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Outside The Box of Grace

Good Morning Family,

I feel so blessed to have all of you here today!
God is GREAT!


Heavenly Father,

Each of us walked into church today
needing You in different ways.
Some of us need strength
because we are facing a difficult challenges.
Some of us need hope,
because we are feel like giving up.
Some of us need love
because we are feeling alone.

Some of us need a financial blessing
because we have no idea how we will meet our debts/obligations 
Some of us need a miracle
because there is no earthly way

We trust that You will provide for us, 

through Your Words and Your Holy Spirit 
and in quiet moments of prayer and reflection.
You are here, You are with each one of us,

and we acknowledge You, as the One who supplies all of our needs
Amen.


Today's message is called: Outside The Box of Grace 

To understand God’s grace is to understand Outside The Box of Grace.
1. Grace used as a noun, in Christian belief, the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
The condition or fact of being favored by someone
2. Used as a verb, do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one's presence.
Grace, however, is a terribly misunderstood word.  

Some of the most detailed theology textbooks do not offer any concise definition of the term. Someone has proposed an acronym: GRACE is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. 
That's not a bad way to characterize grace, but it is not a sufficient theological definition.

One of the best-known definitions of grace is only three words: God's unmerited favor
A. W. Tozer expanded on that: "Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving."
Grace is not merely unmerited favor; it is favor bestowed on sinners who deserve wrath. Showing kindness to a stranger is "unmerited favor"; but doing good to one's enemies is more the spirit of grace.
To help us understand Grace today, I want to share with you a few scriptures that I have heard many Christians claim they've never quite understood.
 
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."
Luke 6:27-36

Grace is not a dormant or abstract quality, but a dynamic, active, working principle:

"The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation…and instructing us" Titus 2:11-12

It is not some kind of ethereal blessing that lies idle until we deserve it. Grace is God's sovereign will for all sinners  

Ephesians 1:5-6
Grace is not a one-time event in the Christian experience. We stand in grace.
Romans 5:2
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The entire Christian life is driven and empowered by grace:

Hebrews 13:9
It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods.
Peter said we should "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" 
2 Peter 3:18
So, we could properly define grace as the free and benevolent influence of a holy God operating sovereignty in the lives of undeserving sinners.

"Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry."
Luke 15:11-24

That’s what Grace does!
It not only forgives, it rejoices and it celebrates!

I hear Jesus saying, “Give him your cloak also.
I’m reminded of Noah,
Noah found grace in the eyes of God…
But not only Noah, but also his 3 sons and their wives get in the ark too.
The thief on the cross. Forgiveness plus grace. “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”
You see, Grace goes beyond forgiveness…
Some of us understand that God forgives, but I wonder sometimes if we really understand His grace.

If you do understand it, “God bless you”, because I have never truly understood what Grace was.


Many years ago, I used to think Grace and Forgiveness were the same things.

I thought when you forgave someone, you had grace on them.

I thought Forgiveness and Grace were synonymous.

To me they sound like the same thing.

“I had grace, so I forgave them.”


So this is God’s grace… to us,
But what I want to talk about is a church that is capable of that kind of Grace.

A grace that prefers the other person.
A grace that goes beyond forgiveness.
A grace that supports and comes along side people, especially those who do not deserve it.

Is it possible that this church could be a church that is full of Grace?
Here's the real question …

Are we capable of showing grace to other people?

How will our church ever be a grace church if we are not a Grace people?

Some of us haven’t gotten forgiveness down pat yet, how will we ever get to grace?
Because grace says more than just: “I forgive you.”

Grace says I forgive you and I want to bless you… Here’s my cloak!
You stole 50 dollars from me, but I forgive you and by the way, here are another 20.

It’s the father putting a ring on the finger of the son who wasted his inheritance.

You wasted everything I ever worked for, but here’s a ring and a fatted calf and a celebration because the son that was lost has come home!
Grace goes far beyond Forgiveness.

If we can ever become a church that extends Grace, we will be God's Grace filled church.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.


Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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