Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon series: Grace
Week 1: Where Are You?
- A value Community of Hope is bringing forth this year is memorizing scripture verses. To begin this year, recite together our theme scripture for this series: Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.
- A dictionary definition of grace is: the free and unmerited favor of God. Consider the word “grace”, and discuss what you think about when you hear that word.
- Max Lucado says this about grace: “God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.”
For this series we are using the definition from a song by Cory Asbury called “Reckless Love”: The overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. Talk about how Max Lucado’s description and Cory Asbury’s description change your ideas about the word ‘grace’.
Pastor Trevor says that Grace sums up Christianity, in 3 simple phrases:
The Good News
The Bad News
The Good News
- The Good News begins at the very beginning of the Bible. Read:
Genesis 1:27: So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Why is this good news?
- Now for the Bad News: Read Genesis 3:1-8:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent “we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
What questions or ideas come to mind as you read this passage? What makes this Bad News?
- Do we become a sinner when we sin, or do we sin because we are a sinner? Spend time discussing your answer and the reason for it.
- Read Genesis 3:9 “But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
For context, read this verse again, after reading Genesis 3:1-8. Pastor Trevor says that this verse is where grace begins, it is the Good News, because even though God knows our sin, he still seeks to be in close relationship with us. Why does God’s question “Where are you?” represent the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God?
- Has God ever asked you “Where are you?” Share about that time in your life if you are willing.
- Prevenient Grace is the term used to describe the grace that comes to us BEFORE we follow Jesus, before we even have an awareness of God’s reckless love for us. Read: Samuel 14:14 After all, even though we all die, and we’re all like water being spilled on the ground that cannot be recovered, nevertheless God doesn’t take away life, but carries out his plans so as not to cast away permanently from him those who are presently estranged.
Can you recall times, events, or people in your life, before you knew Jesus, when God was ‘scheming’ to bring you to Him? Connect the dots of your life story, and share with your group if you are willing.
- An awareness of prevenient grace raises our gratitude for God’s love. Pray together with your group, thanking God for his overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love for you.
- To practice our memory verse of scripture, fill in the blanks for this scripture:
For it is by g__________ you have been s____________, through f_________ – and this is not from y___________________, it is a g_________ of God – not by w_______, so that no one can b______________.
Keep practicing this verse throughout the week, and text it to members of your group throughout the week as a way to help each other memorize it!