We’re going back to the Book of Romans chapter 5, but this time it will just be verse 20. It will just be the last part of that verse. It says, “But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” That’s New American Standard. Others say; where sin is grace much more abounds or something to that effect. Now, I was reading Charles Spurgeon, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, or as us close friends just call him Spurgeon. He was preaching in the 1800s and I like what he said on the subject. “A very great power is sin, a power dark, mysterious, baleful, but full of force. All of man’s sorrows are rooted and caused by sin.” Now, I like that. I like the word baleful, and it’s true. You see, there are two great powers working in this world and one is sin. I know, everybody thinks oh, sin, but I keep pounding at this because I need refreshed and, therefore, I think we all need refreshed. Sin, the Greek word hamartia, this means to miss the mark. It’s like you’re shooting an arrow at a target and you miss it. I don’t know about you, but I miss the mark a lot of times not just with arrows but everything that I do in my life. A lot of times I miss it. I am not perfect. I know that’s a shock, right, that I’m not perfect, but I’m not perfect.
This whole idea of sin just means to fail. Anytime that you fail you’re not being perfect and God wants us to be perfect. That was a requirement. Righteous standing before God requires somehow that we have perfection. Sin means we’re not perfect; therefore, we can’t stand in front of God perfect. The world religion and some churches, I should throw that out there, some churches also teach that the power to fight and overcome sin is within you because you are basically good. I don’t buy that. I don’t know about you, but watch some little kids that play. We don’t have to teach them to be bad, we have to teach them to be good. We have to teach them to share. We have to teach them this, that and the other and hopefully by the time they’re 18 they will learn. If not Andy will take care of the problem and jail them, right? Alright. This whole idea is that sin which is a strong and powerful force because Adam entered into this world and because it’s there all of us have learned, well actually we just inherited it, we all have that innate ability just to make mistakes. We don’t have to work at it. We’re just there. We’re making mistakes, and because of our mistake making all humans stand condemned before God because we do not have the natural ability to be perfect every day in every way. That’s why if you’re going to stand on your own perfection you have to achieve before God absolute perfection, and even if you achieve it on that one last day of your life and you say God, I had a perfect day today, what are you going to do to justify all those days before that one last day?
God sent Moses and the laws down to teach us this one thing. It doesn’t work. You cannot be good enough to make your way into heaven. You cannot be good enough. You can try and try and try, and I do encourage you to try, I’m not saying don’t try, I’m just saying it’s not going to happen. So, the only thing that can overcome our failures and is more powerful is the grace or the favor of God. Grace means favor and that’s all it means. We use the word grace, Amazing Grace and people sing it, and a lot of people don’t grasp the idea of grace. Grace means God likes you. I remember the first time I came out here I told you God likes you, God loves everybody, but if you’ve accepted Christ as your personal Savior God likes you which is even better than being loved by God. He loves you and He likes you. He treats you better than just the average schmo on the street because the average schmo is rejecting God, is rejecting Jesus Christ, and God said I’ll send My Son because I love you people. I’ll send My Son down there and you listen to Him and then He will be the perfect sacrifice. You trust Him and He will take care of you, and yet there are people, I’ve seen them on television saying I didn’t ask Christ to die for me. I don’t need Christ. I’ll stand before God on my very own. I’ll look Him in the eye and I’ll justify how I lived and why I lived and He will understand.
When you see God you’re going to understand why He says ehh, you didn’t make it because He is absolute perfection, but that grace of God, that favor of God is there. The favor of God is there for any person who calls upon Christ and says I believe you. I believe that you lived a life, that you were perfected without spot or blemish. You were there without an erorr in your entire life. I believe that and I trust you, and the proof that You did it perfectly is in the fact that You rose from the dead. That You rose from the dead. So, where sin abounds, that’s on the face of the earth, where sin abounds grace does much more abound. There is more grace out there than there is sin. Why? Because Jesus Christ is God of very God and He has his infinite value to Himself so when He laid down His life He gave a sacrifice that was infinitely large, more than all the sins of all the world that ever happened or ever will happen. It’s there.
