05) GRACE

[God’s unmerited favor]

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 John 1:17

          For the law was given through Moses, but

          Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ.

 

“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” God’s Amazing Grace, we cannot say enough about it, we cannot begin to understand it or grasp its magnitude. Because of His Grace we are saints instead of sinners. When we think of His Grace we have to shout, “Hallelujah, Praise God.” To show grace is to freely extend favor to someone or to give something to one who doesn’t deserve or merit it nor can ever earn it. It is by Grace, through Faith alone, that God declares the sinner righteous, justified, and saved. This is the basis on which God accepts us. It has been said that Grace is; ‘God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.’ What is it that God has given that cannot be earned or in any way merited? He has given us first and foremost His beloved Son to be the sacrifice that He would except for the forgiveness of sin. He has given freely to us His love, mercy, forgiveness, justification, righteousness, acceptance, redemption and eternal life. All of which are wrapped up in a gift called Salvation and it is all given to us on the basis of ‘GRACE’ which is also ‘Love in Action.’ Salvation depends upon Grace. Grace is not imported it belongs to another world.

 

Romans 3:24

           And we are justified freely by His Grace, through

           the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

 

God did not wait until we had made everything right and had turned from our sinful ways before He gave His only begotten Son to pay the ultimate price for the remission of our sins. Jesus didn’t say He would go to the cross and die for us when we were deserving of His love and sacrifice. Both He and the Father did just the opposite, they knew we were sheep gone astray and could not go to them and so by Grace they came to us, God gave His best, His Son and Jesus gave His life. This was done while we where still living in our sins and before we even knew Him. Because of Grace Salvation is free to all who will accept it.

 

Romans 5:6-8

        6 You see, at just the right time, when we

            were still powerless, Christ died for the

             ungodly.

         7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous

             man, though for a good man someone

             might possibly dare to die.

         8 But God demonstrates His own love for

            us in this: While we were still sinners,

            Christ died for us.

 

Ephesians 2:5

Even when we were dead in our trespasses,

             He has made us alive together with Christ

             (by grace you have been saved),

 

How does God’s Grace touch our everyday lives? Let’s look at a few ways;

 

1) Grace is God’s answer to our pain and afflictions when He may or may not choose to change our circumstances.

 

2 Corinthians 12: 7-9

      7 A thorn in the flesh was given to me, by a messenger

          of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

      8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three

          times that it might depart from me.

      9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for

         My strength is made perfect in weakness."

 

This is the Apostle Paul speaking, a man whose life was sold out to God. Three times he asked God to remove this thorn in his flesh, this affliction he had and could not cope with in his own strength. Three times God said, “No, My Grace will be sufficient for you.” What is it that determines whether or not God answers our prayers, removes our infirmities or changes our circumstances? It is His purpose for allowing them! God’s purpose is far greater than our problems and His Grace is the answer to all our doubts and fears. There is a divine power on this planet, it is available to all, it can be applied, it is our privilege to be able to experience it. It is called Grace and there is no limit to it for He gives more Grace.’

 

2)SHARING HIS SUFFERING:

 

Philippians 3:10

           That I may know Him and the power of His

            resurrection, and the fellowship of His

            sufferings, being conformed to His death,

 

We are admonished not to worry about tomorrow, nor dwell on what might happen or what is to come. Life is full of difficulties, we cannot avoid them, we must learn how to cope with them. We all are in need of His Grace. If we are to suffer, not for what we have done but for the cause of Christ, then we should do so willingly knowing that it will all turn out for our good. That it will accomplish His purpose for allowing it to happen. So when Grace works in us and helps us to understand that God wills to do anything, then whatever God wills to do ; whatever God wants to do, should become our pleasure as well as His. Most of the time we are the ones who doubt, who make mountains out of mole hills, remember this, our God is bigger than any mountain we can or cannot see. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to remind us that with God all things are possible.

 

Matthew 19:26

           "With man this is impossible, but with God

             all things are possible." 

 

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

       15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold

             the traditions which you were taught,

             whether by word or our epistle.

       16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself,

             and our God and Father, who has loved

             us and given us everlasting consolation

             and good hope by Grace,

       17 comfort your hearts and establish you in

             every good word and work.

 

If our suffering or trials get worse and increase in intensity, you can rest assure that God’s Grace will also increase. God’s word promises us that we would not go through any more than we can endure. Jesus said, “He who endures to the end would be saved.” Some go through this life with good health, with all their needs met and their families happy. While others endure physical suffering daily, with it’s pain and tears, its loneliness and all of it’s discouragement’s, disappointments, its losses, misunderstandings, and haunting fears. With their hopes dashed and seemingly no purpose to it all and the question is asked, “To what purpose is this waste?” In God’s perfect economy there is no waste, unless we choose to deny Him the right to turn our pain into everlasting good. If we would just open our spiritual eyes we would see His Grace woven through it all. It should be our good pleasure for it is God working in us, ‘Both to will and to do His good pleasure.’ We realize we do not have to but we realize even more that we want to because, He gives more Grace.

