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June 7, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Greg Stiekes continues a series entitled “Truth Triumphs,” with a message titled “Grace Alone,” from 1 Timothy 1:11.
Welcome to The Daily Platform just over 500 years ago Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses, which is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation for the next several days on The Daily Platform will be studying some of these doctrines in a series called truth tryouts must listen to today's message entitled grace alone, preached by Dr. Greg Stice of the Bob Jones University seminary Bibles with you turn to first Timothy chapter 1, I want to look here in first Timothy chapter 1 at the end of verse 11 where Paul says that the Lord entrusted him with the task of preaching the gospel and when he refers to this great trust.
Paul launches into this doxology.
This praise to Christ for calling him of all people in the ministry and saving him and giving him the privilege and responsibility of proclaiming such glorious news. Paul says in verse 12. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry who is before a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious, which means that Paul was arrogant and violence in his Attacks against the church. But Paul goes on I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. In other words, because Paul was so hostile against the followers of Christ because his heart was so hardened and ardently committed to the destruction of Christianity. The mercy of God was his only hope. Paul is reflecting, of course, on that day when years earlier when he was still called Saul when the Lord dramatically intervened in his life. He was on his way to Damascus to persecute believers there to bring them bound to Jerusalem and throw them into prison even have them executed. As Paul himself tells the story and asked 22. He says I was nearing Damascus, when about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me and I fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me so I said who are you, Lord, and the voice said, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting. I said, what shall I do Lord and the Lord said to me, rise and going to Damascus and they let me by the hand in Damascus and once in Damascus, a devout man named Ananias healed me of my blindness and told me the God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will to see the righteous one to hear a voice from heaven from his mouth, for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. So get out call on the name of the Lord for salvation and be baptized, and Paul did you know how the apostle Paul summarizes this act of grace. This act of salvation in his life. Look at the beginning of verse 14 he says grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Paul says you want to have an explanation for how a hardened violent persecutor of Christians was transformed into a fervent passionate preacher of the gospel.
Paul answered it was grace God's grace. Grace is a beautiful word that has profound and eternal significance. So what is grace.
People tend to be mystical about great. Some people talk about grace as if grace is some invisible substance that God pours out upon us, and somehow makes our lives better grace in the New Testament is the Greek word carries very simply.
Therese is favor goodwill, kindness. So, when applied to people grace means favoring someone desiring to show goodwill to someone or taking pleasure in someone, but grace doesn't stop there. Grace always manifests itself in definite acts of favor or goodwill to the person being shown grace.
So whenever we see grace manifested in Scripture, it always appears as a definite act or expression of favor. Take for example Jesus parable of the two debtors in Luke chapter 7.
Both men could not pay. And so their creditor. Remember the story he canceled both of their debts and the verb that Luke uses is Karen semi-literally, he graced them both in favor is shown in the forgiveness of the debts. With this in mind, the New Testament authors, most notably be the apostle Paul finds a special use for Clarice.
The authors in the New Testament use the word to express the ultimate source for every spiritual blessing is been given it to us by God through Christ and I could take on this morning we had it today. Click take every one of those blessings you see there and show you in the New Testament how the authors show all of these benefits come from the grace of God. If you just look down at the text in first Timothy one back to verse 14. When Paul says the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant in faith and love what he means is that God gave Paul faith and love to believe and to be devoted to him, faith and love are gifts of God's grace. How else can you explain the change in Paul's hearts. So when someone says to me. The Lord shower you with his grace and I pray that God would give you grace. You need to think about what form will that grace take strength. Patients perseverance favor because grace implies a manifestation of God's favor upon us now when we study all these passages that these words appear represent in the New Testament that speak of God's grace we come to the realization that biblical grace has certain properties and these properties help us understand why God's grace is so rich an abundance so here are the properties of grace, that we see in the New Testament the first property is that the grace of God is free. It's free. You cannot earn it. You cannot deserve it. Romans 324 says, being justified freely by his grace. The ESV puts it, being justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. When God shows favor to us is never because of what we have done to deserve grace. It is always in spite of what we have done what had Paul done to deserve God's grace. He was a blasphemous, arrogant, violent hater of the Lord and his people. He was on his way to catch Christians unawares to bring them bound to Jerusalem to take parents away from their children to torture to imprison to slay. He was hated and feared by the believers. But what does Paul say about God's calling in verse 12 he says I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry that is an astounding statement. Paul is not saying merely that God saved him.
