Text: 2 Timothy 2:1-4
Title: BACK TO BIBLE GRACE
Introduction: What a tragedy to live the Christian life and not take advantage of the resources that God has made available for us. A resource called – GRACE!
As Christians, we live in a day of constant battle, spirit and the flesh, the world….We can’t have a victorious Christian life without the refreshing resource of God’s Grace through the Holy Spirit of God.
Anything done in our own strength will fail miserably or succeed even more miserably!
God’s grace is the fuel that keeps our lights burning. If it is your fuel, your light will burn out. But if it is God’s…you will not burn out! Here is the secret of not burning out!
The Apostle was writing his last letter to this young preacher named Timothy. He was exhorting this preacher to be faithful to Christ and the Word of the Lord. Just any time now, Paul was going to face death.
Paul, was exhorting this young preacher that in order to finish this race, in order to properly do what God has for him, he would have to explore the resources of God’s Amazing Grace.
What is grace?
There is Saving grace – Eph. 2:8-9, Eph. 1:7
Grace – unmerited favor
But The grace that we will be discussing today is the grace or the inner working of the Holy Spirit in the Life of each believer giving him the strength and the ability to do what needs to be done. Grace is the disposition created by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer as he yields to the Holy Spirit and asks for strength.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
2 Cor. 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
The moment you received Christ as Saviour the Holy Spirit took residence in your life. With Him came the unlimited resources of God.
1 John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
You have the strength, the power, you can face whatever Satan throws at you because of God’s Holy Spirit providing you the grace as you walk and yield to Him.
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
The problem is that we don’t avail ourselves because we trust in the flesh!
You today have two natures warring in your members. The old nature – the flesh – your instincts, what comes “natural”- the sin nature. And then we have the new nature – what you’ve received when you trusted Christ as Saviour.
You can only have the grace of God when you yield yourself to the Spirit of God and not the flesh!
Rom. 7:14, 18
that’s who we are. That’s why we need to be die to the flesh and be led, walk in the Spirit.
(Practice His Presence, Acknowledge Him!)
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Too many Christians are relying upon their flesh rather than the Spirit of God! If you think you can serve God by your own strength, flesh, you’re wrong! you cannot please God in the flesh!
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Grace, the energy of God, enablement comes when we yield to the Spirit!
Grace is an all-inclusive word, for the gifts, strength and the inner-working of the Holy Spirit as you yield to Him!
I. The Action of Grace – v1
A. Grace Strengthens Us in Service – “be strong”
God says when we need strengthening, His grace is there.
1 Cor. 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.
You Can’t do the work of God without His Grace!
B. Grace Sustains Us Through Suffering – v3
Paul endured trials and sufferings.
2 Cor. 4:7, 2 Cor. 12:7-10
God breaks us because He wants The One that is greater within us to be clearly seen and lifted up!
Before God uses a man greatly, He has to hurt him deeply.
1 Cor. 1:29
That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Always remember Our Breaking Point is God’s Building Point!
God is not attracted to your strengths but to your weaknesses… it’s when you cry out to God for help that He hears you!
But the promise of God’s Grace is always there!
Often times in our life, God leads us to certain situations that we don’t understand to help us learn the things necessary for us to be what He has planned us to be.
I’m told that the stars are always there, but it takes darkness to reveal them to us, likewise the greatest lessons of God can be learned during the trials.
Your greatest lessons in life will not be learned in the classroom, or in a bible college classroom, they will be learned on your knees in prayer!
God telling You can take one more day! You can serve God one more day! Here’s my Strength!
Suffering qualifies us for ministry more than any class or course offered. It is then that we learn – God is enough, God is my resource, God is my sufficiency!
God allows such things in your life to empty yourself of “you”, your flesh, self-thoughts, your resources and your agenda to cause you to seek Him alone.
Oftentimes when it comes to our problems, We want God to do a removing job, when He wants to do an improving job.
We want God to change our addresses, problems, people, when all the while He wants to change our hearts!
Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms his child.
God did not take Apostle Paul’s infirmity! – He may not answer your prayer but He will give you grace!
The Lord will not isolate you from harm, but He will surround you with His grace!
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
He may not always give you the help in time of need but He will always give you the grace to help you in time of need!
God is either going to give you physical grace by taking away the problem, or He is going to give you spiritual grace that you will have the inner strength to face the irremovable presence of the problem.
May we realize that the greatest need of our lives is not for every problem to be removed and solved, and everything to run our way, but that the power of God’s Holy Spirit, His Grace would work in our hearts each and every time!
C. Grace Serves Through Persecution – v3
2 Tim 3:11-12
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Paul knew what persecution was all about!
2 Cor. 11:24
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Grace made this man to keep on going for the Lord in spite of difficulty. Keeping a right spirit and an attitude towards those who hurt him.
As we grow in the grace of God, this will teach us to serve on without resentment over the injustice that comes our way inflicted upon by other people.
The grace of God working in our hearts will not get in the flesh and retaliate.
