Sermon 3/17/2019: Justifying Grace

Sermon at Kinmundy United Methodist Church on 3/17/2019.

Title: Justifying Grace Matthew 20: 30-33 Romans 5:1-2, 6-11

Sermon Series: Distinctive Wesleyan Emphases

Audio link – Right click, open in new tab to play: [Kinmundy]

Right click, open in new tab to view slides as a PDF: [Slides]

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

TRANSCRIPT:

prevenient grace. Remember? We talked about it last week. This comes from Matthew 20. And behold, two blind men sitting by the roadside when they heard that Jesus was passing by cried out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent. But they cried out the more. How did they know that Jesus was passing by? Maybe they heard the crowd say something. But I want to tell you it’s prevenient grace. God made certain that they knew. How is it that Jesus went down that road that day where those men were? It’s prevenient grace. God guided Him to that place. Where did the men find the courage to cry out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David”? It’s God working inside of them. It’s prevenient grace. When the crowd rebuked them telling them to shut up, remember, you’re blind. You can’t even see who’s yelling at you. You don’t even know that the next thing might be a kick. Nonetheless, they had the courage to keep crying out. Where did they get that courage? Prevenient grace. God helps us come to Christ. God is working our lives to help us to learn and do God’s will. God is at work in our lives.
They cried out the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David.” And Jesus stopped and called them. Now, how is it with all this crowd telling them to shut up that Jesus hears their voice? That’s prevenient grace. God taps on them the shoulder and says, “Jesus, somebody needs you. Listen.” And so Jesus says, calls them, and they come to Him. And He said, “What do you want me to do for you?” That’s probably the biggest sign of prevenient grace. It’s pretty obvious what a blind man needs. But Jesus asked them, “What do you want?” God is full of grace that draws us toward Him. So they ask, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” See, apparently, they have faith to believe that Jesus can do this. Oh, and where did that faith come from? It’s prevenient grace that grows that sort of faith within our heart. So at the time that we need it, it’s there. And then the transformation happens because justifying grace is about transformation. This is the sun coming up over the Sea of Galilee. I’m not sure exactly where these men were. I think it was on the road to Jericho. I don’t think they could see the Sea of Galilee. But for the first time in their lives, they could see. What a change. Verse 34, Jesus, in pity, touched their eyes and everything changed. The verse says immediately. When God does something in your life, it doesn’t always happen immediately. But this said, “Immediately, they received their sight.” And you notice what they did next? They followed Him. All that prevenient grace came to fruition on this day. There was a before and there was an after. That’s why grace is amazing. You could watch for– you see somebody struggling and you pray for them and you can see God working. You can watch for it. And finally, the day comes. Bang. Prayers are answered. Probably ‘by next Sunday, I’m going to have a new niece to tell you about. Couple more months [so?], I have a new grandchild. Don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. They won’t tell us. We’re waiting. But all of a sudden, bang. The day will come. Amazing childbirth. No, amazing grace. Same thing. It’s a miracle, isn’t it? Amazing grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Once, I was lost. But God was working in my lostness. Now, I’m found. Once, I was blind but God was working in my darkness. But now, I can see. Justifying grace when God changes our lives in a beautiful way. [inaudible] therefore since we are justified by faith, justified is that state of being touched by justifying grace.
We have peace with God, through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Through Him, we have obtained access to His grace. Once, I was lost. Now, I’m found. Once, I was blind. Now, I see. We’ll obtain access to a place, a state of grace, a state of grace in which we stand and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. For a while, we were still weak. This is the sixth verse. At the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. This is Christ dying to help us to come to him. It’s prevenient grace. Verse seven, why one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man one will bear even to die. Verse eight, but God shows His love for us. God shows His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Verse nine, since therefore we are now justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God, from the pain and evil and hurt of this world. This comes before and in a moment of grace. We are now on Easter Sunday, where just as Jesus rose to walk in newness of life, we have the same opportunity to live a new life. Here’s the operation of justifying grace. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. See, that’s the before. Much more, now that we are reconciled, now that new life has happened, shall we be saved by His life. And I think in the margin you could write, if you wish, resurrection life. He lives. He lives. He lives in my heart today. Verse 11, not only so, but we also rejoice in God to our Lord Jesus Christ through who we have now received– you see the cross had brought about the possibility of forgiveness. But now, we receive all of a sudden that moment of justifying grace that changes us to now be children of God. We have now received our reconciliation. Justifying grace.
