I was running my broken heart. You could when you show me all of my life in every step, every breath, like it's the first time you go to run away, leaving me there machine leaving me, finding my pain in a better way. good morning, refuge family, my name's Tina. And on behalf of our team, we are so thankful. You're joining us for refuge church online, wherever you're joining us from today, we're honored to get to spend it with you. I also want to give a special welcome to those of you joining us for the very first time before service begins. We want to give you a few helpful tips for our time together. Make sure you grab your Bible so you can follow along with the scriptures and the message. If you don't have a Bible, don't worry, the verses will be available on your screen. Also, please engage in the live comments. We would love to connect with you, to pray with you and to care for you. If you're joining us for the very first time, please fill out our digital connect card so we can get to know you better. We love you, and we hope you enjoy today's service. Good morning church. It's great to see you. I'm pastor mark. I'm going to be filling in for pastor Jason, as he takes a little time off or for the next few weeks. You know what? I'm so excited about this sermon series that we're going to talk about today. I like to call it amazing grace, you know, as something you're going to struggle with your entire life is the idea of God's grace. And, and what is it that we're not the first ones to struggle with this? You know that during the forties and fifties, there was a, a British conference of religious leaders that came together and they were trying to find out what was unique to Christianity. What were the unique things going on, uh, that made Christians different than other world religions? Uh, it couldn't be incarnation. I, because other religions, uh, had different versions of God appearing to be human. It couldn't be resurrection because other religions has, uh, accounts of people returning from the death. The debate went on for some time. And, and then the, the famous Christian CS Lewis wandered into the room and he said, what's everyone arguing about? And he asked and he, they told him that they were trying to find what makes Christianity unique. And he said, oh, that's easy. It's grace. And that's what we're going to look at over these next few weeks is we're going to look at grace and what God's grace means, you know, Buddhist and Hindu and Jewish, uh, covenants and Muslim codes of law. They all offer different ways to earn the approval of God, but only Christianity makes God's love unconditional. And that's the beauty of amazing grace. And so today in our first week of this, we're gonna look at the amazing grace of God. Then you know what? It's a scandalous grace. And I want you to understand that when I talk about it some more, because over the next few weeks, you're going to struggle with the idea of grace and the grace of God. Even as a pastor and a Christian myself, I struggle with how amazing God's grace is. It's not just a song, but the song is such a sweet him. That reminds us of God's amazing grace. You know, you're going to wrestle with the idea of what is grace for the rest of your life. Because in one corner of the ring, you have this idea of, of God's unconditional love. And then on the opposite end of this unconditional Graceville, love you have religion. And what you have to remember is that Jesus came to the world to stomp out religion. See, you got to remember, religion says, if, while grey says, no matter what religion says, if you behave better, if you stop sinning, if you give more, if, if, if, if then God will love you more. But grace says, no matter what you have ever done, or what you ever will do, God loves you. And that's why you're going to struggle with it because it doesn't make sense. And that's the beauty of God's scandalous grace, the famous writer, a w Tozer said this, what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important about us comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about that. You right now think about that. What pops into your mind? So let me ask you the question. Then. When I say the word, God, what do you think of? Is it some, uh, cosmic killjoy sitting up there on a cloud with a lightning bolt, a Zeus figure and a button, and his whole job is to zap you and you do wrong. Or do you think of God is a genie in the bottle. You rub the bottle and you get three wishes and you only go to God when you need to give a wish, or do you think of God like Santa Claus? When you need something, you make a list. And he tries to find out if you've been naughty or nice, because in many of us, that's how we think of God. He's this figure that zaps us a genie in the bottle or Santa Claus figure. But what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us, not about the world. What if I told you today that God, you know, he's not a disciplinarian in the sky. What if I told you he's not a genie in the bottle, that's going to great. Your wishes. That you're good. What if I told you, he's not like Santa Claus, he doesn't keep a list of the naughty or the nice, that's not God. What if I told you that God was, I love sick father, a father that loves you so much, that he is sick, waiting on you to come home to him today. That's what God is. And that's, God's amazing. Grace. We're going to look at a parable from Luke 15. Now, if you think of the word parable, the word parable is a story that has a meaning, uh, in the word, parable actually means to cast alongside a parable as a story, uh, that has a heavenly meaning. And Jesus taught with these parables. And he taught about amazing grace. And he told us in a parable, what type of God? God really was see the Pharisees. The religious leaders thought Jesus's behavior was scandalous. And they spent their lives trying to corner Jesus. Jesus was welcoming outcast. He was welcoming sinners. He was openly talking to people that, you know, didn't live very clean lives. People that had disease, people that had, uh, Santa gets the law people that lived a scandalous lives, but yet Jesus, God on earth was welcoming these people because he's a scandalous God. And he has a scandalous grace. He was even taking time out of his life to eat with these people. It's not like he was only looking for those with the best suit on to come in or, or those that had money. He wasn't searching those out. He was searching out the least of these. He was searching out the men and the women that were outcast that nobody loved because they weren't enough, but that's who Jesus was there for. And when he found them, it was through his scandalous grace that these people were saved. And today I think there's a lot of you that are struggling with the idea of grace, because you're like, how can God love me? Because you know the things I've done the way I live, the lifestyle I choose to live. And here's the thing. God's not that Santa Claus. He is that love sick father wanting you to come home because it's that kind of scandalous grace, that he loves you so much, that you need to understand what it is in Luke 15. Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son. Now the prodigal son, the word prodigal means wasteful, or it means lack of restraint. Listen, I have teenagers. I get the idea of the prodigal son. I understand wasteful. I understand lack of restraint, but it's just teenagers as adults. Many of us live lives that are wasteful. You know, the lack of a strength, the lack of self-control and it can be little things. Trust me if there's a pack of peanut butter, M and M's. If the aisle, when I'm checking out, I'm getting the shareable size and eating the whole thing on the way home, because I don't have self-control sometimes, but it's not just that because there are some people out there right now that have bigger problems. They have bigger scandals going on in their life and they think God can't love them. But what we really find out is that in this story is more about a loving father than a wasteful son. If you have your Bibles, open them with me to Luke 15 or the verses will be on the screen. Luke 15, starting in verse 11, Jesus said to illustrate the point further told them this story. A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, I want my share of your estate. Now, before you die. So his father agreed to defied his wealth between his sons. A few days later, this younger son packed up all his belongings and moved to a distant land. And there he wasted all his money in wild living about the time his money ran out a great famine, swept over the land. And he began to star. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him. And the man sent him into the fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods, he was feeding, the pigs looked good to him, but no one gave him anything. Say, according to Jewish law, what was going on here? The elder son received twice as much of an inheritance as the rest of the sons would under Jewish law. And it would be, it could be distributed while the father was still alive. And that's what happened here. The younger son said, whoa, buddy, I want my share. Now pops. There's some things I want to do. There's traveling. I want to be done. There's wild things. There's parties, there's women. There's things that I need that money for. And his father went ahead and gave him his share of the money. It was perfectly legal for the young or son to ask for his share under Jewish law, right? Asking for his inheritance early was it was equivalent. I want though to asking the father a statement like, I don't know need you anymore. Now. That's not illegal, but it is hurtful. It's very hurtful. It's like saying that I wish you were dead. Just give me my money. And under Jewish law, he had to give him his money. Now, as a, as a parent, your children are probably said, things that hurt you. Maybe I haven't heard from your child before. I wish you weren't my mom or dad. I wish you weren't child. You may have said those things because sometimes we just say those things to hurt because hurt people, hurt people. And we understand that we don't have to physically go to a distant land or a far country, a longing to go own. Our own is normal to make our own decisions, to be control of our own life. See this younger son valued possessions more than he valued people. He valued pleasure more than loyalty and distant lands. More than the blessings of home. He thought the grass was going to be greener on the other side. And he thought he knew he could do it. Trust me. I live with a teenager that knows how everything she knows so much more than me in that amazing, right? Every parent is laughing now at that idea because you did it to see sin promises, freedom, but only brings slavery. You ever thought about that? Sin feels good because right. If they didn't feel good, we wouldn't do it. But yet the devil knows how to tempt you. Like the prodigal son was in Jesus' story. He was tempted. He was tempted, but then he became a slave to his sin. And then he squandered his well, everything was gone. It was all gone on what the Bible said was wild. Living. Its resources ran out. He didn't have any money, no money, no food, no friends, no family. I mean, that's so true. When people have money, they have friends. But when the money goes away, you find yourself on an island all alone. See, he was forced to be a stranger in his own land. He was forced to go to people he didn't know and asked for work. He was forced to beg