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God's Grace-Part II

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I find the old saying, “seeing is believing,” a bit of a lie. There are plenty of people who would say I don’t believe in the Bible because well I have never seen a miracle or I would have to see Jesus or I need to see God to believe in Him. If He were real He would show me a sign. Those same people would say oh but aliens they are real there has to be something out there. People believe what they want to believe whether they see or not.
I have some news for you though, even if God were to walk with people today, and talk to them today and if Jesus were to talk to you today and tell you point blank what to do you might still not listen to Him. You would still disobey, I know you would because we all do. We don’t need to see God to believe He exists and we don’t need to see Jesus to know He is God and we don’t need to

God Demonstrates Grace to a Disobedient People

We have found that God’s character never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s character being unchangeable means He has always been a God of Grace. This has been demonstrated by God through out all of history. God was gracious toward Adam and Eve even after they sinned and deserved to be whipped off the face of the earth. He was gracious with mankind even though He flooded the earth He delivered Noah from the flood. We saw last week how God was gracious with the nation of Israel even though they didn’t deserve to be delivered from the nation of Egypt but because God had made a promise with Himself He delivered them from bondage and then put up with them in the wilderness until God brought about His promise which was to bring a Savior to the nation who is Christ Jesus.

By Grace He Sent a Message

What is this message, the message is one that brings eternal life and it is a message that involves believing more then seeing. Jesus’ teachings were hard for people to listen to and to follow and only a few understood what Jesus was offering them.
Look at what Peter says in John’s gospel:
John 6:66–69 NASB95
66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”
His disciples were finding it hared to follow Jesus, because of His teachings concerning the I am statements and that He and the Father are One. These were difficult for them to believe, so they turned and walked away from Him. Jesus then turns to the twelve.
After Jesus’ death we find one who had an issue with believing and trusting that Jesus had risen from the dead. Here is how he finally believed int he message God provided.
John 20:24-29:
John 20:24–29 NASB95
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
By God’s grace God has sent us the message of Salvation, the message of eternal life. This message took on flesh and walked among the people and the people still refused to believe. This message was spelled out for them in Scripture too and they still refused to believe.
Hebrews 1:1–2 NASB95
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
Still by God’s Grace Jesus was Rejected.

By Grace He was Rejected

Grace is a characteristic of God that I believe we take just as lightly as we do His mercy and His Wrath. This is indicative of a sinful humanity and we have our ancestors to thank for this. Adam and Eve. In their innocents they took God’s wrath lightly. God told Adam that if he eats of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that he would surly die. Maybe it was the fact that Adam didn’t see or experience God’s wrath and that is why he disobeyed, maybe he just trusted so much in God’s goodness that he disobeyed or maybe he had no idea what death was and he didn’t know the severity of his disobedience. Either way Adam’s sin, was not eating the fruit, it was that he didn’t obey God. Being disobedient is rejecting God’s truth and falling for the lie of the world. When our children don’t listen to us, they are rejecting us and rejecting what we ask, because they think they know better. Some children obey out of fear of the wrath of their parents. Some children obey out of fear because they know the wrath they can incur but they would rather lean on the grace instead. Adam and Eve, didn’t see the wrath but when they did see the wrath they also felt the grace that comes from a God who is compassionate and merciful.
Rejecting God comes with consequence, enduring His wrath, but even in rejecting God, His character is so Holy, righteous and Pure that He will still bestow grace, unimaginable grace on a people who reject Him.
This is not the first time God has been rejected. God provides truth and the means of life and people disobey what He tells them. Each time people disobey God it is rejecting God and His truth. Adam and Eve did this. This is he equivalent of reading the Word of God and reading what He asks of you and then walking away and ignoring it.
James 1:21–24 NASB95
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
This is the purpose of God’s Word. The Scripture is an unfolding of God’s gracious plan to bring about glory to Himself by Saving mankind from sin through the blood of His Son, who is God who has died for all mankind. He was promised in the Scripture from Genesis 3:15 and the unfolding of this plan continued until Jesus was born in the flesh and walked the earth. Those who knew what the Scripture taught refused to believe the Scripture pointed to Jesus. The refused to see that what Jesus was teaching was true because what Jesus taught exalted God and God alone. The religious leaders of the day thought they were exalting God but in reality they were exalting themselves. What became the benchmark for righteousness was what they taught and it was all external. Jesus taught that it had everything to do with the heart, and you will be judged by your heart and by what you believe. These people judged Jesus and even though they could find nothing in God’s law to put Him to death they lied, bringing the law to put Him to death. There rejection of Jesus was all by God’s grace so they and we could be saved from the bondage that holds us to that rejection, the bondage of sin.
Scripture points to Jesus. When John the baptist was in prison he sent his own disciples to ask Jesus if he was the expected One.
Luke writes this;
Luke 7:19–22 NASB95
19 Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” 20 When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’ ” 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. 22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
The blind receiving sight is a quote from Isaiah 35:5
Isaiah 35:5 NASB95
5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
The gospel being preached is from Isaiah 61:1
Isaiah 61:1 NASB95
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;
These are Scripture they would have heard and would have been taught and they would have been all the signs they needed to believe, this is all Jesus wanted the disciples of John to say to him. The proof is there. Those who called for Jesus’ crucifixion ignored the truth. They ignored what they read every week in the Synagogues. Instead they called for the death of the righteous and Holy God. By their own desire for power and to further their own lives, they took the life of the One who gives life.
Don’t get me wrong this was always God’s plan and they should have known this.
Isaiah 53 is the most powerful text there that points to this moment.
Isaiah 53 NASB95
1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 10 But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

By Grace There is Faith

If Jesus had died and been buried then we would have no comfort at all. He would only be a martyr, a zealot or a crazy man. No he was also raised from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:12–19 NASB95
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
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