Faithlife Sermons

Understanding Grace

Grace is Greater  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Big Idea of the Series: No sin is so great, no bitterness so deep that God’s grace cannot transform the heart and rewrite the story. This 4-week series, influenced by the book Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman, explores what the Bible teaches about grace, developing a deep understanding of the life-changing power of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.
Grace is arguably the most important concept for you to understand and live by in the battle to be godly. Because it is so important, the enemy of our souls has created much confusion and controversy on this topic.
Grace is arguably the most important concept for you to understand and live by in the battle to be godly. Because it is so important, the enemy of our souls has created much confusion and controversy on this topic.
But if you can fight your way clear in understanding and applying God’s grace, you will experience a close relationship with God and consistent victory over sin
God’s grace permeated Paul’s thinking. One scholar writes, “Paul could not think of Christian truth and conduct apart from God’s grace”
Another writes, “The expression, the grace of God, may fairly be said to be the key word of Paul’s theology…. He cannot think of Christian salvation apart from the grace of God…”
The classic definition is the best: God’s grace is His unmerited favor. Grace means that God showered favor and blessing on those who did not in any way deserve or earn it. They deserved His judgment and wrath. But He showed them favor.
God’s grace gets distorted from two sides:
First, grace runs counter to the way the world works, so it’s difficult for us to grasp it. The world works on a merit system. (Ex: school = good grades, sports = awards & trophies, good grades = good college, business world = promotions & raises)
All of the world’s religions, except for biblical Christianity work on the merit system. Even the Roman Catholic church and Orthodox church teach a system of merit-salvation, where you have to add works to what Christ did on the cross in order to get to Heaven.
Secondly, God’s grace gets distorted from the other side, where it is used as a license to continue to sin. “I live under grace, not the law!”
Jude 4 NIV
4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Our text corrects both of these serious misconceptions of God’s grace.
God’s grace first saves and then trains His people for godliness and good deeds.
Titus 2:11–14 NIV
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.
God’s grace first saves and then trains His people for godliness and good deeds.
Titus 2:1–10 NIV
1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. 6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. 9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
The word “for” links these verses with Titus 2:1-10

1. Grace Provides Salvation to All People

Titus 2:11 NIV
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
Jesus is the embodiment of God’s grace
John 1:14 NIV
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Grace was missing in the OT, for no one was saved in the OT apart from Grace
John 1:17 NIV
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
God rightly and justly could have sent His son to judge and condemn the world because of what they had done. How they disobeyed the Law!
John 3:17 NIV
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Zechariah’s song
Luke 1:79 NIV
79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78–79 NIV
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Zechariah refers to Christ as the “rising sun” who will “come down to us” from heaven. (“to appear”) on those “living in darkness”. Basically He is the light of the grace of God’s salvation (not judgement) shining on a sin darkened world!
Titus 2:11 NIV
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
“Salvation to all people” does not mean that “everyone” will be saved. “Everyone” can be saved
The Bible is uniformly clear that there are two separate, final destinations for all people. Those who by God’s grace believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will go to heaven. Those who do not believe in Christ will pay the penalty of eternal separation from God in hell.
But the good news of God’s grace is that no sinner is beyond the reach of God’s grace. The apostle Paul was a persecutor of the church.
1 Timothy 1:13–15 NIV
13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 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.
But, there is one thing that hinders us from experiencing the Grace of God’s salvation - Our natural tendency towards “self righteousness”.
You don’t need salvation unless you’re lost and you know that you’re lost. You think you’re doing just fine on your own and that you’re going to make it with just a little more effort of your own.
Luke 5:32 NIV
32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Suppose that you were standing in a long line at the bank, waiting to deposit your paycheck. Suddenly, I grab you by the arm, jerk you out of line, and forcibly drag you out of the building. You probably wouldn’t be very happy with me. You’d say, “What do you think you’re doing? You hurt my arm, you tore my shirt, you made me lose my place in line, and you made me look like a fool in front of everyone in the bank!”
But, one simple fact would change your attitude to one of complete gratitude for the rest of your life: the bank had just been taken over by terrorists that threatened to kill everyone inside. In the first scenario, you didn’t yet know the danger that you were in. In the second scenario, you had become aware of the danger and you knew that you were doomed unless someone rescued you.
Before you can appreciate God’s grace, you need to know that you are justly under His wrath and condemnation. You are headed for eternal judgment unless someone intervenes.
To use Spurgeon’s phrase, you know that the rope is around your neck. God’s grace cuts the rope, even though you are guilty as charged and deserve to die.

