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Got and Eye on Grace

Grace and Power  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:10
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“When is the last time you saw grace?”
I want you to think, when did you last see grace?
Not Grace Kelly or Nancy Grace.
When is the last time you saw God’s grace?
People talk about grace. People talk about being thankful for grace. You hear me talking about saved by grace.
But, when do you hear about someone seeing grace?
Can you recall the last time someone told you they saw grace? Yet, as we read our Bible’s we note that indeed people see grace!
Seeing grace is the big thing in our passage. It’s important to Paul as he meets with Jerusalem church leaders.
We’ll note in our first six verses how intense and important is the issue of Gentile circumcision. Paul even goes so far as to call people “false brothers” (v.4). They were attempting to force the issue of circumcision on Titus thus making him a Jew.
Intense and important, Paul stood his ground because as our text notes:
Galatians 2:5 NASB95PARA
But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
We will see Paul standing his ground, but there is more than simply the matter of circumcision. As we’ll see, the Jerusalems leaders saw grace. For Paul, it is seeing grace that wins the day. He put’s it this way:
Galatians 2:7 NASB95PARA
But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised
and
Galatians 2:9 NASB95PARA
and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
The only thing was giving Paul “the right hand of fellowship.”
Clearly seeing grace is important. Seeing grace helps us live a gospel-centered life. In order for you and I to navigate this difficult world, we need to see grace.
Seeing grace impacts how we spend our time, where we invest our money, how we pray, what church we join, and so much more. Seeing grace is all so important a skill for all Jesus followers.
How might you rate your ability to spot grace?
Would you know grace upon seeing it? Can you pick it out in a crowd? Would you know it if you saw it in small group, in your living room, or when out shopping?
What is it we need in order to have an eye out for grace?
TRANS - Let’s read our passage and then explore it to see what God is bringing to us today.
Galatians 2:1–10 NASB95PARA
Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.
TRANS - As we study this passage, let’s consider two areas where keeping an eye out for grace is all so important.
First let’s look at how important seeing grace is to getting the gospel to others.

Grace in Spreading the Gospel

Our first area were we can see grace is in the area of gospel advance. You know that you are seeing grace when the gospel moves in on lives of other people.
We can be sure it is grace when we see people sharing the gospel and people coming to follow Jesus. We know that it is grace when a convicted sinner trusts Jesus to wipe away their sin.
Gospel advance was what the Jerusalem leaders saw in Paul; they noted the fruit of Paul’s labor. They noted Paul’s work was productive in the same way as Peter’s:
Galatians 2:7 NASB95PARA
But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised
But, this is not about Paul or Peter, but God. God is the one responsible for the advancing gospel. Paul put’s it this way:
Galatians 2:8 NASB95PARA
(for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),
When it comes to sharing faith, we plant and water, but God brings the growth:
1 Corinthians 3:6 NASB95PARA
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
We share our story, talk about Jesus, and invite others to know the Lord. But, God causes the gospel to advance in the hearts of people.
Paul went to Jerusalem to “submitted to them” one Greek word anethemen, that is to say to declare, communicate, advocate, propound. As we noted last week, our testimony is as good as it gets. Paul shares about his life and brings along Titus. Paul and Titus are “living proof” of the power of God; they prove what Paul is setting before them.
Titus’s name might be omitted from Acts, but here Paul has good reason to discuss Titus. He was not a Jew, but was a follower of Jesus. Titus’s testimony proves God is not interested in turning people back to the Law, but is interested in people seeing grace.
ILL - I really liked old Barney. I don’t know his exact age, but he was in his 80’s. His sons were Christians, in fact one was a preacher. But Barney, he was still a Jew.
People began to show Barney grace; even his own offspring were living proof of God’s grace. I don’t know Barney’s conversion story, but I do recall when, in his 80’s, he was baptized. See, Barney had the Law, but he saw in others the powerful example of grace and was able to leave a lifetime of cultic practices to follow Jesus.
Maybe you know a Barney story. Perhaps you know of somebody who came to believe because they saw in others something that caused them to wonder, to wonder is what they believe really true?
TRANS - So, when we think about it, where God is present, we will see grace as people seek to share Jesus and as people trust in Jesus.
Now let’s think about this from a slightly different perspective. Behind the advancing gospel are people like you and I doing a great work to bring Jesus to others.

