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Sermon #2264 — Miscellaneous Sermons

 

      Title:                                 Freely

 

      Text:                                  Genesis 2:16

      Subject:               The Freeness of God’s Grace

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — February 23, 2016

      Readings:           Mark Henson and Allen Kibby

      Introduction:

 

Let’s begin reading in the Book of Genesis. I want us to read a portion of Genesis chapters 1 and 2 before I come to my text. We will begin in Genesis 1:26.

 

(Genesis 1:26-2:17) “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Š      The Trinity — Multiple Persons in the Godhead

Š      Divine Creation

Š      Adam Made in Christ’s Image (Romans 5:14)

Š      Made to Have Dominion

 

(28) “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (31) And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

 

(Genesis 2:1)Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (2) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (3) And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (4) These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, (5) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. (6) But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. (7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (8) And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. (9) And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (10) And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. (11) The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; (12) And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. (13) And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. (14) And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. (15) And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (16) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

My text is verse 16. When the Lord God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, and put them in the garden, he said, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.”

 

Freely — That is my subject. Freely — That’s the title of my message. This is the first time the word “freely” is used in the Word of God. What it means here is what it means everywhere else it is used in the Book of God. “Freely” means…

Š               Without Cause!

Š               Without Condition!

Š               Without Qualification!

Š               Without Constraint or Coercion!

Š               Without Cost!

That which is free is uncaused, unconditional, unqualified, unconstrained, uncoerced!

 

In the beginning, before sin entered into the world, everything was free.

  • Everything God did for and with Adam was free. Every gift, every blessing, every privilege was free.
  • And everything Adam did for and with God was free. He feared no punishment. He sought no reward. He just walked with God freely, naturally, spontaneously.

 

Law Entered

 

Then sin entered into the world and everything changed. Sin brought with it bondage, and fear, and death. There were only two ways to control sin, death and law. If God did not kill the sinner, he would control his sin by law, by threatening him with punishment. There is no deterrent to sin, in a natural sense, but law.But law could not change the sinner or show forth the glory of God.

  • Grace is free. — Law is bondage.
  • Grace gives freely. — Law rewards justly.
  • Grace is uncaused. — Law is caused.
  • Grace moves men to act freely. — Law can only motivate by threat of punishment (or loss of reward) or promise of reward.

 

Grace Revealed

 

But the entrance of sin also made a way for grace to be revealed!

  • The tree of life” portrays our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Proverbs 3:18; Revelation 22:2) full of life, and grace, and truth.
  • The tree of the knowledge of good and evil” appears to be representative of the law, by which comes both the knowledge of sin and the death sin brings.

The law entered, that the offence might abound,” that sin might be seen for what it is, a horrible affront to God! — “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20-21).

 

Behold the grace of our God, the superabounding grace of God in Christ, as it is set before us in Genesis 3!

  • Adam’s Call!
  • The Sacrifice God Made for Adam and Eve!
  • The Skins for Their Covering!
  • The Promised Redeemer!

 

Then the Lord God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in great grace, “to keep the way of the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). The Lord God drove Adam and Eve from the garden to keep the way of the tree of life,that is, to preserve and protect the way of the tree of life.”

 

God’s grace, not his wrath, is revealed in driving Adam and Eve from the garden “to keep the way of the tree of life.” He drove them out of the Garden and “placed Cherubims and a flaming sword” east of Eden, which turned every way to keep, guard, preserve, and protect “the way of the tree of life.” That flaming sword by which the Triune God has protected the way of life for his elect ever since the Fall is his own holy justice, the sword which he buried in his darling Son at Calvary (Zechariah 13:7) when he was made sin for us! — All this was done “freely!

 

Proposition: In grace everything is free! All that God does for and with man in grace is free; and all that man does for and with God is free.

 

You cannot talk about grace and law in the same breath.

Š      The two are mutually exclusive. God’s grace toward us is free.

Š      And the grace of God in us causes us to serve him freely.

Wherever you find grace, in God or in man, you will find it acting freely, without cause, without condition, without qualification, without constraint, without coercion!

 

I want us to look at this word “freely” as it is used in the Scriptures. I have looked up every reference in the Bible (Genesis 2:16 — Revelation 22:17). In every case, since the fall of Adam, where the word “freely” is used in the Word of God it has a direct connection with grace, either the grace of God operating toward us, or the grace of God operating in us. Let me show you seven ways this word “freely” is used in the Word of God.

 

1.    Hosea 14:4

 

I will love them freely! — Here is God’s counsel to us (vv. 1-3).

 

(Hosea 14:1-3) “O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. (2) Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. (3) Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.”

 

Now, hear God’s promise to all who return to him, to all who trust his dear Son (v. 4).

 

(Hosea 14:4) “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.”

 

Š      In free love he chose us (Deuteronomy 7:7-9).

Š      In free love he redeemed us (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10).

Š      In free love he called us (Jeremiah 31:3; 1 John 3:1).

