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The Gift of Grace, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
December 23, 2021 7:00 am

The Gift of Grace, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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December 23, 2021 7:00 am

Reminiscing about great Christmas gifts we’ve received in our lifetimes; understanding why God’s grace is the greatest gift anyone can receive; based on various passages.

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If God could save Saul, the worst persecutor in the first century church, God can save anybody by His grace. Your relatives, your atheist friends, agnostic community, whoever it is, grace can reach them and change their hearts. So I want you to keep praying for people, keep loving people, keep preaching the good news. During the earthly ministry of Jesus, he talked about lost sheep, lost coins, even lost sons, but he never once mentioned lost causes. Hello and welcome to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is Senior Pastor Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California.

Think about the people you know who are living in rebellion, who openly say they don't believe in God or in His Son, Jesus Christ. Today, Pastor Paul wants to encourage you not ever are they beyond God's reach or God's redemption. Today's message is straight ahead. Stay with us now or stop by anytime to hear today's message or any recent Destined for Victory message on demand. That's

You can also subscribe to the podcast, a Google podcast or wherever you enjoy your programs. Let's join Pastor Paul now as he shares today's message. The gift of grace. When the Bible says Saul or Paul was called to be an apostle, that is a clear demonstration of the grace of God. And so grace not only is a variety pack, but now I'm making the point grace can completely change a person's heart, completely change a person's heart. When you have grace, you have God's endowment, you have an ability He has sent from on high that if you need a heart transplant, not a physical one, but a spiritual one, grace has the power to give you that heart transplant.

Not only to give you, but to give to somebody you're praying for, somebody you're interceding for, somebody who you know needs God and needs Him in the worst way. God can change that person's heart. So I want to let you know, grace is powerful. And don't you give up on anybody because you say there's no hope.

There's no way they could ever change. If God could save Saul, the worst persecutor in the first century church, God can save anybody by His grace. That's what I need you to understand. Your relatives, your atheist friends, agnostic community, whoever it is, grace can reach them and change their hearts. So I want you to keep praying for people, keep loving people, keep preaching the good news, and if you have to use words when you preach it, do that. You know, sometimes we preach best by our showing folk the love and the grace of God in our own hearts and lives. I am sick of seeing these hateful Christians thinking they're doing the will of God. We got to quit all this telling people they're going to hell and think we're representing the love of God. The love of God isn't shown in the fact that people are going to hell. The love of God is shown in the fact that people don't have to go. And so we need to be proponents, we need to be agents of the love of God, of the hope that is in Jesus. And we need to know that grace comes in a variety pack, everything you need, God can give it to you by His grace, and grace can completely change a person's heart.

Think about Paul, I keep bringing him up. When this opens by saying, called to be an apostle, you would think, well that had to be somebody who was almost saved anyway. Listen, nobody is almost saved, you're either saved or you're lost. Now there are religious saved people, there are some folks say good people, I know they're really good, they just need the Lord. Well, I know what you mean, they do some nice things, yes, people who don't know the Lord can do some very nice things. The Bible doesn't say that everybody who doesn't know the Lord is hateful and mean and cantankerous.

No, some people can be very nice, very polite, very generous, very much helping other people. You can do that, but you're still lost until you know Jesus. And the good news is, Jesus is available to be found and He can change anybody's heart. And so don't underestimate the power of God, grace can see to the person's heart being changed.

So you who are praying for your loved ones, your coworkers, your friends, whoever it is who don't know the Lord, keep praying and keep sharing the love of God. We got to see that the whole idea of being a witness is just that. You are to show, what does a witness do in a courtroom? They show what they know, they speak what they know, testify to what they've seen.

So when the Bible says we're to be witnesses, it's not all yap, yap, yap, yap, yap. You got to show people, I know Jesus for myself, He changed me and He can change you as well. And so we need to let folks know that grace isn't a singular gift, it comes in a variety pack and grace can change a person completely. Let me give you one more thing about grace.

It's similar to the second point, but let me give it to you this way in the third point. Grace can make saints out of extreme sinners. Grace can make saints out of extreme sinners. Now again, some folks think, well, you know, my friends are really good, all they need is the Lord. Almost like they're kind of junior saved and they just need to get officially saved. No, no, you don't understand, everybody who's not saved needs to come to know Jesus.

He's the only savior of the world. So we preach faithfully the good news of Jesus Christ, which is that God so loved the world, gave His only begotten Son, that whoever puts his or her trust in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. But this third point is grace can make saints out of extreme sinners. Now what do I mean when I say that? Verse 2 of 1 Corinthians 1, to the church of God, which is at Corinth.

Pause right there. To the church of God, which is at Corinth. I'm telling you, if you want to understand grace, you got to drill down. And I need you to know that when the Bible says there was the church of God at Corinth, that tells you that grace isn't just out looking for really nice, really polite, really well-behaved people only.

