The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

By Pastor Charles Empey
For the Record 

God's Amazing Grace

 

Last updated 9/21/2021 at 7:06pm



The Apostle Paul used his own life to illustrate God's amazing grace. He wrote in Romans 7:24-25 under the inspiration of God, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." In I Timothy 2:15, Paul spoke clearly of his own unworthiness, calling himself the chiefest of sinners. It says, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." Back in I Corinthians 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

In years gone by God brought into my life a fellow Pastor who at one time was with the mob. He was a part of this organization and the only way out of it was death. That was the oath they made. You and your family would be assassinated if you left it. One day he heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about His grace to save sinners. It gripped my friend's heart. He couldn't do anything else but repent from his sin and sinful lifestyle and believe on Jesus Christ the Lord as his Lord and Saviior. His family followed suit, but now what? How does a true believer continue with the mob who murders, steals and anything else that will profit them? Well, my friend took a deep breath and went to the head of that faction of the mob and shared his experience of salvation with him and how he would not be able to be conscientious to his duties to his Master and Savior Jesus and be faithful to that organization, as well. The end of the story is truly a testament to God's grace. The head of that faction of the mob was moved by his testimony and released him, set him free with the promise he would have nothing to fear. To this day, many years later, he serves God as a Pastor and preacher of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Grace, grace, wonderful grace…" the song says.

I'm so thankful to keep announcing that the salvation Jesus purchased with His blood on the cross and proved the validity of its work by His resurrection is all of grace and not of anything in our own strength and actions. Ephesians 2:8 even tells us that the faith that we exercise to be saved is not of ourselves, but is a gift of God. You and I have faith in a lot of stuff, but the faith to be saved in Christ is sent of God to our hearts to exercise. You can't do enough of anything religiously and finally get to heaven. It is by grace through faith in Jesus and Jesus alone. That is part of its amazing quality.

Ive been studying the Apostle Peter, and he is an awesome encouragement to me when it comes to those moments I am examining how I am doing. Jesus told Peter at one point that Satan was sifting him. Now that's not good. Another time Peter said that he would never offend nor deny Jesus his loyalty. Jesus, of course, told him that he would deny Him 3 times and on the third would hear a roaster crow. Peter did just that when asked if he was a friend and partner with Jesus. He even talked like an unbeliever, cursing to make himself look like the lost world. When he did this the third time there was the rooster. He was grief stricken, but it was too late; he had done just what Jesus said he would do. There was a time before Jesus was arrested and Peter denied Him that, of all things, took Jesus aside and instructed Him on how to do something right! The Almighty God in the flesh?!! The Son of God?!! What was he thinking?!!! Well, Jesus then shocked Peter by saying to him, "Get thee behind me Satan." He was saying that Peter was cooperating with Satan, trying to keep Him from going to Jerusalem where He would be in danger, when it was time for Him to go to the cross, even in Peter's and our behalf. What a blow to Peter's heart to hear such rebuke. Jesus knew that Peter had allowed Satan to take charge of his reasoning, bringing satanic instruction to his thought process.

Now, what employer could use a guy with problems of dishonesty and desserts commitments, in this case, commitments to the Almighty God. "I will not forsake you, Jesus!" Peter was a man who spoke before thinking with a confidence in himself…such confidence that he even felt comfortable counseling God! Is that laughable or what? Well, be careful. As Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Sounds like all of us need Jesus and His amazing grace, not just Peter.

Let's now put a cap on this venture into God's amazing grace in His salvation. In Jn. 21:15-19 Jesus, following His resurrection, in His glorified body, actually commissioned the Apostle Peter to become the pastor/leader of the first church. On his inauguration day that would be on the Day of Pentecost after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven by Jesus just as He promised to do for the church, Peter preached the first sermon in the body of that church and to the hearing of thousands in Jerusalem and would see 3,000 souls saved and baptized. Jesus actually entrusted this brother who had gotten in so much trouble with Him with the leadership, pastoring and care of His first church. That's grace…amazing grace. One day it was "get thee behind me, Satan," and after Jesus resurrection it was Peter would you take the leadership of my first church, a roll that it didn't appear he deserved. Yes, Peter was a sinner saved by grace. Yes, still a sinner in some capacity after he was saved, having been rebuked numerous times, yet worthy to be who and do what? Experience God's amazing grace through the power of Jesus blood and sealing and sanctifying Holy Spirit and be an under-shepherd for the Chief Shepherd. We call them "pastors."

Luke 5:30 says to our favor, "But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?" Jesus' M.O. was His interest in sinners…not righteous people, that is, people who thought they were in and of themselves righteous, but sinners. Luke 5:32 says of Jesus, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Romans 5:8 says clearly the purpose for which Jesus came…"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

We quote John 3:16 a lot, but overlook too often Verse 17…"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." The "world." That sounds all inclusive, doesn't it? It is!! Jesus just said "sinners." He did not say those who sin small, medium or large. He said, "sinners." He said, "world." That is amazing grace…favor shown…not yours or my favor, our grace that is fickle, but the amazing grace of God that is driven by His love that is as sovereign as He is. Everything God is willing to give is as eternal and powerful in result as anything else He has done, does or will ever do. His grace, His grace is not fickle nor with limits. It is all inclusive, ready to pour out on whosoever, whosoever, believes on His Son. Scripture says that Jesus came with GRACE and MERCY. Do you want it? You can have it. God gave it to Jesus to give and He holds it in His hand ready to give all who will sincerely, truly believe.

Charles Empey is the Pastor of Cove Baptist Church, Orange, TX.

 

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