Saved by Grace and Kept by Grace

Saved by Grace and Kept by Grace

Our mission purpose statement:  Presenting Jesus, the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:17

Intro: One of the things I am concerned about for this church in the future is for it to stay grounded in grace and truth. There is a reason God named this church Grace Tabernacle. Even though when we began we did not have the revelation about grace as much as we do now. Still we did realize the need to have freedom to flow with the direction of the HS in our services. Being free from the bondages of legalism and traditions of men found in denominations.

          Denominations are not evil. But denominations are walking in the revelation their founder found and then they place boundaries around those values as if God is limited to doing things this way we discovered.

Ill. When people get saved they usually experience an immediate change in many areas of their lives. Many of these changes are short lived and many fall back into the sins they were set free from. This makes new believers question the reality of their salvation.

          Whether or not we sin should never be the means for questioning our salvation! We did not get saved by getting ourselves free from sin – it was a revelation of the grace of God and our faith in that is what set us free from wrong thinking and legalism of religious works.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14

If you were living under the Law, then yes whenever you sinned you would need to get another sacrifice ready to quickly postpone punishment until the Lamb of God would come and bring you into Jubilee and pay off all your sin debt once and for all.

But you are under grace – the New Covenant signed and sealed with the blood of Jesus Himself. Because of this, you are free of the law of sin and death. Are their consequences for sin? You are inviting His chastisement upon your life.

 

The change that happened in our life came because we simply believed God. So why not continue to believe?

 

“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?”  Gal. 3:3

You are not saved by grace and then brought into holiness by works.

Trying harder is not the answer!

Song: Jesus on the inside working on the outside, O what a change in my life – 3 X’s.

How do you get what is on the inside to the outside?

In the OT God prophesied through Ezekiel of the age of grace time we live in today.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezk. 36:26

When you are born again or from above 2 things happen in you:

1.    Your spirit is made new – righteous, holy, sinless, complete.

2.    Your heart is made new “flesh” – sensitive to God.

Your heart is the channel through which the life of God flows from our spirit into all areas of our life. Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.

If we lose the joy of our salvation, lose hope, lose love it is not because we lost salvation, but because of the condition of our heart.

Ill. Someone says I got saved and was on fire for God. Somewhere along the way things began to change. I lost my desire for the Word, for church, pray and worship. I did not have the joy and peace I once had.

          Maybe a counselor would say that you were a baby Xn then and now you need to grow up and do what you know you should do. That advice sounds reasonable, but the truth is you lost those feelings because your heart changed. God has not changed. Salvation has not changed. Your heart changed.

          The advice most people get here is to get back into works and out of grace. Roller Coaster Xnty begins here. No wonder people give up

You got saved by grace = unmerited favor freely given.

Now you must learn to continue in grace = unmerited favor freely given.

Under Law God said:

“I will by no means clear the guilty, but I will visit their sins to the third and fourth generations.” Ex. 34:7

Under grace God said:

“I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Heb. 8:12

LAW                                                        GRACE

Given by Moses a servant             Given by Son
Reveals what man ought to be     Reveals who God is
Letter of Law kills                            Spirit gives Life
Demands righteousness                 Provides righteousness
Old Wineskin                                   New Wine
Sins remembered                            Sins remembered no more
Curses for disobeying                    Jesus removed the curse
Your obedience required               Jesus’ obedience qualifies us
Justified by works                          Justified by faith

Jesus preached the difference between Law and Grace in Sermon on Mount. The Pharisees had re-interpreted the Law of God to where it was humanly possible to keep it. But Jesus raised the standard back to where God put it – to bring man to the end of himself.

-         Pharisees thought as long as you have not committed the act of adultery, you have not sinned, which is the letter of the Law. Jesus revealed the Spirit of the Law to the higher standard, so that people would see their need for a Savior.

-         Angry with your brother you have committed murder.

Who can stand righteous under God’s holy laws? No one. The law was the old covenant that was to move us forward to find the new covenant of grace.

When Jesus finished preaching the sermon on the Mount the bible says 8:1 He came down from the mountain. This is important for us to spiritually recognize He did not stay up on the mountain, He Himself came down to where we live.

          At the bottom of the mountain the first person He meets is a man with leprosy. Leprosy is an incurable disease then and you were ostracized from society. He is a picture of you and me before we were washed from sin by His blood.

          Maybe he was hiding a distance away from the crowds listening to Jesus teach. Those with leprosy were not welcome in public places because the disease was contagious.

          As Jesus came down the mountain the man took a great risk and stepped out on the path in front of Jesus.

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Mtt. 8:2

Notice he did not doubt Jesus could; he doubted He would.

Without hesitation Jesus touched the Leper.

Under the Law those with leprosy are considered unclean. They make the clean unclean if they touch them. But under grace Jesus makes the unclean clean. Under Law sin is contagious and you must keep yourself from sinners!  Don’t let a sinner contaminate you.

          Under grace righteousness and God’s goodness are contagious.

We do not need to fear that being under grace will bring licentiousness or people will commit even more sin.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

This is clear when you are under grace sin will not dominate you!

Sin – hamartia = failing to hit the mark. You could say sickness, disease, addictions, bondage are all forms or missing the mark of the glorious life God has for us.

