Sermon #4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† Galatians Series
††††††††† Title:† ††††††††† ďAll Of GraceĒ
††††††††† Text:††††††††††† Galatians 1:15
††††††††† Subject:†††††† The grace of God in salvation
††††††††† Tape #††††††††
††††††††† We delight to repeat the praises of Doddridgeís old hymn to the grace of God Ė
Grace tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to mine ear;
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.
Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man;
And all the steps that grace display
Which drew the wondrous plan.
Grace first inscribed my name
In Godís eternal book;
Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Grace led my roving feet
To tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing on to God.
Grace all the works shall crown,
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.
††††††††† The Christian religion is a religion of grace. Grace is the love of God operating toward man. It is the staple diet of our Sunday school that grace is ďGodís Riches At Christís Expense.Ē Our hymns are hymns of grace. We speak so very much of Godís grace. And yet, despite these facts, there do not seem to be many in our churches who really believe in grace.
††††††††† We rejoice over the fact that there are many who have found the thought of grace so overwhelmingly wonderful that they have never gotten over it. Grace is the constant theme of their talk and their prayers. In times past men have written hymns about it. They have fought for it, accepting ridicule and loss of privilege, if need be, as the price of their stand. As Paul fought these Judaizers at Galatia, so Augustine fought the Pelagians, and the Reformers fought scholasticism, and the descendants of Paul, Augustine, and the Reformers have been fighting Romanizing, and Pelagianizing, and Legalistic, and humanistic doctrines ever since. With Paul their testimony is, ďBy the grace of God I am what I am,Ē and their rule of life is, ďI do not frustrate the grace of God.Ē
††††††††† But why do so few people believe in Godís free and sovereign grace?
1. They fail to see the moral ill dessert of man.
2. They have a wrong view of Godís justice.
3. They have a weak and unscriptural view of the merits of Christís sacrifice.
4. They fail to recognize manís spiritual impotence.
5. They refuse to recognize the sovereign freedom of God.
You are all very familiar with the story of the Apostle Paul. He had been a persecutor, and went armed with letters to Damascus, to hail men and women and drag them to prison. But on his road to Damascus he saw a light exceeding in brightness the light of the sun, and a voice spoke to him out of heaven saying: ďSaul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?Ē By this miraculous interposition of God, this man Saul was converted. He became a saved man. He spent three days in darkness, but when Ananian came to tell him the gospel of Jesus Christ, scales fell off his eyes. He was baptized and became the mightiest of all Christian teachers.
††††††††† We generally consider Paulís conversion very remarkable in its suddenness and distinctness, and truly it is. Yet, at the same time it is no exception to the general rule of conversions, but is rather a type, or model, or pattern of the way in which God shows forth His longsuffering and grace to his elect. It appears from my text, however, that there is another part of Paulís life that deserves our attention. Although he was suddenly converted, God had had thoughts of grace toward him long before he was born. God did not begin to work in Paul on his road to Damascus. That was not the first occasion on which the eyes of love and grace had been fixed on this chief of sinners, but he declares that God had separated him, and set him apart even from his motherís womb, that he might reveal his Son in him.
††††††††† I want to show to you this evening, from the Scriptures, that our salvation is ďAll of Grace.Ē We are not saved by our works, or our wills, our obedience, or our faith, but ďby the grace of God we are what we are;Ē so that ďno flesh may glory in His presence.Ē
††††††††† Salvation, that act of God whereby sinners are made righteous and brought to heaven, is entirely a work of Godís free and sovereign grace, acting in love towards hell deserving sinners.
1. The grace of God planned our salvation.
2. The grace of God precedes our salvation.
3. The grace of God prepares us for salvation.
4. The grace of God produces our salvation.
5. The grace of God preserves our salvation.
I. The grace of God planned our salvation (Eph. 1:3-14).
††††††††† A. The choice was Godís (3-6).
1. His people (3-4).
2. His purpose (4).
3. His promise (5).
4. His praise (6).
B. The cost was Godís (7-12).
1. The price (7, 1 Pet. 1:18-20).
2. The prudence (8-9).
3. The performance (10-11).
4. The praise (12).
C. The conformation was Godís (13-14).
a. The performance (13-14).
b. The promise (14).
c. The praise (14).
II. The grace of God precedes our salvation.
††††††††† A. We see this truth demonstrated in Paulís life.
††††††††† 1. Can we not see something of Godís purpose when we think of the singular gifts with which this man was endowed by nature?
††††††††† a. He was an eloquent rhetorician.
††††††††† b. He was superior in logic.
Quote: ďPaul seems to have been endowed by God with one of the most massive brains that ever filled human cranium, and to have been gifted with an intellect which towered far above anything that we find elsewhere.Ē C. H. Spurgeon
Note: Someone may say, but God reveals great things by fools. I beg to differ. God did once permit an ass to speak, but he said a very small thing. Whenever there is a wise think to be said, a wise man is always chosen to say it. Ezekiel cannot give us Isaiahís prophecy. Amos cannot give us Nahumís words.
2. Do we not see Godís grace in Paulís education?
3. Do we not even see Godís grace in Paulís persecutions of the church? It was very productive in later days.
a. He was humbled.
b. He was repentant.
c. He was bold.
d. He was zealous.
4. Application Ė Is there not a word of comfort and hope for us here? If Paul was thus transformed, shall not our sons and daughters be?
a. Peter would not have been so bold on Pentecost had he not fallen before the maid.
b. Luther would not have been so mighty a defender of grace had he not struggled up and down Pilates staircase† on his knees, hoping to win heaven by his works.
c. Augustine would not have been so holy had he not had that illegitimate son to remind him of his vice.
B. It is impossible to say when the grace of God begins to work in his elect. You can tell when quickening grace comes, but not the grace itself.
1. Godís grace begins in our earliest years a formative grace.
a. He sovereignly puts us in our homes.
b. He moulds our dispositions.
c. He forms our thoughts.
2. In later years Godís grace is upon us as preventive grace. He keeps many from a course of open sin.
3. Then there is that marvelous restraining grace of God. He allows many to walk in sin and yet restrains their vice (John Newton). How blessed that our God says, ďHitherto shalt thou go, and no further!Ē
III. The grace of God prepares our hearts for his salvation (Matt. 13:3-9).
††††††††† A. He makes us willing to hear his Word.
††††††††† B. He gives us a tender conscience.
††††††††† C. He creates in us a dissatisfaction with our present condition.
1. He strips us of our joy.
2. He stripes us of our peace.
3. He makes us miserable.
D. He convicts us of sin.
IV. The grace of God produces our salvation.
††††††††† The Holy Spirit turns the eyes of the despairing prodigal to heaven. He calls his sheep.
††††††††† A. Personally.
††††††††† B. Particularly.
††††††††† C. Powerfully.
V. The grace of God preserves our salvation (John 10:27-29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:12).
††††††††† It is Godís work. He will carry it through.
Conclusion: Zech. 4:6-7; Jude 24-25.