Thai Seventh-day Adventist Church of Sourthern California
“NOTHING BUT GRACE!”
GODTALK #5, 5/19/16
A. A boy walked into a class—class about birds. For the final test, teacher put pictures of birds all around the room, but just their legs. You had to put what bird went with the legs. Student said, “That’s hopeless. Nobody can pass that test. I’m not going to take it.” Teacher said, “Then you’ll fail.” “I don’t care.” Teacher got out his grade book—“What’s your name?” The boy pulled up his pants, showed them his leg, and then he said, “If you think it’s so easy to know what legs go with the bird, then you tell me who I am just from my leg!” Many people think—at the end of the world—there’s going to be Judgment. Every religion has a Judgment—where the gods look at your whole life, and only if you are perfect, can you cross over to heaven. And most of us have felt hopeless—nobody can keep all the rules perfectly, every day—forever! So who can go to heaven?
I. SO IT HAS TO BE BY GRACE—AND GRACE ALONE!
A. Even Jesus said one time, “Yes, you’re right, with man, it is impossible.” In sports, you can make $20 million a year if you will just make half your shots in basketball. But with God and the Judgment, if you are going to do it on your own, you have to be perfect from the day you’re born, every day, until you die! And not just don’t break the rules. You have to do all that you should have done, take care of the poor, only love, with a pure heart—every minute, of every day, perfect winning streak—your whole life! But the Bible says—“All have sinned, and fallen short.” The one statement that we didn’t need the Bible to tell us!
B. But there’s an old story in the Bible, about a young Queen. A Jewish girl married to a non-Jewish king. A rich man gave the king a lot of money to make a law that they could kill the Jews. The Queen’s uncle wrote her a note, “Go into the king, fight for your people.” “No, I can’t go. Unless he asks for me, if I just walk in, I will surely die.” “Go on in; God has put you there for such a time as this.” So she went down the hall, stood outside the door, scared to death to go in. But she pushed open the door, stood there before the king, and waited to see, would she live or would she die? He looked at her, saw her beauty, loved her, and even though she had broken the law and deserved to die, he extended the golden scepter to her and she would live and would not die!
C. It’s what the Bible says God does with us—EPHESIANS 2:8-9 “By grace you have been saved, through faith, not by works. ROMANS 3:21 “But now a righteousness from God has appeared, apart from all works of law.” ROMANS 6;23 “But the gift of God is eternal life.” It’s all God. Revelation says, “Fear God, and give glory to Him.” We don’t share the glory, not 50/50, not 1%/99%--all the glory to God alone. Jesus shouted on the Cross, “It is finished”—He did it all. There was nothing more to do. Our salvation is based on what God and Jesus have done.
D. A famous preacher, Bill Hybels, tells about going sailing in the Caribbean Islands, pulled his little boat into the harbor. A big boat is there and someone called, “Come on over for dinner.” So he and his wife paddled a little raft over for dinner. After dinner, the rest of them were all drinking. Finally time to go, his wife climbed into the little raft, and he was climbing down, when a lady asked, “Bill, what do you do?” “Well, I’m a minister.” “I’ve always wanted to ask a pastor, what do you really have to do to go to heaven?” She’s standing there with a drink, he knows he only has maybe a minute to say something. He tells her, "I grew up in a Christian home, we went to church, but all rules, do this, don’t do that. But went to a youth camp when I was 17; a young pastor talked at the campfire and said "Heaven is not based on what you DO, but on what JESUS has DONE for you." It split my heart open, to realize that God could love me so much, wants me in heaven, sent His own Son— to die—Done.” Got in the boat and went back to his boat. It’s all by grace, never by works.
II. IF WE OFFER WORKS, DISHONORS GOD.
A. If God does it all by grace, all by love—all a gift—and you and I bring our little works—going to church, reading the bible, give some money to poor people, we mow the grass, hold doors open for people—and we say, “God let me in, I’ve been good”—it is heartbreaking to God. Like we don’t respect the Cross, the incredible gift. They pounded nails into His hands, smashed a crown of thorns on His head, *shipped Him. Watch the movie—terrible, terrible, my wife couldn’t watch it. And then we say, “but I don’t think that’s enough, let me give You some things I have done.” It dishonors God. Dishonors the Cross. Heartbreaking to God.
B. Say a young couple goes to Hawaii on their honeymoon Sleep together for the first time. He wakes up in the morning, so in love, goes for a walk, but first he puts $300 on the table to pay for her love last night. No, you can’t do that. She gives you her heart in love—can’t now pay for it. So it has to all by grace.
C. It’s everywhere in the Bible. King David, committed murder and adultery, God forgave him—all grace. Prodigal Son, spent all the father’s money, eating with the pigs, goes home, father forgives him, takes him back, doesn’t say, “Where’s my money?”—grace. Even when Jesus was dying, He says, “Father, forgive them.” Didn’t do anything to pay for their sin. Still forgives them
FENCE—4 boys, World War II, one died, they took him to the little Catholic Church, “Can we bury our friend in your cemetery?” “Was he Catholic?” “No, we don’t think so.” “Only for Catholics.” So they buried him outside the fence. Went back to the war. After the war, came back, looking for their friend, couldn’t find him, asked the priest, “Where’s our friend?” “I’m so sorry, I should never have told you he had to be outside.” “So did you move him?” “No, couldn’t move him. So I moved the fence.” That’s what God did—so all of us who were outside—could be inside. All by grace!
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