Summary: God's grace is transformative. It’s intended to be life-changing. Grace is about God accepting us the way we are but loving us enough not to leave us that way.
Last week, we started this message series called “Amazing!” We’re looking at God’s grace and what it means to live in his grace.
One of the things we mentioned last week is that God’s grace is designed to be transformative. It’s intended to be life-changing. Grace is about God accepting us the way we are but loving us enough not to leave us that way.
An Amish man and his young son are in a huge mall. They are amazed at everything they see but they are especially fascinated by two shiny, silver walls that move apart and back together again.
The boy asks, “What is this, father?” And the father (never having seen an elevator before)
responds, “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life.”
The boy and father stand watching as a very old woman moving with the aid of a walker goes to the elevator doors and pushes one of the buttons. The walls open and the old lady moves between them and into a small room. The walls close and the boy and his father watch as circles light up in the reverse direction. The walls open up and out walks a beautiful young lady. The father and son blink their eyes in amazement. The father leans down to his son and says, “Go get your mother.”
God’s grace changes us for the better. It’s been said that if your religion doesn’t change you then you’d better change your religion. We’re going to look at grace today as an agent of change – both on the inside and on the outside. When God’s offer of grace is accepted, the work of God’s grace begins in our lives and continues throughout our lives
Titus 2:11-14 – For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
GRACE IS WELCOMING
Paul says in vs. 11 that “the grace of God has appeared.” The word translated as “appeared” is where we get out word “epiphany.” It’s a term that refers to Jesus coming to earth as God in the flesh.
This term translated as “appear” is used two ways in scripture. Paul’s use of the term incorporates both ways.
In the first sense, it conveys the idea of being made known. Jesus made God known. He told Philip in Jn. 14:9b – “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Paul describes it this way in Col. 1:15 – The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Jesus also made himself known. He traveled all over Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. He went to the region we know today as Lebanon and journeyed in the Gentile lands on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. He was one of the most well-known people in the whole area. People knew him or knew about his teaching and his miracles.
We can’t understand grace apart from the personal appearance of Jesus Christ. His first appearance was the grace of God demonstrated to its fullest.
The second sense of the term “appeared” carries with it the idea of a light coming into the darkness. It is sometimes used to refer to the sun breaking in at dawn dispelling the darkness of night.
The apostle John described Christ’s coming at the first Christmas in history by saying in Jn. 1:4 – In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. In Jn. 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” When God sent Jesus into the world – he literally “turned on the light.”
In Titus 2:11, Paul describes this grace as appearing to offer salvation to all people. God’s demonstration of grace through his son Jesus invites us into relationship with him.
God’s grace has been declared. It’s been announced. It is not a secret. It invites us to come to Him. God’s grace is welcoming.
Rev. 22:17 – “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Grace says, “You’re wanted.” Think of welcoming grace as the front porch to a house. It’s the front porch that attracts. The light is on and the porch holds the welcome mat that invites you in.