Amazing Grace

What Is The Grace Of God And How Does It Covers Your Past

Ross Sawyers
Mar 3, 2024    50m
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Do you ever feel weighed down by the mistakes of your past, wondering if you'll ever be free from guilt and shame? What is the grace of God, and how can it truly transform your life? In this powerful message, you'll discover that the amazing grace of God, which is the undeserved outflow of His goodness and generosity, not only covers all your past sins but instructs you on how to live a sensible, righteous, and godly life in the present. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] In purity in our identity of who we are in Christ. And Father, the ways that we, in turn, then go out and live the life that you've called us to live. We're grateful today for your stunning and amazing grace, and we pray you'll sweep over us in these moments with that grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:23] We're excited that this weekend has happened with our students, and I love that as a church that we get to worship together in the overflow of what's happened over the course of the weekend. Oftentimes, when we have weekends like this, or we go to youth camp and we have big moments where God meets us, we have the opportunity to just unplug a little bit. what can happen is sometimes we think, well, a few days later, a week or two later, what happened to that spiritual high or whatever God was doing that weekend? And this is what I think is a fair assessment of what goes on. I think we're kind of moving along in our walk with Christ, and then we get moments like this where we can get really high up on a mountaintop with God, and y'all are hanging out in Matthew 17 some, and so when you think about a mountain up there with God, what an incredible place to be. And then we come out of a weekend where we don't have the kind of praise around us, we don't have all the support, and all the people together in one place, and we come down a little bit. But what I think happens over the course of time is you come down a little higher and a little stronger than you were before you came into the weekend. And then as we continue to grow and gather, we might go to youth camp this summer and there's another big jump, and we come down and we are a little bit higher, a little bit stronger in our walk with Christ. And over time, before you know it, we were over here, and now we're up here in our character and our love for God, and our love for other people. and it's so gracious of God that he would give us moments where we can accelerate what that path is, and that's been moments for you, this week. And I've loved hearing the reports of all that God is doing and has been doing, and our prayer will be that that will seal in you and continue as you move ahead.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:24] I don't know if you're aware of it or not, but so far this morning, I haven't found anyone who was, but maybe you are. but this weekend, and I love that Jermaine scheduled Live Weekend on this date because from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, from March 1st to March 2nd, it is the global day of unplugging in 2024. This started in 2009, in the early part of March, and the goal, according to the website and those who established this day, is for every person to step away from screens intentionally and then shift into an offline activity, an in-person interaction, or a real-life gathering, and I love that this weekend was a moment during Global Day of Unplugging that that's exactly what we did. But the goal was not for you to elevate your human interaction, the goal was to elevate your interaction with God and your connection with him. And the more we elevate that connection with God, the more we have a meaningful connection with each other. Everything elevates when our connection with God elevates. So you've had a weekend, exactly like these global planners were hoping.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:49] Now when my sons were in middle school and high school, that's when the cell phones were really kind of taking off with social media, computers, and the ways they were using them. all of that was really coming into play. And I'm a digital idiot, it is not just a second language for me, it'd be like a fourth or fifth language, down the way. And I could never quite figure out everything my sons, my teenage sons, understood. And so both my wife and I would ask them, and I would ask them to help me with passwords, to help keep them safe. Now, that makes no sense, but it's all I knew to do because I didn't understand how to do it. Parents are much better at that today. And then we would always ask them, how do we do this with the computer? How do we do this with our phones? And I don't know how you are with your parents, but sometimes they would get frustrated with us, probably most of the time when we would ask that because they told us before, and we just forgot. But this is what they would basically say, unplug it and plug it back in, or turn it off and turn it on again, and it will probably reboot. And you know what? That works most of the time. But that's also how it works in the spiritual world. When you unplug, it gives you a chance to refresh and reboot, and when you come back online, it's a much more refreshed and beautiful picture of what God's doing in you. So what a gift that God has given us this weekend, for you to be able to do what it is that you've done.