Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon series: Grace: the Never-ending, Overwhelming, Reckless Love of God
Week 3: Reconcile: God’s Part
01-20-18 PDF for printing
- We invite you to join your church family as we try to memorize Ephesians 2:8-9 over this sermon series: “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.” Practice it together with your group now. You can do this!
Grace has Four Movements:
Movement One: Grace Before.
This is God going after us before we even have an interest in Him. God takes the first step to start a relationship with us.
- Read Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
What do you notice about God’s grace from the verses in Ephesians and Romans you’ve read here so far?
Movement Two: Grace Enough.
When we respond to God’s grace, we can receive His forgiveness and be saved. Just knowing about God and His love doesn’t mean you have a relationship with Him. You establish a relationship with God as you respond and accept his grace. Then grace can become active in your life.
- Read Hebrews 4:16: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
What does this verse add to your understanding of grace?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21: So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The word “Reconcile” means to restore or repair what was broken. What was broken was our relationship with God, and the reason it was broken was our sin. Why does our sin break our relationship with God?
- Our culture often thinks of sin like “a mistake.” This is partially true, but what’s the problem with that understanding of sin?
- The biblical word for “sin” means “to miss the mark or to fail”. We have a tendency to want to talk about other people’s sin, not about our own sin. We tend to think of sin as the things that others do, but we don’t really have a problem with. If you’ve ever done this, share with your group about it.
- We often compare ourselves with others and think we’re pretty good. But if we miss the mark of God’s perfection, we fall short – regardless of whether we’re sort of nice, or a total mess. Do you agree with this idea or not – why or why not? What are the implications of this for us?
- What was Pastor Dale/Pastor Jeff communicating with the ladder illustration?
- Look at 2 Corinthians 5:18-19a again. What do these verses tell you about God?
- What does the word “counting” mean here?
- Read Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What does this verse add to your understanding of sin and its effects?
- Read Colossians 2:13-14: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
What do you notice in these verses about what God has done for you? Why was that necessary?
So, how does God’s grace become enough?
One: We agree
- Read Romans 3:23: …all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Why is it important for us to take this first step of agreeing with God about our sin?
Two: We confess
- Read 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
What happens when we confess our sins?
Three: We receive
- Read John 1:12-13: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
What do these verses add to your understanding of how we receive God’s grace?
- Hirro Onoda was a Japanese soldier who refused to quit fighting WWII until 1974, because he refused to believe that the war was over. What does this illustrate about how some people respond to God’s grace?