The Presence Of Grace / Grace: Give As Good As You Get

Series: Other Speakers

Sun am 24 February 2013 – Justus Swart and Jaco Swart

Matt. 4:25; Matt. 9:27-30; Matt. 8:5-6; Matt. 9:12-13; Matt. 6:1-4; (1 Cor. 1:12); 2 Cor. 5 to 2 Cor. 6:2;
(Col. 1:20); 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Matt. 18:21-33; Mark 2:17

Justus: We must remain adaptable and answerable to God and listen to His voice and His Spirit that is leading us into new places. We are being challenged on some of our habits, but some habits and traditions will always remain, and one of those is preaching the Word of God. We do it to edify the Body; through the public reading of Scripture we exalt our God by remembering His goodness over generations and generations. The Bible is not philosophy book, but it is telling us of the goodness of God right from the first people ever created. The preaching of the Word will never be a secondary aspect of our meetings. We find Him in the Word.

Large crowds followed Jesus (Matt. 4:25), but when He saw the crowds, He went up the mountain side and sat down. His disciples came to Him. Showmanship was not a big part of Jesus’ ministry; He came into an intimate environment and drew the disciples close to Him.

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus *said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They *said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: “See that no one knows about this!” (Matt. 9:27-30). Jesus warned them sternly that no one was to know about the healing. Healings have a capacity to draw big crowds, but Jesus was very cautious as He was fully aware of the drawing power if He was to be known as a healing man. He was the healer but He was careful not to have that in His own title. In the story of the Centurion, there was no spreading of news, but he recognized Jesus for who He was. These Scriptures show us something about Jesus, His idea of ministry; how He understood the way He was to carry out His calling. He was careful not to create a false idea in the public over what His calling actually was. History tells us that where there are healings, there are also thousands of people; it is a draw card. Scripture does not tell us what happened to the people Jesus healed. We should ask ourselves the question, after people get healed, after the outpouring, what happens, what is the aftermath? Was it sustainable, was it maintained or why did it die down?

Jesus never wanted to be understood as a healing-dispenser, someone who heals on command. We must be careful of the image we create when we use God as this “dispenser”.

Jesus was not elitist, religious, nor sexist. None of the social labels would have stuck to Him. He had an encompassing ministry yet He was careful not to let anyone misunderstand His calling. He was the Messiah, He was the Lord. He did not come for just one purpose, to heal, etc. but He was here to change history. He was here to take back what was His. Unfortunately the church has been defined by all these labels in the past, and our reputation has worked against us rather than for us.

This is how grace is experienced and brought across, it is not in the show; grace is something that convinces you on another level. It convinces you in the core, and whatever people say about you, they should experience the grace. Taste and see!

Are we known for the things we do in secret, are we known because we have reached out when nobody else was looking? (Matt. 6:1-4). These attitudes, hospitality, the nature that we should carry should be so a part of us that it is our fabric, our nature and we cannot stop it from happening. I just do it because that is who I am; I give because it has been given to me. We are not to be a bottle neck but to freely distribute the grace. We know more than anybody that we have received grace that we do not deserve. My challenge to you is, let us go out and be the presence of grace. Grace is for the unrighteous, it is not the healthy that need a doctor (Matt. 9:13). Be out there, grace is given to you to give out.

Jaco: What were you raining this week, were you raining fresh, life-giving water or were you raining acid rain? (Acid rain can destroy whole forests).

Corinth was full of new money, they wanted to be associated with the right crowd, live at the right address; they wanted to be known for who they were. This culture went into the church as well. Some hung on to Apollos’ teachings (1 Cor. 1:12), and there was a lot of criticism of Paul because of the way he dressed and he was not a stage personality. The gospel of the cross was not glamorous and there was opposition to Paul’s teachings in Corinth. There was an argument about who was the best apostle, who was the best preacher, who had the most spiritual gifts. We should regard no-one from a worldly point of view (2 Cor. 5:16).

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:17-21).

As God reconciled you to Himself, He expects you to go out and reconcile man back to God. So I cannot receive grace and sit back and do nothing with it. Reconciliation means to bring together again, that is the story of God and man, we were together but through Adam there was a break, but through Christ there is reconciliation back to God. We are ambassadors in this world, and as we walk in this world we should be bringing a little bit of the kingdom of God into the conversation and into the relationships. We should influence the world; the world should not influence us. You are standing on behalf of the King and what you say carries His authority. An ambassador is a demonstration, a spectacle, a manifestation of a kingdom. We are not just agents, but manifestations of the kingdom of God wherever we live or work; a demonstration of God’s grace and mercy.

There are three aspects of grace: 1) Saving grace, for which we do not have to do anything, which also reconciles us to Him. Grace is receiving what we do not deserve. It also gives us what we do not have. 2) Grace to get through difficult circumstances (2 Cor. 12:7-10). 3) Grace to be extended to other people. We are quick to receive grace from God, but slower to extend it to other people (Matt. 18:21-33). Grace brings you to a point, then you allow the Holy Spirit to transform you and reconcile you, and you then take on the ministry of reconciliation.