Charles Spurgeon and Joseph Parker both had churches in London in the 19th century. On one occasion, Parker commented on the poor condition of children admitted to Spurgeon’s orphanage. It was reported to Spurgeon however, that Parker had criticized the orphanage itself. Spurgeon blasted Parker the next week from the pulpit. The attack was printed in the newspapers and became the talk of the town. People flocked to Parker’s church the next Sunday to hear his rebuttal. “I understand Dr. Spurgeon is not in his pulpit today, and this is the Sunday they use to take an offering for the orphanage. I suggest we take a love offering here instead.” The crowd was delighted. The ushers had to empty the collection plates 3 times. Later that week there was a knock at Parker’s study. It was Spurgeon. “Parker, thank you for practicing Grace to me.”
The only thing that you can condemn that causes you to commit the same sin, as the person you condemn, is the sin of condemning.
When you judge the one who judges you commit the same sin he commits.
When you criticize the one who criticizes you are doing the same sin he commits.
There’s nothing more inconsistent than criticizing the critic, judging the judge, condemning one for condemning.
We copy his distasteful treatment of others, in our treatment for him. Thereby joining him in his sin and becoming compatriot in his sin in the thing that we avoid.
We become enemies to our enemies and thus, adapt the quality we don’t like in them.
We cast innuendos towards those who cast innuendos.
We cast stones towards those who cast stones. And in so doing, we join them in their sin.
An author writes a critical article, against those who write critical articles. – then probably someone wrote a critical article against the one who wrote a critical article against the one who is writing critical articles.
I recently heard a sermon, lambasting those who lambast others.
I’ve read books, skinning those who skin others.
Criticizing those who criticize others.
Some call the names and criticizing those who call names.
I know people who can’t stand people that can’t stand people.
We gossip about how we hate gossipers.
We are prejudice against those who are prejudice.
We avoid the avoider.
We defy the defiant.
We fight the fighter.
We separate from the separatist.
We rebel against the rebel.
We are unkind to the unkind.
We hate the hater.
We resist the resister.
We curse the curser.
We hurt the hurter.
We attack attackers. And in so doing, we join them in the very thing we criticize them for doing.
Would you please tell me the difference? We smear the reputations of those who smear reputations.
Now, I’m not trying to defend the critic, I’m trying to help you from becoming one.
We sit in judgment against those who sit in judgment.
We judge those who judge.
We slander those who slander.
We criticize to 2 or 3 people, those who criticize others to audiences of hundreds.
We lift our tongues against those who lift their tongues against others.
We destroy privately those who destroy publicly.
We criticize sweetly those who criticize bitterly, While declaring we aren’t being critical.
Now just because you don’t like somebody who doesn’t like somebody puts you right in the same category with them.
You know what we are – We are good bad people.
We are objective slanderers.
We are kind character assassins.
We are loving tale-bearers.
We are gracious gossipers. (Gossip is Gossip whether you’re smiling, frowning or crying!)
We’re sick and tired of those who are sick and tired of others.
Get this, We’re sick and tired of those who are sick and tired of us being sick and tired…of others.
We criticize those who criticize us for criticizing those who criticize.
God has ordained proper authorities to mend, fix, lead, help, scold, instruct those who err. In the local church it’s called the Pastor! Take it to him…better yet… take it to the Lord!
We have by ourselves made our own ministry of gossip and criticism to help those who criticize and gossip!
I am not defending the critic! I am helping you not to become one. Not to retaliate. That’s the whole point.
You can’t control those who hurt you but you can control your response.
II. The Application of Grace – v2
A. Grace to Win Souls – something was passed down to him by many witnesses.
One of them is the Gospel of Salvation.
1 Cor. 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
We have something that has been passed down to us, this matter of soulwinning.
Let’s have a heart for God and for souls. Often times we get busy doing so many things that we forgot the job we’re here to do!
B. Grace to Work on Our Converts – “follow up”
“Commit thou to faithful men”
What are we giving the next generation?
Instead of the truth of the Word of God, Principles that would help them live the Christian life, we give them a lot of strange things!
They all know about your problems, but they don’t know the Power of God in your life.
We have showed them our trinkets, toys & this tele-novela lifestyles but never the truth from the Word of God.
They don’t know what biblical principles are all about, answered prayer, the power of God, walking in the Spirit, having a prayer life…
Men take the lead! Future Generations are depending upon us!
C. Grace to Wage War against Apostasy – v4
We are in a battle against those who try to destroy the work!
It can’t be won by our own strength. We need the sustaining grace of God!
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
III. Our Attention in Grace – v4
A. To Please the Lord – our Goal is God!
1) Separation – We are to separate from the World
2) Service to God –
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
There are only two choices in the shelf, pleasing God or self!
You don’t have to remind somebody who is dead to self, and filled with the Spirit to do what’s right!
People who go abroad or away from the church change their standards! Because their focus was not on the Lord but of pleasing the church!
B. To Press Toward the Prize – v5
God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love!
We serve Him because of Grace and by grace!
1 Cor. 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Conclusion – The Christian life is a battle – but we have the resources of God’s grace at our disposal… Don’t go on in the strength of the flesh but in the power of His Spirit!
I really don’t know what lies tomorrow! But I am confident because I know God is already there!
What lies for us today? I don’t know, But I do know one thing – “Tis Grace hath brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home!”
Claim God’s grace by yielding to His Spirit!