Amazing Grace! by Rev. Shine P. Thomas
Have you ever thought of God’s grace to you?
What is your response to God’s Grace?
Preacher D. L. Moody set aside a day to study the subject of God’s grace. Even on the third day Moody had not finished his study. By the late afternoon of the third day, Moody was so filled with this subject that he had to go out on the street and talk to somebody about it. Stopping a complete stranger, Moody said, “My friend, do you know anything about grace?” Surprised at the question, the man replied, “Grace who. I do not know where Grace went?” Moody then spoke to him the grace of God that brings salvation.
Well, we have all experienced grace at some point in our life.
Perhaps a policeman stopped you for using your mobile while driving and just giving you a warning when you deserved a ticket. Perhaps a time when you said hurting words to a friend or spouse and they forgave you. Each one of us, at certain times, experiences grace. But God’s grace is something much, much beyond human understanding.
To know God’s grace, we need to know the difference between God’s mercy and grace.
In God’s mercy he does not give us what we deserve. By His grace he gives us what we do not deserve. Grace is unearned, undeserved, love, favour and kindness to us.
To understand the grace of God, I am going to show you the change God’s grace brought upon Apostle Paul. We will see his life before grace and life in grace.
Ephesians 2 is an example of what life was before grace with every one of us.
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
That is life before grace. All of us were there before we trusted Jesus Christ as our saviour.
Sin reaches into a person’s life to many different degrees.
What specifically was Paul the Apostle’s life before he received Grace?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
Look at his man. He had one goal – Eradicate the Christian faith, blaspheme the name of Jesus, eradicate the church. Usually you think about Apostle Paul you think about a godly man. This is Apostle Paul before grace.
How did such a hardcore criminal against God’s people change?
1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
We know the story: Saul is blind for 3 days and did not eat or drink anything. God sent Ananias to Saul and prayed for him.
18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.
As a result of this Saul found Jesus as the saviour and everything in his life changed.
Paul did not have anything to do with his salvation. He did not work for it. God’s grace came to him, broke his will, his heart, his ungodly godliness and saved him.
1. God’s grace brings salvation
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
Grace is all about forgiving us of sins, rescuing us from the life of sin, making us a new person, giving us a new future and giving us eternal life. John 3:16 is the grace of God, paying for your sin. This is what happened to Apostle Paul.
This murderer became a missionary.
This horrible man became a preacher. That is what God can do in his grace for you, change you for eternity. God’s grace can change you.
Many of you are thinking about your past and thinking how can I be forgiven? The grace of God takes you totally out of your past and makes you into a new person.
Some of you may have not received this grace.
You are asking: Is there any hope?
The truth is yes, there is hope. I want to say this to you. Many of you are living in this type of life now. You have not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. You are living life the way you want and violated the law of God. God’s grace can transform you inside out. Accept Jesus as your Lord and saviour, you will be transformed by the grace of God.
After Apostle Paul is in grace, the very nature, actions, and attitude of Paul the Apostle changed. His life was totally transformed.
2. God’s grace changes our attitude
Now watch the difference in attitude that Paul had after he received grace.
a. Attitude of gratitude
Grace brings gratitude
1 Timothy 1:12
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.
The apostle could never thank God enough, that God took a murderer and destroyer and transformed him the most outstanding, the most vocal person in his age about the very Jesus whom he tried to destroy. That is the work of grace. He was always thankful to God.
The epistles he wrote always started with: Grace, peace and mercy to you. It was the grace of God that took this man and transformed him. So he was thankful beyond all measure.
Are you thankful for the grace of God shown to you? When was the last time you thanked God for what he has done in your life?
Thank God for forgiving your sins? Thank God for the second, third, fourth, 10th chances God has given in your life?
What did the grace of God do to Paul?
Grace strengthened Paul, considered him trustworthy/faithful, and appointed him to God’s service for which he was thankful to God.
b. Attitude of humility
God hates price but grace brings Humility. When Paul received the salvation grace, it made him humble.
1 Timothy 1:15
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
Paul is putting himself at the bottom of the list of the millions and millions of saved people by God’s grace. See the visible humility in Paul’s life.
c. Attitude of compassion
Grace gives us a heart of compassion.
14 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.
Paul wanted his fellow Jews to know the Lord Jesus Christ. When grace comes you want others to have what you have, you want them to know what you know, Jesus Christ.
Do you have a heart of compassion for people, love for people that are unsaved? Are you serving God where you are?
Not talking about preaching, or signing. How are you serving God in the community, work place, and neighbourhood?
People are concerned of only 3 people – Me, myself, and I. No, in some way we need to be serving God. We should all see ourselves as servants. Are you burdened for people around you?
If you look around you will find the Rescue and Care Mission. That is because of the compassion. We have adopted churches in North Karnataka and supporting 1 missionary outside Bangalore. Then reason we have this mission is because it is our responsibly to see that the gospel reaches every place in the world.
3. God’s grace changes our lives
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
a. Holy Living
God’s grace in scripture tells us what to do and what not to do. God’s grace teaches us to say no to sin. When you look at the grace of God, you should be so overwhelmed by what God has done for you that it should be your resolve to say No to ungodliness and worldly passions.
If you do not know what it is the Bible is clear about them and God says, “No” to us about engaging in them.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
When we see the grace that has been displayed on us, we do not need a reminder, we ourselves say no to ungodliness and worldly passions.
4. God’s grace gives us a blessed hope
Reward of grace– Blessed Hope.
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It 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.
a. Eternal Life
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.
b. A home in heaven
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
c. Saved from the wrath of God
3 Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
1 Thessalonians 1:10
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, (That is what we are doing today, having received grace we are waiting for Jesus Christ to come.) even Jesus, (look at what Jesus will do) which delivered us from the wrath to come.
What is your response to the grace of God?
If you are in the Lord and if your life is far from grace, God can change you right now. God is willing to transform, refresh, and renew you this morning. Trust the grace of God today.