Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’


Modern American Christianity and First Century Jesus Christ Christianity can mean two different things.​ Most American Christians consider Paul a fanatic, but they understand his fanaticism in light of the need of developing a new ‘religion.’ Paul would probably be considered too extreme in most American churches. Most Pastor’s have encountered Paul ‘wannabees’ and have watched them flame-on and then fizzle out. Most mainline Pastor’s have seen the need to be ‘spot-on’ with regard to their congregants. Not too extreme in either direction. It seems in America the best pastor’s are the most ‘liked’ pastors. Ask the average church member about their pastor and they will say, “he is such a great guy!”

Paul desired to know Christ and Him crucified on the CrossThe thing which would have made Paul an unlikely American Christian pastor is one statement that he made, and which he lived by. It is a statement that seems to be missing in most American Christian churches. As such, it is missing in normal “American Christianity.” 

Paul remarked to the Corinthian church:

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”. (1 Cor 2:2)

Paul followed a crucified Savior. In those days NO ONE followed anyone who had been crucified. To be crucified brought shame on all the relatives and family. You did not even mention crucifixion in polite society conversations. It was the same as if your father was a convicted pedophile, or a John Wayne Gacy. You would change your name, never mention your relationship to such a heinous character. The statement that Paul made would send shudders down the back of “decent folks.” For Paul to say what he said ment he was drawing a line in all his relationships and ministry functions. That line centered upon the Cross. Paul lived his life, engaged his ministry and related to folks in the shadow of the Cross. 

American Christianity has taken the shame of the Cross and covered it with gold or silver. It is a pretty talisman we wear on our neck or put on our car. The meaning of the Cross has been lost. The Cross is about shame and about humility. It is about the power of God and not the power of the flesh. There was no boasting at the cross, no stylish clothing, no vanity, and certainly no latte’s. ​

Gal-6_14-Cross The difference between 21st century American Christianity and Paul’s Christianity centers upon the power of one thing-the Cross! The reason Paul was so jealous and passionate about the Cross is that he understood it was the Power of God! There could be no power to transform, no power to resurrect, no power to build a Christ-centered church apart from the Power of the Cross!​ So Paul, to a fractured and powerless but socially acceptable church at Corinth exclaimed with all his passion:

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:17-18)

A Pretty Cross​The difference between modern American Christianity can be seen by what we hold dear. Paul held a bloody and shameful Cross proudly as he reached out to a sinful and dying world. American churches have changed the Cross into a bright and shiny steeple or a stylish Cross. We hold out a stylish, likable Jesus as we reach out to a sinful and dying world. We want them to come to a trendy comfortable building where they will find excitement and practical advice for their busy lives.

Paul would simply smile and so, that is so Corinthian. You are missing the point of following Christ. If it doesn’t begin at the Cross, it doesn’t begin at all. The Cross is the Power of God unto Salvation.​

This Passion week is all about the Cross. Are you holding onto the Cross? Have you died to your life and your way? Have you exchanged your sinful life for the Righteous life of the Lord Jesus Christ.? That only happens when you understand the shame and ignominy of the Cross, and accept it as your own. Paul lived for Christ, not as a fanatic, but as one who knew his life was not his own, for it was bought with a price. That price was paid at the Cross.

So go ahead and drink your cup of latte. Please, never forget that Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath for you. What are you willing to do for Him? All He asks is that you give him your life by dying at the Cross, and then seeking to know Him as your ‘crucified’ Lord!​


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

About these ads


Hebrews-this-is-the-main-point
What is the Main Point of Hebrews? Hebrews 8 is the pivotal chapter in this “Better Book.”

Now the main point of what is being said is this: We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister …Hebrews 8:1-2a

    • We have (this kind)
    • of High Priest
      • Right hand (Place of honor)
      • Throne
      • Majesty
      • Heaven
    • a Minister (vs 2)Main Point of Hebrews 8

The important thing for us to take away this morning, is not that we have a high priest, not that the High Priest is Jesus, not that He is indestructible, not that He is even beside the Majesty in heaven. The important thing we must see is that He is THIS KIND OF HIGH PRIEST – a MINISTER!

How you see Jesus Christ will determine your success as a disciple, as a Christian and as a Kingdom subject. If we can view Him as He is for us, then we will see that He places us (in all our humanity) in the very presence of the Majesty!

The Minister of the Sanctuary

holy tabernacleHebrews 8:2 describes Jesus as the “minister of the sanctuary” It further describes this Sanctuary as the “True Tabernacle”

Minister (liturgy) = Service to God and to Man

We Need to grip into our hearts “What is that Service?” and fully see “What is His Ministry?”

Sanctuary = True Tabernacle

  • Sanctuary is “hagion” meaning “holy place”.
  • It could refer to the Holy of Holies, but in this context, it has a bigger place in view-because we see the throne of the “Majesty of the heavens”

Holy Place = True Dwelling of God

  • Jesus is the minister of the true dwelling
  • His ministry involves providing for the majesty
  • His ministry involves providing for man

Minister_of_true_tabernacleJesus Christ is the Minister at the very Center of God’s Creation.

  • „ He alone provides what God’s Holiness required.
  • „ He alone provides what man requires.

„ He alone increases the “Majesty of the Heavens” by bringing increase to man.

Jesus is at the throne of the Majesty, serving as a minister to God and to Man. As a minister, He is providing something that is life changing. His ministry magnifies the Majesty by providing for you and me. If the Holy Spirit brings this truth into your heart, it will literally stop it in awe. This goes far beyond what we normally see.

