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Grace

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2021 12:00 am

Grace

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 24, 2021 12:00 am

Grace has become a common word in Christianity today -- almost too common. We say it so much that we are beginning to trivialize it and forget what it means. So join Stephen in Romans chapter 5 as the Apostle Paul reminds us why grace is so amazing.

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Wouldn't it be great if somebody accused us of having a little too much joy? They really smiled too much over there, there's something going on. They're too happy.

I'd love for that kind of rumor to get around. Well, so would the apostle who wrote, Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together as some have, but come ready to infuse into another courage, literally to cheer one another onward to love and good works. Why could there be that kind of joy? Because we discovered here in these few words, we have been given peace with God, the war's over. Every human who has ever lived or ever will live was born in a state of enmity with God. That's a word that simply means we were at war with God.

Our relationship with God was marked by animosity. What changed and made all the difference is that God offered us peace. We looked at God's peace yesterday, and today we look at the basis of the peace God offers, His grace. What is God's grace? How does God's grace impact our lives? What are the implications of living in a state of grace?

Stay with us as Stephen takes us to God's word to examine this beautiful gift from God, God's gift of grace. In his book entitled The Finishing Touch, Chuck Swindoll asked the reader if they'd ever thought about the implications of being satisfied with something less than excellence, whether it was in the field of science or medicine or business. He wrote these words, thanks to Natalie Gable, I awoke to a whole new awareness of what would happen if 99.9% was considered good enough.

If that were true, then this year alone, 2 million documents would be lost by the IRS. 291 pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly. 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions would be written out, and 12 babies would be given to the wrong parents in the hospital every single day. The truth is we don't experience 100% perfection in life.

Babies have been handed to the wrong parents and pacemaker operations have not worked, and sometimes the government loses things we send them. Swindoll went on to make a comparison between what we expect out of life and never get, and what God has done for believers when He declares us righteous. He writes, God justifies us declaring us righteous 100%. Now remember, justification does not mean you are righteous because every day you sin. Justification means that God declares you to be righteous and He wipes every sin off your record, every sin you committed before salvation and every sin you will commit after it. Anything less than 100% justification and we could not be declared righteous. We would be declared almost righteous. Isaiah 118 would need to read, Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be light pink or slightly gray. When Jesus breathed His last, He would have said, It is almost finished. And we would have to keep working at it, adding to something that Christ evidently didn't finish at the cross. Justified means we are forgiven 100%. Our hearts and our souls have been washed as white as what?

As white as snow. But according to the Word of God, this is really just the beginning place. Those who are justified, those who have accepted the conditions of surrender and the terms of peace with God through His Son are given perfect gifts. We discovered the list in Romans Chapter five, verse one, where we began discovering that He has given us to believe the gift of peace with Him. Now, in the next verse, the apostle Paul delivers the news that we have been given another perfect gift. This one, the gift of grace. Notice what he says in Romans five again. Let's start with verse one. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction or we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we loudly praise that as we exalt in hope of the glory of God. Now, you have to understand for a moment what this meant to them in the first century.

We take it for granted. But when Paul was talking about access to God and introduction to the presence of God, this was revolutionary talk. This was new. The Jews and Gentiles were not accustomed to access in their worship. They were accustomed to distance.

They were not used to a bridge. They were used to barricades. The temple itself, designed in Jerusalem, was a series of courtyards and walls. And the further in you went, more access was denied to people as you moved from the outer courtyard in toward the Holy of Holies. The first wall divided the courtyard of the Gentiles. Only Gentiles were allowed up to this one wall and Jews, of course, as well, but they were not allowed beyond it. And they had to worship in the perimeter or around the perimeter of the temple. They were warned, in fact, two signs that used to hang on the wall during Paul's day have been excavated and now hang in museums. The law was written, a Gentile who trespasses beyond this wall will be executed.

And the Romans upheld the law of the Jews. You would go to another wall if you were a Jew and pressed forward. A second one divided the courtyard of the women from the courtyard of the men.

All the women stayed back in this courtyard and the men were allowed to go into an inner courtyard. But even they were stopped by another wall with golden doors that separated them from the selected priests who would go into the holy place. And even those selected priests who went in found themselves again before another barrier, a long, deep curtain that separated them from the presence of God's glory. And only one priest, only one time a year, only for a brief moment, got to go behind the veil. They were so terrified that he wouldn't survive the holy presence of God. They had a rope tied to his ankle and bells on the fringe of his garments.

And if they no longer heard those bells or the rope wasn't moving about, they'd know he'd been struck dead and they'd drag him out. They had no concept of access to God. But Jesus Christ the lamb paid the complete and final offering for sin, which separated man from the presence of God. And when he cried on the cross, it is finished. That inner veil ripped from top to bottom as if invisible hands, the hands of God pulled it aside, showing the glorious presence of God's ark. And now man had, in effect, access to God.

