Insightful Sermons on God’s Grace and Mercy
Grace and Mercy are not New Testament Concepts
Before providing sermonic content, it is necessary to remind Preachers that grace and mercy are not New Testament concepts. I understand that “grace through faith” bestowed by Jesus is a new “delivery vehicle”. I further accept that the Gospel of John indicates: “the law came through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”. Without outlining a full apologetics case, if it were not true that grace and mercy came much earlier, how did Adam and Eve survive their disobedience in the Garden of Eden?
Further, it was that very grace and mercy which allowed Noah and those with him to survive the catastrophic flood. Do we not remember that God came shockingly close to wiping out the entire nation of Israel for disobedience after the Exodus. It was only through grace and mercy that they survived! Remember: “the wages of sin is death…”?
Neither Adam, Eve, or even Noah were Hebrew so claims to "Hebrew" origins are even flawed. The first scripture with 'Hebrews' is in reference to Abraham. So, it could be technically true that grace and mercy were first given to Gentiles rather than Hebrews. Wherever it originated, I am so blessed that the Lord sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.
Sermon on Grace, Mercy, and Naomi
In this section, I am going to provide general thoughts on a quick sermon on the grace God showed Naomi. In the book of Ruth, Naomi, along with her daughter-in-law Ruth, returned to Bethlehem. Her sons-in-law had died in the land of Moab along with her husband. When this widow arrived, the townspeople were glad to see her, but she said something stunning. As they greeted her, she changed her name to communicate a very high level of sadness at the losses suffered.
She said: “no longer call me Naomi rather Mara because the Lord has dealt treacherously with me”. On its face, that was a true statement but there was much more she didn’t understand. First, the actions of the Lord may appear treacherous, but are meant to further His Will. The Savior had to be born, by prophecy, in Bethlehem. Naomi, prior to her family deaths, lived in Moab not Bethlehem.
As with Joseph and Mary in the New Testament, God fulfills prophecy exactly as it is foretold. For instance, it may appear as if Caesar’s new tax was the reason the parents of Jesus went to Bethlehem. However, nothing is further from true. The tax, meant to enrich a tyrannical ruler, was nothing more than a “delivery vehicle” for prophetic fulfillment.
More could be added, but here are further sermonic ideas to preach:
God fulfilling His will almost always begin from a place of sadness and brokenness. Was it not the same period of distress that drove you to Him for salvation?
Tragedy is just as important as love. It is often through tragedy that the greatest acts of love result. Naomi and her daughter-in-law (Ruth) had to be in a certain place to fulfill God’s Will. The delivery vehicle, as tragic as it was, happened to be the death of those closest to them. God is not immune to this tragedy either – ever read about the death of HIS Son?
Without the tragic, triumph seems less satisfying. It can be little argued that those who inherit wealth, never having struggled for it, value it less than those who created it. The remarriage of Ruth, through Naomi’s instructions, brought about descendants which led to the birth of Jesus. It was this struggle which was cause for the celebration of descendants being born to Ruth and Naomi. They struggled and God allowed them to see results.
In summary, God’s grace and mercy are always predicated on some tragic event. When preparing your sermon, always allow His grace and mercy to shine through even in cases of rebuke.
Sunday Message on Mercy Shown to Moses
Sure, I could begin this with how Moses was allowed to escape Egypt having murdered someone. I could further boast in God’s protection of the Prophet during his forty (40) years in the wilderness. However, there is something much more fundamental which makes for good preaching: “The Mercy of Assignment”. Whoa, and as we say where I come from, that will effectively preach!
Moses could have been left as a nondescript fugitive from justice and desert shepherd. Had that been the case, we would not even know his name. It is a further a fact that God could have chosen anyone for the assignment, but he chose Moses. Although Moses struggled, at first, to accept, he eventually capitulated to God’s Will.
He whom the Bible refers to as: “the meekest of all men” was chosen for the greatest task in human history. Although this statement seems seasoned with a bit of hyperbole, it is an understatement. When examining the Exodus narrative, we are not just speaking about human history, but eternity as well. This historical narrative led directly to the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and later His mission. Since spatial time is temporary and eternity is without measure, we are speaking about everyone’s eternal destination. Why do you think the Bible asks: “what profit as anyone to gain the whole world and lose their soul“? More simply – Christians are living in “spatial time” to receive “eternity”.
Here are further sermonic ideas for a short message on the mercy shown to Moses:
When God calls you, He may send you back to the place of your greatest trauma. Moses was a murderer and wanted fugitive in Egypt. The place of Moses’s greatest crime became the location for the greatest story of deliverance in human history.
Your calling, and assignment, has nothing to do with your skills but everything to do with God’s power. Moses made excuses because he had weaknesses. Yet success was not predicated on either his strengths or shortcomings.
All God is really asking you to do is show up. If there was one (1) thing which defined the success of Moses’s mission, it was grounded in God’s power through obedience to His instructions.
In summary, there is a grace God shows us in assigning His Will to our hands. We know this because rather than pay our wages for our sin (death), He allows us to live and represent Him.
Sermon on the Importance of Grace
This should be a simple, ready to go sermon at all times. I am assuming that the Lord God called you to preach, and you understand the basics. I am not trying to patronize anyone but, and unfortunately, many who read this were never called by God yet believe they were. Worse, these very “hirelings” (Jesus's Word and not mine) will always think that statement applies to everyone else except them.
Nevertheless, instead of delivering a message on the “basics” of grace, let’s focus on its outcomes. Although we believe our initial receipt of grace was at the moment of salvation, every Saint encountered it much earlier. God’s grace was shown through allowing us to live until we received grace through faith. We remember: “the wages of SIN is death but the gift of God…”, right? More plainly – we should have been paid our well-earned wage of DEATH but the Lord tarried.
Once we both receive and have accepted grace, it is always wise to examine its outcomes. For instance, there are people who initially receive it but go back into the world (as Jesus taught). In the most literal sense, the spiritual life is choked out. The outcome of this, absent repentance, is spiritual death.
Outcomes of grace, fully realized, mean not only will its recipient(s) have eternal life, that message is passed on to others. Here are three (3) further sermonic ideas with respect to kingdom outcomes of grace:
Grace is meant to be replicated beyond your experience with it. It is through faith that someone brought that message to you and it must be passed on to others. This should be the ultimate act of: “paying it forward”.
To embrace grace is ultimately to demonstrate its precepts to others. This was Jesus’s point in the parable of the "wicked servant". If we receive grace, it should be standard operating procedure to model it towards others.
Grace is necessary to fulfillment of one’s purpose in God. This does not mean always allowing things to go unconfronted either. Too often, church leaders use grace as a vehicle to justify nonresponse. Very few other doctrines are so abused than “turn the other cheek”. Its misuse is only exceeded by: “Christians are not supposed to judge other people”. What a lie from the pit of hell and blatant abuse of Jesus’s Matthew 7 statement!
In summary, the importance of initial grace, through faith, cannot be understated. It is, however, just a beginning point. Grace must be demonstrated during our sanctification process and through a Christian lifestyle.
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