  • Do not get caught up in the shadow.
  • Do not limit your faith to the physical.
  • Do not fall in love with the building,
  • You will miss the Majesty!

Verse 9: For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. (KJV –regarded them not).

They were given a covenant, a means of living with the Majesty and Power of God, yet they chose not to continue in it. So God showed no concern for them.

The important thing we need to take away is what Jesus is doing as MINISTER and how understanding that will change the way you live your life! Chapter 8 has an impact that will change the way you view Christianity.

This morning, the Holy Spirit wants to show you something that will bring vitality and power to your life, as well as open your eyes to the Majesty, and will reveal to your heart how you can always know He regards your life with concern!

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Hebrews 8:6

More excellent: to be superior, better[1] (Heb. 1:4; 8:6).

What was the result of the ministry of the earthly High Priests?

Purpose of Minister (1)God could put His Name on the people and Bless them…

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

Result: They shall put my name upon them and the people would be BLESSED!

  • The Old Covenant administered by the Priests resulted in what?-God’s Blessing!
What was the problem with this?
  • You could lose God’s Blessing
  • God’s blessing was conditioned upon your obedience.
  • God’s concern and care was conditioned upon my continuing to be in right standing with the Priests.
  • People started elevating the Priests and the Place of Worship
How do we know this?
  • More concerned about where to worship rather than who (this was what the woman at the well brought up to Jesus)
  • More concerned about beauty of building than the beauty of the one you worship (The Pharisees screamed blasphemy when Jesus said he would build the temple again after three days. They thought He was referring to their beautiful Temple)
  • Allow the Priest to do whatever he wants, even if it corrupted the worship (This is mentioned in Malachi)

What did the Old Law and High Priest fail to provide the People?

Christ ministers a New HeartA New Heart

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8:10-11

Two Betters – the Basis of his “more excellent” Ministry.

A. Better Covenant

Window to the MajestyBasis of better Covenant – blood of God’s Son, sinless sacrifice, God Himself was torn asunder.

Read Genesis 15 – With Abraham, God guaranteed His Word with His Strength and His Promise, that He would be torn asunder just like the animal sacrifice if He failed to perform. Jesus proved His power by allowing Himself to be torn asunder to satisfy the Holy demands of His Father, therefore proving to us there was nothing left to be done. The promise would stand for all eternity, for Jesus had already been torn asunder.

  • The basis of a Covenant is the ability to deliver! Christ’s Covenant is not subject to ‘Act of Terrorism’ or ‘Act of Nature’ clauses.

B. Better Promises

Basis of a promise-strength, ability, what that promise cost, trust in the ability to deliver!

1.    Is your Faith in Christ resting in His Better Promises?

    • The Promise of the Holy Spirit

And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.” Luke 24:49

    • Promised in the Old Testament

until the Spirit from heaven is poured out on us. Then the desert will become an orchard, and the orchard will seem like a forest. Then justice will inhabit the wilderness, and righteousness will dwell in the orchard. The result of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quiet confidence forever. Isaiah 32:15-17

    • The Holy Spirit will teach you all things

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26

    • He is our Seal

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13

2.  Are You In Constant Connection with our Minister?

He is constantly calling and encouraging, but you must see Him by faith! You must answer His call by faith! Do not make excuses, for you have a NEW HEART! If you fail to respond to His calling, then perhaps you do not, and your Christian Life is fake, devoid of His ministry!

The Result – HIS SURPASSING MINISTRY!

The True Meaning of His Better Ministry

MInistry to the Majesty1.    Provision for Us

  • They will “Know me in themselves

And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

2.    Provision for God

God’s Holiness was never compromised as He showed sinful men mercy and forgiveness, for the Better Ministry of Jesus Christ meant that the righteous demands of His holiness could be met and satisfied, thus allowing His Glory to be maintained even in mercy!

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:11-12

So What Does His Surpassing Ministry Mean for You?

As long as you abide in Christ, you are in the Presence of God even NOW! If you turn to yourself and rely on you flesh for righteousness, you are settling for your own glory, and missing out on the majesty! This is why we must apply the truth and message of Hebrews 8 to our lives, so that we may continue to abide in the power of the Blood!

1. The What

of Hebrews 8 is that we now have a Minister, a very powerful minister who has the power and ability to bring us into the presence of the Majesty through His better covenant and promises. (This is the Way of Jesus)

2. The So What

that will bring backbone to our Christian walk in the form of the Truth is that we are in the very Presence Of The Majesty in Jesus Christ! This is truth that defies our rational thought, our sighted walk. This is truth that only Faith can visualize and touch! (This is the Truth of Jesus that sets us Free)

  • Through Christ and His ministry to us,  God can shower us with care and concern, even when we sin!

3. The  Now What

We now live with a clear vision of the Ministry of Jesus Christ, that He brings us into the presence of the Majesty even when we fail, even when we are diseased, even when we are down and distressed. The Majesty is where we live and breathe! In Jesus Christ! This is the Life of Jesus-that we have His Life regardless of our circumstances!

What do we count on when we are in the presence of the Majesty?

  • Know that in His presence, He regards you and He is concerned for you. He cares for you! Just as He cares for His Son!
How do you actuate the Promise of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Be Diligent to experience Him no matter the Circumstance!

  • Know Me in the majesty
  • Know me in the tragedy
  • Know me in the mediocrity
  • Know me in your family

We must keep the windows of our Heavenly Minister clean, so that we may always see that we are living in the presence of the Majesty! We must focus on the Better Promises rather than the world, and we must focus on His body and blood as our righteousness!