get this. A Jewish man was forced to take care of pigs. An animal that a Jew would have deemed as unclean or filthy nasty. But yet he was that low in his life. He had squandered everything that he had, that he was having to eat. What the pigs left behind and deal with these unclean animals. Can you imagine that Jewish boy being forced to feed pigs? He was feeding animals that he couldn't even eat because they were so unclean. Did he even became jealous of the pigs food? He squandered everything on wild living going on in verse 17. When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself at home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare. And here I am dying of hunger. I will go home to my father and say, father, I have sinned against both heaven. And you and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant. I love that line right there. The Bible says when he finally came to his census, I've been there church. I understand what it's like to live in the world. And I also understand what it's like to wake up and come to my senses. You know, even yeah. As a pastor, you think, oh pastors, you know, they, they don't have those kinds of problems. I understand what it means to be hurt by church. I want you to know that there is a time I didn't walk into a church for three, three years. Why? Because I was hurt. And right now are there some of you sitting right there that are hurt and you're angry and you don't know why, and you don't know where to turn to. And there's all these things going on. But when he finally come to your senses, just like the prodigal son, he knew, he knew that he had to repent. Repent means to change when it's mine or to turn around or to do a 180. He had to repent of his wild ways. He knew those ways. He wasn't raised that way. He confessed. He was a center. And did you notice that he had confessed? He had sinned against both his father and heaven. He didn't honor think about those 10 commandments honor. The mother and father. How simple of one, that is a Jewish boy would have known that. And yet he had not kept that one. He had taken his wealth early and basically told his father, I don't need you. Jesus tells the story. He says, the boy came to his senses and he was going to go home back to his home from the freedom of a distant land, because it was better to be a servant under his father than to live in the squander of a life that he was living in. He was going to go home and beg his dad. Dad, listen, I know, I know you don't want to take me back as a son, but, but dad did just make me a servant. Just let me work for you. Luke 15, 20 says this Jesus said, so he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming field with love and compassion. He ran to his son, embracing him and kissed him. His son said to him, father, I have sinned against both heaven and you and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. But his father said to the servants quickly bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. Kill the calf. We have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast for this son of mine was dead and has now returned alive. He was lost, but he's now found, so the party began. I love that image. The sun's coming back and he expects dad to be mad, but the dad's been looking out the window. Can you imagine that they probably didn't have blinds back then, but that's the way I see it. I see this, this dad looking out the blinds every day, just to see if he sees his son. Cause he loves him that much, that same son that said, I wish you were dead. Dad. I wish you didn't exist anymore. But yet when he saw wind coming down, he ran to him and said, it's not customary for a Jewish man to run that's disgraceful. But he needed his son so bad that he took off running for his son and he grabbed him and he hugged him and he loved him. And his son started to talk and he went sh son, I love you. None of that matters. You're home, less party. Give him a ring, give him a robe, get the calf ready. We're going to eat. Now. Here's where Jesus really answered the accusations of the Pharisees. That those accusations that they had because the father not only ran to the sign, but he honored the sign. See that. It's what we have to think about. The father didn't even let the son finish his request to be the servant. The father cut him off. See the older man shouldn't have ran, but the father ran to his son. And you know, I think about that idea of that much love that he had. He had been disgraced. His son had been wasteful in everything because Deuteronomy 21 says that he should have been stoned to death for how he treated his father in the neighbors had started to stone. His son, I think the father should have hit him. First would have been what the Pharisee said. The Pharisee said they should stone that son, but somebody shout. You know why? Because the dad said you not going to lay a finger on my son because I love him. That's amazing grace. And that's what Jesus was teaching the Pharisee. Yeah, the Pharisee, the religious leader said, oh, that boy should have been stoned for the way he abused his father. But yet our gut, our God has a scandalous. Grace. Our God has a way of loving us so much and giving us something we don't even deserve. Look, the ring and the sandals were a sign of son, ship sons. Didn't uh, servants, excuse me. Didn't wear that servants. Didn't get sandals. Servants. Didn't get ring sons got those. He wasn't going to be a servant. He was going to be a son. The finest robe was the proof of acceptance. And the feast, uh, from the father was the way of sharing the joy. We are not saved by. God's love. We are saved by God's grace. God loves us. You have done things wrong in your life. You've been wasteful. You've squandered things, but God's grace is enough. And it's a scandalous grace because the Pharisees were like, no, Jesus, that's not the way it should be. And that's why he told that story to the Pharisee. He said, that's the grace of God. That's the best explanation of the scandalous. Grace of God, you sing that song. Amazing grace. And I know it's in your head right now and I'm not going to hurt you by me trying to sing it. But think about that. I once was lost, but now I'm found God's amazing grace, because that's what it is. God loved the whole world and everyone in it. But the whole world isn't saved. We are saved by God. God's grace. Grace is love that pays a price. Grace is generous. Your grace is forgiving. Grace is scandalous, but that's God's grace. Consider what that father said to the son. The father said this son of mine was dead and has now returned alive. He was lost. But now he is found when you accept Jesus, this is our spiritual experience of the prodigal son and the father coming to you and putting your arms rounded. Do you deserve God's grace? No. What do you deserve in this world? Nothing but yet God pours his grace out upon you because he loved you. First. God's grace is scandalous while the world rots right shoe off, and the world defines you by the worst thing that you've ever done, the world defines you by your sins. The world defines you by your addictions. The world defines you by your problems, the world, the funds you by what? By everything that you're not, God defines you by his grace. Grace is, God's saying you're a mess, but your mind that's why God's grace is scandalous. The only thing that disqualifies you from ever receiving grace is thinking you can't have it. That's the only thing that'll disqualify you is yourself. If you say there is no way I can be good enough. You're right. There is no way you can be good enough, but there's no way mark can be good enough. I want to tell you that God's grace is enough. The only requirement is that you're willing to receive it. You say, but mark, you don't understand what I've done. God's God's not a police officer. God's not the sin police. He's a love sick father that wants you to come home. He's staring out the window. He's looking for you. The things people are saying about you and the things you're saying about yourself, they may be true. They absolutely may, but God doesn't care. Amen. God doesn't care about what people say about you or about what you say about you. I promise you that God's grace is amazing because when we least deserve it, God pours it out upon us. When I'm at my worst, God pours his grace out upon me. And he loves me. You may be asking yourself, how do I receive God's scandalous, grace, how do I come home? How am I the prodigal son? When my life is so messed up, let's go back to verse 17. Luke 15, 17 through 19 says when he finally came to his senses, he said to himself at home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare. And I am dying of hunger. I will go home to my father and say, father, I have sinned against both heaven in you and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant, three ways that you have to do so you have to receive God's grace. Number one, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to come to your senses. Just like Jesus told him that parable come to your senses. Number two, you have to be honest with others and yourself about coming to your senses. Just luck in the story. When Jesus said, father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, the words of the prodigal son tell people you're wrong sometimes. And then the most important thing is to be honest with God, he said in Luke 19, please take me on as a hired servant. Just be honest with God and say, God, I'm a mess can need you now more than ever. I can't fix this. The more I tried gets worse. That's God's scandalous amazing. Grace, will you pray with me? Dear Lord, heavenly father. You're here with us today. As we worship you guide and God there's people out here watching and listening God that are thinking, man, I'm not good enough. I know I'm not good enough, but God just opened their eyes and their hearts so that they know God that they'll never be good enough, but it's your scandalous. Grace of us coming home that have lived squandering lives and I've messed up again. And again and again, but you're waiting on us, just like the father was looking out the window. God, God, there's people right now that are crying out to you. That that need you. God listened to their prayers. Listen to people. As they cry out friends. I want you to keep praying. And if that's you today and you need Jesus, I want you to close your eyes right now. And I want you to pray a prayer. Something like this to God, God heavenly father save me. God. I admit that I'm wrong. I Mitt that I I'm. I'm lost. God, God, I confess you as Lord of my life. And I believe you are Lord. And I believe your son died for me. Save me. God, cover me with your amazing grace. It's in your name. I pray. Amen church. I've enjoyed spending the morning with you. I'm excited to talk about amazing grace and how there's so many things that it does for us over the next few weeks. If you gave your life to Christ today, reach out to and message us to the numbers and the connections on screen. Let us know that you got saved. We want to give you some resources so you can get closer to God. I love your church. Now go and be the church.
