Summary: We are all subject to stumble. The good news of God is that He has provided several means for us to stand up and stand back up.
I. I’ve got to tell you, I am really ticked off at myself right now.
A. You may recall about a year ago, I made a commitment to lose weight.
B. In fact, I made a commitment to myself to lose 100 pounds.
C. I started out pretty well.
1. In a rather short period of time, about 6 months, I lost 50 pounds.
2. I was on my way.
3. All I had to do was sustain my eating habits and sustain my level of physical exertion at the gym.
D. You may have noticed, because I certainly have that after that initial loss, I have regained about 20 pounds over the last several months.
II. What happened?
A. I would like to blame in on the fact that I had to go into the hospital, but in actuality, I continued to lose a few pounds during those times.
B. I would like to blame it on the fact that I have been busy, and just haven’t had the time to make it to the gym as regularly as I was.
C. I can make up all the excuses I want to, but the fact is, I did not sustain the discipline to go to the gym as regularly as I was, and I did not sustain the eating habits that had allowed me to lose that initial weight, and not even feel all that hungry.
III. Maybe I got tired of eating so much salad; maybe I got tired of two-a-days at the gym; what I really know is that I did not continue on the path that had set me on the journey of reaching my goal.
A. What I began with such earnestness, I did not complete,
B. And now, it’s almost as if I am starting over from the beginning.
IV. And am I glad that God’s grace is not like that.
A. God does not give up,
B. God does not get sidetracked.
C. What God began, God will finish.
D. The Bible says in Philippians 1:6 - “6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
1. If you make a habit of marking in your Bible, circle the words “will perfect it”
2. The text reads a little difficult, but the intent is, “God will sustain His work of grace in us; that is He will keep us, until the day Christ Jesus returns to take us to heaven.
V. God’s grace is a sustaining grace, that is in no way dependent on us, but rather is totally dependent on His desire to keep us.
A. The bible teaches that if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our savior, there is no question whether we will end up in heaven one day.
B. Whether we “finish the race” or not is not in question.
C. The only question is, “How will we finish the race.”
1. Will we hear God say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
2. Or simply, “You made it.”
D. While I will be satisfied to simply hear, “You made it.”
E. What I really want to hear is, “Well done.”
VI. This morning, I want to talk about “God’s Sustaining Grace.”
What is Sustaining Grace?
I. What do I mean when I say, “Sustaining Grace”
A. By sustaining grace, I mean, the power to keep on going when we feel like giving up.
1. Do you ever need that?
B. Sustaining Grace is the power to do the right thing when you don’t feel like doing the right thing
1. Do we ever need that?
II. I doubt I would be far off the mark, if I said,
A. “We all have times when we feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, and calling it quits.
B. Most of us, at least from time to time experience the temptation to do something that we know we really shouldn’t do, but for that moment or moments, we can just get tired, for lack of a better word, of doing the right thing.
III. So what can we do in those times?
A. Pete writes in 1 Peter 5:12 "I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” (NASB)
1. Circle "stand firm in it".
2. Peter says,
a. No matter what is taking place around you.
b. No matter what seems to be happening to you,
B. God has given you and I His grace, His power to make it through, so “Stand firm in the grace of God.”
IV. Perhaps it will help us to understand how to stand firm in God’s grace, if we understand what might cause us to falter.