Do not let this be the epithet of your Christian Life:

HE DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR HIM, SAYS THE LORD. Hebrews 8:9

´


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “diaphoros”.


Advice to a New Pastor of a small town Church

1. Spend an hour a day doing nothing but considering what the Lord wants to do in your life right now. Anchor your thoughts with a section of Scripture or with a relevant Biblical concept or even a problem you are facing. Take the time to lift Him up and consider what He is doing or wants to do. Make it your time where you are centering your life and duties upon Him. Develop an inward core that centers itself upon God.

„ 2. Realize that your ministry to your family is more important than the ministry itself. Your ministry will grow from your ministry to your family.

„ 3. Learn to be content with the people and building God provides for you. Give thanks for them every day. Express thanks and appreciation publicly and constantly.

4. Realize you will always be an outsider to the community. Just accept it. But counter that with your insider status to the power of God. Manifest a supernatural life and they will desire to be an insider with God like you. When they know the power and reality of your faith in God, they will want that ‘insider’ faith as well.

„ 5. Look for someone to mentor/disciple. Make this a priority. Hopefully it is someone in the church, but be open to men outside the church.

„ 6. If there are leaders, let them know your expectations about discipling them.  Hopefully they will agree. If not, don’t push it the first year, but try to draw them in as you share discipleship successes with those whom you are able to disciple. If they still resist after a year, go through Titus and Timothy with them. If they still refuse, have the courageous conversation of asking them to resign.

7. Don’t be afraid to make a change in something your first year. You will discover that some are wanting you make a change.

Will Willimon reports in his post, “Non-synoptic church leadership in church” that he was given the following advice as a young pastor which he now shares with others,

“I am sure someone has told you that you shouldn’t change anything when you go to a new church for at least a year,” he said to me.  Indeed, someone had told me just that. “Well, forget it!  Don’t change anything in a new church unless you become convinced that it needs changing! Change anything you think that needs changing and anything you think you can change without the laity killing you.  Lots of churches are filled with laity who are languishing there, desperate for a pastor to go ahead and change something for the better.  Lots of times we pastors blame our cowardice, or our lack of vision, on the laity, saying that we want to change something, but we can’t because of the laity.  We ought to just go ahead and change something and then see what the consequences are.”

8. Learn everyone’s name (first and last name) including the kids. Make a personal photo directory or flash cards if you need to. Learn all the names of the leaders or “gate-keepers” in town. Invite the bank president or mayor out to lunch and find out who the community leaders are.

„9. Discover who the “gate keeper’s” of you community are. Get to know them, and look for ways to make the power of Christ known.

10. Schedule as many meals and coffees with people as possible. Go to their workplaces and pick them up and take them to a place that they normally go to lunch. (This is tough on a minimal salary)

11.„ Ask these kind of questions to ask when you meet with people (don’t try to evangelize them the first time you meet):

a. Where did you grow up? Where have you lived?

b. What is your job? Help me understand what you do and what kind of pressures you have. Is it a great job or just so-so? Why? How is your relationship with your boss? If the boss, what kind of struggles do you have with your employees?

c. What is your church background? Why did you come to our church? (of if they don’t come to church-what is your attitude toward church in general)

d. At some point tell them you would like to say a little prayer for them, but you wonder if there is anything else you could pray about? (In other words, you will know enough already to be able to pray for them). Do a quick prayer for them.

People will be surprised at how interesting and good it is to meet the pastor and you will not feel pressured to ‘convert’ them or get into church politics until you get to know people. The people are more important than the church. When you get to know people, you will understand where they are coming from. Try to understand their passion. Then followup your visit with prayer for turning their passions into a relationship with Jesus Christ. He will guide you in how to reach them or grow them.

12. Don’t make fun of their rural lifestyle, don’t use big words, don’t be condescending. Be genuinely interested in their lives, their problems and their needs. Be willing to go the extra mile in helping them out. The sooner they trust your intentions the sooner they will trust your ministry.

13. Normally pastoring is 1/3 preaching (study, prep, reading), 1/3 administration (meetings, email, phone calls, mail, chaos), and 1/3 pastoral care (meeting with people).  But for you it will be ½ pastoral care and the other two ¼ each. You will have to initiate and be intentional to meet with anyone. Very few will reach out to you.

14. Force your wife to meet folks by inviting people to dinner. Your kids may embarrass you, but the other couple or family will get to see you as you really are. They don’t want fake. They want real.

15. Get to know the history of the church and who used to go there and what happened.

16. Look at the church constitution and see what the purpose of the church is. Make sure your leadership accepts that purpose and wants to work toward its fulfillment. If not, either the purpose or the leadership needs to change. Design projects to involve the leadership in the fulfillment of the church purpose.

17. „A small church is not leadership driven. Small churches are “interwoven” meaning that the people have strong relationships based on blood or long friendships. They will tend to take the church very personally. They will see it as “their” church. You may want to make some changes or start certain programs, but while they may say “that’s a good idea, Pastor,” they will be looking to see what the church ‘patriarch’s’ are thinking. If you do not when the true leaders over, you will never get the support or participation you need.

The following letter was written by Mrs. Floyd K. Chapman, who lives in a small [pop. 1,064] Midwestern town. Her letter was written in response to an article about the suspicions some folks have of their pastors.

