Sermon:  Administrator of Grace

Summary:  Through grace we have been united as one body in Christ.  But in order to
 meet our purpose, we need a more complete understanding of grace as a stewardship
 entrusted to us.  We have been entrusted to administer a grace that will Reconcile
 the lost to God and his people, and give our lives a focus that leads to conviction
 and confidence in our walk with God.

Know:  Grace is not merely unmerited favor, but a stewardship entrusted to us that
 must be lived out, proclaimed, and shared with those around us.  Our whole life
 should be defined by this stewardship.

Feel:  A sense of gratefulness and duty to take the grace God has given and share 
it with others

Do:  Reflect on how God's grace would affect our purpose and ministry.  Identify
 potential challenges to carrying out God's purposes and specifics on how to
personally carry out his purposes.

Text:  Eph 3:1-13

Scripture Reading:  1 Peter 4:10

1. 5 Days before Christmas, stranger approached Christopher Carrier
	a.  Claimed to be friend of his father, looking for a gift
	b.  Went with man, kidnapped him, stabbed and shot him
		-  Left him for dead in Florida everglades
		-  Found 6 days later, miraculously survived
		-  Blind in one eye
	c.  Christopher scared, but eventually became a Christian
		-  Decided to go into full time ministry
		-  Found a peace
	d.  1996 Detective called Christ, captured man who confessed
		-  Christ went, found feeble 77 year old man
		-  Name was David McAllister
			-- Found out Dad hired him, but he driking
			-- Dad fired him, so attack on son for revenge
		-  Chris - "What you meant for evil, God turned to blessing"
			-- Shared with family, family began to visit in prison
			-- Asked him if he wanted to be saved
			-- The man converted to Christ and was saved
		-  This is grace.  And Paul speaks of grace in this text
2.  Context:
	a.  Praise to God, prayer for enlightenment
	b.  Then we were lost in sin and excluded,, Now we are one in Christ
	c.  2:10 - By grace you have been saved
		- Basic meaning of grace - Favor
		- God saved us because he chose to favor us
		- ILL:  Christopher Carrier and David McAllister wh
		- Not matter what you have done, murder, thief, homosexual, 
		   adulterer, slanderer, can find forgiveness in Christ
3.  But there is more:  Paul expands on what this grace means
	a.  He uses himself as an example
	b.  We will learn how grace is to transform our lives

I.  Grace is a Stewardship
	A.  In this passage, Paul never refers to grace as unmerited favor
	B.  Grace is also a responsibility
		1.  Paul mentions grace 3 Times in this chapter
			a.  v.2 - Stewardship of God's grace
			b.  v.7 - Minister according to the gift of God's grace
			c.  v.8 - Grace given to preach unfathomable riches of Christ
		2.  Does not speak of mercy of Grace, but "stewardship" of grace
		3.  What does it mean to be a "steward?"
			a.  Greek:  oikonomos, oikonomia
				- household manager or administrator
				- Responsible to the owner for all affairs in the house
				- Paid the bills, made sure things work done
			b.  Synonymns: Manager, administrator, caretaker, attendant
		4.  A steward is one entrusted with a responsibility
	C.  ILL:  Flying on an air place
		1.  I have flown an airplane a number of times
			a.  Who is directly responsible for my well-being?
			b.  Pilot, the CEO, the mechanics? 
			c.  One "directly" responsible is the steward or stewardess
		2.  She is responsible for our well being
			a.  Makes sure we use seat belts, know emergency exits,
			b.  Makes sure we have blankets and pillows if needed
			c.  Serves us refreshments when it is time
		3.  Reason she is a steward is she has been entrusted with well-
		      being of the passengers
	D.   We all have been entrusted with God's grace
		1.  We are supposed to do more than just "accept" God's grace
		2.  Part of God's grace is the gifts that he gives us to serve
			a.  (Eph 4:7) - -All received grace according to measure of 
			      Christ's gift
			b.  Rom 12:6 - We have "gifts" that differ according to the 
			     grace given to us, and are to exercise them accordingly
			c.  When God gives us something, he wants us to utilize it
			d.  He also wants us to utilize the grace he has given to us
		3.  God has given us stewardship of his grace
		4.  What specifically does stewardship of his grace mean in this 

