09-03-17 – “god’s At War” – (little g)

“god’s at war!” – (little g)

Imagine you have this cough that won’t stop.  It starts small but keeps getting worse and worse.  After a while it’s keeping you up at night, starting to affect you, your family, your job, your conversations…

You’ve tried everything known to man to stop this cough but nothing works.  It’s driving you crazy!  You’re life has pretty much been consumed by and redefined by the cough.

Now you’re sitting in the Dr.’s office to find out what this “cough” is all about because you just can’t take it anymore.

He runs all the tests and discovers you have Lung cancer.

Your Dr. knows how devastating it will be to tell you, so instead, he gives you a prescription for a really strong cough medicine.   You break open the bottle right there and within minutes – the cough is almost gone!

 

FINALLY, thank God!  Thank God for what!?  The problem wasn’t corrected and your Dr. just covered it up!  

Instead of dealing with the problem, he only dealt with the symptom.  

 

Every day we’re battling a cough….  although we call it other things:

  • Struggling
  • Stressing
  • Hurting
  • Lusting
  • Disobeying
  • Worrying
  • Cheating
  • Avoiding
  • Spending
  • Medicating
  • Searching
  • Satisfying
  • Choosing

 

What is the Problem or the Root Cause?  Is it sin?  Isn’t Sin itself a symptom of a much deeper problem?

 

John 3:19 – 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light…

Romans 1:18 -25 ESV – 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

 

  • They know God but don’t want to “KNOW” God. Don’t want an intimate relationship with God…  I WANT this other thing instead of God.

 

  • They would rather believe a Lie instead of the Truth! (When we believe on something we act on it…  Acting on a lie rather than the truth produces sin.)

 

  • God gave them up, abandoned them, let them have their way… left them to their lusts and desires…  You want THAT instead of ME and ALL that I have to give you…

The Root Cause: When we allow someone or something other than the one true living God a place on the throne of our heart…  an opportunity to rule and reign in our life… and to be first and/or the most important thing in our life.

The Problem or the Root Cause is Idolatry.

Exodus 20:3-5 NLT – “You must not have any other god but me.

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.

 

Wait a minute… We don’t have any idols in our life… we don’t bow down to idols?!  Or do we?

The 1st commandment deals with WHO we worshipIS God the only thing we worship or are there other things in our life that we worship? That are equally or more important than God.

 

  • 22:36-40 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Who is the greatest love in my life, of my life?

 

  • Who does my life revolve around? Can we honestly say we love God like that?

 

  • We were created to worship… WHO is the object of our worship?!  Who has your Attention, Abilities, Affection?

 

The 2nd commandment deals with HOW we worship.  Expressing how we love God. 

 

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

 

  • Colossians 3:17 ESV – 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

Idolatry is not a major issue…  I believe it’s THE issue.  

 

Why is Idolatry so dangerous? 

  1. It makes God ANGRY!

Think about how offensive, disgraceful, and appalling it is to God… Who is GOD!   That should be enough…  however, he sent Christ to die for us so we could be right with Him.  And then we put other things in HIS rightful place, and other things are more important than Him!

 

God is a jealous God!  GOD WILL NOT BE SECOND.

 

When we we put other things in HIS PLACE, and FIRST… we’re literally telling God He’s not enough… His Grace is not enough.  John Piper said, “Either He’s too boring or not important enough that I have to have something or someone else in my life.”

  1. When God isn’t on the Throne and First… We don’t honor Him or give Him the Glory that is due Him!

Isaiah 42:8 NIV – “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.

Romans 1:23-24 ESV – 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Satan wants God’s glory… he wants God’s worship. He wants what rightfully belongs to God… He wants out Abilities, Attention and our Affection!  He wants us!

We were created to display the glory of God, to display the superiority of a life lived in HIM…  that GOD may be known and worshiped and praised!  NOT the glory of creation!

