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January 17, 2022 1:00 am
Most Christians know the hymn “Amazing Grace” – even non-believers know it. Yet so few of us truly understand why grace is so amazing. Let’s begin looking at the 5 characteristics of God’s saving grace in Ephesians 2. Though no one is worthy, God gives this gift freely to those who believe on His Son. God’s grace is more than sufficient to save not only a “good” person, but the most wicked and vilest of sinners. Now that’s amazing!Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
The rain forest looking to Jesus, founder and perfecter. Once people understand what the Bible teaches about salvation. They know Grace is unmerited favor and they thank God every day for the grace that made it possible for them to become citizens of heaven. To learn more about grace the Moody Church in Chicago this morning when Dr. Irwin looks her mood is clear. Teaching helps us make it across the finish line series on how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God.
Estimates are his grace is amazing. As the song says that is the answer to your question is yes. And often times, the people who appreciate the grace of God the most are those who are deeply aware of their sin because it is against the backdrop of our sin that we see God's unmerited favor I've written a book entitled how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. And I wrote this book to explain the grace of God, to give hope to sinners to help those who struggle with their salvation to be brought to assurance for a gift of any amount.
This book can be yours. Here's what you can do.
Go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and now let us listen to a message on the grace of God and all of us. Of course things frequently, amazing grace, how sweet the sound of that saved a wretch like me I once was lost and now I'm found was blind but now I see. And yet when you ask Christians to explain the gospel. They explained it in such a way that it makes you think that grace is nice.
Grace is helpful and perhaps even grace is necessary, but many times we do not understand why it is truly amazing. The extent of your understanding of grace is dependent upon your understanding of what life is like without grace John Calloway, who hosts Chicago tonight here in the city was interviewed in the Tribune couple of weeks ago and at the end of that interview, which many of you probably read he was asked regarding religion and this is what he said and I quote I'm struggling and I'm not winning that struggle. I'm living in a classic state of sin and that I am separated from God and my only saving grace is that I know it and I think I'll do something about it. If I live long enough.
Think about that. I think I'll do something about it.
The impression is given. You know if I ever really got serious about this business of sin and my separation from God. Maybe I'll do something about it. You know, the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 3, after he listed all of the faults of humanity says that in the courtroom of God. We are all guilty that every mouth may be stopped, and that the world might be declared guilty before God were to find out in a moment that there is nothing that we can do about it is a matter of fact, our very attempt to do something about it only messes it up and makes it worse.
So were going to paint two pictures the first picture is found in Ephesians chapter 2 and the second picture is there to Ephesians chapter 2 were the apostle Paul is talking about life without grace. What we were like before God broke into our lives, and it is not. It is not a pretty picture. Ephesians chapter 2 and you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air of the spirit who is now working in the sons of disobedience, among whom we choose formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest just that far. Paul says that basically life without grace is a cemetery. We are dead in trespasses and sins, but the reason we don't realize how bad off we are is because physically we are alive.
We are alive physically, spiritually dead and that's why he talks about us walking. We are not the Grateful Dead but we are the walking dead and he says we walked according to the course of this world. We have been deceived by the world and we are unconscious of the influence, even of Satan in our lives. According to the prince of the power of this age. Is it any wonder that there is a many people today who are messed up. Is it any wonder that we live in a day and age when people don't know what to do about the violence and all the other problems as long as we are walking according to the course of this age which is giving a host of wrong answers demands fundamental problem telling us to seek answers where there are none friend of mine says that in a restaurant that he frequently goes to.
There is this that hangs on the wall. I have taken the pill I have hoisted my skirts to my thighs and drop them to my ankles, rebelled at the University skied in Aspen lived with two men married one earned my keep My identity and frankly I'm lost. That's our generation. We do what we want to do and yet we are lost in the picture does not get any better. The apostle Paul says that we are buying made sure the children of wrath, the thing that we do most naturally and the thing that we do best is sin. And that's our predicament down all of the hoopla that surrounded the John Wayne Gacy extravaganza, and his eventual execution which took place many people wanted to make him out to be some kind of a monster they wanted us to believe that somehow he was not a member of the human race.
It is almost as if he came from somewhere else other than being a son of Adam, as all of us are. I want you to know today the John Wayne Gacy was a member of the human race.
The thing I think it was surprising to so many of us is that he looked so normal fact I know somebody who looks a whole lot like he does an end and we forget that we forget that John Wayne Gacy was a man who simply allowed his sexual perversions to carry him wherever they lead because someone has accurately said that sin always takes you farther than you want to go. It keeps you longer than you want to stay and it cost more than you intended to pay John Wayne Gacy was one of us was one of us.
