God's Grace Still Amazes Me!

(Part 1)

Sermon delivered on November 8th, 2015

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Text: Titus 2:11-15

 

Introduction

The grace of God, what a wonderful phrase! What a wonderful truth! It is a very precious reality. Nothing in this life makes sense without the grace of God. Someone has said that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater than the word "love". Grace is the heart of the Bible, the heart of the gospel and the heart of God. 

 

As we talk about grace, we need to define what it is. Because today, the word grace is used in varied ways and almost everywhere. Grace is used by credit card companies and government establishments, when we are late in our payment. It is used at our workplaces, when we arrive late for work. It is used in schools and universities, when we don't meet deadlines. We hear it sang about in sports events, funeral and memorial services. We name our children after it. We use it to describe the beautiful flowing movement of an ice skater across the ice. It is also used to describe as a short prayer before meals. This is why we need to consider what grace is; what grace brings; and what grace teaches.

 

I - What grace is?

The English word grace is from the Latin gratia meaning favor, charm or thanks. Gratia in turn is derived from gratus meaning free, ready, quick, willing, prompt. 

 

The Greek word for grace is charis which means favor, beauty, grace, from which we get the word charity and charisma.

 

But what is grace?

1. Grace is part of the character of God

Usually when we think of grace we think of it as something we received and it is. But the grace of God is much more than a gift or commodity that we receive. Grace is, first and foremost, the quality of God, the attribute of God, the nature of God. It is what God is. It is a description of the character of God which leads Him to be gracious towards men and is displayed by His gifts to men. 

 

God is a God of grace, and He desires to make this known to men

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 

God wants every man, every woman, every boy and every girl to know that He is a gracious God. And He calls those who have experienced the grace of God to proclaim it to all. He wants us to join Him in letting everybody know that He is a gracious God.

 

In the Old Testament Moses wanted to know God more  intimately and more deeply. And God graciously granted his desire ...

Exodus 33:17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sigpht, and I know thee by name. 18: And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19: And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

 

Exodus 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6: And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7: Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

 

Scripture, from beginning to end, is permeated with God's grace

Contrary to "popular opinion" the Old Testament is not all law and the New Testament all grace, but both are filled with God's grace. The Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation is permeated with God's grace.

 

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6: And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7: And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

 

Exodus 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8: And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

 

Exodus 3:21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty.

 

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

 

Revelation 22:20 He who testifieth these things saith, Surely, I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Note that again our Lord is the wellspring of God's grace!

 

2. Grace is unmerited favor from God

Webster defines grace as the unmerited love and favor of God which is the spring and source of all benefits men receive from Him, including especially His assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification. Grace in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. It is a virtue from God influencing man, renewing his heart and restraining him from sin.

 

3. Grace is bestowing gifts to the undeserving

We must not confused grace with mercy. While the terms have similar meanings, grace and mercy are not the same. 

 

To summarize the difference: 

Mercy is God withholding what we deserve while grace is bestowing what we do not deserve. Mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment, grace is extending kindness to the unworthy.

 

Mercy is removing the condemnation and punishment, grace is bestowing gifts and blessing.

 

One of the acts of mercy in the Bible is when an offender or enemy is completely forgiven or delivered from judgment and condemnation.

 

The greatest example of mercy in the Bible is God's act of mercy in forgiving and rescuing the sinner from his sin and its just punishment. But that is not all. God has done more than this for us. Sinners are not only rescued, they will also be rewarded! Usually only the rescuer is rewarded, but in this case those who are rescued are rewarded! 

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

This is an example of grace receiving a gift beyond our wildest expectations.

 

To illustrate mercy and grace

When Billy Graham, the famous Evangelist, was driving through a small town, he was stopped by a policeman and charged with speeding. Graham admitted his violation, but was told by the officer that he would have to appear in court.

 

The judge asked, "Guilty, or not guilty?" When Mr. Graham pleaded guilty, the judge replied, "That will be ten dollars -- a dollar for every mile you went over the limit."

 

Suddenly the judge recognized the Billy Graham. "You have violated the law," he said. "The fine must be paid--but I am going to pay it for you." He took a ten dollar bill from his own wallet, attached it to the ticket, and then took Graham out and bought him a steak dinner! "That," said Billy Graham, "is how God treats repentant sinners!"

 

Now that's a good illustration of mercy and grace but still a weak illustration of God mercy and grace. Weak in many accounts, namely the crime committed, the punishment required and the reward given. Our crime is not just a simple speeding violation, the punishment is not a dollar for every mile exceeded and the reward is not just a steak dinner.  

 

In the words of Paul ...

2 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10: But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

 

In the words of David....

Psalm 25:11 For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

 

What is so amazing about grace?

Grace is amazing because of its recipients! There are essential truth that we need to know and believe in order to have a great appreciation of the grace of God.

 

1. The man's moral condition

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4: But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6: Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

 

Grace is so amazing because of the ones who receive it. Grace blesses the utterly undeserving. Grace is favor shown to people who do not deserve any favor at all, who actually, deserve the exact opposite.

 

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5: Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

Romans 5:1-10

It was while we were without strength; it was while we were ungodly; it was while we were sinners; it was while we were yet enemies that God sent His only begotten, dearly beloved Son into the world, and even to die for us. That is grace! It is favor shown to people who deserve anything but favor, who deserve wrath and condemnation and punishment and perdition.

 

When we fully realize what we are by nature, and how we appear in the sight of God as unholy and ungodly sinners, and fully realize our true desert of the wrath of God, then we are filled with praise that God's grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

2. Man's helpless condition.

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5: Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Man left to himself, is unable to save himself. He cannot change, repent, believe, endure unto the end without the grace of God.

 

This is why we need grace! That is why I like how Webster define grace.

Grace is the unmerited love and favor of God which is the spring and source of all benefits men receive from Him, including especially His assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification. Grace in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. It is a virtue from God influencing man, renewing his heart and restraining him from sin.

 

Closing Thoughts

Oh, have you experienced that grace? Has this grace that brings salvation appeared to you? 

 

God is a gracious God and He wants us all to know that.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 

Why does God want us to know that He is gracious? Why does He want us to know that He is rich in grace,

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 

He wants everybody to know that He is a God of grace because He delights in being gracious. He wants us all to experience His grace.

 

God is not like a rich billionaire who shows off his riches and broadcasts to all the world how wealthy he is and keep all his riches to himself and has no desire and plan to share his riches with anyone. But God reveals His rich grace because He delights to be gracious. He delights to bestow gifts to the undeserving and ill-deserving.

 

To whom does God give grace?

Grace is given only to the humble.

Proverb 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

 

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

 

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

 

When our Lord came to earth, He came to minister to the poor, to the needy, to the hurting and suffering. Jesus had come to this earth in order to minister to those who were in need and knew it. When Jesus chose to associate with the needy rather than with the elite of His day, it greatly offended the Jewish religious leaders:

 

Mark 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16: And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17: When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

 

God's invitation to you this morning is whatever your situation is today, whether you need salvation or forgiveness or spiritual healing or grace for living, Grace for service, whatever it may be, come to Jesus who is full of grace and truth.

 

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

 

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Our gracious Saviour will not cast out anyone who humbly acknowledge his or her own deficiency and dependence upon God's grace for forgiveness and salvation.

 

For those who have experienced the grace of God, isn't it only reasonable to give Him our best to Him and to give Him our time, treasure and talent?

 

AMEN!