  1. We destroy ourselves! Idolatry is the CANCER.  IF not, why would that be the first two commandments God gave for His “moral” law?  It’s from Idolatry that all other sin is bred. 
  • Idols are lies and they cause us to live lives that are a lie.
  • Idols obscure reality and the Truth.
  • Idols make empty promises.
  • Idols consume our resources. (Attention, Abilities, Affection.)
  • Idols will lead us to choices that disobey and dishonor God and create Hurts, Habits and Hang-ups in our life.
  • Idols rob us of real Joy.
  • Idols separate us from Grace and Truth!

If that’s not a path toward destruction I don’t know what is!  Not only do idols destroy this life, but possibly the NEXT!

What do we do… What can we do?  These [little gods] have to be exposed, dethroned and destroyed!

Proverbs 4:23 CSB – Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.

Proverbs 27:19 NLT – As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.

Jeremiah 17:9 NLT – The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 

Matthew 15:8 NLT – ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  (These people are religious but they don’t love me.)

CONCLUSION:

For the next several weeks we’re going to look at this issue…  what are some of the “little god’s” at war with us.  At war with God’s rightful place and His glory!   

  • The god of pleasure
  • The god of love
  • The god of money
  • The god of power
  • The god of success
  • The god of me

NOTE: Men’s study on Tues. nights that will be focusing on god’s at war.  Ladies study on Tues. nights will be focusing on the Armor of God.   Both deal with this battle! 

Don’t make the mistake of assuming we’re Ok and this doesn’t apply to me. Be open to what God wants to reveal to us and do in our life through it.

  • What would happen, what could happen if we recognized the idolatry in our life and dethroned, destroyed those idols!
  • What would happen, what could happen if God were the only one on the throne of my heart! IF God were first in my life in every area of my life! 
  • What would happen if we got to the root cause of that cough (sin) in our life!

08-20-18 – “God’s Grace – Our Faith”

God’s Grace – Our Faith

Its one thing to be eating Crackers and Peanut Butter… riding around in 1st and 2nd gear if you don’t KNOW any better.   Some people seriously don’t know that there is something better, something greater than what they have!

 

However, when you KNOW there’s a feast available…   When you KNOW you’ve got 4 more gears and tremendous power available to you…… AND WE’RE STILL eating Crackers and PB… STILL riding around in 1st and 2nd gear.   THERE’S A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

 

 

  1. Satan has blinded some to the Grace of God…. To the Power and Promises of God. (2 Cor. 4)

 

  1. For many, we’ve been conditioned to believe this is as good as it gets.

 

  • We’re saved…
  • Go to church,
  • Try to be a good person,
  • Give some money if we can,
  • Help people if you can,
  • Read your bible when you have time…
  • Don’t cuss, much…
  • Don’t drink, much…
  • Don’t do drugs,
  • Be honest,
  • Be good to your wife and kids,
  • Be a good citizen,
  • Don’t cause any problems.

 

 

AND, we only associate God’s Grace with the forgiveness of our sins and God saving us from something horrible or terrible in our life!  More often than not GRACE is something that happened in the past…

 

 

How often do we associate the Grace of God with God’s PROMISES Fulfilled and POWER to overcome

 

Is Grace (Giving me what I don’t deserve) simply about Salvation and Protection?

 

A better definition of Grace might be: “God giving me what I don’t deserve in Jesus Christ… A life lived in Christ… His Promises fulfilled and Power experienced in my life.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT – 10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.

 

2 Corinthians 9:8 CSB – And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.

 

Acts 4:33 CSB – 33 With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them.

 

 

By our standards of “Westernized Christianity” did Paul experience the Grace of God?  HECK NO! 

 

2 Corinthians 11:24 NLT24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.

 

Look what he later wrote in Prison!

Philippians 4:19 – My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

 

2 Corinthians 1:20 – All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.

 

Do we REALLY believe that God will supply every need? 

 

What we say and do reveals what we really believe…   and it reveals our Faith!

 

James 2:14-20 NLT – 14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.   Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

 

Romans 5:1-2 NIV – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

Faith = Believing the word of God and acting on it no matter how I feel because God promises a good result.  What is that good result!   (James MacDonald)

 

His promises fulfilled in our life and His Power to overcome!

