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Summary: ONE OF THE GREAT CHALLENGES FOR US TO FACE TODAY IS THAT GOD CAN LOVE US AND BESTOW HIS GRACE UPON US.

EPHESIANS 2:1-10

INTRODUCTION:

TWO COWS WERE GRAZING ALONGSIDE A HIGHWAY WHEN A TANK-TRUCK OF MILK ON ITS WAY TO THE DISTRIBUTOR HAPPENED TO PASS. ON ONE SIDE OF THE TRUCK IN BIG RED LETTERS WAS A SIGN THAT READ, “PASTEURIZED, HOMOGENIZED, STANDARDIZED, VITAMIN A ADDED.” ONE COW TURNED TO THE OTHER AND REMARKED, “MAKES YOU FEEL SORT OF INADEQUATE, DOESN’T IT.”

THE FEELING OF INADEQUACY IS A TERRIBLE FEELING TO HAVE. IT SAYS I DON’T MEASURE UP. THERE ARE FEELINGS OF HELPLESSNESS AND DEPENDANCY ASSOCIATED WITH IT.

WE ARE PEOPLE OF CONTROL. WE LIKE AND DESIRE TO BE IN CONTROL OF OUR LIVES. BUT TODAY WE ARE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER RECEIVING, BUT FACE A CONSTANT CHALLENGE IN LIVING. TODAY WE ARE TALKINGA BOUT THE CHALLENGE OF GRACE.

There are only two principles by which God deals with people—grace and law. According to the principle of grace, God deals favorably with people in a way they do not deserve. The only other principle by which God can deal with people is law. This principle requires Him to deal with people in a way they deserve. Since sinners deserve hell, they cannot be delivered from this penalty by law. The spiritual blindness of man is evident in that all their religions teach that people are saved by their works, the very principle which bars them from acceptance with God. No one can ever be saved from his sins apart from God’s grace.

In 1830, a man named George Wilson was convicted of killing a government employee while robbing the U.S. Mail. He was tried and sentenced to be hanged. Andrew Jackson, then the President, issued a pardon for Wilson, but Wilson did a strange thing: he refused to accept the pardon and no one seemed to know what to do. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, perhaps one of the greatest Chief Justices we ever had, and he concluded that Wilson must be executed. “A pardon is a slip of paper,” wrote Marshall, “the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.” And he was.

TODAY WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO, IS GIVE YOU A BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF GRACE, EXPLAIN FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF GRACE WE CAN RECEIVE AND BE INVOLVED IN, AND IN THE PROCESS TRY TO SHOW JUST HOW AMAZING GOD’S GRACE IS TO US.

DEFINITION:

IF I WERE TO ASK FOR A DEFINITION OF GRACE I MIGHT GET THE ACRONYM FROM THE WORD GRACE, “GOD’S REDEMPTION AT CHRIST’S EXPENCE.” THE PROBLEM I HAVE WITH THIS IS THAT IT’S TOO PAT AND NARROW. GOD’S GRACE IS ABOUT FAR MORE THAN ONLY OUR SALVATION.

Just what is the grace of God? It has been simply defined as the unmerited love and favor of God. This is true. But I like say it this way: "The unmerited love and favor of God acting on our behalf now and forever.." The grace of God not only saves us through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, but it also enables and empowers us to love and serve Him in every aspect of the Christian life.

*Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. Grace means that God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love. It is absolutely not determined on what we do, it is not earned.

GRACE Allows Second Chances

Modern day terms- Exams and Sports (softball- “if I could just have that pitch back”)

That’s how life is. But that is not how grace is.

Parable of the Gracious Father-Luke 15

Grace allows second chances, that is what God does for us.

To understand grace, we need to go back to an old Hebrew term that meant: "To bend, to stoop." In time came the idea of condescending favor. Donald Barnhouse said it best: Love that goes upward is worship. Love that goes outward is affection. Love that stoops is grace.

Grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it according to Chuck Swindoll.

C.S. Lewis writes, “to be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

POINT ONE: SAVING GRACE

This is a foreign idea because we live in a society that is based on earnings and rewards.

For example, we work tirelessly for a week or two, then anxiously await our hard earned paycheck. We are engrained with the idea: the more and harder we work the more we will receive in return. This however is the exact opposite of grace and opposite to the way Jesus presented it as he was here on earth.

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