ACTS 14:3 & 20:32
INTRO: "Grace" is a profoundly important part of God's nature. Early in the history of Israel He said, "For I am gracious" (Ex 22:27). Although the word "grace" is not a prominent Old Testament word (at least, in connection with God), His grace is demonstrated repeatedly. Then, of course, the grace of God comes into greater focus in the pages of the New Testament. It is there that we find this simple, wonderful statement: "by grace ye are saved" (Eph 2:5). So, we find ourselves reveling in the unmerited favor of God and often singing "Amazing Grace". I am not terribly surprised, then, to find God's word described as "the word of His grace".
I. GOD'S WORD IS MOST ASSUREDLY THE WORD OF HIS GRACE
A. Without it we would never know of His grace
1. according toRom 1:20, we might have some realization of Deity
2. but according to Rom 1:16,17, the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel ... His word - and note, too, "the just shall live by faith"
3. then, Rom 10:17 - without His word there could be no faith - no salvation
B. So, Acts 20:24 - the apostle's mission? to make known the grace of God
1. "gospel" is a significant word here - "good news" or "glad tidings"
2. to know of the grace of God and the manifestations of it is good news
3. to describe God's word as "the word of his grace" is very appropriate
C. Acts 14:3 - the apostle is in Iconium to speak "boldly in the Lord"
1. notice, though, that what he spoke was "the word of his grace"
2. to those without Christ this must be the message proclaimed
3. people need to know of the grace of God which offers reconciliation
D. The specifics of the message? - Acts 13:38,39
1. the fulfillment of prophecy is the risen Jesus
2. because of what Jesus did forgiveness of sins can be preached
3. believe in Jesus accomplishes that which the law of Moses could not - justification
E. The apostle Paul knew from experience it was a word of grace
1. 1 Tim 1:12-15 - he could, with feeling, preach the word of grace
2. he had been the recipient of the blessings of the grace of God - it was not just another topic for study to him
3. "...I obtained mercy..." - why? how? by the grace of God
II. FURTHER OBSERVATIONS
A. Titus 2:11,12 - Note the connection between God's grace and teaching
1. first connection: God's grace and salvation (the great message)
2. second connection: God's grace came teaching
3. so, for the word of God to be call the word of his grace is certainly helpful
4. v. 12 gives some of the content of what God's grace teaches
B. Gal 1:6 - Called into the grace of Christ
1. Rom 5:2 refers to "grace wherein we stand" - a "position" of the saved
2. the apostle tells us we are called into this grace
3. question: how is one "called"? answer: by the word of His grace - the gospel
4. the concern? the gospel can be perverted - the word of His grace can be perverted and become an instrument of damnation
C. Acts 20:32 - A great "boon" for Christians
1. he will likely never see these brethren again in this life
2. it was a truly emotional setting (20:37)
3. what final advice can he give them? what security can he leave with them?
4. he entrusts them to the protection of God
5. but on a very human and practical level he entrusts them to "the word of his grace"
6. what can the word of His grace accomplish in Christians? it can build them up - why is the reading, study of the word of His grace so important? it is the medium by which our growing and maturing as Christians takes place
7. and that growth leads ultimately to our inheritance among the saints
CLOSE: So we may sing the song "His Grace Reaches Me". And we can only sing that song with true meaning because of what the word of His grace makes known to us. Has His grace reached you? Have you been washed of your sins, cleansed by the blood of Jesus? I would share one more simple statement: The grace of God meets your faith in the waters of baptism. If you have not been baptized, His grace is waiting for your obedient faith.
Cecil A. Hutson
21 January 2007
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)