 

2.    Romans 3:24

 

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” —       Justification is being made righteous by God. It involves blood redemption, forgiveness of all sin, and perfect righteousness — The Righteousness of God…

Š      Imputed to Us Eternally

Š      Imparted to Us in Regeneration

Š      Imputed to Us Consciously

 

And it is completely free. — We are justified freely by God’s matchless grace!

Š      Without Qualification!

Š      Without Cause!

Š      Without Condition!

Š      Without Cost!

 

We are justified freely by the grace of God through the redemptive accomplishments of Christ. Free to us, but, oh, what it cost our Savior! Justification is free to us; but it cost our Saviour dear!

 

3.    Revelation 21:6

 

I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” — Christ gives salvation freely! And he invites you to take the salvation he gives freely (Revelations 22:17). — It is a gift, but a gift that must be taken!

 

(Revelation 21:6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

 

(Revelation 22:17) “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

 

(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.”

 

Come freely to the Throne of Grace,

Where mercy free abounds,

Mercy designed to meet your case.—

So pray and spread your wounds.

 

Come, heavy heart, pour out your groans,

Your every burden bring

To Him Who loves to hear your groans.—

Here love eternal springs!

 

This Spring of Living Water flows

To thirsting, needy hearts.

In every time of need God knows

What comforts to impart.

 

Does any have a need to come

Unto the Throne of Grace?

If so, then God bids you to come

For mercy and for grace.

 

Come, let us once more prove Him true;

Pour out your heart to God.

He’ll never turn His ear from you,

Or fail to do you good.

 

4.    1st Corinthians 2:12

 

Every blessing of grace and providence is freely given to us by our God through Christ our Savior.

 

Š      Every Blessing of Grace (1 Corinthians 2:12; Ephesians 1:3-6).

 

(1 Corinthians 2:12) “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”

 

(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

 

Š      All God’s Providential Goodness (Romans 8:32)

 

(Romans 8:28-32) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

 

5.    Matthew 10:7-8

 

As we have freely received the grace of God, so we must freely proclaim the grace of God to all men. (Matthew 10:7-8; 2 Corinthians 11:7).

 

(Matthew 10:7-8) “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”

 

(2 Corinthians 11:7) “Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?”

 

God’s servants are worthy of their hire (Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14; 1 Timothy 5:18). But God’s servants are not hirelings!We preach the gospel freely! — “I have preached unto you the gospel of God freely!

 

Nothing offends me more than for someone to ask me how many people, or how much money do you require for a meeting, or for a preacher to seek to secure money before agreeing to a meeting! — God’s servants are not hirelings!

 

6.    Psalm 54:6-7

 

God’s saints worship him freely (Psalm 54:6-7).

 

(Psalm 54:6-7) “I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. (7) For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.”

 

Š      No Sabbath Days

Š      No Tithes

Š      No Rules

Š      No Coercion

Š      No Arm Twisting

 

7.    Ezra 2:68-69

 

And sinners saved by grace give freely. (Ezra 2:68-69; 7:13-15 [Artaxerxes’ commission]; 2 Corinthians 9:7). Those to whom much is forgiven love much; and love is manifest in two ways — Doing! and Giving!

 

(Ezra 2:68-69) “And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: (69) They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments.”

 

(Ezra 7:13-15) “I (Artaxerxes) make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. (14) Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand; (15) And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem.”

 

(2 Corinthians 9:7) “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

 

(2 Corinthians 8:7-9) “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. (8) I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. (9) For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

 

God doesn’t need any of us. How can a man serve God? What can we do for him?

Š      Give in his name!

Š      Minister to his people!

Š      Repair his house!

Š      Care for his servants.

Š      Publish his Word!

 

APPLICATION

 

How I love that word “freely!” Now, having freely received the grace of God in Christ, I bid you take of the water of life freely. And to you who are partakers with me of the free grace of God in Christ, I say…

Š      Worship and serve the Lord “freely!

Š      Use what God puts in your hands “freely” for the cause of Christ.

Š      Minister to and take care of one another “freely!

 

We’re chosen by electing grace

In Jesus Christ our Head.

Before all worlds, “They shall be mine,”

Our God, the Father said.

 

We’re freely justified by grace

Through Jesus’ precious blood,

Forgiven of our countless sins,

And reconciled to God.

 

We’re sanctified by God's free grace

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

By God the Spirit born again,

We are now saints of God.

 

We’re here to magnify God’s grace,

So infinite and free.

The Father, Son, and Spirit praise

In triune majesty!

 

——————————————

 

Saved sinners, joyful tribute bring,

To Zion’s everlasting King,

Who rules below and reigns above,

And rests in His unchanging love.

 

Among His saints He loves to dwell,

Employs His might our foes to quell,

And though we every day offend,

He loves us freely to the end!

 

Within the soul adorned with grace,

Jehovah has His resting place;

And from the objects of His love

Jehovah never shall be moved!

 

“Mighty to save,” or to destroy,

We are the objects of His joy;

To heav’n His ransomed He will bring,

And bid His holy angels sing!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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