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The Reality of Grace

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30 Days of Grace  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:42
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We are continuing our ‘Journey of Grace’ this morning and you may remember that last week we briefly discussed ‘The Hope of Grace’.
For those able to stand, let us stand together for the reading of God’s word.
Ephesians 2:1–10 CEB
At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God. You used to live like people of this world. You followed the rule of a destructive spiritual power. This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience. At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else. However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus. You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.
Let’s Pray
Last week, during our time together, I shared how the English language is limited in its ability to identify a single word that matches the sense/meaning of the Hebrew word ‘hesed’ (the noun often interpreted as ‘Grace’). If we are wanting to even begin trying to understand this word, according to scholars, we have to use a compilation of words like ‘grace, mercy, compassion, steadfast love, etc. In fact, here is the definition I shared last week for Hesed

“Ḥesed is the disposition of one person toward another that surpasses ordinary kindness and friendship; it is the inclination of the heart to express “amazing grace” to the one who is loved” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch

This morning we could go into greater detail of how the word ‘hesed’ appears 246 times in 239 verses in the O.T.
We could go into greater detail of how the word often used in the N.T. for ‘grace’ appears 154 times in 146 verses. The N.T. word we are referring to is the Greek word ‘Charis’

“Charis is most often used to refer to some form of heavenly favor shown to the human race…to indicate the heavenly grace from God that incorporates people into the community of the redeemed and empowers them. Dictionary of the Later N.T. and its Developments

We concluded our time doing two things. First, reflecting and answering for ourselves this question:

How will I live out ‘the hope of grace’ this week?

And the second was spending some time extending grace and blessing to one another.

Stories from the Street: How did you live out ‘the hope of grace’?

Does anyone have a brief story they would like to share about how you lived out ‘the hope of grace’?

What happens when hope becomes reality?

Meaning, what happens when we come ‘face-to-face’ with the reality of the grace we hope for? The grace other’s hope and long for?
What images or stories from the Bible come to mind when you think of ‘Grace in Action’? God/Jesus showing unmerited favor towards a person? God/Jesus treating someone better than they deserve?
Ask for people to share a reference to an image/story from the Bible
Here are just a few that come to mind:
Jonah (Jonah Ch. 4 we find Jonah getting angry because of God’s compassion)
The woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8)
The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15)
The thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43)
Ephesians 2:1 CEB
At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God.
Ephesians 2:3 CEB
At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else.
Ephesians 2:8–10 CEB
You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.
In the Grip of Grace 4: Godless Judging

You know what disturbs me most about Jeffrey Dahmer?

What disturbs me most are not his acts, though they are disgusting. Dahmer was convicted of seventeen murders. Eleven corpses were found in his apartment. He cut off arms. He ate body parts. My thesaurus has 204 synonyms for vile, but each falls short of describing a man who kept skulls in his refrigerator and hoarded a human heart. He redefined the boundary for brutality. The Milwaukee monster dangled from the lowest rung of human conduct and then dropped. But that’s not what troubles me most.

Can I tell you what troubles me most about Jeffrey Dahmer? Not his trial, as disturbing as it was, with all those pictures of him sitting serenely in court, face frozen, motionless. No sign of remorse, no hint of regret. Remember his steely eyes and impassive face? But I don’t speak of him because of his trial. There is another reason. Can I tell you what really troubles me about Jeffrey Dahmer?

Not his punishment, though life without parole is hardly an exchange for his actions. How many years would satisfy justice? A lifetime in jail for every life he took? But that’s another matter, and that’s not what troubles me most about Jeffrey Dahmer. May I tell you what does?

His conversion.

When hope becomes reality we would be wise to take a look in the mirror.

The same Grace we so desperately need and cling to for our own life, is the same Grace available to all who would respond and receive.

Grace is real and without grace we cease to be who we are today (regardless of our present position in matters of faith, love and life).
We can talk all we want about how people need Jesus, how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and even point out the mistakes being made by everyone else all the while forgetting that we ourselves are the recipients of immeasurable grace.
In order for us to be ‘a place of grace’, we need to be willing to embrace the reality of grace in the midst of the messiness of life.
As we close, it is important that we remember that 3 weeks from today we will be ending our revival services. We need a revival! We each need a spiritual renewal! But we are gravely mistaken if we think we can simply be ‘passive’ in our attendance and involvement.
We need to be praying for revival and it needs to begin with a personal plea.
Finally, we need to each wrestle with the reality of grace.

How will I respond to the reality of grace this week?

Reflection: How will I respond to the reality of God’s grace present in my life and in the world?

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