GraceLife is about Living Life in Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ.

It is not fairy dust sprinkled on you that turns you into a super-Christian. In fact GraceLife becomes the most powerful when we become broken vessels in the potters hand. GraceLife is all about taking human vessels and making them vessels of honor for the Glory of God.

As Steve McVey illustrates, GraceLife takes all of us and unites us with the Power of Jesus Christ. As Christ directs our life, the Holy Spirit must do some pruning, and God must do some disciplining. Life and circumstances happen, exposing cracks in our flesh. Don’t try to cover them up or dress them up, for God can use those weaknesses through the power of His grace!

Grace is the Power of God that continually transforms our lives as long as our hearts remain soft (humble) toward Him. Grace through Jesus Christ gives the New Covenant the Power that was missing in the Old Covenant. Hebrews 8:8 indicates the problem with the Old Covenant was the Jewish people themselves. Their hearts were of stone, and the Old Covenant provided no power to change those stony hearts. So the Law had no power to free the Jews from slavery to sin and fleshly desires.

Hebrews 8:7-10 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. 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.

The New Covenant is empowered by Grace, Grace given at the Cross of Jesus Christ, Grace that gives us new hearts, soft hearts, upon which is written the Word of God, empowering us to live a life pleasing to God. GraceLife is applied to soft hearts and empowers us to live life in union with the Rule-Maker. In fact, Jesus unites with our soft hearts to live this life in His righteousness and power!

  • Is your heart soft toward Jesus Christ and His Word?
  • Are you having trouble believing that God can use your vessel for His glory?
Do you think your cracks are too wide or too deep?

Jesus loves our cracks, for they give Him an opportunity to work in our lives and show the power of His grace.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted (charitoo) [to pursue with grace, compass with favor; to honor with blessings].[1]in the beloved.

In charitóō there is not only the impartation of God’s grace, but also the adoption into God’s family in imparting special favor , to give grace, to remit, forgive. [2]

Jesus Christ pursues you with His grace, encompassing you with His favor and honoring you with His blessings, all because you are His brother/sister, adopted into God’s glorious family of saints.

Regardless of how ugly you think your life is, in Jesus Christ you are beautiful, you are handsome, you are a vessel of honor in His hands. It is time you open your heart and eyes in faith and see the power of Grace that is upon your life!

Don’t let your sin and failures keep you from realizing who you are to Jesus Christ.

Consider the testimony of Christian broadcasting and television personality, Greg Hennis. His show, Second Chances, can be heard on LiftFM 98.5 in New Jersey. He thought he had to hide his cracks until he discovered that Jesus can use them for His glory:

In the beginning of 2010 business was great. My business was doing well. God even opened a door to get my church on TV every Thursday night in prime time in over 2 million homes in the Philadelphia market with many people being saved and set free. But life was about to throw me another curve. In May, my largest customer began to bounce large checks and fall behind. Soon he owed us thousands. Next thing I know the state closed down his business. Then my former employer attempted to bring a personal law suit against me. What else could happen? Things were tough! My business was in debt and I had an angry ex employer trying to bring me down anyway he could for things that weren’t true. Finally, after weighing my options, I realized the only way to get myself out of this financial mess and was to declare personal bankruptcy.

It was a hard thing to decide. I had a great credit score and never had a late payment on my credit report. But I knew what had to be done. In early 2011 it became public knowledge that it was filed. My former employer learned there’d be no suit due to the bankruptcy and he was angry. He began notifying broadcast outlets who did business with me, customers, and anyone who would listen that I had personally filed. He always gave the impression it was his business to try to hurt me.

Not only did I have all this stress, but I had to start calling all my customers and business contacts and tell them myself. Very Humbling. After the first few it got easier and then in February, I was doing an interview on my Christian radio show, “Second Chances”, and the guest said something that made it all seem worthwhile. She said the things in life that we try to hide are the things that God wants us to share to be a blessing and help to others. Since then I haven’t stopped encouraging people by sharing what I just shared with you. They all say the same thing, “WOW, God Is Good.”

And I say to that, “Yes he is.”

