"THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD"
1. In Ac 20:24, Paul speaks of the ministry he had received from the
"to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
2. The word "gospel" means "good news", and "grace" means "unmerited
favor"; so Paul was given the ministry to proclaim the good news...
a. That GOD has provided a way of salvation for sinners
b. And that HE had done this without requiring merit on the part of
3. In this lesson we shall summarize the "The Gospel Of The Grace Of
God" under these three headings:
a. The "need" for grace
b. The "provision" of grace
c. The "reception" of grace
[Before we can begin to appreciate why the grace of God is good news,
we must understand...]
I. THE "NEED" FOR GRACE
A. THE BIBLE DESCRIBES MAN'S TRUE CONDITION...
1. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - Ro 3:23
2. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one
point, he is guilty of all." - Ja 2:10
3. "For the wages of sin is death..." - Ro 6:23
4. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and
your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not
hear." - Isa 59:2
5. "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our
righteounesses are like filthy rags;" - Isa 64:6
B. WHAT THESE PASSAGES REALLY MEAN TO US...
1. FIRST: We must all plead guilty!
a. Every accountable person has sinned
b. We can never demand entrance into heaven because we are
somehow good enough
c. Even the very best of us is without merit in God's sight!
2. SECOND: Our sins have alienated us from God!
a. By our transgressions, we lose that precious relationship
b. We experience "spiritual" death, or separation from God;
which if left unchecked, will result in eternal separation
from God (i.e., hell)
c. While in this state of "spiritual" death, we are dead to
God; our prayers are not heard - cf. 1 Pe 3:12
3. THIRD: As sinners, we cannot accomplish the removal of our
guilt on our own!
a. We cannot run away from this guilt
b. We cannot work our way out of this guilt
[So don't be self-deceived by notions of our own goodness. We are
sinners in need of salvation!
It is fair to say, then, that the FIRST requirement of salvation is
recognition of our true guilt. Once we acknowledge our sinfulness, we
are in a position to appreciate...]
II. THE "PROVISION" OF GRACE
A. OUT OF "LOVE", GOD HAS PROVIDED HIS SON...
1. Because God loved us, He sent His Son to die that we might
have eternal life - Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:9
2. Because God loved us, He made His Son a "propitiation" for our
sins - 1 Jn 4:10
a. A "propitiation" is a sacrifice designed to appease
b. Therefore God has offered His Son as a sacrifice designed
to appease Himself, which leads to a related point...
B. OUT OF "JUSTICE", GOD HAS PROVIDED HIS SON...
1. To satisfy His justice, God provided redemption through the
blood of His Son - Ro 3:24-26
2. God's grace therefore functions in this way:
a. God's justice requires an appropriate sacrifice for sin
b. Because He loves us, He provided His Son as a sacrifice for
c. God recognizes the death of Jesus on the cross as a
suitable ransom for our sins, paid in full!
[So to satisfy both His justice and His love, God has graciously
provided salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. What we cannot earn,
God has provided!
But the provision of grace is not unconditional (otherwise all would be
saved). Therefore we need to consider...]
III. THE "RECEPTION" OF GRACE
A. RECEIVING GOD'S SAVING GRACE REQUIRES OBEDIENCE...
1. For Jesus is "the author (or source) of eternal salvation to
all who obey Him," - He 5:9
2. Freedom from sin comes when one is willing to obey from the
heart - Ro 6:17-18
3. Such obedience involves:
a. Trusting in Jesus as the Son of God who died for your sins
- Jn 3:16
b. Confessing your faith before men - Ro 10:9-10
c. Repenting of your sins - Ac 17:30
d. Culminating with being buried with Christ in baptism for
the remission of your sins - Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16