Good Morning, refuge family, my name's Tina. And on behalf of our team, we are so thankful. You're joining us for refuge church online, wherever you're joining us from today, we're honored to get to spend it with you. I also want to give a special welcome to those of you joining us for the very first time before service begins. We want to give you a few helpful tips for our time together. Make sure you grab your Bible so you can follow along with the scriptures and the message. If you don't have a Bible, don't worry. The verses will be available on your screen. Also, please engage in the live comments. We would love to connect with you, to pray with you and to care for you. If you're joining us for the very first time, please fill out our digital connect card so we can get to know you better. We love you and we hope you enjoy today's service. good morning church. It's great to be back with you today. Online again, I'm pastor mark. I'm going to be with you this month. Pastor Jason takes a sabbatical, but we started a new sermon series last week called amazing grace. Now, most everybody knows that song. You grew up on that song, right? It's a church song. You opened that him to page 30, three of that hidden on you had ripped that church song out. But what is amazing grace, you know, last week we talked about amazing grace and we found out that it's scandalous grace. You know, Jesus was asked by the Pharisees, you know what should happen? You know, when, when people don't honor their parents and he told the story of the prodigal son, and even though that, that boy was undeserving, he says the had accepted him. We saw that God's not some cosmic killjoy sitting on the throne up there. God is a father looking out the window, looking for his lost sheep to come home. Jesus tells us that over and over. But today I want you to say a word for me. I want two words. Actually. I want you to say search me right now. Just say it out loud. Search me God. Now let's think about that. Search me. Wait a second. Today. We're going to talk about an invitation for God to search our lives. You want to understand amazing grace? Well, it's one thing to know that you can get it, but it's also the next thing to ask God, to search your life. Everybody knows what to do when you don't know something, you go to Google, you Google that stuff, right? How many times have you been to Google this morning? Your model went to Google to find the church online. If you're watching us online this morning, it's pretty funny. When you look at what people search everyday on Google and Google publishes that and they publish it by state. And it's quite funny to look at the, did you know that Google handles more than 1 billion, 1 billion that's with a B searches every day. Now that's a ton of videos. That's a ton of recipes. That's a ton of all kinds of things. Trust me. I can Google how to fix my car all the time. I'm a YouTube specialist. When it comes to how to fix my car, I'm not a mechanic by any means of the imagination, but you do can help you a lot. And Google gets me there. That's a ton of searches, but today is about searching our selves and about searching our laws. And you want to know why it's called amazing grace. Well, I'm going to get you to challenge yourself, to ask God to search you. That's not an original thought. It's not like pastor Martin just came up with the idea of search me O God, because we're actually stealing it from king David King. David actually brought this up in the 130 ninth song. Someone 39, 23, 24, David writes search me O God and know my heart. Test me know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life. See king, David started off that search me, God, search me. Oh Lord. See, last week we started talking about Christianity and we told the story about, you know, the people getting together to try to figure out what made Christianity different than other religions. Grace is what makes Christianity different. Grace. Grace makes Christianity unique. It makes it unique from any other religious system or religious belief out there. Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish covenant, the Muslim code of law. All of these offer a way to earn approval, but only Christianity makes God's love. Unconditional. God's amazing. Grace is unconditional. It's hard for us to accept that as Christians, we have a hard time because we've been trained to believe that it's God God's love for us is conditional. We've been trained to believe that if we misbehave or we sin, God punishes us. It doesn't work that way. It doesn't work. Oh man, I seen last night. That's why I have a flat tire today. God doesn't work that way. That's not how God operates. It's the religious part in all of us that believes if we clean up our act, we give more money. If we come to church more than God will love us and God will bless us more, but that's not true. That's not true at all. Like we said, last week, that's religion. That's not Jesus. And Jesus came to this world to stamp out religion. Religion says if, but God says, no matter what, no matter what you do or have done, I am madly deeply in love with you. And that's where we left off. That's what we talked about last week with a scan. Grace. God's love. Love for us. Go so deep that no matter what you do, no matter what you've done, it doesn't matter. Mark. And you can say mark, if God loved me, no matter what then why does it matter? What I do? I have people ask me that all the time. Well, I mean, if is this a free ticket to do whatever won't people ask that, right? Christians. It's like, we can ordain our sins. Like we can justify our sins because oh God will forgive us. Oh God, forgive us. It's a bank of forgiveness. You just go back. Oh, I'll just withdraw some forgiveness. And that's what people think. Has anybody ever wondered that? What does it matter? What we do if God's going to love us, no matter what if God's love is unconditional then does that mean I can do whatever I want and he'll forgive me for, you know what? Yes. God loves you that much. That's why it's a scandalous. Grace. Let's unpack that because you need to be so madly and deeply in love with God that that hurts. But that's the truth. And it's hard for us to understand. Sometimes learning that God's grace has no strings attached is it causes us to, as Christians to have a heartbeat to skip it or to stand up when you mean there's no strings attached to God's grace, God will forgive us. Right? Let me go ahead and answer that question right now once. And for all, yes, he's a good, good father. And God will forgive you. God absolutely will. Isn't that what we all do to some degree, we're all hardwired to Psalm level, to test what God will do and forgive us for. We all will push the limits even in the dark recesses of our mind. When we think that no one else knows, God knows, but we convince ourself. Well, I'll just ask for forgiveness. I'll just ask for forgiveness. God will give it to me. Luckily, this is addressed in the Bible and Paul talks about this and we come across this exact question in Romans chapter five and six. And we're going to read from there today. And we're going to end up back over in Psalm 1 39. And we're going to look at what king David said when he said, search me and search my motives. Let's start in Romans chapter five, verse 20 and 21 God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people send more and more God's wonderful. Grace became more abundant. So just as sin rolled over all people and brought them to death. Now God's wonderful. Grace rolls in stead giving us right, standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So this is the amazing grace we've been talking about right here. Paul says sin just kept growing and growing and growing. But so did God's grace, the more that church would see it and the more grace would be handed out. You can't out sin grace. So stop trying. You absolutely cannot outstand the grace of guy. You're saying, pastor, you're telling me I can live. Like I won't not at all. That's not at all what I said, but I said, God has enough grace to out grace, your sins. That's a hundred percent true. Grace is always available to us. So then Paul asked the big question right here. Let's keep going. Uh, Romans six, chapter six, verse one. Well then should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not. Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? See Paul saw it going on in the church. Even the early Roman church, the church, it was growing. People were like, well, if God's just going to forgive me, can I just live? Like I want, can I live like, hell, well you can because you can't out grace, God. But what Paul said right there is we should die to our sins. We should hate seeing so much that it repels us. It nauseates us. It makes us sick. Paul's pretty straightforward. Paul said, don't keep singing just because there is grace. Yes, there is grace, but you're abusing. God's grace. You're taking advantage of God's grace. God will forgive you. God loves you, but your head's not own. Right? You're thinking about it wrong. It's exactly the opposite. God's grace pulls us out of a life of sin. You should not want to be in that scene anymore. It should repel. You look what he said in verse two, since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in our sin right now? You're thinking about some, some sinful things that you may be struggling with. Remember we started with search me O God, are you really ready to ask that question of God? Are you really ready to pray that prayer, God search me God, point out where I'm wrong and help me fix it because God, I hate sin as much as you hate sin. And I wanted out of my life, God helped me to stop using grace as my crutch to sin. That's not the excuse. That's not right. Stop living that way. I want you to think of it this way. Now maybe as we read those words, you say, wait a minute, mark. Whoa, whoa, Tom out. I've accepted. God's grace. I'm trying to live for God. The best I can. But I wouldn't say that I have died to sin. Oh, pastor mark. Wait, wait. I don't think I've used those words that Paul used died to my sin. In other words, seeing is still a very real and active part of my life. I don't think I've died to it. I know exactly what you mean and trust me. So does every Christian who has ever lived. We like to look at that verse Dodd and my sin. And we like to justify and say, well, I hide my sin. I, you don't know about my sin only. God knows. And here's, here's the thing that God does know. God knows every dark sin and every recess corner that you experience, but he still loves you because that's the amazing grace of God. That's how good God is. It's not an excuse to sin. Paul said, you have to die to that sin. Paul's not saying here that you received God's grace and all of a sudden sin left your life and you'll never give into temptation again. Whoa, that's wrong? Because the devil is the perfect fishermen and he knows how to fish for you. He knows how to tempt you. When Paul means, when he says you've died to sin is that sin is no longer the boss. You have a way to turn from sin. It may be an annoying friend and you an annoying friend. I know we all have that annoying friend, but sin is not the boss of you anymore. See, it's just that annoying friend that shows up every once in a while and gives you a hard time before grace. When sin said jump, you would say how high, but once you receive the amazing grace of God and you make God your Lord and savior, when sin says, let's go, you should have the ability to say, no, I don't want to go with you anymore. Sin, w w we're breaking up this. That's not what I want. Now. Here's the thing. Sometimes you'll give in and sometimes you'll still fall in. And when you do, you stand up and you dust your knees off and say, no, God, I'm sorry. God, forgive me. God helped me not to give into temptation. So you were