What my ex employer doesn’t know is that because of God’s love for us, he gives us the strength to forgive. I have forgiven him and even feel pity for him dealing with the bitterness he has. I hope God’s love will one day heal him. (More is at this link)

GraceLife brings Honor to your vessel. You become a quality vessel not because you look good on the outside, not because you appear to be holy and righteous, but because Jesus is  inside your vessel, multiplying His grace in your life.

We are not talking about how “good” you appear on the outside. 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. Grace is never passive, but actively pursues us for the pleasure of God.

It is not up to us to prove ourselves worthy of His grace. In fact, there is nothing we can do in our flesh to be more “worthy” of anything. As Hanna Dagenhart writes in “Geckos Are Ceremonially Unclean…It’s Biblical”:

Don’t ever believe that you must try to change yourself to somehow be more worthy of Christ.  For one, He’s seen worse – Paul was the worst of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).  Secondly, you can’t do it.  Even God’s chosen people rebelled and fell away on countless occasions.  Look at Israel in Isaiah… “Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.  The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it” (Isa. 3:8-9).  These were the people God had called out for His own; they were the ones who were filthy and unclean, lost in their sin.  Later the Lord tells them,In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isa. 30:15) Still, he pursues them!  “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isa. 30:18).

Are you surrendered to the Potter’s hand? Or are you standing proud in your own self-confidence 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. Is your heart still soft toward Him, or have you allowed it to harden because of the way you have responded to His touch on your life?

Are you zealous for God and His Word, or are you apathetic and uninterested? 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. You have resisted God’s grace, and your heart has become hard. Your heart has been given over to bitterness, resentment, wrong values, lusts, and even worldly desires. These all harden your heart and block the power of God’s grace.

Vessels unto honor have soft hearts, broken hearts, sensitive to the Word and the Holy Spirit. Vessels unto honor realize their own brokenness, so they don’t judge others or condemn others, but administer Grace to all those around them. Vessels unto honor are there for the lost and hurting around them. God never makes a vessel for self-service. We are to benefit each other. Just as Greg Hennis realized.

Profile of GRACELIFE
How can GraceLife produce vessels of honor from broken vessels? How can GraceLife produce a church of honor, from a church that is broken?

Let’s begin to build a profile of GraceLife. This morning 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?

Understand first of all that Grace is not some passive gift that occasionally impacts your life. Grace is not a beautiful sunset, or a peaceful walk on a beautiful cool morning.  Nor is it a force that suddenly 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! Grace is the very hand of God nudging you to do His good pleasure.

Paul Defines Grace as God’s Active Pursuit of us through which God does Three Things:

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

  1. Grace works in us the DESIRE for God’s Will
  2. Grace works in us the ability to DO God’s Will
  3. Grace works to ACCOMPLISH God’s pleasure.

“We cannot of ourselves embrace the Gospel of grace:” [2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God]

“The will” comes solely of God’s gift to whom He will [John 6:65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father”]; so also the power “to do” (rather, “to work effectually, energizing”)

Our will does nothing thereunto without grace; but grace is inactive without our will” [ST. BERNARD]. Man is, in different senses, entirely active, and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. What He produced is our own acts. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. “FOR His good pleasure”; in order to carry out His sovereign gracious purpose towards you Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,.[3]

What Does Grace Do?

Since Grace works to accomplish the pleasure of God, we should know what God delights in. Jeremiah offers three things that God works at because He delights in them:

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Since Grace accomplishes the pleasure of God, and the pleasure of God is in working loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, we can rest assured that God’s Grace works in our lives to accomplish what God takes pleasure in. So let’s build a profile of GraceLife, and see where we individually and corporately might be resisting God’s Grace.

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

חֶסֶד‎ HESED

Hesed is the active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those with whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Unfailing Love)  

This word is used 240 times in the Old Testament, and is especially frequent in the Psalms. Is that any surprise since the Psalms were written by a man after God’s Heart.

Hesed has three components working together: “strength”, “steadfastness”, and “love”. Take one away and His hesed is not complete. Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness.

Ḥesed implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law.

