June 1, 2022

Grace that Works

Grace that Works

Part 3 of "The Gospel According to Satan"






Grace that works - Joel Ramsey


This week, we are going to step into the third part of this series. And I want to speak about the lie of the Gospel according to Satan the lie that God helps those who help themselves. If anybody ever heard that statement before, God helps those who help themselves. It's an inspiring statement, to tell lazy people to get up off their rear ends and do something with your life. It's looking at your circumstance, and realizing it's not what you want it to be. So if you want God to help you get to work, do something, then God will help you. In fact, this statement, God helps those who help themselves by Barna Research was was said that 82% of Americans believe that that's a Bible verse. It's important to understand that this is not a Bible verse. The worst part about that study is that sure that America is seemingly illiterate, according to Scripture, but half of them were professing Christians. It's not a Bible verse, God helps those who help themselves is a good lie, because that's a lie that sounds good. It's a lie that feels true. It's a lie that is spoken to help people feel inspired and motivated, which even in itself might have good The problem with this lie, is that although it sounds good, it's absolutely destructive. And although it feels good, and sounds good, that God helps those who help themselves. It's actually contrary to the gospel. It works against the gospel, it's what we would call the wisdom of a man or some might be so aggressive to call it a doctrine of demons. But it goes directly against the gospel that we believe. It's saying, if you do good, then God will do good for you. If you work hard, then God will work hard for you. It says if you get yourself together, then God will help you. In fact, it's actually anti gospel. And even in Scripture, it speaks of it that in Galatians, one six, it calls it another gospel. This is in the book of Galatians, Paul is writing to the the people and he's saying, he says things like who has been Witched you to believe a different gospel, who has taught you this different gospel to that which I taught you. And he says, Even if I come back in 10 years time, whether it be me or an angel of God, and preach to you something different to be preached to you in the first place, he says, Let them be accursed. It's a different gospel. And you see Satan's tactics is always to pervert. It's always to create a counterfeit, of what God's doing, he lives to kill, steal, kill, and destroy. And so this kind of lie that God helps those who help themselves is against the gospel. God helps those who humble themselves. You see, the way of Christianity is not that you would rid yourself of all your sin, or your shame, and all your brokenness so that you can come to the saving power of Jesus, the way of Christianity, the true gospel, is that you can come to Jesus as you are with all your sin, all your shame, and all your brokenness submit it to Jesus so that his saving power can do its perfect work. The lie that God helps those who help themselves might sound good, it might sound inspiring, it might sound like wisdom, but it's wisdom. According to the world. The Bible says there's a way that seems right to a man, but its end is destruction. We don't have to do good so that God will do good for us. We have to come in humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we need to come to him as we are and put our reliance upon him. Our God is not a God of good works for salvation. He is the thought of a good grace that leads to good works. And so today, in the time that we have I want to run through understanding this very famous yet often misunderstood word called grace. The reason I want to talk about grace is because this statement that God helps those who helps themselves works directly against grace. It's actually enmity against God. enmity means warring against the doctrine of Jesus Christ that came to save sinful people. So I want to talk about grace. Has anybody ever heard the word grace thrown around in church circles before? Grace, essentially, is a covenant which God offers. What was Its a covenant where God offers salvation to sinful humanity, He offers us the gift of salvation, grace is, you would have heard it described, and if you haven't, he's most commonly defined as unmerited favor of undeserved favor. Its favor being given to somebody from someone who has the power to give it whether you deserve it or not. Grace is a quality of God, to give free gifts to men. Ephesians chapter two verses eight, this is what it says. It says, For great For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing. It is the gift of God. Amen. There's another passage of scripture in the book of Romans, chapter three, verse 24, it says, No, and we are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. And we can read again in the book of Romans, chapter 11, verse five, it says, so to at the present time, there is a remnant chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works. Otherwise, Grace would no longer be grace. Can you see as we begin to paint the picture that grace is undeserved Grace cannot be earned, how it works in the face of God helps those who help