Harold Bennett - Notes on Grace - Pretoria II Convention - April 2, 2006

Grace is the unmerited favour of God. It could also be substituted with the love or help of God. Grace is the divine influence in our lives - a part of God himself that He gives to us.  Perhaps grace is better demonstrated than defined.  Jesus was the perfect manifestation of grace.  Grace is not human. God has the monopoly on grace.  Grace is a power that all hell cannot resist. It can reach from heaven to the most lowly, needy sinner. 

There are three parts to grace:                                             

1. Grace toward us (Salvation)                                             

2. Grace in us (keeping saved - strength from God)                                          

3. Grace through us (beauty - helping others to be saved) 

1.  Grace toward Us 

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace, you have been saved through faith.” 

Salvation is a 2-way street. It is a gift from God, but there is a part for us to do. Think of rocks in a stream of water getting clean and smooth due to the action of the water. There is a condition for us to fulfil to receive salvation - we need to be in the stream of God's grace that He can do for us which we cannot do for ourselves.  By faith we reach out and take up what God offers and let it do what it's intended to do. 

We mustn't doubt the power of God's grace. A lump of clay might look at a china tea-cup and think that he could never be like that. God doesn't take lumps of clay to heaven, only tea-cups, but, God can take poor material and make it into a masterpiece. 

2.   Sustaining Grace - Strength 

2 Timothy 1:9, God’s purpose is to have a whole family of sons and daughters like His Son, Jesus. 

Romans 5:1-2, we have peace with the past, grace for the present, and hope for the future.

I visited our old farm where I grew up and found that the farmhouse (now uninhabited) was hardly standing anymore due to the wind and storms. However, the old barn which my father had built was still fine. Inside I saw that he had just put up a lot of bracing, and this had kept the barn upright. Grace is the bracing in our lives, not just to stand, but to withstand a world of winds and currents contrary to our salvation. 

2 Corinthians 9:8, “abounding grace” - more than we will ever need 

2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Paul’s "thorn in the flesh."  Sometimes we need something that keeps us humble and feeling our need. Sometimes we need to fight the same battle over and over so that we don't get too familiar with the enemy. 

Hebrews 2:9, When Jesus prayed "if this cup can pass from me" - all the wheels in the plan of salvation stopped turning, but God's will was still paramount in His life and He was willing for it all. 

Romans 6:1, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" Disgrace is abusing the grace of God. During the Passover in Egypt, the blood had to be on the door mantle, not on the mat. No-one should trample on the blood of the Lamb. Lasciviousness is accepting the grace and forgiveness of God and then going on to do whatever we want to. Because of grace there is forgiveness for sin, but not a license to sin. 

Hebrews 12:15, A root of bitterness will spring up if we don't get the grace of God. Therefore it is not someone else's fault if we feel bitter; it is because we didn't get the grace of God. God's grace will soften and change us.


3.  Beauty (Grace through us) 

We need to be "ornaments of grace." Grace makes God's people beautiful from the inside. Not just a polished article which is only beautiful from the outside. 

Gracious words are always in season. Grace makes truth easier to swallow. 

Sometimes we can sacrifice grace for our love for punctuality or efficiency. 

Jesus was the most balanced person because of grace - He was no extremist! 

He was the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb of God. 

James 4:6, "giveth more grace." We can come without fear to the throne of grace. 

Ephesians 4:7-16, His grace equips us to be of help to others. 

Grace goes to the person that takes the humble place, 

Paul's letter to Philemon is also called the gracious epistle. Paul pleading for one who certainly didn't deserve grace - but who of us does? 

Something else that was very special at this convention. Dale Spencer spoke about the order that Jesus brought to earth. One thing that He "got in order" was the ministry. If we read the 10th chapter of the first 6 books of the New Testament, we see how Jesus set up the ministry. 

Matthew 10 - sending out the 12 

Mark 10 - the rich young man 

Luke 10 - sending out the 70 

John 10 - the good shepherd versus the hireling 

Acts 10 - Cornelius calls Peter 

Romans 10 - "How shall they preach if they have not been sent?" 

Also something special from open meeting:  We need to draw a straight line between where we are now and where we want to be - anything that doesn't fall on that line is not important.