Without grace Christianity is nothing. Without liberty a Christian remains in bondage to sin, unable to live as God pleases.
GraceLife is all about living in this wonderful grace of Jesus, no matter what is going on in your life. GraceLife is living in the power and beauty of Jesus Christ.
I want to address three things before we get to the “THAT” of GraceLife
A. GraceLife is not about following rules, but about allowing the Life of Jesus to be your life.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
God isn’t watching how well you follow the rules and saying “attaboy”- here is a blessing, or “Uh Oh” - here’s a lightning bolt.
God is loving you into His Son! That is what He is working on with you.
B. GraceLife is not about your happiness and quality of life. GraceLife is about power to live life reigning with Christ.
Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
To experience GraceLife you have to commit to suffering for the sake of the Grace of God abounding to others.
Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered.
C. GraceLife is not about the appearance of the vessel, but the Quality of the Vessel.
1. GraceLife is Living the Life of Jesus
ARE YOU “LIVING BY THE RULES,” OR ARE YOU LETTING GOD’S GRACE RULE YOU?
There’s a big difference between the two. If you’re living for God—living by the rules—you’ll always be exhausted. You’ll feel that you’re not doing enough for God and that if you don’t “measure up,” He will be displeased with you.
But God never meant for the Christian life to be that way! His Love for us isn’t based on how we perform for Him. He sent Christ to set us free from rules. He didn’t call us to serve Him in our own feeble power, but to let His power flow through us—a power that is without limit!
What’s more, this power is already available to us right now. God has provided everything we need for a truly meaningful, joy-filled life here on earth…all because of His marvelous grace.
REST IN GOD’S GRACE, AND LET HIM LIVE THROUGH YOU. FIND OUT HOW IN GRACELIFE.
For example, if you’ve been around church a while, you might have noticed something very strange that happens when someone comes to Jesus. Before they are saved, they are told, “It’s all about Jesus! It’s not about you. It’s all about Him and what He’s done for you!” But once they’re saved the tune changes. Now it’s “all about you and what you do for Him!”
Before salvation it’s faith, faith, faith! But once the honeymoon is over, it’s works, works, works!
“Every true believer fully understands that he did nothing to become a Christian. He simply trusted Christ. Yet many believe that they must now do something to become a victorious Christian. So they substitute trying in place of trusting.” (Steve McVey, Grace Rules p.21)
“Your life is God’s gift to you. What you do with your life is your gift to God.” No that is a lie…
“It really strokes our human ego to think that we can do something for God. Yet the truth is we cannot. Jesus said that “Only God is Good.” In His infinite grace He allows us to participate in what He is doing by placing His life inside us and then expressing that life through us.” (pp.13-14)
God is after so much more that our work. God is after intimacy. Our Father wants us to know Him and abide in Him and allow Him to express Himself to us and through us. As McVey says,
“Spiritual service is not our gift to God, but rather His gift to us.” (p.198)
What about the Rules?
Colossians 2:20-23 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” ( referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
2. GraceLife is the Power of Jesus to Reign over Life (if you commit to longsuffering)
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (are surrounded by various adversities)
James 1:2 -4 (phillips)When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.
GraceLife is founded upon the assurance that everything happens, (suffering, life) so that abundant grace will bring thanksgiving from many to redound to the glory of God.
Principle: GraceLife in a Few brings Grace to Many
a. Empowers Others to Reign - 2 Cor 4:15
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant (pleonázō super abounding) grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound (perisseúō = super abound, fullness to the point of excess) to the glory of God.
This is a simple yet profound concept. What this means is that God’s Grace is poured out on many because a few react to life according to His grace.
Conversely, the Grace of God on many is blocked and thwarted because a few resist God’s grace at various moments in their lives.
A Few can Block Grace for Many
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
b. Empowers us to see Him who is Invisible
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Two Ideas are in view
1. Commitment to Bearing up Under
Romans 5:2-5 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (hupomoné – “endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty” “pictures bearing up under in spite of circumstances) ; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
2. Commitment to Waiting with Constant Hope in God
James 5:7 Be patient (makrothumía) therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Heb. 6:15, makrothuméō is used of Abraham's patient faith in God under the pressure of trying circumstances (James 5:7,8). Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomoné, endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances.
God’s mercy (éleos ) is coupled with makrothumía to indicate it is long suffering. This is an apt description of God’s ‘hesed’ or steadfast love.
All the time you are holding up these trials and tribulations as Charles Atlas holds the world, You are looking patiently to God and hoping in what He will do!
Without this resolve, you will be tossed about be your circumstances, you will be putting yourself first, blaming others and growing frustrated by the apparent lack of God’s work in your life. Grace will be blocked from working in your life and others, because your bitterness at what God has or hasn’t done will infect the lives of others.
c. Example of Moses
Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
A Commitment to Longsuffering in your Christian walk means that you realize there is an abundance of Grace available to you, and as you ‘bear up’ in Christ, this superabundance will provide for others who are weak, hurting and disillusioned, so that they will have all the Grace they need, with plenty left over.
Such a commitment is to magnify Grace and thanksgiving to the glory of God. Therefore, forgiveness and long-suffering is an integral part of GraceLife.
d. Our Calling as Disciples
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Grace is the power of God that brings purpose to sufferings, hurts, troubles and trials.
Grace is the power of God that brings life to the dead, and manifest the Life of Christ in sinful flesh.
Grace is the power of God revealed in our thanksgiving to God
Grace is the power of God which allows us to see that which is invisible.
Grace is power for Life. That is GraceLife
Romans 9:20-21 Nay but, O man, who art thou that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
3. GraceLife is all about the Quality of the Vessel - What is the Quality of Your Vessel?
THE WAY YOU RESPOND TO CIRCUMSTANCES DETERMINES WHETHER YOU ARE A VESSEL UNTO HONOR, OR A VESSEL UNTO DISHONOR.
We are not talking about how “good” you appear on the inside. We are not talking about how many titles or positions you hold at church. We are talking about whether the Grace of God is actively working in your broken vessel or not.
Are you surrendered to the Potter’s hand, or are you proud and resistant to His work in your life. Are you bearing up under the circumstances He has you in, or are you running away to an easier place. Are you zealous for God and His Word, or are you apathetic and even ignorant. Are you praying for the lost around you, open to the hurting around you, or are you content with your own needs being met.
If you are apathetic, ignorant, content, self-centered and unconcerned, you are a vessel that is of no use to the potter, so you are a vessel unto dishonor. Vessels unto honor are useful and purposeful for the lost and hurting around them. God never makes a vessel for self-service. We are to benefit each other.
THIS IS HOW GRACE CONTINUES TO ABOUND!
Profile of GRACELIFE
So, WHAT marks Vessels unto Honor. WHAT marks a GraceLife Church?
Let’s begin to build a profile of a GraceLife Church. This morning we will look at the “what” of Grace. What does it do for us, and so how will a GraceLife Church appear to an outside observer?
Understand first of all that Grace is not something you receive passively. It is not something that falls upon you as you sit in your easy chair and contemplate life! Grace is an active force that never, never leaves you the same!
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