Hello Brothers & Sisters,
This past Sunday I shared a messaged called, Scandalous Grace. Here are several important points from the sermon:
The Apostle Paul, a strict-law abiding Pharisee, met the risen Jesus and began preaching the gospel of God’s grace;
Paul came to understand that Christ saves us by grace (not by works) and calls us to live by the Spirit and not by the Law;
It’s God’s loving kindness (i.e. grace) that leads us to repent and change, not judgment and condemnation;
Therefore, we should meet people where they are on their journey and extend God’s grace to them.
As I said in the sermon, this is how Jesus met the most despised people of his own day. For example, in Matthew 8:5-13, notice that Jesus doesn’t express his disagreement with the Roman centurion’s choices before he healed his servant upon request. And the truth is, a centurion would have known how a Jewish rabbi felt about his occupation. Remember, Romans were seen as foreign invaders and idolatrous oppressors of God’s people. Nevertheless, when the centurion approaches Jesus and asks him to heal his servant, Jesus responds by being willing to cross a major religious boundary and enter the centurion’s house to perform a miracle. The Gentile solider replies, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” Folks, that’s a guy who knows he is in need of grace!
As the story goes, Jesus heals the servant from a distance. And so the Lord extends God’s grace to an undeserving man of violence because in Jesus’ words, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Wow! That would have been scandalous! Jesus is acknowledging that people far from God can exhibit great faith. But that faith never would have been actualized had Jesus not extended grace and met the man where he was: a pagan who surprisingly believed in Jesus’ power to heal someone he deeply cared about.
Dear church, this is the God we worship. He enters into our mess and meets us where we are—rewarding whatever faith we can muster.
Let’s not move on from this message without giving it some serious consideration. Do you need to experience this kind of grace? Is there someone you need to extend God’s grace to as they work out what it means to follow Jesus? I encourage us to listen for the voice of the Spirit and then act upon his conviction and prompting that can lead us to freedom.
I hope to see you this Sunday in worship. I’ll be preaching a message entitled, The Mothering God. Until then, may you encounter God’s grace in your life and pass that grace on to others.
Grace & Peace,
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