What Grace Does – New Year’s Message

Sunday service, Dietmar Joosten, 01 Jan 2017

Titus 2:11-14
“11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

This grace heals a person. Is such a thing possible to us who don’t deserve it? 2017 will be totally different to last year because of this healing grace.  Will you look back and say it was worth it and thank God for His grace? This theme of grace runs through all the chapters of Titus. This healing grace pulls out the bitterness and all the roots in your heart so that you don’t have a bitter thought towards someone. God’s grace is an unmerited favour showered on those who don’t deserve it and to those who cannot earn it. It is something the Lord bestowed on us. This is very significant for us. Only those who know they don’t deserve grace are available to receive grace from our Lord. It is a miracle that a person can be saved from his sin.

In the ancestry of Christ four women are not mentioned: Sarah, Leah, Rebecca and Rachel. Why were they not in the genealogy of Christ? They had such illustrious husbands! Instead we find 4 women who are mentioned: Rahab, Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba. The nation of Israel came from them. If we look at Christ it is significant  these four women are His ancestors. These women were sinners and didn’t deserve anything.
Rahab was a prostitute and Bathsheba had an illegitimate child. When you see this then you realise that you are of no significance. The Lord chose that which was of no significance and He used that. You think it is a must that He helps us but it is never a must. It is only grace. This grace teaches us to reject all ungodliness. It teaches us and disciplines us to say no to sin.

Training is not just for today. Training is for a period of time and it needs persistence. It doesn’t just happen instantly. You need to train. We think we can do it without being trained. Training is of utmost importance also in this world and we will be trained until we die. Religions in the world work on a merit system. All except Biblical Christianity. They are deluded to think they can work their way.

Some get a potion to be lucky. They kill a person to get rich but it doesn’t work that way. Remember a person who does that will never have peace. You will drive yourself insane. There was no one greater than Nebuchadnezzar but he didn’t honour the Lord and he went insane. This grace on the other hand wishes good for ones neighbor.

Some people think they will get grace because of good works. That also doesn’t work. Many Christians wrongly think that grace is a passport to sin with no consequences.

I was at the beach recently and my children were swimming. Then I saw my child running with a little girl and she was looking for this child’s parents. The cousin of that child, had just drowned and the parents were fast asleep instead of looking after their children. Parents why weren’t you there? You take your child to a granny and don’t care what happens to the child. You have a terrible sin. Noah built the ark by grace but it came from his heart.

The fruit of a person who has found grace is obedience whereas some people lose their lives because of disobedience. Grace trains, disciplines and instructs us but it costs us everything. It doesn’t come easily. It is not good enough to say no to witchcraft and wrong things like gossip and murmuring. There is another side and many neglect that. We must also say yes to godly living and to what God wants us to do. If you stole, then you must stop and start working and do something constructive. Training is to practice and review and do the right thing.

I have a small boy in my home and I was barbecuing meat and I said he must remember these words: look, learn and do. Don’t look and speak, you must look and do. Never be disobedient. It has terrible consequences.

Are you self-controlled? Do you just give into animal feelings? To live righteously is to be in a right relationship with others. Many take things lightly. If you come out of something, it must be replaced with something. If the house is empty, the devil comes and you are far worse off than before. When you work, are you diligent? Do you do what God wants you to do? If you take the road of least resistance then you are not diligent.

I am a farmer. There are fields and then you plough. There are valleys you clean. That is like your life. Grace says get rid of what is wrong. I plough a field and if it is left fallow, weeds grow. You fight to keep it clean. If you don’t plant then you are always cleaning but nothing grows. You must say yes to a self-controlled and godly life because this is the fruit of the Spirit. So what do I do? I plant avocado trees or beans. I look after it and I get a crop and then there are no more weeds. You are full of joy. Don’t leave your heart fallow. Grace plants the right things, the fruit of the Spirit.

The devil deceives people and says they are worthless but the Heavenly Guide will help you. When the Spirit grows in your life, that which you had an issue with, will go. Don’t neglect that small voice. If that small voice says help someone and you do it, then you will grow. What about old people? Do we reach out to them? The farmer who is obedient and plants, such a person is blessed.

In Luke 13:7 it says, “For these three years I have looked for fruit on this fig tree. Why should it take up the soil?” But the farmer said, “Let me tend it for just this year. Then perhaps it will bear fruit but if not we can cut it down.” Maybe this is the year to wake from your sleep for the grace of God has come for salvation for all mankind. It trains us to live godly lives in this present world. May the grace of God be with all of us this year.

I read something about grace. It is undeserved and the realization of grace is salvation. I think of the criminal on the cross who said, “We deserved this punishment.” He realized that he had received what he deserved and that was his salvation.

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