The folks in a small town don’t really care to hear what some author says. They only want to be convinced of your sincerity. Few of the common people read as much as we’d like to think. Many I know read only the following: the headlines, daily funnies, lost and found items; local items. Also they read some farm magazine, after a fashion–then they turn on TV. This is truth, whether we want to admit it or not.

On Sunday they go to church–they like to hear about Jesus, because he loved them enough to put up with their failings. They are not especially interested in economics, except as it affects them directly, or in politics, except in presidential years. But they respect freedom beyond words. They despise anything that makes them lose their self respect and much talk to the contrary they fear the creeping socialism that has made so many dependent upon the monthly government check that puts the bread in their mouths.

They know that they are not learned or smart and they fear people who are, unless they love them. Love is something one feels and if one loves he overlooks so much.

Can you take the big truth, the fact that too many of our ministers do not like people. They love subject matter, but are not sympathetic with the daily problems and weaknesses of the common man. This is not a weakness confined to our denomination.

Too many think they know it all–and do not give the other fellow credit for any knowledge. For instance, a pastor in our community a few years ago attempted to tell one of our more successful farmers of the superiority of horsepower. If it was or was not superior was not the point: the farmer was operating a large farm successfully and happily with his modern machinery. The minister should have been more tactful. If he knew nothing about farming he should have kept still or asked questions.

Sir, I am only a small-town woman, but I am sincere when I say there are a few qualifications a minister must have. Without them, regardless of denomination, he will be accused of everything under the sun–including communism.

1. He must have had a sincere Christian experience and must sincerely love the Lord and His work.

2. He must have had a certain amount of training in Bible, organization and method.

3. He must be willing to work–not too good to use his hands at times–and not too proud to ask help if he needs it.

4. He must really like people–more than books, more than organization, more than position.

5. He must walk ahead leading the people gently as a shepherd, and not try to drive them with a whip. 


Without grace Christianity is nothing. Without liberty a Christian remains in bondage to sin, unable to live as God pleases.   

GraceLife is all about living in this wonderful grace of Jesus, no matter what is going on in your life. GraceLife is living in the power and beauty of Jesus Christ.

GraceLife is characterized by three things, which briefly stated are:

1. GraceLife is not about following rules, but about allowing the Life of Jesus to be your life.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    • God isn’t watching how well you follow the rules and saying “attaboy”- here is a blessing, or “Uh Oh” – here’s a lightning bolt.
    • God is loving you into His Son! This is what He works in our lives.
2. GraceLife is not about your happiness and quality of life. GraceLife is about power to live life REIGNING with Christ.

Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

    • To experience GraceLife you have to commit to suffering for the sake of the Grace of God abounding toward others.
    • Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered. We not only learn through our sufferings, we benefit the body with GraceLife!
3.    GraceLife is not about the Appearance of the Vessel, but the Quality of the Vessel.

So let’s explore GraceLife in greater depth.

1.  GraceLife is Living the Life of Jesus

Are you “living by the rules,” or are you letting God’s Grace work in you?

There’s a big difference between the two. If you’re living for God—living by the rules—you’ll always be exhausted. You’ll feel that you’re not doing enough for God and that if you don’t “measure up,” He will be displeased with you.

But God never meant for the Christian life to be that way! His Love for us isn’t based on how we perform for Him. He sent Christ to set us free from rules. He didn’t call us to serve Him in our own feeble power, but to let His power flow through us—a power that is without limit!

What’s more, this power is already available to us right now. God has provided everything we need for a truly meaningful, joy-filled life here on earth…all because of His marvelous grace.

Rest in God’s grace, and let Him live through you. Find out how in GraceLife.

For example, if you’ve been around church a while, you might have noticed something very strange that happens when someone comes to Jesus. Before they are saved, they are told, “It’s all about Jesus! It’s not about you. It’s all about Him and what He’s done for you!” But once they’re saved the tune changes. Now it’s “all about you and what you do for Him!”

Before salvation it’s faith, faith, faith! But once the honeymoon is over, it’s works, works, works!

“Every true believer fully understands that he did nothing to become a Christian. He simply trusted Christ. Yet many believe that they must now do something to become a victorious Christian. So they substitute trying in place of trusting.” (Steve McVey, Grace Rules p.21)

 “Your life is God’s gift to you. What you do with your life is your gift to God.” No that is a lie…“It really strokes our human ego to think that we can do something for God. Yet the truth is we cannot. Jesus said that “Only God is Good.” In His infinite grace He allows us to participate in what He is doing by placing His life inside us and then expressing that life through us.” (pp.13-14)

God is after so much more that our work. God is after intimacy. Our Father wants us to know Him and abide in Him and allow Him to express Himself to us and through us. As McVey says,

“Spiritual service is not our gift to God, but rather His gift to us.” (p.198)

What about the Rules?

Colossians 2:20-23 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” ( referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

When you put the emphasis of living the Christian Life on how well you keep “the Rules”, you are living in bondage to the flesh. You are depending upon your fleshly efforts to please God and meet His “standards”! This is living by “another gospel” that Paul spoke so strongly against in Galatians. If we obey “rules” it is becasue Christ is living in us and empowering us. If our life is in and through the life of Christ, there are no rules, because Christ is living through us! He is our standard! Obeying rules feeds the flesh. It promotes pride, and pride stops GraceLife!

2. GraceLife is joining with the Power of Christ to Reign over Life (if you commit to long-suffering)

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (are surrounded by various adversities)

James 1:2 -4 (phillips)When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.

GraceLife is founded upon the assurance that everything happens, (suffering, tragedies, circumstances) so that abundant grace will bring thanksgiving from many to redound to the glory of God. Everything has purpose!

