Posts Tagged ‘GraceLife’


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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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.


Paul concluded his doctrinal masterpiece to the Romans with this simple prayer,  “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Romans 16:24).  To me, it states the obvious, that all the right doctrine in the world is worthless without the grace of Jesus Christ in our life. It also tells me that it is possible for Christians to miss out on the grace of Jesus Christ.

Over the next few weeks we will be discovering what I believe is the missing ingredient in most Christians, and thus, most churches. That missing ingredient is “GraceLife”. Too many Christians are trying to live their lives just close enough to Jesus to be “alright”. If we could really understand “GraceLife”, we would see how those ‘followers’ of Jesus are missing out on what Jesus is all about.

This writing will consider the following:

  1. Grace Preconceptions
  2. Experiencing GraceLife
  3. Obstacles to Experiencing GraceLife
  4. Who Can Experience GraceLife?
  5. Who Cannot Experience GraceLife?

Next week we will function as FBI behavioral profilers, building a profile of what “GraceLife” is all about, and how we can become GraceLife Christians and a GraceLife Church.

1.  Grace Preconceptions

Most of us think of an acronym when we consider grace, “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense”. Perhaps you think along the ideas of the Preachers Outline and Study Bible:

Grace; God’s special favor; a special expression of God’s divine presence. Grace (charis) means the undeserved favor and blessings of God[1].

As a result, we associate grace with salvation, as Ephesians 2: 8,9 indicate: “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.”

While these are all great beginnings for understanding “grace”, we need to see the depth of grace in order to understand “GraceLife.”

Let’s lay our preconceptions at the cross. Lay them before the Lord and confess that you do not really understand His grace. Confess that you have been lazy in seeking to know His grace. Ask God to reveal the reality and power of His grace to your hearts. Ask Him to open your eyes to the reality of GraceLife!

2.  Experiencing GraceLife

GraceLife is an Abundant Life because Jesus supplies from His riches.
  • John 10:9-10 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
  • John 1:16 (Phillips) Indeed, every one of us has shared in his riches – there is a grace in our lives because of his grace.
  • John 1:16 (ESV) And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.
GraceLife is a Reigning Life, because Jesus reigns.
  • Romans 5:17 Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
  • Ephesians 2:4 But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ – it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved – and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens.
Paul Paints a Portrait of a troubled church being a GraceLife Church

1 Corinthians 1:4 I am always thankful to God for what the gift of his grace in Jesus Christ has meant to you – how, as the Christian message has become established among you, he has enriched your whole lives, from the words on your lips to the understanding in your hearts. And you have been eager to receive his gifts during this time of waiting for his final appearance. He will keep you steadfast in the faith to the end, so that when his day comes you need fear no condemnation. God is utterly dependable, and it is he who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Phillips)

GraceLife is an Overcoming Life, because Jesus is our Overcomer!
  • John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

So the obvious question is why don’t most Christians “Overcome” and experience an “Abundant Life” of “Reigning with Christ”? Because they fail to clear four obstacles to GraceLife.

3.  Obstacles to Experiencing GraceLife

From George Barna and “Maximum Faith

There are four major OBSTACLES to most Christians experiencing the “Overcoming Life” or as I describe it “GraceLife.”

Obstacle #1: Fear of Commitment
  1. Only 18% of Christians claim to be totally committed to following Jesus Christ.
  2. Only 22% claim to be “completely dependent upon God.”
Obstacle #2: Lack of Godly Repentance
  1. 64% of Christians state they have confessed their sins to God and asked for His forgiveness.
  2. Only 12% state they are serious about abandoning the lure of sin and handing total control of their life to God.
  3. Only 12% admitted that recognizing and grasping the significance of their sins had been so personally devastating that it caused them to crash emotionally.
  4. Only about 3% of Christians in America have come to the place where they have surrendered control of their life to God, submitted to His will for their life, and devoted themselves to loving and serving God and other people.
Obstacle #3: Substituting Activity for Deeper Spirituality

Christians confuse religious activity with spiritual significance and depth.

