Summary: When we fall short of perfection we don’t have to worry as Jesus has made up the difference with His Grace
Grace - Freedom to Fail
Last year I was sitting in a Hungry Jacks restaurant with Susan and a couple of other people
• In came a former church member who had decided to fellowship somewhere else
• We struck up a conversation and even though we had not seen each other for 6 or 7 years he suddenly brought up an incident I had mentioned in a sermon when I confessed in an example to the congregation that I had been speeding and had received a speeding fine
• Apparently he was horrified that I as a pastor would speed and was further shocked that I would mention it in a somewhat flippant way
• I couldn’t help but feel a little judged by the exchange
Today we are going to be looking at the subject of Grace
• And to appreciate Grace we want to look at it in the context of “Judging”
• Hands up anyone here who has never been judged?
• Hands up anyone who has never been condemned?
• I guess there are a couple of conclusions we can draw from this
• One is that there are a lot of judging and condemning people around
• And I would have to say we have our fair share of judging and condemning people in the Christian community
• Unfortunate that one of the leading lights of Australian Christianity made the unfortunate statement this past week that this tsunami disaster is the result of God’s judgment
• Even in you believe it to be so, the last thing grieving relatives need to hear right now is that your loved one has been singled out by God for His judgment
• A second conclusion we can draw from this and that is, we humans are easy targets for judging and condemnation
• And chances are that when we are judged and condemned about a particular problem there is probably (if we can be honest for a moment) an element of truth to the charge
• There is an element of truth to the fact that occasionally I speed
• So when I am handed that ticket by a patrolman, I have to admit that “I’m guilty as charged”, I’m a sinner”, hope that doesn’t surprise to many of you
• The point I’m making here, is that for the vast majority of us who are sinners; we are easy targets for judging and condemnation
• But today I have good news for those who are judged and condemned; I have good news for sinners
We’re going to speak some home truths about some sacred cows
• The first sacred cow we are going to look at is “Marriage”
• When you think of marriage, what are some of the virtues that come to mind? Fidelity, faithfulness, trustworthiness, devotion, commitment, honesty, loyalty, love, affection, for better or worse, as long as you both shall live
• So here we have all these lofty principles associated with marriage
• Now we are going to make a scale from 0 to 100
• Now I want you to rate on this scale our ability as humans to attain these lofty principles, what percentage would we make with regard to marriage?
• Next let’s do the same thing with “Friendship”
• What are some of the virtues associated with friendship? Loyalty, openness, frankness, honesty, commitment, reliability, dependability
• And again if we were to rate our ability as human beings to attain these lofty principles, what percentage would we make?
• Let’s now look at “God’s Law”
• What are some of the virtues associated with the “Law”? Perfection, faultless, guiltless, blameless, flawless, unblemished, spotless, sinless
• How do we rate on this one?
What are we beginning to see? We as humans aren’t doing so well are we?
• Now is there anything wrong with these virtues? No
• Are these lofty ideals good things to strive for? Yes
So what is the problem with all of these lofty principles?
• Problem is we can’t measure up! Are they achievable? Are they forgiving? Are they merciful? Are they compassionate? Can they pardon?
• So the first problem we have is that these virtues, lofty and high sounding as they are, are purely a measuring device, a ruler whereby we can measure our behavior
• And while we use them to measure our own behavior, that’s a healthy thing
• But as you know, we humans don’t restrict them to ourselves we begin to use them to measure other’s behavior
• Let’s go back to the Marriage column. In our own hands and the hands of the Holy Spirit these virtues can be instruments of change if we are willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit – New creation, Born Again