He says that God counted him he reckoned him as faithful, which is not just being saved but actually indicates a level of spiritual maturity and it doesn't say that God watch to see if Paul was going to be faithful and that some other point in his life, he decided. Paul was faithful God counted him. According to this verse faithful then and there on the road to Damascus. On what basis only upon the basis by which God calls any of us to salvation on the basis of his grace. Paul was a hardened sinner that no one ever thought to come to faith in Christ.
But God said I'm in a safe. Paul and I'm in a book called him to preach the gospel and he did and that's why Paul calls it grace.
The fact that grace is free though leads us to a second biblical property of grace. If there is nothing I can do to deserve grace and grace must be based on something else and so secondly, the grace of God is based upon God's own wise righteous choosing God chooses to give grace when and where he wants to give grace why did God choose Noah.
All we know from the text of Scripture is that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, why did God chose Abraham for all we know, Abraham, was a pagan in when God called him why did God choose Jacob and not Esau while they were still in the womb. Why did God call the nation of Israel, why did he choose Israel any Israel gave God fits they couldn't.
He couldn't even give them the blueprints for the tabernacle about how to worship in the 10 Commandments before they had to file themselves with false worship at the foot of Mount Sinai. But God tells Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 7 book, it's not because you are a mighty nation with a lot of people. There was nothing particularly impressive about you.
You are particularly strong or rich are popular and that you are kind of scrawny if we read in the lines God says of them, it's because I'd love to you I chose you. I said you are going to be my treasured possession. In one of the greatest revivals that we know of, took place in a totally pagan culture that was preached by a man who hated his audience. He didn't want to go and he barely put any work into a sermon yet 40 days and Nineveh will be destroyed. He said, and yet the people of Nineveh repented.
In fact they repented so hard to even covered their livestock with sackcloth and ashes and Jonah was furious. He complained to God, and Jonah 42. I knew you were a God who was gracious. I knew you'd forgive him and from the book of Jonah. We drive one of the most profound theological lessons. God can save whom ever he wants to when and where and give that person faith to believe and to come and be say because he's a God of grace. Now some of you might not like that, you might say will wait a minute.
If what you're saying about grace is true. If it's up to God to save me and bikini say than what's stopping me from coming to Christ for salvation and the going out and committing all this and I wanted letting God, give me all the grace he wants will, I can appreciate that question because a perfectly logical inference based on the right definition of grace. The apostle Paul got that question all the time.
And Paul gives the answer to that question. Romans chapter 6 where he explains when God saves us by his grace. He also transforms us by his grace by uniting us with his son so that we are no longer the slaves of sin, but you might say was not fair in the way to find grace is not fair that God should give grace to some and not others may how can God do that. Paul got that question all the time to any answers that question in Romans chapter 9, you know what he says. Here's his answer. Who are you old man to answer back to God.
That's his answer. In other words, we don't understand the wise and kind and righteous purposes of God, because God is God and if you explain grace correctly, you will always raise those questions in the minds of somebody who is actually listening to you and look, I know the tension there is in the Scripture the objections to grace are as old as the doctrine itself, but we don't have to understand everything about God in order to know God and to worship God. We just have to believe God so we don't need to try to redefine God's grace. In some ways are the logical questions melt away. We need to stand back in and marvel at the mysterious holy purposes of God which are expressed in his grace. In fact the mystery of God's grace leads us to 1/3 biblical property of grace and that is the grace of God causes us to respond in humility and praise.
Notice what Paul says in first Timothy one verses 15 and 17 this is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. That's false humility. The fact that he received grace from God and make him proud. In fact, just the opposite. It made him very humble. It also made him grateful.
Look at verse 17. Now, under the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. Those who realize that they have been saved by grace because of God's favor alone, though they did not deserve it, especially if they knew they did not deserve it are forever thankful to God.
Nobody boasts that he received grace from God.
Otherwise grace ceases to be grace if you think you deserved it. It's not grace the praise for grace always culminates in the giver of grace, never the receiver if it's true that the grace is the free gift of God causes her salvation and there's nothing we can do to earn it so that we are the recipients of recipients of grace are are humbled and and praising God for it than this final property of grace follows the grace of God is all we need. It's all we need.
So LeGrand Tina grace alone.