 

Through Faith we understand, accept, and embrace the GRACE of God in Jesus Christ.   We are justified and we have peace with God through our Faith in Christ.

 

 

Unless we’re responding in FAITH, we will never experience the GRACE of God!

 

This should change the way we view the GRACE of God… the way we relate to Him and the way we respond to Him! 

This balance between Grace and Faith is what causes so much controversy.  On one hand God does it all, no one can do anything apart from HIS GRACE… yet on the other hand God requires Faith. 

 

John Piper – Desiring God said, “The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s GRACE through faith.  The same dynamic is at work at every stage of the Christian life.” 

 

If we have the wrong understanding of God’s GRACE or Faith it leads to mediocrity, complacency and apathy.  We become passive rather than “passionate” servants God Almighty!

 

 

What’s the opposite of Success?  It isn’t failure.   Failure is part of success.  We fail, we learn and we get up and do it again.

 

The opposite of success is mediocrity, complacency, apathy

  • I’m ok with eating crackers and PB.
  • I’m ok with riding around in 1st and 2nd
  • I’m ok with just coming to church and trying to be “good.”
  • I’m ok if I don’t see the PROMISES of God fulfilled in my life or the POWER of God in my life!
  • I’m ok if there’s no TRANSFORMATION in my life to be more like Christ.
  • I’m not really interested, I’m not really that concerned… I don’t really care.

 

 

Conclusion:

Salvation boils down to grace and faith. Grace is the source, but faith is the condition.

Illustration:

Burning Building…  We’re trapped, we’re going to die!

Firemen show up with Net!

 

What saves us?

The Net saves you. Without the Net you would have been a big greasy spot. Grace is the Net…
However, the net doesn’t save you unless you do what?  JUMP! Jumping is our Faith!
We’re saved by grace (the net) through our faith (the jump!)                     

 

2 Thess. 1:11-12 NLT – 11 So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 12 Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

08-13-17 – “Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace”

Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace!          

How many of you have been on a cruise before?

Imagine saving up for year to finally take your dream cruise.  You finally get the tickets and get ready to go and… You know how expensive things are so you pack half of your suitcase with crackers and Peanut butter so you can have something to eat.

Toward the end of the cruise that PB Crackers are getting old!  You’re STARVING for some of the wonderful food you’ve been seeing on board!

The Porter finally asks, Sir, Why do you have all these crackers and Peanut butter?   When you explain, “HOPING and PRAYING” he’ll give you something to eat, he says,  Didn’t you know that all the meals are included with the price of your ticket? You can eat as much as you want!

 

Let’s get closer to home…

How many of you guys rode your motorcycle out here this morning in 1st gear?  Maybe you got a little froggy and hit 2nd gear, cause you were feeling wild!   But that’s it.  You never got outta 2nd gear on your way out here

You’ve got a 15-20 K for a Harley Davidson, Gold Wing, Indian…  with an 88”, 103” or 110 and you’re only using 2 gears?  A max speed of 40 MPH.   Scooters and Mopeds are passing you!

 

That would be ridonkulous.  

Think about that Spiritually…   A lot of Christians are living like that!   They don’t realize the UNLIMITED Grace that God has for us!  

Some of us been following Christ for a LONG time… in Church for a LONG time and we’re still eating PB crackers and/or stuck in 1st an 2nd gear!  As Followers of Christ…  As His Kids… are we like that? 

Some of us are STARVING not eating anything or not riding at all!

Eph. 3:20 NIV – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,21 to him be glory in the church (that’s us!) and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

As I said last week,  It’s not about our performance… it’s about HIS GRACE.

 

Obedience doesn’t lead to Grace…  His Grace leads to Obedience!

 

The end result of Surrender, Sacrifice, Serving and Sharing our Faith… is to not only “experience” the Grace of God but to reveal the GRACE of God in Jesus Christ!    OR, as James MacDonald said, “ To display the superiority of a life lived in Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV – 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Faithful Steward = Means a reliable, steadfast, dedicated Overseer, or someone in Charge.  God has placed you in charge of something!  (All the Control freaks are going YES!)  HIS GRACE!

