Sermon for Sunday February 19th, 2012

Grace, "Like Youíve Never Seen It"! by Charlie Roberts

Ephesians|Galatians 1|3:1|5-1|3:6|6

Grace, "Like Youíve Never Seen It"!

Go ahead and Jump! I Dare You

Do you remember playing that game with your friends, when you were young?

At the time, it didnít seem like you were all that young, remember you thought you were all grown up, you know the king of the world

but looking back now you see things through a different set of eyes.

Those were serious challenges we all faced, or so we thought, back in the day.

Some of them, we didnít have to think about it at all, it was just an easy decision to make and we just took the plunge,

Others though took serious thought, as to the ramifications that we would face, if we did make the commitment to take the leap and go for it.
What other people thought really mattered, or so we thought, funny how some things never change, isnĎt it?

You know, some people never end up doing a lot of things in their life, because of what they think, other people might think.

Anyway the next thing you knew, summer vacation was over and everyone was back in school and things were the norm.

And life has been streaming by 90 mph. ever since and continues to do so, whether anyone will admit to it or not.

Seems like we all say the same thing, were has the time gone to?

you know a lot of decisions have been made since then,

Some of them have been great ones, some of them good ones and some of them,
well lets just say we wished they would have turned out differently, then they did.

And then again Some decisions, never have been made, there still out there and folks are still pondering them, after all these years!

None the less, the decisions we have made in our lives, good and bad,

are the sum total of the outcome, of all that we are today.

One of the things I did do when I was 9 yrs. Old and the best decision I made in my whole life, was to ask Jesus in my Heart,

I thought, like a lot of people did in the beginning, I took the plunge and jumped in with both feet,

I was on the Jesus Train bound for glory, but what happened was, I barely even got my feet wet, so to speak.
Oh, I went to church all right and learned the dos and doníts, learned some bible verses and heard some incredible stories.

What I ended up with for far to many years, I now know, was not at all the life that the Lord had prepared for me to live,

Like a lot of society, what I had was a one way ticket to the good life, I thought.

And hopefully someday if I didnít mess it up, I would get to experience what Jesus died for, to give me.

In the meantime, for the span of the many years in between, I thought it had to be

and was going to be all about what I was capable of doing,

how much would I be able put into it, to make it work for me?

it was going to be a bunch of dos and doníts, that I was going to be in charge of, it was a lot of responsibility.

Lets call it, the to be-or not to be Christian, commonly referred to as religion,

And thatís exactly what it was, Religion

and like a lot of people, I found out in short order, I really didnít care too much for religion and still donít.

Oh, I was as on fire as a young boy could be, or for that matter any new convert could be or stay, for any length of time.

But the doís and doníts, soon turned to cantís and wontís as I searched for, as to what God wanted for me in the interim.

I was raised and told, you cant do that, or expect this, He doesnít do that anymore, Heís not a genie in a bottle you know!

No you donít want that, that was for then and that time, you cant ask for that, thatís not the will of God for todayÖ.blah,Ö.blah, Ö..blah.

Let me tell something, God is a Sovereign God, He can do anything He wants, anywhere He wants, anytime He pleases!

His power is limitless, He can even make time stand still if He wants,

TBS. He did it for Joshua and the children of Israel.

Joshua 10:12-13 NKJ
12. Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
ďSun, stand still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.Ē
13. So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

Now the bible does go on to say there in Joshua, that it never happened before or after that day again.

But in no way, shape or form, does that mean that God wouldnít be capable of doing it again, if He wanted to!

TBS. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

You know, it must have been pretty nerve racking, to have been the first preacher or denomination, or whomever it was

To try to tell God what He could and couldnít do, when He could do it and that we didnít think that He wanted to still do it today, in the present!

That would be easier to understand, if there would have been a silent 400 yr. period after Jesus time here on earth,
Like the silent 400 yr period that happened right before Jesus was born,

However, the bible doesnít record such a time happening, what it does record as the last instructions, is the ďgreat commissionĒ

Matt. 28:18-20 MSG.
18-20. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. Iíll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

And as far as I know, the message never has changed, so I ask

Why in the world, would anyone want to handcuff God and put Him in a box?
What we should be telling the world is the reason why He came,

to offer forgiveness and set us free from a lifetime of sin and give us life, and not just a mediocre existence either,

Iím talking about the abundant life that He promised to all and is faithful to give, to each and everyone of us!