powerless against sin. You really as that, but when you accepted Jesus and Jesus's death on that cross, you gained all the power you needed to overcome. Sin. The power of sin was broken at the moment that you were saved. It's not gone for good. It's not in charge anymore. Is the important part of sin. Sin will never be gone for good, but it can't be in charge of your life. Your life belongs to God. And that's what you have to look at. It is skip ahead to verse 12, Paul's going to break it down for some even more in verse 12, he says, do not let sin control the way you live. Do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your bar. Body become an instrument of evil to serve sin and stay at, give yourselves completely to God for you, word dead. And now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master for you no longer live under the requirements of the law and stay at you. Live under the freedom of, of God's grace. There's that word again? You're not under the law, but you're under the freedom of God's grace. In verse two, Paul said, sin is dead. Don't live in it. The more you live in dead squandering life, the harder your life becomes and the more distance you feel from God. But here's the thing you feel distant, but God is there. God's completely there. According to Paul, you have two options. Your first option is you can live in your sin or your second option is you can give yourself completely to guide. Those are the two options that you have today, right now, with your struggles, with your temptations, with your desires, with the things you're living in. You want that scandalous, grace, you either live in your sin or you accept God's grace. That's what Paul tells you to do. Look at the end of verse 13, we were dead, but now we have new life. As someone who has received, God's amazing. Grace do what is right for the glory of God. At this point, this is huge. Listen to me for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead you live under the freedom. You're free. The chains are broken. Okay? Mark. That's a lot of scripture. That's a lot of stuff going on there, but what does it mean? What is the freedom of grace and the requirements of law singlets? And there's actually college classes about this. There's whole seminaries about the requirements of law. And I'm about to give you a five minute rundown of this. So buckle and hold on. The requirement of law was the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of rules. God gave the Israelites, the Israelite people in the old Testament, it started with Moses on the mountain, right, coming down with, with those first 10. But then the laws grew over the years and it became hundreds of hundreds. And, and that's how people lived. And they lived under the requirements of the law and they had to follow areas. Every one of them, and inevitably you were going to mess up. There was no way to live under this law. Every time a rule was broken, sacrifice had to be made in retribution for that sin, for that breaking of that law. But when Jesus came and Jesus died on the cross, the requirements of the law went away. The requirements of the law were no more. In other words, your moral behavior is not what decides whether not or not. You are saved just because you're good. Doesn't mean you're saved. I was a good kid growing up, but I could bust a fiery hell open. And if I didn't give my life to Jesus Christ, you might be sitting there and say, well, well, pastor mark, I hear you talking about all of these sins that people have. Well, I think I'm doing pretty good. Hey, that's great buddy. But listen, doesn't matter how good you are because good, right? What you deserve hail because the grace of God is the only thing that gives us a terminal life in heaven. Your moral behavior is not the determining factor of whether you're a Christian or not. That doesn't matter. You might be raised, right? And you might use your manners. But if you don't have God as your personal savior, your Lord, the determining factor that gets you into heaven is grace. And that's the amazing grace of God. It's not the law anymore. It was the grace given to us. When Jesus died on that cross, we didn't deserve it. You live in the freedom of grace. Get rid of religious baggage, get rid of, because we've always done it that way and follow Jesus. You are free. You don't, you don't care what your pastor said. Growing up. I could care less what he said. I don't care what your parents told you. Your actions don't ever unsave. You. God loves you no matter what, but you have to choose to die to your sin. Drinking a beer is not going to send you to Hale cursing. Doesn't see fooling around with your girlfriend. It doesn't send you to hell, whatever else you added to my list over the years does not send you to Hale. Do you want to know what sends you to hell? What sends you to hail is not believing in Jesus period. Paul's because that's it not believing in Jesus, not receiving his amazing grace. You can make the list of the things you've done. The wrongs, you've done the affairs, you've done the drugs. You've done the problems you've had. The falls you've made over the years. The people you've stolen from that. Doesn't seem to you to hail, not receiving the grace of God does not believing in Jesus. You would think God who would have been smarter about that whole thing, right? That whole grace thing beforehand, letting everyone know upfront that you can do what you want. Maybe you're thinking that right now, you made me well. God. Why? Why did you do it that way? People say mark, when people find this out, they're going to totally take advantage of it. Yup. Welcome to grace. Wow. Welcome to the grace of God. It's amazing. We don't deserve it, but it gives it to a CD way. And that's the beautiful part of the amazing grace of God, that uncomfortable feeling you're getting right now, religion, it's telling you to it. Won't let you go free that's religion. But remember Jesus came to stall out religion. The scenario you're playing in your mind right now. Well, what about the guy who cheated on his wife or the murderer? What about the, what about the, what about all of that? That's going on? As long as they won't grace and they're willing to receive it, God says you can have it. It's that kind of grace. It's an amazing grace. We separate Christians from non-Christian. And we think about the willingness to admit we're pretty despicable people. And we receive grace from God, because that's the only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. Have we accepted that? We received the grace of God. You're right. We're both pretty despicable people. Whether you're a Christian or not, the Christians are just accept the grace. And that's where you're at right now. But here's the funny thing about the amazing grace of God. It has a way of changing you. It does. Once you realize you're free, it calls you to want to honor the grace giver. Once you realize that the bonds are broken and you're not bound down by what the world has told you, your parents have told you, you're not bound down by whatever body is put into your head. That you're not enough. You're right. You're not. But he is. And you can be enough because he is isn't that what Paul said in the verse 13, you were dead, but now you have a new life. So you so use your whole body as an industry to do what is right for the glory of God. That's what you should be doing. Chuck's Windale famous. Pastor tells a story about the day he got his permit permit and his dad tossed him the keys to his pride and joy Cadillac. His dad said here, son, you have the car two hours. It's yours on your own. Swindles said he got in the car, had a tank full of gas, thought he was going to pick up his buddies, thought he'd go out cruise. And he was the big dog with his dad's Cadillac. Maybe even take it out on the highway, maybe see how fast we can get that cat. The lack of my dad, pride and joy going up and see how fast it could go. When Dale says, when he got out on the road, he didn't give into the temptation to drive the speed lamb. As a matter of fact, he drove under the speed limit for all of the 15 minutes that he drove. He turned and he went back home and he said, I love my dad so much and knew how much his dad loved that car that he thought doing anything to mess up. His dad's Cadillac overtook his thoughts of craziness. He pulled in the driveway, walked inside and he tossed his keys to his dad who seemed a bit surprised. And he said, thanks. But no thanks. That's the kind of love that we have for God. I love to say thanks, but no, thanks. We have the, but there's a thanks, but no, thanks. The power of grace. You're free to do whatever you want. You have the freedom of choice. You're not a little robot that God programs you to what to do. You have the freedom, but the more you fall in love with a God, the more you want to honor him, the more you want to think of his ways, the more you want to live. Like God, the more you want to tell people about God, thanks. But no thanks. Not because you have to, but because you won't. So imagine that. Thanks, but no thanks. Think about God and everything that he knows about you. I want you to think about that. Realize that God knows every part of you. He's there all the time, all the dirty despicable moments that you have in your mind right there. God knows about him already. He can't stop thinking about you though. You are precious to him. And so you should fall in deeply love with him and died in your sins and be willing to say thanks, but no thanks. Sin will always be a part of your life, but you have to grow to the point. You can say, thanks, but no thanks. When you put all of these together, we get a perfect picture of what grace filled, loving relationship with. God looks like, say, God knows all the worst parts about us. God is madly in love with us. We give him permission to search us and we ask him to point out anything that offends him. Are you ready to do that? Are you ready to get to the point to ask him to lead you down that everlasting life? Listen, I'm just not talking about non-Christians. I'm talking even to you, Christians, will your prayer be today? God search me, search me. God, because I am so in love with you. If there's anything in my life that offends you help me get rid of it. There's two groups of people. There's Christians right now that need to pray that prayer, God search me. That's a dangerous prayer. That's a scary prayer because sometimes we don't want God to search us. But then there's another group of folks out there right now that just need God's amazing. Grace. Remember I said the only thing about a Christian and a non-Christian is a Christians accepted that grace you're never go live up to it. Let's bow our heads. Let's pray. God, heavenly father, we worship you today. God, God, my friends out there right now that are saved. God, God, I just give them strength to say search me O God, just like king. David said, search me O God. If there's anything in my life that offends you, God helped me to get rid of it. God help us to have a relationship that is so strong that we are dead to our sin. God help us to say no to our sin. God right now I just need you to hear the cries of the people crying that out. Continue to pray church. But if you're that other group of people that need to be saved right now, this is what I want you to pray. Dear God, heavenly father save me. God. I accept the amazing grace. God, thank you for loving me. Even though I'm not worthy. Even though I'm dirty, God, God, you are clean and enough for me, God, God, I believe that you are the Lord of my life. And I confess my sins to you. Save me God, whether your prayer today was save me or search me. One of those needs to be your prayer for everybody that listens today. And that's my challenge for you this week is ask God to search you so that you can live under his amazing Grace Church. I love you now go and be the church. thank you again for joining us for this morning service. We truly hope our time together made an impact in your walk with God. If you made the decision to trust Jesus as your Lord and savior. Congratulations following Jesus truly is the greatest decision you could ever make. Please let us know by filling out the digital connect card, we want to reach out to you and help you grow in your faith. Remember our pastoral staff is always available for ministry. If you need pastoral care or have a prayer request, please submit the care and support email@example.com slash care. And a member of our pastoral team will contact you. If you are a member of our church, family and would like to financially support the mission and the vision of refuge church. There are three easy ways to give online by text, or you can mail a check to the church office refuge church. We love you. And we hope to see you again soon, but until then have a great week.