 

Romans 8:28

           And we know that all things work together

           for good to those who love God, to those

           who are the called according to His purpose.

 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

       17 For our light affliction, which is but for a

              moment, is working for us a far more

             exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

       18 while we do not look at the things which

            are seen, but at the things which are not

             seen. For the things which are seen are

             temporary, but the things which are not

             seen are eternal.

 

Even the pain filled life, if given to Him in faith, will show forth the Praise and Glory of His Grace. He has established every purpose under heaven and His purposes will come to pass. Because of this we stand with confidence in His Grace and rejoice in the hope that it gives us. The will of God will never take us to where the Grace of God will not protect us.

GODS GRACE

 Proverbs 20:18

            Every purpose is established by counsel:

 

Romans 5:2

            Through whom also we have access by

             Faith into this Grace, in which we stand,

             and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

3) GRACE IN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES

 

Grace is God’s method of demonstrating His love and power in the midst of our circumstances.

 

Philippians 1:12

            But I want you to know, brethren that the

             things which happened to me have actually

             turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,

 

In the midst of his trying circumstances the Apostle Paul was able to see the hand of the Lord in all he was going through. He knew that circumstances continually change but he also knew that his Lord, Jesus Christ never changes. He saw that his willingness to trust Him in his suffering blessed others and gave them courage to be bold in their faith and advance the Kingdom of God. All things in Christ have a divine purpose; don’t hinder that purpose by unbelief. We need to remember that in Christ we are all called according to His purpose.

 

Romans 8:28

            And we know that all things work together for

            good to those who love God, to those  who

            are the called according to His purpose.

Hebrews 13:8

            Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

All the promises of God are available for all His people; yet at times there seems to be special promises to fit special needs. If God allows you to suffer in some way, or He allows trials to bear heavy on you, He has words of encouragement that are spoken especially and specifically for you. Only by accepting His will for our lives, be what it may, can we find His peace. Even though we do not understand all that happens to us and find it hard to accept the portion that is ours to bear, His Grace will be sufficient if we but Trust. We must try to bring our wills into submission to His will and trust Him to turn our problems into good for our sake and for His glory. All the while He demonstrates His marvelous Grace to us.

 

1 Peter 1:6-7

         6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little

            while you may have had to suffer  grief in all

            kinds of trials .

        7 These have come so that your faith of greater

            worth than gold, which perishes even though

            refined by fire — may be may be proved genuine

             and may result in praise, glory and honor when

            Jesus Christ is revealed.

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 2 Timothy 2:1,3

         1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the

             Grace that is in Christ Jesus.

          3 You therefore must endure hardship as

               a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

 

We, you and I, are the emphasis here and this is important, for it clarifies the whole attitude toward unmerited suffering. He says you can not only bear it, you can use it. Every injustice is an opportunity, every wrong an open door, an opportunity and an open door to bear witness to His marvelous Grace, a witness that says His Grace is alive within us and strengthening us.

Hebrews 12:1

           Therefore we also, since we are surrounded

            by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay

             aside every weight, and the sin which so

             easily ensnares us, and let us run with

             endurance the race that is set before us,

 

In God’s divine plan He never meant to make life easy for us; He meant to make us strong through His Grace. So instead of complaining about the thorns on the rose, thank God for the rose among the thorns. When we miss the Grace of God, bitterness is produced, but when we embrace His Grace, it is then that forgiveness grows and thrives within our hearts and the Love of Christ is shed abroad and glorifies the Father.

 

04) GRACE, GOD’S PROVISION

 Grace is God’s provision for our peace of mind in times of trials, hardship & temptations.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13

            No temptation has overtaken you except

              such as is common to man; but God is

              faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted

              beyond what you are able to bear, but with

              the temptation will also make the way of escape,

               that you may be able to bear it.

 

No hardship or trial is greater than God’s Grace. Through Grace He provides a way through all of them and gives us the strength we need to endure what ever comes our way. This is God’s promise, tried and true, down through the ages. Dare we trust Him rather than doubt Him? May we be able to see with our spiritual eyes as well as our physical eyes what happens when we obey Him. That when we trust in His Grace and endure for Christ’s sake, others are strengthened by what they see in us and are encouraged to do the same.

 

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 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

       3   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord

             Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God

              of all comfort,

       4   who comforts us in all our tribulations, that

             we may be able to comfort those who are in

             any kind of trouble, with the same comfort by

             which we ourselves were comforted by God.

 

2 Corinthians 4:15

           For all things are for your sakes, that Grace,

            having spread through the many, may cause

            thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

 

God’s Grace gives us peace and contentment in the midst of our tribulations more so when we realize that our faithfulness is actually causing others to take heart and not give up. Not only that, but realizing we are also glorifying our Lord in the process. The question here is, are we willing to suffer for Him that others might also learn to trust in His Grace. If so, then His Grace is sufficient for you. Any attempts to do it our way, on our own, only increases the pain and suffering. When we leave God out of the picture it can only get worse. It is like getting a fish hook embedded in our hand, all our attempts to pull it out only makes it worse and increases the pain. We need a physician to get it out, Jesus is our physician, and He is our ever present help in time of trouble.

