The previous 3 articles helped us to understand God’s grace by using the acronym: BRUSH….we learned four things: First you have to believe it, you have to Believe in grace. Then, you have to Receive it. After you’ve believed it then it becomes possible for you to receive it. After you’ve believed it and received it you need to Understand it and this is the one that seems a little backwards. I think that you can only really understand grace if you’ve received it. The tragic mistake many of us make is having received God’s grace we don’t fully get to the place where we understand it.
Well if you’ve believed it, received it and if you’ve understood it then what remains is to Share it. If you’ve believed it, received it and understand it then we want to be able to move forward to sharing grace. But before we go on to that, lets just restate our description of grace. Grace is getting love and life that we do not deserve and we cannot earn from God who gives it freely. Grace is getting love and life that we do not deserve and cannot earn from God who gives it freely. Now you know grace is best experienced when it’s growing. The way that grace grows in our life is when we give it away.
How can you share grace? How can you give grace to other people? Here are several ways Grace is shared when you forgive others. Look at II Corinthians 4:15: “All this is for your benefit, that the grace that is reaching more people may cost thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God”. When you are able to give forgiveness what you are doing is you are extending grace. Grace that has been given to you and has been received by you it’s something you can offer to someone else. And what you do when you give forgiveness is that you take the grace that you’ve received and you multiply it by sharing it with someone else.
Now the truth is that it is hard to forgive people. Don’t let anybody ever say to you that it’s easy to give forgiveness. When we offer forgiveness to people who have wounded us, we free ourselves from the prison that we’ve made and we make grace all the more available. You see God didn’t give us forgiveness because we deserved it. God didn’t give us forgiveness because we were worthy of it. God didn’t give us forgiveness because somehow we were justified in expecting it. God gave us forgiveness in spite of the fact that we didn’t deserve it.
There is a second way to share grace and that is, when you endure pain. In II Corinthians: 12-9 the Apostle Paul is speaking and he says “my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” If you read the verses leading up to this text the Apostle Paul three times asked God to take away a painful thing in his life. Now here is the hard truth. There are many times when we go through pain where we wonder about the presence of God. We say where is God in the midst of this. This disease can’t be from God, where is he? This relational pain I am going through, where is God. This difficulty in a life of a loved one, where is God in that? And we wonder where God is in the midst of pain. I want you to know that God is there. He is there in the very depths of that pain filled experience you’re going through. In fact, I’ve had the privilege as a Pastor in the last 20 years of walking with people through some of the worst hours of their lives. And I have been most helped as a pastor by people who are experiencing terrible pain, physical pain, emotional pain, relational pain and they have said “you know, pastor I’ve hated, I’ve struggled in the middle of it, I’ve asked questions of God that I never thought I would ask but God has always been present there.”
An estimated 500,000 tons of water goes over the Niagara Falls every single minute. If you have ever been there you know the sound that it creates. It literally is a wall of sound. 500,000 tons of water going over those walls every minute. On March 29, 1948 the falls stopped. There was no flow of water over Niagara Falls. People who lived near by were literally startled and what they were startled by was the silence. Want to know what happened? The sheets of ice that had been in Lake Erie strong winds came and blew the sheets of ice to a point on the river in the Niagara River near Buffalo and it stopped the flow of water. For people who had lived for a long time near the sound of Niagara Falls, 500,000 tons of water per minute cascading over, the silence they heard was deafening. Our lives are like that sometimes. Sometimes the thing that is most troublesome to us is not when there is noise or activity in our life but when there is silence and you sometimes wonder in the midst of your pain where is God. I don’t see him, I don’t hear him.
Some of you have walked the painful road of divorce and you know the feeling when you have felt like there has been some measure of failure you felt like God was no where to be found and maybe even felt like God’s people had abandoned you. Some of you have had dear loved ones go through painful and agonizing experiences of dying and you have wondered in the midst of that where is God? I want you to know to share the grace of God. The people that I have drawn the closest to during those worst hours have told me you know pastor, I’ve been angry at God, I’ve talked to God and said things to him and wondered why all this is happening but, you know what pastor, God is so real in my life now.
Here is a third way to share grace. Grace is shared when you live with hope. It is a great way to live to say we live a world that is so trapped in the immediate, so trapped in the urgent, so trapped in the necessary, that we lose sight of having a life full of hope. I Peter 1:13 says “therefore prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled, set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. If you live your life with hope you will have an impact on other people. You will have an opportunity to touch people’s lives because in the midst of whatever circumstances you go through as long as your eyes are on Christ and you live with hope and you that God is in the future and he has a good a glorious future for you, you will have an impact on others. You will share his grace.
There is a scene in The Last Emperor where a young child has been chosen to be the next emperor of China and in that movie his brother asks him what happens when you do something wrong? The little boy who is the last emperor says well when I do something wrong my servants are punished. The brother says, that can’t be. So he takes a glass jar and throws it on the floor and it breaks. Well the person responsible for administering justice takes one of the emperor’s servants and beats him severely for the breaking of this jar. So the king breaks a jar and somebody else gets punished.
Jesus turned that on its head. Because of what we do, because of our rebellion against God, because of our actions, what happened is that the king was punished.
Here is the last where I want to teach you how to share grace. Grace is shared when you help give new life in Christ. New life in Christ was probably the most wondrous way that you can share grace and that is when you introduce people to Jesus Christ. Colossians 4:6 says “let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so you may know how to answer everyone”. There is a great old saying that when you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink but you can give him salt and if you give a horse salt he’ll get thirsty. I the same way we need to have our speech be full of grace seasoned with salt, make people thirsty to be able to know God.
You have an opportunity, you have been strategically placed to be able to share Christ with others. Look at this dimension. You have friends that God has strategically placed you in contact with you have neighbors that you can share God’s grace with, you have relatives, you have people at work, you have people at school, other relationships from recreation or other things, God has strategically placed you so that you could impact your world for Christ.
Friends I hope that you believe in grace and I am desperately concerned and committed to seeing that you take this step to receive grace. If you have believed it, received it, understood it, then I just urge you to be impassioned and emboldened with a commitment to share it and those are the worlds, those are the places where you can share grace and see God at work.
In John 14:26 we read, “Jesus said, the counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things, remind you of everything that I have said to you”. You may not remember all these things of the past four articles but I trust this that if you commit to being a person who shares grace, if you become a sharer of grace, the Holy Spirit will call to your mind the things that you need to say and the ways that you need to minister. You know grace has been freely given and if grace has been freely given that means it’s been freely received. If you know that grace has been freely given and it’s been freely received then we need to freely give it to others. What is so amazing about grace is that none of us deserve it and yet for all of us it’s available. I’ve got good news about grace. It’s available for you.