as my gift while treating others differently…While God’s grace is unconditional to me…I make grace conditional for everyone else
My default mode is to think of grace as circular…I show you grace and you show grace to me and so forth… I will give you more grace if only you would…
But that is NOT consistent with how Scripture uses the term. The very definition of grace assumes that the other person is not being gracious.
It stops begin grace altogether if it’s conditional on some reciprocal gesture by the receiver.
2. GRACE DOESN'T REPLACE THE WORK OF THE GOSPEL IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Only as we grasp the significance of God’s grace can we eagerly do what is pleasing to Him.
Biblical grace starts with God…and now it starts with you… Grace begets Grace…Generosity begets generosity…grace overflows to others…
Grace to you…grace with you
- Grace not only takes the place of works (justification) but also produces work (sanctification)
- It extends it through work…Grace does not replace work in the Christian life
- Why was God’s grace toward Paul not in vain? Because he became a worker for the sake of the gospel
Paul wrote in Acts 20 that Jesus said it is more blessed to give than receive…
Grace works within me…
- The grace of God is so powerful in the good work I am doing that it is fitting to say it’s not me…
Galatians says, It is not I but Christ who lives within me…Philippians says for me to live is Christ and to die is gain…
The implication is that if I take back control of my Christian work…it won’t be effective…and that’s the problem…You take it back over and try to show grace on your own...you can’t …you didn’t earn grace and you can’t show grace on your own accord.
So Paul is saying…If you aren’t using grace to extend the gospel…1 of 2 things is the problem…you don’t get grace personally or you are stifling grace.
3. GRACE REVEALS GOD'S POWER IN OUR WEAKNESS
- GRACE EXTENDS TO MY PASSIONS Grace extends to my passions
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…Titus 2:11-12