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Previous Message From Virtual Church

God's Amazing Grace

Ephesians 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

Receiving grace is not possible by standing on your tiptoes, by holding your breath, by reading ten thousand books, or by listening to ten thousand sermons. You cannot receive grace by manufacturing it. You cannot make it, make it up, or even make it happen. You cannot create an environment for it to be poured out upon you, no matter how hard you try. Grace is not made possible by what humans do. Your heart is filled with the love of God through grace made possible only by the action of God.

Human beings experience grace only by walking a path of faith that leads to Christ. Each step on this walk of faith requires believing and receiving. On your first step, you begin to experience grace by believing you did crucify Christ and by receiving this guilt by turning away from your sin. On the next step, you begin to experience grace by believing that He rose from the dead and by receiving Him into your heart as He walks out of the tomb. On the next step, you begin to experience His grace by believing He loves you and by receiving His love into your heart. On the last step, you experience His grace by believing He forgives you of all the sin you carry upon your soul and by receiving His forgiveness. The openness of your heart, at the moment of your believing and receiving, provides the door for His love to enter your heart and life.

You can feel the love of others. You can feel the warmth and joy that the love of others produces in you. However, the love of others is not a life-changing love. The grace of God is poured out into your heart, and when you receive this grace, your life is changed forever because of God's life-changing love.

We are inadequate when we try to speak about grace for grace is beyond words. Grace is not just an outpouring and reception of God's love. Grace falls upon you as a realization or the dawning of the truth that Christ forgives you of all the dark sin carried in your heart. Grace falls upon you when you realize you are not deserving of Christ's love and mercy yet He pour His love and mercy on you even when you do not deserve them.

Grace is the experience of having God pour His forgiving love over you, and in that moment, feeling His healing love wash away all your sins.

We do not deserve the love of God. We do not deserve the presence of God in our lives. We do not deserve the power of God in our hearts. His love fills our heart and life because He loves us and because He wants us to know He loves us. We are not worthy to receive the magnificence of Christ's love, yet He loves us still. His grace makes Christ's love for us a reality.

Grace is something you experience. What so many people miss about grace is what it does to you when you receive it. Grace changes you. You are never the same after grace fills your heart and life. Before you accept Christ as Savior and Lord, sin defines you. Sin disrupts your life. Sin in your heart brings tragedy, heartache, regrets, and guilt that eat away a person's soul. Grace transforms the soul by washing away a person's sin.

Once you have believed and experienced His grace, you can go back to acting like you did before grace filled you, but you will never be the same. No matter how hard you try to run away from the love of God in your heart, you cannot run far enough or run fast enough. Grace initially touches your heart because your heart is open. Grace transforms your heart because the old ways of anger, hurt, revenge, loneliness, mistakes, and rebellion are washed away. After your miraculous transformation through grace, what is left is a little boy or little girl ready to start school all over again. What is left is that you have been transformed into the child God made in His image…the true child of God that God intended you to be from the very beginning.

Instead of trying to understand grace, let it wash over you. Grace is the greatest gift you will ever receive...if you let yourself receive it. Everyone knows about grace in their heart of hearts. What everyone does not like to do is open their heart up so much that all the old hurt and pain gets washed away by Christ's redeeming love…the love we call grace.

The physical form of grace is Christ Jesus hanging upon the Cross for you two thousand years ago. The substance of grace is Christ Jesus with His arm wrapped around you in forgiveness when you accept that your sinful heart crucified Him.

When you open your heart and receive His grace, a grief comes upon you. When you receive His grace, a grief comes upon you because the old person in you dies. Alternatively, we could also characterize the experience of grace as a dead person coming back to life. In either case, a new person in you is born. You experience a new birth when you accept Christ into your heart, for the old person of sin has died and by His grace, a new person has been born.

When you receive the outpouring of His grace, it is important that you never look back to retrieve the old person. When have been born again from His grace, the old pain, sin, and heartache beckons you to come back. When you look ahead in grace, the love that has poured over you beckons you to come forward and kneel at the foot of His Cross.

Grace is the culmination of all Christ did by letting Himself be crucified by you. Grace falls upon you when you see that you were the one who drove the nails into His hands, and then your heart opens to His love and forgiveness. Grace falls upon you when you see that you were the one who tore the flesh from His back by flogging, and then your heart opens to His love and forgiveness. Grace falls upon you when you see that you were the one who drove the crown of thorns into His head, and then your heart opens to His love and forgiveness.

Perhaps this discussion is getting too personal for you. Perhaps you would prefer not to be connected to Christ's horrible time of torture and His death upon the Cross. However, when you admit to your personal connection to Christ's torture and death then the outpouring of His love upon you is part of what we call grace. Grace cannot be discussed without getting personal about the death of Christ. When you accept the horror of His torture and death, then you must seek His forgiveness. Surrender all of your life to Him as you kneel at the foot of the Cross. At the foot of the Cross, as you kneel in godly sorrow, He forgives you. To experience His grace, you must personally apologize to Him for what you did to Him. To experience His grace you must see and accept the grievous wrong you committed against Him. Yes, you did do these terrible things to Christ. You might want to insulate yourself from events two thousand years ago. You can tell yourself it was not you who crucified Christ. You can tell yourself there is no connection to these events for you were not yet born. You can tell yourself you were not responsible for Christ's torture and death. However, there is a truth. This truth is both horrific and wonderful. The horrific truth is that your sin, your vile nature, your dark side did indeed put Christ upon the Cross. The wonderful truth is that when you accept your responsibility in crucifying Him, and you seek His forgiveness, He then pours out His forgiveness and love into your heart. When you make these steps and believe them as you experience His love, His grace falls upon you in infinite measure.

What kind of God would give you something you did not deserve and could never earn? A loving God…a God who speaks to your heart night and day for the rest of your life.

Grace comes from God
Luke 2:40 . And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. (NIV)

Truth and grace cannot be separated
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)

Grace is infinite. Grace has an infinite fullness to it.
John 1:16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (NIV)

Grace can be seen by others.
Acts 4:33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. (NIV)

We are saved by grace and we cannot contort ourselves into any shape or form to receive it.
Acts 15:11 …We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (NIV)

Grace comes from God in great abundance.
Romans 5:17 .For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (NIV)

Our gifts are a result of grace.
Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. (NIV)

Once you were dead.
In grace and with grace, God brings you to life again.
Ephesians 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

God pours out grace.
His grace is poured out into the vessel of your heart.

1 Timothy 1:14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

To receive His grace requires humility and kneeling at the foot of the Cross in godly sorrow.
James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (NIV)"

The Lord's Song For The Ages

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

When we've been here a thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Rev. Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018