Jim Chafee - Enabling Grace - July 19, 2017

I Timothy 1:12, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." The words who hath enabled me, have meant something to me for some time. My thoughts were going back there. Paul felt he had been enabled by the Lord. I was unable but the Lord helped me and with His help, I am able. Have you heard of this enabling grace of God? Acts 26:22, "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day."


This grace of God we need to know about in serving God. It is not something we do alone and it doesn’t depend on our ability but we have the help of God with us. We need help and we know that. Before the verse we read, Paul wrote of glorious gospel that the blessed God had committed to his trust. This Gospel is glorious and precious. Paul was a man of such ability, with his background and education but he felt unable.  He had such a great understanding that unless the Lord helped him, he couldn’t do it.


Friends, we cannot do it without the help of God but by His help, we can do it. It wouldn’t be possible to tell the gospel story the way it should be told, except that God would help us. We need this enabling grace of God. It is something we need to know about it. The Lord is able to do so much for us and with us. We couldn’t preach without Him helping us to be able and that makes it possible. There is no-one more unable than I am and if I can do it, then anyone can. I am fully persuaded of that. It is not what we can do but what God does. II Corinthians 12:9, "And He said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.'"


So this again speaking of this enabling grace of God and encompassed in this enabling grace of God is strength and wisdom and mercy. Our own strength will never make us able. Sometimes we get those that say they understand and make the remark, "I just can't do it this way." That is so, but God would say, "I can enable you and then we can do it," but not until we access the help of God. I have sometimes heard the remark made, "I couldn’t live that way even if I tried," and I understand and I agree with them. In your own strength, can't do it.


We hear of being the cross and denying self and you wonder, "How am I going to do this?" There is no able person who has ever walked in the way of God. Some thought they were able but they didn’t make it. Some tried for a time but they failed to access this enabling grace of God. By this grace, anyone of us can walk in the way of God with God’s help. We can walk through life all of days in the will of God and win His favour but need His help and have Christ living within us and when that is so, we can be enabled.


Hymn 200 says, "O remember me in mercy, and impart the NEEDED GRACE to enable me to follow till I see Thee face to face." This is the enabling grace of God. When we have this, we can resist temptations and things we couldn’t overcome, we can now overcome. We are born with a human nature and it is a struggle all the way to get victory over it for it is all for a reason because it drives us time and time again to the throne of grace before the God of Heaven to get this strength to overcome. By God's enabling grace, we can live a life really worth living, live for this right and good but it is not of ourselves. We learn to love things we never thought we could love; what we thought was unloveable. Life is all about enabled.


In childhood, go to school to enable us to get through life, and live an honourable and respectable life and be an honourable citizen in the country where we live. We learn how to read and that enables us to study and do a trade or do things. We have brains that enable us to live meaningful lives and enjoy life and be content. This grace of God enables us to be His child. It is all about being enabled. It is not what we are in our original condition but what we are enabled to do through God. Years ago, there was a remark repeated amongst us.


It was said that grace was like grease and there were some that took exception to that, that grace is not like grease. Probably I will have to agree with that. Grease makes things work better and that is all well and good. When there is a pinch and things are not working so good, it can go better. There is an expression we use, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." Complaining and making a fuss can sometimes get a little grease when things are not working so well. There is more to it than this, this grace of God.


Complaining will never enable us to access the grace of God. We don’t get it by complaining.


Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Ephesians 3:7, "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power." So this helps us to understand that this enabling grace is a gift from God. It is when we are desperate and in need and willing that God will grant it to us. There is no other source. There is no other place where it can be gotten.


When we receive this grace of God contained in this same package, there is faith and mercy and love and contentment all wrapped up together. My heart overflows with praise for grace He gives me day by day which is sufficient for me to fight the battle and gain the victory. Not going to work any other way but to have His enabling grace.


Some things that look like mountains and maybe some things that we ponder about serving God and walking in His way – things that seem insurmountable and we may wonder how can we do it but what we need to do is look a little further and obtain His grace, then we can do it. The grace of God is a wonderful help and I heard someone once say that anywhere in Scripture where we find the word grace we can replace it by the word help. That is what it is it is the help of God. For me to really understand things they need to be pretty simple and that is pretty simple.


The brother that was talking about this supported it by quoting. Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." So that can help us get our minds around this a little better. Thinking about Christ – every act and deed was with grace. Gracious words proceeded out of His mouth and all of His deeds, it was all done with grace.


When He washed the disciples' feet, it wasn’t anything He did begrudgingly and not to bring condemnation on them but was something that needed to be done and He did it. There was no favouritism or partiality in any way but the same kindly way one by one, washing their feet. It was done in humility and not seeking any rewards, not with resentment or any feeling of shame. He even counted it a joy, as we often hear in this wonderful land, “It is a pleasure.” That is how He felt about it.


There are words in an old hymn, “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater. He sendeth more strength when the labours increase. To added affliction, He multiplies mercy; to multiplied trials, He multiplies peace." One thing I have often thought is that I can do the little I can do and do it with a little more grace, then it would be worthwhile.


A brother I laboured with up in Mongolia was trying to get the language and enrolled in a school but he had a difficult teacher. She would often speak harsh words to Carey. When he made a mistake, he would kindly say, "I am sorry." One day in her anger and rage, she said, "All you say is, 'I am sorry and I am sorry.'" She wasn’t really doing anything for him. Some of us tried to encourage him to find a different teacher. You know what he told us that if he did she might lose her job and he didn’t want that. Friends, that is the grace of God. We could all use more of that.


When I was in Australia years ago, there was a woman who listened to the Gospel. Two of the brothers were having meetings way in the North somewhere. She came to all the meetings and when the mission came to a close - well, she came to them with this phrase, "Can't change the lifestyle. I will have to give it a miss." That was the end of it. If only she had known about the grace of God. Can't change the lifestyle but God can.


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f we can access this enabling grace – since first we learned to hope in Him, we proved His wisdom, love, and grace enabling us to conquer sin. If only she had known of this enabling grace of God, how different it could have been. She turned and walked away. I suppose she tried it in her own strength and own way but she failed to access the help that was available. Last year, there was someone that made a new start in the way of God. I was visiting with this person about the meeting where she was. There was an individual who was sometimes difficult and she said, "I don’t know how I am going to love that person." I told her, "I know you can because you want to and God will help you." She did it and is still going on.