Abundant Grace

THANKSgiving 

Abundant Grace

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Welcome:

God’s grace. Do you spend much time reflecting on His grace as it’s poured out in your life? Do you spend much time giving thanks for His grace that abounds beyond anything we can fully fathom and see?

His grace is extravagant and abundant in every way. It is an extension of His love expressed towards humanity-His creation whom He adores. 

What happens when we allow ourselves to ponder His grace? Peace washes over us; thankfulness rises up in our hearts. Hope emerges and we feel strengthened as we remember the many ways His grace appears. 

We can’t earn His grace. We don’t deserve His grace, abundant as it is; yet He freely gives it.

It is the essence of who He is full of grace. 

There is grace in the very breath we have in our lungs each day; grace in the strength we have to do the work we are called to do; grace to hold us on the days we don’t have any strength to muster at all; grace to help us love our families and to love one another well; grace to help us endure great challenges; grace when we fall flat on our faces to pick us up and dust us off and grace throughout the countless little, yet very big ways, that make our lives more wonderful and comfortable. Grace is also found in God’s NO to our wants that are not in alignment with His good and perfect will for us. It is also in His correction and discipline that moves us out of disobedience and into agreement with Him. These are all aspects of God’s grace poured out for us.

The most profound way God has demonstrated His abundant grace towards us is in the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ death and bloodshed, God pardoned each of us from the penalty of sin which is eternal death. Jesus took our death and paid the price, our ransom, with His blood. He made the atonement for the sins of humanity so justice was realized through Jesus’ death and sacrifice. Because of what Jesus did, we have the gift of eternal life in Christ as we believe in Him. 

We read in Ephesians 2: 8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Grace is the gift of God freely given out of love for His creation. 

This month we’ll be looking at different aspects of God’s love and all that He showers upon us and how we can increase our awareness of those gifts and increase our thanksgiving for those gifts. God doesn’t want us to boast in ourselves because that only builds pride and a false sense of security in self, but He surely delights in hearing us boast in Him! This is what we do when we praise Him, when we pray with thanksgiving in our heart and when we speak His promises-we proclaim the greatness of who He is. 

This is what I mean when I ask how much time you spend reflecting on the grace that abounds to you from God? How much time do you spend giving thanks to God for His extravagant grace? We can never boast too much in Him. We can never overpraise God. In fact, the more we praise God, the more we are drawn into His presence and the more aware we become of His grace in our lives. This in turn causes us to praise Him even more.

It all works together in a cycle of praises going up and blessings coming down. 

As we do this more and more peace and joy rise within us.  It is a given, if you are in the presence of God, you will feel peace flowing through you. Jesus is Peace. If you are near to His heart and pondering the greatness of who He is, you will feel joy rise up within you. The joy of the Lord becomes your strength.

He can’t ever be anything but who He is rich in mercy, full of grace, joy unending, and peace that surpasses all understanding. When we are in His presence, we are a reflection of Him-He radiates Himself in and through us. This is why we give thanks to our God and ask the Spirit to make us more and more aware of His abundant grace in our lives. 

Let’s do so right now and pray for the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts and in this place.  Let us ask God to grant us a greater revelation of His grace today and may it only cause our hearts to be overflowing with thankfulness for His love and presence in our lives. 

God put it on my heart to share this passage from Ephesians today as we look to His abundant grace and share in communion together. Listen to what He has given us and why He did. Listen for our response to His gifts. Look for His heart towards us and be thankful today for His love and abundant grace. 

 

                                                    Ephesians 1: 3-10 NLT                                                                                    

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.

 

All praise to God…a thankful heart is a praising heart. Why do we praise Him? He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

That means all power and glory in heaven is given to us to enjoy and bring into our days. Do you ponder that much? All that Christ is, you and I also have because He dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. All peace, strength, comfort, wisdom, joy, and love that is of Christ, is also ours. This truth alone should give us endless praise to our gracious God. But we won’t see it as a blessing if we don’t know how to access the spiritual realm-if we leave that part dormant and try to keep living on our own independent of Christ. The key part was “because we are united with Christ”.  