The message of the Reformation, you realize that when the reformers broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. It is not because the Catholic Church rejected the idea that you need God's grace for salvation. In fact, if we say the Roman Catholic Church does not believe in salvation by grace we are misinformed about Catholic theology. In fact, I'll show you a statement from Catholic status as catechism are our justification is says here comes from the grace of God. Grace is favored as I've said, the free and undeserved healthy. God gives to us in response to his call to become children of God. Adoptive sons partners of the divine nature and of eternal life is a will and why the Reformation what's the difference between what we said about grace about the church. The reformers were reforming say about grace. The answer is not in the word grantee grace. The answer is in the word solo. The difference between Protestant theology and Catholic theology is grace alone, and any Catholic theologian or Protestant theologian will tell you that if you keep reading.
The theology of the Catholic faith you'll find there's more to the story, God gives his grace, which begins at baptism in order that we might believe and participate in his grace through our good works, and the sacrament such as mass, in order that we might eventually be justified or right with God and we do enough of these works we can hope to be in heaven someday and if we don't we go to purgatory after we die where we will be tormented until those works are burned away that are bad works, we can become pure.
That's the rest of the story.
But when we compare this grace in this theology to the grace of Scripture that we don't cooperate with God to bring in our salvation. This version of grace looks very puny. It looks very weak. By contrast, grace alone means there's nothing we do to add to our salvation. There's nothing we can do. There's nothing we could do so.
The reformers who worked to to reform the church and their work is the what we celebrate this month.
They read in the Scripture of God's grace and came under the conviction of the church and got it wrong, for they watch the endless droves of people flooding to mass to hear service in Latin and kneel before the priest would turn the back to the people and turn back with the bread and put it on their tongue so that the worshiper would have to come and do these works to receive God's grace and the people were bound by the ceremony and other means by which they thought they were earning more grace in the Reformation. God uses those who broke with the Roman Catholic Church to teach the people that they can come to salvation by God's grace alone and that brings us finally to the application of grace.
What is the significance of grace. What does it mean for us in order to answer this question would you turn one more passes this morning and this is Ephesians chapter 2 verses one through 10. The Bible says to these believers and you hath he quickened, he made you alive, who word dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, and the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, waiting for God's destruction, even as others, but God who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us, made us alive together with Christ by grace ye are saved and have raised us up together me to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. First we have to realize that our salvation and spiritual walk is God's gracious gift because based upon the way that Paul describes the sinner apart from Christ. There is nothing we could possibly do to lift ourselves to God. Paul put it this way, you are dead in your sins.
A dead person can do nothing to help himself. If you have a theological system in your mind whereby you believe you can contribute to your salvation in any way. It may be that you simply do not understand how lost a lost person really is outside of Christ, how impossible it is that any of us can move an inch toward Christ on our own weird dad.
That's the only word for it. That's the message that burst forth from the Reformation as the people of God begin to read the Scriptures and see for themselves what God is really saying to us, the only hope that any of us has rest in those two words that you see there at the beginning of verse four, but God. God himself brings dead people to life because of the work of Christ and God is the only one who can do this by grace you have been saved. We can either save ourselves in any respect nor grow as a believer.
Once we come to Christ outside of the grace of God that means there is a second application which naturally follows from this, the gospel depends upon the doctrine of Sola critique it. Did you know that the gospel depends on this doctrine.
If you come to Christ by believing in a gospel in which you have to do something of fortitude to work your salvation out in any way in your salvation rests at least in part on your own efforts and that is no salvation.
In fact, the apostle Paul says in Galatians 542. Those who are trying to be justified by the works of the law their own efforts. He says if you have fallen from grace.
He doesn't mean you've lost your salvation he means he will follow away from proclaiming the gospel of grace alone through Christ alone, by faith alone and notice what Paul says here in chapter 2 of Ephesians verses eight and nine for by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast the words that you see there in verse eight has a big function in the texts.
What is it that that is not of ourselves in the form of the word that in Greek means that the vats refers to the whole preceding clause. In other words, all of salvation is from God, including faith is all he's doing is not our work in any respect you say why is that so important because the gospel of Jesus Christ is important if you put your faith in a gospel, but you get the gospel wrong that you are not saved but here some better news. Sola Gratiot is the assurance that we are saved. That's why Paul says in verse 10 we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God the good works has prepared before hand that we should simply walk in them.
If you are his workmanship. If you are his design, his effort, his work, then you can rest assured that God has got you. If you did nothing for your salvation. There is nothing you need to do and that nothing you could do to keep your salvation and you know we can read about God's grace in the Scripture, we can notice the way works we can even come to God for salvation by faith, we still have it in her mind. Sometimes if we do more good things for God, he will sometimes love is a little more than the other person say or he'll at least like us a little more but if we think that way. We still don't understand God's grace God's grace we understand from the Scripture reproduce our arrogance, our sinful thinking that we can somehow add to the grace of God but God would love us anymore, or any less. We whom he purchased to the death of his son, and called us by his grace alone, but you know God's grace not only rebukes our arrogance. It also encourages us when we stumble in our spiritual journey. We may not struggle with spiritual pride.
