Summary: We see a brand new Christian and we never tell them how to embrace the grace of God as their own on a daily basis. Why is that?? Maybe it is because we aren’t really all that certain of how to do it either!
Embracing Grace – Part 4 – The Throne of Grace
I went on a retreat with our Deacons this week. We had a good time of fellowship, food and friendship. We prayed together and we studied the bible together and we talked about God’s grace. I think some of today’s sermon will reflect those discussions and prayer times that we shared together.
We have been talking about embracing grace.
We have learned that grace is God’s graciousness, God’s kindness, God’s love that is extended and offered and even showered on those who least deserve it.
It is that combination of our undeserved-ness and God’s kindness that makes this grace so amazing.
We discovered that our forgiveness from sin and our right relationship with God is the result of God’s kindness and not our goodness or ability or our works or performance.
In fact, we learned that grace is grace only when we don’t dilute it with anything else. If you add anything to it, like trying to win God’s approval by your actions, performance or works…you literally nullify the grace of God.
I have so far been focusing on the word “grace” and what it means, and for just a second, I would like to focus for a moment on the other half our sermon series title, the verb “embracing.”
I felt led by the Lord to title this series “Embracing Grace” because I believe the bible says that our response to God’s love is a verb, it is an action, it is something active and not passive.
We looked at Bill and Grace giving each other a hug a few weeks ago, and I hope that picture of embrace is still in your minds.
Last week, we looked at the difference between “taking” and “receiving” grace.
I hope that you learned that God’s grace isn’t to be merely received, it is offered so that we will take it and appropriate at it as our own.
God’s graciousness is of such value that we would be remiss to merely yawn and not be excited about taking it as our own possession.
I would like to read a quotation from Jeff Harkin, “It has been my observation throughout thirty years of Christian ministry as both a counselor and a teacher that a surprisingly high percentage of true believers in Jesus Christ are hindered or crippled in many vital areas of their Christian growth, worship, and true witness because they lack understanding of how to appropriate the grace of God on a daily basis.” (Celebration of Grace, Jeff Harkin)
Appropriation means to take something and make it your own.
This is the great void in our discipleship of Christians.
We teach a person who meets Jesus how to receive the grace of God for the very first time…to place their faith in Christ and receive the forgiveness of their sins.
We teach them how to pray, how to read their bibles, how to witness…
But we leave them to their own efforts to maintain their relationship with God, and wonder why our churches are filled with guilt ridden, shame filled, joyless believers.
I am guilty of it. I think many of us are…we see a brand new Christians and we never tell them how to embrace the grace of God as their own on a daily basis.
Why is that?? Maybe it is because we aren’t really all that certain of how to do it either!
Let’s examine our key passage for this morning and discover the answer to that question:
Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
v14: “Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” –
Every year, on the Day of Atonement in the Jewish faith, the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies in the temple to offer atonement for the sins of the people of the nation. He would offer the blood of a lamb and the people would rejoice that their sins from the past year would have been covered.
In contrast, Jesus has gone into the heavenly temple on our behalf. He Himself being the spotless Lamb of God and great High Priest, has offered Himself as our atonement. Not only the sins of our past but our present and future have been covered and forgiven.