Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

01/28/2018 A.M.

 

Grace, Grace, Marvelous Grace

Romans 5.1-11

 

We continue our hope for the Bella Vista Church Family... That we become a people profoundly cognizant of God’s Grace… Presence... and Providence. A people who live daily… thankful of His loving kindness toward us.

 

It was Autumn in New York… A few days before Thanksgiving… 2004.  A carload of delinquents on a joyride. They had stolen a car… Grabbed the owner’s credit card… And picked up a few groceries… Including a twenty-pound frozen turkey. Speeding down a side street... The stolen Nissan approaches a Hyundai carrying Victoria RUVolO. She is returning to her Long Island home after attending her niece’s vocal recital. She looks forward to home… A fire in the fireplace… Cuddling in a warm blanket... With the book she had picked up yesterday.

 

As the Nissan approaches… All Victoria remembers is the outline of a teenage boy leaning out the window and a bulky object flying from his hands. The twenty-pound frozen turkey crashes through Victoria’s windshield. It bends the steering wheel into her chest…   Smashes her face… Her throat… Breaking every bone it encounters.

 

In Stony Brook University Hospital… Victoria tries to fill in the details. But it’s difficult given the bulky mask on her face which is literally stapled together. There’s titanium plates… Stitches… Screws… Jaws wired shut… An eye held in place with synthetic film… And she’s only breathing because of a tracheotomy.

 

The public reaction was outrage… There’s… Demonstrations…Prayers… Candlelight Vigils. Over Christmas… New Yorkers cherish their health a bit more and hold their loved ones a little tighter… As they cry out for justice. Internet bloggers and media pundits suggest what they’d do if they could be in a room for five minutes with the punks in the Nissan… Especially Ryan Cushing... The eighteen-year-old who was personally responsible for heaving the turkey.

 

Well…The wheels of justice turn slowly… But on August 15th… 2005… Ryan Cushing and Victoria Ruvolo meet face-to-face in the courtroom. Nine agonizing… Titanium-bolted months have passed… Victoria manages to walk with assistance… Speaks with only a whisper.

 

Ryan Cushing pleads guilty… Guilty to a much lesser charge. Here is the sentence…

• Only six months behind bars…

• Five years’ probation…

• A pinch of counseling… And a dash of public service.

 

The courtroom erupts in a riot… People run to the aisles shaking their fists in anger and righteous indignation. The Judge stands to quiet them. Someone yells… Is this all the punishment you can dish out for such a hideous crime?… They should all be locked up and the key thrown away… Who is responsible for this outrageous plea bargain?...

 

Ryan Cushing turns toward Victoria… All the essence of tough guy long since drained away. He’s weeping uncontrollably. His attorney leads the assailant to the victim… And Victoria holds him tight… Comforts him… Strokes his hair… As she whispers the seemingly impossible words… I forgive you… I want Your life to be the best it can be. As the two hold one another… Tears mingle from…

• The mask of reconstruction…

• And the mask of remorse.

 

In today’s economy… It takes quite an event to bring tears to the eyes of New York attorneys and magistrates….But as radio and television reporters whisperer into their microphones… A respectful… Tearful… Hush… Fell over the courtroom.  The New York Times said… It was... a marvelous moment of grace.

 

Our New Testament contains one-hundred-fifty-five references to grace.

• Grace is shocking…

• It’s unmerited…

• Unearned…

• A free gift of God

 

Grace is unexpected While we were yet… Sinners… Aliens… Guilty as charged… Christ died for us.

 

Grace is compelling… It changes lives… It forces us to live differently.

• Titus chapter two tells us that Grace teaches us to say NO to ungodliness and worldly desires.

• Second Corinthians 5.14 says... The love of God... compels us... Constrains us in the KJ.

• Grace forced Noah to build an Ark.

• Compelled Abraham to move his family and belongings some 600 miles from Ur to Canaan.

• Grace softened the heart… Changed the life… of Ryan Cushing.

