Grow in grace
I greet everyone in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ; and also the families of the bridal couple. It is our privilege to be here and spend this day with you. I thank the Lord for this opportunity. I have had a word on my heart for some time now. The theme for today’s sermon is Grow in grace. When we listen to God’s word, may we grow in grace and understand what it really means. It is so nice if one can hear the Lord’s voice.
18 But grow in grace (undeserved favour, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honour, majesty, and splendour) both now and to the day of eternity.2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace (undeserved favour, spiritual strength). The Lord said he would make a helpmeet for Adam. What for? To receive unmerited favour and grow in strength and undeserved favour.
The bridegroom’s word is from Philippians 3:12-14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. I stretch out to/I seek that which lies ahead. Although I have not attained it yet, I seek what the Lord has for me in his fulness. Paul understood that grace cannot be grace without stretching out and forgetting the past. Many people cannot get past the past, even though they experience grace and God’s favour. Paul said that he forgets the past and reaches out to that which God has for him. We ask can the Lord really forgive me and change my life? Paul says that he forgets and stretches out because that is where grace is. I struggled for many years, doubting God’s forgiveness until this grace reached out and changed my life. Grace is a gift, it is yours. It is what you do with it that is important.
I work for Emseni which means grace - house of grace. The logo is: Farming with grace. Farming without grace does not work. Grace without farming also does not work. They need to work together. The Bible says watch and pray, not only pray. From the beginning of the revival God taught his children to watch and pray. Today, work with grace and then it changes your life. People flippantly speak about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, but just as we need to watch and pray, we need to work together with His grace to be able to achieve what God wants to achieve in our lives.
Adam and Miriam work at your marriage, the grace of God will accompany you, help and bless you. Paul said, I stretch out– there was something God expected. God expects me to do something. I cannot farm without planting avocado trees and then say God’s grace must work. His grace will work when I plant trees.
When we read about this grace in Peter, it is underserved. It is just grace. When you look back, you ask, ‘What was it?” It was just grace. Grace means to grow in spiritual strength. What would you say about a child who does not grow? A ten-year-old child who still wears nappies and crawls? The child is sick. The grace of God teaches us to grow spiritually and become stronger. To grow stronger and to stay healthy you must eat the right food. You cannot just eat anything. Eat the right food. Get your food from the right spiritual kitchen. Exercise is needed. If you just eat you put on weight. Exercise spiritually. Ask the Lord what exercises you should do to grow spiritually. There are many different exercises but one very good one is to be a witness through your life and your words so that others learn to know the Lord. You must grow spiritually and stay healthy.
Many say we live under grace. Yes, we would not be here without grace. A person who is not forgiven has not received grace. What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favour and mercy) may multiply and overflow? Romans 6:1 The grace of God teaches us that we cannot do certain things and get away with it. We cannot look at porn and live an immoral life and get away with it. There is Biblical law which you will not get past. If parents argue in the home and it does not stop or change, it is possible that there is no grace in that home. Sin destroys everything in a person’s life. We are not confused about that. Jesus came to save His people from their sin.
When we speak of growth in grace it means in degree - the size, strength, vigour and the power of the spirit’s grace is given to our hearts. This is what the Holy Spirit imparts to us – a vigour, a burning heart. This is what grace does to us. When a person grows in grace, it means simply this: your sense of sin is becoming greater and deeper in your life. When you grow in grace, the conviction and a sense of sin becomes deeper and greater in your life – you see the danger of it more and more. This is how you can check your life. Ask yourself how do I behave when sin comes along? Has my sense of sin become deeper? This will show you how far you are regarding grace.
When we grow in grace our faith should grow stronger and our hope should grow brighter. With God we have hope for the future. When you grow in grace your love towards the Lord expands. Your spiritual mindedness and the way you see things and the comments you make show that you have met grace in your life. You feel the power of godliness that goes together with purity and holiness. To the couple: Is your sense of sin stronger than a year ago?
What does grace do? 11 For the grace of God (His unmerited favour and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. Titus 2:11
Some will say, “No, it’s not wrong- just to scold my husband, pull him by nose. I am helping him.”
12 It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world… Titus 2:12
‘God’s grace is working in my life,’ you say, then shut your mouth and let us see the grace of God in your life. It teaches us to renounce all worldly desires, to live upright lives in this present world. In this present time; not 2000 years ago. Now. It teaches us that even now we can be taught to live a pure, holy life. The closer we get to the Lord, the more terrible evil will become for us.
Marriage is a gift of grace. That is what God intended it to be. With this gift there is no place for self-pity, which is often what happens. One of the marriage partners sulks and withdraws because things did not go as he/she said. If you continue behaving like this without correcting it before the sun sets, be careful that grace does not also withdraw.
It is so easy to talk about others and speak nonsense about others, especially in the media. Remember that when you open your mouth and speak about someone else’s faults, grace will remove itself and expose your faults. Those who like speaking about others, will experience that grace will vanish from their lives. By exposing others, you are exposing yourself.
Grace teaches, trains and disciplines us to say no. Ask yourself, if grace disciplines me how much more shouldn’t I discipline my children? Measure your life by the way you discipline your children. There is no confusion where grace reigns. Why? Grace teaches us to lift our eyes heavenward from where we get our direction. We must be led by His spirit. This spirit must lead and guide us if we are flexible and willing to be obedient. With grace there is no confusion. There is only confusion if you have eaten something you should not have. Grace teaches you to say no, to get rid of this, not to do that, so you are drawn closer to Christ. The closer you are the more audible His instructions will be.
Eve gave Adam the forbidden fruit. The first reaction? The blame game started. When you eat of that forbidden fruit, and you begin to blame in the house, stop – it is a red light – make things right. Couples say that they were one, they got on so well but suddenly things did not go well anymore, someone has eaten something they shouldn’t have eaten. A person who lives a spiritually sound life and eats the correct spiritual food, will admit that he requires grace at all times. He will not point at others and say that they are in the wrong. If a person speaks nonsense, remain silent and realise that the person has eaten the forbidden fruit. If that person had eaten the correct diet, he would have remained silent and not found fault. If you have learned that you need God’s grace, God has worked in your life, and you will stop pointing at others.
There is a certain painting in a London art gallery. One day a well-known painter visited the gallery and stopped and stared at a particular picture. Someone eventually asked him why he was staring at the picture. He said, ‘This picture makes no sense, it is totally out of proportion. The head of the Child is not against the mother. The mountains in the background are out of proportion.’ It troubled him. What was wrong with the picture? It made no sense to the artist. He came back after a few days and then said that it was hanging in the wrong place. He then knelt in front of the picture. As he knelt, it dawned on him. As he knelt, the picture changed. He started crying. ‘What I see now is so different to what I saw before. This picture is in the wrong building. This picture belongs in a house of worship.’ When he looked at the painting, while on his knees, everything was right. All proportions were correct. Looking at the picture from a different angle and different perspective made all the difference.
Adam and Miriam, you will experience bumps along the way. Pictures will be drawn in front of you. On your knees, Adam, you will see a different Miriam. When you go on your knees, Miriam, you will see a different Adam. If you look at one another from your knees, things will change. Many disagreements and heartaches start when we are not on our knees. God has given you both the ability to make the perfect picture if you stay on your knees. This is where you will meet with grace. Grow in grace. May His grace be with you until death parts you.