Why do you think Jesus included this statement in the Lord’s prayer as we know, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?  

This is a prayer asking God to manifest what is in heaven here on earth-bringing the spiritual blessings in other words into our physical realm. That is what we’re asking for when we pray. 

His own good plan is to include us in bringing about His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. How awesome is that? His own good plan involves adopting each of us as we believe in Jesus as sons and daughters and making us heirs in His family inheritance with Christ. Why? Because it gives God great pleasure to do so! 

So- we praise Him for the glorious grace He poured out on us who belong to Christ! We give thanks for His grace and extravagant kindness shown to us. 

Because we are united with Christ, we have access to God always and carry Him with us. Think about that for a moment, God Almighty, Creator of the Universe dwells among us and delights in us, each one of us out of billions of people in this world, as if we were the only person in the world. We are His delight. He sees us; He knows us and He gives Himself freely to us. This is what abundant or glorious grace looks like. 

  • Present 

God is ever-present and available to us if only we are aware of Him.

It is not Him who moves away from us, but we who move from Him. We who become consumed with our world around us; we who try to control our daily lives and act independently; we who become distant. But the grace of God makes Him ever available to those who seek Him. The grace of God has Him caring for His people even when they are unaware of His presence. The grace of God works all things for good-for that is who He is- even when the world doesn’t acknowledge Him. He is there. He is everywhere present and He desires for us to be not only aware of Him in our days, but to lift up thanksgiving for His presence, help, and comfort. 

 

King David understood God is omnipresent-meaning everywhere at all times. There is no place we can go, that God does not inhabit. 

Psalm 139:7-8 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

 

God Himself declared to the prophet Jeremiah His omnipresence, but also His desire to be near His children.

Jeremiah 23: 23-24 NLT 23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord.  “No, I am far away at the same time. 24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”  says the Lord.     

This very truth is what makes God praiseworthy. He is God-who inhabits every space of time and all spaces at one time. He is not bound to one place or time like we are. The fact that He makes Himself available to each of us as if we were the only person in the world, is amazing. It should cause us to fill up with love and awe, for who is a god-like Him? That He would be mindful of us and our daily cares, and yet He is, and He oversees the entire universe and delights in being our ever-present help. 

Zephaniah gives us a picture of how God delights in us and is ever-watching over us. 

Zephaniah 3:17 NLT  17 For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”  

Abundant grace compels our God to be ever-mindful, caring, and rejoicing over each of us, His creation. Beautiful right? 

But wait there’s more!                         

  • Patient 

Our omnipotent or all-powerful God, who is holy and just, full of truth, who commands us to be holy as He is holy, through His abundant grace, is also patient and kind towards us. 

Can we all just give a big Thank You Lord for Your patience with me! 

Have you ever become angry with God because He’s not responding to your timeline or offering the outcome you want? Do you ever think He is not upholding His promises or He doesn’t care about your situation? Have you ever considered in times like that, it is because of grace that He isn’t responding how you want or when you want? That maybe there is more going on that you are completely unaware of but God is very aware of all things at all times and knows exactly the outcome needed for every situation to bring about His purposes that are good and perfect-far beyond our understanding?

Have you ever considered a delay in what you are requesting-might have nothing to do with you at all, but someone else connected through your situation that God is waiting for? Or maybe His delay does have to do with you and if He acted in your timeline or in the way you wanted, you would miss out on an area of spiritual growth that could only come about through waiting and enduring in that trial? This is all because of God’s patience with us. It might not feel like a blessing in the moment, but when we see things from His perspective and look to the eternal outcomes, we can be incredibly thankful for His patience to act according to His goodwill. 

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  

God is concerned with our eternal well-being first and foremost.  

