Sermon:† Make the Most of Grace

 

Summary:† God has extended his grace to us, which enables us to be saved.† Therefore we, after being converted and baptized, but make the most of God's grace by learning to be satisfied with his grace, and by sharing and serving through grace in the name of Christ.

 

Text:† Various

 

Scripture Reading:† Rom 12:6-8

 

Intro:

1.  This morning's message - Make the most of Grace

2.  How do you define grace?† Favor, approval, privilege - unmerited

a.     We can be saved from sin only by God's grace

b.     God chose to have favor on us - that's why Jesus came

3.  I used to have a very limited view of grace

a.     I typically only associated it with salvation, conversion, baptism

b.     If you pick up a concordance, will see there is much more to grace

4.  Make the Most of Grace†† How?† Doing these things:

 

I. Be Satisfied with God's Grace

A. This is an attitude that says, "God's grace is all I need"

B. Paul demonstrated satisfaction with God's grace (2 Cor 12:7-10)

1. Look at what happened - He was given a thorn in the flesh

a. He called it a "messenger of Satan"

b. He said it was something to "torment" him

c. We don't have any details of how he was tormented

i Something from being stoned/beaten?

ii A physical affliction?† Chronic eye problem, migraines, epilepsy, speech problem

iii Emotional affliction? Bouts of depression, in constant pain

iv An enemy/opponent?† Alexander the Coppersmith

2. What to do about it?† Pray about it!

a. God - Please remove it.† Make me well.

b. Pray about it often - He prayed three times

c. Maybe he is getting to pray 4th time - Receives answer

3. The Lord answered him - My grace is sufficient for you

a. In other words - I have already given you what you need - grace

b. You need this thorn - you are better with it, then without it

4. Result:

a. What Paul does NOT do

i He doesn't argue with God or complain

ii He doesn't claim God doesn't care

iii He doesn't despair and lose his faith

b. What Paul DOES do

i Paul now looks at this thorn in the flesh differently

ii This messenger of Satan is God's instrument

iii The thorn was weakening him so he could be strong

iv He is better with it than without it

c. He says - I am satisfied with God's grace, even with thorn

i Whether it is weakness, insults, distress, persecutions, difficulties

ii Makes me feel weak - But by his grace, I am strong

C. ILL: Spiritual Formation Class in graduate school

1. Guest speaker in wheelchair told his story

a. Motorcycle accident paralyzed him from waist down

b. Was okay, good attitude, until the pain started

c. Went to doctor repeatedly, nerve damage to spine

d. Why didn't let me die?† Constant pain

2. Spoke of how God forms you

a. Sometimes over years through instruction

b. Sometimes quickly, through tragedy that changes your life

3. This man has really bad days, in wheelchair, in pain

a. Sometimes tough to think straight in pain

b. Not having a sound body can lead to an unsound mind

c. Some days he doesn't want to go out and do anything

4. He has given perspective and encouragement to many

a. He understands what it is to be fragile, weak, to hurt

b. Yet so many people see him as a mountain of strength

c. Irony - He will tell you he doesn't usually feel strong

5. But - God didn't away his pain, and he is now okay with that

D. This is what it means to be satisfied with God's grace

1. My thorn in the flesh may be different than yours

a. Many things that have tormented us

b. For some - Emotional scars from a bad experience

c. Maybe it is a disability, debilitating condition, sickness

2. We pray - "God take it away"

a. Maybe God's answer is - "My grace is sufficient for you"

b. I have given you all you need

c. God's grace is working in you, THROUGH your thorn in the flesh

3. Grace in me responds - I am content, even with my thorn

4. If God has given me everything I need, then I remember the proverb that says, "If I donít' have it, I don't need it"

a. This is what grace looks like in me

b. This is one way that I make the most of grace

c. *If I am satisfied with grace, then I can do this. . .

 

II. Share with One Another

A. Whatever resources, financial or labor of our hands, sharing is grace

B. (1 Cor 8:1) Here is what grace looked like in Macedonia

1. (v.2-5) They gave financially with overwhelming generosity

2. Were they rich?† No

a. Text says they had "deep/extreme poverty"

b. Have you ever seen deep/extreme poverty?†

i In Sierra Vista, I saw people living in shacks

ii Can seen under the door

iii Old used furniture, sparse

iv No car, walk everywhere

c. Picture an area where churches are like that

i Most members live in a shack

ii Everyone has one change of clothes

iii Live hand to mouth, often go hungry

iv Not even have a church building

3. V.5 - They exceeded our expectations!

a. This church was wildly generous in giving

b. They didn't give out of their abundance, but out of their poverty!

c. Chap 9 - Paul brags on their generosity

4. Why where those poor Christians so gracious?† (v.9)

a. They saw in Jesus an example of this kind of grace

b. Jesus was generous, became poor for us

c. Therefore, we share that same kind of grace

C. ILL:† Campaign in Waterbury, CT - Met Maria in neighborhood

1. Didn't have much

a. Very simple home

b. Only three changes of clothes

c. Pantry on bare, but not have a lot

d. Didn't own a car

2. But she had reputation in the neighborhood for generosity

a. Someone out on the street, she let sleep on couch

b. If need food, she give her next meal away

3. When we knocked on her door, "know of anyone needs food?"

a. She was so glad

b. Her cupboards nearly bare

c. But she started talking about neighbors who needed food

4. We were astounded by her

a. Her response - God has been so good to me, I just want to share with others

b. As she said this, we were noticing the sparseness

D. This is another demonstration of grace

1. We make the most of God's grace by being generous

2. You don't have to have a lot to be generous

3. Some of the most generous people are those who have the least

a. But they don't think of themselves as having nothing

b. They have received grace upon grace

c. And now, they are generously sharing

4. This is another way we make the most of grace

 

III. Serve in the Name of Christ

A. Service to others in the name of Christ is an expression of grace

B. (1 Pet 4:7-11) We are stewards of God's grace

1. What is a steward?† One who has been entrusted with something in order to manage it

a. A household stewards is entrusted with managing the household

b. It is a position of trust - stewards must be trustworthy and faithful

2. We have been entrusted with the grace of God

a. This means that God expects us to do something with it

b. We don't bury it in the ground, but use it to serve

3. There are many ways to serve, but the text boils it down to these types:

a. Speaking - If you speak, speak as one who speaks the words of God

i Words that instruct, correct, motivate, encourage

ii Words that are tru

b. Serving - Serve in God's strength to glorify him

i Whether giving, feeding, cleaning, building, working

ii Serve in his name to glorify him

C. ILL:† I remember at Christian camp being entrusted with various duties

1. Sometimes KP, cleaning the grounds, restrooms, mess hall, trash, cabin, etc.

2. Counselor would leave us to it, then inspect later

a. Would say, "good job" and give us a high five.

3. During that time, our job was our responsibility, we did our best

a. Whoever did the job the best got to go first in chow line

D. God has entrusted his grace to us

1. What do I do with it?

2. Do I serve others in his name as good stewards?

a. What is my ministry?† How do I serve?

b. Do I do it in his name to bring praise to him

3. When I serve in his name, this is making the most of his grace

 

Concl:

1.  First step in making the most of his grace - Accept the Gospel

a.     It was because of God's grace that Jesus went to the cross

b.     God tells me I need to repent and be baptized (inv)

2.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, remember, you are not done with grace

a.     Make the most of God's grace

b.     By being satisfied with grace, by sharing and serving in his name