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The Goal of Grace

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The Goal of Grace

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Tit 2:11-14 NIV)

Introduction:

Heaven and hell are in opposite directions, and no man can go both ways at the same time. The goal of grace now, is to prepare us for Christ at his coming, and to make us fit for heaven.

I.        Be Aware Of The Appearance Of Grace

A.      Grace Revealed In Jesus Christ

***"I am come," Christ declares, and thus calls all mankind to personal

decision about the promised Messiah who was to step into fallen history.  Christianity centers in Christ's person and work, his incarnation, death and resurrection.  Without Christ there can be no Christian and Christianity.  One is left simply with the itty-bitty: promise without fulfullment, sacrifice without atonement, death without resurrection, godhead without triunity.  "I am come!"  If Christ is excised or moved to the margin, theology fails both Christianity and our contemporary world.  The eternal Christ alone supplies history's midpoint and will return to define its endpoint. -Carl F.H. Henry

***Looking at the wound of sin will never save anyone. What you must do is to look at the remedy.

   Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899)

B.      Grace Revealed To Mankind

- Available to all, and for all.

***   A lady told of taking her grandsons, ages four and six, to spend the day at Disneyland. During the course of the day she bought each of them a little flag. On several occasions they stopped to watch the marching band of "toy" soldiers and each time the boys would be spellbound as the band marched by All at once, the grandmother realized that the four-year-old was gone. She searched all about, calling his name, and making her way through the crowd. As she sat down to catch her breath and try to determine what to do, she looked up to see the marching band of toy soldiers. There, at the end of the line, smiling merrily, and waving his flag, was little Mikey, having the time of his life, completely unaware that he was lost! How like the world, going on its merry way, unaware of a loving Father's concern for its lostness. But someday the band will stop playing. Then and only then will those unreached realize that they are lost.

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 248

C.      Grace Revealed For Salvation

***   The late venerable and godly Dr. Archibald Alexander of Princeton had been a preacher of Christ for sixty years and a professor of divinity for forty. On his deathbed he was heard to say to a friend, "All my theology is reduced to this narrow compass-Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

II.      Be Altered By The Activity Of Grace

A.      Grace That Delivers From Sin

***Tracing the Greek word καθαρίζω through the N.T., we find that the Levitical purifications marked by this word were fulfilled in Christ. He made a καθαρισμός, or purgation, whereby our sins are done away (Heb. 1:3). His blood cleanseth from all sin (1 John 1:7). Consequently, ‘If we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity’ (1 John 1:9). The blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purges the conscience from dead works, so that the purged person is in a position to serve (λατρεύειν) the living God (Heb. 9:14). Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Eph. 5:26). He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).

In connection with these announcements we have the corresponding exhortations, ‘Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God’ (2 Cor. 7:1); ‘Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water’ (Heb. 10:22).

These passages teach that the offering of Christ is not only the pledge of pardon, but also the appointed means of cleansing for all who feel their moral pollution. The defilement of sin was to find its cure in that one great work. Nor were its benefits confined to Jews. What God had cleansed was not to be regarded any longer as common or unclean. The middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile was broken down. God made no difference; He purified the hearts of both through faith (Acts 15:9).[1]

B.      Grace That Delivers True Holiness

***Holiness means something more than the sweeping away of the old leaves of sin; it means the life of Jesus developed in us.

   I. Lilias Trotter

***Our progress in holiness depends on God and ourselves-on God's grace and on our will to be holy.

   Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910- )

***It is quite true to say, "I can't live a holy life," but you can decide to let Jesus make you holy.

   Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

***It is time for us Christians, to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are "defeated" by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient. It might be well if we stopped using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms obedience and disobedience.

   Jerry Bridges

C.      Grace That Delivers Right Now

***Mrs. Hannah Whithall Smith, in `The Christians's Secret of a

Happy Life,' tells that she was once pressing upon a company of

Christians the duty and privilege of an immediate and definite

step into the promised land of holiness when a lady of great

intelligence interuppted her, saying,  "I believe in growing

into grace."  Mrs. Smith asked her:  "Just how long have you

been growing into this experience?"  "About twenty-five years,"

was the lady's answer.  "And how much more worthy and devoted to

your Lord are you now than when you began?"  Persisted Mrs.

Smith.  And the lady sorrowfully confessed, "I fear I am not

nearly so much so now as I was then."  ( "Choice Illustrations"

W.W. Clay  pg. 19)

III.   Be Alert To The Anticipation Of Grace

A.      Waiting For Jesus Expectantly

***Around the dial of a clock in a church in Strasburg, Germany, are these words: “One of these hours the Lord is coming.”[2]

B.      Waiting For Jesus Longingly

***I remember one night in Stockton, Calif, … I was preaching about the coming of Jesus. As I was in prayer I was conscious of a woman getting up and going out, for in those days the skirts would swish whenever a lady walked. It seemed to me that this lady must have gone out in a hurry. When I finished my prayer and went to greet the friends at the door, I found a woman pacing back and forth in the lobby. The moment I came, she said to me, “How would you dare to pray like that—“Come Lord Jesus?” I don’t want him to come. It would break in on all my plans. How dare you!” I said, “My dear young woman, Jesus is coming whether you like it or not.” Oh, if you know Him and love Him, surely your heart says, “Come, Lord Jesus!” —H. A. Ironside [3]

C.      Waiting For Jesus Hopefully

***  Hope is hearing the melody of the future.  Faith is to dance to it.

   -- Rubem Alves,  Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 4.

IV.    Be Assessed By The Aim Of Grace

A.      Assessed By The Expense Of Grace

***We are not to treat as cheap, that which cost so much. Do not trample under foot, the blood of the son of God.

B.      Assessed By The Expectation Of Grace

-- There is  saying around our house that warns us not to expect a great product unless we are willing to pay the price. When we say “You get what you pay for” it means that we should not expect $100.00 performance from a $10.00 item. By the same token, Jesus, having paid dearly the full price for our salvation, has the right to expect the full return. He paid not only to free of from the condemnation of sin, but to free us from the contamination of sin. Having paid the price for a spotless bride, he will demand that the bride he paid for be spotless. Should we come to him released only from the penalty of sin, and refuse to cleansed from the pollution of sin, He is only right to turn us away. He will get what he paid for.

C.      Assessed By The End Product Of Grace

***To ask that God's love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities--no more than the beggar maid could wish that King Cophetua should be content with her rags and dirt, or a dog, once having learned to love man, could wish that man were such as to tolerate in his house the snapping, verminous, polluting creature of the wild pack. What we would here and now call our "happiness" is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.

   -- C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain. Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 15.

Conclusion:

   Be not like the foolish drunkard who, staggering home one night, saw his candle lit for him. "Two candles!" said he, for his drunkenness made him see double, "I will blow out one," and as he blew it out, in a moment he was in the dark. Many a person sees double through the drunkenness of sin. He has one life to sow his wild oats in, and then he half expects another in which to turn to God. So, like a fool, he blows out the only candle that he has, and in the dark he will have to lie down forever. Remember, you only have one sun, and after that sets, you will never reach your home. Make haste!

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

See: Mat 24:40-44


----

[1]Robert Baker Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament : Their Bearing on Christian Doctrine. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1998).

[2]Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : [A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers] (Garland TX: Bible Communications, 1996, c1979).

[3]Ibid

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