Here’s what the United Methodist Book of Discipline says. Justification and assurance. We believe that God reaches out to the repentant believer in justifying grace with accepting and pardoning love. Wesleyan theology stresses that a decisive change in a human heart can and does occur under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In justification, we are, through faith, forgiving our sin and restored to God’s favor. This writing of the relationship by God through Christ [inaudible] forth our faith and trust as we experience regeneration, a way that things are made new by which we are made new creatures in Christ. That comes from Second Corinthians 5. This process of justification and new birth is often referred to as conversion. Such a change may be sudden and dramatic or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning yet it is part of an ongoing process.
I could tell you about my conversion on February 29th, 1972. But I also can tell you that there are a whole lot of other times that I needed to be converted. There were a whole lot of other times in my life I needed a new beginning. There were a whole lot of other times that I was in darkness and I needed to learn how to see. And I am thankful to God that when God reaches out to help us in darkness, it’s not just once. Maybe you are perfect enough that you only needed God’s help once. Well, I have found I have needed it over and over and over. Now, it’s not that I lost my faith. But it’s that the world beat me down and I needed Jesus Christ to help me to stand back up. Justifying grace still happens. And if you are struggling with something that feels like darkness to you, God is still working to bring you through it to a point of new life and new grace. Justifying grace changes everything. You can pray for it most of us pray for babies for almost nine months and then all of a sudden they’re here and how we’re praying for them in a different because they’re here. You couldn’t pray for that baby to be born. You don’t want that baby to be born three months early. You want the baby to be born at the right time, but you can pray, and you probably do. Lord, help that baby. And all of a sudden they’re there. Oh, and by the way, does that change your life? If you’re a parent, especially, you should know. You can pray for justifying grace because justifying grace is your happy ending.
I got married in 2012. I want to tell you, a year and a few days before that, I had no idea I’d be getting married at all. but God was working to bring about a happy ending in my life and I was totally clueless. You can pray for your happy ending. [inaudible] grace’s God bringing you toward your happy ending. You can pray all the way through, and the whole year before we got married I was praying. I was praying. I’m still praying. Because the need for prayer didn’t go away. But hey, there’s a happy ending. You can pray for a happy ending in your life. And another word for that happy ending can be justifying grace. The word justify, the word justification is to be made righteous by forgiveness by the blood of Christ. But that word made righteous also means to be made right. God rearranges our life to fix things that are broken. God mends us. God creates something new that not only makes all things new, 1 Corinthians 5:12, but it’s so new that you can sometimes call it being born again whether you remember the day or whether you all of a sudden realize that God has made all things new.
Grace is amazing. And you can pray for grace to come in your life. And not just your life. You can pray for a happy ending for other people. Some of us who were here this morning, life is pretty good. But if you look around, you can see people whoa re struggling. You can see people whoa re trying to find their way through darkness. You can see people whoa re trying to weather storms in this life. You can pray for God’s grace to reach out to them, and I hope you do. Because people pray for someone to find the hope and the truth in Jesus Christ is a prayer that God is willing to answer in God’s time. But brothers and sisters if you love your neighbors, there are people you should be praying for because they need a happy ending just like God made you a happy ending.
Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, your grace is flowing into the lives of people. It is your desire through the cross that they come to you and that they find forgiveness. It is your desire through the power of your resurrection that the come to you and be able to live a new life, a different life, a better life, a life where just like the blind men were helped to see. [You would mend us?] [inaudible]. And so Lord we pray that you would be a part of our life, that you would help us to pray for others so that they might know your love is [inaudible]. We ask this is Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s stand up and sing. and jsut remember that there are people who need our prayers. Let’s sing together

[Resources]

[Discussion questions.]

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.

Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.

VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
 
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)

Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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