This is the first in a series on the grace of God and its various aspects that Pastor John gave at the end of 1995. Pastor John says that the Spirit has told him that you will know grace when you are gracious. When this was told to him all of a sudden Pastor John understood something in the scripture, that he would understand forgiveness when he is forgiving. He would understand mercy when he is merciful. When he really knows something and begins to understand with not just his head, but with his heart, it would become part of him and would be a demonstration of God’s graciousness.
I don’t know about you but I need more understanding of the grace of God.”
This graciousness is part of a new nature that you get to put on. It is part of that new man that is created for you. That if we’ll put off the old man and be renewed in the spirit of our mind we’ll put on the new man, which is created like God in true righteousness and holiness. The issue of righteousness and holiness is not so much the issue of what you don’t do, but it is what I become, the righteousness of God. That is the gift of God to me. It is a provision already made for me that I can move into.
The study of grace is a very important one. We are talking about the terms of your salvation. The foundation upon which you redeemed and given life in Jesus. How big of gift is that? Is that a gift that is given to me and then the rest of it I perform or is my salvation a total act of God’s graciousness? If it’s God’s gift and if it is of eternal duration how can I lose it, can I lose it? What about the other demonstrations of grace? The grace gifts of God. The impartation of grace in my personality and person. What about giving grace? These questions and more will be answered by Pastor John throughout this 6 part series on the Grace of God.
I want you to be ready for this because this can be one of the most exciting and life changing studies that you can make. It’s not going to be a lot of technical data, it’s going to be looking at God.”
We know by faith that Jesus died and his blood was shed for the full and complete payment of all our sins. Now as we confess our sins He is faithful, and just, to forgive our sins, that is mercy. But now grace comes in to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, this is the grace of God.
That love of God and that blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all sin. And instead of the penalty and the consciousness of sin I have the consciousness of righteousness. This is only the foundation of what grace is. Only that first foundation stone that God’s anger and wrath are limited, but his mercy is unto thousands.”
According to Pastor John many of us have come to a knowledge of the grace of God by experience, doctrinal teaching, and through the understanding of scripture, words, and their meaning. But the grace of God is a huge subject; it is much bigger than most of us are. It’s a subject that if we will just become teachable in, and open to learning more we will find that there are dimensions of God’s grace that most of us have not entered into. In part 2 in this series on the grace of God Pastor John will be covering some of those dimensions.
In the first part of this series we found that the balance of mercy and judgment is very heavily loaded on the side of mercy. God’s love or his mercy is to thousands, while judgment is to four or five generations, to those who hate him.
5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Exodus 20:5-6 NIV
Boxed in between the command is this great revelation of God that his wrath was extremely limited, but his mercy was unto thousands. The grace message is filled with words like his love, compassion, tender mercies, and loving kindness. As time went by the writers of scriptures became more and more amazed with this subject as they learned about it through experience.
Mercy and grace differ technically in that mercy is when God refrains from doing something that we deserve. Grace is when He gives us something we don’t deserve.”
God has not only mercifully withheld judgment and penalty from us through sin, but He has graciously given us of his life and of the treasures of heaven because He is a gracious God. Where mercy reveals God’s compassion and restraint, grace reveals his loving heart blessing us with his own treasures. Grace goes beyond restraint and reaches out to us with healing and restoration.
These next step of grace including giving grace, are extremely important. They are not foundational. There is a foundation that our wall and roof are built upon. You can’t build a wall or roof without a good foundation or it will fall, but the foundation isn’t enough. It’s enough to be saved. The gift of God’s grace is enough to get you into heaven, but it is not enough to enter fully into God, his presence, and into his fullness just having a foundation. We need to build on that foundation and so we need to understand other levels of God’s grace that are given to us.
Freely you have received, freely give.
Matthew 10:8 NKJV
This is part three in a series that Pastor John gave on the grace of God and its various aspects. Every time Pastor John gets involved in this message of God’s grace he gets very excited about the goodness of God and his wonderful provision for us. When we study a word like grace we need to allow the Holy Spirit to come and reveal to us his intention of what was the heart of God in giving us that word.
In part 2 in this series Pastor John discussed the giving of grace. Jesus told his disciples that freely they had received and freely they should give. In part 3 Pastor John will be picking up on that direction of giving grace. He will be discussing how do you make your grace grow, and how do you cause what God has given you to expand and become greater than it already is.
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18 NKJV
Pastor John says the only way we obey the first commandment to love each other is to forgive each other. Forgive each other up front or before anything happens. Forgive each other before we even know what we are going to forgive. It’s just like God, for God has forgiven you. Because He has forgiven you all the little things that irritate him, He accepts you how you are and this is what true love is.
True love is the ability to forgive enough to accept them just like they are. Forgiveness is part of loving.”
The grace of giving is the highest kind of grace because it opens the door to every other kind of ministry grace. Every other kind of grace comes out of the grace of giving. Pastor John says some people are selfish because they are afraid to give because they afraid they won’t receive anymore. They are afraid to share because they don’t think that theirs is enough for their needs for an extended period of time. This is one of the reasons why Jesus teaches us to pray for daily bread so that we will understand that God is in the daily business. You break the selfish spirit by doing something that is costly, by giving.
Most of us can’t walk in the love of God because we are afraid of it. We are afraid that I’ll just be a patsy, I’ll be pushed around, I won’t get my way, and things won’t work out. We are afraid to forgive because we are afraid that something will happen to us unless we hold this person off. So every one of these things are a new dimension of grace and they are different demonstrations of God’s grace. I want to enter into reigning grace where I reign in righteousness with Christ.”