John 10:10 NKJ
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Religion on the other hand, has no power in itself, and makes no promises or guarantees.

It is nothing more then mans attempt to reach God, it is in no way a substitute for the real thing!

For we know all to well, man will let you down each and every time!

Their came a time when I thought to myself,

Isnít Church and serving God, suppose to be fun and uplifting I thought, brother let me tell you, IT WASN'T!!! It was anything but!

Until one day, yes thatís right I said one day, Praise God!!

rather than just reading about the words, Amazing Grace out of a book,

like I had done so many times before, I started to Experience Them, for real!

Thatís the day Jesus became more real to me, than He ever had before!

I realized for the first time that grace, had nothing at all to do with what I could do,

But everything to do, with what Jesus had already done for me and was still doing for me and had never stopped doing for me! Praise God!!!

It wasnít about what I could do at all!
It never had been about my abilities!

Thatís the day, even though I thought I knew a lot about Him, I found out differently!

I realized, I had learned songs about Him, memorized stories about Him,

Now I want to be clear, I had accepted Him as my Savior, but I really didnít know Him at all.

I didnít have a relationship with Jesus, I had one with religion, mans views of Him

and believe me, there was plenty of views to go around, but they were nothing like Him at all!

Can anybody here this morning, relate to what Iím talking about?

You see, Sinners and Christians alike, know the words to the Anthem of the Church,

(sing) Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me,

Not the half has been realized, as to what Godís Amazing Grace will save us from!

I had sung about it a million times, just like the rest of the world has done the same thing,

But never realized how powerful those words really were and what they could actually mean for me, in my life!!

Thatís the day, I had what I now realize was, my Grace Awakening! moment.

Oh, I had partly been exposed to grace, because TBS. (the bible says) in;
Ephesians 2:8 NKJ
8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

You see, like a child receiving a beautifully wrapped gift, I had been so excited to receive the gift,

I never got beyond the wrapping paper, so to speak and it got set aside.

I never fully received the full intent, or understood the complete contents of the gift that had been given to me.

And you know what? A vast majority of Christians are in the same boat as I was,

whether they will admit it or not, there are a lot of Christians in their boat, with only one oar in the water!

How could something that was so good, that God had thought about long and hard

And was willing to take such extreme and drastic measures,

Even willing to sacrifice His own Son to make sure everyone would have it available to them, be so misunderstood?

You see, the devil resents anyone receiving Jesus Grace and the free gift of Salvation,

Thatís why there is so much confusion about it, because he knows how powerful and life changing it can be!! Amen???

And he also knows, if salvation is all anyone ever receives and doesnít really experience the life changing grace message completely,

And completely understands the freedom from the law, that Jesus victory on the cross made possible.

Then he knows, he can still torment them with it, night and day, and make there life a living hell on earth,

By telling everyone that their not worthy of it and condemning them over and over, with the law that it replaced.

And thus by, hoping that they will never totally experience the abundant life, that Jesus Grace holds the key to and that all born again believers are entitled too!

You see, most Christians are still straddling the fence when it comes to the word Grace,

And even though its been 2,000 yrs since its been introduced, so many still have a hard time accepting and understanding exactly what it did for them,

When it was introduced and what it still does today and will be doing into tomorrow, next week, next year and forever! Praise God!

Ever since Jesus and His life changing message of grace was introduced to us, it has been hard at work doing everything,

That we could never have done on our own, to bring us into a closer relationship with God,

Thereís no stopping it, if there ever was such a thing as perpetual motion, it would be Jesus Grace,

You see, it continually cleanses us from our sin like a waterfall,

Washing over us, making us worthy to receive everything good that God has for us and longs to give us!

I suppose thatís whatís so hard to comprehend about it, it almost sounds to good to be true!

I guess thatís why so many people have a hard time with it!

It exist and was created for reconciliation back to God, to bring us to a closer relationship, with Him.

When you think about it that way, its really not that hard to understand!

I want you to think about this scenario as an example of the Covenant of Jesus grace, replacing the Covenant of the law.

