Summary: All that we have or shall hereafter receive is the fruit of grace.
a. CIT: Grace is the gift of God.
b. CIS: All that we have, shall hereafter receive, is the fruit of grace.
a. Grace Defined
i. Three stages of God’s volition in salvation.
ii. Foundational Grace – free love of God.
iii. Free gifts of Grace
1. Common Grace
2. Special Grace
b. Gift of Grace Explained
c. God’s gifting and the World’s gifting juxtaposed
d. The excellency of the gifts of Christ above the gifts of the world gives.
a. Do not be troubled for want of lesser gifts.
“The Unsearchable Riches of Christ,” Part-2, Ephesians 3:8
Careless drivers often push their automobiles beyond their designated capabilities, and the poor vehicle chugs and chugs until the motor finally dies.
I recall one such example from my teenage years. I was living in Montana at the time. A close cousin and I had decided that we needed an early spring break from school and while my cousin picked me up from my home and we drove to school together that day, we never made it to school. In fact, we took his mother’s small Chevy Cavalier, two wheel drive, car high into the Rocky Mountains that day. We drove that car over nearly impassable mountain dirt roads laden with rocks and snares. We had a great day and had even commented on the strength of the small vehicle and our amazement that it had not overheated or otherwise become distressed while driving these mountain passes. That is until we began our journey home at just the right interval to make it home at about the same time we usually got home from school. We realized that the oil pressure was dropping and we had punctured a hole in the oil pan. We raced home in order to keep oil circulating. We made it home with the car intact but it was much the worse for our having pushed the car well beyond its capabilities.
We attempted to force a great deal more power from that little car than it could provide. But our Master guarantees that tasks shall be balanced with the precise strength we possess. He knows our frame: He remembers that we are dust (Ps. 103:14). He will not be less merciful to us than the merciful man is to his beast. He knows the exact pressure we can stand, for He has made us; He knows the utmost load we can lift, and will not suffer us to be tried, tested, above what we are able (1 Cor. 10:13). He is a Faithful Creator, because He is an abiding Sustainer.
His grace is sufficient for us in all things. We are called by grace! We are saved by grace! We are sustained by grace! We are supplied by grace!
CIT: Grace is the gift of God.
CIS: All that we have or shall hereafter receive is the fruit of grace.
This morning we will define that grace by which we are saved and sustained.
Grace Defined: There is perhaps not a more misunderstood doctrine in all of Christendom than that of the doctrine of God’s grace. What is grace? When one considers a simple dictionary entry for the word it isn’t difficult to grasp why the word can conjure so vast an array of potential meanings. According got Webster’s dictionary of the English Language It can mean:
1. Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification: a virtue coming from God: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace. (That’s what we are talking about here)
Its meaning can range from that more biblical understanding all the way to any one of the following: approval, favor, mercy, pardon, a special favor, privilege, disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency, a temporary exemption: reprieve, a charming or attractive trait or characteristic, a pleasing appearance or effect: charm, ease and suppleness of movement or bearing. It can be used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop. It can refer to a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks, a musical trill or turn, a sense of propriety or right.
Friends, couple that with the fact that the word gets tossed around in Churches so commonly that the likelihood of its meaning even being questioned becomes dulled by common usage and it is easy to see why so great and important a doctrine as the grace of God becomes misunderstood.
Biblically speaking there are three stages of God’s volition in salvation. In other words, there are three stairs to climb for salvation to become available and actual to the children of God. I recall once when Sebastian was barely 2 years old. We were living in a massive parsonage in Cheboygan, Michigan where I was Pastor of First Congregational Church of Cheboygan. The house was immense with a front and back stair case, formal entry ways, formal dining room, as many as 6 bedrooms, depending on how the rooms were used. I was teaching Sebastian to go up and down the front stair case which was very steep and quite high. Christina was convinced that he still needed help going up and down while his obstinate father was convinced otherwise. One afternoon he tumbled down nearly the entire flight of stairs right in front of my eyes! He was not hurt or injured but that experience cured me and him of being obstinate about the stairs!