themselves. This is telling us that those who don't deserve it, they can't earn it. They, they, they can't even help themselves. Our God is offering us the free gift of grace, grace cannot be earned or worked for, if you are given money, because of the work that you did, then that would be called wages. If you are giving money, just because that is a gift. And so this if Grace is defined constantly as a gift, it cannot be something that is earned. It cannot be something you do to get. It has to be something that you can only receive based on no merit of your own based on no good things that you do because grace is unmerited, undeserved favor grace is you getting what you do not deserve I love this picture because we look at the word mercy as well there's grace and his mercy grace is get you getting what you don't deserve. Mercy is you not getting what you do deserve. So recently, I have been let's say to recently lest I be condemned for my sin, but recently, I was visiting Florida and on the way home everybody was sleeping. And if you go straight down, there's a big highway that leads to I mean, you've all probably done it a bunch of back roads between farms and they're pretty open yet they're not a highway and so the speed limits a little bit different to that of a highway and so there I was driving in my my track, and I was probably going a little bit faster than those signs had said. To my defense it's denotes miles between signs and it's pretty open. There's no one around anyway. Don't judge I know your speed of seeing you all y'all use your phones. I kid you not on the way to Florida so better I witnessed a gentleman driving his car On the highway, with one foot out the window. I'm not so far back, one foot out the window, one foot, obviously on the accelerator unless you had an on cruise control, and casually scrolling Tiktok as he drives on the highway, one foot out the window. I mean, next level. And as I'm driving back, and I'm driving a little bit faster than I should, and, unfortunately, due to my error, I see this police officer driving towards me. And I'm thinking that his lights go on. And you start to think hope that's not me. Then finally your conscience realizing oh, you're probably speeding, you shouldn't do that. And so you slow down to the appropriate speed hoping anyway. And so I see him turn around in my rear vision mirror and I'm like, Oh, no. Anyway, he pulls me over, he walks over. He's like, sir, license and registration, please. And that's feels like a movie to me. Because we don't do that. We don't say license and registration. We live in 2022. They can see my registration through the computers. You guys still have to hold your paperwork in your glove box, anyway. Merica and, and he asked for my license and registration. And so I soon as he gets to the door, I instantly ramped it up, get a mate. He's like, Oh, I'm like, Ha, hey, just didn't see you there. It's got like overusing the Australian accent. Give him my Australian license along with the registration. And he goes, thank you, sir. Because you know why I pulled you over. I'm like, nope. Because I wasn't sure. I wasn't lying. I wasn't, I wasn't convinced of the reason. He says you are going 67 and a 45. Like, my car is a 6.2 liter V eight. Okay, it just happens. You don't even try. Please forgive me. This is this is my public confession, confession sins one to another. Okay, we're done. It's dealt with forgotten casts in the sea of forgetfulness. Okay. And he goes back and I don't know why it takes police officers about 39 minutes to just process a cup. But I think they do it on purpose to get the day over quicker, but and eventually he comes back. He's like, sir, you were going far over the spill. And now I'm nervous. Because in Australia, our road rules are so strict. I exaggerate. Not if I'm caught through cameras at lights that can look into my car and see me on my phone, not just to police like cameras that looking. And I'm using my phone while driving. It's a $1,000 Fine. 1000. Okay, if I'm caught going 20 over the speed limit? kilometers, not miles. It's like around a $500. Fine. And we have a point system that takes points off, you have 12 of them total. And that will probably take three off. If you're caught going around 30 over 240. It's instant loss of license. Okay. So I'm going like, roughly 20 miles over, which definitely pushes me up into the 30 kilometers situation over. And so I'm like, oh, no, this is gonna be a bad day. I'm aware that your road rules are less strict. So I feel a little bit relaxed based on that. Anyway, he comes back and this officer decides to extend to me mercy. He said, Sir, please don't drive so fast. I'm just going to give you a warning today. The relief he says By the way, your temporary tags are also expired. So you should get that fixed as well. He goes, here's a paper paper piece of paper. Just so people know if anyone else pulls you over. That we've talked about it, it's gonna be okay. In that moment, he offered me mercy by not giving me what I deserved. Then he offered me grace by giving me the piece of paper to protect me from the next guy who might pull me over for my same mistake. He gave me what I didn't deserve. And on top of that, he gave me his gun and badge as well and went away. grace upon grace up on mercy