This is my notes from a NVCC sermon from last week titled “Grace Is…”. Not the usual suspects for the speaker – this time it is Neal Alligood (college friend of Pastor Wayne) who ministers to college students at NC State with Campus Christian Fellowship.
Neal was well to point out that a lot of this comes from the book by Philip Yancey titled “What’s So Amazing about Grace”.
G R A C E = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
7/30/2007 UPDATE: I was talking to Neal over email and mentioned about blogs and what not and he signed up for a blog … so check it out! I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to write about! Feel free to comment here anytime 🙂
He then started into a story about an experience of his from college… He had a college paper (that was pivotal to this course’s grade) that he completed on-time (even early!) and thought he turned in. Some time later, after the professor searched thoroughly for his paper, he told Neal that he must have lost it but if he could just print it back out and turn it in, he would grade it as if he turned it on-time. Then Neal noticed – he hadn’t turned it in … it was actually at the back of a folder! He told the professor the truth and told him he would accept whatever the professor chose to do with his grade. What did he do? He accepted it as if it was on-time.
The question is: what did Neal receive? Some would say grace, but it wasn’t. It was mercy (when we are let “off the hook”).
So… what is grace then? It involves mercy but ALSO getting something more!
The Greek word of grace is charis – “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness”. Mercy by itself doesn’t afford much joy and pleasure – it is the something more.
Neal then proceeded to refer to the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32 but not in the usual ways. The key he wanted to point out is that grace isn’t just for the prodigal son, but ALSO the prideful son!
Alright – we’ve heard enough of the stories and such, what EXACTLY is grace?
The 4 U’s of Grace
- Undeserved – nothing we can do to make God love us more or less
- Unfair – to a sinner and to our Savior
- Unreasonable – there is never a reason for grace
- Unconditional –
There is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or less – it is completely undeserved! However, this “grace” provided to us is pretty unfair both to us as sinners and to our Savior who died for us! Furthermore, It is also unreasonable since there is no reason! Lastly and quite importantly, there is nothing we have to do to receive God’s grace – it is completely unconditional.
Neal pointed out a story (that upon looking further cannot be 100% verified but nevertheless – read for yourself) about the famous NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia acting as a judge:
The Mayor was presiding over a court session involving a person who stole a loaf of bread just to eat. LaGuardia ruled that not only was this person guilty because the law must always be upheld, he paid the person’s fine AND charged everyone in the courtroom a 50 cent fine for “living in a town where a person has to steal bread”.
This is a great example of grace. LaGuardia could have provided only mercy by ruling the person was guilty and paying the fine, but he ALSO provided the person with $47.50 too – now THAT is grace!