 

Psalm 46:1-2

       1   God is our refuge and strength, a very

              present help in trouble.

2         Therefore we will not fear, even though

     the earth be removed, and though the

     mountains be carried into the midst

     of the sea;

 

With God living in us, we aren’t accidents of nature, neither are we the only creatures made of flesh and blood with hearts. What makes us special is that we are created in His image; we are the special work of His hands. We are significant, because of who we are, not because of anything we may have done. Therefore, we are recipients of His marvelous Grace and provisions even though we don’t deserve it. We are dealing with Almighty God and cost is never a determining factor with Him. Whatever our need may be God has ample resources to meet that need. The faith God issues to us is like an eternal ‘carte blanche’ an eternal ‘credit card.’ We have an account up in Heaven opened to our credit and He says to us, ‘Draw on it.’ The mistake we make is when we fail to draw on it. ‘He gives more Grace.’

 

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Psa       Psalm 118:5         

        I call on the LORD in my distress, and He answers me.

 

 

05) “STRENGTH IN GRACE

        Grace is the companion God gives us to help us walk through the long dark nights.

 

2 Timothy 2:1

            You therefore, my son, be strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus.

 

Many of us have experienced the long nights of weeping over the death of a loved one, the pain of a rebellious wayward child, the unfaithfulness of a spouse, a crippled body. The nights can turn into years; we wonder were God is, will we ever see the light of day. At this time we need to remember that God’s Word is forever settled in Heaven, His promises are true. He said no more than you can bear. It always amazes us when we see how much we are able to endure when we put the problem is in His hands.          

 

Psalm 30:5

         Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.   

 

His Grace is more than sufficient. When it seemed like we could not take another step, when we thought we were in a desert place walking alone, it was then He whispered to us, My child, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

 

Hebrews 13:5

          For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

 

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Love that goes upward is worship;

Love that goes outward is affection;

Love that stoops is Grace.

 

One day the long years of suffering and striving will end, be done, over with forever. In that day we shall be satisfied with perfect understanding. At last all the whys will be answered, there will be no more questions, no more mysteries. Not that the sovereign God needs to explain Himself and His ways to us, His creation. But we believe that in His Grace He will and all tears will be gone and we will now be able to see clearly.

 

1 Corinthians 13:12

            For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now

            I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

 

We should never let our trials and testing get us down – except on our knees. Remember,

Sorrow always looks back,

Worry is always looking around

Faith always looks up.”

 

Hebrews 12:2

            Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for

            the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the

            shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God.

 

06) GRACE IS PRICELESS:

 

Ephesians 2:8-9

        8 For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that

            not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

         9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

It is sad when we realize that there are so many in the world today who still think that the only way to God is through their personal efforts. They believe they must work extremely hard or they must suffer personal pain to earn God’s favor and they must try to pay Him back for what He has done for them. They feel they must make sacrifices in order to earn their salvation, forgetting that Salvation comes by His divine Grace, through the shed blood of His Son Jesus. It is not of any works that we can do and boast about, for it cannot be bought, it is priceless. It is a gift from God with no strings attached, lest we should puff out our chest and boast of what we have accomplished through our own efforts.

        

A beautiful example of Grace is recorded in the Book of Luke. It is the story of one of two thieves who was hanging on a cross, breathing his last for the crimes he had committed. A man who probably never went to church, never taught a Sunday school class, never led anyone to Jesus, lived a life of violence and crime. Now he was reaping what he had sown in his life time. But moments before he died he had an encounter, but oh, what an encounter. Hanging on that cruel cross, paying for his sins, he had an encounter with Grace, God’s only begotten Son Jesus, “Full of Grace and Truth,” He was hanging on another cross right beside him. Helpless, not able to lift a finger to help himself, dying with no hope, he turns and looks into the face of Jesus and believes, then he says the most important thing he has ever uttered in his lifetime, words that would determine where he would spend eternity. He said, Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” Luke 23:42  

 

Simple faith, faith without works, without conditions, “remember me,” the most important words he ever uttered.  He looked and believed and then he heard those beautiful words, words of life, words that erased his past, and secured his eternal future. Jesus, hanging in pain from His cruel cross, looked at him with compassion and said to him, “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

 

 

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 Luke 23:42-43

          42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come

                into your kingdom."

           43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, you will be

                with Me in paradise." 

 

Don’t confuse the way to salvation; for it is ours strictly on the basis of God’s free gift, His Amazing Grace, through His Son Jesus Christ who became our substitute and took upon Himself our sins. Absolutely free, no strings attached for it is His Unmerited Favor to all of us and we will never be asked to pay it back, we couldn’t if we tried. We can do nothing to make God love us more, and we can do nothing to make Him love us less. It is His Amazing Grace – His unmerited Love – His unmerited Favor, it is God’s love in action, ‘He gives more Grace.’

 

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‘WELCOME HOME

 

                      Ephesians 2:8    For by Grace you have been saved through faith,”

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