Principle: GraceLife in a Few brings Grace to Many

A. Empowers Others to Reign

2 Corinthians 4:15 – For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant (pleonázō super abounding) grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound (perisseúō = super abound, fullness to the point of excess) to the glory of God.

This is a simple yet profound concept. What this means is that God’s Grace is poured out on many because a few react to life according to His grace. Conversely, the Grace of God on many is blocked and thwarted because a few resist God’s grace at various moments in their lives.

A Few can Block Grace for Many

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

B. Empowers us to See Him who is Invisible

2 Cor 4:16-18 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Only as we see the benefit of sufferings do we begin to see Him who is invisible. Sure, we see Him in a flower’s blossom, a baby’s smile or a child’s outstretched arms. We see His beauty, but do we see His strength, His tremendous love for us and work on our behalf. No, we see that only in the midst of suffering.

Long-suffering (endurance) has two ideas in view:

1. Commitment to Bearing up Under

Romans 5:2-5 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (hupomoné – “endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty” “pictures bearing up under in spite of circumstances)[1]; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

2. Commitment to Waiting with Constant Hope in God

James 5:7 Be patient (makrothumía) [2] therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Heb. 6:15, makrothuméō is used of Abraham’s patient faith in God under the pressure of trying circumstances (James 5:7,8). Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomoné, endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances.

God’s mercy (éleos ) is coupled with makrothumía  to indicate it is long suffering.  This is an apt description of God’s ‘hesed’ or steadfast love.

All the time you are holding up these trials and tribulations as Charles Atlas holds the world, You are looking patiently to God and confidently expecting Him to work!

Without this resolve, you will be tossed about by your circumstances, you will be putting yourself first, blaming others and growing frustrated by the apparent lack of God’s work in your life. Grace will be blocked from working in your life and others, because your bitterness at what God has or hasn’t done will infect you life and spread to the lives of others. 

C. Example of Moses

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

A Commitment to Longsuffering in your Christian walk means that you realize there is an abundance of Grace available to you, and as you ‘bear up’ in Christ, this superabundance will provide for others who are weak, hurting and disillusioned, so that they will have all the Grace they need, with plenty left over. Grace loves to multiply! Grace is the very nature of God!

Such a commitment is to magnify Grace and thanksgiving to the glory of God. Therefore, forgiveness and long-suffering is an integral part of GraceLife. If they are missing from your life, you are blocking GraceLife from multiplying in your life and touching the lives of those around you.

D. Our Calling as Disciples
  • Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
  • Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Paul says that our that our glory and inheritance with Christ is tied in with our suffering with Him. Further, not only are we to believe on Him, but we are to suffer for His sake!

3. GraceLife Produces Quality Vessels

Romans 9:20-21 Nay but, O man, who art thou that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

The way you respond to circumstances determines whether you are a vessel unto honor, or a vessel unto dishonor.

We are not talking about how “good” you appear on the inside. We are not talking about how many titles or positions you hold at church. We are talking about whether the Grace of God is actively working in your broken vessel or not.

Are you surrendered to the Potter’s hand, or are you proud and resistant to His work in your life. Are you bearing up under the circumstances He has you in, or are you running away to an easier place. Are you zealous for God and His Word, or are you apathetic and even ignorant. Are you praying for the lost around you, open to the hurting around you, or are you content with your own needs being met.

If you are apathetic, ignorant, content, self-centered and unconcerned, you are a vessel that is of no use to the potter, so you are a vessel unto dishonor. Vessels unto honor are useful and purposeful for the lost and hurting around them. God never makes a vessel for self-service. We are to benefit each other.

This is how the Grace of God continues to abound!

GraceLife allows broken vessels dishonored by sin to become vessels of honor, honored because they have become treasured vessels to God, and use by Jesus Christ, who is the fulness of all in all. This is the meaning of John 1:16, and the message elsewhere:

John 1:16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 4:12-13 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

GraceLife is a life that desires and enjoys and needs the fullness of Christ. GraceLife is empty of self and full of Jesus Christ! There are no rules to living in GraceLife other than needing the fullness of Christ. Jesus Christ is the rule-maker and the law-giver. Why stop at the rules when you can experience the life of the one who wrote the rules!

So, what characterizes Vessels of Honor? What characterizes a person living in GraceLife?

What is GraceLife?

  • GraceLife is the power of God that brings purpose to sufferings, hurts, troubles and trials.
  • GraceLife is the power of God that brings life to the spiritually dead, and manifests the Life of Christ in sinful flesh.
  • GraceLife is the power of God revealed in our thanksgiving to God!
  • GraceLife is the power of God which allows us to see Him who is invisible.
  • GraceLife is power for Living in Jesus Christ! GraceLife is enjoying the Fullness of Christ!
Understand first of all that Grace is not something you receive passively. It is not something that falls upon you as you sit in your easy chair and contemplate life! Grace is an active force that never, never leaves you the same!