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:38] I'd like to tie this up for you, and for our church as a whole, by looking at Titus chapter 2, verses 11 through 14. And what we'll see in this is how you can actually do the things that you talked about all weekend long. As you're turning to the Scripture, and I would encourage everyone to turn in their Bibles, it's towards the back of your Bible, and the Scripture will also be on the screen. But I want to invite you to something next Sunday afternoon at 4:00 at 121, we'll be having a time where we gather for prayer and worship at 4:00, on March 10th, it's the first day of Ramadan. Ramadan is that part of the year when Muslims, all over the world, begin 30 days of prayer and fasting. They'll pray and fast during the day and the nighttime, they'll actually do this real-life gathering together, and they will eat and prepare for the next day. Also, in this season of time, they're seeing how many more good works they can do in ways they can serve people because they're trying to earn their way to Allah and to earn his pleasure. We're going to take time here to pray that in those days that they would be met by Jesus, and that they would see the grace and the love of Jesus. So if you can come, we'd love for you to come. We'll have a specific emphasis on praying for the people of Palestine that they would meet Jesus. That's a generator, we're all safe, it's going to be okay.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:23] In Titus, just a quick overview, it's an immoral people, it's a lying people, and Paul is writing to Titus and saying, hey, here are some things you need to do to strengthen the young church. There are so many who are younger believers, here are the things that need to be happening so that you can resist that which is false. In your schools today and in your social media world, whatever kind of world you're operating in, there are all kinds of lies and false things that are being thrown out. Satan is a deceiver and an attacker, and he is coming at, coming at you, and coming at everybody else with an onslaught of things that are not true, and the way to respond to that is to respond with that which is true. And when we know what's true, then it's how do we actually live that out? How do we respond and live out the ways that we're to live out? Now, my understanding is that in each grade, you studied something different, and this year we had teachers come into each of the homes, and to talk about different things. So I know one grade was identity, one grade was purity, one grade was basic disciplines and ways to spend time with God, and then I know there were others, I love the way it was laid out for you.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:43] But, really, for any of that to happen, the way we can actually pull it off is by the grace of God. And a guy wrote a book years ago called What's So Amazing About Grace? And it's a great question to ask, what's so amazing about it? And then it kind of left me wondering this week, as I was thinking about God's grace, how often people will say, you know, by the grace of God, I was able to do this, or by the grace of God, I could do that. And I thought, what is someone actually saying when they say that? Could they really have done that same thing without the grace of God? Or really, was it the grace of God that allowed that to happen? So what is it? What is the grace of God? I'd like for us to look at 3 or 4 things in these verses, to tether ourselves to God's Word, and to what grace is and does.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:40] And the first thing I would say about grace today, and the reason it's so amazing, is it covers our past. Grace takes care of our past and all the brokenness and sin of our past. Verse 11, of chapter 2 of Titus, "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men." The grace of God, this is the subject of this whole passage, is the grace of God. And I started thinking about what is the best way to define grace. And if you just kind of mentally for a moment think, what is grace? How would you actually define it? And someone gave me this dictionary a while back, I know we don't look at books as often, you can actually google the same thing. But this is Webster's American Dictionary, 1828, of the English language, and this is the compact edition of the dictionary. And so I looked up grace, and I wanted to see how in 1828, when our country was still really young, how was grace defined. And this is what the dictionary in 1828 says, favor, goodwill, kindness. The second definition is the free, unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits that men receive from him. "If by grace, then it's no more of works.", Romans 11. "My grace is sufficient for thee.", Second Corinthians 12. "A State of Reconciliation to God.", Romans 5:2. "Spiritual instruction.", Ephesians 4:29. "Eternal life and final salvation.", First Peter 1:13.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:35] I was just reading from the dictionary, not the Bible, and that's how grace was defined. And I thought negatively for a moment, and I thought, surely today if I were to look up, and so I googled how Webster's dictionary, it's still okay, by the way. I googled how Webster's dictionary would define grace today, and in my mind, I thought, this is not going to include anything about God. But I was surprised to find, and grateful that there actually was, that it talked about God's favor. I didn't see the scripture, I think that's been perhaps removed, but still some reference to God, that's good. And then I looked back at one of my favorite theology books which was by Millard Erickson, and I looked at his definition of grace, and this is the one I want us to lock on to today. We're talking about the grace of God, it's the undeserved outflow of God's goodness and generosity. Undeserved, because all of us, according to the song and from the Scripture, but the song Amazing Grace, is that we're all wretches. We are vial in who we are, we're bad in who we are, we're dead in our sin, we're corrupt in who we are, and grace will never be amazing or stunning unless we understand how we are. And we all have a nature of sin that is selfish and prideful, and it's against that backdrop thing that we see that God gives an undeserved outflow of goodness and generosity, that's what grace is.