  1. 39% participate in a combination of three “normal” religious activities in the past week (i.e., attending church services, praying, reading the Bible).
  2. Only 8% engaged in another trio of deeper faith expressions: talked about their faith with a non-Christian, fasted for religious purposes, scriptural meditation or had an extended time of spiritual reflection during the past week.
Obstacle #4: Lack of True Spiritual Community

A majority said they feel comfortable and connected within their church. However, most do not consider their church as a place where they can be open and held to biblical principles.

  1. Only 21% of Christians believe that spiritual maturity requires a vital connection to a community of faith.
  2. Only 35% claim to have confessed their sins verbally to another believer at some point during the past year.
Church life can be an obstacle to GraceLife!

Instead of churches encouraging people to engage in increasing religious activity along the lines of “programs” such as worship, evangelism, discipleship, stewardship, service, and community, we need to focus on our living relationship with the Grace of Jesus Christ.

Emphasize the Need for continuous Life-Changing Relationship with Jesus Christ.

  1. When activities are emphasized, people tend to focus on worldly accomplishments rather than developing the Character of Christ. God does not need us to achieve things on His behalf in order for us to become more acceptable or valuable to Him.
  2. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in finishing church programs or producing specific religious results that we lose sight of the purpose of our faith, which is to have a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
  3. It becomes easy to substitute significant religious activity for an intentional and simple relationship with Jesus Christ.

Recognize that sacrifice and suffering are essential for a Life-Changing Relationship with Jesus Christ.

  1. Believers must realize there is beauty and power in brokenness. Surrender and submission only happen after a struggle with the flesh.
  2. Brokenness is unappealing in a society based upon ego and bravado.
  3. Until such brokenness occurs, though, people’s transformation is hindered.
  4. The Church should raise those people up as champions, positioning such selflessness as victory rather than loss.
  5. If broken individuals are not found in a congregation, then it is time to rethink the disciple-making process relied upon in our church.

Provide the experience of a vital support system in the pursuit of a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

  1. Studies show that most small groups and Sunday Schools produce a combination of knowledge and comfort more than commitment and application.
  2. While knowledge is important, without transparency and accountability, the information rarely gets converted into personal, congregational, or cultural transformation.

4.  Who Can Experience GraceLife?

(FICTIONAL, but based on actual families I know) – Before us is a man and woman in their late 30’s to early 40’s. They look succesful by all the worldly measures. Nice cars, nice house, good jobs. Nice vacations. They both grew up in conservative Baptist churches. They were active in the youth group, even going to youth camp where they both dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ. College happened, with all of the associated drinking and ‘hooking up’. Married in their later 20’s, they never found a church to connect with, going occasionally when a friend would ask. Now after 15 years of marriage, and three children, they are having discipline problems with their teenager. Their tweens are indifferent toward school, and one has gotten in trouble for stealing from another student. All the children nurse hurts from broken promises from parents who put their careers before their children. The wife feels no emotional connection with her husband, and because of past hurts, regards her husband with not so hidden contempt. She no longer respects her husband, and the children reflect that attitude. She barely manages to tolerate him. The husband feels unappreciated and longs for intimacy. He seeks the gratitude of women at work. In fact, he is in an emotional relationship with a grateful co-worker, and has toyed with the idea of taking their relationship to the “next step”.

Here is a family on the brink of disaster. Why? because they are nursing “wounded spirits”. They may have made a profession of faith in Christ, but never really experienced the power of Jesus. If they are Christians, they are defeated soldiers living behind enemy lines.

Is there any hope for this family? Is this the kind of family we want at our church? Would this family feel welcome in our church?

They would if we were a GraceLife church! GraceLife invites people and families with problems. GraceLife invites people who are wounded, hurt and even held captive by darkness and sin. GraceLife churches want broken people! GraceLife wants sinners! GraceLife grows and abounds in the face of hurt and brokenness! GraceLife overcomes impossible circumstances! GraceLife restores defeated soldiers and fallen saints.

Why is it our Responsibility to Reach out to the Wounded?

Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

Because this is the foundation of Christ’s earthly ministry. As he quoted in Luke 4:

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

If Christians are not focusing on the wounded and sick and hurting around us, we will not be on guard when our brothers and sisters are stricken with a wounded spirit.

Just as a wounded spirit can destroy any family, ruin any marriage, lead to an affair, or even result in juvenile delinquency, a wounded spirit can destroy or greatly diminish a Christians’ love for Jesus Christ. A wounded spirit can cause someone to stop going to church. A wounded spirit is infectious, and destruction is in its path. We must constantly be ministering to the wounded spirits around us, whether they are believers or not.