No more barrier, no more wall. Men, women, boys and girls could now worship as it were being priests and priestesses. In fact, Peter in 1 Peter 2 9 delivered the breathtaking news that every believer is now a priest. You are a royal priesthood. There is no longer a need for a representative.

There is no longer a need for a human mediator. There's no longer need for a confessor. All believers are priests. All believing women are priestesses. Every believer can worship God immediately, continuously, personally, intimately, transparently.

This was the precious truth to the Roman believers that was so radically new. You can get into the presence of God. No more walls to keep you away. No more barriers.

Just one bridge. Jesus Christ. Today, around the world, Orthodox pray to their patron saints as they have been taught. They pray to God through their favored saint. Today, around the world, the Catholic Church prays to God as they are taught through Mary. I have friends in these churches and they tell me the same story they have told me over the years. If you want your earthly father to give you something, you more than likely went to your mother to have your mother talk to your father, and then you'd probably get it.

And that is how it used to work to some degree. My answer to them, however, is always the same. Suppose I was your friend or maybe even a relative of yours and one of your children came to me and said, would you please go to our father because we're hungry or we're thirsty and we have some needs and would you convince him to take care of our plight? How would you feel if your children came to me? Even though I was a good friend of the family or maybe even a relative, you would be offended. It would say a world of things about your relationship with your children.

It would say something about what kind of father you were. You would want them to come directly to you. Our Heavenly Father is no less hurt and offended that we would ever go to somebody else and ask them to ask him to grant us what we need. And he knows we already need it and he waits to hear our requests. There are thousands of Protestants today on the other side of the Reformation line that today are hoping their needs will be heard in heaven because some televangelist or some telepastor claim to have God's true anointing and if they'll only send their prayer requests to him with a little money, they'll lay their truly anointed hands on those prayer requests and God will really pay attention to you now.

That's a violation of what the Reformers called the doctrine of the individual priesthood of the believer. You can go directly to God. You don't come through me.

Nobody has a special connection. You go through no one except the one mediator who is Jesus Christ. What a wonderful truth. You can, with boldness, the Bible says, go to the presence of your father. I want you to listen very carefully. One of the key revealing characteristics of false religion, one of the key characteristics of false teachers, and it keeps coming up, is this very violation of the doctrinal priesthood of the believer. In other words, that religion will teach you or that teacher will try to teach you or convince you that you're an ordinary believer and there are still walls. You need a special connection and if you'll just go through them, God will really grant your request. That my friends is unbiblical and it is wrong. Turn the channel, turn it off, do something else.

Go cut the grass. They don't understand the word. First Timothy 2 5 says Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. Hebrews 12 24 says that Jesus Christ is the mediator of the new covenant. And Paul says here in Romans chapter 5 verse 2 that Jesus Christ has provided access into this grace. My translation reads, an introduction into this grace.

It's a wonderful nuance, a very special word. It referred to somebody who would introduce you to royalty, to that very special person. And that's who Jesus Christ is, our introducer in this text, introducing us as it were to the father.

I like the way Erwin Lutzer, the pastor of Moody Church illustrated this point in one of his books I have in my library. He talked about speaking in a conference in Washington and had his family along with him for this special conference. And in the audience was a member of the president's secret service detail. After the service, the secret service agent came up and he said, Dr. Lutzer, the president is out of town for a few days. I'll be happy if you'd like to give you a behind the scenes tour and I'll take you into the Oval Office and show you the sights if you're interested. Of course, they said we're very interested. So the next morning they met at one of the gates of the White House and Lutzer wrote these words.

When we stopped at the first guard station, one of our daughters offered her purse to the officer for inspection, but he waved her on. You're with him, he said, nodding to the agent. Go on in. Then as we entered the White House, we met another assembly of guards. They looked at the agent, glanced at us and said, you're with him.

Go on in. And the analogy is obvious, isn't it? We shudder when we realize the awesome holiness and purity of our eternal God who is high and holy. We know we are sinful creatures and we sin every day. Surely some angelic sentry will will obstruct our communion with God the Father. Surely the Father himself will send us away. But but we come to him and and he sees us with the lamb, our savior, his son.

And he says, oh, you're with him. Think of that future day of death should take us. And we're ushered toward that magnificent city whose gates are pearls and his walls are jasper and whose streets are shimmering gold. And we're winging our way toward one of those twelve gates of Pearl. Revelation 20 tells us, which is guarded by the sentinel of angels, which measure in the tens of millions angels at each one of those gates. Surely they will turn us away, but they will turn their blazing eyes toward us and they will see our introduction, the one who gave us access to heaven and now the one who will give us access into heaven.

And they, in effect, say, oh, you're with him. Come on in. Amen.