Good morning, refuge family. My name is Tina and on behalf of our team, we are so thankful. You're joining us for refuge church, online, wherever you're joining us from today, we're honored to get to spend it with you. I also want to give a special welcome to those of you joining us for the very first time before service begins. We want to give you a few helpful tips for our time together. Make sure you grab your Bible so you can follow along with the scriptures and the message. If you don't have a Bible, don't worry. The verses will be available on your screen. Also, please engage in the live comments. We would love to connect with you, to pray with you and to care for you. If you're joining us for the very first time, please fill out our digital connect card so we can get to know you better. We love you and we hope you enjoy today's service. Hello church. It's good to see you again. I'm pastor mark filling in for pastor Jason for the next couple of weeks. I'm so glad you're back with us in our amazing grace. 2.0 series today. We're going to take a look at something a little bit different. We're going to talk about being a grace giver. I want to start off with a story. It's a story that Walter, a wink tails, and it's a story of, um, a couple of peacemakers and they meet with a group of Polish Christians about 10 years after the end of world war II. And they had one question for this group of Polish Christians there, their question was, Hey, would you be willing to meet with some west German Christians that just want to ask for forgiveness? And then one man stood up in the meeting and he said, well, absolutely not. There's Polish blood all over the streets. Uh, after what those Germans did to us, there's no way that we can forgive them. The group of Polish Christians got together with the two peacemakers and they held hands and they just decided to say the Lord's prayer. And as they began to recite that prayer, they got to the part of the Lord's prayer. And they said, forgive us, our sins, as we, and then there was a pause and there was a silence. And that same man, he said, oh no, God commands us to forgive. The same man is quoted as saying, I must say yes to your request. I could no longer pray to our father. I could no longer call myself a Christian. If I refuse to forgive. The interesting part of that story is about two minutes later. Those same Polish Christians met with the west German Christians in Vienna. And they've been meeting every year since now. It's their children and grandchildren that meet and they form this amazing bond. They've almost made their own church. It makes me think of another story. I think of the story of Martin Luther king Jr. On April 16th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. Wrote his famous letters from a Birmingham jail. See what was going on at the time, his, his, his people, his followers were being called names beaten. And judge Jenkins actually ruled that they didn't have the right to protest king. And many of his followers were thrown into jail. Dr. King writes while he was sitting in jail, he became so angry at the men that were outside that were still persecuting his followers. They were beating them, calling them names. And in Keane wrote in these letters from a Birmingham jail, he said, I struggled to forgive the police offer officers who were currently assaulting my people outside the jail with nightsticks, calling a profane names and the other Southern pastors who were calling a king demonic. And even a communist king wrote that he had to fast several days before he can forgive them because he needed the supernatural power of God to be able to offer forgiveness to those officers. He knew that he needed God help to forgive. Listen. Yeah. If you're just joining us today, we've spent the past couple of weeks talking about amazing grace. And we said, what amazing grace is? You can't earn it. Remember religion tells us if religion tells us if we do this, if we do that, if we give more, if we send less, but grace tells us no matter what, that's the beauty of. God's amazing grace. We like to try to sin ourselves out of grace, but you can't, you can't out sin grace. That's the beauty of grace. You don't deserve it. I don't deserve it, but yet God gives us grace. That's what amazing grace actually is. Religion says, if grace says no matter what, so if you've missed the past couple of weeks, I encourage you to go back online and watch them on Facebook or on any of our other channels. But what I really want to talk about today is a little bit of shift. Instead of being the one that receives the grace. What about giving grace? You know, those two stories that I just told you are all about giving grace, even when it's not deserved, we're told and commanded to give grace. It's one thing for grace to be as amazing, as long as we're receiving it. But how can grace be amazing if we're the ones that need to give it? And you're thinking, oh no, what's that pastor going to talk about today? Well, I'm going to start off by telling you what, I'm not going to tell you today. It's that simple. This is what I'm not going to tell you. I'm not going to tell you that it's no big deal. I'm not going to tell you that whenever someone hurts you or whatever someone did to you, I can't just say flippantly, forget about it. That's not true. And that's not accurate. I'm not going to make forgiveness sound like a small thing. I'm not going to make it sound insignificant or just something that you can just grab and do. I'm not going to tell you that if you can't forgive someone, you must not love guide. I'm not gonna say that because that's not true because the truth is giving forgiveness is a very difficult thing to do. It's a very difficult thing that sometimes we need the supernatural abilities of God in our life to act. We forgive someone, our hurt runs so deep. Our scars never go away. I get that. I absolutely understand that. But what I'm going to tell you today is that if you're unwilling to give grace to someone who doesn't deserve it, you've not fully grasp how amazing using God's grace is to you yet because you don't deserve it yet. He gives you grace. Now think about that. Let that sit in. The father's forgiven you for what you've done, what you want. We'll do every mistake, every wrong. You made it in life, but yet you struggle to give forgiveness. I know it's not easy. And I know that it hurts, but I want you to understand is what I deserve. I deserve hail. That's what I deserve. But yet God's amazing. Grace offers me so much more to make up for every sinful thing that I've done every wrong that I've given every stupid thing I've done in my life against God. His amazing grace is enough for me. And I think about that somehow, when I want to hold on to hurt that others have calls me. I have to remember what God did for me. I think that's our starting point is to sit there and think about that. It's even so important. Like the Lord's prayer says it's right there in the middle. When Jesus modeled prayer, he said, uh, forgive us this day. As we forgive those who have trespassed against us, Jesus was saying in our prayers, in this model, prayer, it's not just once that we ask for forgiveness and give it. He said, we do it daily. We daily should give forgiveness to those that have wronged dust. As we have wronged God and others, we have to do that. I love that tents that Jesus put there. It's so important that we forgive. It's a daily reconnect commitment to our faith to say, Lord helped me do it. So today it's all about asking God to help you be a of amazing grace. Let's look in the Bible today in Matthew, 1823 through 27. And there's a story that Jesus tails, that's all about being that grace giver verse 23, therefore the kingdom of heaven came to be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him in the process. One of his debtors was brought in, who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn't pay. So as master ordered that he be sold along with his wife, his children and everything. He owned to pay the debt, but the man fell down before his master and begged him, please be patient with me and I'll pay it all. Then his master was filled with pity for him and he released him and forgave his debt. Now Jesus is teaching us about forgiveness right here. And think about that story. Let's put it in today's terms. Let's say I decided I was going to build a mega million dollar high-rise well, I don't have a mega million dollars in the bank to build it. So I would have to get investors. And let's say I went around to all these investors and got millions of dollars of investment. And then I didn't invest the money or it didn't pan out, or I didn't build the building or whatever it was. And then I get worried and I start to get sick at my stomach because I have to go back to my investors and say, oh man, I've squandered all your money. And this story that Jesus told would be like me meeting with those investors and saying, Hey guys, I'm sorry. I've lost your millions of dollars with these men could Sue me or come after my state. But yet what if the man said, it's okay, buddy. We knew the risk when we invested. Now that sounds flip. It does it. That says, what are you talking about? That doesn't happen that way. But that's what Jesus told him. This story. He said the master forgave, the servant, just because the acts, he ordered him to be put in jail until he could pay, sell off everything and slave his family. But then when he asked he was forgiving, man, that sounds like God, right. We should be thrown in prison. We should be thrown in jail for our sins, but we simply ask and are forgiven. But what I love about this story is even though it's that incredible, that Jesus tells us, uh, what if we experienced that kind of grace, but let's go on a little bit further because Jesus tells an even deeper side of the story. When we look at the servant. So if you go a little bit deeper and we read in verse 28, the key thing we see is forgiving, but the man becomes very verse 28 through 35 of the same story says this Jesus goes on. