Part 3 from the “Roots” series: grace. Highlighting two elements/aspects of grace that are promoted, and have always been promoted, at River Oaks:
1. The grace that God extends to us…through Christ’s death on the cross. (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16)
Grace is God’s incredible and amazing gift to us…
The gift is God’s offer to us:
- To have our sins forgiven (all of them, past, present, future)…
- To enjoy a fully restored relationship with him in this life…
- And enjoy a completely whole and healed life with him forever in the next one.
- No one deserves it…
- No one can work for it. No one can earn it. It’s a gift!
- Nothing is more unfair in the history of the universe! Think of it: Jesus never sinned. Took our sin on the cross and paid the penalty for our sin and then offers us his sinless standing before God the Father. He was saying: “Here you have my perfection, I’ll take your sin.”
- But this gift is available to anyone who believes in Jesus as his or her Savior anywhere, anytime!
2. The grace that we extend to others. John 1:14 John writes this about Jesus: “He was full of grace and truth.”
In this context, the word, “grace” to describe Jesus means: “graciousness towards others who don’t deserve it.”
Pastor Tim shared some questions that he has posed to ROCC, as far back as our early days in 1990…..
- How close to “perfect”, does a person need to be before she feels comfortable with us on a Sunday or in your small group?
- How close to the “conservative evangelical political view” (think Republican) does he need to be in order to feel accepted here?
- How safe are we for someone who lives a lifestyle outside an accepted Christian framework? They are ‘gay’ or heterosexual and living together.
- How good are we at welcoming people who haven’t embraced our beliefs?
- How imperfect can a person be and still be welcomed our church?
- Practice grace. Practice being gracious. Practice being kind. Be conscious of how you treat others who are different than you are. Practice graciousness at work, at school, at home.
- Thank God for his grace to us! It is the featured gift of the ages!
- If you have not yet received God’s grace, it’s as simple as asking for forgiveness for the times we’ve messed up. Accepting the gift of grace (allowing the sacrifice of Christ to become the bridge between us and God). And then choosing to know, love and follow Jesus all the days of our life. It takes some sacrifice, but in the scope of eternity, it’s worth it!