We are to receive God’s grace and to pass it on, but if we haven’t received we can not pass it on.
I think one of the Modern Church’s biggest weaknesses is their level of Grace. Grace plays a key role in our transformation. Grace, properly applied, has the power to transform lives. God uses his grace to transform us. If we are living the life that we are called to live, loving others according to Christ’s call, we will spread that grace to those around us. Let’s first look at the definition of Grace.
Grace; undeserved merit, unearned favor, a freely given gift, a by product of a life of love,
When grace is properly given [freely, unselfishly, lovingly] & properly accepted [thankfully gratefully, not demanding, not expecting, with true appreciation, & humility] it has the power to transform lives. God uses it to transform us. We in turn are charged as we receive and pass it on to those around us.
We cannot just do the same stuff [sins] over & over, and expect it to still be there for us. That abuse of grace takes away [has no] transforming power. This is addressed in Romans 6.
‘Sin’s Power Is Broken’
NLT Rom 6;1-18 1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. …6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. [8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. ]10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. 12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. 15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! [NIV 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? ] 16Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
While we were yet sinners;
MSG Rom 5;8 But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.[NIV yet sinners] 9 Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. 10 If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!
This is a good opportunity to ask “is my life expanding and deepening”. This naturally occurs as we seek God, as we fulfill our purpose. That’s discussed more fully in and earlier message “Bible Purposes”, but the bottom line is our purpose is to seeking God, submitting to his will, to his Word and to his Holy Spirit. No longer satisfied with making our best guess at what we should do, but tuning into him and listening for his guidance. We shouldn’t be asking What Would Jesus Do? Rather we need to ask God What should I do. But back to Grace.
What level of grace are we supposed to live at? The Bible calls us to Love & pray for our enemies, to forgive all,… If we follow the high calling of the love Chapter, we will raise up our grace level – way above our normal levels;
NLT 1 Cor 13;4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Grace loses its effectiveness, its transforming power, if the receiver doesn’t properly appreciate it.
What’s the difference between grace & irrational tolerance – [of abuse or sin]. What are are the limits to grace?
It is no longer grace when it is expected or forced – grace has to be freely given. It is not grace when we try to make people earn it. It is not grace when we feel free to repeat our error (the sin). When we think it is ok, to go on doing the same stuff/repeating the same errors, the same sins we rob the Grace of its transforming power.
Steps To live grace – [like Hanae], to better yield to God’s transforming power,
1. Concentrate on the needs of others. If we can turn off our selfish desires & really tune into the needs of others, we fill our souls, and find meaning for our lives. – He who loses his life will find it verse.
NLT Matt16;24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.
2. Trust God to take you thru your current trials, Not wondering if God can get me through this. We need to be like Paul.
NIV Phil 1;20-24 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain . 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
3. Tune into the Holy Spirit & obey/follow what he asks of us.
Especially where Grace is involved, our thoughts & rationalizations [tainted efforts] are not going to get us there. We need God’s help! We need to be seeking his will, listening for his voice, & applying his word – loving – Being; patient, kind, never jealous, boastful proud rude or irritable, never demanding our own way, or tracking wrongs, always rooting for justice, truth, & hope, never giving up, or losing faith.
NLT Act 15;11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” NLT Acts 20; 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
NLT Rom 5;20 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. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
NLT (Rom 12;18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
NLT 1 Cor 13;8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless. 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
With Grace “Practice makes Perfect well better”
We’ll need practice at this too. Our Grace level is not going to just jump from a 1 to a 10, but as we better seek God I think it will grow. As we learn to better apply the Word, to better follow his Holy Spirit, and to better yield to the will of God – then our lives will fill w/ grace.
MSG 2 Cor13;11 And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. 12 Greet one another with a holy embrace. 13 All the brothers and sisters here say hello. 14 The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. …
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.