The only solution for a wounded spirit is to embrace “GraceLife”

Q: Why is a wounded spirit destructive to our relationship with Jesus Christ?

A: Grace (Jesus) grows from our spirit! If our spirit is wounded, grace will not be allowed to grow and empower us!

  • Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
  • Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
  • 2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
  • Philemon 1:25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Consider the child Jesus. The Bible says the Grace of God was upon him because he grew strong in spirit! A wounded spirit is weak, and grace is blocked from having any effect!

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

The Grace of Jesus Christ is administered to our spirit, the same spirit that has been regenerated and ‘born again’ by God’s Holy Spirit! Grace isn’t for our brain, it isn’t for our emotions, it isn’t for our muscles, it is for our spirit. It originates there and then desires to flow over our mind, will, emotions and strength. It does not bypass our spirit, for it is from the Holy Spirit of Grace. If we are wounded in our spirit, if we are weak in our spirit, if we are walking in the flesh, we will miss out on the full benefit of the grace of Jesus Christ. Grace is applied to broken and hurting spirits that are given to Jesus in humility, not in pride.

I had one son who really like to test me. He was the one who after I disciplined him corporally, had a tendency to look at me as if he was saying, is that all you got? I had to spend extra time with him until I could sense he was broken over his disobedience. Once I sensed a brokenness, I could wrap my arms around him and tell him I loved him. But until that pride was laid aside, I wasn’t inclined to show him grace. On the other hand, I had a daughter with a soft heart. When she disobeyed, only one spanking was sufficient, sometimes all it took was a stern look.

God pours out His grace upon those who need help with their wounds, not upon those who look at him and say, “is that all you got?”

1 Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

Our walk with Jesus Christ begins clothed in Grace! His grace consumes our spirit, and desires to encompass our life. However, in so many Christians, something happens that wounds our spirit, and grace is thwarted or dwarfed. The grace of God is applied in vain to one with a wounded spirit.

GraceLife can heal the lost, the broken, the wounded, because the Grace of Christ is healing, transformational and empowering. The Grace of Christ brings much more than salvation, it brings LIFE – overcoming life for everyday circumstances!

5.  Who Cannot Experience GraceLife?

Sadly, there is one major obstacle to experiencing GraceLife. As I have already alluded, Grace is for the broken, for the hurting, for those who realize their need before God. Grace is never poured out on the proud, upon those who think they can handle their problems, or who think they are OK, or a ‘good Christian.’ Self-righteousness, pride, false sense of righteousness, contentment with who you are, are all things which will shut your spirit off from the Grace of God. They will keep you from walking in GRACELIFE. Gracelife is not for those who think they are ‘good people’. GraceLife is not for the judgmental, GRACELIFE is not for Christians who can’t get along with other people. GRACELIFE is all inclusive, for it is for the sinful, the hurting, the broken.

One way to tell if you are missing out on GRACELIFE can be found in a little sermon that Jerry Falwell preached. He called the sermon “Feudin’, Fussin’ and Frettin”. He preached it one stormy Sunday morning in 1972. The mood of the nearly 3,000 people that morning was sour. You could smell the pickle juice. Concern was written on every face. Normally the people shouted rousing “AMEN’s” & “Hallelujah’s” when Doug Oldham sang “The King is Coming”, but that morning there was silence. Jerry reflected,  “I didn’t know if it was the weather, Vietnam, or if everyone had a lot of problems, but no one smiled.”

Something was blocking the Grace of God in the church that morning. So Jerry read from Psalm 37:1-9

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither, as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth (Psalm 37:1-9).

He began his sermon by saying:

“Life can be an adventure. Life can be a thrilling experience. Life can be one joy after another—or it can be a total and miserable failure.”

I believe the difference between life being a thrilling experience or a miserable failure is whether you are experiencing “GRACELIFE”

Whether you grow in Grace or Stumble Around in the Flesh is entirely up to you!

Everyone has problems. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has messed up, some of us more than others. Whether you grow or shrink in the face of your circumstances is entirely dependent upon whether or not you allow the Grace of God to abound in your life. Whether you grow in Grace or Stumble Around in the Flesh is entirely up to you! The Grace is there for all Christians, yet our decision and attitude determines whether it has any power in our life. (We will see this more fully when we build our profile).

