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The Gift of Grace - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
August 20, 2023 12:00 am

The Gift of Grace - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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August 20, 2023 12:00 am

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4).


The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bratley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! Thou forest of my God and King, thou triumphs of his grace!

This is LeSaire Bratley, Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin, How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin? Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free, For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me! Wonderful, the massless grace of Jesus, deeper than the mighty rolling sea, Higher than the purple, brighter than the thousand, All solutions trace for you and me! Broader than the scope of my transgressions, seen it, greater far than all my sin, In shame or sin or shame, O magnify the precious name of Jesus! Praise his name! Wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching the most defile, By his transforming power, making him God's dear child, Purchasing peace and heaven for all eternity, And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me! Wonderful, the massless grace of Jesus, deeper than the mighty rolling sea, Higher than the purple, brighter than the thousand, All solutions trace for you and me! Broader than the scope of my transgressions, seen it, greater far than all my sin, In shame or sin or shame, O magnify the precious name of Jesus! Praise his name! I'm glad that you're with us today and hope that the message will be a blessing to you.

If it is, we'd like to hear from you, and if you can help with the support of the program, we'll certainly be grateful for that. Our address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. After learning of the report of the Surgeon General that loneliness has become an epidemic and is causing many health problems, I brought the message, Never Alone, reminding the child of God that he has the promise of his Heavenly Father, I will never leave thee. Our next message was, Considering One Another, looking at several of the one-anothering verses, pointing out that if we fulfill these admonitions, we'll be involved with people and there will be little time for loneliness.

Well, then I thought about the fact that if a person is struggling with loneliness, they're often cast down and might say, I just can't minister to others, I am too weak. So our next message was, God Uses the Weak, and I followed that up with help for the fainting. As you know, our emphasis on this broadcast is to bring the message of grace, and grace is the underlying foundation of everything we've been talking about these last few weeks. It is because of grace that God can say, I will never leave you. It's because of grace that you're blessed to love one another and to be comforted by one another's fellowship.

It is because of grace that God uses the weak and because of grace that strength is given to the fainting. So today, our message is, The Gift of Grace. Turn with me to the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 1. I'm going to read a few more verses than usual in the beginning of the message. First, I want to look at the fourth verse, which we will use as our text.

1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 4. I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ. The gift of grace.

What a gift. How marvelous, the grace of God. Now let's go back to verse 1. 1 Corinthians chapter 1, beginning with the first verse. Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God and Sophanes our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance and in all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now Paul first gives thanks for the grace that is given to this church at Corinth, but in the process he acknowledges the grace that is given to him because he says, Paul called to be an apostle. He was called by the will of God. It was not because of any merit of his own.

It was purely by grace and the sovereign will of God. Saul of Tarsus was an enemy of the church. He didn't just look at it with indifference, he opposed it.

He despised it. He was consenting to have Christians put to death. So what a remarkable transformation when the Lord visited him on the road to Damascus, humbled him, brought him down, revealed Christ to him, changed his life. So he identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God. Now Paul is writing to confront and correct a number of disorders in this church.

In fact if you look at the epistle as a whole you'd have to say that it's an agitation to godly living. But he begins reminding them of what God had done for them and also what he had promised yet to do. So first let's think about the giver of grace. Paul thanks God for the grace given. Grace is undeserved mercy given to sinners.

It cannot be earned or merited or even repaid. It wouldn't be grace if it was something that was given on the basis of merit, good works, faithful effort. Grace is mercy given to undeserving sinners.

Somebody will say, well I'm doing the very best I can. Well that's not good enough because the holy God of heaven demands perfection and you don't even come close. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The best you can do comes woefully short of what God demands. So because of sin there is a need for grace and because of grace sin is put away.

What good news, that's the gospel. That sin is put away through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 7, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. The forgiveness of sins. Sometimes a person will say, well I just can't forgive myself or I can't forgive somebody else for what they've done to me. Sin is a horrible thing.

The burden of guilt can be almost unbearable. So when we talk about the forgiveness of sin, that the very God of heaven whom we have offended by our transgressions forgives us, what marvelous news. What reason to rejoice. What comfort and consolation to know that while we can't roll back the clock and we can't undo the things that we have done. We can find forgiveness through Jesus Christ. I couldn't help but observe in reading these first verses of 1st Corinthians chapter 1 as to how frequently the focus is on God and on Jesus Christ. Just in these few verses, Paul is constantly referring to God. God is the giver of this grace. And he is the only one that can help this church recover from its difficult situation.

