Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr.
Delivered On
February 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Central Passage
Acts 4:12
Subject
Saved by Grace
Description

 

                             Saved by Grace

"Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other

name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"

Acts 4:12.

We find ourselves in complicated situations where our

strength and knowledge seem inadequate to mitigate or solve the

problem. Amidst the baffling situation, there emerged an unanticipated

solution: the barriers vanished, the burdens dissipated, and the doubts

faded. Just how such welcomed changes occurred are variously

interpreted. Some would attributed them to luck, others would say

they came from their personal ingenuity, a few would refer to their

rabbit foot or luck charm, and the skeptics would conclude that it was

just a coincident.

While each of these explanations may have some plausibility, they

all fall short of being correct. The fact is that humanity, while having

free will, is under the control of the Almighty God. This fact is clearly

stated by the Psalmist who penned, "It is he that has made us and not

we ourselves ( Ps. 100: 4 ). In this regard, the events in our live are

ultimately an expression of God’s grace rather than our good luck.

    Our sermon, in this connection, will address some aspects of

Grace as an indispensable force in our life. Hopefully, it will acquaint

us with the nature of grace, familiarize us with the channel of grace,

and help us to be responsive to the offers of grace.

As background for the sermon, attention will be focused on the

word grace. Alan Richardson said, "the idea of grace more than any

other idea binds the two testaments together into a complete whole"

This binding idea is clearly seen in the Old Testament where it is

recorded that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and in the

New Testament where John described Jesus as being full of grace

and truth ( Jo. 1: 14 ).

Grace, as found in the Old and New Testaments can be viewed

in terms of its focus. In the Old Testament, grace was used to denote

kindness and graciousness to others during their earthly sojourn. In the

New Testament, however, grace was given a broader meaning which

was that of God’s redemptive love being made accessible to all who

believe in and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. ( Rom. 10:9 ). It is

this New Testament view of grace where we can anchor our hope while

alive and to carry us to heaven when we die. ( Rev. 2:10 ).

Against this brief background on grace, let us now define the concept.

There are several definitions of this word, Grace, according to

the Smith’s Bible Dictionary, refers to " kindness toward mankind shown

by the Lord Jesus. ( John 1:14, 16 ). Grace can also be defined as "an

unmerited gift from the Lord.

These two definitions of grace disclose that many of the Old

Testament personalities were aware of God’s grace and they craved

to receive benefits from it. But is was the Psalmist who first asserted

that the Lord would give grace and glory unto everyone who walketh

uprightly ( Ps. 84: 11 ). While that thought was comforting to the Old

Testament people, it required them to think of God as an idea or an

abstraction.

Fortunately, God eliminated that need with the gift of His Son,

Jesus, who was the gift of love as recorded in Jo. 3:16 ). Jesus was

also the word that became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace

and truth. That reality leads to the second dimension of this sermon -

which is the channel of grace. This topic could well have been the

conduit, the vehicle, or the vessel by which grace is transmitted.

Each of these words and many other concepts describe the

process by which grace, since the time New Testament, has been

brought to humankind; it comes from the Love of God, the

redemptive power of Jesus, and the delivering power of the Holy

Spirit.

   While the Gospel Writers provided accounts of the life and

ministry of Jesus who epitomized grace, it was the Apostle Paul

who explained the theology of grace. He focused on the origin of

grace, its nature, and its function. Paul had an experiential

encounter on the Damascus Road that convinced him of the power

of grace. He, therefore, presented the theme of grace in many of

his epistles, two of which were: Romans and the 2nd Corinthians.

On the personal side, Paul wrote about a major problem that he

likened unto a throne in his flesh. The condition was nearly

unbearable, it was getting worse, it was energy draining and showed

no indications of relief. Within that agonizing situation, Paul tells of

hearing the Master’s voice saying unto him, "My grace is sufficient

for my strength is made perfect in weakness" ( 2nd Cor. 12: 9 ).

Saint Paul, more than any other New Testament penman,

wrote extensively about the significance of grace in the Christian’s

life. Paul wrote unto the Philippians and reminded them that

"we are all partakers of grace"( Phil. 1:9 ). Therein, he was

reminding them that there is an abundance of grace and it can

be enjoyed by any believer. He conveyed a similar view to the

Romans when he wrote, " we have access unto this grace" ( Rom. 5:2 ).

To this end, all believers were encouraged to seek that grace.

In Heb 4:16, Paul penned and urgent call for believers to "come bodily

to the throne of grace".

In addition to submitting grace for daily living, Paul presented

grace as being indispensable for salvation. Hence, he informed the

Romans, that by believing in and accepting the Lord Jesus, they

were "freely justified by grace" ( Ro. 5:2 ). This certainty was, also,

shared with the Corinthians whom Paul told that they were "saved

by grace through faith" (2nd Cor. 2:5 ).

While not enumerating all of Paul’s teachings on grace, the

focus will now be placed on the final aspect of the sermon which

is - some offers of grace. Whenever the word offers is used, there is

the intent to deliver if needed and/or requested. Grace, in this

connection is God’s methods of giving unmerited gifts to those

who believe and trust in the Almighty. This prospect is forever

available because it is an unmerited gift from God. Beloved, the

offer of grace is free, unrestricted, spontaneous, effective, and

forever present for those whose behavior is consisted with the

will of God. One does not have to be perfect in order to be a

recipient of grace. ( This fact will be illustrated at the close of

the sermon ). Grace is the free, unrestrictive, and spontaneous

expression of God’s love. Grace is extended freely to the sinful

and ungrateful persons because of God’s nature and not human

worth. Grace can not be explained by human reason, instead it

must be viewed as an act of God. In this regard, there is nothing

that we can do to purchase or even justify our access to grace.

Even those of us who are saved must recognize that the Bible

describes us as sinners saved by grace. Saint Paul, in this

connection, reminds humankind that it was the sacrifice of

Jesus and not our worthiness that wrought salvation for God’s

handiwork; thus, he wrote " For you know that grace of

our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your

sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become

rich ( 2nd Cor. 8:9 ). In closing, this sermon has expounded the

eternal fact that God’s grace is an unmerited favor; it keeps

humankind, who through ungrateful at times, under the canopy

of God’s rescue, restoration, and care. Grace is different from

a charge card that has a preset limit; it is, rather, unlimited

in terms of divine blessings. Finally, the notion and works of

grace has been immortalized in John Newton’s famous hymn -

Amazing. The account of John’s conversion and lifework

afterward will close this sermon. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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