I’m in the grip of grace
Synopsis of sermon 4/4/2010
Delivered by Bishop Walker
Text: Romans 5:1-11: 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
There is one great equalizer in this place today and it is the grace of God. All of us come from a variety of backgrounds. Regardless of our background, all of us can testify that none of us would be here if not for the grace of God. Grace is a gratuitous endowment. This is God giving to us what we do not deserve. God extends grace to us, because he is sovereign. God gives us his grace knowing that we as recipients do not qualify for it. The amazing thing about grace is the giver gives it to us knowing that we really don’t meet the criteria needed to receive it. God knows all of our mess, all of our dirt, and all of our past, yet in the midst of all we do, God still gives us grace. This makes us walk around in humility. We walk around bewildered, because we wonder how God could love somebody like us. Every morning when we roll out of bed, we look into the mirror and we think about whom we are and what we have done, and we are amazed at God’s grace. Maybe this is why the hymn writer wrote “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, I was blind, but now I see.” When you understand this, you don’t have a reason to be arrogant, because you realize that what you have, God gave you, what you are, God made you, what you know God taught you, and where you are, God brought you.
If it weren’t for the hand of God on your life, you and I would not be here today. Based on what you done and where you have been, how are we making it? It is because of his grace. Isn’t it amazing that God would run after somebody who was running from him (us)? We are in the grip today and we see in the lesson that Paul shares with the Roman Church that God loves us in spite of us. Paul explains that no matter what we have done, God’s grace will find us where we are. The good news is God loves us. The problem is, we go through life looking for what we already have. We already have love, we already have peace, we already have joy, but we are looking for it out in the world when in fact God has given it to us within the Holy Spirit which is inside of us. The Holy Spirit reminds us of his presence and power in our lives. When you begin to look at how God demonstrated his love and exercised his love toward us, you really have to walk down the Roman Road. This means you have to go through the book of Romans and see specific instances where God reminds us of our sin nature and his response is to this. Romans 3:23 says 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 5:8 says 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 6:23 says 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 10:9-10 says 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:13 says 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Once you are saved; you have a different mindset. This is why Romans 12:2 says 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Understand the message that God is trying to give you today. Rather than walk through judgment or guilt, you have to go through life knowing that God has extended something to us that we don’t deserve. He looked beyond our faults and he supplied our every need. If this doesn’t create a sense of praise in your spirit, we don’t know what will. When you think about what you should have been and what you could have been you ought to at least say thank you. We should at least give God glory for his grace. It is funny how some people experience grace and then they become judgmental. They look at others like they don’t deserve the same grace that they received. Ex- This reminds us of the little boy that lived on the other side of the tracks. He went to the opposite side of the tracks and he saw a store. At the store he saw a man serving his customers. This boy with raggedy clothes didn’t have money and the store owner noticed the little boy looking through the window. The owner invited him in and asked him what he wanted. The little boy told him that he didn’t have any money, but the owner told him to get what he wanted. Afterwards the owner gave the kid a 3 level ice cream cone. When the kid got back on the other side of the tracks, his friends asked him how he got it. They asked if he stole it, because they knew he didn’t have any money. The little boy told them how the owner just gave it to him after seeing him standing in the window. The little boy then sat in the corner and ate it without offering to share it or anything. The next day, the store owner saw 8 kids standing in front of his store from the other side of the tracks. Apparently they got the word where the place was. As the kids stared at the store, the owner invited them all in and gave them all ice cream. When they got back on their side of the tracks, the 1st kid was coming out of his house and he saw them with the ice-cream. He got an attitude, because they went to the store he had gone to the previous day. He felt like this was his spot. It was good enough for him to get some ice-cream, but when somebody else got some ice-cream, he had a fundamental problem with it. This is an example of how we appropriate grace. It is good enough for us to get the grace, but we have a fundamental problem when somebody else gets it. Know that if it is good enough for you, it is good enough for me!
This lesson today is an amazing story shared by Paul. The story first is about how we have peace with God.
I. Peace with God
- When you have a relationship with God, every relationship in your life will be properly aligned. Justification is the second part of salvation. We turn away from world and turn to God. We regenerate or start over. Though we turned, we still have the guilt and shame left from what we turned from, but God acquits us (justifies us) from this. In other words he gives us a clean slate. God drops the charges and makes it like we never done it.
