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Grace To Run Our Race

John 1:16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (ESV)


The highest expression of God's love for mankind is grace:

  • Grace is us being given what we do not deserve

  • This is different from mercy, which means not getting what we actually do deserve

  • The Greek phrasing could be translated as "grace upon grace," or "grace in place of grace."

  • This implies that an unlimited amount is available


2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.


Grace is more than: A word - a doctrine - Used as catchy Cliche’


5485. charis: especially the divine influence upon the heart - (Strongs Concordance)


  • Grace is a substance - a tangible substance

  • It enables us IN EVERY WAY

  • It PROVIDES EVERYTHING WE NEED

  • It ENABLES US TO EXCEL in EVERY GOOD WORK


The Opposite of Grace:

  • Will power

  • Human effort

  • Human intelligence

  • Human strength


Charis (grace) is used of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues: - (Thayer)


Today: Grace to Run Our Race


Things that are impossible and difficult that cannot be done by men and women alone

  • but by God’s grace in and upon men and women

  • ALL THINGS CAN BE DONE

  • God blessed us with “His grace” so we can serve Him:


ILLUSTRATION: Crain (lift) - Drill - saw - car - planes (fly) - tow lift


PIC 1 - Forklift

PIC 2 - Drill

PIC 3 - Saw

PIC 4 - Freight Train


Serving God without grace is difficult:

  • We could say impossible

  • With Him ALL things are possible

  • Without Him - no things are possible or at best a few things


Things we do daily: deal with our flesh - deal with our emotions - deal with our bodies - deal with the rigours of everyday life


Jesus didn’t do life or ministry alone: (apart from his Father or without the Holy Spirit)


After 30 years on the earth Jesus is baptised:


Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptised, and when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heavens were opened,

Luke 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Luke 3:23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, (ESV)


Jesus spent 30 years mainly unseen - behind the scenes:

  • He tended to himself - and we could He had relationship with God and spent time with His heavenly father - He was unknown


It’s important for all of us to understand we can please God for who we are - not ONLY for what we do

  • Jesus was not yet in ministry - the Father said He was pleased with Him

  • One reason it is important to know this is: “we won’t be driven in ministry, but we will be led in ministry”.

  • Knowing God is pleased with us as sons and daughters who fellowship with Him, talk to Him, feed on His Word

  • It brings a contentment and confidence - we know He loves us and He is pleased with us

  • We won’t be driven to find that - to fill some void


STORY: I have heard stories of children wanting to gain their parents love by buying then things or doing things for them

  • Most parents love their children for who they are - their substance

  • Not for what they buy or do for them


WHY?

  • If we become so driven and intense that we need to do signs, wonders, and miracles - so God would be pleased with us

  • Where does it end? When do we do enough?

  • God loves us and is pleased with us - when we receive Him and when we yield to His fruit to be Christlike


BUT there is more:

  • When we get that right - there is power


Luke 4:14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity.

Luke 4:15 He was teaching in their synagogues, being praised by everyone.


  • No doubt God was pleased with this aspect of Jesus

  • But Jesus wasn’t doing anything to earn God’s love or praise

  • He was doing His mission out of obedience


Here is what Jesus said right after He healed someone:


John 5:16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (ESV)


  • He was in fellowship with His Father

  • Communicating and


John 8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own. But just as the Father taught me, I say these things. (ESV)


  • Jesus brought grace to earth

  • Grace is unmerited favour - it is God riches at Christ’s expense - and it is ALSO God’s ability that is IN US and ON US - that ENABLES and EMPOWERS us to do God’s will

  • Jesus walked in Grace - He Laboured in Grace - He used grace


Paul didn’t do life or ministry alone either:


1 Cor. 15:9 For I am the least of the Apostles, and am not fit to be called an Apostle—because I persecuted the Church of God.


We know Paul was a violent persecutor of the church:

  • SIDE THOUGHT - you never know what God has for someone that is like Paul

  • A Christian in those days most probably would have thought he was terrible and of the devil

  • God saw him different and had a plan for Paul - (NOTE: we should pray for evil people, ungodly politicians, and so on…because they can become powerful for the kingdom)


PAUL CHANGED IMMEDIATELY after he received Jesus as Lord:


In the New Testament grace means God's love in action towards men who merited the opposite of love. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. - (J. I. Packer)


Grace is not looking for good men whom it may approve, for it is not grace but mere justice to approve goodness. [Rather] it is looking for condemned, guilty, speechless and helpless men whom it may save, sanctify and glorify. - (C. I. Scofield)


Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off. - (Max Lucado)


Another way to express this:

  • A person who is really saved by Grace does not need to be pressured and told he must live right and serve His Saviour

  • The grace and new life within him tells him those things

  • He doesn’t regard it as a heavy burden or hard yoke - he surrenders himself to God (sprit, soul, and body) willingly and happily

  • The grace that saves our spirit will also supernaturally change our lives


I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. - (Anne Lamott)


1 Cor. 15:10 But what I am I am by the grace of God, and His grace bestowed upon me did not prove ineffectual. But I laboured more strenuously than all the rest—yet it was not I, but God’s grace working with me. (WYMTH)


Paul understood how and why He served His Lord and Saviour:

  • He served Him by grace and because it was God’s will

  • No other reason - not to impress God or man

  • But to obey God and minister to and serve man


Here are some highlights from 1 Cor 15:10:

  • Paul gave all the credit to God and God’s grace for who he became

  • He understood that God bestowed (heaped on) grace on him

  • Paul states that he used the grace - (he knew he couldn’t be fruitful spiritually without God’s grace)

  • He said he laboured more strenuously than all his peers - (Can any of us say that? I cannot)

  • He then says - YET IT WAS NOT I

  • BUT God’s grace WORKING WITH ME


OH how we all NEED God’s grace to do our mission:

  • That tangible substance

  • That heavenly matter that empowers

Grace is Made Available


One: God’s Word Makes Grace Available


Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (ESV)


Acts 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (ESV)


ILLUSTRATION: Any part of the good news (the gospel) will bring grace in to that realm or area

  • You must be born-again - (Nicodemus - transformation - behaviour modification)

  • He himself took my sins - He bore my sickness


Two: Humble Ourselves to God and His Word


Do not become self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency is Satan’s net where he catches men, like poor silly fish, and destroys them. Be not self-sufficient. The way to grow strong in Christ is to become weak in yourself. God pours no power into man’s heart till man’s power is all poured out. Live, then, daily, a life of dependence on the grace of God. - (Charles Spurgeon)


Otherwise grace is no more grace, since it is bestowed on us, not because we have done good works, but that we may be able to do them. -(Saint Augustine)


2 Cor. 3:5 not that of ourselves we are competent to decide anything by our own reasonings, but our competency comes from God.

2 Cor. 3:6 It is He also who has made us competent to serve Him in connexion with a new Covenant, which is not a written code but a Spirit; for the written code inflicts death, but the Spirit gives Life. (Weymouth)


John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (NKJV)


Three: When We Pray - (Looking at Scriptures to pray related to our MISSION)


James 5:7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. (ESV)


  • Our mission on earth - is to harvest the precious fruit of the earth

  • It isn’t about things - it’s about souls

  • He isn’t waiting for us to get a new car - then He will return


Zech. 10:1 ASK THE LORD FOR RAIN in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone. (NKJV)


Hos. 6:3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.


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