Summary: A doctrinal sermon about prevenient grace (free agency).
Larry C. Brincefield
Sunday Evening, February 16, 2003
Title: What We Believe...About Prevenient Grace
One day in the forest, three animals were discussing who among them was the most powerful.
"I am," said the hawk, "because I can fly and swoop down swiftly at my prey."
"That’s nothing," said the mountain lion, "I am not only fleet, but I have powerful teeth and claws."
"I am the most powerful," said the skunk, "because with a flick of my tail, I can drive off the two of you."
Just then a huge grizzly bear lumbered out of the forest and settled the debate by eating them all...
hawk, lion, and stinker.
We tend to be the same way...
we run around thumping our chest...
bragging about how good we are...
But without Christ...we don’t amount to much.
We have been studying the articles of faith, tonight we come to Article 7, Prevenient Grace
It reads, "We believe that the human race’s creation in Godlikeness included ability to choose between right and wrong, and that thus human beings were made morally responsible; that through the fall of Adam they became depraved so that they cannot now turn and prepare themselves by their own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God. But we also believe that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all people, enabling all who will to turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight. We believe that all persons, though in the possession of the experience of regeneration and entire sanctification, may fall from grace and apostatize and, unless they repent of their sins, be hopelessly and eternally lost."
1. We believe that we have the free choice to choose between right and wrong.
We see this choice from the very earliest pages of the Bible
God told Adam, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Gen 2:16-17 (NIV)
Adam and Eve had a choice.
They could choose to not eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil...
and they could choose to go ahead and eat from the tree.
Of course, you all know what happened.
they chose to eat from that tree...
and as a result...they committed sin...
We have this same choice today...
we can choose to obey and honor God...
or we can choose to disobey and dishonor God...
Joshua said, "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Josh 24:15 (NIV)
Moses said, "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life" Deut 30:19-20 (NIV)
2. We believe that we cannot save ourselves by our own works.
Eliphaz said to Job, "What is man, that he could be pure, or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?" Job 15:14 (NIV)
Psalm 14:3 says, "All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one."
I remember reading something from Max Lucado where he illustrated this.
He said that it is like 2 men who try to jump and touch the moon.
One man jumps 3 feet
the other man is very athletic and jumps 5 feet.
The athletic man can celebrate his good works...
I mean, he jumped 2 feet higher than the other man...
but he his still ~240,000 miles away from touching the moon.
It is ridiculous to think that someone might try to jump up and touch the moon...
it is even more ridiculous to think that we might be able to be good enough on our own to save ourselves.
G. W. Knight said,
"When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time,
that is a wage.
When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance,
that is a prize.
When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements,
that is an award.
But when a person is not capable of earning a wage,
can win no prize,
and deserves no award--