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and beg for a little more time, be patient with me and I will pay it. He pleaded, but the creditor wouldn't wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. The king called in the man who had forgive, who had been forgiven and said, you evil servant. I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you. Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That's what my heavenly father will do to you. If you refuse to give your brothers and sisters from your heart, let that story sink in just for a second. So the man had millions of dollars of debt to the king, but yet when he pleaded and ask for forgiveness, it was given to him. But that same man that was forgiven, went to another, that owed him only thousands of dollars and refuse to forgive. I love that last line that Jesus says, Jesus told, says right there. That's what my heavenly father will do to you. If you refuse to give your brothers and sisters from your heart and that's been on my heart all week, I've been thinking about that. Let that just sink in that last sentence is amazing. Amazing. That is a strong statement. And I put a lot of thought into it. And this is what I think Jesus was saying. When, when he said that right there, I think Jesus was saying, if you refuse to forgive, I'm going to let you stay locked up. I'm going to let you stay locked up in what you're struggling with. I'm going to let you stay locked up in the worry. I'm going to let you struggle with that. If you don't forgive, like you've been forgiven. When we hold on to bitterness. When we hold into hurt, when we hold onto our pain, we lock ourselves into a prison. We begin to think over it and it goes in our mind. And then every waking minute we're thinking about how that person has wronged us. That's what I'm talking about. Being locked up to unforgiveness that you're not willing to give. We think we're punishing that other person. Well, I'm just going to show them by not forgiving them, but really we're hurting ourselves. You're only like walking yourself's up. I can say that in my years of pastoring, I've never met a single person who was holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness that felt free. I've never seen that. I've never counseled someone that sat across from me that was so bitter at maybe a business partner or an X, Y for ex-husband or a friend that heard them. A mother that just felt free. They had so much anger inside. They were in prison from it. Their decision to hold onto these offenses, kept them back, held up to the offender like being locked up. But what I think Jesus is saying here is, Hey, you were forgiven. So you need to learn, learn how to forgive. That's so hard to do. And I know that it takes supernatural powers and intervention from God. I love how Dr. Martin Luther king Jr said he had to fast and pray to get to the point that he could give forgiveness to the people that wronged him. But if you stay locked up for the rest of your life, that's your own fault for not giving forgiveness. The fact is we all should forgive right now. You're thinking about someone that you should forgive. You're thinking about someone that's wrong, Jew and in whatever way that that was. But you think, you know what, pastor mark, you don't know how bad that person hurt me. Maybe it was physically or mentally or spiritually or whatever. You just don't know how bad that hurt was. Jesus should give me an exception because my hurt is just too bad. He won't. I promise you that there's no exception give to you no matter how bad the wrong or how bad the hurt was. He's not going to give you an exception. If he would have the story that he would have told, right there would have had all this list of exceptions to people that didn't have to give forgiveness. You've been forgiven. Therefore you should forgive is the, is the thought of this story that Jesus told. I want to give you two thoughts today that I want you to hold on at that we'll try to help you be a grace giver. The first thing is forgiveness takes supernatural help. Right now there's somebody to forgive and you need supernatural intervention. You need grace from God. You need God's help. Offering forgiveness is just as much an act of obedience as is giving as is tithing as is praying. You ever thought about that to be in line with what God wants is to give forgiveness. That's a part of being obedient. You can't just be obedient with one part of your life. Well, I'm obedient with Bible reading and I'm obedient with my prayer and I'm obedient. I Todd, pastor. So you should leave me alone. No, it's all giving it all to God, including giving forgiveness to those that don't deserve it. It's that important. I love what Paul wrote in first Corinthians 12, nine, Paul said, my grace is all you need. My strength works best in weakness. He was talking about God. He's saying that God's grace is all you need. It's that amazing of a grace because his strength works best in our weakness. When we take less of us, we have more of him. You gotta pray. You gotta pray and you gotta pray some more. The great theologian MC hammer said, you got to pray just to make it through today. Right? Every kid in the nineties is singing it right now. Trust me. I am too. But think about that. It's not some childish prayer that you give. God helped me forgive them. It's about getting on your knees and offering forgiveness from your knees. And you stay down there until God helps you break free of that to break for you, that jail. That's what it's about. And then when you get up and you go about your day tomorrow, do the same thing, give forgiveness just like the Lord's. Prayer says all for it up. Pray until you're able to get up and know that that person is forgiven. Don't put a clock on. It's not about, well, I got five minutes to forgive them. Get down, get with God and pray. Serious. Adult prayers is how you give forgiveness to people that don't deserve it. The second thing I want to tell you, and this one's important is forgiveness is not permission to continue to be hurt. Forgiveness is not permission for you to say, well, keep hurting me. Listen. If you're being physically abused, get out of it, get help. Seek help. Now you're not supposed to be abused. If someone's taking advantage of your generosity, stop giving. That's not what it's about, but I can still be a grace giver and protect myself. It's okay to protect yourself. It is absolutely okay to forgive someone doesn't mean that you have to keep putting yourself in a position to be hurt. That's not what it's about. If you're being abused, if you're taking advantage of, get out of it, stop that first and then work through the forgiveness. Do you understand what I'm saying? It's that important? Don't give them permission to keep hurting you. That's not what forgiveness is. There's a big difference in forgiveness and permission. They do not have permission to take from you. They do not have for mission to hurt you because forgiveness and permission are very different statements. But I do have to add one thing that I think is so important. Sometimes you're put into situations. You need supernatural strength. It's dirty ministries, dirty. Maybe you have a friend or a family member that's struggling right now with something they're so tied up with their struggles. Maybe it's addiction. Maybe it's an affair, maybe whatever it is. And you're thinking, Ooh, pastor, that's such a fine line. I don't want to get in involved in helping someone through this because it's so dirty. I understand you may not want to get involved, but I also understand that God might want you to, God might want you to, to love someone, to know someone giving grace and being loving or dirty ministry is a slow process. Who do you need to give an deserved amazing grace to today? Who is it? I want you to think about that right now. Let's bow our heads and I want you to pray, but I want you to listen to me as you pray out there, because you're thinking of that person. Your heart is pounding in your chest right now. And you know that this person is out there that you need to give forgiveness to. Maybe you haven't talked to them since the day they hurt you. Maybe it was yesterday. Maybe it was last night. Maybe it was 5, 10, 20 years ago. But there's somebody that you need to give forgiveness to. You need to think about it that listen, you've been given grace. You've been given an opportunity. God, God forgave you first, just like the king forgave, the debtor. And he wants you to not be locked up with your struggles. Will you pray with me? God, you know the struggles of people right now that are out there, the ones they need to give forgiveness to God, God, I just pray that you intercede. You just be with them. God, you just comfort and put your arms around them. As they work through that forgiveness, God, God, we adore you. And we, we love you. God, God help us to be grace givers. Those that have wronged us in our life. Don't let it just be words, but let us offer up forgiveness to those people. God, God heavenly father. We adore you. And we love you guys. God, it's in your sweet name. I pray. Amen. Listen. It's so much more than that because once you forgiven that person and you've truly broken the bonds that you're in to that prison, let them know. And it might just be in a letter or an email or a text and say, look, I forgive you. It's not saying you have to hang out and be buddies with them, but break the bonds. You're free. But I want to talk about true freedom. See, we talk about amazing grace, but I need to talk about that man named Jesus because he died on the cross for you. You struggle with being forgiven, but he wants to forgive you today. Listen, if you're out there and you need to be saved, you need to be forgiven. You need to be freed from your sins. I want you to pray right now. Something like this. God heavenly father save me. I admit that I'm wrong. I admit that I've wronged people. God, I know your son died on that cross for me. And I confess my sins and I confess him as Lord of my life. I know God that he died for me. Save me God. It's in your name. I pray. Amen. See for him salvation is that simple. You can't out sin. God's grace. God just wants to love you. He loves everybody, but it's through grace that you're saved. If you need help, reach out to us, reach out to us at the church so that we can pray for your contact. You, if you got saved today, let us know. We want to know more about it. Church church. I'm going to continue to pray for you this week as you're a grace giver. Now I need you to go and be there. Uh. Thank you again for joining us for this morning service. We truly hope our time together made an impact in your walk with God. If you made the decision to trust Jesus as your Lord and savior. Congratulations following Jesus truly is the greatest decision you could ever make. Please let us know by filling out the digital connect card, we want to reach out to you and help you grow in your faith. Remember our pastoral staff is always available for ministry. If you need pastoral care or have a prayer request, please submit the care and support firstname.lastname@example.org slash care. And a member of our pastoral team will contact you. If you are a member of our church, family and would like to financially support the mission and the vision of refuge church. There are three easy ways to give online by text, or you can mail a check to the church office, refuge church. We love you. And we hope to see you again soon, but until then have a great week.
