Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” I hope you enjoyed the series on how “Faith works by love.” That’s over now, but I will continue to teach about God’s grace and our faith. Today we will look at God’s part and our part.
(John 1:14 NIV)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(Jon 1:17 NIV)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. God does what He does for you because He loves you.
We just spent an entire month talking about the love of God. By now, you should know that God does what He does for you simply because He loves you! Let’s look at a couple of verses on this.
(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- God is love (1 Jn 4:8).
- Love gives! You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Love is always focused on someone else.
- God loved us so much that He gave His only Son. Jesus loved us so much that He willingly suffered and then gave His life for us, paying a price we could not pay for a debt He did not even owe. Now the Holy Spirit loves us so much that He takes up residence inside of us and gives us His commitment to being with us forever, simply because He loves you!
- The more you study the love of God, the more appreciation you will develop for God’s grace-based love.
(Romans 5:8 NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Grace is a gift. Grace is unearned and unmerited. If you attempt to work for grace, you are making it something it is not becuase you cannot work for a gift. If you work for a gift, then the gift is no longer a gift (Romans 11:6).
- God’s love towards us is grace-based, not works or performance-based. You did NOTHING to cause God to start loving you, and nothing you do will ever make Him stop.
- What did we do to cause the Father to send Jesus to die for us? Nothing!
- What did we do to cause Jesus to want to die for us on the cross? Nothing!
- God did it because He loves us!
- And once you are Born-Again, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, despite your flaws, because He loves you and He is committed to the plans the Father made for you before the world began.
2. God calls people to their purpose by His grace, not our performance.
I will give you three examples this morning.
(Gen 12:1-3 ERV)
(v.1) The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country and your people. Leave your father’s family and go to the country that I will show you.
(v.2) I will build a great nation from you. I will bless you and make your name famous. People will use your name to bless other people.
(v.3) I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.
I will use you to bless all the people on earth.”
- What did Abraham do to deserve this? NOTHING!
- Who initiated the contact? God did.
- Who decided to bless Abraham? God did.
- Does the Bible say anything about Abraham’s performance or how he earned this spot in God’s heart? NO!
- Abraham was an idol worshipper who lived with idol worshippers. The Bible does not tell us much about him beyond that.
- God did not bless Abraham because He earned it or deserved it. God did this by grace because He loved Abraham!
- God did it because He had made plans for Abraham before the foundations of the world!
- It’s the same with you.
(Exodus 3:10 ERV)
So now I am sending you to Pharaoh. Go! Lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
- What did Moses do to deserve this assignment? NOTHING!
- Moses was a murderer! He was living in exile, in the wilderness, thinking that he had disqualified himself from his life’s assignment.
- Growing up in Pharaoh’s palace, Moses knew in his heart that he was different. He knew he was connected to the Jews. He knew he was supposed to do something with them. But he also got out ahead of God, killed a man, and would up living in the wilderness for 40 years.
- After 40 years of Moses beating himself up for his mistakes, God revealed Himself to Moses at a burning bush.
- God called Moses to go back to Egypt, to confront the Pharoah at the time (a man he grew up with), and to lead millions of people out of bondage.
- God did not call Moses because he did anything to earn it or deserve it. God called Moses by grace because He loved Moses!
- God did it because He had made plans for Moses before the foundations of the world!
- It’s the same with you!
(Acts 9:3-6 ERV)
(v.3) So Saul went to Damascus. When he came near the city, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shined around him.
(v.4) He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
(v.5) Saul said, “Who are you, Lord?”
The voice answered, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.
(v.6) Get up now and go into the city. Someone there will tell you what you must do.”
- What did Paul do to deserve this? NOTHING!
- Paul was a terrorist! He was having Christians killed.
- Paul was too young to participate in the assassination of the first Christian martyr, Stephen, so he held the coats of the men who did it.
- He was complicit in that murder, and later, he was complicit in hundreds, if not thousands, of murders of Christians.
- But God still called him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, lead four of the most impactful Missionary journies, and write half the New Testament.
- God did not call Paul because he earned it or deserved it. God called Paul by grace because He loved him.
- God did it because He had made plans for Paul before the foundations of the world!
- It’s the same with you!
*** Many of us were taught that God blesses us because of our faith and/or our performance. But He planned to bless us before the foundations of the world because He loves us! True faith is only a response to God’s grace! Faith says, “YES” to the plans God reveals to us, no matter how immeasurably good they seem. Grace is almost too good to be true, but it is true, because it is in God’s heart to bless us and use us for His glory!
3. Here is a quick faith refresher.
What Faith is NOT:
- Faith is NOT telling God what to do!
- Faith is NOT trying to get God to put a “Yes” on your plan!
- Faith is NOT you commanding God!
- Who are you to tell God what to do?
What Faith IS:
- Faith IS God trying to get you to put a “Yes” on His plans!
- Faith IS you making an alignment with God’s assignment for your life!
- Faith is what happens when humans have the audacity to believe what God reveals, without any sense-realm evidence to support it, and then launch out in the corresponding action to receive it.
- Faith peers into God’s realm (heaven) and dimension (eternity), from our realm (the earth) and dimension (time), and then comes back to operate (with decisions and actions) based on what was seen and heard.
Faith requires revelation: (You must hear from God FIRST!)
- Abraham did not come up with the plan!
- Moses did not come up with the plan!
- Paul did not come up with the plan!
- *** And you can’t come up with the plan, either!
- Faith is about you believing what God believes about you!
4. A few quick takeaways about God’s grace and our faith.
a) God’s plan for your life was established by grace. It was birthed in His heart before the foundations of the world. God did this because He loves you. Once God reveals His plans to you, and you embrace the fact that He planned to use you and bless you by His unearned grace, you can then pursue God’s plans by faith!
b) Faith is not about YOU trying to get God to give you what you came up with in your heart. Faith is about GOD trying to get you to believe and receive what He came up with in His heart before the world began.
c) When God reveals to you what He planned to do by grace, you are then authorized to use your faith to lay hold of it. Faith is something you say or do in order to lay hold of what God has revealed to you that is already yours.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, You made plans for me before the world began. You did this simply because You love me. Jesus died on the cross for my sin. He did this because He loves me. Now the Holy Spirit willingly lives in me, and He is committed to me — even though I sometimes ignore Him and do things that grieve Him — simply because He loves me.
I am convinced that You love me. I am fully persuaded of Your love. It is because of Your love for me and Your tireless dedication to me that I am able to walk in confidence towards You. I have unshakable faith because You have imparted immeasurable grace.
My faith says YES to Your grace. My faith is YES to the plans You made for me before the world began. By faith, I will become the man/woman You destined me to be. I will leave a mark in this world that will be felt for generations to come. Not because I am good. But because You are! You provide the grace, and I provide the faith. Living this way, I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.