You know, when we abandon buildings, or mine shafts, roads, land fills etc.

and thereís a lot of that, in the name of progress, as we all know to well.

You see, we just accept the fact pure and simple, no questions asked, that those things are no more!

Nobody tries to keep them up, keep them painted, or keep them mowed, because its considered a waste of our time,

our local county government, would probably even have a tough time collecting property taxes on them.

Everyone realizes that those things were once considered very valuable, but now no one is in disagreement, that they are completely worthless.

In the spiritual realm," Grace",
is in unanimous agreement, everyone knows its fabulously flawless, there is no disagreement.

But in the natural realm, its anything but unanimous, no one is in unanimous agreement about it.

Oh you think it would be, God planed it all out, worked behind the scenes for generations to see it come to fruition,

He Sacrificed His own son for it.
G-r-a-c-e! Gods Righteousness At Christís Expense!

And so many, still after all this time, have a hard time accepting it as the pathway to receive,

all that He wants and longs to give to whosoever will come and receive it!

So many never receive all the God has for them and never will as long as their on the fence of I still think I can do it myself

What will it take, for mankind to see the light?

Thereís an old saying, what you donít know wont hurt you,

But in this case, what you donít know, keeps you from experiencing everything good, that God wants to give you.

And the thing is, He wants you to know it and experience it, so much so that the Apostle Paul,

After his conversion, spent the rest of his life preaching and writing about it
and trying to reach the world with the life changing message of Jesus Grace!
And why?

So every believer could experience the same thing and benefits, that Gods Own Son Jesus has available to Him.

Thatís has, not had. Gods Grace, thank goodness for us, is an ongoing gift,

He keeps on giving to all believers, showering us with His kindness!

Praise God, Thank You Jesus!!

Galatians 3:5-6 MSG.
ďAnswer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Donít these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.Ē

He wanted the whole world to know, no longer was about the law,

which meant strenuous moral striving, or right living lets call it, which was and still is and always will be, impossible to do

Jesus Grace, and we can not say thank you enough, made it about right believing,
It made it about Him!

Which allows Him to work things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, all because you trust him to do them in you.

Eph. 1:1-6 MSG.

1-2. I, Paul, am under Godís plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
3-6. How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! Heís the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earthís foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Even after reading that passage we just read, and were talking about Godís words here,

what pleasure he took in planning this
and He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Lavish defined, and keep in mind, God was the one to use this word as an adjective to describe His gift-giving,

which means; to be extravagant with something, to give or spend something generously or to excess

God has always been and will always be a plenteous, over the top, extravagant God.

And thatís the kind of Grace, God wants to pour into your life. (repeat)

And some would still, have you think Grace is nothing more than a license to sin,

Let me ask you something, has keeping the law ever kept you from sinning without a license?

Gal. 3:9-10 MSG.
9-10. So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faithóthis is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: "Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law."

Grace isnít about being sin conscious, its about being Jesus conscious,

Right believing, not right living, the more you focus on Jesus, the less you will focus on sin.

Jesus Grace, is always, has always and will always be, Greater than sin.

Sounds to good to be true, thatís what the devil would like for you to believe and he has been singing that song for 2000 plus yrs.

Saying to you repeatedly, that your not good enough, spewing condemnation everywhere like a broken record!

Before Jesus showed up on the scene, he was right, you werenít, no one was good enough to receive GodĎs goodness.

But Jesus victory on the cross, His finished work and thatís exactly what it was, finished once and for all time,

Changed all that forever, it paid the price in full and qualified, whosoever who would believe and thatís us church, Hallelujah!

Once and for all, it took the emphasis off of us forever and what we were capable of doing ourselves,

And put it squarely on Him and His access to the Great God Almighty

and TBS.(the bible says) we have what He has not what He once had, we have what He has,

Everything He enjoys, we can enjoy too, if we believe and choose to rely on what He did and continues to do for us, on a daily basis.

TBS. everyday He is on the job, working on our behalf!

Romans 8:33-35 NKJ
33. Who shall bring a charge against Gods elect? It is God who justifies.
34. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Its like He says and this is purely conjecture,

ďFather there goes one of my favorites....oh Father, I have such a wonderful relationship with them, I love them and they love me.