I knew you were out there. I think the apostle Paul was dictating this letter to Tertius, his close friend and scribe. I can imagine him pacing back and forth, saying, Tertius, isn't this incredible truth? Holy and inspired, God has revealed to us that we now have an introducer. We have access to the very person of God. And I imagine Tertius laid down his quill and he said, man, I'm going to get up and walk around on this one.

This is so good. We have been given an introduction into the grace of God. But I want to point out, secondly, we have been impacted by the grace of God. Notice, he says in verse two, we obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand. The Bible talks on numerous occasions of standing. Paul wrote in Romans 11, 20, we stand by our faith, different nuances whenever this word appears in its derivative form of iste me, the Greek verb for to stand. Romans 14, four, for the Lord is able to make us stand. 1 Corinthians 15, one, now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel, which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand. 2 Corinthians 1 24, not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, for in your faith you are standing firm. The Roman soldiers had shoes or sandals and they would, when the souls were hot, they would place nails and rocks into it so that when it hardened, they would have the sort of the forerunner of the modern day cleat so that they could stand and get a grip on the earth. I like the imagery of Ephesians 6, 11, where he says, put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

You'll not be pushed about, you'll not slide back and forth. For our struggle, he wrote, is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take on the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to what?

To stand firm. Colossians 4, 12, he wrote, Epaphras sends you his greetings. Always he is laboring earnestly for you in his prayers that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. First Peter 5, 12 says, I have written you briefly exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.

Great texts. It's interesting to me as I studied this word that I found both believers and unbelievers called upon to stand. In the end of time, we're told in Jude, verse 24, that the believer will stand before God. That text says now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, blameless with great joy. But to the unbeliever, the Bible warns in Revelation 20, verse 12, and I saw the dead. This is a reference to the dead who have not believed the great and small that is the important and the unimportant, standing all now on level ground before the throne, standing before the throne. The books were opened and another book was opened, which is the book of life and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books according to their deeds.

And we know in the latter part of the chapter, they are condemned to hell because of it. In other words, what we learn is that one day believers will stand before God with great joy. Unbelievers will one day stand before God in great judgment. And to every one of you in this auditorium today, it is the same.

You are in one of those two companies. Will you one day stand before God with great joy or will you stand before God in great judgment? If you are an unbeliever here, then this is another invitation to you to receive the pardon of Christ, the lamb who died for you and be saved from the wrath of God through hell and judgment and join those of us who found in his son all we need. And we have this promise of everlasting joy. Now, in Romans, chapter five, verse two, the use of the word is stay me or stand isn't talking about some sort of strength, isn't talking about even some sort of doctrinal commitment.

It isn't talking about some kind of fortitude. He is talking about the believer's new status in this grace. He's literally talking about our state. In other words, we were once living in the state of law. We are now living in the state of grace.

We once had the status of people condemned by the law. We now have the status of people freed by grace. So we live, as it were, in the state of grace. Can you imagine somebody asking you, what state do you live in? And you say, I live in a wonderful state of grace.

They probably quit talking to you and move a seat over on the bus or the plane. Let me apply this verse by giving you two challenges that emerged from this great statement. Grace is your new status.

And I would just add the words, so enjoy it. Enjoy it. You know, the Bible commands us to be filled with joy as we surrender to God. Well, grace is your new status, your new state.

So enjoy it. What's it like to live in the state of grace? It's kind of like living in any state. It's like living in the state of North Carolina. We have our borders, we have our charter, we have our seal, we have our statutes. We even have our own accent, which some have mastered quite well.

We have our own unique style of barbecue even. If you live in the state of North Carolina, you don't pay taxes to California. They want you to, but you pay taxes to the state of North Carolina, right? You respect the laws of the state. You follow the leaders of the state, the ordinances, which might be even unique to the state.

You watch the Weather Channel and you want them to finish the West Coast and the Midwest and the Northeast to finally get to where? Your state. This is where you live.

This is your interest. You work here. You go to school here. You play here.

You're a resident of the state of North Carolina. You cheer for the sports teams of this state, or you should. I'm a Carolina Hurricanes fan during this time of tribulation. First of all, because one of its players goes to church here, that kind of got me started, but now I'm a fan. It was a game on last night.

Difficult for me to arrange my priorities. Sermon, hockey. Sermon, hockey.

Eeny, meeny, miny. You live in the state of grace. That means you cheer for those who are on the team of grace. You invest what you have in time and talent and treasure in the efforts of grace.

You watch the news and automatically interpret it in light of how it affects the community of grace. You love nothing more than the fact that your state, your status is membership in the community and fellowship of grace. It's your new state. Enjoy it. It's also your new spirit.