God wants to save them too. Grace is able to reach extreme sinners. You say, well, what's the church of God at Corinth have to do that? Take some time and learn what was going on in the city of Corinth in Paul's day.

Let me just break it down for you for the purposes of this message. Corinth was the type of place you would not expect a successful church plant to occur. If you think about the early church and they're going to go out and preach the gospel. If you think, well, they went to places where people were very well-behaved but just needed to know about Jesus.

No, no. They went to places where folk were extreme as well as people who were really, really nice. And Corinth was one of the extreme ones. Corinth had a temple dedicated to a goddess, the goddess of love, Aphrodite, the goddess of love. It featured, this temple featured 1,000 quote-unquote sacred prostitutes. Imagine a religious temple, well, it was a temple of a goddess called love. And in the temple, they employed 1,000 sacred prostitutes.

You would go there for hookups. And that was what they did in Corinth. That was one of many temples but that was one of the ones where you could go and worship in a very ungodly way.

Corinth also had another temple dedicated to Apollo. It employed young men specifically and their job was to fulfill the sexual desires of both male and female worshipers. Imagine, you got temples that you would think that, you know, they're really in there worshiping some deity or whatever. They're worshiping a god named Apollo in their world view or a goddess named Aphrodite. But what they were doing was hardly religious worship.

It was instead vile, it was licentiousness, the likes of which many people would have never seen until they got there. That's what was going on in Corinth when Paul shows up there. So when you read Acts chapter 18 and you see Paul in the midst of a missionary journey going to the city of Corinth, there is no church of God there but he shows up armed with one thing, a message about the grace of God.

That's all he comes to town to tell him. I need you all to know that God is a God who has offered to us all a gift called grace. And if you'll open your heart to it, that God will change your life and even if you are an extreme sinner, he can save you and he can change you. Stay with us. The second half of Pastor Paul Shepherd's message is coming right up. But we want to thank all of you who support Destined for Victory with your prayers and financial support. Those are gifts that help Pastor Paul share the joy of the Gospel message with a growing audience. Destined for Victory is supported entirely by friends like you. And now, here at the end of the year, your generosity is especially appreciated. So please, prayerfully consider making your best end of year gift to Destined for Victory today. Give online safely and securely from our website or simply give us a call at 855-339-5500.

Again, that number is 855-339-5500. For decades now, we've seen a steady moral decline take place in our culture. But this is not the first time it's happened.

Far from it. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, The Gift of Grace. So this city was known for its unbridled sinfulness. This city was known so much so that in researching years ago when I first researched what was going on in Corinth, I discovered in the research that there was a Greek verb that was coined specifically because of this city. It is a Greek verb which we would translate to Corinthianize. And it meant to practice all kinds of sexual immorality. It meant when they said, you're Corinthianizing, that means you are not just a sinner, you are a buck wild, sexually free sinner.

You see what I'm saying? There was, in the Greek world, there was a term named for this city. People could say, you know what, we're going to Corinthianize tonight. Now you know you're buck wild when people describe your city. Just one word, it means we're going to make what they're going to do in the 21st century look, it's going to pale in comparison. We are going to find every possible way to be sexually wild. That's what we're going to do. So you can forget, we think, you know, we think, oh man, look at the sin in the 21st century.

Look at these people just going to hell. Listen to these songs and all that. No, no, Corinth was it. These people could show you how to get in some wildness. Forget it's getting hot in here, so take us, forget all that. This went way past that.

I know I went back a couple of decades, but y'all get the point, I'm old, so. Fact of the matter is Corinthianizing was a term coined in Greek culture because of this specific city. And so I want you to know these folk were extreme sinners. And that's where Paul shows up in Acts 18 and says, hey, I came to tell y'all some good news.

The good news is God loves you. I love the fact that he went preaching the love of God. Read Acts 18. Paul didn't go to town talking about all y'all going to hell. He didn't go walk up in the temples and say every last one of y'all going to hell.

Why do 21st century Christians think that's what God wants us to do when 1st century Christians who went to wilder places than we ever go to, and what did they talk about? Not the sins of the people. They talked about the grace of God.

I came to tell you, saints, we got to get this right. God loves sinners. Jesus came for sinners. We've got to get in the business of loving and preaching good news to sinners. Y'all got to quit all this who's going to hell. Quit all this judgment. This whole focus is on how people are living. No, that is not the way we change our society by getting rid of this and getting rid of that.

Get rid of things that you can, but please understand you're not helping anybody by telling them what's wrong with them. You help people by showing them who God is, how much he loves them, how much he has a plan for their lives, and this God of love wants us to be agents of that love as we move out into this world. Talk to the average sinner today and ask them what they think of Christians, and then be prepared to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And many of them will tell you, I want nothing to do with Christians or Christianity.

Why? Because of how we have misrepresented our mission. We were sent to love and to preach good news, and we spend our time all too often hating and preaching you're going to hell news. Something is wrong with not the message but the messengers when we misrepresent the heart of God to this lost and dying world.