Oh Bless them Father, give them everything that I have, because they trust and have faith in Grace,

and what I can do for them, instead of what they can do for themselves!

Father, they are one of our beloved.
What do You say, We bless them coming and going, standing and sitting,

letís loadeth them daily with benefits, lets open the windows of heaven and pour them out a blessing that they canĎt even contain!Ē

Religion on the other hand, likes to make about what were capable of and that is, oh so limited to say the least,

thatís why He came, to eradicate that line of thinking and restore us back to Himself and rescue us from ourselves.

And make it all about a relationship, something far more intimate and personal than religion could ever be. Thank You Jesus!

For centuries, this has been a hot topic of debate in the church, its something that everyone should search out for their selves,
instead of relying on doctrinal knowledge, look to the word and you will be amazed!

The author of amazing grace, penned it correctly when he said, I once was blind, but now I see.

He wasnít just talking about Grace being a one time occurrence, but a lifetime of it!

Sure salvation stems from it, but so does every other spiritual blessing thatís been made available to us, that Jesus Grace supplies!

God wants you to be blessed, He gets No, I repeat ďNO GLORYĒ from you not having His best.

thatís why He blesses you even when you feel like you donít deserve it and you rack your brain,

trying to search for something that you did, to deserve His blessing and goodness,

but you keep coming up empty every time, its because your not worthy of it, but He gives it to you anyway!

Thatís His Grace and Unmerited Favor at work in your life, donít fight it, just accept it and say Thank You Jesus and receive it!

If you waited for Gods goodness and Blessings to be bestowed upon you for your goodness, worthiness and your abilities,

You would end up empty, with a big fat Zero and a lifetime of that same exact result.

God wants to bless us so much, He gets Great Pleasure from doing it and He is constantly looking for opportunities to bless us!

When He says, He wants us all and not just a select few, to experience the Abundant Life that He Promised!

Guess What? He Means It!!

But you say, ďQuit trying to make it sound so easyĒ and I say to that,

ďQuit trying to make what God has promised to you and that Jesus died and sacrificed His Life for you to have, so hard to receive!Ē

Heís not a respecter of persons, He gives everyone equal footing to receive His Grace, life changing message, that Jesus introduced to the world.

How so? Iím so Glad you asked!

Because He has extended equally, to everyone, yes everyone in the whole wide world, even the most avid atheist, a measure of faith.

And I donít know about you, but I serve the God of more than enough,

And when He says a measure, you can take it to the bank that it is more than enough to get the job done, whatever the task!

So much so TBS(the bible says) in Luke 17:6 MSG.

6. But the Master said, "You donít need more faith. There is no ímoreí or ílessí in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, íGo jump in the lake,í and it would do it.

If you are a believer, you need to realize you already have, you already possess what you need to receive Gods Blessings,

Whether you know it or not, you are well equipped with more than enough faith!

so much so, He says you only need to use a tiny amount of it, to make it happen!

He wants you to know it, thatís why the Apostle Paul, spent his life writing and preaching about it and ultimately gave his life defending it, so you could experience it!

All we have to do, all you have to do is, Just Believe!

Its not about our limited capabilities, its about His Limitless capabilities,

Its not about right living, its about right believing,

And if you cant believe it for yourself, then start believing it for your family, or for your unsaved friends, or for ministries reaching your community and the world.

1st Cor. 10:23-24 MSG.
23-24. Looking at it one way, you could say, "Anything goes. Because of Godís immense generosity and grace, we donít have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster." But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.

Stop talking about it and Start walking in all that God has promised you.....and realize as the promises unfold in your life,

You will be blessed so you can be a blessing to others and others will see and want what you have....

and they will become a blessing to others as well,

Thatís the way God planed it and we know what kind of plans He has for His Children.

Only the Best and Nothing Less, thatís just how much He loves us!!

Jerm 29:11 NIV
11. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Are you on the fence today, with one foot still on the law and one foot pointed towards grace?

Donít you think itís time to come down and step into the Grace that is waiting for you and has been extended to you.

You wonít be disappointed, the Grace that Jesus wants to give you, will set you free.

Wonít you receive it today?

Lets pray!