B. HOWEVER, SUCH OBEDIENCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EARNING OR
1. Salvation is by grace, and "not by works of righteousness
which we have done" - Ti 3:4
2. But by God's mercy, He saves us "through the washing of
regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" - Ti 3:5b
a. When a penitent sinner, who trusts in Jesus, is baptized
1) He or she is united with Christ by baptism into His
death, and therefore rises to walk in newness of life
- cf. Ro 6:3-8
2) He or she is "clothed" with Christ, able to enjoy all
the blessings made possible by Jesus' death and
resurrected life! - cf. Ga 3:26-27; He 7:24-25
b. Through such a "washing of regeneration and renewing of the
Holy Spirit", one is truly "born again of the water and the
Spirit!" - cf. Ti 3:5; Jn 3:5
1. God has ordained...
a. ...that through faith and repentance
b. ...culminating with baptism into Christ
...we might receive the wonderful grace of God!
2. Why don't more people respond to God's saving grace?
a. It may be some do not understand the "need" for grace
1) They consider themselves good, moral people
2) Yet, in nearly every example of salvation in the book of Acts,
those being saved were deeply religious and very moral
3) But as Isaiah said, "all our righteounesses are like filthy
b. It may be some are not aware of the "provision" of grace
1) They may think that they are too sinful to receive God's grace
2) Yet God desires all to be saved, and has provided Jesus "a
ransom for all" - cf. 1 Ti 2:3-6
c. It may be that some have not been taught the proper "reception"
1) Many are told to "Say the sinner's prayer", but are not told
what Jesus and His apostles commanded people to do to receive
God's saving grace
2) People need to listen to Christ and His apostles, not modern
preachers! - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:36-38; 22:16
3. We saw at the beginning of our study that Paul's ministry was...
"to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Ac 20:24)
4. So we have sought to do in this study; and in closing we add the
words of Peter...
"testifying that this is the true grace of God in which
you stand." (1 Pe 5:12)
Dear friends, what is your relationship to the grace of God? Have you
received the gospel of the grace of God? Are you standing in the true
grace of God?
"THE HIGH COST OF A FREE GIFT"
1. Perhaps you have heard it said: "The best things in life are free!"
2. This is especially true when you consider that the "best" thing in
life is a gift...
a. I am speaking of that which God offers to all who will accept it:
b. It is truly a "gift from God"! - cf. Ro 6:23
3. And yet, though eternal life is a gift...
a. A high cost was paid to offer the gift
b. And a high cost must be paid to receive it!
4. A high cost for a free gift? How can that be?
a. This "paradox" can sometimes be difficult to comprehend
b. However, teachings of Jesus are often found in the form of a
"paradox" (e.g., the Beatitudes - Mt 5:3-6)
c. Upon closer examination, such "paradoxes" are not really
contradictions, but expressions of very important spiritual
[In this lesson, we shall consider how it is that a gift which is free
can be so costly; beginning with...]
I. THE FREE GIFT OF SALVATION
A. MANY HAVE A WRONG CONCEPT ABOUT HOW SALVATION IS OBTAINED...
1. They think that salvation is earned by the "good works" they
2. Consider this statement by a devout Muslim: "All my life I
have obeyed the Koran and worshipped Allah faithfully. If,
after death, I find that there is no paradise and there is no
houris with which a man may be comforted, as the Koran
promises, I shall feel that I have been miserably cheated."
3. Many professing Christians have a similar concept of attaining
heaven, that their reward is received because of...
a. Their good life
b. Their generous giving of their money
c. Their faithful attendance at church
B. BUT SALVATION IS GOD'S GIFT TO UNDESERVING MEN...
1. Offered while we were still sinners, ungodly, and enemies -
2. Not because we love God, but because He loved us! - 1 Jn 4:
3. And it is offered to all who will receive it! - cf. Re 21:6;
[Salvation, then, is offered "freely". But does that mean it costs
nothing? Not at all!
