- Sermon Notes
We Need More Grace
Last week in chapter 1, Paul said that he is not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. The gospel is
God’s answer to the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
Paul said that God has made himself known to all men, for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature
have been clearly seen through what has been made, so that no one has an excuse.
And even though people, in their heart of hearts, know there is a God, they won’t honor Him as God, nor give thanks and as a result, their heart is darkened.
In other words, the result of rejecting God is every imaginable sinful and unrighteous thing in people’s lives. What’s a sinner to do? How is it possible
that an unrighteous sinner can have a relationship with a holy God? Sin only grows more dangerous over time, it’s like petting a bull; and how do you
stop petting a bull? What a sinner to do? The answer; God can make a sinner righteous in one verse. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
In other words, Paul said, the righteous will live by faith, and only by faith. It’s by the grace of God, and only the grace of God. It’s when a sinner
owns the fact that he’s a sinner and takes God at His word that we have the hope of heaven.
At the Harvest America event last weekend, Greg Laurie used a great illustration. “A man dies and comes to the pearly gates where Peter is waiting for
him and tells him that there’s a point system for getting into heaven. “You need 1000 points to get in. Tell me all the good things you’ve ever done
and we’ll give you points for each thing.” “I was married to the same wonderful woman for 40 years, I was always faithful never even had lustful thoughts.”
“Great, that’s three points,” Peter said…
That’s the problem; some people believe they can pull themselves out of the mud one step at a time, they’re like Martin Luther trying to climb the holy
stairs in Rome, one step at a time, knees becoming bloody, trying to pay penance and win the approval of God.
They are able to get to a higher place in the mud by their own efforts, but the problem is that as soon as they get a few steps higher in the mud, their
self-righteous pride kicks in; and the problem with self-righteous pride is that it’s just as offensive to God. Instead of asking, “What’s a sinner
to do?” We have to ask, “What’s a self-righteous sinner to do?”
The self-righteous sinner needs God’s grace just as much as anyone. As soon as we recognize how much we need God’s grace, we then need to recognize how
much we need to give God’s grace to others as well. What is grace? It’s God treating us far better than we deserve and because we have received so
much grace, we should give grace to others.
I. Don’t Look Down on Others
- For some reason, sin looks a lot uglier on someone else than it does on us. But when we point out how ugly it looks on someone else, we’re often pointing
the finger at ourselves because we do the same things.
- Last week I said that we’re basically born selfish and self-centered and that translates into a tendency to always favor ourselves.
Illus – We only have to go to a local softball game to see it. Is the runner safe or out? That completely depends on what team you’re on. We favor ourselves.
- We are not good judges of others because we favor ourselves and therefore think more highly of ourselves that we should.
- If we could understand how much grace we need from God, it would humble us and cause us to be gracious towards others.
- Looking down on others when they fail comes from self-righteousness and thinking of ourselves more highly then we should.
- If we could see our sin in the light of God’s grace, we could see others’ sin in the light of God’s grace as well.
Illus – At our daughter’s memorial service many heard her story and know that she went through a time when she was drawn to the worldly side of life. That’s when she became pregnant. We took her in and supported her. The church was amazing in its grace and even gave her a baby shower. But someone wasn’t pleased and after a service took my wife aside in the parking lot and read her the riot act. Really? Without a show of hands, how many could have found themselves in the same situation as my daughter?
- Jesus actually had some fairly sharp words for those who became self-righteous and look down on others.
Luke 6:41-42, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?”
B. Grace comes back to you
- Is there a place for judging in the Christian faith? Yes, absolutely. The problem is that this is so misunderstood. Some take this to mean that they
should become the “righteousness police.” But this only brings division and troubles in the church.
- Jesus spoke to this very point…
Luke 6:36-38, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
- God is merciful and He wants us to be merciful as well. One of the most powerful example of God’s mercy is the woman caught in adultery…
John 8:10-11, Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go and from now on sin no more.”
John 3:17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
- Jesus is also saying that mercy comes back to you and grace comes back to you, in good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
- But Jesus said that not only does mercy come back to you, judging also comes back to you.
Illus – If someone becomes the righteousness police and always points out the faults in others, don’t you immediately want to look for faults in them?
II. His Kindness leads us to Repentance
- Verse 4 is one of my favorite verses, but it is commonly misunderstood. The person who is self-righteous and looks down on others isn’t thinking about the kindness of God, they want the judgment of God to fall on the person they’re looking down on.
- But in reality, they do the same things and they need the kindness and patience of God themselves. That’s what it means that they think lightly of
the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience.
Illus – Several years ago I was coming back from the beach by myself. At the north end of Lincoln City the lanes merged together, but the person next to me rudely cut me off. I was surprised by how upset it made me. But haven’t I done the same things? And shouldn’t I also show mercy?
I even remember where I did the same thing; on Hwy 26 just coming out of the tunnel when you merge right. My wife used to say to me, “Drive like your mother’s in the car.”
A. God prefers repentance over judgment
- God is patient and kind because He is leading people toward repentance. We read it earlier, “God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that
the world might be saved through Him.”
2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.
- Paul himself is a perfect example of the patience and kindness of God. He was the number one enemy of the church…
1 Timothy 1:16-17, Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me, the foremost of sinners, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who believe in Him for eternal life. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
- God sent His Son because He loves the world. That’s the gospel. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
- This is so important to understand because many people are convinced that God is angry with them and they are trying to do some good things so that
God will love them.
Illus – It’s kind of like when a husband forgets his wife’s birthday and then tries to do all kinds of nice things to make up for it.
- You don’t need to do good things so God will love you. He already loves you.
- When you stand before God He’s not going to ask you if you recycled or saved the whales or helped old ladies crossing the street, He’ll ask you if
you received His love through His Son, Jesus.
- Paul points out that God will render to every man according to his deeds (verse 6).
- Then he says that both Jews and Gentiles will be judged either according to the Law or according to their conscience, but there will come a day when
God will judge all things (verse 16).
Acts 17:30-31, God is declaring that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
- But because of the kindness of God, on that judgment day, we will not stand condemned. All our sins will be washed away, covered by the blood of Christ
and the righteousness of God given to us as a gift.
Romans 8:1-2, 4 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death… So that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
- There is no condemnation for those who are…in… Christ Jesus. We believe God’s Son and are saved.
John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
C. And it matters how we live
- Verse 29 is an important key to understanding Paul’s letter to the Romans. He is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
- In a similar way, He is a Christian who is one inwardly, of the heart, and his praise is from God.
- The Spirit instructs our heart and teaches us how to live. If we are a Christian inwardly, of the heart, we want to honor God in how we live.
- If you are connected to God in your heart, His Spirit will instruct you in how to live your life.
Matthew 6:20, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15, Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Romans 2:1-29 NASB
the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you
pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the
riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness
and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who will render
to each person according to hisdeeds: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to
those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress
for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew
first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the
Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written
in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according
to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish,
a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach
yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You
who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is
blasphemed among theGentilesbecause of you,” just as it is written.
26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And he who is physically
uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and
circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.