It is a word which especially since the Reformation has in the Church become a watchword.
Yet as is the way with all things that become common, it’s meaning has become vague
What we are talking about is ‘Grace’
Not ‘grace’ as in good manners – the type of social graces highlighted in the news this past week i.e. courtesy in public spaces as respect for those in authority but that ‘grace’ celebrated by the much loved hymn ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me’
- What is grace?
- To who whom is it given?
- On what basis?
Our text today is a lesson on the true meaning of grace our encouragement as the recipients of God’s grace today
- GOD’S PROTECTION OF HIS PEOPLE
- FAILURE TO APPRECIATE THE POWER OF GOD’S GRACE
- THE POWER OF GRACE
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Ephesians 2:11–22 (NIV84)
11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)—
12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
2 Kings 6:8–23 (NIV84)
8Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”
9The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.”
10So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
11This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
12“None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”
13“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.”
14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.
16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
19Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
20After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
21When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”
22“Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.”
23So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.