Marital love is often related to hesed. The prophet Hosea applies the analogy to Yahweh’s hesed to Israel within the covenant (e.g., Hosea 2:21). Hence, “devotion” is sometimes the single English word best capable of capturing the nuance of the original. The RSV attempts to bring this out by its translation, “steadfast love”.[4]

However, ḥesed is not only a matter of obligation; it is also of generosity. It is not only a matter of loyalty, but also of mercy. Hesed describes God’s devotion to those He has a relationship with. It is an active, seeking love that is based upon strength and resolve. It is devotion of the heart. Hesed comes from the very heart of God! It is His desire for His people!

Hesed is the Active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving-kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Jim Tompkins)

  • 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.

WE ARE SAINTS (63 tines this is declared in the New Testament)

  • 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.

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

‏מִשְׁפָּט‎ mishpāṭ

Mishpat is God’s Kingdom design in place within man through the reign of Christ in our hearts. His Kingdom design must grow to encompass our life, our family, our church –  our ‘House’. (Justice)

Mishpat begins in the external and transforms the internal (Describes the design and function of the Tabernacle)

God has a Kingdom in His heart, a kingdom of justice, of order, a kingdom that is at work in heaven and his desire is for it to be so on earth.

The Tabernacle was an earthly type of the Justice that God seeks on the earth. (Exodus 26:30; 1 Kings 6:38; and Ezekiel 42:11 this word is used in reference to the design of the tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and the future temple prophesied by Ezekiel, respectively. Significantly, in all these passages it refers to the design or arrangement of God’s dwelling place.)

When His Son came to earth, He did what was necessary to empower this justice on earth. One day He will claim this inheritance and establish God’s Justice on earth. Until that day, we as His children, have an earthly tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit dwells. God can establish His justice in our lives. His Son can reign in our hearts and everywhere our foot trods. Mishpāṭ, as justice, i.e. rightness rooted in God’s character, ought to be an attribute of man in general and of judicial process among them (Psalm 106:37).

Mishpat expresses the nature of God and the demands of God. He desires His mishpat to reign on earth, and to reign in the hearts of mankind. His mishpat is what condemns us; His mishpat is what Jesus Christ satisfied upon the Cross. When God’s mishpat reigns in your heart through faith in Jesus Christ, you stand before God uncondemned. You have standing before God. You have the very ear of God because you delight in the mishpat of Jesus Christ!

The Grace of Jesus Christ works to accomplish God’s Justice in your life, no matter how cracked your vessel may be. Here is how Grace accomplishes God’s justice in our lives:

  • 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?

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

  • Justified

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:

We are declared Holy! God re-members our sins no more. He doesn’t take them up again and allow them to hurt Him. They are in a bag slung behind Him and dropped in the deepest part of the ocean where they lay as far as the East is from the West. This is true not only at our ‘new birth’, but true the rest of our earthly life with Jesus Christ. Our sins past, present and future were forgiven at the Cross. Our daily cleansing only thanks Christ for our forgiveness and reestablishes our dependence upon Him for our life.

  • Overcome 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 and growth

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 and Songs in our Hearts

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.

A young lady started attending the church I pastored in Edgerton, KS. It wasn’t long before I learned she was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with her estranged husband. He had succeeded in turning her former pastor and congregation against her. She shared how she sang on the praise team. I encouraged her to sing at our church, but I could see that she had lost her “song” for the Lord because of the struggles she was facing. I told her she was welcome at our church, even though her ex-pastor told me I should not let her worship at our church. Together we looked at the Scriptures, and God’s Word opened up God’s wonderful grace to her broken life. Within eight months she came to me and said she felt like singing. Oh what a wonderful voice she had. Her songs were powerful and life-giving, because they came from a broken vessel transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Have you really messed up? Is your vessel pretty broken up and useless? Do not despair, do not be cast down. Jesus can take the broken pieces of your life and make them honorable, useful and beautiful. He will give you a Song in your heart, the song of the matchless grace of Jesus!


[1] J. H. Thayer, trans., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1889), s.v. “,” WORDsearch CROSS e-book

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1471.

[3] Jamieson, Robert, Fausset A.R. and Brown, David; 1871,The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible.

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