So express it. The word access, by the way, in fact, if you wrote a little word in the margin of your Bible and circled this word introduction or access and wrote this little word, it's a precious word. You follow the etymology of the word back far enough, you'll discover it was used at one point to speak of a haven, a harbor. So Jesus Christ has given us a haven, which is this marvelous grace, a harbor where we can pull our boats out of the tempest and rest. That ought to be the description of our lives that we provide havens and harbors for others.

It ought to be the description of our church. Is this church a haven for those who've come from the storm of life? Do people come in here and breathe a sigh of relief?

Phew, I made it. I'm here again for an hour or two and what a haven this is for me. Is this a place that expresses grace? Is this a place where gossip is replaced with kind words? Is this a place where people give the benefit of the doubt to other people as a rule and not as a rare exception? Is this the place where everybody considers somebody else more important than them?

That's a lot to ask, isn't it? We're asking to get along with one another, aren't we? We're on the team of grace. We're part of this particular family of grace.

But the truth is we're more prone to understand what the anonymous poet wrote when he wrote these rather humorous lines. He said, to dwell above with saints we love. That will be grace and glory, but to live below with the saints we know.

Well, that's another story. Paul wrote in Romans 12, love each other with brotherly affection. Take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord with enthusiasm.

Be glad for all God is planning for you and even be patient and trouble and prayerful. When God's children are in need, you be the one to help them out. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no way for any local church to ever have this happen within the confines of its community without the supernatural impact of God's grace on the lives of us all whereby we surrender to him and then we're able to express grace. Because of God's grace, Jesus became our servant and now we express servanthood to each other. We have been totally forgiven now we forgive others. We have been granted mercy. Question is, do we offer mercy? We have been given undeserved honor. Do we honor others? Grace is your new status. Enjoy it.

Grace is your new spirit. Express it. I love the humility and the wisdom that comes from the mouth of a little second grader, a little six year old. I read about he was having an elementary school play and you know how they do it, everybody's in the play doing something. But there were a few speaking parts as he was so excited about being in the play and his mother was worried because she knew he was a little shy and reticent.

She didn't want to be hurt. And he was so thrilled the play was coming up. And so she she waited on the day that he arrived home from school the day they announced who was playing the part of what and he came in all smiles.

He was beaming from ear to ear and she said, What happened? And he said, Mom, I have been chosen to applaud. Isn't that great? I have been selected to cheer. I wish that were in the list of spiritual gifts. It's absent, but there is the gift of encouragement. In fact, if you break that word down, you discover that it is to put courage in to literally cheer on. What would the church be if people came ready to cheer somebody else on Sunday in a way ought to look more like a pep rally than a funeral procession.

We ought to have our choir break out the pom poms every once in a while. That would be an exciting moment in our church history. That'd be a sight that really confirmed the wild rumors out there about us.

There are rumors out there. You know, I talked to one couple that have been coming for about two months now. I met him back here in this wide aisle and between services and and they've been coming for four weeks at the time, four or five weeks. And so I stopped and chatted with him a little bit. And I said, You know, how did you how did you find out about the church? And they said, Well, you know, we heard about it through other people. But let me tell you, we didn't come for some time because of the rumors. I said, Really? I've heard some.

What did you hear? And he said, Well, one of them was we heard that y'all were dancing in the aisles. We wouldn't it be great if somebody accused us of having a little too much joy? They really smiled too much over there. There's something going on. I'd never go. They're too happy.

I'd love for that kind of rumor to get her out. Well, so would the apostle who wrote, Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together as some have become ready to provoke one another. We know how to do that.

All right. No, the word provoke is Parkalow. It's that word encourage to infuse into another courage, literally to cheer one another onward to love and good works. Why could there be that kind of joy? Because we discovered here in these few words, we have been given peace with God, the war's over, and we have been given this new status. We have been introduced to grace. We have been impacted by grace. Now we live in the state of grace, and we have the spirit of grace. And so he ends that verse by saying, Can we do anything other than rejoice, exult, loudly praise in the hope we have in the glory of God. So as best I can say it, cheer up and cheer others on. Amen.

It's easy to look around at our society and be pessimistic and perhaps downcast. We don't always live out the practical implications of God's gift of grace in our life, and we need to. I hope Stephen's message today encouraged you. You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey.

Stephen is the pastor of the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. Today's lesson is called Grace, and it's part of a series called Unwrapping the Perfect Gifts. Do you know someone who could use the encouragement of hearing this lesson?

Please consider sharing it with your friend. It's posted right now on our website, which is wisdomonline.org. We also post each day's message to our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and our YouTube channel.

And of course, we always enjoy hearing from you. You can send Stephen a card or letter if you address it to Wisdom for the Heart, PO Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Once again, that's Wisdom for the Heart, PO Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Our email address is info at wisdomonline.org. Thanks for joining us today. I invite you back for our next message tomorrow here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-06 01:46:32 / 2023-12-06 01:57:27 / 11

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