- We are justified. You are sitting next to someone that has been justified. We are justified by faith. You have to believe that you have been justified. Consequently when others throw us away, he brings us in. When others bring us down, God brings us up. God will remind us that we are royal priesthood, a chosen generation. Don’t let the triflingness of others strain your relationship with God. We ought to be able to go to work with peace, because we have peace with God.
- In our relationship with God, we have rewards. Romans 5:2 says 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
- We have access-We are saved by grace rather than works. We don’t get merit points for what we do. Thanks God for that, because this would make people think they are more saved than you are. God saves us by grace and gives us access to that grace. We access, we don’t have to go through all the religiosity, or doctrinal issues, or the verbiage people tell us we need to do. We can go to God for ourselves. We can get to the throne of God for ourselves, because we have access. Access can be an amazing thing much like a backstage pass. God gave us access 2000 yrs ago. He gave us the greatest access that we could ever have.
- We gain attitude– Now we stand in this faith. This is about our conviction or what we believe. We are no longer that old person. Our mind is in another place. This can make it hard for you to connect to people from your past. Some people can’t go where God is taking you, because you attitude is at another dimension. We don’t have to be in your clique or club, because we know who we are. We don’t have time to play foolish games anymore, because our attitude is right.
- We have anticipation– We go through life anticipating his return. The bible declares that we do it for the glory of his return. If anything, we should celebrate that Jesus came and got up on the 3rd day. When he was ascending back into heaven, the angel asked why they were standing there gazing. They said the same way he left, he would come back again. We should live everyday anticipating his return. We are not nervous over what happens in this world, because we know we are saved and we will go back with him when he returns. Living he loved, dying he saved me, buried carried my sins far away, but rising he justified us and freed us forever, and one day he is coming back, glorious day! Anybody looking forward to the day the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise, and those of us who yet remain will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. He is coming back whether you are ready or not.
- We have peace with God, because we have been justified. As a result, we walk through life knowing that God has justified us and by his blood.
II. Pain and glory
Romans 5:3-5 says 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
- We would be a fool if we thought there was a shortage of pain going around. Some people that are reading this right now came with pain that they can’t even talk about. The question is, how do we appropriate our pain? Paul shares that it is all about what you know. When you are a Christian, you ought to know something. This is what separates a child of God from anyone else. It is all about what you know. Remember what Paul writes in Romans 8:28 says 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.- . It is all about what we know. There are those who know, those who don’t know, and those who act like they don’t know. Those that act like they don’t know are the ones that we need to talk to today (through this lesson). These people know they have been in church long enough to know that they can’t be acting a fool.
- Paul wants to know what our response will be. When tribulations come, know that it works something.
- We realize that God is sovereign – God will allow things to come into our life. He will give trouble a job description. God will let trouble work on you from 9 to 5 in our situation. God will employ trouble, because he will allow it to bless you. If it comes into your life, know that it comes to build you up, not destroy you. Be like Job, be able to bless God whether he gives or takes away. We have to be willing to understand that God is sovereign and he doesn’t owe us an explanation.
- He keeps us secure – You sit here looking good, because God kept you. In the time of trouble, he kept you. Whatever God allows is only seasonal.
- Its seasonal -Tribulation is only seasonal. You have to learn to outlive what is trying to outlive you. Tribulation comes to examine us.
- Examine – You will be tested on the material you’ve been taught (as in a final exam). In others words, you have to prove that you have learned enough to go to the next level. If you don’t test well, you will have to learn to. Know that test will come, but it will be an open book test. Many are asking to be taken to another level, but they are not willing to pass test. You shouldn’t expect to be advanced without passing the exam.
- Endure – God gives us experience. In these experiences, we learn how to endure. Jesus hung in there for us. There are many that have been through more in the last 6mths than others have been through their whole life.
- Brings about Exposure – Endurance brings about exposure. God had to let us get sick, because we had no exposure. We never got to see the world. How would you know God was a healer, unless you got sick? How would you know God could pay the bill, if you’ve never been broke? Because you were exposed, the next time the lights get cut off, you won’t trip. You will light the candles until God makes a way for you. If you been through it once, you can do it again in tough times. Paul said he has learned to be content.