 

God has given us the responsibility to not only enjoy and experience His Grace but to share His Grace… to advance His Kingdom!   We are the Pipeline if you will, will through which His Grace flows and is revealed!

 

I’ve been thinking about that this week… 

  • AM I a faithful steward of God’s Grace?
  • Am I “displaying the Superiority of a life lived in Christ?”
  • Am I giving God my best?
  • Am I eating PB and crackers and/or riding in 1st or 2nd gear?

 

We can’t “do anything,” or “perform” for more GRACE, Jesus did it all on the Cross and His Grace is “infinite!”   However, are there things we can do to increase the Grace of God in our life to become a more Faithful Steward of God’s Grace…     

  1. Increased Knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18 NLT – Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.)

 

 

2 Peter 1:2 ESVMay God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.  By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises.  

 

 

John 15:5 NASBI am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

 

An intimate Knowledge of Jesus Christ results in more Grace which leads to more Obedience which produces FRUIT!   Galatians 5:22-25 NLT – 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

 

 

  1. PRAY! Develop a lifestyle of Prayer!

 

Matthew 21:13 ESV – My house shall be called a house of prayer… 

                                              

Psalm 145:18-19 ESV – The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.

 

Hebrews 4:16 NIV – 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

 

  1. Practice Humility… eliminate the Pride!

 

James 4:5-8 NLT –  Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

 

Proverbs 16:5 ESV – Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

 

In our Pride we’re restricting the flow of GRACE in our own life!

 

 

  1. Serve Him!

 

1 Peter 4:10 – 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

 

2 Corinthians 9:8 CSB – And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.

 

Acts 4:33 CSB – 33 With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them.

 

Colossians 3:23-24 NIV23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

If we aren’t willing to Sacrifice and Serve then we aren’t Surrendering and we aren’t eliminating the PRIDE in our life… We’re restricting or cutting off the GRACE of God in our own life!

 

God in HIS GRACE has given us the Gifts, abilities, talent, skills, resources we have.   It’s PRIDE to think it’s all about us and not God!

 

Because of HIS GRACE we should be willing to SACRIFICE and SERVE Him in whatever capacity He wants!

 

CONCLUSION:

Don’t you want to utilize and experience all that God has for you?  To experience His unlimited Grace?  (Giving us what we don’t deserve!!)  

 

What’s holding us back? 

  • Why are some of us still eating PB crackers? When you’ve discovered the TRUTH, and KNOW there’s something better!
  • Why are some of us still riding around in 1st or 2nd gear thinking we’re doing something? When we KNOW we’ve got more gears and more power available?

 

  • And some aren’t even eating or riding at all?

 

Why are we settling No Grace or Cheap Grace when God has AMAZING GRACE available for us!

 

 

The sad part…

We know what we need to do but many of us here today won’t respond to God’s promises to experience His Grace!  We settle for what we’ve know or what we’ve got.  We settle for good things when we could have GOD things!

 

Many of you will agree with me this morning but what will you do to let God transform your life and take you to another level?

 

  • Am I “displaying the Superiority of a life lived in Christ?”
  • AM I a faithful steward of God’s Grace?
  • Am I giving God my best?
  • Am I still eating PB and crackers and/or riding in 1st or 2nd gear?
  • Am I even eating or riding at all!?

08-06-17 – “Grace is ALL We Need”

Grace IS all we need.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT – So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

 

We’ve talked about it before but what is God’s Grace?

  • God’s Riches At Christ Expense
  • The Unmerited Favor of God
  • God giving us what we don’t deserve.

 

 

Grace is THE attribute of God Himself personified in Jesus Christ.   It’s the thing that separates Christianity from all the other Religions in the world.

 

John 1:14-16 CSB – The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

John 3:16-17 NLT – 16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

 

 

GRACE is the work of God and God alone through Jesus Christ…  expressed to us on the Cross.   “God’s Grace isn’t a result of the Cross… the Cross is the result of God’s Grace!”

