Hearing a lot of sermons, I may think they were great but in such a short time I forget what it was about. On rare occasions I hear one that really impresses me and I don’t forget it. Today I heard such a one. It planted a small seed in my mind which led to this article I am writing. One idea led to another until the Holy Spirit led me to this topic.
I don’t try to copy the whole sermon but something he said struck me like lightening. It was about there being only two types of religion---one of works and one of grace. Many churches today think that by doing good works and lots of them, they will get to heaven. Grace is too high of a concept to grasp.
It is man’s ego and desire to be in control of his own life. He may say he believes in God as long as God doesn’t interfere in his own plans. God is only there to pray to when he gets into a jam he made for himself.
The meaning of grace (Hebrew) is “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to bestow”. In Greek, it means “the divine influence on the heart, and it’s reflection in the heart”. Both are great meanings. This grace can and does change lives when we accept God’s gift. Some may take offense in the thought that they are inferior to any one. They elevate themselves high in their own eyes. This is why pride is mentioned so much all throughout the Bible; old and new Testaments.
One meaning of pride is another amazing thing. In Greek it says “to envelop with smoke or to inflate with self-conceit. Also “the verb: to make a smoke; that is to slowly consume without flame.” When we think only of ourselves and how wonderful we are,
we become slowly burnt up by our own importance that nothing can penetrate through that smoke. God can’t even get through to us. We just won’t let Him in.
Grace is God bestowing us with gifts He wants us to use for His glory, not our own. He is all kindness to give us all these gifts. None are worthy to receive them.
In Matthew 8:8, the centurion humbly realized just how inferior and unworthy he was that Jesus should even enter his home to heal his sick servant. When Jesus said he would come and heal the servant, “the centurion answered and said: Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” He had no doubt at all that this could happen. Verse 10 “When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel”.
Where did this strong faith come from? Man does not receive it under his own power. It is a special gift from God. He did not give it to him because he was better than anyone else. The man used that gift. He probably never wondered where it came from or how great a gift it was. Just his declaration of his belief will be remembered by those who followed Jesus. Jesus made sure they did. Only one man of faith in all of Israel???
He was also given the gift of leadership. He could command someone to do something and they did it. I could tell someone to do something and they would just ignore me. I do not have the gift of leadership.
The greatest gift God has given anyone is the gift of Salvation. The other gifts are added as God sees fit. We get a touch of these gifts even when young. We all have a tendency to be able to do something special that others may not be able to do; no matter how little or big it is. He knows those who will use them and also those who will waste them. Yet he gives everyone a chance to do something special for Him. But using them for the world and without salvation is useless.
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourself: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man shall boast, for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.”
We can’t boast about anything we accomplish. God alone makes us able to perform the job He planned for us to do from the beginning of time. We use these talents individually if only telling others, maybe only one on one, what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ. They should see in our life that we are different and want to know more about this wonder worker. Although a preacher stands in a pulpit in front of a few or many, he is no better than the individual nor any more worthy. He is just a man doing the work God gave him to do.
In Corinthians 12:1-11, Paul tells the congregation about the spiritual gifts God gives to His people that will benefit all. Some churches get so wrapped up about these gifts along with all the programs they think is necessary to please God that they forget the very core of “Church” at all and that is to make Jesus the Lord of their life. To give up their own rule and kingdom of self. Busy, busy, busy; too busy to stay with the basics (the roots) and they add their own ideas of what God wants. They may “talk” basics but their heart is not really in them. How many people are not getting “saved” because they think that they will get to heaven by their good works and many programs and much busyness.
In Luke 3:9, John tells everyone who would listen “Bring forth therefore fruits of repentance, and begin not to say to yourselves, we have Abraham to our father…And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; every root therefore which brings not forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.” The good fruit is the souls that accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and abide by it.
He was mostly talking to the Jews who thought their relationship with Abraham would save them. John dispelled that idea when he said in the same verse “for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” This is not just for the Jews but any one who believes in Jesus. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” We will be in the presence of the glory of God forever. And the Lamb is the light. Revelation 21:23
This is the core and full plan of God for our lives. Nothing else matters. God is all. God bless you as you think about this.