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

GraceLife Profile

Growing experience of God’s mercy and steadfast love such that:
  • lives that are sensitive to sin, quick to repent,
  • growing in faith to believe God
  • being saved from this evil world
  • know their acceptance to God is in Christ and not in their works
  • growing in riches from Christ
  • receiving good things from God
  • always thankful, never complaining
  • overflowing with faith and love enough to touch others.
Growing Experience of God’s Justice such that:
  • Christ’s character become your character (partaker)
  • New identity in the justification that is in Christ
  • Growing power to overcome sin (freedom from destructive habits)
  • Growing strength of Spirit and meat of the Word (builds us up)
  • Ready access to God’s power and grace in times of need.
  • Stable walk and life.
  • Singing in your heart, regardless of the circumstances.
Growing Experience of the Righteousness of Christ
  • Life is continually changing and becoming like Christ
  • Growing power in service
  • Endurance in the face of trials
  • Speech that is seasoned by grace
  • Behavior that is acceptabel to the world
  • Testimony that teaches others
  • Ready aid in times of struggle and temptation
  • Service to God that is acceptable and reverent
  • Full of Hope no matter how dark
  • Grace of God is visible to those around us.
  • No confidence in our fleshly works.
  • Power to witness
  • Righteousness of Christ reigns in our body

Grace brings us to the Cross, where our eyes are open to see the overwhelming Love of God for us. This pure love as seen in His Son cuts our hearts open to reveal our sin and our need for a Savior. Grace propels us into the arms of Jesus, where we find forgiveness, sustenance and strength. Salvation is ours, not just for the future, but also for the Now’s of Life.

Once we are placed into Christ, He starts to grow in us through the Holy Spirit and His Word. Our lives are changed by the power of the Word. We become a living testimony to the Victory in Christ. Our want-to’s change. Our character becomes framed and molded by the character of Jesus Christ.

Our lives become dependent upon His victory. Our weaknesses are made strong in Him. We learn to walk in victory over sin. Our lives become testimonies to those around us of the Grace of God. It is not because of our ability, but by the Grace of God!

Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

When the mercy, justice and righteousness of God and Jesus Christ is actively working in a body of believer’s, you have GraceLife!


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hupomoné”.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book,


Charles Ryrie opens his work, The Grace of God, with the following thought. “Christianity is distinct from all other religions because it is a message of grace. Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God’s grace; salvation is by grace; and grace governs and empowers Christian living. Without grace Christianity is nothing.”[1]

GraceLife is all about living in this wonderful grace of Jesus. I believe most churches make the Christian Life about rules and appearances, rather than about this wonderful relationship with Jesus.

We have the 11th Commandment at work in most churches. You haven’t heard of the 11th Commandment? It goes like this…”If you were a Christian you wouldn’t do that.”  Go to any church for very long, and you will discover what “that” is. It differs from church to church. You hear it most often when someone strange visits, or when people are gossiping about the trouble Deacon Jones is having with his son or daughter. Or it could be anything else that people whisper about. “Well I can’t believe he did that! How could he be a Christian!? “That” covers anything you want. So we go through our Christian life, going from valley to summit, always in the back of our mind trying to live by some man-made rule…”if I am a Christian, I shouldn’t do that.” A good day is when we meet that commandment. A bad day is when we fail. You can live that kind of Christian life without Jesus. You don’t need Jesus filling your life. You don’t need his grace. You are trying to live up to a man-made standard. That is not grace. That is law. That is following a man-made god. No wonder so many people are turned off by traditional churches. Traditional churches are all about standards and being a certain way. People don’t want that anymore. What they want is the reality of a real relationship with a real God, a God who has real power for their lives. People need a place of GraceLife.

But mudpreacher, the Bible is full of rules. Isn’t God all about rules & commands? I will be in trouble here, but NO! God is all about life with Him. God is all about abiding in the fullness of the vine which is Jesus. God is all about falling in love with all that He is and has done for us.

One day Jesus was in the Temple, looking at all the Pharisees putting on a display of how much they loved the Word of God. They would make a big to-do about standing in front of everyone and reading the Scrolls of the Old Testament. They would do this for hours. In John 5:39 he remarked:

John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

People are so stressed out today. Most people realize our government, our lives are just on the edge of chaos. Families are hurting, children are hurting, but the church of the 11th commandment offers no hope for them. Only a GraceLife Church can offer hope, because a GraceLife Church offers the reality of Jesus Christ for their broken and hurting lives.

Grace thrives in the arena of need and inability. Grace does not thrive in the church of the 11th commandment, for they have no needs, they have no deficiencies. Self-Righteousness robs a church of Grace. The church of the 11th commandment fills itself with rules and programs instead of Jesus Christ.

John 1:14-16 KJV – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. (ESV “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”)

Charin anti charitos – grace  over against grace.

We received, not New Testament grace instead of Old Testament grace; nor simply, grace added to grace; but new grace imparted as the former measure of grace has been received and improved. “To have realized and used one measure of grace, was to have gained a larger measure (as it were) in exchange for it.” Consequently, continuous, unintermitted grace. The idea of the development of one grace from another is elaborated by Peter (2 Peter 1:5)[2],

The term “grace for grace” means that He gives grace upon grace, grace enough to meet all our needs, no matter the circumstances. It is one blessing leading to another blessing; new wonders dawning upon one’s consciousness every day; fresh experiences constantly springing into one’s life.

This world received the fullness of Jesus Christ. That fullness meant that we have available to us a storehouse of grace that will never run dry, for it is grace upon grace. Grace upon grace is GraceLife. GraceLife is life in Jesus Christ. GraceLife exists only where there is need and inability.

I don’t deserve to stand before you and preach the Holy Word of God. You don’t deserve to be in a Holy House of Worship. Yet here we are, not because we deserve to be here, but because Jesus Christ in us has made us acceptable in the sight of God. We can preach, we can teach, we can sing praises all because of the wonderful grace poured out upon us in Jesus Christ!