We may be discouraged about our walk with God and were trying to impress God and and feel like there's nothing we can do to do to make ourselves more spiritual we know what were absolutely right. Our walk with God is a product of his grace.
And if you're discouraged call upon the name of the Lord and seek him and pray for his grace to strengthen you and to renew you listen God's grace is profound and it's wonderful and it's far-reaching. It's beautiful God does it all and there are so many examples of in Scripture and in church history of God simply grabbing on to someone and saving him by faith.
In fact I love Charles Spurgeon's own testimony of salvation infected Spurgeon's testimony actually highlights all five of the soul is of the Reformation. We been talking on the chapel series Sola Gratiot race alone faith alone in Christ alone in the Scripture alone into the glory of God alone.
Spurgeon had been trying to find salvation through several different spiritual exercises and he knew the gospel, but he says he was empty inside. In darkness and despair. And you would think that a guy that was to be such a great preacher Spurgeon God will prepare a special session for his salvation. Special sermon by a special preacher and a special incidents but God as an act of his grace simply sent a snowstorm. One Sunday morning and Spurgeon could not get to the church. He was trying to go to so he turned down a side street and came to a little primitive Methodist Church in that chapel, says Spurgeon in his own testimony, he said there may have been a dozen or 15 people and Spurgeon. If you reassess what he did have a very good attitude about being there because he said I had heard of primitive Methodists, how they saying so loudly they made people's heads ache. To make matters worse, the pastor didn't show up because of the storm and Spurgeon said at last a very thin looking man, a shoemaker, or tailor or some sort went up in the pulpit to preach. Spurgeon says the man shows Isaiah 4522 look unto me, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth. Spurgeon says in his testimony at the man was so done that he basically kept repeating his text for the simple reason that he could not think of party anything else to say about it and spoke with the stick.
Essex accent, whatever that is. And mispronounce many of the words. So the man said this is a very simple text indeed it says look now looking don't take a good deal of pain. It ain't lifting your foot or your finger. It's just look will a man needn't go to college to learn to look you can be the biggest falling yet.
You can look a man needn't be worth a thousand year look anyone can look even a child can look but then the text says look unto me a many of ye are look into yourselves but is now used look in there you'll never find any comfort in yourselves.
Spurgeon says the good man followed up the text in this way. Look to me I'm sweating great drops of blood look unto me, I'm hanging on the cross look unto me, I am dead and buried, looking at me.
I ascend to heaven to me. I'm sitting at the father's right hand. Oh, poor sinner. Look to me. Look unto me.
Spurgeon says when the man had managed to spin out about 10 minutes or so of this kind of thing. He came to the end of his tether and he looked at me.
Spurgeon says under the gallery and I dare say with so few present he knew me to be a stranger just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart. He said young man.
You look very miserable.
And Spurgeon said, I dare say I did but I had never been used to people making public remarks on my appearance from the pulpit before any continued and you always will be miserable miserable in life and miserable and death. If you don't obey my text. But if you obey now, this moment you will be saved and he lifted up his hands and shouted Spurgeon says is only a primitive Methodists could do young man look to Jesus Christ's will can be saved.
What will Spurgeon said so I looked.
He said I saw it once the way of salvation and he said I've been trying to do 50 things but when I heard that word look, he said what a charming word. It seemed to me he said oh I looked I looked until I could've almost looked my eyes away there and then the cloud was gone. The darkness had rolled away and that moment I saw the sun.
I listen to the word of God and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I could've leapt I could have danced. There was no expression, however fanatical, which would have been out of keeping with the joy of that hour. He said I thought I could've sprung from the seat in which I sat and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brother and I am forgiven. A sinner saved by blood on monuments of grace, that is how grace alone saves lost sinners.
It's the message of the Reformation. If you never truly called upon Christ for salvation God's grace alone can save you two right this very hour.
And God can't give grace alone can croak you as a believer so clean in faith and obedience to Christ's know the beauty of trusting in the grace of God alone for your salvation. Father, we are eternally grateful for the grace of God which safe sinners may be dear to our hearts. We pray in Christ's name. You been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Greg strikes a Bob Jones University seminary professor. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow on The Daily Platform