THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-20-05
LESSON TITLE: "WHO IS JESUS?: JESUS IS GRACE"
Daniel of old once proclaimed, "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His," (Daniel 2:20) Truly, how blessed the name of our Lord is to us for He is all knowing and all powerful. We thank you for joining us today for this time of worship to God.
It will again be our privilege today to be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. What a blessing we have this day to reverence our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our assembly together is acceptable to God, that we may glorify Him in all things?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
One of the greatest blessings which we have from our God is His willingness to teach us all things through His Word. With that in mind, we would like to begin our songs of praise this day. The first hymn of the morning is entitled, "Savior, Teach Me."
(SONG # 1)
We mentioned early this morning, just how blessed our God is. Daniel proclaimed that God was blessed for He had revealed to Daniel in a night vision the interpretation of the Kings dream.
Another example which helps us to further clarify this point is found by David in one of the great Psalms. Read with me from Chapter 113, verses 1-2, "Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD! Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forevermore!" Here David praises His God and proclaims His blessedness, but Why? This great King of God goes on to confirm how wondrous, great and caring God is to His children.
Finally, notice what Job said about the blessed God he served. In Job 1:21, we read, ""Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." Here we find a man of God who had been mightily blessed. However, he had been tempted by Satan and had lost it all. What does he then declare about God? That God is blessed, the giver of all, and as such that He has the right to take away. Oh, what an encouraging thought about our God.
The question we must consider is, "just how many of us really understand just how blessed our Lord is." Please consider this day all that your God has done, is doing and that which He has promised to do for all of us. Then may we all boldly come before His throne and those of this world, to proclaim Him as truly blessed.
As far as our topic of the day, this morning we will continue our series entitled, "Who Is Jesus?" Our specific lesson of the day will confirm the teaching that, "Jesus Is Grace?"
To lead us in this study of the day, we are happy to have brother Jim Poland with us. Brother Jim is the minister for the Bona Church of Christ in Bona, Missouri. So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Poland will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "More Holiness Give Me."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jim Poland
Thank you, Ray. This is a great series that we've been involved with, "Who Is Jesus?" John chapter 1, verses 1 through 18 points Him out to be God the Creator, the beginner of all things, the light and light of men, that He is Deity, part of the Godhead. Then in John chapter 1 verse 14, it says, "The Word became flesh to dwell among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth."
I've been asked to address this part of Jesus' makeup, "Full of Grace." It goes on there in that context in John chapter 1 to say in verses 16 and following that, "of His fullness we have all received and grace for grace." The New American Standard there says, "Grace unto grace." Then it goes on to say, "For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."
I'd like for us to look at three things today concerning Jesus, full of grace. First, to define grace, then to see grace personified and how to receive it. To find the word that is found in its original language, (charis). It's a word that means something that affords joy and pleasure and delight and used that way to point out sweetness or charm or graciousness of speech or good will. It's also describing a spiritual condition of one governing by the power of divine grace. It is very close to the word "charisma," which means a gift of grace, a favor which one receives without any merit of his own according to the Greek scholar, Thayer. So when we're defining this, we're talking about unmerited favor. We don't earn it. We don't deserve it. But then we find in the scripture that this grace has been personified. Grace has been revealed to us as a person in a human form. This is not just any favor, even unearned favor. It is the very nature and essence of God Himself in a human form. This is not just some abstract philosophy or theory. It is not an unexplainable or emotional feeling or vision of man. But this is that which has come to us as the Word which is made flesh to dwell among us that we can behold the glory of God through the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.
So this grace of God has been personified in the incarnate person, Jesus Christ. He took on flesh and blood from His preexistence as God the Creator. That impersonal, abstract word from the Greek word "logos" of philosophy and paganism became something that philosophy could never say. It became a real, historical person who dwelt among men, beheld by men, studied by men, yet at the same time, He possessed the glory of God.
The very vital and intricate quality of God was this fullness of grace. This is a very necessary quality. Without this quality of God, we would have no hope of salvation. The Holy Spirit, through the apostle, to the preacher, Titus, said in Titus chapter 2, "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying in godliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."
Jesus is personified as fullness of grace. "Grace came through Jesus," John chapter 1 verse 17. "He declares God's grace," John chapter 1 verse 18. Therefore the grace of Jesus is the grace for the Father and of the Holy Spirit, the grace of eternal God Himself. We have no hope of salvation without this grace. Therefore, it is vital that we know how to contact it, how to receive it, and how to incorporate it and how to sustain it in our lives.
How is this grace to be received? From Jesus' fullness, we may receive grace for grace, for grace unto grace. It is not just a one time promise. It is not just a once for all promise. It is an eternal life promise for this life and the one to come. Now law can only codify sin. (Inaudible) tell us what sin is and how horrible sin is. John chapter 1 verse 17, "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Romans 3:9, "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. We have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin." In Romans 3:20, "Therefore if by the deeds of the law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Finally there in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." That's all that law can do. But grace therefore is needed to save us from our sins. Grace can only be extended by one who has the power to do otherwise. Authority is necessary for grace to be extended.
