Wow! I had a great time sharing the word with our Wednesday night crew at Christian Life Center and glad I could spend some time in the front of house this week. God has really been working on me as far as grace for others and taking off the coat of shame and despair. All I can say is that I am still a work in progress! Here are my notes from the evening and some of my content from tonight is not down on paper because… well, God gave me more to say than my paper allowed.
I want to talk about two words today: sanctification and grace
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:10 MSG
Have you ever prayed the prayer: “God do whatever it takes to make me more like you!” In some form or fashion many of us have, but do we really mean it? How about the prayer “God your will be done in my life whatever it is?” Do you know what you are praying?
[youtube 3QCkBL2DfVg 853 480]
What Are God’s Tools?
I guess the better question is, what are not God’s tools? God never utilizes shame, regret, or false hope to shape your life and purpose. NEVER.
He uses Bible, Prayer, Circumstances and the Church to shape you, but even more so GRACE. God uses grace to shape you, to teach you, to hold you up. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Grace is who God is!
I believe the attribute of grace is one of the most difficult to grasp when it comes to the things of God, we understand the head cheese of it all; however, God wants us to imitate Him in all things including grace.
Read the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor in Matthew 18:21-35
See, what the one who was forgiven by the king did not understand, was grace. You see forgiveness is a big issue, of course, but the root of any sinful characteristic in any of us can be destroyed and demolished by GRACE. If we walk in the grace of God and extend it to everyone around us, we find things like forgiveness, restoration, praise, obedience, giving, sacrificing … all simple compared to carrying the attribute of grace.
You see Christ died on the cross for the remission of sin or so you can be forgiven and so he could set you free, but for even more. He died and rose to BEAR YOUR SHAME!
I find it so much easier to accept forgiveness, do good things and carry on a decent relationship with Jesus, but it is when he takes my SHAME that I am truly walking in GRACE!
Grace is not a license to sin!
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age Titus 2:11-14 NIV
What is Our Mission?
Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Jude 21-23 ESV
In order to do the good works God has for you, you have to allow God to chisel stuff away. The works God has for you are out there waiting for you, pre-ordained. Why? Because it has nothing to do with me and you! The call and works that he has for us have everything to do with Him and if ordained them then who are we to doubt the outcome.
Why did I show the video tonight? Because I believe that God has called us!
Our Mission: I am not the only Masterpiece God has made, I am called to pursue other Masterpieces of God with Grace and Diligence.
What better way to communicate the love and grace of God to others than this illustration we saw today. When you are in the coffee shops, the retail locations, workplace and gatherings, see people as God’s Masterpiece. We can get emotional about what we viewed tonight and really feel compelled to allow him to chisel away at us, but I would be failing if I did not challenge you to pray for the same in our brothers and sisters in Christ, those who are not walking with God.
My prayer is that our eyes would be opened to not just the darkness of the world around us but the beauty in God pursuing the one sheep who is running around all alone.
Share Your Story!
I remember when we first got married and how I wanted to find something wrong with Heather’s testimony, she had to be as wretched as me.
God’s grace doesn’t just rescue you from a life engrossed in sin. It also keeps you from it. And God doesn’t just receive glory when He has to completely remake a ruined life. He’s just as glorified when someone commits themselves to purity and a holy life, and by God’s grace sticks to it. – Steve Furtick
See the truth is I simply wanted to feel better about myself by finding a way for my spouse to live in the same shame I lived in. What! We do that all the time. We compare, we put levels to sin and we create false success markers in our lives based on the standards of others.
When we walk in the full grace of God the shame is gone, and it is no longer a competition to see who is closer to God! It is a relationship with Jesus so intimate that you have to share your story, the Holy Spirit lives in you and overflows so much that you cannot help but share your story.
Be A Tool of God
You see a hammer and chisel were illustrated as tools of God, and just like a hammer and chisel can build something wonderful, it can also tear down, break and kill. Often the things we see as tools of God have the same potential: to build up or to tear down, break and kill.
When you we find ourselves holding the hammer and chisel in our hands, choose to build up!