Date: September 2, 2018 (Sunday PM)
Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 8:9 | Steve Damron
We’ll be looking at 2 Corinthians Chapter 9. We referenced this last week, but tonight we’re going to be camping out with this verse at 2 Corinthians Chapter 9. There is a religious conference probably about a hundred years ago or so at Oxford University in London. The wise and the scholarly were in a spirit of a debate about what was unique about Christianity. Someone in the course of the conversation suggested that Christianity was set apart from other religions because of the incarnation, and they argued a little bit about that, and some were saying that is unseen as heavy, a reason, and some said the resurrection and they pointed to Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15, but then they say that another man walked in to the room he was a famous apologist. He walked into the room and after hearing a little bit of the debate, he said what’s all this ruffle’s about? So we’re debating about what’s unique about Christianity, Oh that’s easy, said the apologist, its grace. Then he pointed out that only Christianity claims God’s love comes free-of-charge, no strings attached. And so, what do you mean? And he said Buddhas follow an eight fold of full path to enlighten it at all. It’s not free at all, you go to follow that path and hopefully you don’t fall off the path. Hindus believe in karma that your actions determine your next life. Jew-Jews that one must keep God’s law in order to be acceptable to God. And in-in Islam one must do certain actions to appease Allah, who is not a god of love, and then he said only Christianity proposes and believes in a God who loves mankind unconditionally. So much so that he devised a plan to provide salvation as a totally free gift that merely has to be accepted by faith, plus nothing and minus nothing, grace is a distinctive of Christianity and yet we use that term, sometimes we don’t understand what it means. So in 2 Corinthians 9:8 it says God is able. Remember, we looked at Daniel in the concept of God is able through those passages in Daniel, but here it is again in the book of Corinthians, and in the book of Corinthians, God is able and what is God able to do to make all grace abound, He’s able to make all grace abound and what is he toward us, that he, always having all sufficiency and all things may abound to good word, that is a reference back to what? The grace God is able to give us. Is that, what is grace? We’re going to consider that this evening, God is able to give us all grace, all the grace that we need, and I hope by the end of this evening that we understand what that grace is that God wants to give us. Heavenly Father, I pray that you would bless this evening, help us as we come to scriptures, we bow before it, we know that it is our life line or life blood and we thank You fo0for preserving it for us, as we spoke this morning about that. Pray Lord that you do, that which I can’t, let it speaks to hearts and power the message. Lord meet with us, make us a better people because of being in Your church this evening, in Jesus name. Amen. So 2 Corinthians 9:8 God is able to make all grace abound. So we’re going to think about a few things about grace. First, the, the statement of grace as I consider, what’s, what do I mean by the statement of grace? Kind of defining it. There’s three type of grace, when you go to commentators or in theology, when they talk about grace you will normally hear them divide it into three different areas and so we’re going to divide it into those three different areas. You may find a couple more, but normally you’ll find it divided into three different areas. So let me give you these three areas, you have saving grace, you have sustaining grace and then you have sanctifying grace, and it’s all found in the Bible so let’s first think about saving grace. Saving grace what does that mean? Ephesians 2:8-9 for by what? Grace are you saved. So in saint/saved, there is no other way to get saved it, but by grace. So what is this statement of grace? So what does that mean, what does grace mean? Well you heard unmerited favor, right? We’ve all heard that, so explain it to me. Like oh yeah, oh gracious, unmerited favor. What does that mean? I don’t know, it’s unmerited favor. What I believe grace is God’s enablement, God’s empowerment to do what you can’t do, right, so unmerited favor, yeah that’s kind of good de-definition in some ways if you want to answer something on your test, or stuff like that or on your class, but I need a little more than that, and as I’ve been studying it, every area, saving grace, sustaining grace and sanctifying grace, all three of those grace is God’ enablement, what it saying is, I can’t do this! So how do I, how do I do this? And in God’s grace, so salvation requires grace that means you can’t do it on your own. We all know that! And so I don’t think I have to dwell on that long because I think most of us sitting here “Oh yeah, let’s party right there, we can get all of our hankies out, we’re talking about that earlier, we get our hankies out and go oh oh oh” Alright really, yeah we know that. Okay, saving grace, we can’t get to heaven without God, we can’t do it, for by grace are you saved. So let’s look at the second one. The second one is sustaining grace, well in Corinthians we have an example of sustaining grace, it’s found in verse uh, II Corinthians where in 9, go to chapter 12. It’s a well-known passage where Paul, the apostle is talking about a problem. He said in verse 6, for though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice. Now, how many times is that? Three times. That it might depart from me. Look what God said to him, he said unto him “Suck it up, be a man!”