Summary: Grace is THE blueprint for God's church, and without it you do NOT have a church.. But what is so important about grace and how could we miss having it in our church?
OPEN: In the state of Indiana, if you’re going to build a house, or an office building, or a church building, the first thing you’ve gotta have is… a blueprint. If you don’t have a blueprint, they won’t let you build.
Now you might ask – why do they call it a blueprint?
Well, back in the 1800s, there was a man named John Hershel. He was a scientist with interests in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry and several other branches of science. For example, he was responsible for naming several moons throughout our solar system, he studied color blindness, and translated the Iliad (as in "The Iliad and the Odyssey") from Greek into English.
And he invented the “blueprint” (actually, it’s called a Cyanotype).
In order to create a “blueprint” he found that – if he mixed together specific two chemicals (I’m not going to bore you with their names, I can’t pronounce them anyway) - he could create a “photosensitive” liquid that he could use to coat any surface and make it sensitive to light. Once the liquid had dried, he exposed that surface to ultra-violate light and it would turn blue.
Then he took translucent paper, made a drawing on that paper, and laid it over the a surface coated with his special liquid, When he exposed these to ultraviolet light, the light passed through the translucent paper and turned the surface blue… everywhere except where the drawing had been. Since the ultraviolet light couldn't pass through the lines, those lines remained white.
Essentially, Hershel created the first copy machine. It made quick and inexpensive copies of whatever needed copied and it especially became popular with architects who needed multiple copies for different builders who could then consult those copies as they constructed their building projects. Commenting on this fact, one person noted “you could say the world was literally built with the help of John Hershel.”
Again, you can’t build a building in Indiana without a blueprint.
So… you have a blueprint.
Can you build a building???
Well, not so fast.
The blueprint still has to be submitted to the proper authorities for approval. And that blueprint has to have every significant piece of info on that bldg.
• Materials used
• Quality of materials used
• Sources of power/ heating/ cooling
• Wiring, piping/ insulation
All that has to be approved… or you cannot build!!!
What we’re looking at here in Titus 2 is THE Blueprint for God’s Church.
IF you don’t have THIS blueprint - as approved by the creator and designer of the church - you don’t got a church!
Every congregation MUST be constructed based on THIS blueprint … or God will not approve of it.
So what is this blueprint that the creator says MUST be present for His church to be approved?
We’ll let’s look at the text again:
“For the GRACE OF GOD that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
Notice what it says there.
Grace bring salvation.
Grace teaches us how to live.
And Grace points us to the hope of Jesus coming back again.
Grace is the blueprint of the church.
Grace explains everything about the church.
And grace… makes a church a church.
Without Grace you don’t have a church.
So – what is grace?
Is grace where you bow your head and say
“Thank you God for this food. In Jesus name amen?”
Noooo… of course not.
Perhaps - best way to understand grace is to compare it to a couple of other Biblical concepts – Justice and Mercy.
One person compared them in this way:
• JUSTICE is getting the bad that we deserve
“The wages of sin is Death.” If you received justice that is what you’d receive.
• MERCY is NOT getting the bad that we deserve.
We were spared from punishment for our sins by the blood of Jesus.
• GRACE is getting the GOOD that we do not deserve.
Not just being spared death… but being given Eternal life PLUS all the good things that God wants to give us on top of that.
Grace is getting the good you and I do not deserve.
Now – why is that important???
Well it’s important because people tend to think of heaven as something you can earn.
If you do enough good stuff, you get in.
But if you don’t do enough good stuff - and if you do too much bad stuff – you go to the other place.