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2006-11-12_Grace To The Humble_SL

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Grace To The Humble

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   November 12, 2006

I.      Introduction

A.    We love transformations. Scrooge, Regarding Henry, Transformations, Paul—True story, from persecutor to apostle. How? 1 Cor 15:10: “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

B.    Us—transformation hard/slow/impossible. “I don’t feel like being a Christian. I don’t have the strength to obey. Cycle: failing/confessing/trying. God is disappointed.”

C.    FBC follow-up: Foundations of Prayer—broken heart last week. This week: Grace!

D.    Grace is more than prayer before meals. Vital component to the Christian life.

II.    Body—Four Questions about Grace:

A.    What happens if we misunderstand grace?

1.     We won’t enjoy it. How we handle our sin reveals our understanding of grace.

a)     We’ll ask for justice. Excuse, defend, justify our sin—demanding justice. (Saul)

b)     Agree with God—asking for grace. (David)

c)     Prov 28:13: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”

2.     We’ll abuse it. Jude 3-4 (licentiousness is an abuse of grace and denial of our Master); Rom 6:1-2; 15-16 (not free to sin, but free to obey)

B.    What is grace? Def: Gr: KariV. “Unmerited favor” doesn’t satisfy—too rich!

1.     God’s kindness. Strong’s Gr dict: Grace is “the merciful kindness (of) God.”

a)     See God as aloof/distant? Phil 2:12 (trembling?). 2:13—He’s working! 1 Pet 5.10.

b)     See God as disappointed? Prodigal son—anxious for “sons” to return.

2.     God’s power. Strong’s: “…God exerting his holy influence upon souls…” Power; Dynamic force—“God’s holy influence” on us. Acts 4:33 (first church): “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” “Power” and “Grace” go hand-in-hand.

C.   Why do we need grace?

1.     Forgiveness of sins.

a)     Eternal Salvation. Rom 6:23—“wages” contrasted with “free gift.” Eph 2:8-9

b)     Daily Cleansing.

(1)  Eph 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

(2)  Heb 4:16—“mercy” (forgiveness); “grace to help” (strength—brings me to #2)

2.     Strength for life. Most of us know we need grace for salvation/cleansing of sin, but many don’t realize how important grace is for our daily walk.

a)     2 Tim 2:1—Commanded to be strong in. A conscious choice! Unmerited not unconditional. Can’t earn, but not automatic. (we’ll come back to this)

b)     2 Cor 9:8—Good works result of. (giving, but “every good deed”)

c)     1 Cor 15:10—Saved by grace and “labored” by grace.

D.    How do we get grace?

1.     Prayer.

a)     Ask for it—for yourself. Heb 4:16: “draw near to the throne of grace”

b)     Ask for it—for others (Philemon 3, 25)—Paul started and ended every one of his letters with a similar prayer for grace.

2.     Humility.

a)     James 4:6. “God is opposed to (“stiff-arms”) the proud…” He withholds His grace. Pride: walk independent of Him—not relying on His grace. Focus on your abilities creates independence from God. Focus on your inabilities and you’ll become more aware of your need for His grace.

b)     James 4:6. “God…gives grace to the humble.”

(1)  Definition of humility: Agreeing with God and acknowledging my need. Every time I resist God, God resists me.

(2)  “Humble yourselves”—don’t ask God to do it. He gave you that responsibility. Unmerited does not mean unconditional—we must humble ourselves.

(3)  God helps us humble ourselves in two ways: 1) Convicts of sin; 2) Creates circumstances.

III.  Closing: Heads bowed, eyes closed:

A.    What do you need God’s grace for in your life right now?

B.    What sin is He convicting you of right now? Agree with Him (confession is not informing, but agreeing).

C.    What circumstances is He creating? Humble yourself and acknowledge your need for His grace. Ask for His grace.

D.    Who in your life is hurting? In need? In trouble? Out of fellowship? Pray for them—ask for “grace.”

E.     Are you praying for CBC? Your elders? Missionaries? “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (1 Cor 15:10)

F.     If you’ve been frustrated in your prayer life, struggling in your spiritual walk, let God transform you right now. Agree with Him about your sin. Acknowledge your need—“I can’t do anything without You, God.”

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