Summary: God’s specific grace should be employed and sharpened.
a. Focus: “This grace was given”
b. CIT: God gives specific graces to His children.
c. CIS: God’s specific grace should be employed and sharpened.
a. God gives saving grace through faith, foundational grace. He shows His favor, that is sustaining grace. God also specific graces in the forms of spiritual gifts to His children.
b. Graces must be exercised, used, and improved.
c. Why graces must be exercised and improved upon.
i. The exercise of graces is how the believer abounds in grace.
ii. The exercise of graces is why God gives them.
iii. The exercise of graces does for us what the world can’t do.
iv. The exercise of graces transforms our understanding. (Manton)
“The Unsearchable Riches of Christ,” Part-3, Ephesians 3:8
There was once a horse that ran away in the morning and did not return till the evening. When the master upbraided him the horse replied, “But here am I returned safe and sound. You have your horse.” “True,” answered the master, “but my field is unplowed.” If a Christian man should turn to God with a willingness to use the talents and gifts that He gives us after living a life far from Him, God has the man, but He has been defrauded of the man’s work. And the man himself has been defrauded worst of all.
Our focus this morning will be on the middle part of Ephesians 3:8, “This grace was given.” God gives every believer special graces or spiritual gifts in order that each individual believer may fulfill their role in the building of the kingdom through the work and mission of the local church.
CIT: God gives specific graces to His children.
CIS: God’s specific grace should be employed and sharpened.
Each local body of believers has a specific purpose in the grand scheme of the work of God. Each part must do its part in unison with the rest. When just one believer fails to employ, hone, and sharpen the graces given to them the rest of the body of believers suffers.
In basic training one of the very first things that American military members learn is how to march in unison. I can still hear the sound of the swish of the pants and the stomp of dozens of heals into the asphalt all in unison, left right, left right…
God has given to each one of us, woven into the fabric of our souls, specific graces. For the Apostle Paul it was to preach. We each have graces given.
God gives saving grace through faith, foundational grace. He shows His favor, that is, sustaining grace. God gives specific graces, spiritual gifts, to His children.
In I Corinthians 12 the Scripture offers us a list of those graces God gives.
There are others in the Scripture but here are those listed there: administration
Apostle, discernment, faith, healing, helps, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, teaching, tongues, tongues interpretation, and wisdom.
These graces are given by God but they must be exercised, used, and improved.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6 ESV) God gives the grace, He places the ember within us but we must fan the flame, empowered by the Spirit.
In 1 Corinthians 15:58 The Apostle Paul gives the admonition “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (ESV)
Many believers are not steadfast and I wonder how many of them are not because they have never exercised the gifts that God has given to them.
The exercise of graces is how the believer abounds in grace. Just as a life of sin has the ability to weigh a person down in sin, so a life of grace lifts a person up to greater heights of grace. How many of you know that the thirst for sin is never satisfied. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we will just commit the sin this time and that will satisfy our desire for it and then we can move on from it.
But that isn’t how sin works is it? Sin is a lot like our family pet Martha, the overweight pug. Every night after dinner she comes into the kitchen and sits in the same spot near her food dish while Christina and I clean up the dishes. She looks at us with sad eyes as though she will soon waste away to nothing. The more scraps we give her the more she begs. Her appetite is never and I’m convinced it can never be satisfied. So it is with sin’s appetite.