- We develop a level of Expectation – This is hope. It is based on what we have been through. Based on what we have been through, we just expect God to honor our faithfulness going through. We went through pain and gave him glory and as a result, God will give us glory for giving him glory through the pain. Our glory will be elevation. In other words he takes us to another dimension based on what we went through. If you want to know how much, it is based on what he allowed you to go through. Ex-This is why it is amazing to see how people look at people that praise God. The truth is, you don’t know their story. You might think their praise is over the top, but you have no idea what they have been through. You don’t know me; you only know what you are looking at! If you knew my story, you would understand! Ex- Bishop says he had Asthma when he was young and they though he was dead. He flat lined, but he was bought back from the dead. He explains he lost his sister in a car accident when he was 8 yrs old. Bishop also explains he lost a brother to sickle cell anemia. When he was 22 yrs old, he said he lost one of his closet preacher friends to a heart attack. He said he lost his first wife at 37 yrs old to cancer. He says he lost his house to a house fire, but in the midst of it, he didn’t lose his mind. In the midst he gave God the glory, because God said if we do, he will elevate us to another level. So hate on us if you want, because you don’t know our story! If you did, you would shout on our story too!
III. Praise him for his grace
Romans 5:6-7 says 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
- Rarely will a person voluntarily die for a righteous man. Can you imagine somebody dying for you? When God extended his love toward us while we were sinners, he died. We were justified by God that we might be saved from his wrath through him.
- We were reconciled back to God through the death of his son.
- He rescued us-If we could have saved ourselves, we would have done it a long time ago. When we need rescuing, it suggests that our resources are not enough to save us. This suggests that I need a greater authority.
- He took a risk on me. God took a risk when he saved us. He took a chance on somebody that he knew would be unfaithful and somebody that he knew would be inconsistent and who would backslide.
- He redeemed us-This means he purchased us out of the hand of the enemy.
- He reconciled us– Jesus became the substitute, so that we might have life. All of our sins have been washed away, because of the blood. When the blood of bullocks and lambs wasn’t enough, thank God for his blood.
- He restored us. Anything the devil said we couldn’t have, God restored it. This is just like the prodigal son. He was restored when he came home. God will give you back the years the locusts have eaten up. It is amazing how some people won’t praise God for his grace.
- We know there are some over the top people that worry you. Know that they are probably praising over God’s grace. How can you understand grace and not be moved with and audible expression? Some say it is just because they are not emotional. They will tell you that this doesn’t mean they don’t love God. Ex- Bishop explains he did some research about praise. He was watching a Michael Jackson concert one day. Michael had not even come to the stage and people were falling out. They were going crazy and he hadn’t even gotten on the stage yet. Then out of nowhere Michael popped up out of the stage, landed, and just stood there. People were fainting and people went crazy! Michael still hadn’t done a thing yet paramedics had to run and tend to people. Michael had not done a thing, but yet people were giving glory to the king of pop. He hadn’t even bust a move or sung one song yet, but the crowd was wild. The crowd was made up of people like us (people with PHDs, schoolteachers, nurses, engineers, and etc…). These were intelligent people. Bishop explains watching these people crying and Michael was till standing there, because he knows he is the man. These people were giving worship to a man and he hadn’t even bust a move yet. Today we have come to talk to the church. We are addressing those who sit up in church calm and collected. Can you give God the glory before he even pops up? Can you give God the glory, before he busts a move? When we think of the goodness and all that he has done for us, we have to give him glory. Michael Jackson is gone, but the King of Glory is still on the throne! We are in the Grip of Grace! We were schooled criminals! We did whatever we could! God told us that it was easy as ABC, 123. He said if I would except the Lord Jesus Christ, believe in his name, and confess with my mouth, I would be saved! The Devil wanted to be starting something, but God told the devil to Beat it! When the devil left, God promised through the Holy Spirit that, “I’ll (God) be there”! God said whose bad? Then God responds, “I’m bad”! They put Jesus on the cross, buried him, but whose bad? God’s bad! He got up with all power and authority in his hands! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!