Grace is greater than all of my sin. Grace is greater than all the sins of all the world, but the great point about grace is this. Grace comes toward us at a starting point. When we say I trust you Jesus at that point we have forgiveness. You can’t ask for a better starting point than everything you ever did in your entire life is absolutely wiped out. It’s gone. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be made white as wool. All gone. Everything you’ve ever done in your past life in the presence of God He says it’s dealt with. You trusted Christ and Christ took your punishment upon Himself. He died for it. He nailed it to the cross and then He rose from the grave and He left all that there dead and now you walk in the newness of life. You say well, I’m not perfect. He said I know you’re not perfect because I know the beginning from the end. I know it all and I know you’re not perfect, but I favor you. I favor you. I like you and I’m going to be there constantly, washing your sins away constantly keeping you clean. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about all this stuff. Get over it. Grace not only saves us, grace will sustain us not just in this lifetime but throughout eternity. His grace is always going to be there sustaining us, always being with us, and this lack of understanding of grace causes us to have some discouragements in our life.
Get this, I learned this at Moody, three problems. At Moody you take courses in preaching and you always have three points and usually you have a poem, but I don’t have a poem. Three problems that cause us discouragement. Moody called me the other day and asked what the fondest memory I have of being at Bible College? They shouldn’t ask me a question like that. What is my fondest memory? I told them eating pizza. I don’t think that’s going to make the book you know? They should have asked more literally what was the greatest thing you learned at Moody, and it wasn’t the pizza. Oh, but it’s good. Go there and eat pizza and if not go to Moody and learn how to think. Yeah. Learn how to think, okay, because they teach you theology and how to think your way through problems. Of the three problems that cause us most discouragement, the first is this and it’s very simple and I probably have said this before. I found a little picture of a cross-stitched sign that said this. “Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and you make bad choices.” That spoke to my heart just like God had said Doyle, there it is.
Everything happens for a reason, and folks sometimes it’s just that simple. We make bad choices and we get discouraged from it. What can we learn? Make better choices and get a better education, and I’m not just saying go to college or go to GED classes. I’m saying learn from your mistakes. Don’t keep going to the same pond fishing and hoping you’re going to get bass and all you’re pulling out is junk fish. Carp. Some people like carp. I don’t. Anyway, don’t keep going to that same pond. Go someplace else. Choose wisdom and not thrills. A lot of people keep going out and saying oh, I’m going to have a good time tonight and then they wake up with that headache in the morning and they go oh, that was a terrible choice, and the next week they’re right back at it again. Then suffer. If you’re going to go out and make the same stupid choices that’s your problem, that’s your choice. God gave us a free will, but if you don’t want to do that and you want to make a better life then make better choices.
Number two. The problem is that we just give up. We give up. Statistically speaking, most people stop just when they’re about to succeed. They’re almost at the summit of Mount Everest of their lives. They’re almost there and they look at it and they say I quit and they turn around and go back down the hill and that’s it. They were so close to success. Did you know most kids, this was when I was going to college and still the word kid applied to me, when most kids drop out of college it’s in year 3.5, the second semester of their third year in a four-year college. The first two years are a thrill. They’re sitting there and they’re thinking I can do this. I’m right out of school. I can make this and they work and everything, but that third year is nothing but a grind and they just say another two years. I’m so tired of this and they get right up to 3-1/2 years into it or, you know, 3 years and a semester and they’re so close and they just say forget it. I want to walk away. I don’t want to do it. But, if you can get your kid through that third year and to complete it then all you have to do is keep going on and saying you’re on your 4th year, the last lap. Right there it is. It’s within your grasp. You’ve done 3 years standing on your head, you can do this one, and most kids who enter their 4th year will actually go on and finish it. Don’t give up just because you’re a Christian. A lot of Christians are right there too. They’re about to have that victory that they’ve been hoping for in their life and they say oh, the struggle isn’t worth it, I quit, and they walk away. Don’t give up. It’s right there.