God sent Paul to the city of Corinth, and Paul went telling them, I got good news for y'all, and he shared the grace of God. He went through all kinds of problems in that city. I don't have the time to walk you through Acts 18.

Read it when you get a chance. At a certain point, he's even thinking of leaving town because he's being persecuted. They are threatening violence. All kinds of stuff is happening, and so Paul had to change where he preached in one case because unfortunately the violence being threatened was not from the sinners. It was from the religious people. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Religious people can be the worst folk.

That's why saints, let me just tell you something. You do what you want. I have stopped referring to myself in my general life as a Christian. I am a Christian, but because of the term being so poorly represented, when I'm on back when I flew on planes one day, we'll get back to all that, but back when I would sit next to somebody and strike up, and they would say something, maybe see me reading the Bible or whatever, just our conversation lent itself to a quick word of witness, and I share something about my faith. I said, oh, you're a Christian. I said, well, I'm a follower of Christ. I'm a follower of Christ. That's how I refer to myself. I follow Jesus. Don't give me that term, not because the term is wrong, but because what it's going to conjure up in your mind based on them mean people you met or have in your family or have in your neighborhood or on your job who said they're Christians. So as for me, I'm much more comfortable saying I'm a follower of Christ.

You do it the way you do it. It's about Jesus. He's the one who gave us the grace. God gave us grace through Jesus Christ.

I am a follower of that man. Jesus is the one who brings good news that changes people's lives, that can change them even if they are extreme sinners, and I'm saying that because some of us need to not get amnesia because some of y'all, I know you're sitting up here wherever you are feeling rather holy, but just think back where God brought you from. Some of y'all might not have been all the way Corinthianizing, but some of y'all know that you got some stuff. Now come on, just don't worry about other people's stuff. Right now, look in your own mirror and think about what God brought you out of, and some of y'all were sneaky with yours. You weren't open and buck wild and all that, but you had that little sneaky.

Come on, I know you. He reading me today, yes, sneaky. Do you know sneaky sin is still sin? You know sin that not most folk know about is still sin?

You know a bad heart, even if it doesn't manifest in the worst possible ways, you never killed anybody, you never shot anybody, but if you got hatred in your heart, if you got malice in your heart, if you got unforgiveness in your heart, you got stuff like that in you, do you know that you needed as much grace as the Corinthian folk did? Because sin doesn't come in felonies and misdemeanors. Some of y'all think you never committed a felony sin. You think, well, I wasn't, and I've met so many self-righteous Christians who think they're better off because of what they never did. I never did this, I never did that.

I know people who lived their life in Never Never Land. They'll tell you what they never did. I never, even in my sins, I never stooped. Okay, you never stooped to this, but if we look at what you did, the Bible calls what you did unrighteousness to. Sin doesn't come in misdemeanors and felonies.

All unrighteousness is sin. Therefore, my brother, my sister, you needed grace, and the people we're called to win need that same grace, and it is available through Jesus Christ. Grace is God's unmerited favor. Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense. But grace, when you drill down, there's so much that is available to us because of the amazing grace of God. The hymn writer had it right, amazing grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, and now I'm found.

Was blind, but now I see. You know, many of us have gone through times when we built monuments to misery. Maybe it's guilt or self-condemnation. Maybe we no longer believe we deserve God's blessing.

Don't buy the lie. You are a child of the living, loving God, and in Christ, you are destined for victory. You know, the highest calling we have as believers in Christ is to share the gift of God's grace with the world, and a great way to do that is by joining Pastor Paul as a Destined for Victory partner for as little as $20 a month. In light of some severe challenges these past two years or so, people are eager to hear about the hope we have in Christ, and many are getting that message as a Destined for Victory broadcast.

So please, prayerfully consider joining Pastor Paul in his mission to share the light of the Gospel to all people, even to those who have grown comfortable in the dark. As our way of saying thanks for your partnership of $20 or more each month, we'll send you a few thank you gifts, including one of Pastor Paul's most popular CDs, The Best of Let My People Smile. So call 855-339-5500 and find out more about how to become a Destined for Victory partner. Or you can mail your gift right now, letting us know you wish to become our partner.

The address is Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. You can also become our partner from our website, Now if you can't become a partner, but would like to send a generous gift to the ministry today, we'd love to share with you a gift of our own, Pastor Paul's brand new book, Lessons from the Vineyard.

That's called Lessons from the Vineyard, and it's our gift to you this month by request for your best gift of $25 or more to Destined for Victory. The greatest gift ever given was the gift of grace because of all the other things I've talked about, but finally because it will keep you firm to the end. Some of y'all feel shaky, some of you look shaky right now, your lifestyle's shaky, your decision making is shaky, you've got some stuff in your life that hardly looks firm, but God said don't worry about it, grace is an endowment that I give you, you don't have to earn it. And that's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, The Gift of Grace. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory. ...
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-06 02:09:31 / 2023-07-06 02:18:34 / 9

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