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:32] And he says in verse 11, this grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. That word appeared means something that was not previously visible, and now it's visible and it has a brightness to it. And what we know from the Scripture is that the grace of God has appeared, Jesus Christ Himself, which was the theme of the weekend. And I didn't get a shirt, I kind of got rooked. I asked for one the other day and I didn't see it anywhere, maybe it's in my box somewhere. By God's grace, maybe I'll end up with a shirt before the day is over. But the theme of the weekend is just Jesus, "For the grace of God has appeared." The grace of God, that is Jesus Christ, that's just Jesus. He appeared, and he is grace, so grace is actually a person. And we know in John chapter 1, verse 17 that grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. If you want to see the absolute perfection of grace, truth, and love, it's found in Jesus Christ Himself, it's just Jesus, grace, and truth realized.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:46] "The grace of God has appeared...", meaning Jesus has appeared, and he says, "...bringing salvation to all men." There are people that believe that this verse teaches a universal salvation. What do I mean by that? That would mean that every one of your peers at your school will have salvation in Christ when they die. Every adult in the room, everybody we work with, everybody in our neighborhoods, everybody will have salvation in the end. That's not what it means, that's why we look at the whole of Scripture and realize that not every person will actually respond favorably to Jesus. So the idea here is that there's the offer of salvation to all people, but not everybody will respond in faith to the grace that's been offered through Jesus. The word is also said to mean that it's all kinds of people, it's different races of people, it's girls and boys, it's young men, young women, older men, older women, every tribe, tongue, and nation, all over the globe that he brought salvation to all peoples.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:07] What is this salvation that he brought? In First Peter 2:24 it says that "He Himself bore our sins in his body." I feel like a runway model, "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." And what Peter, and y'all looked at Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17, and Peter was able to see with some others just the glory and the splendor and the brightness of Jesus. And they hear, God, as the Father said to him, "This is My Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him and follow him." And it's at the cross that Jesus Christ bore all of our sins, he took on all of your sin, all your selfishness, all my selfishness, all of your pride, all of my pride, he took on all of the sexual immorality of you, and you, and you, of me, and on the cross, he took that on himself, and he hung on the cross naked and nailed. And it wasn't just a criminal being executed on a cross, it was the perfect mix of love, truth, and grace in human form, taking on every sin of humanity.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:50] And what I need you to hear this morning is that every detail of every sin that you've ever committed is covered by the grace of God through Jesus Christ on the cross. You don't have to live in condemnation, you don't have to live in ongoing shame, you don't have to live in guilt, it's all covered here through Jesus Christ on the cross, we stand in the shadow and substance of Jesus Christ on the cross. And the only way to have that covering is by grace, through faith, to believe what Jesus did for us. Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." There's not one thing that you and I can do that would earn salvation for me, it's everything that Jesus did on the cross, that's it, right here. There's not one thing we can do to earn it, and please hear this, every detail of your sin is covered and you can be free. That's the beauty of grace, it's the forgiveness and freedom of God. No other world religion offers that kind of grace and forgiveness, not one, they're not the same; grace is a differentiator.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:43] A little over a week ago, eight of us went to Mexico. And hopefully, you'll take advantage of opportunities in the coming years, as we send teams to that part of the world. And we went to just explore what our options were for serving in the future. And we were with one man named Angel, who was here a few years ago, and he helped us start our Spanish ministry at 121, which is thriving today. The other person we were with was a man named Nyein, Nyein grew up in Southern California, and he was a part of a Mexican gang. When he was 16, he committed a crime, and when he was 17, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Imagine some of you are 16 and 17 years old, imagine facing a life sentence in prison without parole, you're 17, and that's what he received. He was a bad man while he was in prison. In 2010, some people had been bringing the message of Christ into the prison, and he responded to what Jesus Christ did for him, and Jesus on the cross covered the ugliness of all of his sins, and he received it. And because he was high up in the gang, so it was a mafia or the mafia boss’s kind of lead, and then he was an associate, which means he reported to the mob bosses in prison, and then he had 2 to 300 people underneath him. And