is us as sinful humanity, not getting what we do deserve in His grace as the unmerited, undeserved favor of God, that we would get what we do not deserve Amen. Anybody thankful for the grace of God? The thing is, if you can't earn Grace If you can't work for Anybody thankful for the grace of God? The thing is, if you can't earn Grace If you can't work for grace, then who gets grace? Who who can receive this gift? It's those who are humble. The book of Proverbs three, verse 34, says, surely he scorns the scornful. But he gives grace to the humble. James four, verses six it says, But he gives more grace. Therefore, he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So who receives grace? It's not. God helps those who helps themselves. Because if you can earn it, then that means we can work for it. If we weren't for it, it means we deserve it. And if we deserve it, that I can boast in my abilities to get this thing from God, and he's not wanting us to boast, he doesn't want us to have to deserve it. He wants us to humbly acknowledge that we do not deserve his grace, we cannot do this life, on our own grace He gives to those who can humble themselves before the mighty hand of God. The Book of John tells us that if we say we have no sin, we call him a liar. And the truth of God is not. In us one of the most humbling things we can do as humans, is come to Jesus and acknowledge that I am sinful, I am incapable of fixing my life and of saving my life. By myself, we come humbly and say, God, I may look like I have it all together. But what it looks like even my good works, the Bible says you're like filthy rags before you. So I humbly submit to you to be able to receive your great grace. He gives grace to the humble. He doesn't help those who help themselves. He helps those that come to him, and humbly admit God, I cannot do this on my own. Would you please save me Amen. So the next little bit I want to go through is I want to run very quickly through three aspects of grace, three aspects of grace. The first one is the grace that saves. The second is the grace that sustains and the third is the grace that empowers you. The first one is a grace that saves Ephesians 284. By grace, you have been saved through faith, and this is not on your own doing. It is the gift it is the free gift of God, what's the free gift, it's the grace of God. And Grace is what saves us for you have been saved from eternal damnation, from brokenness, from sin, by grace, bye, unmerited by undeserved favor on God's behalf because he is a good God, who has the quality and the nature of grace to give us the free gift. We're saved by grace though, through faith. So his faith works. This faith replace our good works that we have to do something to receive the free gift, because if it's free, why do I have to do anything? Well, the thing about a free gift is that people don't have to take it. I often sit at restaurants in what I feel in spite or when you're typing Well, I offer my waiter the option of their tip. That was a joke. By the way, the Thai thing well, but just in case, if you're a guest, I make a lot of bad jokes. And I sit at restaurants in I sit there and I look at the bill and it brings it out in a 1518 now it's like more like 1820 22 It's really creeping up. In Australia, we don't tip at all that's not a thing. It's because your waiters make like 22 bucks an hour. So it like sort of evens out a little bit. So we're still getting used to the tipping thing. And so there isn't the tip option. And the tip option gives me an opportunity to be generous because the world of the generous gets larger and larger. And the world of the stingy The Bible says gets smaller and smaller. And so sometimes I'll sit there and I'll say, how much tip Do you want? And they get awkward. I'm like, you want 22% Do you want 50% You want 100% Just want 100 bucks, and I begin to offer these people something that they don't deserve because they deserve if they did a good job 22% Max. That's what they deserve. And if they do bad, do we get to decrease it or is that just totally inappropriate? Like natural? I feel like if you don't do it Your job goes down, each error is down 2%. Now that one, that's what I've in the flesh in the sinful part of me. And I offer people a gift and they are so awkward and some don't take it. You see, they don't have to work to receive my generous tip, they just need to receive it. And so faith is not replace works. Faith is us, putting our trust in that Jesus is promises or yesterday, I am a man. And we are choosing to receive by faith in the thing that we're hoping for the free gift of cell Vation that's offered to us by God. Faith believes the good news of the free gift of salvation. Faith is our way of receiving the gift rather than rejecting the grift because God gives grace to the humbled to receive the gift and the prideful, reject the gift. Faith is not works. Faith is believing and putting your trust in that this gift that God's giving you is secure is eternal, is free and doesn't require me to do anything. Except open my hands and say thank you, God for the gift. I don't know about you, but I was a pretty good sinner. How about you? I mean, how many you still pretty good. I can see a few of you. I know I gotta be Josh louring, you should see the guys sin. I