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     Today we’re going to continue on the subject of Grace. Today’s message is called “Strong in Grace.” Last week we said that God has established a covenant with us to where everything that He has He gives to us and everything we have we give to Him.

     I. In the O.T. God had a Covenant with the children of Israel, but now in the N.T. we have a New Covenant.

              A. (Hebrews 8:6) Says, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

                        1. This New Covenant has been established in Heaven and on Earth forever by the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus.

                                  a. This New Covenant is sometimes refereed to as “The Age of Grace.”

                        2. In this Covenant God gives us His greatness, His ability, His Grace to all those who come to Him in simple faith.

                                  a. His Covenant with us is a Covenant of Grace.

     II. One of the truths that we can see interwoven throughout the Word of God, is not what man can do in himself, but what he can do in Christ Jesus.

              A. (Philippians 4:13) Says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

                        1. God has created us in His image and likeness.

                                  a. Why

                                  b. For fellowship? That is 1 reason.

                        2. He has also created us in His image and in His likeness to reveal His goodness and to show His greatness in Human form.

                                  a. Turn to (ACT 10)

                                  b. Jesus is our picture of the goodness of God in action.

                                  c. Look at ACT 10:38

                        3. The Apostle Paul becomes, for us, the example of a man redeemed from a life of sin against God who turns his world right side up with the power of this Gospel.

                                  a. In Paul’s writings, he points to the most vital aspect of the message he has been given.

                                  b. Every one of his letters refers to grace from our Lord Jesus Christ.

                        4. Grace is such an important subject.

                                  a. It is at the heart of all that God is doing in humanity.

                                  b. Yet, it remains a somewhat vague and neglected subject. We seem to assume that every one understands it.

              B. The word “Grace” is used primarily in 2 different ways, or there are 2 aspects of Grace.

                        1. 1st, it’s the gracious heart of God the Father that moves Him to love us and lift our lives into His best.

                                  a. His grace looks beyond our sin and shortcomings and sees us in the light of forgiveness though the sacrifice of Jesus.

                                  b. We could never earn His blessings through good deeds, He has chosen to freely bless our lives.

                        2. 2nd, grace is the power of God at work in you to fulfill what He has designed for us to do.

                                  a. The Strong’s Concordance defines Grace as “the divine influence (of God) upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.”

                                  b. Grace is God’s ability in you to do what you cannot do on your own.

                                  c. Look at 1COR 15:10.

                                           i. Notice Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

                                           ii. What you will become and do for God will be the result of His Grace and ability

     III. Turn to 2TIM 2:1.

              A. We need to be strong in Grace.

                        1. Andrew Murray once said, “Grace is not only the power that moves the heart of God in its compassion toward us. it is also the power that moves the believer with the disposition and power which it needs to love God and do His will.”

                                  a. It’s important to see God’s grace as a power in your life.

                                  b. It’s the power within to bring change. If you can be changed by God’s influence on the inside, you can be more effective in bringing change to situations on the outside.

                        2. Faith changes things.

                                  a. God has given you His faith to grow in and bring change to the natural situations you face.

                        3. Grace changes people.

                                  a. By God’s grace you become what He has said in His Word you are to be.

                                  b. Have you ever faced some challenging problem?

                                           i. You feel that you cannot cope with the pressure.

                                           ii. You know that God has provided you with all of the power and ability to handle any situation.

                                           iii. But the Grace that you have does not seem to be enough?

                                  c. You need to do what Peter said, 2PET 3:18. (Grow in Grace.)

              B. In Matthew we have one of the clearest pictures of this need for Grace.

                        1. Look with me to MATT 26:36-41.

                                  a. Jesus went into the garden to pray with a heaviness that seemed as though it would kill Him.

                                           i. He was facing the darkest hour ever recorded in human history.

                                           ii. He prayed that this cup would pass from Him if possible.

                                           iii. His flesh drew back on the thought of what was going to happen. (We would do the same thing.)

                                  b. When Jesus entered the garden, He wanted His closest followers with Him.

                                           i. He wanted their prayers and support in this difficult time.

                                           ii. 3 Times He prayed a prayer of Commitment. (Thy will be done.)

                                           iii. You can feel the heaviness in His voice as you read these Vs.

                                           iv. You can see the weakness of His humanity.

                                  c. When He told Peter, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” He wasn’t just speaking to the disciple’s weakness, but of His own also.

                                           i. Jesus knew that His flesh was weak, but He shows us how to rise above the limits of our humanity and live by the power of the spirit.

                        2. Look at MATT 26:45-46.

                                  a. Something has happened!

                                           i. When Jesus entered into the garden, He wanted His disciples to stay awake and pray with Him.

                                           ii. Then He says to them, “Go ahead and sleep.”

                                           iii. Something happened, He changed.

                                  b. Look with me to the same story as John tells it. JOHN 18:4-6

                                           i. When He said, “I am He,” they fell to the ground under the power of God.

                                           ii. This was no longer the weak, heavy Jesus who entered into the garden.

                                           iii. He was now operating in the power of the spirit.

                        3. What made the difference.

                                  a. Our answer is found in HEB 4:16 (Turn there).

                                           i. Jesus came to the Throne of Grace and found the strength and ability to do what He could not do in Himself.

                                           ii. He chose to rely on the Father, just as you and I must do.

                                  b. The flesh has limits, but through the power of the spirit we can do all things through Christ Jesus.

                                           i. You have an open invitation to the very presence and throne of God.

                                           ii. You can come boldly to God’s throne of Grace and find the strength and ability you need.

     IV. God’s Word says, “So then faith commeth by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

              A. If faith grows by hearing the Word of God, then how does grace grow?


                                  a. The HS has placed a high priority on prayer.

                                           i. It’s during those personal times of prayer that we come to His Throne.

                        2. There is a clear message to the Church that God wants us in His presence daily.

                                  a. The throne is a place of authority.

                                           i. As you approach the throne of God, you can be filled with His confidence and an ability to stand firm on His promises.

                                           ii. You will not have to stand on your own strength, but His authority will rise up within you to do His will.

              B. If God calls you to do something, the question is not, “Do I have the natural ability to do it, but rather do I have the Grace to do it?”

                        1. God does not only call us to do what we are capable of doing.

                                  a. Often He calls people to do what they cannot do.

                                  b. When God calls you to do something for Him, weather it’s to live a good Christian life and bring a witness for Him or to a pulpit ministry, He looks for those that will do His will regardless of their own abilities.

                                  c. The Apostle Paul is a great example of that.

                                           i. A man that was highly educated in the Jewish law and customs.

                                           ii. Paul said of himself in (Acts 26:5 NIV) “That he lived according to the strictest sect of our religion, a Pharisee.”

                                           iii. Pharisees were the Jewish religious leaders.

                                  d. In the natural, Paul would have been best sent to the Jews, God sent Paul to the gentiles.

                                           i. Peter was just the opposite, an unlearned man in the Jewish law, but God sent Him to the Jews.

                                           ii. They both were very success, why?

                                           iii. Because of the grace of God.

                        2. HEB 12:28

                                  a. How do we serve God acceptably?

                                           i. By serving Him, not in our own strength, but in His strength and ability which comes by grace.

                                           ii. Whatever you are commissioned to do in the Kingdom of God, to fulfill it, you will need the grace that comes from time spent in His presence.

                                  b. Get into His presence and grow in Grace.

                                           i. Let His ways become your ways, and His thoughts become your thoughts.

                                           ii. As you do, His ability will emerge from within, and you will see a new strength in His Grace.

WOLCC Sun Am 9/25/94

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