Grace in Serving Our God

We see grace when we advance the gospel. In addition, we see grace when we sacrificially obey God for the good of other people.
ILL - I posted online this past Wednesday. I don’t know if you are aware, but there are lots of people giving over and above a 10%. People giving money and time to the ministry of this church.
I have to tell that we have one man, not a church member, give us money every month to reach people for Jesus. What a blessing Aviva Life Church; they’ve painted, installed blinds, and provided generous donations to help us minister. There are, among our members, some giving generously even frequent special gifts.
“People are giving sacrificially to see people come to Jesus and learn about being His followers.”
I want you to see, people are giving sacrificially to see people come to Jesus and learn about being His followers.
A graceless life is when a person does not pick up their cross and follow Jesus. Bit a grace-filled followers let go of all things in order to glorify God by loving others.
“The clearest expression of grace in the world is sacrificial obedience in serving God.”
It is my belief that the clearest expression of grace in the world is sacrificial obedience in serving God. Sacrificial obedience is a solid tangible form of grace. It is visible, often touchable, and sometimes we can even pick it up and handle it.
Are you aware that is is visible grace that the leaders saw when Paul arrived in Jerusalem; he brought concrete grace with him. As a matter of fact, it was a bag of money.
Do you know why Paul went to Jerusalem in the first place?
Look at v.2:
Galatians 2:2 NASB95PARA
It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.
What was that “revelation?” The book of Acts tells us that it was a prophecy that a famine would hit all of Judea. That includes Jerusalem.
Acts 11:27–30 NASB95PARA
Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
This explains why Paul is in Jerusalem. He is there to minister to those suffering from the results of the famine. He is meeting needs of the poor saints in Jerusalem.
“Paul went to the Jerusalem church to present the leadership with a bag of money; a bag of grace.
Paul went to the Jerusalem church to present the leadership with a bag of money, a bag of grace, given sacrificially by the followers of Jesus in Antioch. Just as Titus, a concrete proof Jesus saves Gentiles, the bag of money is proof of God’s grace in Paul’s ministry. It helped the leadership, the pillar apostles see grace:
Galatians 2:9 NASB95PARA
and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
I see grace in FBC Minneola on a regular basis. Paul noted something similar in Macedonia:
2 Corinthians 8:1–5 ESV
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
Even hard-pressed, the Macedonians gave generously to meet the needs of other Christians. And this all to the glory of God.
Some time ago I stopped saying “tithe, offering, or tithes and offerings.” See, the NT teaches us generosity out of goodness, not giving to check off some kind of box on our list. We give from our hearts, not out of compulsion. The idea of grace, of visible grace, brings glory to God.
When we give generously, when done to the glory of God, grace appears; generous giving is the grace of God acting in human hearts and in human lives.
TRANS - Grace in sharing and grace in serving. We see grace when we share Christ, we see grace when we sacrificially give from the goodness in our hearts.
How is it a person moves from not seeing grace to seeing grace? That is the topic in our our last section.

Developing Our Ability to See Grace

Seeing grace involves seeing the gospel go out in the world and sacrificial obedience for the sake of other people. It is about seeing people coming to faith because of the gospel and obedience in response to the gospel.
“We see grace when we see faith and obedience in the lives of Jesus followers.”
Seeing grace is needed in order for us to live a gospel-rooted life. We need to develop the ability to see grace and not overlook it. It’s visual, but also it is theological insight that we need.
We need to know where and where not to look. Its not always looking at the happy times in our lives. Grace is not like the ones who think life is pursuit of happiness day in and day out. That’s how my dog Gizmo lived; happy to eat, to sleep, to see me come home. That’s not grace.
Some people think they’ll only find grace when things go easy, there way, or problem free. That is why so many find being a Jesus follower so discouraging and why some churches are in graceless circumstances. See, Christians and churches are works in progress and it is easier to be consumed with the non-grace that is everyplace than with grace.
Grace is everywhere, just like difficulties and struggles of life. I get to see grace all the time as I talk with people about battling temptation, how to make a difficult marriage work, or holding on to Jesus during a illness. In so many things I see grace.
(ILL - Men’s mission fellows with life issues)
In order to see grace, the Bible must fill our minds and imagination. This book of grace helps us see the grace of God all around us. It gives us the clues needed to spot grace.
Pray, too, is needed to see grace. In prayer we expect to see grace. I start each day praying with a 5-fold Christian prayer. This is something I heard my pastor preach one Sunday and it’s stuck ever sense:
yield my mind, to be intellegent
yield my heart, to be compassionate
yield my body, to serve others
yield my will, to be obedient
yield my spirit, to be dynamic
Prayer helps us to see grace.
Ultimately, to see grace, we need to look to the cross of Jesus. In fact, you will never see grace without the cross, shed in Christ’s blood, that is where we first see grace.
Once we first see grace, we must return again and again. Just like tuning in a radio station, we need to adjust ourselves to God, to grace. We return to refocus on the grace of God perfectly displayed on the cross where Jesus’ blood ran down those ragged timbers. It is there we see true grace:
2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
(end)
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