When will this happen? When you are not under law but grace.

The idea that grace will allow people to live in sin without restraint is a perversion of how grace works. You can’t be under grace and not be holy any more than being under water and not getting wet.

Ill. How is works is like this. When you get saved you still have some bad sinful habits. You try everything you know but still have some. Every time you do it you feel guilt and shame. One person described their situation like this. They were addicted to smoking and marijuana. Every time they used they would say, “Thank You Lord, that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!”  It was only after they quit trying to quit and trusted in God’s grace that it finally happened. The desires eventually went away. Grace did what will power and self control did not. Why? Because God has declared:

“Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

Does this mean we don’t have to repent? No.

Sin is destructive. The consequences of committing sin is not God punishing you any more than putting your hand in a fire gets you burned.

“The strength of sin is the law.” I Cor. 15:56

If you live under law you will know condemnation, guilt, and fear when you sin. You are missing the mark of where God intends for you to live. This sin is so unlike who you really are.

Ill. Remember a young man in this church gave a glorious testimony being free from drugs. He was sincere but not long after that he fell back into drug addiction. Quit coming to church and felt condemnation, failure, hypocrite. He got buried under guilt and condemnation. Somehow the HS kept coming to him and telling him that God still loves him and Jesus finished work still avails for him. His motto became, “Lord, I can’t but You can.” He started confessing what God’s Word said even when he went back to using drugs. He would say, “I know I messed up and made a bad choice, a sinful choice. But, “I am still the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” He also confessed, “Sin shall not have dominion over me for I am not under law but under grace.”

          It seemed silly to say this even while he sinned. He still prayed, still sang worship songs, started reading Bible again, even while he was using! He even quit thinking about trying to quit using drugs. He would say every day, “Lord, I can’t but You can, and sin shall not have dominion over me, and Jesus’ finished work still avails for me.”

          It took some time but one day he realized he had not used drugs for a long time. Then he knew the urges were gone. He realized he was free indeed. God had not abandoned him because of His addiction. He never abandoned God. He kept coming to Him even in His addiction. That is where most people make their mistake – they run away from God or some religious people chase them away.

You need to understand how lasting repentance works.

Ill. Peter had been out fishing all night and caught nothing. What happened next stunned him.

When Jesus finished speaking He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your NETS for a catch.” 

Simon answered Him, “Master we have worked all night and have caught nothing. But at Your word I will let down THE NET.” LK 5:4-5

 Reluctantly he obeys. Suddenly their net was full AND TEARING. And other boats came to help them bring in the supernatural catch so much they began to sink.  Blown away by what He sees Peter knelt before Jesus and said,

“Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8

Now what came first: Peter’s repentance or God’s blessing? Under the New Covenant God blesses you first with favor and overflowing love to bring you to repentance.

“. . . the goodness (kindness) of God leads you to repentance.” Romans 2:4

Side note: Jesus told Peter to let down your nets – plural. Peter said “at Your Word Lord, I will let down my net – singular. No wonder the nets began to break.

I believe in preaching repentance. One word for repentance in Hebrew is Teshuvah =5 Hebrew letters create a picture.

Tav – picture of a cross

Shin, and Vav, and Bet = return to the house

Hei – 5th letter of Hebrew alphabet number of grace

PIC of HEBREW letters for repentance.

“Because of the cross (of Jesus), return to grace.” 

Repentance is about returning to God because we see His goodness and grace demonstrated to you on the cross of Jesus.

Ill. Prodigal son returned to His father’s house out of need but found grace and goodness waiting for him.

-         So you are struggling with sin habits. Repent by turning to the cross and seeing that sin already punished in the body of Jesus and you receive unmerited favor for this weakness. This is practicing true repentance by running to Him not away from Him. He is your solution, answer. Return to His loving embrace.

“Sin shall not have dominion over you. For you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14  

Only God can change hearts and lives. You can change some things but not the heart. Unless you learn to receive grace to change, your life will be full of frustration and failure of trying this program or that one. You can go from seminar to seminar and from counselor to counselor looking for the secret that will change your heart.

An encounter with Love Himself is what changes hearts. We will love Him once we find out He first loved us!

I can never adequately describe God’s love to you through words. But the HS can speak to you in ways beyond words.

God still deeply loves you despite your failings.

Concl:  Today because you see the cross which manifests God’s love for you – return to His grace.

          Today if you have been trying to quit a habit, I encourage you to return to the truth of God’s grace. What the Lord Jesus has done for you is greater than all your failings. You are deeply loved. Let a revelation of His grace wash over you again and again.

Ill. I had a vision during soaking time that I was standing under a water fall of God’s love. It was so refreshing and cleansing and invigorating.

Pic of waterfall

Then I saw this water turn into blood of Jesus and I heard the Lord say

My love is My blood and My blood is My love.

Pic of Blood

I don’t know how long it will take you to experience the freedom you desire. But keeping yourself in faith in God’s grace is the only way you will see the freedom you desire. All the glory will come and go back to God. He alone will save, deliver, and make you whole. Today I urge you to run back into His arms like this picture in our foyer and in my office.J

Pic: Jesus holding man