DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

                 Index

 
Enter By Grace And Remain By Grace
 

1. Let us get our focus right with ourselves.

Matthew 18:21-35
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'
27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29 "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30 "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.
33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?'
34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."


This passage is one of the most confounding passages in the entire Bible. How could someone who had been forgiven so much be so unforgiving himself? Remember the day we were baptized? We could have gone home and for three hours could have read the Bible. What an exciting feeling it was to know that all our sins were forgiven? We just wanted to enjoy our salvation and share it with others.

In this parable he was forgiven an incredible amount. The problem was, he didn't feel forgiven. He thought it was a loan he had to repay. Look at what he says. "Be patient with me, and I will pay back everything". Even though that was impossible, even though he was forgiven by the master . . . He still thought he had to pay it back. That may be the reason why he choked his fellow servant.

Too many of us are confused in the same way. They've been totally forgiven. The joy that is meant to come from that, though, gives way to duty and pressure. Their focus quickly shifts to what they need to do, from how much they've been forgiven

At the time of salvation we just focused on living and enjoying the Christian life, and sharing it with others. There was no system, no infrastructure, no plan to depend on for our success. All we had was God, and somehow that was always enough for us.

Galatians 3:1-3
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.
2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?


Galatians 3:10-11
10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."


All of us got into the kingdom by grace in the first place. There's no other way. Too often, though, we try to remain in the kingdom by our own human effort, our own system. When we struggle spiritually, and what do we focus on? It's not the insufficiency of God's grace. It's our inability to uphold our own standards "I haven't been fruitful." "I've missed so many Quiet Times." "I can't overcome this sin"

Imagine we love running/jogging. For some time we did jog and enjoyed our practice. Then we thought we can make it more fun and we bought a heart-rate monitor, and started tracking our progress. All this "progress" was supposed to help us enjoy running, keep us motivated. But it can take all the joy away. We may end up focusing on our progress and not on our joyful running. The system we had invented to help us with our running may end up ruining the experience. This is sometimes the case with our spiritual lives as well. The system takes our focus off of the cross, off of Jesus and puts it on our own obedience.

Romans 7:10
I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.

The very system that is meant to help us be better disciples can drive us away from God. There's only one way to enter the kingdom. That's by grace. Too often, though, we try to depend on human effort and obedience to remain in the kingdom. Need to enter by grace, remain by grace. This is what will make our hearts strong.

Hebrews 13:9
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.

2. Let us get our focus right with others

Many times we see in the Bible, many, the lame, blind, crippled, paralytic, the sinfulů, came to Jesus for help. Few times the disciples around Jesus felt disturbed. They even stopped them doing it. But Jesus was focused on meeting the needs of the people. There are people in our fellowship that are desperate for healing, they've looked everywhere for grace. Are we as disciples showing them the grace of God or blaming/branding them for what they are?

Hebrews 4:14-5:3
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

5:1 Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.
3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.


Jesus is able to help us because he understands our struggles. This is the kind of help we need to give to others who are in need.

Hebrews 12:12-15
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
13 "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.


Colossians 4:5-6
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.


2 Timothy 2:1
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.