. Nope that’s not there, he said unto him “My” what? “Grace”. So what’s grace again? That’s that empowerment, it is the enabling of God to do that which you and I cannot do. Paul had something which was hindering him, it was a thorn in the flash, it was a trial, it was a tribulation, and he went to God and he say “God you’ve got to remove this” and he didn’t just go once, he went twice and he went another time, and God said “No, my strength, my enablement will help you get through this” It is a sustaining grace. Paul doesn’t tell us really what is thorn in the flesh is, and people could debate on that and they have debated about that for years, decades, centuries, lots of volumes written just on the thorn in the flesh, and some are thinking “welp, I’m married it”, but anyways we’ll move off of there, but it says, notice on verse 10, therefore I take pleasure in what? So we know it was some type of infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Well, what’s all the discussion you’re saying that, that thorn in the flash was given to him, and essence to keep him kind of humble cause he was very unique, most have studied this in-in theology technically the apostle Paul shouldn’t have been an apostle. We know that an apostle described in the Bible, in theology, is somebody that was right there with Jesus, they saw him they talk to him, we got the apostle John, we got the apostle Peter, but the apostle Paul, he wasn’t there, but yet studying the scriptures it seems as though 3 years he was with Christ, says he was carried into the heavens, that’s why we call him the apostle Paul or you know what, most of us, you and I, I could see some of you like ah- like so why are you the apostle Steve? Well, I don’t really wanna talk about it, but since you asked, (ah) I got a book coming out, kind of a movie deal, but I’ll let you in on it, but I was carried into the third heaven and what’s it, what uh, eh I shouldn’t really tell it (ah), alright I’ll talk about it, that’s my second book in the volume, alright most of us that’s what we’ve been doing lately. We been all talking about it, we’re all arrogant cause all of you don’t understand, but God gave him a thorn of flesh, said “Hey you glory in Christ” and then that thorn in flesh seem like an infirmity, and there was persecutions, there was all kind, even of necessities, what does that mean? He didn’t have the necessities of what? Most of us know that in the apostle Paul, he didn’t have much, and when he came to God and he said “God come one, I’m trying to serve you, I’m trying to do what’s right, I’m trying to start churches, I’m trying to preach for you”. God said “Hey, my grace is sufficient for thee, my grace is sufficient”. God chose not to remove that thorn in the flesh whether it was healing of an infirmity, he said “No, I am not removing it” instead He said “My grace is sufficient” and then Paul said “I most gladly will glory in my infirmity”. That’s God’s sustaining grace, God’s sustaining is, in this case, the power and strength to persevere and overcome in trials and difficulties. So when a trial comes into your life, what do you need? Just like in salvation, you need God’s grace, so I need God’s grace in a trial. You gotta God, only God can impart grace, for by grace are you saved right? It’s not of yourself, so when a trial comes, when difficulty comes, and you say “You know what I just got to suck it up, I’m going to be tough” and you don’t go to God, you will not find God’s grace. Paul went to God, and through God he found the grace for that trial. If on your own, you’re trying to get through your own trial, you’re going to be disappoint cause God’s sustaining grace is His sustaining grace, it’s right in the statement. So we said that there’s God saving grave, there’s God sustaining grace, so then there’s sanctifying. Again we find it in Corinthians, it’s found in 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Corinthians 15 in this passage, at the beginning of this passage this is where Paul declares the gospel and the gospel is that Jesus was buried in Christ, died for our sins, he was buried, he rose again and he continues down to verse 9 and he says 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But look what he says on verse 10, but by the grace of God, I am what I am, and this grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain or it wasn’t wasted, it wasn’t empty, but I labored more abundantly that they all yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. So the sanctifying grace, the sanctifying grace. Okay so there’s saving grace, saving grace is that which gets me saved, I can’t get saved so I come to God