Indeed, we shall see that nothing in all the universe has cost so
II. THE HIGH COST OF PROVIDING THE GIFT
A. WHAT IT COST THE FATHER - Jn 3:16; Ro 8:32
1. It cost Him the sacrifice of His only begotten Son!
2. He did not spare His Son in an effort to save us from our
B. WHAT IT COST THE SON - Ph 2:5-8
1. It cost Him the renunciation of glory and majesty, which He
had with the Father before coming to this world
2. It cost Him the humiliation of servitude, even to the point
suffering and finally dying by crucifixion for our sins
C. WHAT IT COST THE HOLY SPIRIT - 2 Th 2:13-14; Ep 4:30
1. A ministry through the ages of patiently wooing the stubborn
hearts of sinful men through the call of the gospel
2. Suffering long with men who treat Him ill, being grieved when
they resist Him
[Each Person of the triune Godhead has paid dearly to make the gift of
salvation possible. So certainly from the viewpoint of its
"provision", we can see "The High Cost Of A Free Gift".
But the "acceptance" of this free gift is also costly...]
III. THE HIGH COST OF ACCEPTING THE GIFT
A. IT COSTS THE DENIAL OF SELF, AND THE RENUNCIATION OF MUCH THAT
MEN HOLD DEAR...
1. Paul, who gladly paid the cost, expressed it vividly in
several passages - Gal 2:20; Ph 3:7-8
2. One cannot accept Christ and His salvation on lesser terms
than the complete surrender of self to Him!
B. THIS IS WHAT MAKES THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST "A HARD GOSPEL" FOR MANY
1. They want to accept Jesus as Savior, but not as Lord of their
a. Some even suggest that accepting Jesus as Savior and as
Lord are two entirely separate acts
b. But the two are inseparable - cf. Lk 2:11; Ac 2:36; 10:36
c. Even religious leaders who have led people to think
otherwise are beginning to see the error of their ways:
"The church today is paralyzed at the moment of its supreme
opportunity because we have committed the blasphemy of
insisting that what is so costly for God shall come easy to
us. We haven't dared face our congregations with a hard
gospel." -- Dr. Paul Calvin Payne, General Secretary, the
Board of Christian Education, Presbyterian Church
2. No man can accept Jesus as "Savior of his soul" without
accepting Him as "Lord of his life"!
a. Jesus Himself made this clear when He warned His hearers
that the cost of discipleship is high - Lk 14:25-33
b. The lordship of Jesus over self, life, and possessions must
be acknowledged if we are to know Him as Savior!
3. People must realize that Jesus commission His disciples to
preach "repentance and remission of sins in His name" - Lk 24:
a. There is no remission apart from repentance!
b. And repentance involves the whole life! - cf. 2 Co 7:10-11
1) Not only sorrow for the past, that leads to repentance
2) But zeal and fervor for the future, that affects how we
c. Repentance is therefore the abandoning of our own selfish
way, to go God's way in obedience and fellowship with Him
C. "JUST ACCEPT CHRIST AND BE SAVED" IS THE APPEAL OF MANY...
1. And many people assume that it is a matter of "just accepting"
Him, "with no strings attached"
2. However, consider the words of Jesus Himself - cf. Jn 14:21,23
3. To "receive Jesus", then, requires a full surrender to the
lordship of Christ, a sincere acceptance of His commandments
- cf. Jn 15:10
1. That is why the "gift" of salvation, while offered freely, still
comes a with high cost...
a. Salvation cannot be earned, nor merited, by any amount of good
b. For even after a lifetime of diligent obedience we are still
"unworthy servants" - cf. Lk 17:10
c. But the Lordship of Jesus rightly demands a full surrender to His
authority - cf. Mt 28:18-20
2. Yes, the gift of salvation is costly...
a. It cost God more than heaven can declare
b. It cost Jesus the agony and shame of the cross
c. Even today it costs the Holy Spirit who seeks to woo you through
d. And it costs everyone who truly receives it the total submission
of self to the rightful claims of Jesus on the lives and souls of
all who would be His for time and eternity!
Jesus has paid the high cost to offer you the gift of salvation...have
you paid the high cost of accepting it? - cf. Ac 2:36-39