Even if you lived a perfect life this week, you don’t deserve to stand before God. None of us is righteous, no not one. Our only standing before God is in His Son, Jesus Christ. Christian or heathen, if you think you can be good enough to stand before God, to have a relationship with God, you are sadly mistaken. The only righteousness that God accepts is that of His Son.

Do you want to experience GraceLife?

But mudpreacher, I have experienced grace, because I came to Jesus and asked Him to be my Savior. Yes, that may be true, but are your living GraceLife? Peter wrote:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

You have to grow in Grace and your knowledge of Jesus. Regeneration is just the beginning point of Grace.

In the letter Paul wrote to the Galatians, he could not believe how quickly they had turned away from grace, and turned to the 11th commandment. They thought pleasing God depended upon their behavior.

GraceLife is a life covered in the grace of Jesus. GraceLife is abundant and overcoming, even when you are being kicked in the ribs. GraceLife is not conquered by trials and hardships. GraceLife is a Reigning Life! GraceLife Rules! GraceLife triumphs in the midst of our needs and inabilities.

Last week I mentioned a couple ways that guarantee you will not experience GraceLife.

1. If you insist on getting your way.
2. When you make plans without God in view.

If you put yourself first, forget God’s grace. When you put yourself first, watch out, because if you are truly God’s child, there is a whipping coming. Sometimes it comes quick, sometimes God waits awhile. But if you are His child, He will get your attention. He will move you to a place where you realize you have been putting yourself first, and it’s time to repent and humble yourself to Him.

(Beware: Sometimes we clean our self off, put on a new suit, and try our best to look and act ‘good’. We try to skip that repentance and humbling stuff. I’ll explain in point #3 in a moment)

GraceLife is not a regular life with grace added. It is not fairy dust sprinkled over your life. Fairy dust, good luck charm, or a magical incantation will not take a broken life and make it useful and profitable to God.

GraceLife is grace upon grace flowing from the fullness of Jesus Christ. He must be Lord. He must be the Vine. He must be the one we rely on for our fullness, for our life.

Before we do our behavioral analysis of GraceLife, I want to mention a third way you will not experience GraceLife.

3. When you blame others for where you are in life.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18 1.But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Sufferings will happen in this life. We will make mistakes, we will face injustice. Our natural reaction is to blame someone else for where we are, or for what we are going through. And you always will as long as your focus is upon yourself. This is how bitterness enters our soul. And bitterness (or as I put it-blamedness) will cause you to fail to obtain GraceLife.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

We Must Commit to “Long-Suffering”

Suffering happens. We do not have a choice. You will suffer from time to time. But one thing we do not accept is “long-suffering”. We leave our spouse; we want a pill from the Doctor. We do not accept continual ill-treatment. Long-suffering requires an active choice. This is what Paul wanted his readers to see. Paul had made an active choice to long-suffering on their behalf. No matter how he was treated or wronged, he endured it for the sake of the lost, for the sake of other Christians. He endured it because he saw the power of GraceLife.

Long-suffering has been defined as “not having how you have been wronged or treated affect you”.

If you do not have an active commitment to long-suffering, you will live a life in a prison, continually tortured by your circumstances, continually blaming others for where you are.

Many of us have a problem with forgiveness. There are things that have happened in our life that even years later scratch at us, give us proverbial ‘indigestion’. Many Christians live in the state of “Regret, USA”. There are things that have happened in the past that they regret, and whether it was your dumb mistake or not, you usually end up blaming someone for where you are at.

Deep in every human soul is a deep desire to justify yourself. We want to see ourselves as OK, as desirable. That is why there are so many workaholics and racists. When something bad happens, it couldn’t be our fault, so we naturally blame someone else, or something else. That carries on to someone who wrongs us. We make a caricature of the one who wrongs us so that their faults will be magnified, and ours minimized. We need to feel superior, need to feel better.

That desire to justify yourself comes from putting yourself first. It will always keep you from GraceLife. When you blame someone, or when you do not forgive someone, you are putting yourself first and you will miss out on GraceLife.

When you are hurt and try to strike out, whether physically, or by simple gossip, but your intention is to get someone back, you will never experience grace, and you will never experience justice.

To seek vengeance is selfish. To resign yourself to the hurt is selfish.

  • Vengeance is selfish, you’re not concerned with truth, and it’s all about you.
  • Resignation is selfish; you are allowing sin to reign. You are not seeking the power of grace.

In order to transform hurts and misfortunes and sufferings into Grace, you must do as Paul did, focus on the commonality we have as humans. We are all vessels, vessels that break, vessels that are fallible. We are all weak and make mistakes. But the mistakes can be transformed by the Grace of God into GraceLife if we focus on the unseen. We can even grow into thanksgiving if we see how our suffering can benefit the body of Christ.

Your forgiveness of another who has wronged you will be a witness to Life in Christ for a lost man, or a manifestation of Christ’s love to a backslidden man.

Paul directs our hearts to understand the importance of longsuffering and forgiveness. They will always manifest Christ, and they will work to benefit others.

that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 

To experience GraceLife, a commitment to long-suffering and forgiveness must be done as Paul said in verse 15: For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant (pleonázō super abounding) grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound (perisseúō = super abound, fullness to the point of excess) to the glory of God.

In this context then, the word pleonázō, to have much, is used in contradistinction to the word perisseúō, to have left over after needs have been met because of the utilization of the abilities God has given someone (2 Cor. 8:2, 7; the subst. perísseuma in 8:14). Thus pleonázō here means to recognize that one has more than he needs as a result of God’s direct gift, and not to allow it to go to waste but to share it with others so that they may not face a problem in their lack.[3]

This passage hearkens back to the Manna which God gave the Israelites in the wilderness.

