Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
March 1, 2015 at 10:45 AM
Subject
Growing in the Grace of Christ
Description
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday March 1, 2015
Growing in the Grace of Christ
2nd Peter 1: 3 “ According as his divine power hath given unto...” 3:18 “ But grow in the grace, and in the knowledge...”
Life is a process of growth. It starts before birth and 
continues at a varying rate until death. Every normal person 
experiences in areas that include: physical, social, psychological, 
and spiritual. To promote desirable growth, society has 
established medical, education, social, and religious services. 
Each of these service areas has guidelines, standards and 
patterns for use in structuring the growth activities. Of particular 
interest today is the topic of spiritual growth. It is an unfortunate 
fact that this area is too often minimized, if not totally neglected. 
Our sermon, in this connection, will address this critical 
spiritual area under the subject - Growing in the Grace of Jesus. 
The sermon will explore time periods for growing in the Grace 
of Jesus, namely: Past Grace; Present Grace; and Future Grace. 
As background for the study, attention will be focused on 
two persons who surface whenever the topic of grace is studied; 
they are Peter and Jesus. Since the text was lifted from one of 
Peter’s Books, let us first take a casual look at this person. 
Peter was the most outspoken of the disciples; he was a member 
of the inner circle of Peter, James, and John; he walked on the 
water while looking at Jesus; he acknowledge Jesus as the 
Christ; and he preached the first sermon on the day of Pentecost. 
Yet, this same Peter had earlier denied Christ, was prone to 
tell a lie, and was - even - quick to use fowl language. Following 
his restoration after the resurrection of Jesus; however, Peter 
became a proclaimer of the Gospel; defender of the faith; 
preacher of the Work; and author of two Books in the New 
Testament. That same Peter, in our text today, urges us to 
grow in the Grace of Jesus Christ; his plead is experiential 
because Peter knew that his restoration was by grace and not 
his works. 
Whereas Peter was restored by Grace, the next person - 
Jesus was the source of Grace. St. John, the beloved disciple, 
described Jesus as ...the only begotten of the Father, full of 
grace and truth ( John 1:14 ). The theme of Grace is quite 
prominent in the New Testament. Saint Paul, the prolific 
New Testament writer, elaborated on grace in many of his 
letters. In the Book of Romans, Paul reminded them, a message 
that also applies to us, that they were freely justified by Grace 
through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ ( Romans 3:24). 
In sum, Peter and Paul wrote about the role of grace 
in human life; but, this wonderful gift was made possible 
by Christ. Hence, no Christ, no purging, no hope, and no 
salvation. But thanks be to God for his love of mankind 
in recorded in John 3:16, we have only to believe in Jesus 
and we shall have eternal life. Oh! as a collateral fact, grace 
is defined as an unmerited favor from the everlasting Father; 
grace - in this regard - can never be earned by work; instead, 
it comes only when the believers kneel at the foot of the cross. 
Against this background the subject of growing in the 
Grace of Jesus, attention will now be focused on the earlier 
historic periods of grace - the first of which is Past Grace. This 
category of grace includes the numerous past experiences 
of grace that have come into our life; these experiences include 
but are not limited to: being born in America, having a place 
to live, access to the school system, being able to find and 
hold a job, having lived to reach retirement, and being blessed 
with physical, mental, and spiritual well being. Friends, it is so 
easy for us to take the grace induced blessing for granted. But 
as believers in the finished work of Jesus, we should be ever 
mindful of the good things God has allowed to enter our life. 
St. Paul, in writing on the past Grace, reminded the Ephesians 
that they were saved by grace ( Eph. 2:5 ) Moreover, he told 
them that they were save through faith; and not of themselves 
otherwise they should boast ( Eph. 2:8 ). 
The second time period of Grace is that of Present Grace. 
This level of grace encompasses our daily experiences; they 
range from awakening from a slumbering sleep this morning, 
having soundness of mind, being able to perform our personal 
care functions, having transportation to attend this worship 
service, the freedom to decide what satisfies our appetite, and 
the ability to express ourselves. While these are but a few 
measures of present grace, they signal to us the need to make 
every effort to grow in grace. This effort, according to Peter, 
will requires a two fold effort; first, we must learn to rely on 
God’s promise - be faithful unto death and I will give you the 
crown of life ( Rev. 2:10 ). Next, we are called upon each day 
to remember that we can do all things through Christ who 
strengthen us ( Phil. 3:13 ). While striving each day to grow 
in the grace of Christ, we must - at the same time - devote 
some attention to the last category of grace; it is that of future 
grace. Beloved, irrespective of troubles, adversities, heavy 
loads, elusive goals, double crossing associates, and others 
nerve wracking problem, we should continue relying upon 
God’s grace to finish well in our life. Peter sets forth two 
contrasting destinies depending on how we react to God’s 
Grace. This first is that of being far worst off. At this level, 
we are prone to fall into sin. Let us note Peter’s warning - 
But there were false prophets also among you, who privily 
shall bring damnable heresies even denying the Lord that 
brought them and bring themselves swift destruction 
( II Peter 2:1 ). In contrast, the next consequence is that 
of being Far better Off; it is that of Godly Living. In support 
of this future ace, Peter wrote, “ According as his divine 
power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and 
godliness, through knowledge of him that hath called us 
to glory and virtue. 
In closing, all of us can have earthy success and eternal 
existence with the Father if we would but master the art of 
growing in the grace of Christ. There is no riddle in how to 
grow in the grace of it; instead, the answer is found in God’s 
Word, just one of the many Scriptures is cited as a closing 
thought. “ Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am 
meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest unto your 
soul for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ( Matt. 11: 
29-30 ). Beloved, this divine challenge yet beacons across the 
annual of time and conveys a message of hope for all those 
who love can “trust and obey”. Amen
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