Romans 5:9-11; Ephesians 2:4, 5

 

We continue our study on Grace during this Christmas season because Jesus is grace and He brought us grace.

 

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

The grace Jesus brought is our gift, not just on Christmas day but every day of the year.

 

Another aspect of Grace and what grace does that I want us to consider today is found in the lyrics of the song we sang for communion, Rock of Ages, a song written in England in 1776.

 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me / Let me hide myself in Thee – (Jesus is our hiding place)

Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed – (Jesus died on the cross)

Be of sin the double cure Cleanse me from its guilt and power –

(Jesus’ blood was a double cure – it removes guilt and the power of sin)

The new version says – Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure

 

Sin has a double curse, sin brings guilt and sin has power over us.

We need the blood of Jesus to remove the guilt of sin (God’s wrath) and we need to be set free from the power of sin in our lives (we need to be made pure).

 

Let’s think of this double curse in a physical sense.

What are two of the worse things that could happen to you and your family? Sickness and Debt

 

Video – Mother of 4 with cancer

This mom is was terrified – not able to see her kids grow up and saddle the family with debt even after she is gone.

 

This is the human face to our situation. We have a debt we can’t repay or we have an incurable illness.

That is a double curse – often the illness brings about the debt.

Seniors talk about the donut hole which drains their savings.

 

Physically we need a double cure – we need someone to discover a magic health pill and we need a long lost relative to leave us a million dollars or our community to donate money to cover the costs.

 

What is the worst news you have ever heard?

Your fired, we are shutting down the plant, our account is empty – we can’t pay the mortgage, your identity has been stolen, your health insurance is raising 30%, no raise again this year

 

You have bills, you’re in debt now what are you going to do – you will never be able to dig your way out of this financial hole.   That’s bad but I think there is even worse news you could hear.

 

You have cancer, you need dialysis, your dad has Alzheimer’s, there is nothing we can do for the pain, we don’t know what is causing your illness, you have permanent brain damage, the medication has side effects, you won’t be able to have children, I don’t hear a heartbeat, your child was in an accident, your child needs a kidney transplant, your child needs a heart transplant, there is zero chance of life.

These are real things that people in this congregation has heard – there is more

 

When you heard this or something similar how did you react. We broke down and wept, you got angry, you denied that it was true.  When the news sank in you felt hopeless and full of fear.  We were overwhelmed and felt despair.

That is our first reaction – now how are we going to live our life and keep our faith?

 

The Apostle Paul went through devastating times – what did he say?

 

2 Corinthians 4:8  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

 

Hard pressed, Perplexed, Persecuted, Struck down – what we feel is normal.

How did Job feel after he suffered the loss of his 10 children and the loss of his wealth?

 

Job 1:20  At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.

 

Job was in deep sorrow and grief – that is why he tore his clothes and shaved his head – both were signs of his anguish over what he is going through.

 

What was Job’s wife’s reaction?

Job 2:9  His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

 

People react differently to grief and loss.

 

The Apostle Paul said he was Hard pressed, Perplexed, Persecuted, Struck down but he was not

Crushed, in Despair, Abandoned or Destroyed

 

We can also suffer and not be crushed with fear or be in despair of the future; we have to remember that God has not abandoned us and He will not let us be destroyed. That is why Job in his grief could worship.

 

Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21  and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22  In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

 

Our first reaction is grief and sorrow our second reaction needs to be looking up.

How can we handle the most devastating news of our life without falling apart?

 

Everyone turns to something or someone when tough times come. What will you turn to?

People become some sort of -aholic, a workaholic or an alcoholic; people turn to hobbies or search to find new friends – they change the present situation and not always for the good.

As a Christian turn toward the only real answer – Jesus.

 

John 6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” …66  From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

Jesus is the only one to turn too in difficult, devastating, and confusing times; He has the words of eternal life.

 

When we hear bad news we often forget the truth of God’s goodness and protection.

 

Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

 

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;

 

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Don’t forget this important verse either.

Galatians 6:2  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

 

Ask for help, but don’t forget to pray (Isaiah 37:14-20).

 

God is on our side – He wants our best.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

This verse is ultimately talking about salvation, which brings us back to grace. To have peace and rest in Jesus we must accept His double cure for our double curse.

When we are sick and in debt we do have a “magic pill” and a rich relative; His name is Jesus.

 

When we get bad news about our health or our finances it really rocks our world what happens when we understand the bad news about our spiritual health and spiritual debt.

We weep like John in Revelation because there is no one who is worthy and able to help (Rev. 5:4).

 

We suffer from a double curse – we are sick and in debt because of sin.

In Jesus, we have a double cure – our guilt is forgiven and we are made new.

 

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

 

Ephesians 2:4 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.

 

As sinners we are guilty – we have been caught red handed, we have a debt to pay to God. There is nothing we can do to turn away God’s holy wrath against us.

 

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death.

 

Like we discussed last week we deserve to be thrown in the fiery pit of hell.

But Jesus death on the cross paid our debt – Jesus Paid it All!

 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

The debt has been paid but we are still sick. We need to be made pure; we need delivered from the power of sin.  That happens by the blood of Jesus also.  Jesus makes us new, clean, pure, righteous.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

 

Jesus is our double cure.

 

Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14  having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

 

God brings us from death to life and He cancels our debt.

 

This should bring us to tears realizing the love that has been poured out to meet our need at the lowest point of our life.

 

Grace, Grace – wonderful Grace.

Song – The Wonderful Grace of Jesus

The wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;

How shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin?

 

This wonderful Grace of Jesus will present us as blameless before God’s Almighty Throne when we pass from this life.

 

Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.

 

Jesus’ double cure removes our double curse and we enter into the presence of our Heavenly Father without a blemish (just like a lamb offering in the OT – Leviticus 22:21).

 

Wow – Christian that is what we are celebrating every day, that is what we can invite others to experience.

If you have not been cured will you come today.

Come believing and accepting what Jesus did for you on the cross.

Come and be immersed so you will become pure and new, so your sins will be forgiven and you will receive the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.

 

Come as we sing about the Wonderful Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handout of encouraging verses to help you through times of difficulty