Here’s probably the most important one. This is the third problem of discouragement that comes in our life. Don’t let other people decide who you are. Don’t let somebody else look at you and say based on my knowing them, based on their history, I can tell you they’re worthless. I know them. I know their past reputation. I know them. I know their family. I know their name. I’ve got the measure of them. Don’t let other people decide who you are. When you come to Christ all that is gone. Turn away, walk away from them and say that doesn’t exist. That doesn’t bother me anymore. Decide for yourself. Decide for yourself. Quit listening to other people. Look at Paul. St. Paul. Doesn’t that sound good? St. Paul. Can’t you see the little halo upon his head? If you’re wondering what he looked like, mmmmm. There, how’s that? Mmmmm. St. Paul. It sounds so good, but you know what that little weasel was? He was a persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ. He stood right there and held the robes of people he was killing. Stephen, the first martyr of the church, stood right there and was saying amen, hit him again with another stone.
The man went out of his way to hunt people down. Getting an order to go to Damascus and arrest anybody that believed on Jesus Christ, and he’s the one who finally said forget what lies behind and push forward. He said to the people; I am not the man that started off on the Damascus road. I am now a born again Christian. Forget what lies behind. When you accept Christ forget it. Shove it to the back and say that’s not me. I am a born again Christian. Stop listening to other people and start listening to what God says about you. What God says about you. God says you are forgiven. Forget your past. I forgot it. You forget it. Now let’s move along. Let’s move along. He is saying I am leading you. You are being led. Trust me. Just trust me. I’m leading you and you are and you will be improving in this life. Just trust me. Oh, but what if I stumble? So what? A lot of people misunderstand. Martin Luther the great reformist, the guy that started that whole Protestant thing, there were other people before him but he’s the one that gets all the kudos for it. This guy said love God and sin boldly. Now, most people don’t understand what he was getting at. There are people who are so afraid because they’ve been told by their church if you make a mistake you’re going to go to hell. You accepted Christ. One err and God’s going to throw you into the pits of hell and you’ll burn forever, and people sat there and they said I’m so afraid that I’m going to make a mistake. What if I choose something wrong?
Yeah, well, what if you do? Jesus Christ died for my sins so I don’t have to walk in fear. Jesus Christ said forgive and forget. If you do make a mistake choose to turn to me and say I made an error and He will say okay. If you are truly repentant, if you’re really saying I don’t want to go that way. I made a mistake and I’m turning my back on that. I want to follow after you from the deepest part of my heart that I can find. Right now God, I want to follow after you He says fine, your sins are forgiven. Move on. Move on. I’m leading you and you are. As soon as you accept Christ in your life you have been immediately improved because all your sins are washed away and you will improve because trust Him, He is going to lead you to a better place, and He also says number three you’ve got a bright future. You’ve got a bright future. How do I know? Because He said I go to prepare a place for you. Right now He is preparing for you and for me and every person that has ever trusted Him. A bright future, a place to live and to dwell in the presence of God. We don’t need to stumble around anymore. What we need to do is seek God, seek His favor. It’s all yours just for the asking, just for the trusting. It’s right there. Your life can be better than what it is.
Christians, even if you are sitting there saying I’m at the top of my game. No you’re not. I don’t care how blessed you are, you can be more blessed. I don’t care how great a life you’re walking right now, you can walk at an even higher level, at a higher plane. There is no excuse to stumble and dwell and be miserable. Let me read to you out of 2 Timothy. There is no reason to settle for where you are. Keep pushing forward. 2 Timothy 1:7. 2 Timothy 1:7, and this is the promise that you’ve got it. You can make it. You can do it. 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” There are different ways of saying that. God has not given you a spirit of fear. Get over being afraid of what’s going on in your life. Get over the fear of oh, well, what if I make a mistake? Once again, it’s like Martin Luther said. So what if you make a mistake. You’re trying to advance and that’s what He wants. Trust in Him and say God, I’m following after you the best I can and if I make an err oops, let me get up and start again and keep on following You. He has not given us the spirit of timidity, a spirit of fear, something that causes us to hesitate like a little bunny rabbit living in fear.