 

2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. –

Ephesians 1:5-7 NLT – God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

All our life, in every area of our life we’ve been taught and conditioned that in order to be rewarded we have to “perform.”  

  • If we’re good kids, we’re rewarded…
  • If we do well in school, we’re rewarded.
  • If we do well in sports, we’re rewarded.
  • If we do well in the Military, we’re rewarded.
  • We do good on the job, or in business, we get rewarded.
  • If we DON’T perform what happens? We aren’t rewarded.

 

Unfortunately, a lot of people have that “performance” mentality when it comes to God.   If I perform well, I’m good, I’m rewarded,” and that spills over into our Spiritual life as well.  

 

Think about it…   every Religion in the world with the exception “Biblical” Christianity” is based on some type of Merit system.   You have to “perform.”

 

 

If we’re not careful we also will get wrapped up in the “performance trap!”

God’s Word is our Standard for Righteousness…  However, God’s Grace is our Source for Righteousness.

 

John 5:39-40 NLT – “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.

 

 

WE can’t measure up to the Standard of Righteousness without the Source for Righteousness! 

 

We don’t become right with God because we “Perform!”  We’re right with God because of God’s Grace in Jesus Christ…  He was our sacrifice and the payment for our sin on the Cross!   

 

I can change my Actions and Behavior but still have wrong Emotions, Attitudes, Thoughts and Beliefs.  It’s an outward appearance of being right with God when inside nothing’s really changed.  The Pharisees!

 

Obedience must be fueled and driven by the Grace of God!  The TRANSFORMATION in us as a result of the Grace of God NOT our obedience.

 

Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV – I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

 

 

Obedience won’t lead us to Grace… Grace leads us to Obedience…

 

 

Now, keep that in perspective and look at something Jesus shared with His disciples  

John 14:15 CSB – “If you love me, you will keep my commands.

 

1 John 5:3 NCVLoving God means obeying his commands. And God’s commands are not too hard for us, because everyone who is a child of God conquers the world.

 

“My power will be made perfect in your weakness!”  BUT NOT WITHOUT HIS GRACE

 

There’s “Common Grace” and then there’s “SAVING GRACE!” 

 

Common Grace =  If you take another breath this morning whether you are living for Christ or not… that’s “Common Grace.”   It’s a Grace that applies to all mankind regardless of your relationship with Christ.   

 

Saving Grace = Those who have realized their need for a Savior and they repented of their sin, putting their faith, hope, confidence and dependence in Him, on Him…  A Transformation (new heart and spirit) has taken place in their life by, in and through Jesus Christ.

 

And in HIS “SAVING GRACE” we experience:

  

  • Motivating Grace. Motivates us to do good things that He planned for us.
  • Securing Grace – Secures us in His family. Nothing can separate us!
  • Sanctifying Grace – Sets us apart in this world.
  • Serving Grace – Teaches/trains us to Serve Him and His Kingdom.
  • Sustaining Grace – Gives us the power to ensure and persevere in this world until He calls us home!

Titus 2:11-14 NIV – 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It (Grace) 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.

 

Ephesians 2:8-10 NLTGod saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 

The Crazy thing about Grace…   We can’t do anything get it or to attain more of it.   We strive for…  Obedience, Faithfulness, Trust, Discipline, Knowledge…  but how do you strive for Grace or more Grace?  

 

You can’t!  Grace can’t be earned… it is only given.  And what we have been given IS all we need!

 

Grace isn’t affected by our sin.  As a matter of fact the greater the sin the greater God’s Grace. 

 

Romans 5:20 NLT – God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.

 

Because of God’s Grace it’s not “open season” to sin!   It SHOULD actually do the opposite! The more we’ve sinned against God the more in “AWE” we should be at HIS AMAZING GRACE!

 

1 Corinthians 15:10 NCV10 But God’s grace has made me what I am, and his grace to me was not wasted. I worked harder than all the other apostles. (But it was not I really; it was God’s grace that was with me.)