Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stop Doing and Start Growing: Grow in Grace

{My goal is publish every Monday my previous Sunday morning’s message (Yes, I realize that I am starting this on a Wednesday!). My primary goal is to be a benefit to those who were there and want to review something that was said. But if this can be a blessing to those who are not here, then great! I don’t type out full manuscripts before I preach. This is just an outline. I will work on getting ahold of the full audio version of each sermon and posting those, as well.}
SERIES: Stop Doing and Start Growing
TITLE: 01 – Grow in Grace
TEXT: 2 Peter 3:18
· What is the primary feeling felt by the majority of Christians today: Love…Joy…? Contentment…Peace…etc?
· For many, if not most, it is …GUILT.
· We have programmed ourselves that the more we do, the more God likes us: Attendance, Bible reading, offering, evangelism, etc.
· Therefore, we think the opposite is true – when we sin, God is so angry with us that He disowns us and there is no way we can return to Him…the church…etc.
· All of this is the result of faulty understanding of the Gospel and of Grace.
o Weak definition of Grace & the Gospel that leads us to believe grace only involves us when we sin.
· Our goal is to correct this mindset in 2012:
o AM – Fruit of the Spirit – not something we do, but something that flows.
o PM – The Gospel – for Christians!
· This morning, we need to start with the issue of Growing in Grace.
a. Grace – charis clip_image002
b. 5485. χάρις charis, khar´-ece; from 5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act; espec. the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):[1]
i. So, Grace is not just something that God bestows upon us, but something God flows through us.
c. For many, grace is only something that involves either salvation or something we need when we sin. But grace is much more than that.
i. We are STRENGTHENED by grace – 2 Timothy 2:1–4 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
ii. We ENDURE SUFFERING by grace – 2 Corinthians 12:7–10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
iii. We GIVE when GIVING IS DIFFICULT by grace – 2 Corinthians 8:1–2 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
iv. We SING when SINGING IS DIFFICULT by grace – Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
v. We ARE WHAT WE ARE by grace – 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
d. When we do not recognize and exercise the grace of God within us, it means it was given to us in vain.
i. Paul used his grace, and it was grace that used Paul.
ii. William Barclay – The Christian must daily experience the wonder of grace, and daily grow in the gifts which grace can bring.[2]
a. Grow – the word is a present, active imperative and means to be constantly growing, not in spurts.
i. Spiritual spurts may get more initial recognition, but continual growth has lasting impact.
b. The fruit of the Spirit, which are listed in Gal 5:22-23 and we will be studying for the next couple of weeks, are evidences of growing in grace.
c. Growing in grace does mean that you must experience and go through trials and even suffering.
i. Wiersbe – We never really experience the grace of God until we are at the end of our resources.[3]
ii. The lessons learned while enrolled in the “School of Grace” always cost a lot, but are worth the price.
d. To grow in grace means to be more and more like Jesus.
i. John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
ii. We grow IN grace BY grace!
· Have you experienced Eternal Grace?
· Have you experienced Daily Grace?
o Are you growing in grace? Let’s grow in grace in 2012.

[1] Strong, J., S.T.D., LL.D. (2009). Vol. 1: A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (77). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[2] William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter,(Saint Andrew Press; Edinburgh, Scotland, 1960), pg 415
[3] Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2, (Chariot Victor Publishing, Colorado Springs, COL, 1989), pg. 470

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