Solzhenitsyn who understood the human heart. Much better than a lot of other people said wouldn't it be neat if there would be in this world. Good people and bad people and we find the bad people and put them off somewhere and all the other good people would live together in happiness. He says the line between goodness and badness does not go through the human race, but it goes through the center of every single human heart. Just ask Christ Colson tells the story of someone who had been persecuted and had escape Nazi Germany and when a Nazi was being tried and was brought into the courtroom this person who had lived in a concentration camp fainted and they said later when he was revived. Is it because you could not stand the sight of this murderer and he says no it is not because of that that I fainted. He said I fainted because when I looked at him. He looked so ordinary, so ordinary he did not look like a monster and that's the predicament that we are in. What is the answer five characteristics of grace today, five characteristics of grace. You can write them down, but don't write them in a hymnal don't use an offering envelope that you should have used 20 minutes ago but write them down somewhere five characteristics of grace number one.
Grace sets aside all human effort. It sets aside all human effort, verse four. What a contrast here is this awful cemetery of death like someone says I was dying inside by the inch all the time terrible cemetery. But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved.
It is this. If I'm gonna save the human race. I can't expect them to cooperate because everything that they do is tainted every motive has been tainted you read Romans chapter 3 the words that come out of our mouths. The thoughts that form in our minds the desires of the heart, all of them had been affect by sin, and so God says if I'm going to save the human race. I'm going to take all human goodness and put it on the shelf and market on usable and I'm going to have to do this all by myself. And so God intervenes with the power of resurrection. The apostle Paul says in the book of Romans.
If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works otherwise work is no more work and grace is no more grace, God says I'm going to do something that will set aside human merit forever because it is unusable.
So he acted alone.
First of all Grace sets aside all human effort. Secondly, grace is unaffected. Unaffected by the degree of our sin is unaffected or it is not influenced by the degree of our sin is able. Are you talking about, but suppose you have two corpses is one deader than the other.
You have two people who are dead in their trespasses and in their sins is one really deader than another, know they are equally dead. Equally dead and I would like to compare ourselves to something like John Wayne Gacy don't way is there's a feeling of comfortableness and a feeling of almost a restrained pride at the fact that we would never think of doing such terrible things to think that the killing of 33 boys is so revolting to us that we can't even imagine the horror and we say to ourselves. We are so much better will thank God that we are better. It is much better to be someone who is kind and loving and thoughtful than someone who is a criminal to do those terrible deeds, but please don't ever forget this, that there is no common ground between human goodness and divine holiness and looked at from one standpoint, one great center is just as far from God as all the lesser ones who traipse around the thinking that they are so much better than other people. Always remember that your site will surely good people are closer to God. Well, maybe a bit closer look at the difference between the height of Moody Church in the Sears Tower is quite a difference, you say well the Sears Tower is sure a lot taller than Moody Church.
Yes, it is but you know if we stop comparing the buildings that way and said now which building is closest to Oreo on which is one of the constellations. A couple of hundred or thousand light-years away which one is closer to the top of the Sears Tower is closer than the top of Moody Church differences are negligible.
They don't count because God has declared all our understand all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and Paul says in the book of Romans that every mouth will be stopped and the whole world guilty before God to change the illustration, but suppose that you were going to open a door to a castle and the only way you can open the door is with a very special gold coin that has been especially minted to get in the whole line of people who say why got dollar bills and I got these pennies and summits as I got more pennies and you have I'm better than you and you have all of these arguments regarding who is the best and who is the most folks irrelevant harsh.
Only the people with the gold coin of grace can enter. Everything else is irrelevant. Grace is unaffected by the degree of our sin. God can save John Wayne Gacy just as easily as he can save a churchgoer John Wayne Gacy was not saved by the way, because he died unrepentant, but he could have been. He could have been. That's why grace is so amazing is 1/3 characteristic and that is it takes us all the way to heaven.
Now notice what the apostle Paul says, by grace you have been saved and the verse six and God raised us up with him and is seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
It's a verse that I can only read today, but I have to skip if you remember the first message in this series I talked about the latter that some people want to climb to heaven in the futility of the whole thing. Well, you know, when God raised us up from the dead from the cemetery. He not only helped us halfway to heaven. The Bible says he took us the whole way and we are seated there already. Now if you think that that creates legal problems for a holy God and it does legal problems that he had to solve.
