TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

KNOWING GROWING GOING

TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Youth Director Position Description on Current Events Page

Sermon for

Sunday, July 6, 2014

 

The Audacity of Grace

 

Psalm 18: 16-19

Romans 5: 1-5

II Corinthians 12: 7-10

John 1: 1-17

 

  • His name was Donnie. He was 15 years old and as big as a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. He was my first patient to see today as I was making my rounds at the hospital.

    • It was a strange sight to see this young man lying in a hospital bed with his head touching the headboard and his feet sticking out off the end of the bed completely.

    • He was lying on his right side facing the window.

    • I walked around to the window side of the bed I was met with amazingly large, clear blue eyes.

    • As I came closer to the bed, Donnie asked, in a very slow, drawn out, rather slurred, very childish voice, who I was.

    • I told him I was the hospital chaplain.

    • He looked puzzled and then said, “What’s that?”

    • I told him it was like a minister, only without a church.

    • His opened his eyes wide and smiled the biggest smile and said, “Oh! Like a pastor! I have a pastor. I like him. He speaks to God and God speaks to him and then he tells us what God said!”

    • For the next few minutes Donnie and I had the best conversation about what it means to be a pastor. Donnie was very animated, making gestures with his arms as he told me about his church, his Sunday school class, and all his friends at the church. The conversation was punctuated with lots of smiles and laughter as he rejoiced in heart, mind, soul, and spirit about all that God had done for him.

 

It was, to say the least, the very best way to start my day!

 

    • As Donnie began to tire, he got a little quiet. It was then that I offered to say a prayer with him, which he very heartily accepted. At the end of my prayer, he did something that very few people have done. He said “amen” and then said a prayer for me! What an astonishing thing!

      • That a young man, only a teenager, with all the so called handicaps of a mentally challenged person, along with medical and physical limitations of a life filled with so much struggle , could have such depth of spirit, such reach of faith, such a hold on God, such a grasp of being a child of God.

      • What an awesome privilege was mine!

      • At the end of Donnie’s prayer for me I heard a quiet, feminine voice softly say “amen” from the doorway to Donnie’s room.

      • Donnie turned over to look in that direction and then exclaimed very loud, “MOM!”

      • I took a moment before I left to talk with Donnie’s mom. She confirmed what I had thought – Donnie has struggled all of his life with medical, physical, and mental issues. But the one constant in his life has been his faith in God.

      • As she and I were talking Donnie whispered her name and she went to his bedside. As they were hugging one another, Donnie let out a soft moan, and died.

      • It was very sudden. And all of us, including his mom, were astonished at how quickly he had died.

Again I was offered, in those awkward,

Agonizing moments, another very gracious gift –

To see a young man with so much against him,

Die in the arms of his loving mother with a smile on his face,

And praise for God on his lips!

What an awful start to my day,

But what an awesome start to my day.

To see,

To hear,

To personally experience God’s grace

 In such a moving and profound way,

How could I not have an awesome day?

To be privileged to encounter such grace

Is to be moved and changed by it.

That one experience changed my life,

And my faith,

Forever!

To see the grace of God

So active,

So alive,

So present,

Is to understand why God is so gracious.

 

This kind of grace,

The audacity of this grace,

Takes us to places we never thought we could go –

Physically,

Mentally,

Spiritually –

And quite literally,

Removes the constraints of earth and time,

And takes us to a place that knows no limits,

Has no boundaries,

Has no beginning

Has no end,

It takes us to the very presence of God!

 

This kind of grace,

That makes us fearless and daring,

Fills us with all boldness and confidence,

And thrusts us into

The Holy of Holies,

As Paul puts it,

By the very blood of Jesus.

We now stand in the presence of God.

 

So what is this

“Audacious Grace”

That Paul talks about in Romans 5

Therefore, having been justified by faith,

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations –

To be afflicted; burdened; troubled; to suffer –

The NIV renders it like this,

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings –

 

Paul really does know whereof he speaks –

From his own personal experience,

Paul says in II Corinthians 12: 7-10

**READ**

 

It is in the audacity of grace that

When we are weak –

Weak in mind, body, soul, and spirit,

That we are strong –

Christ’s grace IS sufficient for us!

Through our weakness His strength is made strong in us!

 

That’s exactly what the Psalmist was talking about –

Psalm 18: 16-19

He sent from above, He took me;

He drew me out of many waters.

He delivered me from my strong enemy,

From those who hated me,

For they were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my calamity –

The day of my tribulation

But the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a broad place;

He delivered me because He delighted in me!

 

Delighted = grace

Grace : pleasure in, delight in, causes favorable regard to be bestowed upon

 

Donnie knew that God “delighted” in him!

And he, in return, “delighted” in God!

 

He had access by faith into this grace in which he now stands . . .

 

Here’s the deal –

To those who have received Him –

Those justified by faith

We have been given the right

With the full power and authority of God –

To become His children,

To those who believe in His name.

And in that name,

The name which is above every name,

That at the name of Jesus,

We behold His glory,

Glory as of the only begotten of the Father,

Full of Grace and truth.

And of His fullness we have all received,

And grace upon grace!

Paul tells the Ephesians,

God, who is rich in mercy,

Because of His great love with which He loved us,

Even when we were dead in trespasses,

Made us alive together with Christ

(by grace you have been saved),

And raised us up together,

And made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

That in the ages to come He might show

The exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace that we have been saved through faith,

And that not of ourselves;

It is the gift of God.

It is a free gift,

A gift with benefits and blessings beyond our imagining!

This kind of grace,

The audacity of this grace,

Takes us to places we never thought we could go –

Physically,

Mentally,

Spiritually –

And quite literally,

Removes the constraints of earth and time,

And takes us to a place that knows no limits,

Has no boundaries,

Has no beginning

Has no end,

It takes us to the very presence of God!

This kind of grace,

That makes us fearless and daring,

Fills us with all boldness and confidence,

And thrusts us into

The Holy of Holies,

As Paul puts it,

By the very blood of Jesus.

We now stand in the presence of God.

PASTOR ART

 

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