2. Grace Teaches us to Live Godly Lives

Titus 2:12 NIV
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,
Titus 2:13 NIV
13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
The ancient Greek word for teaching has in mind what a parent does for a child. It speaks of the entire training process: teaching, encouragement, correction, and discipline. Grace is a teacher in this sense.
Grace does not mean, “take it easy and live however you want.” Rather, grace trains, disciplines, and instructs us in godly living.
When you experience God’s unmerited favor in Jesus Christ, it motivates you to want to please Him in everything that you do.
When you experience God’s unmerited favor in Jesus Christ, it motivates you to want to please Him in everything that you do. As you read God’s Word, you begin to realize that there is much in your life that displeases the Lord, who gave Himself on the cross to save you from God’s judgment. So, you begin walking on the path that Jesus described as denying yourself daily, taking up your cross, and following Him
As you read God’s Word, you begin to realize that there is much in your life that displeases the Lord, who gave Himself on the cross to save you from God’s judgment. So, you begin walking on the path that Jesus described as denying yourself daily, taking up your cross, and following Him
Luke 9:23 NIV
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
“No to ungodliness” - It obviously refers to the person who is openly immoral or evil, but it also includes the outwardly nice person who simply has no place for God in his life.
“No … worldly desires” - This refers to desires that are characteristic of this world system that is opposed to God. John describes them as “the lust of the flesh,” “the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” ().
It obviously refers to the person who is openly immoral or evil, but it also includes the outwardly nice person who simply has no place for God in his life.
“Live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives” - In the midst of this present evil age, we are to live sensible, righteous, godly lives, so that those in the world will be drawn to our Savior.
Many commentators have pointed out that sensibly refers to how you are to control yourself; righteously has reference to your relationships with others; and, godly refers to your relationship toward God.
n the midst of this present evil age, we are to live sensible, righteous, godly lives, so that those in the world will be drawn to our Savior. Many commentators have pointed out that sensibly refers to how you are to control yourself; righteously has reference to your relationships with others; and, godly refers to your relationship toward God.
This refers to desires that are characteristic of this world system that is opposed to God. John describes them as “the lust of the flesh,” “the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” ().
“Thus you see that grace has its own disciples. Are you a disciple of the grace of God? Did you ever come and submit yourself to it?” Charles Spurgeon
“Salvation is not only a change in position (set free from the slavery of sin), but it is also a change in attitude, appetite, ambition, and action.” The Bible Exposition Commentary by: Warren Wiersbe
Titus 2:14 NIV
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.
Tuituyas

3. Grace Rewards Us

Hebrews
Hebrews 4:16 NIV
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Titus 2:13 NIV
13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
God’s grace instructs us to look “for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
Christ’s first appearing was in grace, bringing salvation. During His first coming, His glory was mostly veiled.
Christ’s first appearing was in grace, bringing salvation. During His first coming, His glory was mostly veiled. But His second appearing will be in glory, bringing salvation to His people, but terrifying judgment to those who have not believed in Him. His second coming is a “blessed hope” for those who know Him, because then we will fully experience all of the blessings of His salvation.
But His second appearing will be in glory, bringing salvation to His people, but terrifying judgment to those who have not believed in Him.
If your focus is set on the hope of Christ’s return, you will purify your life from every known sin
1 John 3:2–3 NIV
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
If your focus is set on the hope of Christ’s return, you will purify your life from every known sin
During his time in the White House, President Carter did something that no other President has done: on several occasions, he stayed in the homes of common Americans. I don’t know how he picked them, but he wanted to convey that he was in tune with the needs of average Americans.
If you got a call this week from the White House, announcing that the President would like to stay in your home I predict that you would do some housecleaning! Your home would sparkle because you knew that the President was coming.
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Titus 2:14 NKJV
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Hebrews 4:16 NIV
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

To redeem is to release at a price, or to buy back. This was a term used for slaves who were purchased out of slavery. Their freedom was bought at a price.

But God never quits halfway. He redeems us for a purpose, and this is to purify for himself a people that are his very own.

Hebrews 12:15 NIV
15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
“Zealous” is a word that Paul used to describe his fanatical zeal for Judaism prior to his conversion ().
Galatians 1:14 NIV
14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
It was also used to describe the fanatical Jewish sect that was devoted to ridding Israel of Roman domination. The Zealots were totally devoted to their cause, even to the point of risking their own lives to achieve their goals. You would not call them lukewarm!
Grace is something that we can’t afford to miss or misunderstand! Please join us for the remainder of this series where we’ll learn that...
Grace is something that we can’t afford to miss or misunderstand! Please join us for the remainder of this series where we’ll learn that...
Grace is greater than your hurts
Grace is greater than your mistakes
Grace is greater than your circumstances
Hebrews
Hebrews 12:15 NIV
15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
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