So let's just notice it. Verse 1, an apostle of Jesus Christ. Verse 1, through the will of God. Verse 2, unto the church of God. Verse 2, sanctified in Christ Jesus. Verse 2, all that call upon Jesus Christ.

See the constant focus that's put on God and Jesus Christ. Verse 3, peace from God our Father. Verse 3, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 4, I thank my God always. Verse 4, the grace of God. Verse 4, given you by Jesus Christ. Verse 5, enriched by him. Verse 6, the testimony of Christ. Verse 7, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 8, who shall confirm you to the end. Verse 8, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 9, God is faithful. Verse 9, Jesus Christ our Lord. 17 times in 9 verses, reference is made to God and Jesus Christ.

Surely his name is lifted up. We praise him. We rejoice in him. He is the giver of this grace of which the apostle speaks. He's speaking about the grace of God so that they, sinners by nature, are now sanctified. They are addressed as saints. He speaks to them as being enriched by God.

And he speaks of the fact that God has confirmed them to the end. The giver of grace, our sovereign God, giving us abundant grace through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now let's observe some of these particular blessings of grace that are described. First of all, it's by grace that he addresses them as the church, the church of God at Corinth. He refers to it then as being God's church. Belonging to the church, we have the privilege of membership and we should be thankful for that. But the church belongs to Christ. Now as members, we have obligations to fill our place, to support the church, to pray for the church, to respect the church.

I find many times today that there is a lacking in many of these areas. That a person just kind of takes for granted the church is there. I can attend when it's comfortable and doesn't interfere with any other plan. If I've got something else to do, I don't feel any obligation to it.

I can come and go. If I don't like this church, I move on to another one. But we have an obligation to the local church of our membership. Paul is speaking of a particular church, the church of God, which is at Corinth. Now it was a church that had many problems, yet he addresses it as the church of God. There were factions, there was envy, there was strife, there were lawsuits.

You say, how could that be that people in the same church were going to court suing each other? But that's how far this church had gone down the wrong path. There was immorality. There was a lack of discipline. The church had terribly failed in that area, had not held up the principles of righteousness that should have been maintained.

And so Paul has to confront them about the matter of discipline. There was doctrinal error. Certainly there was spiritual immaturity. They had to be fed with milk and not with meat. There were disorders at the Lord's table. They were relying on human wisdom.

And the list goes on. Now when you hear all of that, and you read the entire book of 1 Corinthians, you might say, I don't think I would call that a church. Somebody would say, well indeed, that church would be in terrible disorder. I could have no respect for it, but the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, addresses it as the church of God, which is at Corinth.

Doesn't mean that we defend any of their errors, or their failures, or their improper actions. But it does give us some comfort to know that God is often more gracious than man. That he still identifies it as a church. Paul leaves in change. He believes that change is possible. He's writing to this church to point out some of their errors and discrepancies. He expresses thanks to God for what God has done for them. And speaks of what God intends yet to do, because he has promised to be faithful to them. And so, we're reminded of this, that God is the God of hope. There is always hope in God. You'll never say, as long as you believe in God, the God of the Bible, you can never say, I give up, I'm hopeless. Because God identifies himself as the God of hope. Romans chapter 15, verse 13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that he may abound in hope. Sometime you'll ask a person, how you doing? Well, I'm hanging in there.

That wouldn't satisfy the apostle Paul. He said, I want you to do better than just hang in there. I want you not only to have hope, I want you to abound in hope. I want you to have an abundance of it, and it's through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that you are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. So, as we admonish one another on the basis of biblical truth, hope is built up. We can encourage one another, we can help one another, we can see change wrought where change needs to occur.

Why? Because we're trusting God. God is the God of hope.

I might be speaking to somebody today who is in a very low, dark place and you're close to feeling hopeless. But remember, God's still on the throne. God's still able to do for you what you're unable to do for yourself. He says He is the God of hope. We need to keep this truth ever in mind, whether we're looking at a church, the problems of a church, or we're looking at an individual with problems that can at times seem to be overwhelming.

All believe that by the grace of God that had been given them, by the power of God, the enabling work of the Holy Spirit of God, these who were saved by grace could be changed by grace. He doesn't give up on them. What about you? Have you had friends that you've tried to help? Someone that you've tried to admonish? Someone that you've tried to encourage? And after a time when there was no positive change, you gave up? Paul wasn't giving up on this church. It looked like it was in bad shape. I can't imagine any preacher saying, well, I tell you, that's a church I'd like to pastor.

