Given, Not Earned - Week 2
Last week we started a series called Given, Not Earned which focusses on God’s grace.
We established that God’s grace does 4 things:
It saves us
God’s grace begins by being the very thing that leads to our salvation through the faith we have in Jesus.
It justifies us
In other words, it redeems us from the payment of death caused by sin.
It sanctifies us
It sets us apart and makes us holy.
It empowers us.
It empowers us to strive where our weaknesses fail.
So if HIS grace does all of these things it raises the question, what are we supposed to do with this? What des it look like to live a life that is empowered by God’s grace. That is what we are going to talk about today.
Section 1: Empowered to act
When you think of being empowered by God, what comes to mind?
I usually think of something like this.
If you don’t know the movie, it is Bruce Almighty. In the movie, Bruce is given God’s power and spends the majority of the time doing stuff like this. Or he uses it for his own personal gain. He starts acting the way he thinks people want God to act. He answers yes to every prayer and gives people what they ask for without taking into account that oftentimes people have no clue what they want.
But the larger point is that power is meant to lead to action. You do not get power and sit stagnant. No power is meant to be put into action.
In faith action is seen in how we live our lives. How we interact with others the way we love others. How many of you find it hard to love everybody? (Even people you don’t like)
I know I do. It’s not meant to be easy.
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Be strong is grace. Timothy is a young pastor who is leading his church and is constantly being looked down upon because of his youth. People treat him as if he knows less. Paul is constantly reminding him that his strength and power comes from Jesus. The grace that is in Jesus makes him strong enough to endure and to grow so that he can lead others to do the same.
This brings us to point #2
Section 2: Grace empowers us to teach
I don’t know about you, but when I think about teaching, I think of someone standing in front of a classroom or someone up here like me just telling me something over and over in the hope that I get it. But teaching is so much more than that.
Jesus taught by doing what he taught.
There is a line in Moneyball, where billy Bean, the GM is talking to David Justice, a player and Justice tells Billy, “I have never seen a GM talk to the players like that” and Billy responds by saying, “you have never met a player was a GM.” Basically, I know what it is like to be you in the clubhouse struggling, not knowing whether you are going to get traded or if you are going to keep losing.
The best teachers are the ones who live it out. Jesus would stand up in crowds and teach after he walked with people and performed miracles and loved.
God’s grace gives us the ability to do just that.
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. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
The salvation through God’s grace teaches us so that we can teach others.
At the beginning of the year I talked about this idea of remaining rooted in Christ. What does it mean to stay rooted in him? This idea of discipleship and how when we remain rooted in christ it should lead to us bringing others into that space to remain rooted in him.
Discipleship is about having a one-up and one-down. Through God’s grace we are given this power by means of the Holy Spirit to learn what is right with God and teach others what is right with God.
We are empowered to go and do and act so that we can teach others.
And we teach pthers by serving.
Section 3: Empowered to serve
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
This is my favorite passage in the Bible. Oftentimes we use it as a guide post to talk about different gifts and look at how we are all wired to play our role in church. But I love it because it is a reminder of what we are called here to do regardless of what we are gifted in.
It starts off by telling us to sacrifice our whole being. To look at the things of this world that we think define us and put it all behind us so that we can live lives that are fully giving to God. From there we are told that no matter what we are gifted in by the grace that God has for us, we are called to serve.
A few weeks ago when you all took your spiritual gifts tests they were not for you to have more imformation and thats it. They were to help guide you in where you are called to serve.
God’s grace empowers us by giving us the ability to serve God. It sounds so backgrounds, but by the power we gain, we are to humble ourselves as Jesus did by taking on the form of a servant and living a life that is constantly in awe of who God is.
So we are called to live lives that are empowered by God’s grace. We are called to act, teach, and serve. And as we do that, let us not act in the way of the movie clip tp where we take that power and try to do something pointless and meaningless. Becuase I am telling you right now, you will fail. Rather let us take that power and live lives that are humble in service. Lives that teach others what it means to have God’s love and God’s grace. Loves that act when action is needed. That is what it means to live empowered by God’s grace.