the way it works, it's really simple, here's the rules of being in the gang, he was in the Southern Mexican gang, and he said, here's the rules, and if you don't keep the rules, you get stabbed. That's it, it's really simple, keep the rules and you're good, if you don't, you get stabbed. If you ever want out and want to be placed in a different yard in the prison, you have to go to a guard, tell them you want out, and you'll never go back there again, and you go immediately, or they will kill you. And he went to the guard, he said, I want out, and he went out. In the next eight years, he started growing in his relationship with Jesus, and in 2018, unbelievably, he was brought before a parole board. Remember, he was sentenced to life without parole, and he gets listed as someone who would be a mild risk in society. It goes to the governor of California, Jerry Brown, and he immediately releases him. Nyein, he didn't even know what to do with that, he'd never been free as an adult, 27 years he served in prison, and now as an adult, he would get out. The grace of God, and that actually can be bothersome to some people, that somebody could commit that heinous of crimes and be set free at the cross, and then to be set free from prison. He didn't think he would ever get out, today he's married to Angel's sister, he has two small children, and he's pastoring a church, and he's the most joy-filled man I think you could ever find yourself around. That's the power, that's the power of the grace of God, it's transformative.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:27] And we need to know, and if you're a drama teacher, I know I'm not supposed to turn my back, I should have walked backwards like this so you could see me. but grace is transformative, it's powerful, and it's just Jesus who brings this about. But what we also know is that grace instructs our present. So while it covers our sin from the past, and actually covers it in the future as well, to which Paul has this argument in Romans, people say, well, if it's the grace of God and I respond to the grace of God and I'm saved, then I'll sin all the more if it covers everything in the future. And the answer to that, Paul says, is no, you misunderstood Grace. Someone just gave their life for you, to rescue you from being out of darkness and being this wretch, and now you have the opportunity at life, so grace ought to abound all the more, and our lives are more motivated by gratitude to follow and love him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:24] But then what would that be? What would we do? Well, grace is actually our instructor, it instructs our present verse 12, "Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.". So grace, the undeserved outflow of God's goodness and generosity actually teaches us how to live. So Jesus is our teacher, and there's a negative look here and then a positive look. He teaches us first what grace does, it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. So there's something in the word to deny, or to deny ungodly character, ungodly living, and anything that's counter to God, counter to his character, counter to his love. And we're to deny worldly desires, those things in us that want to be like everything else in the world, or like everybody else and want to have what they have and have the cars or have the houses or have the clothes or have the phones, the most updated phone, or have whatever is the newest thing that's going on. It's whatever those worldly desires and passions, and I'm not saying those are all bad, but if that's our passion and our desire, that's all we're after, he says, deny that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:52] And what I'd like for you to hear, our whole church today, we have bought into a lie in our culture and world that Satan has schemed against us; and the lie is that we are born with a particular kind of way that we think about life and that nothing can change that, that's a lie. We are all born with a sin nature, and we're all corrupt at birth, that's true. But what happens at the cross is the power of sin, and the power of Satan have been destroyed here. So that it no longer has control over you and over me. And what I'm afraid has happened is we've bought into this mealy-mouthed definition of grace and love and just accept and let anything go, instead of realizing that the grace of God is transformative, and it's powerful, and we don't have to live in sin, and we don't have to let it reign over us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:07] Paul says that in Romans he said, wait a minute. I thought you had received the grace of God, and now you're living as if it reigns in your life. We kind of throw up our hands and say, I can't do anything about it, so I'm just going to live like this. All my buddies are looking at porn, I guess I'll look at porn too, there's nothing I can do about it. No, at the cross, the power of sin has been broken and the power of Satan has been broken. You say, well, okay, what is it that happens then, because it seems like I keep doing the same thing? There is a battle. We're in a battle, this is not like a domestic thing going on. We're in a spiritual battle, it's a war every day. And I've never forgotten my son in middle school, shortly after looking back and saying it's an unfair fight because Satan is coming after middle schoolers when they don't even really know yet how to get in the fight, and that's where we need to be in the fight and stepping in the gap for them as they learn and grow to fight in that spiritual battle. Of course, Satan wants to wipe us out early and get us going on destructive pathways early, of course he does. But at the cross, in Christ, he's given me the power to overcome it. And so know today that grace has attached to it power, it's powerful. And when we receive the forgiveness of God and realize, oh no, all these things I've done, they're forgiven, and they're washed away and I'm set free. Now I can't help but turn around and live a life that looks like the way God would want it lived. And He gives me the power to do that through the power of His Spirit.