I feel, wow, the problems are so great, I feel overwhelmed. But Paul loved these people. He loved this church.

He wanted to see it recovered. And so he doesn't give up hope. And we ought not to give up hope, whether it's a church or whether it's an individual. Maybe somebody you've prayed for for a long time and you've tried to labor with them and work with them and it looks hopeless at the moment.

But we're still talking about one who is able to do far beyond what we can think or even ask for. So Paul is directing the people not to himself and not to themselves, but to God. Many, many faults indeed, but he next not only has called them the church of God, he calls them saints, which means that people set apart. Now, when you read this description, you probably wouldn't be inclined to say, I'm thankful for the saints at Corinth. But Paul calls them saints. There were, yes, changes that needed to be made.

There were problems that needed to be solved. But first, in order to get to that, he reminds them of their position in Christ. He says, you're the church of God. You are saints, meaning you have been sanctified.

That is your position. They were the children of God. But at this time, they were disobedient children, but they were still children. You see, there was a difference between their position and their practice. Positionally, they were in Christ. Positionally, they were the recipients of God's grace. They were sanctified. They were set apart.

But as far as their practice, they were stumbling and faltering and coming far short. Now, in this epistle, Paul directly confronts each error, each sin. He doesn't ignore them. He doesn't say, well, I just love you people so much that I'm not going to confront you. No, he loves them enough to speak the truth, but he gives them an incentive for change.

He reminds them of who they are. You are in Christ. Christ is in you, the hope of glory. You are saints. You are sanctified. Now, if I were to ask you today, do you feel like a saint? Most of you say, oh, absolutely not.

I'm not even close. But if you're a child of God, you are a saint. Positionally, in Christ, you have been set apart.

You belong to him. So they're not doing well as far as progressive sanctification is concerned. You see, that distinction must be made. Positionally, God's people are sanctified.

But as far as their walk, their experience of day to day, it's a progressive thing. They are being progressively sanctified. In the 30th verse of this first chapter of 1 Corinthians, it says, But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. So Christ is made unto us sanctification. He is our wisdom. He is our righteousness. He is our sanctification.

He is our redemption. And so, being in him, you are sanctified. All saints are set apart. They are called saints.

That doesn't mean just a name attached to them. It means the reason they're a saint is because they're called. They've been called by the Holy Spirit of God. In 1 Peter chapter 1, there's reference in the beginning to election and to sanctification. God has chosen the people, elected them, and consequently they are sanctified in Christ.

But then when you get to the 15th verse, you see the practical application of it. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. So the fact that you've been chosen was not that you just might live after the flesh and say, Well, I've got a secure place in heaven. It doesn't matter what I do here or that you don't have any concern about daily sanctification.

No. It says be holy even as I'm holy. That's what it's all about. This is the foundation that God had given grace and bestowed it upon you. But now, building on that foundation, you are to walk in a godly, holy manner. As saints, you're viewed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Isn't that wonderful to consider? Hebrews chapter 10, verse 10, We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Verse 14, For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. So the basis of your positional sanctification is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ because of his sacrifice at the cross, sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. And then he speaks of saints in other places, verse 2 in this first chapter. He says, With all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

Who are these saints in other places? Well, all believers have the same Lord. This ought to give us a gracious outlook toward other Christians. We have a tendency to focus on what our differences may be.

I don't agree with these people for this reason or that reason. I can't feel any real fellowship with them because here's one point that's important to me and I see that differently than they do. But he says we have the same Lord, we're part of the same family. These who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, both theirs and ours. Paul says he's my God, he's your God, he's the God that call all that call upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, that doesn't include Muslims who are calling on Allah or Hindus who are calling on Brahma. Nor somebody that's on their way to heaven in darkness and doesn't know anything about Jesus Christ.

That's not the case. These call upon the Lord Jesus Christ. And so we are one in him and have fellowship with other believers. Others, others, Lord, yes, others, that this my God, O be, help me to live for others, that I may live by thee. It is wonderful to consider the gift of God's grace and be reminded that the salvation of our soul is entirely by the sovereign grace of God. But to remember also that his grace is that which supports us in all of the details of our life while we're here on this earth.

I hope that you will take time to write us this week and let us know that you've listened until next week. At this same time, may the Lord richly bless you all. Others, Lord, yes, others, that this my God, O be, help me to live for others, that I may live by thee. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. Address all mail to the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. That's the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Let self be crucified and slain and buried deep, and all in vain may efforts be to rise again, unless you live for others. I bless your life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-26 22:39:05 / 2023-08-26 22:48:19 / 9

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