Summary: How do you operate as a Christian, law filled or grace filled? Take the test!
The grace test message for May 6 2001
THE GRACE TEST
All of us as believers operate in one or two ways when we encounter the circumstances of life. We will either respond from a grace filled heart or a law filled heart. In short you and I are either a grace filled or law filled Christian. Hopefully when you take this test it will expose which one we tend to operate from.
When I first became a believer I was taught a lot about behavior and very little about a relationship with God. The only relationship I guess I had was based on how I behaved. I wish that had not happened but it did. I was made to feel guilty if I did not come up to someone’s standard. If I was not at church every time the doors were opened I was not considered a faithful Christian. If I were to miss visitation on Tuesday night I was made to feel condemned. I spent much of my early Christian life trying not to sin. I was focused on nothing but my behavior and not any on my Lord. My whole experience was spent trying to please those around me with my behavior. I found out much too late that I was operating as a law filled Christian. My attitude was judgmental, condemning, and condescending to say the least. I don’t know why anyone would want to be around me. But then one day something happened, I got set free. Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. I began to know, (by experience) the truth about grace. And it was this truth that set me free from a law filled existence as a Believer. I am very adamant about this truth, this truth of Grace. Illustrate what Paul said in Gal.1: 6; “ I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ for another gospel, which is really not another, only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ;
This is the reason for these messages; I hope you will see this truth as well. This is the reason we are taking the time to take this test not to see how much we know but how we operate. When the world is caving in, do you think, oh my I must have really sinned this time? I must not have given enough, or been praying enough, or have been witnessing enough, but I am going to try harder from now on. Legalism goes far beyond the kind of clothes we wear or how we present our selves it goes to an attitude of our heart, and that attitude is there because of something we have believed whether it is true or not. Let’s get into the test, and don’t try to get ahead of me, and please answer truthfully, no one is going to see this but you, unless you want to share with some one.
1. People around me feel accepted by me especially my immediate family. T Or F? Marks of a grace filled Christian are that people feel accepted. God’s love is accepting love, agape love, love without acceptance is meaningless. Quote form Mike Quarles, People will do anything to be accepted even if it kills them. Scripture Romans 15:7 wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 14:1-3 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
2. I live a life generally free of guilt and shame. T or F? Shame- the idea something is wrong with me and it attacks my personhood; guilt- always doing something wrong it speaks to my behavior. Guilt is not from God, conviction is from God. If we understand the grace of God and operate out of our faith in Him we will generally live a life free from guilt and shame. Are you easily shamed into something or made to feel guilty about something? Then you are not operating our of a grace filled life, in fact you are operating from guilt or shame. God does not have to shame us or guilt trip us He has placed His son on a cross for us and raised Him up for us to give us life and He does not have to resort to guilt or shame.
3. I am overwhelmed with God’s love for me. T or F? 1 John 4:16 And we have come to know (experience) and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. Some people who are law filled live their lives under a cloud of fear and doubt. They are just wondering when the hammer or the next shoe is going to drop. Some of you did not grow up in a home where you dad loved you and you lived in fear, you don’t have to live in a terrible fear of God, he has demonstrated His love for us even while we were yet sinner Christ died for us.