Make space for grace

(This weeks devotionals are from the message “Making space for grace” by Pastor Travis Warren)


Connecting People to L.I.F.E.

You are a part of a church that is not an institution but a movement of bringing LIFE to all! After today’s message you cant sit back and enjoy the show. We’ve got to take LIFE to everyone we know.

We’ve been talking about the Gospel. The Kingdom, the cross and today we need to make space for grace. WE are to take people the kingdom of god, through the cross of God by the grace of God.

Eph 2: 8-10 NLT
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Luke 15: 11-12 NLT
11
to illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die. So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

No Grace

The Church I grew up in from an early age was extremely strict. I mean like King James Version only, turn or burn, don’t get up to go to the bathroom during the service, 3-hour service strict. There was no room for grace in our little church on avenue D in Snohomish, so as a result I grew up as a person with high moral standards, little room for grace and tremendous fear. It was so bad that in 5th grade when the 6th grade love of my life asked me out I told her I could not date her because if Jesus returned I believed I would go to hell. Needless to say I ruined all chances with her with that sentence. I’m not sure why I even had a chance in the first place because she was a 6 foot tall 6th grader and I was a barely 4 foot tall 5th grader, but she wanted me and I removed all feelings she might have had with the whole return of the lord thing.

Marriage and  grace

As I grew up I stayed away from many of the traps my peers fell into because of fear and my moralism, but then I got married. And I discovered that marriage takes an abundant amount of grace. There is no way a marriage can survive unless there is grace. I discovered quickly that it is not easy living with another person and my wife wasn’t the problem. My wife is absolutely wonderful to live with. She walks into the room and it is a little brighter and way more beautiful, I on the other have something wrong with me.

Spilled milk

Every morning I get up, make a cup of coffee and every morning I manage to spill cream and sugar and I don’t know why but for some reason I’ll see the stuff on the counter, look over to the sponge that’s dried out and decide it’s too difficult to wet the sponge and clean it up or that somehow today will be different and Gia will not notice that 1500th straight day of our marriage I made a mess when I made my coffee, so I go sit down, pull up my favorite news website and enjoy my meal. Then she walks down the stairs, brightens the room, the beauty level is elevated, she walks over to the counter and says, babe? I look up, she looks down at the mess and LOOKS back at me. I know I’ve been caught, but I still try and play innocent, ya? Here’s where it gets fun, some days, she’ll clear her throat, signifying I know, other days, she’ll come out and tell me, other days she’ll say you know what. For the 1st three years of our marriage I’d look at her, try to disarm her with my charming smile and with a mouth full of captain crunch say, Grace?

Now I just blame it on our daughter Eden, cause who can get upset with a 2 year old for taking the initiative to get themselves a cup of coffee and making a small mess.

What are we without Grace?

Before I was married, I had no room and in my belief no need for grace, but when I got married I realized that I had to make space for grace and I am thankful I married the most gracious women because I look in the mirror at myself and say I’m so frustrated with you. I can never be perfect. I can never do everything my wife asks me or anyone else for that matter and therefore I need to make space for grace.

The same is true for you, you will never measure up to God’s holy standard, so you need grace to make up the difference and give you the power to overcome your weaknesses!

How about you?

Are you making space for grace?
How are you showing grace to others?
What areas are you in need of grace? for others? for yourself?

Was The Cross Necessary

Was the Cross Necessary?

Could God have just forgiven us of our sins without the cross?

A.  Realize:  He didn’t have to save any people at all!

B.  Once He decided to save people, there was no other way for God to do this without the death of his Son.

Mark 8:31-32 (ESV)

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. [Note use of the word “must”]

Isaiah 53 (ESV)

Who has believed what he has heard from us?  And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  2For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.  3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.  6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  8By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?  9And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.  12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the [S]pirit,

“The uniqueness of Christ’s death continues to be emphasized, for he suffered on the cross as ‘the righteous for the unrighteous.’ The righteousness of Christ is an allusion to his sinlessness. His suffering was therefore undesereved…Since Christ suffered as the sinless one, his suffering is unique. Indeed, only Christ suffered ‘for the unrighteous.” His death was vicarious and substitutionary and the basis upon which people become right with God.

“The reason Christ’s death is sufficient is precisely because he was sinless. He could not have died on behalf of his people if he himself were stained by sin. His perfect obedience, therefore, is the basis for the sufficiency of his death.”  -Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, (NIVAC), pg. 182.

Missional Analysis

  • People with no faith reject the cross of Christ as foolish, and submission to God as an act of weakness and a fairytale (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
  • People with damaged faith agree with the facts of their need for forgiveness and Jesus’ death, but place their trust in their works for God’s love and acceptance.
  • People with active faith place their faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and allow the gospel to shape their lives and dictate how they live.