In part 4 in this series on the grace of God Pastor John will be looking at some issues that the grace of God brings us. We need to remember that when we are talking about grace we are talking about one of those subjects that most Christians know something about and since they know something about it they usually don’t pursue it anymore. The grace of God is one of those unfathomable, endless studies that if you really learn more about grace you will find your life is totally transformed.
This has been the issue in my life as I’ve learned to grow in the grace of God as Peter told us to.”
Pastor John says that we need to understand that the peace of God is based upon our entering into the grace of God. If we don’t live in peace and have the peace of God ruling in our heart it’s probably because we are not founded in his grace. It’s never peace and grace; it is always grace and peace. There is the initial form of grace that we receive that is God’s graciousness to provide our salvation. It is the graciousness of God who because of his love extended mercy and grace unto us.
As Pastor John has gone through this series he has tried to establish for us the understanding of the initial grace that comes to us as the gifting of God. Then as we grow in grace we begin to demonstrate his graciousness through forgiving as God has forgiven us. In the last study he talked about reigning grace and how the grace of God reigns through righteousness. As we become victorious over sin through God’s graciousness we cause the grace of God to reign through our living unto the Lord as we begin to allow righteous things to come into our life.
In part 4 in this series there are a few issues of grace that Pastor John will be discussing including the grace of suffering, persecution, and the personality graces of Jesus that he has put in each and everyone of us.
My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12 NKJV
There is a whole lot of overburden of society and rejection that we must walk away from to be able to discover who we are as a gifting of God. Once we discover that, we then find services where we are servants as Paul said, minister according to the gift of God’s grace. All of us can do things through talent, but where things become alive and powerful is when they are grace.
I am going to ask you to pray with me so that this whole church can become a gracious church. Receiving grace, giving grace, living our graces out, increasing the grace of God so that there will be grace flowing at Grace Chapel.”
The grace of God series is one that Pastor John likes to give every year or so in the church because it does so much in us to know the extent of His grace. Through this series Pastor John has talked about grace being the motivation, the power of God that not only withheld God’s hand of judgment upon us for our sins, but also supplied his presence, the Holy Spirit, and brought to us the gift of justification and righteousness. This brought joy into our heart and brought peace to us. It is the grace of God that we live on and depend upon.
We have different gifts according to grace given to us. Our different giving of grace depends upon the grace that was given to us. It is not a matter of our choice; it’s the matter of the kind of grace God gave us.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in ourministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12 NKJV
These seven graces are different aspects of the personalities of Jesus. We are not the completeness of Jesus, but we have apportionment of Jesus’ own grace in our hearts and lives. This is wonderful to know this. This is why we are different from each other and our responses are different. It is a thing that God has done and it is wonderful to know that. So it is important for us to discover our gracing and identify it.
It almost sounds like God is pretty smart doesn’t it. That if we would just believe his word and obey him we would do much better in life. If we would find our grace and identify that particular gracing of God and then serve in that capacity until we get better and better and that grace can multiply.”
An immoral person loses the grace of God. The most treasured gift that you can have is the grace of God. Rather than being the recipient of grace you become the recipient of wrath if you are immoral. If you treasure immorality and there are roots of immorality in you, you are hindering God giving you grace.
Father in Jesus name we come to you now. We open our hearts to you that you would speak into us. Any of the word that comes to us, let it not be condemning, but let it bring godly conviction that we’ll seek your face. We would seek you until there is a full, complete delivery of the grace of God into our lives.”
This is the sixth and final message in a study that Pastor John gave near the end of 1995 on the issue of God’s grace. He has talked about the various levels of God’s grace and how the scripture commands that we should be enriched and let the grace of God multiply. We should move into the ever-expanding levels of the grace of God. All of these levels of grace that we have looked at with the concept of having the Holy Spirit quicken those to our lives and realize that we don’t grow by pulling on our bootstraps, taking growth pills, or by going to seminars; but we grow by putting our lives into a place receiving the grace of God.
In his final message in this series, Pastor John will be discussing the kinds of things that we need to enter into to cause the grace of God to flow and abound in us. In Romans 12 we find the gifts of gracings of God. These were the seven graces that flow from God’s presence to us. The word becomes profitable to us when we believe it. When we believe that God’s word is good and understand the heart of the Lord is not to condemn us we see that He came to bring us life. The way He brings life is by bringing his grace. We want to become stewards of God’s grace. We do this by giving love, forgiveness, our gifts, and ourselves. In Romans 12 we get into the attitudes that will cause grace to abound within us.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12 NKJV
This talks about not just knowing about, but also actually living in and walking out in an experiential way the will of God for your life. This happens by giving your own body to the Lord and letting your mind be renewed in the word so that you are transformed into being able to walk in the will of God.
The reason many people can’t walk in the will of God is because they have never given their body to the Lord. They have given their heart to the Lord, but never their body. If you haven’t given your body to the Lord it’s about time you do.”
Pastor John says that we will find that people who find their grace in life are the ones who are the happiest, the ones that enjoy their work and become very creative in their work because it’s a godly thing that they are ministering through their work. This is the same thing in a church. You are wiser if you find your grace and then use it in your employment.
When you can see good in things you become a very, very important person in the lives of those around you.”
Giving preference is something very important to Christian living. This is where you open doors. This is where you don’t take your rightful position, but encourage others. This is when you encourage the children and bless them. This is where you give up your seat or give preference. Why do this? Because this is where grace flows and this is what Jesus would do.
Father we come to you in Jesus’ name and we pray that these words that you have given that are so life giving will not just be life giving, but will be fountains of life in us. That we will not take them as orders of negative condemnation to us because we don’t meet up to them all, but we will take them as possibilities and we will take them with faith and begin to live them, walk in them, and to encourage ourselves in them. In Jesus name, amen.”