and say “God, your mercy and in your grace, can you save me? He can, he can do that. So then I come to God and I say “Alright God, I have this trial, I have this difficulty, I can’t seem to get through it” and God says “No you can’t, I’ll give you grace, my grace is sufficient” but then there’s the- not a trial or difficulty, what’s the apostle, what was the apostleship of Paul? It was what God called him to do. He’s going and doing this work that God had him, and what does he say? “I, I feel unworthy God, I’m the least of the apostles, I mean I tried to persecute the church, and this were what some of us get, and You think that, oh woah that guy over there, I mean you- given Thursday night, I sit there and I’m on (uh), I just like his name Pastor, evangelist squanky. Alright, I just like his name so that’s why I have to have him conquest, I just wanna say it like “Hey were having brother squanky” “Squankies comin’ up” “Man she’s/he’s a squank”. Alright, I just like saying this, hey, but he gets up here, and he preaches, and he studies the word of God, man his energy is off to church. Man he can just lay it out there. He say “Wow”, but you know what? I know what he’s depending upon him, I’ve sit and talked with him, it’s God’s grace. He knows that, he can’t do it, and I think some, we look at somebody and-and we look at them and say “Wow”, or maybe it’s an emulator, or maybe it’s- it’s, we, we put all kinds of human things on their life and say “That’s why God’s blessing ‘em”. No it’s not! God’s blessing comes because God’s grace is there, and when you rest upon God’s grace his sanctifying grace you know what, I am what I am, I am not much God, I am the least, but God says through His grace, you can accomplish it. And what does that mean? Just like you are relying upon Christ for salvation. All the way, there is not one bit of you that’s going to get you into heaven. In the same way, when God calls you to do something, and that means witnessing. Witnessing is not easy, I can tell you that. Most of us know that sometimes- there is nobody except for really odd people and some of you are sitting here, I know that so we’re trying not to adjust that, but there are some of you that really like being rejected which is weird, just so you know it’s really odd. So you’re like “Oh, they’re going to come up, they’re going to slam the door” and we know you need to airpee. Okay, but none of us really like rejection, but more than likely scripturally when you witness what’s the majority of people gonna do. Broad is the way that leads to life, eternal life, no, to destruction. The majority of the people you witness to, that you share God’s word. I mean here, you found that word of God is precious, it’s change your life, I wanna share with some *expression*, what? My job through His grace is just to share this: Empower me, give me the grace, and that means His enabling, and today’s day and age, that’s what’s funny to me, you study biblically what’s grace is. You know there is a big grace movement? They have no idea what it is. Grace means God empowering, God’s enabling and it’s God’s enabling for you to do that which you can’t, that means, I supposed to the grace movement, that means God probably gonna ask you to do something that you can’t do. It’s hard, it’s hard, alright everytime, I’m sorry I’m not gonna do it, it’s really not in my notes, I’m promise you man, but everytime Math gives a testimony, we understand that he’s got a problem with us, he hates us, despises us, I feel really low. Coming up at a hard time preaching, after like a, he hates me, he hates me, but he’s trying, praise the Lord! He’s trying to love me (ahaha), I did not have it in my notes, I really didn’t, I really didn’t, but it came to me as an inspiration, think about it, inspiration (ahaha), but you know God asks us sometimes to do things, you know the bible says love your friends, enemies. You know what that takes? God’s grace. It’s not natural, it’s natural to love people that give you something, it’s natural to love people that do all kinds of things for you, but it’s not natural to love someone that is your enemy, but (yeah) God says, His grace is sufficient, I am what I am God, you know what I am, but God says “Hey like with Paul, but I labored more abundantly than they all yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me”. So let me give you a couple other thoughts in regards to God is able to give You grace. So, what’s the source of grace? So how do I get this? I mean where do I get this then? It’s pretty easy, let me read you a bunch of verses, and you’re gonna give me the answer back. Romans 16:24, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. 1 Corinthians 16:23, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Galatians 1:3, grace be to you and peace from the God the Father, and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:2, grace be to you and peace from the God the Father, and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:6, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:7, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. So where is the source of grace? God or Christ? Christ is full of grace. So you go to Christ? You rely on Him? He is the source of grace. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. Then He said my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Notice He said “Grace is sufficient” and the “Power of Christ” is kind of connecting them, isn’t He? I believe Christ is the author, and not only the author and finisher of faith, I think he’s the author and finisher of grace. Grace comes through Christ, so He’s the source of grace. So how much grace is there? I mean, can I use it up? Like you know what? One more and I could be in your home like you’re usin’ up your grace. Okay, it’s found right in our verse and God is able to make all grace abound that yee having all sufficiency and all things may abound, does it sound like there’s a limit to God’s grace? There isn’t. You can go to, to use an analogy of a well, you can go to the well of God’s grace and it’ll never run dry. You can keep going and keep going and keep going and you say “God, I need more” and He’ll give you more and He’ll give you more, but there are some stipulations for grace. One is, found in Romans 12 it says this for I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, and then it says according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Then in Romans 12, it continues to talk verse 6, having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us. Grace is given for what you need, it’s given to you for what you need. So, think of this, when I need saved, what does God give me? Saving grace. Then, I’ve been there, I’ve seen this, I have been with folks under death bed, and guess what God had given them? Dying grace. They didn’t have it a day before, they had it right when they needed it. You get it when you need it, you don’t need grace for your trial that’s next to you. Okay, it’s not like we’ve thought of this, college students you know we’re trying to help you on this, we’ve thought of like detention debit card. Alright so when you’re feeling good you’ve got a lot of help, whatever you could just go work a bunch of hours and you stored up on this list. D.T. debit card and then you can come in and be like “Hey you know what? Oh yeah you got a couple hours you like to swipe it right. No no no no no no. Maybe you can have extra and store up for a rainy day”. That's not how grace works, you get grace when you need it, for the need. I think that's biblical found in Romans. Well, but then what's the other stipulation? It’s found in James chapter 4, and James chapter 4 we have another stipulation on grace. It says but He is talking about Christ giveth more grace. He's got lots of it to give. Wherefore he says. God resisted the proud but He given grace to the humble, you know what wipes out your grace? Your arrogance. That's biblical scorn. You all the son you you're like “You don't know what I did”, but what just happened? Your grace is gone. God resists the problem, He can't stand the proud, He hates the proud. In fact it's in a list in Proverbs chapter 6, a lot of things that the Lord hates, you don't like it, and part of it is that it's God's grace. Grace is what? It's his enabling. It's his empowerment. So if in salvation I get haughty, and say well wait a minute I can get saved. You know what that does to God, you know what that does. I believe it makes it angry God is jealous of his glory, He's jealous of his honor, and when I come to a trial and I say “Well you know what it was, I was able to do a lot of things, I know the Lord help me, but what I remember when I was a little, I learn to just help” Better watch it cause you’re taking credit for something you can’t do, and that is handled at trial and difficulty, and that's when somebody says “Wow it’s amazing, it's amazing" that you came through” that it's God's grace it's a testimony of God's grace deserve any, and it's not because I'm so powerful and so strong. Look at Paul what did he say I'm the least of the apostles. I can't do this, I can't accomplish this. So how did you do it Paul? Because God is able to make oh Christ abound, that's what he's able to do, that's the God that we serve, and then what was neat and Corinthians, and we just kind of wrap it up here with a couple of thoughts from the book of Corinthians since we're in the book of Corinthians you'll see that there's a number of times there's only one time in the book of Corinthians that the phrase God is able is used, but there's about five or six times that the word able is used. I'm not going to go into all of them, but I believe they're tied to this: When you understand God's grace. He is able to accomplish things in your life. Let me just give you a couple ideas. Go to 1 Corinthians chapter 3. 