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:02] So what is it that happens? We're told to cling to the cross. I saw a lot of different feedback already from the weekend from y'all. And it's like you've loved the weekend, you've loved your solitude spaces, God's met you in those places. Your teachers have done a great job teaching the word. The worship's been amazing, in what you've been a part of. And you say, I wish it could be like that all the time. Well it might not look exactly like this, but it can. Because we have the Spirit of God in us, there's a power in us, and we can walk in a victory and a confidence and a certainty. But what happens is we quit clinging to the cross, because the only way I can do it is through the power of Christ. And we end up, we start drifting a little bit, we're not spending that solitude time anymore. We kind of had a game and we had to skip small group, and we couldn't come Wednesday night because we had another conflict. We're not really doing our devotional time with our family anymore. And before you know it, we've kind of gotten in a dark spot, and we're walking in ungodly behavior, and we're after the world that's shaping us. What's my path back? It was weird talking to the curtain, by the way. It's to cling to the cross. Here's my path back, it's just clinging back to Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:45] We had our grandson with us this weekend, at least I did, so for Global Unplugging day we had him, and it was a blast. And one of the things I've shared is that I love watching my son be a dad, and my little grandson loves his daddy, and it's actually making it hard because we'll make a transition at Chipotle on Belt Line Road in Irving, and this is how it kind of plays out. Let me have, I need to get a volunteer. You can stay right there, this will work. So this is what happens, so pretend you're my son and that you're 31, one day it's going to happen. And I'm my little grandchild, and I'm in the car seat, and I start to realize, uh oh, my dad's about to leave me, and he's going to transfer me to somebody else, and this is what he did. He just grabs my son's arm with a death grip, and not wanting him to leave him, the little boy wants to be with his daddy. This is how we maintain and walk in the power and the grace of God, we cling to our Daddy, we need our Father, and when we let go, we're going to fall to those addictions and the power of sin and Satan. You did a great job representing my son, thank you. Good luck right there.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:30] But do you know what's so cool is that even when I let go, God still has me. That's the outflow, the undeserved outflow of the goodness and grace and generosity of God that he holds on to us even when we move away from him. There is power, and it instructs our presence. There are things that we are to deny. What are those kinds of things? Well, we've been talking about this to the whole church for a minute, because what we do as husbands and wives and as single parents is crucial for what our teenagers see. And we talked last week about, the last couple weeks, about men and women. And we talked about the virtues of Proverbs 31, that kind of a woman. But you know what Proverbs also says that it's better for a man to live in the corner of a roof than with a nagging wife, that's ungodly living.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:32] In Genesis, it tells us that the consequence of sin entering into the world is that a woman will want to dominate and control a man, her husband. That's ungodly living, and it's a sinful model for our teenagers. In Genesis, we're also told that men, that they're going to try to do the same. And they'll try to dominate and control their wives, and then oftentimes men will speak with a harshness to their wives, it's ungodly. And there's a repentance that God is calling for from ungodliness and worldly desires. And God's design to model that a single person would have undistracted devotion to the Lord, that's a beautiful picture. And for a married couple for the husband to lead the wife and the wife to gladly yield to the husband. That's not always easy, there are unbelieving husbands and husbands that are not really simple to love. And it's not always easy to be a husband, to lay his life down for a wife, who's candidly, not that easy to love sometimes either. But God is calling us up to that, to love even when it's difficult. There are sometimes situations that need to be talked through that will be harder than what I just described, and we'd want to talk through those for whatever the best course of action is.