You know a policeman might have a small area where he can extend some grace with perhaps a warning rather than a citation, but mostly he must uphold the letter of the law. A judge may have a little more authority to extend grace, but still he must judge within the allowances of law. Only the top governor or president or king has the total authority to give grace through a total pardon.
Here's the story about Fiorello Laguardia. He was the mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression in World War II. Many adored him and they called him "Little Flower" because he was only 5'4" and he always wore a flower in his lapel. But he was a colorful character and sometimes he would go ride on the fire trucks with the firemen. He would go with the policemen as they raided the speak-easies. He would even take whole orphanages to baseball games. And when the New York newspapers were on strike, he would get on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids. One bitter cold night in January 1935, this mayor turned up at a night court that served one of the poorest wards of his city. Laguardia dismissed the judge and that evening he took over and sat on the bench himself. Within a few minutes, a tattered elderly woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told Laguardia that her daughter's husband had deserted her. Her daughter was sick and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper from whom the bread was stolen refused to drop the charges. "It's a real bad neighborhood," he said, "and she has got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson." So Laguardia sighed. He turned to the woman and he said, "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days in jail." But even as he pronounced the sentence, he was already reaching into his pocket. He extracted a bill, tossed it in his famous sombrero, and he said, "Here's the ten dollars, the fine which I now remit, and furthermore, I'm going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person feels they need to steal bread to feed their grandchildren. Mr. Bailiff collect the fines. Give them to the defendant." So it came out in the New York newspaper the next day. Forty-seven dollars and fifty cents was turned over to this bewildered woman who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren. Fifty cents of that came from the very accuser and store owner while some seventy other lesser criminals were there for traffic violations and such who also pitched in fifty cents each, as well as the New York policemen. Each one gave this amount in order to have the privilege to stand up and give this mayor a standing ovation.
Many are inspired to give grace. This is as far as man can go. Yes, Jesus paid our debt for us and in Jesus we have the one who is over all. He is Deity, Creator, light giver, life giver, owner of all. He is God of all. He is embodied within that doxology that is recorded in Romans chapter 11 which says, "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How un-searchable are His judgments and His ways, past finding out. For who has known the mind of the Lord? For who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it shall be repaid to Him for of Him and through Him and to Him are all things to who the glory forever. Amen."
He has power over life and death, forgiveness of sins. He has power over His resurrection. He has power over His ascension. He had power over His coming again. His is the ultimate authority to give grace, total pardon. We must approach Him as He commands in order to receive His grace and we learn how to do this through His Word.
John in chapter 20 toward the conclusion of his gospel account said, "Truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and believing you would have life in His name."
Matthew's record of the Great Commission after Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, before He ascended, said that Jesus came and spoke to them and said that, "All authority has been given to me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I've commanded you and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the age. Amen."
From this authority, He was able to tell them how to receive this grace through being baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Mark's account just briefly puts it this way in Mark chapter 16, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." That's how we receive this gift of God's grace. What happens if we refuse it? He goes on to say, "But he who does not believe will be condemned."
Jesus' grace keeps on giving. Grace unto grace, as we according to Romans chapter 1 verses 16-17 render "faith unto faith." As we go on as it says in 1 John chapter 1 and verse 7 to "walk in the light as He is in the light. We have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us of our sins, receiving His fullness of grace." So this grace continues to be given to those who make Jesus Lord of their lives and who maintain Jesus as Lord of their lives. All must approach Him with awe and reverence and obedience to His name. That's the reason why Peter said in Acts chapter 4, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." He told the very first converts in Acts chapter 2, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is given only to those who receive Him and thus receive the authority and the right as a gift of His grace to be children of God," John chapter 1 verse 12.
How do we receive Him? How do we become children of God? It is spoken very plainly to the church at Galatia in Galatians chapter 3. It says, "For we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus and if you are in Christ then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." "It was to this end that He endured the cross," Hebrews 12. It is to this end that He pleaded for His murderers, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," Luke 33. It is to this, that His undying love refused to perish, though man undeserving of it, was to receive it, for He died while we were yet sinners." Christ is truly the full illustration of God's grace for forgiveness of sins for faithful people at the cross and after.
In Christ, we have many things together. He began His ministry being hungry yet He is the bread of life. Jesus ended His ministry being thirsty (though) He is the living water. Truly He is full of grace.
(SONG # 3 - "All The Way My Savior Leads Me!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Truly our God has extended to us His grace that we might be saved through the precious gift of His Son - Jesus. Praise be to God for our Jesus Is Grace!