Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Heart Motivated By Grace

The clocks were pushed back an hour last night and our bodies will have to adjust to a new sleep schedule as Daylight Savings Time is put away for another winter season. The weather remains surprisingly kind though, unseasonably warm with pristine blue skies again today. Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and invited us to join the adult Bible study on Wednesdays.

Other announcements and reminders included....
1. We have a mission barrel in the hall outside the sanctuary for shoes, new underwear, socks and other clothing items for Christmas to be distributed by the Salvation Army.
2. Also there is a need for new or lightly used toiletries for women.

There was also a building update.
The outside lights are now up and all that is left is for these to be wired. The garage will be started this Monday. Someone will be coming to determine where and how to install the bell. A sound system upgrade and a dishwasher will be coming soon.

We then entered into a time of worship, which was followed by the receiving of our offerings and a time of prayer.

A Heart Motivated By Grace

By way of introduction, pastor Terry White noted that despite the frenzy of activity surrounding the election, God is in control. Do you believe God is in control?

Pastor White then shared about a free car wash another church he was part of used to do. People often tried to pay for the free car wash and hot dogs. They had a hard time receiving something good absolutely free.

Today's sermon would be based upon and extracted from Romans 3:21-26

Pastor White brought a couple object lessons. A law book, a robe and cross. In the Old Testament righteousness was given through the law. But now, apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known.

In Galatians 3:21 Paul amplifies this.  Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

In the old way, obedience was the only route to righteousness, though we were incapable of fulfilling it. But In Galatians Paul goes on explain that the Law was like a tutor to help keep us in line till grace was revealed. The goal is not to have a tutor, but rather to live a righteousness that comes from Christ.

There are two ways to live, under the law or under grace. The former is an enormous burden; the latter is liberation.

He then read snippets from The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book designed to bring hope to the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out, the marginalized folks to whom Jesus ministered.

Christian life, living fully in Christ, is not a game in which we try to "appear" good. What would your life look like if it were truly motivated by Jesus Christ?

The Gospel, the Good News, is not about avoiding hell or to avoid feeling shame.

What is a life of faith? Answer: it is trust. Faith means to trust God. Terry stated that you could replace the word "faith" with "trust" in the Bible and it would not change a thing.

He then addressed the matter of accepting grace. It is hard to receive grace when we are not honest with ourselves. The first step is recognition of how fallen we are. This is the heart of the Gospel. Once we realize how fallen we are we can then appreciate the free gift of God's mercy and the sacrifice He made on our behalf.

The most gracious people are those who have grown the most to understand how dark their hearts are.

What does a heart look like when it's been thoroughly immersed in grace.

The irony of this freedom is that it was bought with a price. It was only free for us; it cost Him everything.

Returning to the passage in Romans 3:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

There is much more that can be said, but at the end of all here's the question: Have you placed your trust in Jesus Christ?

Finally, the sweet sound of amazing grace of Jesus Christ frees us from the necessity of self-deception.

The moment our focus shifts from my badness to His goodness, it means I no longer dwell on "what have I done?" and so I can focus on what He has done.

In Romans 2:4 Paul asks, "Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"

We then celebrated Communion together.

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