mean, it's next level. I mean, really confronting to be his friend, as a pastor. Joking. It's Scott, you need to worry about Jimson. He's next level. And if you put them together, you may as well be hanging out with Judas. I mean, it's full on. But don't worry, grace is undeserved. You guys are good. But we're thankful because without his grace, none of us would have made it. Without His grace, none of us could do the good works without his grace, our good, doing good doesn't make God do good on our behalf. So it's a grace that saves us from eternal damnation. It's a grace that saves us from being sinners, transforms us from sinner into St. It's a grace that takes us from darkness into light. It's a grace that saves us internally. And we can't earn it. We can't work for it. But you see, grace that just saves us is wonderful for eternity. But how does that help us daily? Number two, a grace that sustains us. When we work our way through studying the Scripture and we we look through the word grace and to get an understanding of the word grace. In the New Testament, the word grace is used 134 times, and just over 80 of those is written is in the Apostle Paul's letters to us. And so grace is a huge emphasis in the life of Paul. But even it's a huge emphasis in the New Testament. But the thing about Christianity is it's not just for eternity. It's for now, and it's for this afternoon. And Christianity doesn't just happen on Sunday, but happens on Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, back around to Sunday. And so when we work our way through Scripture understanding the word grace, we begin to learn that it's not just a quality or, or the disposition of God to give free gifts to men. But it's actually the action to influence based on God's character or disposition towards us. Grace can be defined as unmerited favor, but it's also just defined as a divine influence, a divine action, a divine power, a divine force, it says upon the human heart. And so I want us to look at a grace that sustains us because if it's a force that produces action in our life, it's a force that produces practical outcomes in our daily lives. And so there needs to be a practical outworking through a place of humility to trust God to let his divine influence work in us so that we can function in this life. Two Corinthians chapter 12, verses nine to Corinthians 12 None This is Paul had just asked God, there's a thorn in his flesh. To Buffett, him, the Bible says, And he says, I took this to God three times, and said, God, would you take it away? And poorest. And then God responds to Paul's request, to take away this thorn, by saying this is but he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that in in the power of Christ so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Paul comes, and he says to Jesus to God, he says, this thing is in my side, it's it's obviously not an actual Thorn, just for clarification sake. There's a problem. There are persecutions there are challenges, the challenge is debated. But what's known is that there's a challenge that pulls had enough. Have you ever had a challenge day by day that you've had enough of it's frustrating? Doesn't mean you don't love the person in front of you, but they are challenging husband stop looking at your wives, it will get you in a lot of trouble. Yes. I did exactly what I said not to do I looked at salve, you are not a thorn in my side. You are a rib of my body. And therefore we'll get to divine order later. But But, but pulse, he said, there's a problem. I've got big problems. And he's saying God, would you take it away from me. And God responds and said, Son, My grace is sufficient for for my power, is made perfect in weakness. He's saying my unmerited favor. to influence your life, and to sustain you, is made perfect when you are weak. Because when you are strong, are you in need of someone to make you be strong. He say my grace by my Sufficient Grace is there to help you in your challenge in your time of need. When your children are going crazy when that sickness, you cannot shake when work is an absolute mess, when ever it is whether your bank account is empty, and you're struggling with your bank account is full, because you haven't paid your taxes. And now you're stressed and you're in a place of weakness. Whatever it is, he's like, son, My grace is sufficient for you. Because my power, my power to influence you and help you is made perfect. When you are weak, because when you are weak, then I can be strong. Because he opposes the proud those who can do it all on their own. You want to see pride, ask the man, if he would like you to pull out the map when you're going somewhere that you know you should know where to go. And the response will be underneath the map. At least that used to be these days is Google Maps comes on instantly. It's put it on, tells you press home work, Jim. But you get the point. You can't help a proud person because they weren't receive your help. So what's our responsibility is to humble ourselves and say, God, I cannot endure this on my own. I cannot do this on my own which and he comes and he gives divine action, power, a force to influence you to sustain you through your every day. Trials. It's a grace that carries you when you can't carry yourself. It's