• After grace appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road… He was never the same…  The Persecutor became a proclaimer.

• John Newton went from a Vile mouth slave trader to preacher... songwriter… fighting Slavery with every vestige of his being.

 

Amazing Grace!!... Marvelous grace!!

The dictionary… The vocabulary… Of graceContains such words as

• Sin….

• Guilty…

• Lost…

• Wretch…

• Depravity…

• Love…

• Free…

• Gift…

• Mercy…

• Faith…

• Blood…

• Propitiation….

• Redemption…

• Forgiveness…

• Justification…

• Sanctification…

• Reconciliation…

• Hope…

• Peace…

• Salvation.

 

This morning… We’ll note the significance of these words….

As we examine…. The marvels of God’s grace.

 

Our text is Romans chapter five… Turn there with me… Or access a Worship Bulletin…And let’s read together… Beginning with the verse numbered one… Therefore… Since we have been justified through faith… We have peace with God through ourLord Jesus Christ… Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so… But we also rejoice in our sufferings… Because we know that suffering produces perseverance…Perseverance… Character… And character… Hope. And hope does not disappoint us…Because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit… Whom he has given us. You see… At just the right time… When we were still powerless… Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man… Though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners… Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood… How much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if… When we were God’s enemies… We were reconciled to him through the death of his Son… How much more… Having been reconciled… Shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so… But we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ… Through whom we have now received reconciliation.

 

When we read the first three chapters of Romans… We find Paul painting a hopeless… Helpless… Picture of depravity for each and everyone of us… All who sin apart from the law… Speaking of Gentiles… Will also perish apart from the law… And all who sin under the law… Meaning the Jews… Will be judged by the law… We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory… there is none righteous… No not one.

 

And the punishment??… for the wages of sin is death.

So…Here we are… Lost…

• Dead in sin…

• Separated from Christ…

• Excluded from citizenship in God’s Kingdom…

• Foreigners to the promise…

• Without hope…

• Without God in the world.

Then comes Grace.

 

Church… Listen CLOSELY to God’s deceleration of Grace….

We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement… Through faith in his blood. For it is by grace that you have been saved… Through faith…And that not of yourselves… It is the gift of God… Not of works… Lest anyone should boast.

 

• God has saved us and called us to a holy life… Not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

 

He saved us… Not because of righteous things we had done… But because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

 

• Knowing that a man is not justified by observing the law… But by faith in Jesus Christ... I do not set aside the grace of God… For if righteousness could be gained through the law… Christ died for nothing!...

 

• So… We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus… For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ… Have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that is greater than all our sin.

 

This morning…. And every day this new year...

I want us to be Aware… And to Celebrate… The Wonders Of His Grace.

 

First... The wonder of God’s love…

Why does God love us?... I don’t know... But He does!

 

Do you see it?... Beginning in the middle of verse five… God has poured out his love into ourhearts by the Holy Spirit… Whom he has given us. You see… At just the right time… When we were still powerless… Christ died for the ungodly… God demonstrates his own love for us in this… While we were still sinners… Christ died for us.

These verses are an expansion and explanation of John three-sixteen and seventeen… For God so loved the world… That He sent His Only Begotten Son… That whosoever believe on Him shall have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world… But to save the world through Him.

 

Paul asked in rhetoric… What can separate us from the love of God seen in Christ Jesus?

 

The answer is nothing!!... Nothing in this world or out of this world is more powerful than His love for us…

• Not angels…

• Demons…

• Principalities or powers…

• Not life or death…

• Not even the problems of this life… Nothing!!

 

We celebrate justification by faith.

Therefore… Being justified by faith… We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Church… There is nothing we can do to remove the guilt of our sin outside of acceptance of Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

• Peter told his Jewish audience in four-twelve of Acts… There is no other name in heaven or on earth… Whereby one can be saved… Outside of Jesus Christ.

