This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Neighboring Well”.
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In this series we are talking about Kingdom hospitality and we looked at the idea of God’s amazing grace being the foundation and motivation for hospitality. We looked at the first part of the parable of the Prodigal son and talked about the love of the Father. Then we looked at the older brother’s reaction to the grace and hospitality of God. We saw that God has given us His amazing grace and we have responded to it ahead of the rest, not instead of the rest. God’s heart is that everyone would experience His grace and receive His offer into His family. We can participate in God’s grace, or we can choose not to. Real life is found in living for Him in His grace. This week we are going to talk about how God wants to use us as instruments of His grace.
Definition of instrument
1. A means by which something is done;
2. One used by another to accomplish a purpose;
3. An implement used to facilitate work.
Like a surgical instrument in the hands of a surgeon, or a musical instrument in the hands of a musician, we are an instrument of grace in God’s hands. God uses the instrument to do what the instrument was made to do.
Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV)
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1. Our calling
Our scripture reading today we see that we are created, as God’s workmanship, His poema, His work of art, to do good works. I said last week that we are called ahead of the rest, not instead of the rest, and now we are to do the good works that were prepared by the Father for us to do.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (NIV)
4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
We have been called into fellowship with Jesus. We have been called to join with Jesus in His mission to seek and save the lost. He called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He called us out of the kingdom of our adversary into the Kingdom of God.
2. Live a life worthy of the calling
Ephesians 4:1-7 (NIV)
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Jesus has apportioned grace to each one of us. (to divide (something) among or between people : to give (a part of something) to a number of people). His amazing grace has been given to us and we are to live in His grace.
1 Peter 4:9-11 (NIV)
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
We should be asking ourselves if we are “faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms”. Am I using the grace and gifts I have received to impact the lives of others?
1 Peter 2:12 (NIV)
12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
We are to live lives among people that will have an impact on them so that they will respond to God when it’s their turn to be called!
3. How do we do it?
How are we to live out this calling, this work we were created for, this living as an instrument of grace in the hands of God? Through His grace! He will help us to administer His grace to the world around us.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
We approach the throne of grace, to receive His grace in our time of need, so that we administer His grace to people who desperately need to know the amazing grace of God that will rescue them from darkness and bring them into light. And that is what neighboring well is all about. Knowing our own desperate need for the grace of God, standing against the tricks and traps of the evil one, so that we can faithfully administer the grace of God in all its various forms to our neighbors, the people that we encounter who need to know the mercy and grace of God.