I want you to come back next week because that's what were going to be talking about and and the absolute implications of what Grace does and why God can do such wondrous things for sinners, so we must hurry on it is a gift that takes us all the way to heaven. Number four. Let me emphasize it is a gift of God. Let's continue to read. By the way it says in verse seven that in order that in the ages to come he might show the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Jesus Christ and those famous verses for by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, and it is a reference to God's saving grace, and even the faith that we appropriated with is a gift of God not the result of works, I told you a moment ago God took human works and set it aside and sit on usable, lest any man should boast. You can boast you receive a free gift that is so incredibly undeserved. It is a free gift back on the farm where I grew up we used to listen to the radio and that we used to listen to certain evangelists that came on and they always wanted an appeal at the end asking for money or something and they had something that they were giving away. I remember one man whom you would never know because he's not on the radio anymore, but Justi impersonated him and I'd hate to do that for you this morning but with a little coaxing I guess I could use to say now, my dear friend, if you will send me five dollars iVillage send you a new leaf free.
This new book I you nice to sit there the age of 10 and say this doesn't compute any what do you mean send you five dollars, which in those days. By the way, when I was 10 years old was an awful lot of money. Do you mean send you five dollars if it's absolutely free.
You not only should send the book but you ought to pay for the postage that is used to write and ask you for it because that's what God does pays the whole freight the whole way, not like salvation is a free gift.
You know what that means, you will never ever repay it, ever, ever, ever if you could repay it, even in the smallest amount, God would have to regard it and God would have to acknowledge the payment but the Bible says it is of grace, and it is not of works lest no man should boast.
So that nobody ever stands before God. This is what God did this for me, but after all I did pay you a bit back. Listen to this very carefully. God owns so much to think that God would have to buy anything God ever have to go shopping and say we know I'm running out of supplies, much less use a credit card to have to do it now, but the Bible does say God purchased one thing it says that he purchased his church with his own blood. When Jesus Christ died on the cross that was redemption, God purchased us and it is insulting to think that we could ever pay him back. This is Pastor Luther, you know, of course, what that people who depend upon their own works to get to heaven are going to be deeply disappointed because our works contribute nothing to God's gracious gift given to us in Jesus Christ in response to faith, our contribution is to bring our sin to God. God's contribution is to show us his grace. That's why I like to emphasize that there is hope for the greatest of sinners. I've written a book entitled how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. Let me tell you from my heart to your heart today that this book deals with the most important question that you will ever face I'm speaking to some of you who struggle with doubts I'm speaking to some of you who absolutely would say that you have no assurance that you're going to stand in God's presence and be received. This book is for you how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God for gift of any amount.
It can be yours. I hope that you have time to get a pencil.
I want you to write this down. You simply go to RT W offer.com that's RT W offer.com and I'm going to be giving you that info again or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 your eternal destiny is the issue that you must face because you will live somewhere for ever for gift of any amount. I hope that you today receive this resource.
Go to RT W offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 it's time again for you to ask restaurants or a question you might have about the Bible or the Christian life.
One thing we don't seem to see in the Bible is any reference to the great dinosaurs roamed the earth long time ago. Tracy listens to running to win and has this question in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth which I totally believe in words of the prehistoric ages fit into the scheme of things will Tracy invest a huge question, but let me simply say this. I do not believe that the earth is nearly as old as most scientists would say that it is. Is he I believe that when God created the earth, he created it with the appearance of age when he created Adam and Eve. They probably looked about 25 years old, even though they had only been created perhaps hours ago in the very same way the earth was created with man being able to live in it.
God took the so-called process of evolution and speeded it up and in a moment of time.
He created the earth full-blown. Perhaps there were stars that were 100,000 ly away already shining on the earth ready for mankind. In other words I believe in what is known as a young earth.
Now, I believe that dinosaurs lived before the flood, and they were extinguished by the flood and they have never returned. I believe therefore that anything that is prehistoric as you called it can be explained within the framework of the first and second chapters of Genesis. It's a long story but thanks for asking. And isn't it wonderful to believe in a God who actually does create and I know that you do. Thank you Tracy, thank you Dr. lutes are if you'd like to have your question answered. You can just go to our email@example.com and click on ask Pastor Luther or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614. Christians get their strength from God given to them because of abundant grace is unmerited favor towards them through Christ and the grace that none of us deserves is our focus is our current series proceeds. Next time I'm running to win. Dr. lutes concludes his message on why is grace amazing by listing more of the characteristics of the grace we all need running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church