• It was Jesus who said… I am the way... The truth...  And the life... There is no access to the Father... Except by Me... Through Me... Unless you believe that I am He… You will die in your guilt… In your sins.

 

Listen to Paul from Romans three… Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. We are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement… through faith in his blood.

 

We must never lose sight of the fact that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus… Amen?

 

We celebrate our access to the Father.

Verse two… Through Whom we have access by faith into His grace… In which we stand.

 

The word access appears only three times in the New Testament… And each time it refers to the believer's access to God through Jesus.

 

Jesus opens the door for our prayers…

• Jesus said… Pray like this… Our Father who is in heaven.

• In John fourteen... It was… Whatever you ask in My name you will receive.

• The Hebrews’ Writer encourages us to approach the throne of grace with... Boldness… Confidence…So that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

Church… Catch a glimpse of what a wonder it is to have personal access to the sovereign… Omnipotent…Omniscient… Omnipresent… Creator… Father… God?... Indeed… What a wonder of His grace.

 

The wonder of Hope.

Note the end of verse two and then verse fiveRejoice in hope… And hope does not disappoint us… Because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit… Whom He has given us.

 

Biblical hope is not an… outlandish…FANciful… Wish for something that we may or may not receive... It’s a confident expectation based…

• Upon God’s promises…

• Upon His absolute faithfulness.

 

The Hebrews’ Writer reminds us to… Hold unswervingly to the hope we profess… For He… God… Who promised is faithful.

 

What’s the promise we hope for?... In My Father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go prepare a place foryou… I will come again… So that where I am… There you may be also.

 

Grace not only gives us access to the sovereign FatherGod… Grace is our access to Heaven.

 

We celebrate the wonder of God’s providential character molding….

Let your eyes fall to verses three and four… We also rejoice in our sufferings… Because we know that suffering produces… perseverance…Perseverance… Character… And character… Hope.

• Peter contends that… God works in us to improve us… Remold…Remake… And shape us through… TRIALS….Troubles… tribulations… Like gold in a refiner’s fire.

 

• James writes… Consider it pure joy… Whenever you face trials of many kinds… WHY? Because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance… And when Perseverance finishes its work we become mature and complete… Not lacking anything.

 

You see… Grace includes God’s... refining… Remolding… Remaking Us… Into the people and person He wants us to be... As His instrument of righteousness... His living sacrifice.

 

We celebrate marvels of His blood.

The Hebrews’ Writer says it all… It’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away… To forgive sins.

 

You see… Sin forgiving blood had to be from a perfect sacrifice… And a permanent sacrifice.

 

This perfect forever sacrifice is nothing short of God in the flesh.

 

Listen to these scriptures that affirm this…

 

Hebrews 7.27… Unlike the other high priests… He… Jesus… Does not need to offer sacrifices day after day… First for his own sins… And then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

 

Hebrews 9.12… He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves… But he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood… Having obtained eternal redemption.

 

1 Peter 3.18… For Christ died for sins once for all… The righteous for the unrighteous… To bring us to God.

 

Praise God for this wonder of Grace… The wonder of what His blood has done for us.

 

Then finally… The wonder of reconciliation.

Verse eleven… Not only this… But we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ… Through whom we have now received reconciliation.

 

The prophet said… It is our sins that have separated us from God.

 

But our sins have been forgiven in the Blood of Jesus… It is in Him that we have... redemption… Justification…Reconciliation… Through His blood… Even the forgiveness of our sins according with the riches of His grace.

 

Well… Each of us have been critically injured by the turkey of sin.

Sin has come crashing through the windshield of our life... AMEN?

 

We’ve all sinned… Fallen short of God’s glory… There is none righteous… No not one. But the grace of God has appeared unto all men… That includes you and me.

 

How are we going to respond to His marvelous grace gift of Jesus on the cross?

 

Are we ready to begin enjoying… the wonders of His grace?... Really?

 

I guess the question is… What will we do with Grace... But the question really is… What will we do with Jesus… As we stand and sing this invitation song together?