We don’t like problems. In fact, we try to hide them, or pass them off as no big deal. Christians think problems are a sign of sin or weakness, but really, they are an opportunity for God’s Grace.

Christian,  admit your, admit your weaknesses, admit your failings, and turn to God’s Grace. The problems are not the problem, our attitude toward our problems is!

God’s grace can never flow to the proud, arrogant and self-sufficient. God’s grace abounds for the humble, the weak, those that face heartbreak, disappointment and overwhelming burdens. Pressure and trials can be God’s design to keep us depending upon Him.

Too many Christians are guilty of what David called ‘fretting.’

What does it mean to fret?

The dictionary defines the word fret as “To give oneself up to feelings of irritation. Resentful discontent. Regret. Worry.” That pretty well describes many of God’s children, but it ought not to be so.

How to know you have given up to irritation.

We usually disguise our feelings with cute phrases (justifications).

  •  “I got up on the wrong side of the bed.” That means we got up full of the devil, but we say we got up on the wrong side of the bed.
  • “I’m in a bad mood today.” That means the devil has gotten control of our lives and our attitudes.
  • “Things are going bad; nobody has it as bad as I do.” That’s simply saying that instead of being on top of my circumstances, I’m under them.

We are not supposed to be under the circumstances, but on top of them. We are not holding on for dear life, we are reigning with Christ! This is what James 1:2 means when he says to “COUNT”

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

COUNT = hēgéomai: To be a leader, chief [2] We can ‘COUNT” it all joy becasue we are in the King, the Lord, the Leader! We can reign over our circumstances, because He reigns!

When things get tough so many people resort to fretting, fuming, and fussing, and they become typical Baptists. Most Baptists fuss when they shouldn’t. When you fuss and fret over your circumstances, you fail to see the abundance of God’s grace and your Christian walk becomes a flop. The adventure is gone. You are stuck in the mire of circumstance.

Why do Christians fret?

David tells us to quit fretting. Bad attitudes can keep you from enjoying life. They cut us off from God’s Grace. Your irritation can keep the people around you from enjoying life. No one likes to be around a sourpuss all the time. No one likes to be around a person who is always complaining—“nothing is ever right, everything is always wrong.”

Fretting is contagious. Negative attitudes attract positive attitudes and the negativity prevails. We become critical and judgmental in our attitudes. We don’t have to say anything, our expression says it all.

What causes a Christian to fret?
1. When you are determined to get your own way, and something goes wrong.

Christians can get so full of their self, that if we don’t get our way, no one will! Sometimes you’ll even hear “If I don’t get what I want, then I’m not going to do anything.” Ever hear “I’m my own boss, nobody’s going to make me do anything. I’ll do exactly as I please”?

When you start talking like that, the Lord is just about ready to cut you down. The very thing you say you will not do or the very thing you say you will do generally works in reverse, because God wants that old will broken and submissive to His will.

When you find a Christian fretting, you can mark it down, his plans are going wrong. He made some plans, he drew out a little blueprint of what he was going to do—and it did not work that way.

The world tells us to set goals, to “plan your work and work your plan”. But if you think that is the way God works, you don’t know God very well. When our plans come before God’s plans, we can expect problems.

Christian life is not plotting and scheming. It’s not “how to make a million before the age of 30.” The Christian life is surrendering and submitting. If you will learn the secret of surrender, as opposed to the futility of scheming, it will save you a lot of ulcers. It will keep you from being a sourpuss, a Christian weaned on a pickle. Surrendering to Christ will prevent you from being guilty of fretting, fuming, and fussing. When you think you have got to have your way, you are proving how immature you are. You can never experience GraceLife without surrendering and submitting.

  • No one plans to go to the hospital, and yet a lot of good people do.
  • No one plans to lose a loved one, and yet loved ones die.
  • No one plans to have an automobile accident, a financial reverse, or a disappointment.
  • No one plans to have some disastrous tragedy happen in his family.
  • No one plans those things, but they happen.