a grace that cares for you when you can't, can't care for yourself. It's a grace that sustains its sustenance to your life. It's a grace that settles you when everything is chaotic. But he gives grace to the humble but he opposes the proud. It's a powerful divine force that enables you to endure when you're running out of endurance. It is the Red Bull on the last mile of a marathon. When you have no strength, it's why people they talk about the 12 hour God comes through in the last minute you ever heard that? The reason most the time God comes through in the last hour is because that's when you start relying on him to come through. Because for the other 23 You've been doing it on your own for The other 23 You've been fighting in the flesh. Look, we all do it. But if we don't have an understanding that God helps those who helps themselves is a lie, then we will think we have to do the work for God to come through. But he's saying, Would you just come to me in the first place, so it doesn't take 24 hours to get your miracle, because he opposes the proud and he gives grace to the humble. He gives you endurance to sustain you, in your weakness. He is strong is Hemingway helping somebody this morning, helping myself, I have such an disposition to do things on my own. My whole life, I don't like asking for help. And so we have that natural ability, but we have to humble ourselves, so that God can help us in our time, amen. Grace that saves a grace that sustains and a grace that empowers us. The Bible says that empowers us for good works to Ephesians chapter two, verse eight, we read it earlier through 10 says, For Grace, For by grace, you have been saved, thank God, and this is not of your own doing Christian never would have been able to do it. It is the gift of God's free gift. Because if you aren't it, it's wages if you get it to gift, not a result of your work so that anyone may boast. Here's what it says in verse 10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. You see, Grace does not produce lazy Christians. Grace does not produce sinful Christians. Grace, so a misunderstanding of grace might produce lazy Christians and misunderstanding of grace. We call it grazie grace. You ever heard of that? Although I'm not so convinced grace is a bad thing. Because if you add grace to a cheeseburger, it ups the level of goodness. So I don't want to call it greasy grace. slimy. Yeah, we'll take slightly because a slimy burger is definitely not a good thing. If your burger is slimy, you should send it back, take 2% off the tip, actually, for a slimy burger like 10% off the tip. And then grace will kick in and you can add 10% Come on, that's our church in Jesus name. All right. But if we, if we're saved by grace, then we are to live by grace. We're saved at about sinful state by grace. And then we are empowered by divine influence to live by grace to rest in His grace for sustainment for him during to help us in our time of need. But we're also to live to actively live by this divine influences an old preacher who said of grace hasn't changed you, then Grace probably hasn't saved you. Because grace is a gift of God. And if it's a gift of God, and you've got it, it's gonna work. You see, we have to understand it's a practical, empowering for our daily lives. We are empowered to live holy, every you might have heard, I know none of you do it. But you might have heard that people like ah, I messed up, but God's a God of grace. They even in the Bible, they used to talk about it, and Paul had to address it. He said, If we're saved, if Grace is so good, shall we go on sinning then? And Paul says, certainly not. We are empowered to live holy because you are saved from sin. Not so you can sin. Grace is a divine influence of the Almighty of the holy and if it's divine influence is influencing your life, then you're predisposed disposition is no longer that of sinner but it's that of Saint. And if you're a saint or a sinner, then your natural response should be that of holiness, not of sinfulness. And this is the journey this is us understanding that his grace can transform us from the inside out to Titus chapter. So Titus chapter two verse 11. It says, For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all people. This is what the divine influence does. You think you're have been saved and you still mess up? That's okay. We all error, some more than others. But we all we all make none of us have got it all together. But it says this Since the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all, and it says, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives, in this present age, the grace of God has come for salvation fall, and the divine influence the the action, the divine power to influence our lives is training us day by day, to renounce ungodliness, to renounce the love of the world. To put aside self indulgence to live self controlled, you say I couldn't control myself or just, you have the divine influence, you have the grace of God, teaching you to be self controlled, to live upright, and to live godly, in this present, age. That means even when it's difficult, that means even when culture is pushing back, it means that you can be trained, in fact, you are being trained and influenced and empowered by the Divine Grace of God to