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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 148 countries and all 50 States and The District of Columbia in the U.S.

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Mission: To be a resource to Pastors and Bible teachers in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. – Sermons to the World

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Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

AMAZING GRACE



“AMAZING GRACE”

By Pastor Mark Taylor
June 23, 2013
"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32).
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36).

Grace is not easily defined but it is a beautiful word.  The Lord Jesus did not even use the word “Grace”, but He demonstrated grace everywhere He went.  Jesus stood by a woman caught in adultery and the law said stone her, but Jesus said: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”  (John 8:7).  This was “Grace”.  He demonstrated it on the cross when he told the undeserving thief: “Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43).  And to the people who had beaten Him and crucified Him: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Our Lord told stories about “Grace”.  He told of the “Good Samaritan” who helped someone of another race and culture and then said “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).  He told of a sinner who prayed and received forgiveness: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13).

We live in a world of “Un-grace”.  Some people do not think the sound of “Amazing Grace” is sweet.  There are many religious people and Christians who would vote for stoning the woman, ignoring the thief, getting even with those who hurt them, passing by the hurt man, and giving the sinner what he deserved.

Why does this world resist our Lord’s example of “Amazing Grace”? One of the reasons is that we have grown up in a society that emphasizes the idea of “what we do for God” instead of “what God does for us”.  Somehow we have added a new verse to the Bible that says: “God helps those, who help themselves”.  That may be true in getting an education, a job, and in relationships with others.  There is some truth to “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps”.   But that is not how God operates with us in His “Grace”.  The Biblical principle that is repeated throughout the scriptures is that “God helps those who are helpless.  The first principle can become a Gospel of works.  The second one is the Gospel of Grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“Grace” is not a license to sin, and our freedom is not without responsibility.  There are always consequences for sin, but “Grace” is amazing and sweet.
When we accept God’s “Grace” and choose to live a life of “Grace” toward others several things happen.
First, you become free from your own guilt and failures. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17).  We become free from the idea that to please God we have to live up to some type of “external performance”.  We no longer have to serve God out of fear, but out of love.  When we fail, we can follow the simple Biblical formula for forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).  How can that be so simple?  Because we believe what the Bible says and we live by faith.  “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17).
Secondly, when you choose to live a life of “Grace”, you become free from the expectations and rules of others.  Groups and individuals are always trying to impose their standards and rules on others.  Sometimes these may be helpful to improving our relationship with God or making us a better person, but most of the time they put us in bondage.  We try to live up to the expectations of others and both they and us are disappointed in the results.  In our relationship with God we can apply this verse of Grace: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1). 
 God knows we are not going to live a perfect life, but his “Grace” is not based on performance, but on love for Him and others. Base your actions toward God out of love.  "If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15).  Love is the key word; not fear, obligation, pay back, or guilt.
Finally, when we choose a life of “Grace” we will become more tolerant of others and less judgmental of their faults.  Our Lord gave us a pattern to follow that will give us more “Grace”: "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)
God loves you and is offering you His “Amazing Grace”  Doesn’t it sound sweet?

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