The Christian who would learn victory over fretting must learn the secret of God’s promise, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). When you surrender to God, you discover the power of Phil 2:13

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

We have no right to impose our desires on God’s will. God knows best. Some of you have a had a real rough week. Everything has gone against you. You think the world is sitting on your shoulders. You think nobody loves you. That is not true.

God loves you and a lot of Christians would love you if you gave them a chance. But, your problem is that you want your own way and God wants another way. So you are being like Elijah the Prophet, sitting under the juniper tree and pouting. Pout is another good Baptist word. Self centered Baptists are good at pouting. But pouting Baptists cannot experience GraceLife.

God has got to knock that pouting out of you before you can amount to something. When you pout, you cut yourself off from God’s Grace!

I’ve seen a lot of pouting Christians over the last 40 years. I’ve seen pouting wives, pouting husbands, and even pouting preachers. When someone gets to pouting because of their pride, because they didn’t get what they want, it’s hard to get them to stop pouting and look to the Lord. I think it is almost easier to get a drunk converted. You can easier get a drug addict off dope than you can get a pouter to stop pouting, because he enjoys it.

That is part of pride. That is the old selfish nature coming through. “I’m going to have my way. I’m going to do what I please, and if I can’t, I’m not going to do anything.” So we determine to have our way and as a result we fret.

2. When you life your live without God in view.

We make our plans and then we get on our knees and we say, “Lord, I want you to bless my plans.” God has to be taken into view. The Holy Spirit has to be a partner in your plans. God has to do the programming and computing. God has to give the direction. And if He does, you can be sure He will bless your work. God is not going to bless when you make the plan, you plot the course, you chart the way, and then invite Him in as an afterthought. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). But first seek God, seek His wisdom, seek His way, seek His purpose. Making plans without God in view will make us fret.

GraceLife is a Life TOTALLY dependent upon God and His leadership. I wonder how many of you have made some plans in the past week. You have plotted a course, you have made some decisions, but you have never prayed. You have never sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Too often we think the leadership of the Holy Spirit and God’s thoughts are only involved in a local church or soul-winning ministry. We have a false way of dividing the sacred and the secular.

We say, “Now, when it comes to my church work, I pray and I seek the face of God for teaching my class, but when it comes to running my business or working my job, I know what I’m doing.” You cannot be successful that way. God Almighty must be invited into your business, your home, your health, the raising of your family, your trips, your pleasure, your hunting, and your fishing. God Almighty must be invited into every area of your life or you need not expect the Grace of God to be actively at work in your life. God will not be relegated to a corner or a part of your activity. He is going to be Lord of all or He is not going to be Lord at all. GraceLife will bring us to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We fret because we leave God out of our schemes and plans. Faith is living without scheming. If you invite God into the picture, you will not have to scheme. You will not have to throw a fit afterward,  because if your plans do not go through, you were out of His plan and He had a purpose in the failure. When your plans are His plans, you don’t get frustrated if things fall into pieces. Then, the only time you will get frustrated and have your fits is when God had nothing to do with the plans and you failed, because your pride got hurt.

David says: Fret Not, fret not, fret not. Three times he said fret not.

Do you want to Experience GRACELIFE? Then you need to lay your frets at the altar. You need to admit what a sinner you are. You need to admit your are hurting. You need to admit you are wounded. You need to humble all that you are before God, and surrender everything you want, even this church, to Him. Then you need to say God, I submit my will and my wants to you and your will and your wants. Then follow Psalms 37:3-8

  1. Trust  (Be Confident) in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
  2. Delight (be willing to bend) thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
  3. Commit (Roll upon Him) thy way unto the LORD; trust (Continue to be confident) also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
  4. Rest (be silent, motionless) in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:
  5. Cease (stop, desist) from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

What kind of life do you want? Do you want to stumble along, fretting over your circumstances, rolling along out of control? Do you want to be confident in God’s control, in the Healing power of Jesus Christ? Roll your cares, roll your concerns, roll your life upon Him. Let His Grace fill your life!

To open the flood gates of God’s Grace upon your life, you must be willing to surrender and submit to God’s Word and God’s Will. You must be willing to wait upon Him. You must be willing to let Jesus Christ be Lord of all you are, all that you think, say and do.


[1] The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – Romans, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “E. Law: The Wrong Way for a Man to be Justified, 4:13-16”.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 707.