Summary: The grace of God can do many things in our lives.
THE GRACE OF GOD
INTRO.- What we need more than anything is grace, God’s grace.
ILL.- Preacher Charles Swindoll recalled his last spanking when he turned thirteen years old. Chuck said, "Having just broken into the sophisticated ranks of the teen world, I thought I was something on a stick. My father wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was with my great importance and new-found independence.
"I was lying on my bed. He was outside the window on a muggy October afternoon in Houston, TX, weeding the garden. He said, ’Charles, come out and help me weed the garden.’ I said something like, ’NO, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, REMEMBER?’
"My tone was sassy and my deliberate lack of respect was eloquent. I knew better than to disobey my dad, but after all, I was the ripe old age of thirteen. Dad set a new 100-meter record that autumn afternoon. He was in the house in a flash and all over me like white on rice, spanking me all the way out to the garden. As I recall, I weeded until the moonlight was shining on the pansies.
"That same night he took me out to a surprise dinner. He gave me what I deserved earlier. LATER HE GAVE ME WHAT I DID NOT DESERVE. The birthday dinner was a matter of grace. He showered his favor on this rebellious young man. And I enjoyed grace."
What a beautiful story of grace and it’s something that God has lavished on everyone of us. It’s just that some people are not aware of it.
Here’s another great example of grace and God’s grace in action.
ILL.- Every Sunday for the past 9 years members of the Landisville (Pa) Mennonite Church have prayed for a son of their congregation. Every month they send him a small sum of money, and every month some of them visit him. Prayer, money, and visits. These sound fairly typical for a caregiving church.
BUT THIS SITUATION IS NOT TYPICAL AT ALL. Far from it. Nine years ago, after a meal with relatives on a calm Sunday afternoon, 14-year-old Keith Weaver killed his parents and his sister. The horror of the crime and the loss of lives rocked the Weavers’ family, the church, and the community to the core.
In the midst of their grief and disillusionment, however, members of the Landisville Mennonite Church got busy. They helped clean the house where the murders occurred, established a legal support committee to care for Keith’s needs so that the surviving brother and sister wouldn’t have to, and founded a "seventy times seven" fund to collect money for his expenses.
They studied grief, forgiveness, and victimization in Sunday School and sermons, calling on the expertise of area chaplains and counselors. And a year after the tragedy, they held a memorial service to lament the loss of their loved ones and TO RECOMMIT THEMSELVES TO THE JOURNEY OF FORGIVENESS.
Landisville Pastor Sam Thomas said, "Forgiveness is an act of God’s grace. You don’t forgive and forget. You forgive again and again and again."