Monday, September 22 2008
Sermon preached at Cornerstone Chapel on 9/21...
Galations 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. To the Galatians written from Rome.
The Amplified versions reads like this…
18 The grace (spiritual favor, blessing) of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah) be with your spirit, brethren. Amen (so be it).
The cliché today is the first day of the rest of your life is a foundation of all great graduation speeches…or so it seems. I suppose in the natural world there is some truth to the statement today is the first day of the rest of your life…for we read of those that pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, if you will. They are downtrodden and in despair and one time on one day, they make a decision that will change their lives. Their stories are riveting and like a phoenix, they raise themselves from their desperate situation to overcome the odds that are stacked against them to accomplish some seemingly unattainable feat.
Then we write books and make movies about them…
It was Jesus that said…
John 3:6 What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. (Amplified)
In the spiritual, today is the first day of the rest of your life. It is not because you suddenly have the ability to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps or you receive strength from a friend, but because Jesus has extended His grace to you.
Grace is defined as…the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
Grace is freely given by God and even in the worst of sinful situations…grace is an overcomer…
Romans 5:20 … But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
There are several examples of grace within the scripture, but perhaps the one that speaks to the sinful nature of the world today is the woman spoken of in John the 8th chapter…
The Scribes and Pharisees (the in crowd religious people of the day) brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery and sat her in the midst of the temple where Jesus was teaching the people
In their effort to tempt him, they tried to use the Word of God so that they could accuse Him of some crime….
Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Jesus’ reaction to the men that brought this woman was simply to act as if they were not there as He wrote in the dirt on the ground.
The Scribes and Pharisees continued to ask Him what they should do and Jesus full of the unmerited favor and blessings of God answered them in John 8:7…
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
• It was then that Jesus again stooped again and began to write on the ground.
The last three verses of this story reveal a woman that was given a new lease on life. That day was the first day of the rest of her life. John 8: 9 – 11 states….
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
The grace of God shown to this woman is the same grace that God shows used so that you might be saved…
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
The Amplified says it like this…
For it is by free grace (God's unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
Each of us have sinned…
1 John 1: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
But today is the first day of the rest of your life (if we have been a Christian for 50 years or this is the first day to step foot in a church)
1 John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In several books of the New Testament that were written by the Apostle Paul, he opened and closed his writings with Grace be unto you. He was extended unto those that he wrote to the very blessings of God and it is those same blessings that you can experience today through the grace of Jesus Christ because today is the first day of the rest of your life.