II.  Grace involves Administration of the Mystery
	A.  Administration is oikonomia - stewardship of the mystery
	B.  What is the mystery?
		1.  For many, Christianity was mysterious
			a.  For the Jew - God's plan including gentiles and a spiritual 
			     kingdom was mysterious
			b.  For gentiles, the whole thing was mysterious
			c.  For many of us, a lot of it was mysterious
		2.  (v.2-3) But Paul received insight through "revelation"
			a.  He didn't figure it out on his own, he had to be taught
			b.  v.5 - It was revealed by Apostles and Christian prophets
			c.  This mystery was that the Gospel was for all peoples
				-  v.6 - Gentiles fellow heirs in Christ through Gospel
				-  (v.8) - Preach unfathomable riches of Christ
				-  (v.9) - Make known to all stewardship of the mystery
		3.  The "mystery" is the "message" of God
		4.  Doesn't just involve Paul, but the whole church (v.10)
	C.  ILL:  A person once entrusted a certain stretch of shoreline
		1.  His vision was a life-saving station
			a.  That part of shoreline had many ship wrecks there
			b.  Entrusted land to group of trained rescue personel
			c.  A shack served as the life-saving station
		2.  So many lives saved, station became famous
			a.  Many people came to donate time, money, training
			b.  Donated equipment, boats, personnel
		3.  Facilities were primitive and so was the equipment
			a.  Had meeting, and decided to build new facility
			b.  Beautiful furniture, nice facility, lots of fellowship
			c.  Fewer members interested in going to sea for missions
			d.  Hired professionals to do that while they fellowshipped
		4.  One day, a bad shipwreck, professionals brought in survivors
			a.  Cold, wet, dirty, sick, some first class, people a mess
			b.  Survivors dirtied up beautiful furniture, scratch furniture
			c.  Beautiful meeting place became chaos
			d.  Members decided to build a garage with showers so 
			     people could clean up before coming inside the lodge
		5.  Next meeting, members decided to cut life-saving activities
			a.  Life saving was costly, and not a great return to the club
			b.  It was a hindrance to the other activities at the club
			c.  The measure passed.  And the Life-Saving Station 
			      became the "Sea-Side Boat Club and Resort"
			d.  That seems obscene does it not?
		6.  A few members left the club and went up the shore and started 
		     a Life-Saving Station designed to rescue those ship-wrecked
	D.  May that never happen to us
		1.  We are entrusted with a different kind of life-saving equipment
		2.  We entrusted with grace, and the mystery of the Gospel
			a.  Life saving equipment is not meant to sit on a shelf
			b.  God doesn't intend for us to set these on the shelf
			c.  We need to understand that we are on a rescue mission
III.  Administration of the mystery needs conviction and boldness
	A.  In fact, conviction leads to boldness
	B.  Paul was bold due to his conviction
		1.  v.11 - We have boldness and confidence access
			a.  v.12 - Literally through the "faith of him"
			b.  Probably is due to Christ's faithfulness
			c.  Because of his faithfulness, we have access to God
			d.  In Christ, a new creature, rescued from sin and death
		2.  Why did Paul say this?  Encouragement
			a.  Don't lose heart at tribulations
			b.  Paul was in prisoner
		3.  v.1 - Paul didn't say - Prisoner of the Romans, Jews, etc.
			a.  He was a prisoner of Christ
			b.  Human institutions didn't define him, Christ did
			c.  Jesus Christ and the Gospel was his whole life!
	C.  ILL:  Paul at summer camp, spastic paralysis
		1.  Other kids heartlessly mimicked him, had fun at his expense
			a.  Seemed strange, because they all believed in God
			b.  This was a Christian camp
		2.  One night, they appointed Paul to do the devotional
			a.  This was another effort to have "fun" at his expense
			b.  The boy accepted without hesitation
		3.  When time came, Paul got up and spoke with difficultly
			a.  Said, "Jesus --l-loves--me--and--I--love--h-him!"
			b.  That was it, he said nothing else
			c.  Silence was deafening, some began to cry
			d.  Said it with such conviction, that no one said a word
		4.  As a result of that young man's conviction, several became 
			a.  The other boys "believed" in God
			b.  However, Paul had conviction, and that's what made the 
	D.  What about us?  Do we have mere belief, or conviction?
		1.  Conviction will lead to boldness
		2.  Boldness will move you like Paul to share the riches of Christ
		3.  Even if it lands you in prison, or just get some ridicule!
		4.  That is grace in action!

1.  Every single Christian here has been entrusted with life saving equipment - grace
2.  Have you taken advantage of the Life Saving Equipment?  (Invitation)
3.  Remember that Grace is more than something to be accepted
4.  Grace is a stewardship.  What are you going to do with God's grace?

Questions for Small Group Discussion