Love, Saint, Grace, Peace
Dec 08, 2019
Jon spoke from Romans 1:7 on how we are loved by God, we are saints, we live under God's grace and we have peace with God.
Reading Romans – this verse jumped out at me - it’s only little but I think it’s potent.
To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 1:7
- Just like a lot of similar greetings
- Seems straight forward enough
- This is the bit we skip through to get to the main points
Paul is asking God to bless us
It's Paul's job to build the church - and he is asking God to give us what Paul considers to be the most important things - grace & peace.
First off we need to understand:
- God is not just Good at loving - God is love
- When we talk about The way God loves, we are talking about the most perfect way to love, he is the best
Second, we need to understand the scale of the problem
- If you want to see how powerful a torch is, you go out into the dark and see how far it will shine.
- If you want to fill in a hole in the road, you need to understand how big the whole is so you can bring enough materials to fill it and restore it back to working order.
- If you want to bring someone back to health you need to understand just how ill they are.
So what kind of problem do humans have when it comes to pleasing our creator?
A big one!
- We deserved nothing
- God said his standard is sinlessness
- We don't measure up and God passes judgement on us - we can't get back in relationship with him now and it will stay that way into eternity
- In one sense, God is fine with that. The rules are clear we sinned, judgement is passed, justice is served.
- God doesn't NEED to do anything!
- But he loves us - and when you love someone,
- your heart goes out to them
- you have compassion = SUFFER WITH
- you want to be with them, close to them
- you are driven to action
- leave no stone unturned
- you MAKE A WAY WHERE THERE IS NO WAY
So then we get a verse like 1 John 3:16
"How do we know what his love is like. - Jesus Christ laid down his life for us"
And Romans 5:8
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
And it gets better because he knows we don't make the grade but he has chosen to act on our behalf anyway - so it's unconditional - his decision to act isn't conditional on us it's conditional on his love - which does not change.
So it makes no difference if we are:
- Fat or thin
- Tall or short
- Gay or straight
- Good or bad
- Selfless or selfish
- Trustworthy or unreliable
- Any ethnicity
- Any religion
- Even gingers!
Constant - God doesn’t blow hot and cold
Cf Adam & Eve & sin. - came to Adam and Eve there were consequences but not a withdrawal of Gods love
10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people...
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
- Called to be saints = everyone who is following Jesus or will follow Jesus in the future.
- Who does God want to follow Jesus in the future?
- Everyone! - God does not exclude anyone
- God desires that no one should perish
- 9 The Lord is... patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
- Christ Came to save sinners
- What if I sin - am I not a saint? Am I a lower grade of Christian.
- NO WAY JOSÉ
Best definition I have heard:
“God’s mysterious, ongoing acceptance of us that is not dependant on our successes of failures.”
Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins - grace is like that - its God meeting us where we are not saying we have to come to where he is
After being born again, this truth has made the biggest impact on the last 30 years of my life.
We get what we haven’t earned and it’s got nothing to do with:
- having a good heart
- Not by being kind
- Not by trying hard
- Not by going to church
- Not by giving money
- Not by serving others
- Not by praying
- Not by reading the bible
Opposite of legalism - WHICH I HATE - trying to do the right things so God will love us.
Humans seem to tend towards rule making - the us and them mentality
There is a bit of Pharisee in all of us and I am sure there is a bigger tendency towards it the older I get. VICTOR MELDREW!
VIDEO CLIP https://youtu.be/Bl5us_7Myyg
Grace is not a new idea - I have seen lots of tellings of the story of Noah and the Ark. Often they imply - Noah was good, everyone else was bad so God rescued Noah.
Good News Bible says "God was pleased with Noah" but most other accurate versions translate the verse Noah found Grace or Favour:
Noah - not a good man, a man who God chose to put his favour on (Grace)
the grace he found was not on account of his own merit, but on account of the mercy of God: and this shows that he was not without sin, or he would have stood in no need of the mercy and grace of God to save him;
In other words:
we need to be given what we haven't earned
God know it and has decided to do it - that's grace
We have already covered this above because Gods love drives him to act = grace
Not his enemy any more
Welcomed to the family - don’t have to keep a low profile and hope for the best like a man on a women’s and childrens lifeboat in movie Titanic.
MOVIE CLIP (https://youtu.be/ZxBVzBwNxWg
Don’t be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and his PEACE which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
DAVE WATMORE'S PREACH - Dave Watmore “sometimes when I am going through difficult times I take the dog and...”
I thought he was going to say “and kick it”!
But he said “and walk in the hills and pray”
STORY - Pupfish - at the height of the stress, story of me walking around the park every day and praying and singing worship songs until I found peace for that day.
(I don’t know about you but I find my times of greatest peace come after some time in the presence of God - normally worship. I find it puts everything into perspective - worries seem to melt away. )
Be still and know that I am God psalm 46:10
Basically this psalm says don't look at the problem, the scary threat coming you way. I will deal with so look at me.
There is a peace that comes from
ceasing our activity,
from stopping trying to sort issues out
Stopping measuring ourselves against other people which is exhausting!
Cf Martha and Mary - sitting at his feet, focussed just on Him
Cf parable of sower - worries of this life and deceitfulness of wealth rob us from being fruitful
(NB deceitfulness of wealth - God is our source and supply - if we have needs we should go to him - chasing wealth is looking for another source and supply. )
Pretty sure that is part of the reason why SOZO works - striving ceases and we get still and know that he is God, let him speak and lead
- There is PEACE between us and God - we are not his enemy any more, we are welcome and loved. He is please to see us when we come to him.
- When we are worried or in distress we can FIND God's peace for our troubled heart
- And the more time we spend in Gods presence whether we are in distress or not, the more we get perspective on our lives, that he is in control and watching over us - that just settles our hearts - we have PEACE