Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the month “March, 2017”

Sermon Outline, April 2, 2017, “The Sustenance of Grace”

The Sustenance of Grace

Ephesians 3:14-21

 Our universal drive to be filled with God

Ephesians 3:19            and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Acts 17:26-27               And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,

 

 

God must grant us the strength to know the love of Christ

Ephesians 3:16-19       that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

 

The tension in the Christian life – God’s grace and our effort

1 Corinthians 15:10      But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Philippians 2:12-13     Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

 

 

What happens when God grants the strength to know the love of Christ?

We gain assurance

1 John 5:13       I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

We become motivated to share the gospel

2 Corinthians 5:14-21  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.  16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

 

God loves to answer prayers for more satisfaction from Him

Ephesians 3:20-21       Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Jeremiah 29:13            You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Daily Prayer Guide

Trust & Obey = Blessings

Psalm 31:16

Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.

Daily Prayer Guide

Trust & Obey = Blessings

James 3:10

from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

Grace is our Foundation

The theme of the series we are involved in right now is “The Grace Foundation.”  When I hear the word “foundation,” a building project automatically comes to my mind.  You see, I have been a builder all of my life.  From the time I was a little boy I have been nailing boards together, and through the years learned enough to build my own home and build church buildings as a licensed contractor.  Because of my tendency to want to always nail boards together, my longsuffering wife has had to live in a continual construction zone, as I can’t stop myself from fixing what I see wrong or changing something that could be improved upon.  Just ask her, she’ll tell you of the many messes she’s had to live with through the years we’ve been married.  Right now she’s dreading the next project in our home as I am going head to head with a continually cracking spot of sheetrock.  I say continually cracking because I’ve already patched it 3 times.  That tells me something else needs to be done.  You see the floor is sagging because it’s improperly supported.  I know the solution is to support the sagging floor with a foundation.  Problems always occur in a building when it is inadequately supported.

Now forgive me for using that very earthy illustration, but that is why our efforts at multiplication often fail.  They are not supported, not built upon grace.  I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2 where he said, “You are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”  He says the foundation of our salvation is grace and grace is the solution for every life that is like a cracked wall.  Grace is the solution for lives that are like sagging floors, and, brothers and sisters, there are certainly a lot of people we encounter every day who are sagging floors and cracked walls.  Broken people are everywhere around us.

Now, to return to my analogy, that crack in the wall doesn’t bother my wife.  She knows a crack in the wall means a whole lot of mess if I undertake fixing it.  The trouble is, cracks in the wall trouble me.  I see the crack every time I walk thru the room and I can’t help myself, I have to fix it.  I know it will mean a mess, and I admit I often underestimate the time, effort, and money it will take, but again, I have to do it….It’s in my DNA.  Now the question for each of us is, are we bothered by the cracks in the wall or not?  Can we overlook broken people like my wife can overlook a crack in the wall?  Unfortunately, we far too often can and do because we look at their lives as being one big mess….a mess we don’t want to get involved in.  The reality is, however, that is not our DNA.  In that Ephesians passage on grace Paul speaks to those of us who have received that sure foundation, and he says we have been “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”   That work is foundation repair.   Yes, it is a messy work.  Yes, we’ll have to get our hands dirty.  Yes, it will be time consuming and effort filled, but people need that sure foundation in their lives.  People need the Lord Jesus Christ and the grace He gives.  Isn’t our DNA demanding that of us?  The words of an old song speak a timely truth for us all.

“We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right.

What would be too great a cost for sharing life with one who’s lost?

Through His love our hearts can feel all the grief they bear.

They must hear the words of life only we can share.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord 

At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.

When will we realize that we must give our lives?

For people need the Lord.

People need the Lord.”

Tell me brothers and sisters, how’s your DNA?

Kim Beckwith

Daily Prayer Guide

Trust & Obey = Blessings

II Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Daily Prayer Guide

Trust & Obey = Blessings

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Daily Prayer Guide

Trust & Obey = Blessings

Isaiah 41:10

‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

The Sustenance of Grace – Ephesians 3:13-21

When I was first asked to write about the sustenance of Grace, I had to pause.  Sustenance is not a word that most of us use in our daily vocabulary.  I found three different definitions for sustenance in my
Webster’s dictionary.  The definition that I think most applies to grace is “that which sustains life; nourishment or food.”

God’s grace is definitely life-sustaining.  Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 3:14-17 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”  Thru God’s grace we have the incredible power of the Holy Spirit filling and feeding our souls on a daily basis.  Paul encourages us in Ephesians 3:19 to “be filled with all the fullness of God.”  We all fill our hearts and minds daily with something.  The world and Satan constantly tempt us to fill ourselves with temporary, earthly pleasures.  These are the equivalent of spiritual junk food.  It is so much healthier spiritually to ask the Holy Spirit and God’s word to fill us.

Many years ago someone taught me that GRACE was God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.  God was kind enough to give me a vivid illustration of grace today just before I started writing this devotion.  After eating dinner by myself in a Lexington restaurant, my waitress brought my check.  I was shocked to find a note on my bill stating that it was already paid for by someone else in the restaurant that I never saw.  That had never happened to me in my 52 years!  That is exactly what Christ has done for each of us.  He paid our debt by dying on the cross in our place.

A single meal can only sustain any person for a short time.  We require food and water daily to stay healthy.  In the same way, a single act or expression of grace to another person is not enough.  As we receive God’s grace anew each day, we have to be constant conduits of God’s grace to all those around us.  I believe that through His divine help, we can.

Craig Martin

Daily Prayer Guide

Trust & Obey = Blessings

James 1:17

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Daily Prayer Guide

Trust & Obey = Blessings

Psalm 128:1

How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.

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