Oh by the way, did you guys know that bunny rabbits are up at 4 in the morning? I do. I was up at 4 in the morning and outside looking for sermon material in my car and a bunny rabbit was there. I’m like what are you doing you crazy bunny rabbit? I don’t know why I told you that. It’s just interesting. I’ve never seen a bunny rabbit at 4 in the morning. Maybe it was a zombie bunny rabbit, right? Whoa. Anyway, He has not given us the spirit of fear or timidity, but He has given us the spirit of power, the ability to walk in this life better than what we have walked previously. He has given us the spirit of power and of love and of discipline. Oh, that’s the one I need. Discipline. You know how this morning the time changed and I said I bet that I don’t have to go to Sunday School because I’ll just tell everybody oops, I slept in late and didn’t realize it. I would be lying to you, but oops. You know, I can get away with this, but discipline was there. Okay Doyle, get out of bed. Go look at the bunny rabbit at 4 in the morning. Keep moving along Doyle. You’ve got to do this kind of stuff. It’s there. We have the ability to be disciplined and to follow after Him. Another one says mm mm mm mm mm. The power of discipline. I got it. Don’t anybody cheat and tell me. Okay, what’s it say in King James?
A sound mind.
Yes. I know you people can’t believe a sound mind when it comes to Doyle, but I’ve got a sound mind. How do I know? Because God gave me a sound mind. He has given me discipline and He has given me a sound mind. It’s hard to believe. I take it by faith. I just say yeah God, I’ve got a sound mind. Bunny rabbit at 4 in the morning. I’ve got it, and you got one too. Sometimes people say I think I’m going crazy. If you’re a Christian you’re not going crazy. You’re getting frustrated. Take a deep breath and say I can’t go crazy. I’ve got a sound mind. Take a deep breath and say God gave that to me and the gifts and the callings of God are irrevocable. That’s scripture too. It means once God has given you something He never takes it away and you can’t lose it. He has given you a sound mind. You’ve got it. It’s yours as a gift. All this is based upon the fact that Jesus Christ made a perfect sacrifice and we trust Him.
We’re going to have the Lord’s Supper now, and this is the evidence that we have trusted in what He did and what He accomplished. “Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more.” I lift my cup, fill it up, and that’s what we’re doing here today. It doesn’t take a big loaf of bread and it doesn’t take a big cup. It takes the faith to say I believe and I trust. Will elders, come forward. By the way, we do have open communion here which means every person that has accepted Christ as their Savior is more than welcome to participate in this. Yes, that includes you visitors. “While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.'” Now, for anybody that hasn’t been here before the way this works is the ushers, the elders, the board, they multitask around here, will pass this around. Take a piece and wait because we wait on everybody and we will all take it at the same time. Besides that I’ll say the blessing after you get the bread.
Shall we pray? Father, in the name of Jesus we praise You and thank You for all the good things that you provide for us through the sacrifice of Christ. You forgive us of our sins and You said that You would sustain us until we meet You in glory and then keep us forever and ever after that. God, what more can we ask from a blessed Savior. We thank You for that and Father, we ask You to bless this bread in exactly the same way that Jesus intended it to be blessed. In His name we pray. Amen.
“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'”
Shall we pray? Father, in the name of Jesus Your Son said this is the blood of the covenant and by that blood our sins are washed away and by that blood we stand before You righteous and acceptable. By that blood we have been blessed and by that blood we are now the favored ones, the chosen ones, the golden child as they say these days. Father, we thank You for that. Help us to always forget what lies behind and always to push higher and closer to You because we know bigger and greater things are coming to us because of Christ. Once again bless this cup, and all that we say and do this week also bless that. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
And while they’re collecting we’ll sing number 477.
Once again I’d like to thank you all for turning out, and if you’re a visitor please go out and tell everybody about the highly professional, impeccable way that I handled these services. Yeah buddy. If not. John, would you close us in prayer please?
Dear Father, we thank you for this time again that we have come to worship and being able to learn more about You. We thank You, as always, for all of those here that are interested in Your Word. We pray that You will go with us in our daily lives and guide and protect us that we may give glory to You. We thank You for Doyle and his teaching us Your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.