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A Different Grace

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. REVELATION 22:21 NLT

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. EPHESIANS 2:1-3 NLT

Without God’s grace, I would be just like everyone else

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. EPHESIANS 2:4-10 NLT

With God’s grace, I can become just like Jesus

To become more like Jesus, I must make an effort to grow in the grace of Jesus

… you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 PETER 3:18 NLT

We constantly work to grow in grace because it is so easy to lose.

…and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation. LUKE 11:4 NLT

…You have fallen away from God’s grace. GALATIANS 5:4 NLT

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. 2 PETER 1:2 NLT

To become more like Jesus, I must learn to forgive like Jesus

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. COLOSSIANS 3:13 NLT

The first to apologize is the bravest

This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. MATTHEW 5:23-24 MSG

The first to forgive is the strongest

Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 TIMOTHY 2:1 NLT

The first to forget is the happiest

To become more like Jesus, I must learn to let go like Jesus

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” LUKE 23:34 MSG

When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said goodbye and left for Macedonia. ACTS 20:1 NLT

And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. HEBREWS 8:12 NLT

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. HEBREWS 4:16 NLT

My Notes

Personal Reflection Guide

Take a few moments to slow down and breathe, releasing to Jesus any burdens from your day. When you are ready, ask God to reveal any areas in your life where you struggle offering grace to others. As these come to the surface, write them down, asking for God’s grace to cover these areas that you are unable to tackle in your own strength. Next, focus on the areas in your life where you have received the most grace from God. Spend time intentionally thanking him for these, asking him to gently remind you of these moments when you are tempted to judge others. Close your time by simply asking God to fill you with more and more of his grace, so you can model that to those around you, so that they may experience the grace of Jesus through you. Write down your reflections in the space below, sharing with your group if you feel comfortable.

Discussion Questions

  1. Begin group time by completing the Personal Reflection Guide, (link found on the top of sermon notes). Use this time to examine your experiences with grace. (Tip: playing some soft background music is helpful here!)
  2. Describe a time in your life when you did something wrong but did not receive grace from someone; how did that experience make you feel?
  3. How have the last few years made you more like everyone else and less like Jesus?
  4. We don’t grow in grace without conflict. How can you work to be more like Jesus by extending grace to someone who bothers or has upset you (family member, coworker, neighbor)?
  5. When Jesus hung on the cross, he offered grace and forgiveness to those who put him there. How can we learn to let go: of the pain others have caused us, of being easily offended, and of the desire to enforce justice ourselves?
  6. “The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.” Which one of these is the biggest challenge for you right now? What practical steps can you take this week to live these statements out?