Hey church. It's good to see you again. I've truly enjoyed amazing grace. 2.0, I'm kind of sad that today's our last installment of it, but you know what? We really have to finish up talking about an important point. I got to talk about what amazing grace is and what it isn't. Before we do that, I'm going to tell you a story. I'm going to tell you a story about the mayor of New York city via Rola LaGuardia, right after world war II. You're thinking LaGuardia, LaGuardia airport. Yeah. You ever been there man? Ride on the Hudson? Probably one of the worst airports in the world, right? Yeah. That airport, well, LaGuardia was known as the little flower in New York city after world war II, because he was only about five foot four, and he always wore a Carnation in his lapel. He did outrageous things for the city. It was nothing for the mayor to ride on a police card ride with the fire department. It was nothing for them to raid the speakeasies and be right there where the officers, when they broke in, in January of 1935 on a cold cold night, LaGuardia went to night court and sent the judge home. He was going to serve as the judge that night, the first woman comes up and it was a little old grandma. And the interesting thing about this grandma, she had been arrested for shoplifting. She had stolen a loaf of bread. LaGuardia. I asked her, well ma'am why did you steal a loaf of bread? And she said, well, my daughter has two small children and, and her husband's left her and we don't have any food. And my grandchildren were starving. So I, I, I had to steal the bread because I don't have any money. Either. LaGuardia looked over at the shop owner and he said, sir, is this the case? He said, absolutely. I won't hurt. Thrown in jail. LaGuardia shook his head. He said, well, ma'am you have to be punished for your wrongs. So he said, here it is either 10 days in jail or a $10 fine. The funny thing is it's recorded as LaGuardia reaching in his back pocket, as he said this, and he pulls out a $10 bill and he says, and you're going to choose the $10 fine. And here it is. But it gets better because serving as the judge that not LaGuardia looked at the bailiff and he said, Mr. Bailiff, I now bond every person in this courtroom, 50 cents for being in contempt of the court for living in a city where people have to steal bread and no one takes care of it. The bailiff looked at him and every man, woman, person, criminal lawyer in there was charged 50 cents. And the bailiff went around the room, collecting the contentment bond. And in the end he had $47 and 50 cents. And LaGuardia said, Mr. Bailiff, I need you to give it to this woman. And she left that day with that money. Think about that. That's a true story. Wouldn't that be amazing to be there when LaGuardia did that, that night, can you imagine that shop owner, could you imagine how red faced he was when he was charged 50 cents for being in a contempt of court that he had to put it in there? Can you imagine every petty criminal, the story goes on to say that every lawyer, criminal and person in there, except for the shop owner stood up and applauded LaGuardia for what he did that day, because it was just doing the right thing. Listen, if this is the first time you've joined us with amazing grace, 2.0, I suggest you, you go back and listen to some of these old, older sermons from the past few weeks as we learn what grace is and what grace isn't. But today we're going to put a bow on that. See, we learn right at the very beginning that religion tells us CF, but gray says no matter what religion tells us, if we act better, if we do more, if we give more, but grace says, God loves us no matter what, no matter what you've done, no matter what you will do say, the interesting thing is God loves everyone, but it's only through God's grace are we saved. And I think that's a beautiful thing. Last week, we even talked about being a grace giver as much grace as you've received. What does it mean to be a grace giver, but let's go on today and talk about what grace is and what grace isn't. Let's start with this. Grace is not a license to sin. You can't and you are so in the wrong. If you choose to be disobedient and sin against God, because you want to abuse. God's grace. That's not right. Roman six, one through seven. Well then should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not. Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that? When we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death for we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glorious power of the father. Now we also may live new lives. Since we have been United with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful sales were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin for when we died with Christ, we were set free from the power of sin. See, Paul wrote this to the church in Rome and people were, we're getting to abuse. God's grace, but use it as a license to sin. Well, he's just going to forgive me. So I'm just going to keep on doing it. And Paul came into the churches, a whoa, whoa, whoa. It's not that I love that line. When Paul said, should we keep on sending so that God can show us more and more of us wonderful grace, of course not. But the beauty of it is he does. God shows us his amazing grace over and over, but we should be dead to our sins. I like how Paul takes that and says, Hey, when the old you died and you gave your life to Christ, that's like dying with him. And then when he came out of the grave, the new you comes out of the grave. That's why we baptize. It's the symbol of going down the old million coming up, the new me. Are you sinless? No, not at all. There's nothing sinless about it, but you've died to your sins. Your sins don't control you anymore. If you're wrapped up in a sin right now, you might need supernatural intervention from God to break free of those bonds. But you can do it with God. Then that's the beauty of it. So when we talk about grace, grace, isn't a license to sin. Paul told us that we're supposed to break free from our sins. Let's keep going though, because what Gracie is, grace is a license to love that. That's what it is. It's a license for you to love even people that aren't lovable. First Timothy, one 14, the grace of our Lord was poured out on me, abundantly along with the faith and love that are in Christ. Jesus. That's what it is. The grace that was poured out on you was poured out abundantly. It's not like you can run out of grace. It's not like in general, running low or something like that. It's not like the gas tank running empty. Oh, I'm low on grace. I got to go back to the whale and get some you can't run out of. God's amazing. Grace. God loves you. That's why he offered up grace to you. Last week, we talked about being a grace giver. I hope some of you have prayed through it this week. I hope you write it down. Write down the bonds that have been broken because you're now free. You're not imprisoned to wanting to punish someone that's tied you down before I was reading a story this week and it was the story of Charles Spurgeon and Joseph Parker. Now see, both of these men were pastors in London, uh, about the 19th century. And the story that I read says that Joseph Parker commenting on the poor condition of the children that were going into Spurgeon's orphanage at his church. Well, have you ever played the game of telephone and one person starts it and it ends totally at the other, or you've had somebody at work come up to you and say, Hey, you know what I heard you were at gossip already sounds bad. And so when Parker made the comment, he was just talking about the poor pitiful children. Well, when it got back to Dr. Charles Spurgeon, it was told to him, can you believe that pastor Parker is talking about your orphanage, how bad your orphanage is? So it's pretty funny that that was the report that Spurgeon got. And so Spurgeon in his next Sunday service people flocked over because it got in the newspaper. Don't you love that small town news, oh, local pastor accuses a pastor's church, orphanage of being a bad and falling apart and poor conditioned disrepair. So everybody goes to Spurgeon's church the next day. And, and, and when people flocked over there, uh, from the pulpit, he was criticizing, uh, the orphanage itself is what he said. It spurge him, blasted Parker. It became personal at that point. Well guess what happened the next Sunday? It's human nature. Everybody goes to the other church, big gathering at the church because all of a sudden it's a war between churches. And I love what pastor Joseph Parker said. He was quoted as saying, I understand Dr. Spurgeon is not in his pulpit today. And this is the Sunday that they use to take an offering for their orphanage. I suggest we take a love offering here in stead, and that's all he said. And they started passing around the plates and the ushers had to empty the plates three times because they filled up with money with people giving money to the other churches, orphanage. Well, the next day Spurgeon showed up to Parker's office and he knocked on the door and he said, you know, Parker, you've practiced grace on me. You've given me not what I deserve, but you've given me what I need. Isn't that a beautiful picture of grace. Think about that with God, God, you don't give me what I deserve. You give me what I need. No matter how much I mess up, no matter what I say, you give me what I need. So this morning, we're going to talk about Exodus chapter three and your lot. Well, pastor, how are we going to the old Testament to talk about grace? Great picture of grace here. Even in the old Testament. See, when we talk about Exodus, that that whole first chapter of Exodus is talking about. The Israel. Lots are blessed from God, but the Egyptians get afraid of them. And so they start killing off the children. So there's the Israel, Israel out woman. And she has a baby, a little baby Moses. And you can you imagine her looking at little baby Mo oh baby Moe. You're so beautiful. And she takes a little baby MOA. She says, they're going to kill you. All the, all the midwives are killing the babies when they're born. So cause they're trying to eliminate us. And so she takes Moses down to the river and puts him in a Reed basket and sends him out in a crocodile infested river. And he floats on down the river. And at the time of the gypsy princess, the Pharaoh's daughter finds him there and takes semen and raises Moses as her own. The whole second chapter of Exodus is about Moses being raised as an Egyptian prince. But then, you know what? He, his eyes are open and he sees what's going on here. And he sees the abuse, the Israelite he has owned, people are taking and he stands up. Matter of fact, he even kills a man. And then he knows immediately that he's done wrong. And he buries the man. And then he takes off running, running from God because he knows that he's wrong. God. And then that's where we're going to pick up in chapter three, because in chapter three, we see a lot of drama that goes on and we see a lot of evidence of God's grace. We moved from the silence that God's given his people for over 400 years to God speaking directly to Moses here. And he speaks to him through a Bush. And later on, he even speaks to him on the mountain, but a center that's running from God bonds. The grace of God, let's read this morning in Exodus, chapter three, verses seven and eight. The Lord said, I have seen how my are suffering as slaves in Egypt. And I have heard them beg for my health because of the way they are being mistreated. I feel sorry for them. And