Great Grace #1 – Good News for Ragamuffins (Sermon of the Week)

RagamuffinGREAT GRACE #1: GOOD NEWS FOR RAGAMUFFINS

(Jan. 2013 – Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)

  • To download a printable version of these notes, click HERE.
  • To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

INTRO TO TOPIC: This week, we are beginning a new series to look at one of the most important words to Christianity: GRACE. One of the most popular hymns of all time is Amazing Grace. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” But – what is grace?

QUOTES ON GRACE:

“Because God is gracious, therefore sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them or that ever can be in them that they are saved.” (Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace).

“The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt out…It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace… It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.” (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).

“As I look back on my own pilgrimage, marked by wanderings…I see now what pulled me along was my search for grace. I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else… Grace comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it and I am one of those people.” (Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?).

“To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it… Grace… is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried… My hope has been to create an appetite for grace that is so strong nothing will restrain us from pursuing the freedom and spontaneity it can bring – a longing so deep that a new spiritual dawn, a “grace awakening,” if you will, cannot help but burst through the wall of legalism.” (Charles Swindoll, The Grace Awakening).

THE BIG IDEA:  God saves us by his special favor when we believe in Jesus. We can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done.

INTRO TO GALATIANS: (Galatians 1:1-7).

“1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

  • Who was Paul? He was a terrorist whose story begins in Acts 9      as Jesus appears to him.
  • “12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all      longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” (1 Tim. 1:12-16).
  • God’s grace = saved Saul, a terrible sinner. If God will save Saul, He will save anyone!
  • Before I became a Christian, I was a real bad sinner, but God loved & saved me.

3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

  • Grace defined = charis = unmerited favor of God; good will; lovingkindness.
  • Paul wrote this letter because the Christians in Galatia were departing from the gospel.
  • What is the Gospel? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9).
  • God loved the world so much He sent His son Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins!
  • So many people don’t understand God’s grace – His unmerited favor – today.

AN ILLUSTRATION OF GRACE #1: MEPHIBOSHETH

BEFORE GRACE: WHO WAS MEPHIBOSHETH?

“Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when Saul and Jonathan were killed at the battle of Jezreel. When news of the battle reached the capital, the child’s nurse grabbed him and fled. But she fell and dropped him as she was running, and he became crippled as a result.” (2 Sam. 4:4).

  • He was an orphan, alone, forgotten, broken. He was a hopeless, helpless victim.

1.         GRACE SEEKS US FIRST:

“Then the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet.” So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.” (2 Sam. 9:3-4).

  • Mephibosheth was forgotten, forsaken, abandoned. But the King was looking for him!
  • Sometimes we think that grace begins with us seeking God. It’s the other way around!
  • “But God demonstrates His own love towards us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
  • Why would the king look for Mephibosheth? He was crippled:
  • Hear the gracious words of the King: “Where is he?” (v.4). This sounds like God’s first gracious words spoken when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden: “Where are you?”
  • Mephibosheth was in Lo-Debar – that means no pasture, a barren, desolate place.
  • God comes looking for us in our brokenness and pain. This is Good News!

2.         GRACE HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE US:

“Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar. Now when Mephibosheth had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, “Mephibosheth?” And he answered, “Here is your servant!” (2 Sam. 9:5-6).

  • Mephibosheth could have stayed in Lo-Debar, but he chose to respond to the King’s call.
  • Some people allow bitterness and fear to keep them in Lo-Debar, instead of responding to God’s gracious call to save us from our sins and bring healing and restoration.
  • When Mephibosheth first came to the king, he said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” (v.8).
  • When we embrace grace, we leave behind our old sinful broken life.
  • Mephibosheth was invited to eat at the table of the King as a son, not a servant.

3.         GRACE IS GOD’S RICHES AT CHRIST’S EXPENSE:

“So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” (2 Sam. 9:7).

  • The King didn’t choose Mephibosheth because of any good qualities in him.
  • “As for Mephibosheth,” said the king, “he shall eat at my table like one of the      king’s sons.” (2 Sam. 9:11b).
  • Sometimes we feel unworthy to receive God’s love, but we need to remember it’s not about our goodness; it’s about God’s goodness. We are all unworthy sinners!
  • QUOTE: “A saint is not someone who is good, but someone God has been good to.” (Thomas Merton).

CLOSING ENCOURAGEMENT: God loves you – yes, even you!

If you have never received God’s free gift of grace, then receive it by faith today and be saved!

SONG: On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand

Beausejour Community Church Website:   www.beausejourchurch.ca

Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog:  https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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About Chris Jordan

Husband. Father. Author. Pastor. Guidance Counsellor. High School Teacher. Follower of Jesus. And I enjoy a good cup of coffee!
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