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E For Effort

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E For Effort

How many of you have heard the phrase E for Effort? In the gradebook of life, essentially you did not pass nor did you fail but you gave it your all and therefore here is a pat on the back. People love the hard worker, people love the person that will not give up, and so does God. Nonetheless God also desires results, He desires faithfulness and focus, a pure heart and a hard worker. The idea of grading in the grand scheme of time is a relatively new phenomenon, especially calculating acumen by numbers and letters. Imagine Jesus is a professor at life and you have failed every test that life has thrown at you, and here comes professor Jesus who grades with the curve of grace, mercy and forgiveness. Imagine professor Jesus providing you with the tools and then enabling you to utilize them for the furthering of His Kingdom, Imagine Jesus.
Many of us before Jesus came into our life, or before we became serious about our life for Christ got a lot of E’s for Effort on our report card. We may have been a decent percent, we handed the homeless a few dollars, held doors open for elderly people at Speedway, but our life lacked substance and that substance is Salvation through Jesus Christ.
God, our creator through Jesus Christ does 4 things for us:
He enlightens
He enables
He empowers
He elevates

The Enlightening Period

We ought to be thankful that Jesus saw fit to teach us and be patient with in such a longsuffering way despite the way we lived. Some people are not fortunate to turn their life around. Some people end up dying in their ignorance, but thank God that I have a chance to get my life right one more time.
“But I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
Because Jesus came to save sinners, Paul states I obtained mercy. Because of Jesus a blasphemer became a believer.

3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

It is the mercy of God that brought us this far. It’s his ability to be longsuffering with us through our ignorance. Paul marveled at the fact that Jesus saw fit to extend his grace and mercy to a person like himself. When we think about it, we all should have that same attitude. After all I’ve done, after all the pain I’ve caused, God still sees fit to use me?
Enlightening periods are painful sometimes. In Acts chapter 9, we read about the story of Paul being approached by Jesus being taught by Ananias and began preaching the word of God. It can feel like life is moving to fast, you still remember who you were yesterday when God is trying to prepare you for who He wants you to be today.
This enlightenment is not only for the sinner but for the sanctified Jesus shows us this idea of mercy and longsuffering so we could do the same for one another. If you are going to believe in Him for Heaven you ought to be able to show this same mercy, and love to people on earth.
How is it fair that we want God to be patient with us but we do not want to be patient with anybody?
How is it fair that we want mercy and grace from God but we refuse to extend it to others?
If Jesus remembers our past no more, then we should follow his pattern with each other.

Christ Enables Us

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me”
This is not just giving you the ability to do something but it’s granting you with ability and strength. We typically ask for strength when times get tough, but this strength is not just for trials and suffering but a strength to serve, to serve and remain committed.
This is the power of God, He has the power to change the heart of an enemy and place them as a servant in the kingdom.
because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy!
Thank God for grace and mercy this morning, because despite my past God can still put me in a position to serve. Man does not give me my appointment, task or responsibility. God placed me here. When God places you no one can remove you!
God is not like us in which we enable ungodly behavior, but God enables us for life changing work. He enables us so that others may see the power in changing your life. God can only enable us once we have been real with ourselves. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief”.
Imagine how this might have empowered Timothy to know that his father in the gospel is not a perfect man, but a man perfected by the grace and mercy of Christ Jesus. We need to be open and real with our young people, we need to allow Christ to use our transparency as an enabler for the next person coming behind us.

Christ Empowers Us

“For this reason” The reason we obtained mercy is because that is the sole mission for Christ is to unite the creation back to the creator for eternity. Meanwhile on earth He empowers us to do work in His name through belief and faith. I believe in Jesus therefore I am not only an example for my peers but devoted to His mission and empowered to carry out my calling.
It is empowering to have a savior that will be patient and longsuffering with us. God shows us patience, it empowers us to be patient with others.
These tenets of care do not stop with us. They begin with us and extend to other people.
He is longsuffering because eternity is at stake, our souls are at stake. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (John 5:24) This is empowering to know that we have a savior that has the power to conquer death.

Christ Elevates Us

17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

God is due all the praise, and when we praise Him, when we give Glory, he lifts us up!
It’s praiseworthy to know that Jesus died to that we could experience mercy and grace.
It’s praiseworthy to know that even a chief sinner, a murderer, fornicator, adulterer, thief, liar can be forgiven and find rest in the kingdom of God.
It’s praiseworthy that if I draw near to God, my past no longer matters but I have refuge in Him!
Long ago, a poor woman from the slums of London was invited to go with a group of people for a holiday at the ocean. She had never seen the ocean before, and when she saw it, she burst into tears. Those around her thought it was strange that she should cry when such a lovely holiday had been given her. “Why in the world are you crying?” they asked. Pointing to the ocean she answered, “This is the only thing I have ever seen that there was enough of.” God has oceans of mercy. There is enough of it—and God delights to show his mercy and compassion (Micah 7:19) He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.
So when you begin to become frustrated about your past, and begin to think you are unworthy, and unfit to be serving in the kingdom, remember why God game! Remember why the Lord gave his life!
Let us work hard and know that if we couple faith with discipleship, even though we are unworthy it is my prayer that God grant us Eternity for Our Effort and Mercy for our Mistakes.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Mic 7:19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (p. 240). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Jn 5:24). Nashville: Thomas Nelson
The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Ti 1:12–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
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