Own your part of the Cross

Overcoming the resistance to the cross we must own our part of the cross.

To experience the gospel and live accepted people have to see the gravity and horror of sin, and believe it cannot be passed over.

To experience the gospel and live accepted people have to see the gravity and horror of sin, and believe it cannot be remedied by what they do.

Romans 3:23 (ESV)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23a (ESV)

For the wages of sin is death

Isaiah 64:5c-6 (ESV)

In our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?  6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.  We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

John Stott says: “”Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, ‘Yes, we were there.’ Not as spectators only, but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining and handing him over to be crucified. We may try to wash our hands of the responsibility like Pilate. But our attempt will be as futile as his. For there is blood on our hands.

Before we can see the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading to repentance).

Indeed, ‘only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross,’ wrote Canon Peter Green, ‘may claim his share in its grace.’Source: The Cross of Christ, pg 63

Gospel Response

Gospel Response

Our rebellion has put Jesus on the cross. But it is this very act that opens up salvation for us, as he went on the cross to suffer the judgment we deserve for our treason. The gospel calls us to place our faith and trust in the work of Jesus in order to be forgiven for our rebellion, and is the entry point back into God’s kingdom.  Religion says “I obey, therefore I’m accepted.” The Gospel says, “I’m accepted, therefore I obey.”  The “cross” is how we are accepted by God.

Overcoming Resistance:

1.  The doctrine of the Trinity proves false God as a child abuser.

The Doctrine of the Trinity cannot pit “father” vs. “son.”  To do so is to misunderstand the Sonship of Jesus:  Jesus is God, sharing in the very nature of God; Jesus is the true heir of God, the King of the Kingdom.

2.  Jesus’ death was voluntary.

Pilate only had authority to take the life of Jesus because he allowed it (John 19:10-11); Jesus knew he could protect himself at any time (Matt 26:33).

John 10:11-12

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.

John 10:15

So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.

John 10:17-18

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

3.  Substitution is necessary

Under the law almost everything was purifired with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  (Heb 9:22)

4.  The Cross is a Multi-faceted jewel.

Isaiah 53:5, 12 (ESV)

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

12Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Resistances to the Cross

Fallen Condition Focus

The first sin in the garden of Eden was a sin of rejecting the Kingship of God and choosing to be autonomous individuals. We have inherited this sin, and continue to live it out daily. With every act of sin, we continue to rebel against God’s kingdom and choose our own kingdoms and queendoms, and it is this rebellion is what put Jesus, the son of God, on the cross.

Resistances:

1. A Perception that God is a child-abuser. (Cross as Substitutioinary)

2. Incomplete views of the cross.  Note: Rather than one definition; it is all definition.

  • “Ransom Theory” – Jesus paid a ransom to Satan in the form of his life to release sinners. Jesus “swapped places” with the unrighteous, liberating them from slavery to Satan. Mark 10:45
  • “Christus Victor” – Similar to Ransom, but instead of paying a ransom, Christ’s death and resurrection actually defeats Satan and his demons, freeing them from Satan by actually conquering him and his forces.
  • “Penal Substitutionary” – The view that Christ died in our place (substitution) facing the wrath we deserve for our sins (penal).
  • “Governmental” – This view is like Penal Substitutionary, but instead of his death in our place for our sins (specific), Jesus died the punishment sin deserves (unspecified) to demonstrate how much God hates sin.
  • “Moral Influence” – Jesus’ death was nothing more than an example of obedience to God that shapes how we should live in obedience and to what level of obedience to God.

3.  Sin

  • “I’m not that bad.”
  • “God is love, so can’t he just forgive sin?”

4.  Works

  • Salvation comes by appeasing gods by the works you do.
  • Examples:
    • Hinduism—The Way of Action ie. ceremonies; The Way of Knowledge ie. a complete comprehension of the universe; The Way of Devotion ie the act of worship; the “Royal Road” use of prayer and meditation.
    • Buddism—the eighfold pathway ie. Right understanding, resolve, speech, actions, occupation, effort, contemplation, meditation…
    • Islam—the Five Pillars
    • Even Christianity has a works-based salvation mode that’s subtle.
      • Do you feel that God is angry with you if:
        • You miss a day of reading the bible?
        • You miss a day of prayer? Or you don’t pray “well?”
        • You miss an opportunity to share the gospel?
      • Or do you judge other Christians if they:
        • Enjoy a glass of wine?
        • Watch TV/Don’t watch TV?
        • Don’t/Do home School their children?
        • Watch certain movies? (Excluding pornography of course)
      • If you find yourself doing any of the above, you are trusting in your works to earn God’s love, or to be right with God.