2 Corinthians 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. (He who pleonázō will never have lack, for God will always provide)

These same two Greek words are used in 2 Cor 8:2 &7

2 Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance pleonázō of their joy and their deep poverty abounded perisseúō unto the riches of their liberality.

2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound perisseúō in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound perisseúō in this grace also.

A Commitment to Longsuffering in your Christian walk means that you realize there is an abundance of Grace available to you, and as you ‘bear up’ in Christ, this superabundance will provide for others who are weak, hurting and disillusioned, so that they will have all the Grace they need, with plenty left over.

Such a commitment is to magnify Grace and thanksgiving to the glory of God. Therefore, forgiveness and long-suffering are an integral part of GraceLife.

Take away forgiveness and long-suffering from God and you have no Grace. So why should we hope to enjoy Grace if our heart denies forgiveness to someone?

Let’s point out some key points from this text:

  1. We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so the power is of God and not us.
  2. We face troubles on every side.
  3. Suffering manifests the life of Jesus in our flesh
  4. Sufferings of a few bring life to many
  5. Everything happens, (suffering, life) so that abundant grace will bring thanksgiving from many to redound to the glory of God.
  6. So we faint not, because our inward man is renewed day by day.
  7. Suffering produces eternal benefit.
  8. Suffering opens our eyes to see the invisible.
  • Grace is the power of God that brings purpose to sufferings, hurts, troubles and trials.
  • Grace is the power of God that brings life to the dead, and manifest the Life of Christ in sinful flesh.
  • Grace is the power of God revealed in our thanksgiving to God
  • Grace is the power of God which allows us to see that which is invisible.
  • Grace is power for Life. That is GraceLife

Would you love to see God in the midst of your sufferings? Would you love to have Jesus manifest Himself to you when you are stressing over a broken relationship, or experiencing hateful attitudes, or despiteful treatment from former friends? Would you love to have an overflowing supply of Grace, so much so that you can impart Grace to others?

Here is what you need to do…Realize you are a broken vessel.

Broken vessels will always have an overabundance of Grace, and that Grace will flow from your cracks to meet the needs of needy people around you. If you try to glue yourself together without God’s Grace, you may have a respectable looking vessel, but it will be devoid of Grace. You may think you are a good Christian, others may think you are a good Christian, but you are devoid of the Grace of God. You have made yourself into what you think a Christian should be.

Listen to what Jeremiah said about the Jews, who thought they were “good Jews”:

Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Jeremiah 2:21-22 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

With God, there are two kinds of vessels. One that He can use, and one He cannot use. God can use a broken vessel, because such a vessel requires His grace. God cannot use a vessel that has been crafted by man’s standards and man’s rules, no matter how beautiful that vessel looks. Such a vessel is really full of holes, devoid of the Living Water!

God uses broken vessels. He fills them with His Grace. But we like to make our own vessels. We like to fix the cracks, make the most of them. But God says, no matter what you do to look good, you are broken, and you will have no Grace, because you are not depending upon me.

We Are All Broken Vessels

We can’t fix ourselves. We can’t put on our Sunday best and say God, now use me. We must admit our sins and our brokenness to God and to each other. God cannot multiply His Grace on pretenders. There is nothing there for His Grace to fill. Pride has overtaken your soul and pride makes no room for Grace.

  • David shared his experience of realizing he was a broken vessel:

Psalm 31:9-13 have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength failed because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

Only God’s Grace can take a broken and marred vessel and use it for His glory.

Jeremiah 18:4 and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

The important thing is to realize the Potter is in control! He decides how to use broken vessels! We do not have a say!

Romans 9:20-21 Nay but, O man, who art thou that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

So, how does GraceLife apply to broken vessels?

Profile of GRACELIFE

Let’s begin to build a profile of a GraceLife Church. First we will look at the “what” of Grace. What does it do for us, and so how will a GraceLife Church appear to an outside observer?

What is Grace and What does it do?

1. Grace Accomplishes God’s Mercy and Steadfast Love (Hesed)

  • Brings Men to repentance

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

  • Imparts Faith to Believe

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

  • Brings Salvation to Sinful Man

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

  • Gives us all Christ’s riches and full acceptance.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

  • Gives Good Things

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

  • Increases Thanksgiving

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

  • Brings Abundance of faith and love

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

2. Grace Accomplishes God’s Design of Justice in our Lives (mishpat).

  • Made a Partaker of Christ

1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

  • Justify

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

  • Overcomes Sin

Romans 5:20-21 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Gives strength

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

  • Help in times of need

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Provides Stability

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

  • Inspires Singing

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

3.  Grace Accomplishes the Righteousness of Christ in Us. (tsedaqah)

  • Changes Lives

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

  • Gives Power

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

  • Gives Endurance

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  • Seasons our speech

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

  • Means of Acceptable Behavior in the World

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

  • Teaches

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

  • Gives aid in suffering

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

  • Renders true service

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

  • Brings Hope

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

  • Visible

Acts 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

  • Has nothing to do with works of the flesh

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

  • Gives power to witness

Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

  • Gives us the Reigning Righteousness of Jesus

Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

When the mercy, justice and righteousness of God and Jesus Christ is actively working in a body of believer’s, you have GraceLife!

[1] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Grace of God (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963), 9.

[2] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “John 1:16″.

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1169.