As you can tell by the title of this little blog, I kind of like the idea of grace. I mean, apart from grace we have nothing. Apart from grace we are nothing but a bunch of rebellious, hell-bound, wrath-deserving... well, you get the idea. Grace is amazing. I think someone even wrote a song about that.
So, I'm reading through our daily reading plan at church, looking for Sunday night's message. I preach through books on Sunday mornings (we're in John at the moment) and then for Sunday evenings, I take a text from that week's readings. Anyway, I'm reading through this week, and I come to Isaiah 55.
Now, let me say something. One of the reasons I think preaching through a book on Sunday morning is a good idea is because it forces me to address the topics as God's Word brings them up. I don't get to pick and choose. I don't get to skip over things, or just dwell on my favorite texts and topics, etc. I think that's a wise approach to get to the "whole counsel" of God's Word.
And as I'm reading here in Isaiah 55 I'm reminded why this is a good practice. Because I LOVE this chapter. I'd probably come here way too often. 53 is obviously an amazing text, one I could meditate on forever. But I love 55 as well. What a great chapter. And it's all about grace.
Granted, the word isn't used there at all. But the concept... "He who has no money, come, buy and eat!" Come and find God's salvation, you who have nothing to offer, no means of getting it! That's grace. "Let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Grace, grace, grace!
Anyway, I'm reading this chapter, and looking for all the things grace is to fill in the outline, and before I know it, I have it "narrowed down" to EIGHT points. That's right, an 8 point sermon. And that really was narrowing it down, I think. Because grace is so...well, amazing!
And then I think, "Am I overdoing this?" I'm I overemphasizing this thing called grace? Can we "overdo" grace? I mean, if I talk about grace too much, does that lessen the reality of sin? Does it make it seem like our sin isn't that big a deal?
C. H. Surgeon once said: "We think that we are honoring God when we think great thoughts of our sin. Let us recollect, that while we ought to think very greatly of our own sin, we dishonor God if we think our sin greater than his grace. God’s grace is infinitely greater than the greatest of our crimes."
Infinitely greater than the greatest of our crimes. So, can we really overdo grace? Well.... I think sometimes grace can be misunderstood and misapplied. Paul even addresses some of those potential problems in Romans 6. But in the end, true grace, truly understood, can never be "overdone" or "over emphasized."
Truly, apart from grace, we have nothing. No hope. No life. No...anything. I'm no John Newton, but I even penned a little hymn/ditty about this glorious grace not too long ago. I can't help it. I think about grace all the time. I love to preach it, because I know I so desperately need it. And you do, too.
I hope I don't scare any of our folks away who might read this and think, "An EIGHT point sermon on Sunday night!" I'll try to keep 'em relatively brief. But oh my! Grace! It's the theme of the song we'll sing for all eternity. We're just getting warmed up....
"The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you."