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:26] So there's the negative side here, and he's saying the way you can do this is by sitting under the grace of God as your instructor and as your teacher. And then he says, there's a positive side to this, and the positive side is that we can turn around and we can live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age. We can live with self-control. We can live with a clear-headedness. We can live in a way that's right according to the character of God. We can live in a way that is godly in this present age, it's possible to live in the way that God has called us to live as we sit under the grace of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:12] And then the third thing that he says about the grace, it's so amazing because it secures our future. In verse 13 it says, "Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." So it's God's grace. This is the second time the word appearing comes. The first time Jesus comes, he comes with grace, mercy, and love, and he comes to save. The second time when he returns, he'll be coming in judgment of those who refused him, and he'll come to gather up those that are his. The word looking is a word of eager anticipation. Now, I don't know what it actually requires for a teenager or for adults really to have an eager anticipation for Christ's return. I don't often hear that in common conversation. I don't hear that as a hope that people are leaning into. And yet Paul says that we have the kind of grace here that is such that we have a secure future, we have a blessed hope, we have a favorable future, it's certain, and it's a certain future with Jesus Christ himself. And we'd want to ask God to continue to work in us in such a way that we actually anticipate the day when he's going to come back for his own.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:37] I love Luke 21:28, it says, when these things begin to take place, when we think about all the craziness and chaos in our world and are these birth pangs of what's going to come before Jesus comes back. "When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” What God says to us in His Word is not to put our tail between our legs and start running, but to cling to the cross, clinging to Jesus, and then look, he's coming back a second time, and I'm anticipating that, I don't have to be in despair today, because this isn't the kingdom I live for, this isn't the citizenry that is the most important to me. Our citizenship is in heaven, and when our citizenship is in heaven, then we're eagerly anticipating the one who's going to come back. And based on the work he did here, he's going to finish that off in his adoption of us, and he's going to transform this body in our humble state and conform it into his. That's great news, and so we can look forward to and anticipate that second coming, and it's secure. Now they thought for centuries Jesus wasn't coming the first time, and he did, and oftentimes we live as if Jesus isn't coming a second time, but he is, and we can rest in security in that. And then if you ever wonder where there's just a direct statement about Jesus being God, it's the end of verse 13, "Our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." Jesus is our great God and Savior. Jesus is God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:17] And then he says, in verse 14, that God's amazing grace actually unites us as one. What is it that will unite our student ministry at 121? What is it that will unite us with, I believe Compass is having their weekend like this weekend, and how cool would it be if one year every church in the area did this weekend the same weekend, and so we're unleashing hundreds if not thousands of students back into the middle and high schools that have been a part of a gathering like this. And so I'm not going back alone, I'm going back with those from my own church, I'm going back with people from other churches, and we're going to see what God did and just be a really bright light in all of our schools as we launch back into them. But what unites us, it's not your football, it's not your academics, or whatever you think is uniting, what actually unites us is one is the grace of Jesus Christ. "Who gave Himself (verse 14) for us to redeem us from every lawless deed.". He gave himself for us, and that's the undeserved outflow of his goodness and generosity. And not only did he give himself for us, he did it to redeem us, to buy us back for himself. So that's what he did at the cross, he paid the price to buy us back for himself. And to do this, he redeems us from every lawless deed.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:55] Now my friend Nyein that I spoke of, while he was in prison, he had a 273-page report against him from the prison system of all the things he had been caught doing wrong; that's in prison, 273 pages worth of things that he had done. Every lawless deed, and on the cross Christ redeemed him, bought him back from every lawless deed. And you say, well, I haven't done that. Well, maybe you did what I did the other day when I left the restaurant on Wednesday afternoon, and I was driving down the frontage road near Trophy Club, and I looked in my rearview mirror and I saw a policeman, and he turned his lights on. That's always a little sinking feeling, and so I pull into the parking lot and he pulls in and, you know, traps me so I can't go anywhere, that is a good strategy on their part. And I'm really just sitting there baffled over what I did, I could not figure out what I did. I had just left the restaurant, I wasn't speeding, I was ten miles below the speed limit in that moment when I looked up. And I thought, what happened? So he comes up and he says, do you know what you did? And I said, no, sir, I don't. And he said you ran a stop sign. I thought about it and I said, you know what, I did, I remember that stop sign now. And he asked me some questions, and he said, where are you going? I said, well, I'm pastor, I'm headed back to church. It's always humbling, you kind of want to claim another profession for just a moment. And he goes back to his car and I'm thinking, all right, God, is there any way I could get a break on this? And this is what I was actually thinking, I wasn't as concerned about the ticket as I was concerned about my insurance going up. Now, if you're in the insurance world, I'm sorry, but that's it, I panic anytime something goes awry, I just think this means an increase. And so that's what I was thinking, and then he took a long time, so I don't know if that's just kind of make you sweat. I don't know that strategy, but whatever it was, I'm thinking, okay. And then he comes back, and he has this in his hand, and I thought, well, so much for getting a break. But he comes up and he hands it to me, and he says, I'm going to give you a warning today. So I did get a break. That's grace, by the way, it's when you get a break for doing a lawless deed. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is a big deal to run a stop sign, that's a problem. And I needed, at a minimum, the warning, I needed that. And then I started looking at the ticket a little bit more and I thought, gosh, this is brutal, it says violator, and then it's my name, Ross Sawyers, a violator.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:54] But that's what we all are, we're all violators of God's grace, God's word, and God's instruction. And today he's giving us a warning, that I have a way to be a help to you in your violation, and it's my grace. And I've appeared once, and I'm going to come back and get you. The reason that he did this for us, as we see at the end of verse 14, is to purify us. I think, was that the ninth grade, did y'all do purity? This, in verse 14, he came to purify us, that's why he came. For us to live pure lives and were capable of that by the grace of God, to live in the purity he's called us up to. And to be pure in such a way that we would be his people, so we're unified today as the people of God, in Christ under his grace were purified.

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:07] And then there's something for us to do. He says we're to be zealous for good deeds. Now, our Muslim friends, they believe that by doing good deeds that will earn them points with Allah, and that hopefully when they die, that will be enough to get them into heaven. But Paul says to Titus, tell him this, my grace is so good, you're freed right here. And now you're my people, a holy people, a chosen people, a royal nation. Why? So that you might proclaim the excellencies of him who's called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. You once were not a people, but now you are the people of God. You had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. And so we're united today as the people of God then to be zealous for good deeds, and you modeled that yesterday with the serving that you did. And the young lady who said that we're to make sure that no one's left out, that everyone is hospitable and invited in, that's being zealous for good deeds. We should be known for doing good things, but we're known for it not because we're exhausted trying to earn something, but because we've reflected so much on the undeserved outflow of the goodness and generosity of God that that's all I can do is try to figure out today how I can do something good for the sake of his name, because I love him so much, and he's been so good to us. Grace is the motivator for us to live the life that God has called us to.

Ross Sawyers: [00:47:04] And then to the students, I want to say this in verse 15, really to all of us, "These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you." I want you to know today that Paul writes to Timothy, and he says, let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, faith, purity, and love, show yourself as an example of those who believe. As you move out of this weekend, be those examples of purity and love and the grace of God to all of us who believe, and that grace that's in you will motivate the rest of us to walk in that same grace. And then someone wrote, and they said, I wish we could do another Live weekend. Here's a thought for you today, what if sometime in the next few months you did it? You don't have to have someone plan it for you, you can get together a small group of girls, and a small group of guys, and you can do a weekend that's built just like this one was, and your leaders can help you do that. Families were good about vacations, but what about a weekend where you did a Live weekend just with your family, and you designed it around worship, solitude, and small group Bible studies? What if what we were doing is not just something the church organizes and puts on, it's something that you're so motivated by, that you do that in your own home and with each other? You can do it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:47] I look forward to continuing to watch what God does in you. I'm so proud of you, and just love your humility and your surrendering to God. And we wanted to say today, if any of you are still wrestling with, have you even met Jesus yet? Do you even know him? You can find Jermaine, or one of your leaders, but I'd encourage you to not let this day go without settling that you can be in that relationship with Jesus Christ. And then if there's anything left that you haven't repented of, that God is working in your heart, the ungodliness, and worldly desires, that you'd find a leader. There's freedom in confessing our sins to one another and then walking out of that. Let's walk free. Someone said on their way out earlier, they said, we thought we could be free from sin, but we're not free to sin. So let's walk in that freedom and the amazing grace that God's given us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:49:41] Father, thank you, for our time in your word. Thank you for the richness. I pray no one will be disregarded in their faith today, but that we will go out with confidence and authority under the amazing grace, under the rich love, and the mercy of God through Jesus Christ crucified. I've been crucified with Christ, it's no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and it's the life and the flesh. I now live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. God, I pray all of us, would leave with our junk crucified on the cross.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213