I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians. I will bring my people out of Egypt into a country where there is good land, rich with milk and honey. Now, as we read that the scripture breaks down this into five declaration that God says to Moses. There's five declarations about the people of Israel that are made here. And I think you need to look at them because they're about giving grace in the form of love. God said, I have seen their suffering. I have heard their cry. I feel sorry for them. I have come down to rescue them and I will bring them up in a new land. So how can I show God's amazing grace to others. That's the question that I think we should answer this morning. What we know grace. Isn't, it's not a license to sin, but we know grace is a license to love. So how do I love other people? How do I show this amazing grace to other people that we've been studying? Yeah. The first thing you have to do is you have to pay attention to the condition of others. You have to pay attention to how other people we can live in our own little worlds and our own bubbles and the world can go on around us. And sometimes we just don't see the obvious. And that's what God said in Exodus three, seven God said, I have seen how my people are suffering as slaves in Egypt. Are you taking time to see the world around you? Are you taking time to see suffering or does it take a, a TV show or a commercial? How many of you cry at the commercial with the dogs that are abandoned? Right? It comes out and it plays the Sarah McLaughlin song and everybody starts to cry. Why do we have to have a sad commercial on TV for us to see the broken world around us? God said he saw his people suffering. Grace is about noticing and observing the world around him, Jew and the condition of the people around you. It's not about noticing just what's going on overseas and Africa, south America, central America, the middle east over in Asia yet. Listen. That's great. That's important. Yes. We have to worry about that too. But what about your community? What about your neighbors? How many of you are sitting there and you don't even know yours now, your neighbors name much less. The condition that they're living in right now. See grace is selfless, not self-serving. So yeah, it's uncomfortable to get out there and see the world. But if you want to get out there, you don't have to go very far to find people that are suffering, whatever hometown is for you. Right now, there are suffering people in that hometown. There were hurting moms and dads. There are hurting children. There are hurting grandmothers. There are people that are homeless. There are people all around, just open your eyes and C just like God commanded us to do there. The second thing is, understand their journey, understand how they got there. The second part of verse seven says, I have heard them beg for my help. Also the way they are being mistreated. Grace is about listening to their story. Listen, I'm a fixer. You know, as a husband, many of us are right guys, your wife will start to tell you something. And then you're like, well, I'll fix it. And sometimes she just wants you to listen and not fix it. Listen, I've been married 20 years. I love my wife. And let me tell you now she'll say something and I just have to be honest and say, you want me to listen or you want me to fix it? Because sometimes grace is just listening. It's listening to people where they are, understand their journey, understand how they got to where they're at. Unless you take time to talk to people and listen to people. It's hard to be a great, give her and feel people with love. The third one thing is you have to feel their pain. It's okay to hurt when other people hurt. It's okay to cry. When other people cry. I think back to the, to the show where they would renovate homes for people remember remove that bus, right? How many of you have watched that? I know, right? And then even us big gusts. We've got a tear coming down her eyes when they move that bus. But why do we have to see it on TV? Because if we look around us right now, all around your community, in your world, there are people in pain and you can meet them where they're at. God has you where you are not by happenstance or it's by his complete choice that you're there. You're there for a reason to feel that pain grace is about feeling the misery to a degree that it sparks deep compassion with you, your heart. What do you have a passion for? Because other people have that same passion. Let's keep going. I need you to number four, to take action, to change their situation. Exodus three, eight God said, I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians. God came down to Moses. He took action. Moses was his action through that burning Bush and God came down. God was the burning Bush. And he told, I came down here to make a difference. I came down. What is that? Passion that spark inside of you that wants you to make a difference. Grace is doing something about their situation. That's what grace is your license. Still up. I could listen to you and feel sorry for you all day, but it's not about feeling, sorry. Don't feel sorry. Feel empathy. Feel hurt because another human hurts feel suffering because another human suffers it's about moving them out of a oppressive prison of pain and suffering and helping them to see that God loves them out of that current situation, whatever the cost is, it's your time. It's your prayers. It's about showing them. God loves them. And the fifth thing is to bring them to a new place of hope. I mean, think about it. That's why God is God's enemies. New hope. We live in a broken city, full world. And the only thing that keeps us going is hope that we have it's the faith that we put into that hope and that promise that God gives us Exodus. Three eight says I will bring my people out of Egypt, gypped into a country where there is good land, rich with milk and honey, see grace is about more than observing and listening and sympathizing and being empathetic. It's taking people to a new place is taking people to a place of God's refreshing goodness and hope and outcomes. Think about that. God said, I promise you a land of milk and honey, a rich land about the borders of the United States. There are men and women that put their little children on a road because they think America is the land of milk and honey. And we sit there and sometimes we think, oh no, I can't even think about those immigrants. Listen, friend, Jesus was an immigrant in a foreign land. Moses was an immigrant in a foreign land. What about the grace that we give people? I get it there's hurt for citizens. There's hurt for immigrants. There's hurt for legal people being here and there's hurt for undocumented people. Being here. There's hurt all around us. Take time just to sit and look and ask yourself, what is my passion? Because that's the grace that you have to pour out to others. That is God's amazing grace to see what's going on around us. God, didn't say here's your land of milk and honey, he said, I promise you a land of milk and honey. That's what being a grace givers all about. How do we help people see God and be led to that land of milk and honey, you know, I want us to flip over to the new Testament and look at Jesus because Jesus has a mic drop moment. And man, if I was sitting there and if we think about Mike's at that time, back in Jerusalem, if there were there, he would have dropped the mic. Luke four, 14 through 20, then Jesus, I just returned to Galilee filled with the holy Spirit's power reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. He taught regularly in the synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boy had home. He went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read scripture. The scroll of Isaiah, the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written. Now think about it. Jesus, a Jewish man. He knew the prophecies of Isaiah. And in the, in that time he ask for that scroll and they handed him the scroll, the writings of Isaiah. And I love what he flips too. As he quotes the old Testament, Jesus read the spirit of the Lord is upon me for, he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released. The blind will see, and the oppressed will be set free. And that the time of the Lord's favor or has come think about that. Jesus just said the time of the Lord's favor, the Lord's favor, the Lord's grace. The same thing. It's time that his grace has come. What they didn't know is Jesus was God's grace own us. Verse 20 says that Jesus rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant and set down. All right? And the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. Jesus said the scripture you've just heard has been fulfilled this very day. Yay. Mike drop that's Jesus. We looked for God's grace. It was that day when Jesus said, Hey, Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled and it's fulfilled today because the Lord's favor has come. The Lord's grace has come and it did. And the day it came, it was Jesus Christ. Who read that to the masses that steal the Lord's favor today. He steal the Lord's grace today. You're struggling the idea of grace out there, whether you need grace or you need to give grace. Jesus said today's the day because the Lord's grace is here. I want you to pray with me. Let's bow our heads. God heavenly father. You are the giver of amazing grace. God, God, thank you for abundantly, pouring out your grace upon me. God, thank you for abundantly pouring out upon this guy. We don't deserve it. There's nothing that we could do to deserve the amount of grace you pour on us, but God, you give it to us anyway. And that's the beauty of grace. We didn't deserve jeez Jesus on that day. But you gave us Jesus on that day. I don't deserve God's grace today. I don't deserve the grace that Jesus brought, but you give it to me anyway. God, I know that I deserve hail, but God you love me. You love me through my shortcomings and my failures. And even when I'm wrong and God there's people out here today that are listening and they're praying and God, they just want your grace to pour out upon them. God, I need you to listen to the prayers that are being lifted up to you right now. God, there's people out there that are saying we need God's grace. We need forgiveness from our sins. We need our burdens to be broken. God, God, we need you today. God listened to our prayers. As we call out to you, God, you are amazing Lord. And we love you. And it's in your name. We pray. Amen. Listen friend. It's more than just receiving God's grace. I think there are some of you right now that need the salvation being offered to you through this grace, you've never taken a moment and given yourself to God, you've never turned. You may have gone to church your entire life, but you've never said, God, I need you to save me right now. I want you to pray. If this is your prayer, pray, something like this directly to God, God heavenly father save me. God, God, I know I'm a sinner. I know I'm lost without you. God. I know I don't deserve it, but God, I need your grace. God saved me. I admit I'm lost. I believe Jesus was your son that brought the grace that day. I believe he died for me on the cross and I confess my sins. But more importantly, I confess him as Lord of my life. Save me God. It's in your name. I pray. Amen church. That's amazing grace. That's what it's all about. That's amazing. Grace. 2.0 God's grace. Can't be beat. Thank you for having me this month church. I love you now go and be the church.