live, holy. So reject worldliness. So reject sin. And if you mess up and you fall into it, repent of your sin, come to Jesus, come to your friend come to a pastor and say, I messed up. But the thing about understanding that you've messed up as it shows us that grace has changed your heart anyway. Because if you grace hadn't changed your heart, then you wouldn't care about what you did. You'd keep it hidden. You'd keep it this because you're ashamed. But you know, it's not who you are anymore. And so you can come to your friend, to your leader to your password, just directly to Jesus and say, I am sorry, that is not who I am. May Your grace Humble yourselves to admit you were wrong. So the grace of God can empower you to keep on living. The grace of God empowers us for hard work. We're not supposed to be lazy. We're supposed to be the hardest workers in our environments. We're supposed to what I love Danny cruzeiro, I don't know where he's gonna be here, man. The grace of God is actively functioning in Danny's life, because I watch him come from tending to farms hanging out with horses, doing what he does straight from there, he comes into this place, and we actually pay daddy now, but we didn't used to, and he did what he does now for free. He would come in and work hard to clean this building. He would mop it, he would clean the place. Whatever I need he would do and whatever I don't need, he would ask if I need him to do it. Because the grace of God empowers us to work hard, lazy people in the workplace are not functioning according to grace, they're functioning according to the flesh. When you work in your environment, you don't look to how can I get out of working hard as a Christian, you look to work to be the hardest worker, because your life is a witness of the one who saved you. One Corinthians chapter 15, verse 10, Paul says, but by the grace of God, I am now what I am. He says I am what I am. But he's saying because of the grace of God, this is now who I am. And his grace towards me was not in vain. On the contrary, it feels like he's boasting. But he says On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them. But then he comes to the place of humility. But it was not me. It was the grace of God that was in his acknowledging his ability to work harder than everybody else, was not because of how good Paul was, but because of how reliant he was on the divine influence of grace in his life, to work harder to be a witness of the reality of the goodness of God that saved him from being the worst of sinners, to being the one who gave us two thirds of the Bible and empowers us to work hard and whatever we do. So work hard, and let Grace manifest in your life. Grace that empowers us to be equipped for every good work. Two Corinthians chapter nine, verse eight, it says, And God is able to make all grace abound to you that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound for every good work. We're not saved by doing doing good works. But when we are saved, we begin to do good works because we were saved, to be good people, to help people to give glory to God. We're not saved by good works, but we are saved, to do good works, James comes out. And he basically says, you show me your faith. And I'll show you my faith by my works. He's saying, I'm going to prove to you that I am saved, because Christ has changed me, because if Grace hasn't changed you that it probably hasn't saved you. And James is not going against the message of Paul. He's saying the proof of my saving by grace is that I do good works to help to preach the gospel to help the widows to look after the orphans. He says you have faith, but I can't see any active proof of life transformation. Because grace doesn't produce lazy people or sinful people. It produces holy people who work hard in their environment and do good works to advance the Kingdom of God in whatever capacity that looks like. The grace that saves grace and sustains in a grace that powers I'll close with this Hebrews chapter four verses 16. He says, Let us then with confidence, draw nearer to the throne of grace, let us with confidence draw near to the undeserved favor of God, that we may receive mercy, to not get what we do deserve and find grace, the divine empowerment for our daily lives, to help us in our time, of need. Let us come boldly to the throne of favor, where we get what we don't deserve. So that we can continue on in our lives, enjoying the fact that we're not getting what we do desert. And so that grace may be able to quicken us to influence to sustain us to empower us in our very time of need, and that word need is going to be different for everybody in different seasons in different circumstances. But it's there today until you're gonna be okay, you're gonna get through this season, it's gonna be alright. But God doesn't help those who help himself he helps those who surrender themselves to his will to His Spirit and say, God, I cannot do it on my own. But I need you. And in the time of me with that be the last hour of the day of the first is when the grace of God becomes manifest in us because he opposes the proud. He opposes those who try to do it by themselves and he gives power and it gives influence and it gives undeserved favor to those that say Jesus name. In Jesus name, Amen.