1 Corinthians chapter 3 noticed Paul is talking and there's conflict going on in the Corinthian church then, on all kinds of contention. I am a Paul, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos, I’m of Cephas; and I'm of God. You’re having all this argument, and notice what Paul says and I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ, I'd fed you with milk and not with meat for heather to notice here's a negative able, yee were not able to bear it neither yet now are you able. There’s two times right there, and it's in a negative context, and I thought about that and I thought of another verse in the Bible verse in the Bible that tells us and second Peter chapter 1, but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A verse right before that, and the passage before and 1 Peter 5:10 it says but the God of all Grace who has called you unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. After that you have suffered a while make a perfect stab slash strengthened settled, you know what God's grace can do? God's grace can make you grow. You're not going to be able to grow on your own all, right? We have younger Christians, some of you are growing and the Lord, but notice what it says grow and grace. So what is that? God's enabling, God's empowerment. I never want to get you to the place, and discipleship that you say “Yeah. I can do this.” No, and that is a problem with some of our self-help preaching that's out there. This self-help preaching is saying I can do it, you can't do it, God's grace can do it, God's grace can help you, God's grace can help you grow, you will get, God is able to give you grace grace for spiritual growth. We know this one. It says another time that Abel is used 1 Corinthians 10 13. What does it say? There is no temptation taking you, but such as is common to man, but God is faithful and then what is he say who will not suffer you to be tempted above that yee are able. You get a dose of God's grace, and you understand what God's grace can do. Temptation is done, it's toast. Why? It's not me, I am what I am, I'm the least, but by God's grace I can abound. Grace for spiritual growth, grace for overcoming temptation. Then in 2 Corinthians 1:4 is the last time we're going to look at it. In 2 Corinthians 1 4, I thought this was an interesting one and helps us in understanding a little bit of what comes. Blessed be the God (verse 3) even the father of our Lord Jesus Christ the father of mercies the God of all comfort who comforts us and all tribulation. Notice what it says “that we may be able to comfort them when you are in trouble”. Once you experience God's grace, His saving grace, His sustaining grace, His sanctifying grace, His sustaining grace, and a trial can help you be able to help another believer, say “Hey don't rest on yourself. I've been there, it's hard, it's not easy, but God's grace will make you able to abound. It's not me, it's not us, it's a testimony of God's grace”. Dave and I were talking about this this week because a testimony of God's grace is that man from Zambia, Dave knows it. He wouldn't he wouldn't be allowed to be in the same building as that man if he was in Zambia, and Dave has had all kinds of struggles, infirmities, and we both have prayed together. I know I've begged God as “God would you remove this, he just wants to serve you” but I know and he's prayer heard my grace is sufficient but here a man comes to us, as I know when he came back from Zambia man he knew he couldn't stand Zambia, but his heart would love to stay there, but he can't be there so God in His grace brings the man from Zambia here, and says “Hey trust me. In your infirmity, my grace can abound.” There was a lady many years ago. Her name was Louisa Stead she was she moved to Cincinnati Ohio from Dover England in 1871, she’s twenty one years old and at a Christian camp she dedicated her life to missionary service. She was married four years later, 1875. The couple had a daughter, they started building their life together when their daughter turned for the family decided to go to New York and they were they were on a beach front, they're sitting and they were doing a picnic lunch. No sooner had they sat down when Louisa’s husband heard a little boy crying out far out in the ocean. The man, her husband rushed out to rescue the boy, but the boy in his panic took her husband under and they both died. Soon, Louisa and her daughter and they were in despair, they were hurt, but she had dedicated her life when she was 21 to serve the Lord so her and her daughter moved to Cape Colony South Africa where she worked as a missionary, and she wrote a song “tis so sweet to trust in Jesus just to take Him at His word just to rest upon His promise and to know thus safe the Lord” listen to another verse: “Oh for Grace to trust him more. Oh for Grace. Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus just to trust as cleansing blood and in simple faith to plunge beneath the healing cleansing flood Oh for what” Grace to trust Him more. You know what she learned? There's sustaining Grace, she couldn't do it, and there was sanctifying grace. God had a purpose and He'll enable, and empower you to do His will. God is able to make all grace abound. I hope that we understand a little more about God's grace, and it's able to be gained, it's able to be gotten, but it's not in anything you earn, it's not in anything you deserve, it's by coming to Jesus just like you did in salvation, and just like in salvation, you come to Him and you say “God I don't deserve your grace, I trust you would you save me it?” or God in His mercy and His grace did the, He'll do that with your life here spiritually, He'll give you that sustaining grace, but you have to trust in Jesus the same way. Let's trust Him.