So now when we pray Jesus comes back and take us all out of this world to be with you- we can modify our prayer and say thank You Lord for Your patience to continue working out my salvation while I’m here on this earth so that I might glorify You more and more and You might make Yourself known through me so others can be saved as well!   Different perspective right? One of thankfulness instead of wanting to opt-out. 

Paul understood God’s extravagant grace towards all sinners-probably more than any of us. 

He said in 1 Timothy    “I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.”                                                                                                               

1 Timothy 1:16  NLTChrist Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 

Patience… so that others will realize they too can believe in Jesus and receive eternal life.   What a beautiful picture of grace. 

God proclaimed His name and His heart as He passed by Moses before giving the ten commandments to him: 

Exodus 34:6 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 

Are anyone’s hearts swelling yet for the love and grace we have in our Father? This is who He is, by His own proclamation! He is ever-present, patient, and here is the truly amazing truth, He is ever pursuing our hearts. 

Even in times, we are not pursuing Him-not even having Him on our radar- He is pursuing our hearts. Because we are His creation, whom He loves and He can’t be any other way. He is the lover of our souls.  He leaves the 99 to chase after us, the one who wandered off, to bring us back into the flock where we are safe in His care. He draws us with His unfailing love and kindness.  There is nowhere we can go, that He won’t find us. There is no wall we can put up that He won’t tear down to reach us. There is no darkness we can hide in that His light won’t shine into. 

  • Pursuing

Many of us know the words to Psalm 23, the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…. Verse 6 says surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.   Look at how this truth is written in the Message translation. This is the visual of God’s pursuant heart towards us. 

Psalm 23:6 MSG Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.

 

Our God in His grace and love is in constant pursuit of our hearts. He will not stop until we turn towards Him and open our hearts to Him. We can run all we want to; we can hide; we can resist- yet His love will chase after us and He will wait patiently for us to respond. He won’t force Himself into our hearts and lives. 

  

Revelations 3:20 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.  

Jesus desires to live in our hearts so we can have continual unity with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  This is abundant grace. This is glorious grace that is not of this world but is divine. 

ConclusionGod’s grace and love are relentless. They are freely and fully given to us. We can’t earn them; we can only receive them.  His great desire is for us to know of His grace and receive it every day-for it is His gift to us.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Let us be mindful of His abundant grace in our lives and give thanks daily. Let us look for His grace throughout our days and give Him praise. Let us offer ourselves up to be vessels of His abundant grace to flow through for others to experience Him and to bring about His divine plan- on earth as it is in heaven. For this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. 

Let’s pray: 

Father God we thank You and praise You for Your abundant grace that is poured out in countless ways in our lives. Forgive us Father for times we have neglected to acknowledge Your grace or give You thanks for all the good You do in our lives. Thank You for all that You are doing that is unseen and the ways Your grace pours out that we’ll never see. Thank Your Lord that You do not respond to our ideals, wants and timelines but You remain true to who You are and work all things for our eternal good. Thank You for saying No at times or having us wait, so that Your perfect will can be realized and that we can grow in our faith. Our waiting and testing stretches our faith and trust in You Lord. We can see that is for our good as well so we lack nothing and reach the maturity in Christ as You desire for us.  Help us grow increasingly aware of Your grace and presence in our days, and let our hearts be thankful. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Communion: 

Before we join in communion listen to the supremacy of Christ found in Colossians 1: 15-23 NLT  

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

This is why we share in communion together remember and proclaim Christ’s death and victory over death until He returns. To keep us steadfast in our faith and to keep us humble with grateful hearts for God’s abundant grace and rich mercy shown to us that our salvation is nothing we did on our own; solely the work of Jesus on the cross. 

 

Prayer of Salvation: 

If there is anyone here today who has not offered their hearts to Jesus and are feeling the nudge to do so now is the time. Don’t wait or put it off. Respond to His calling. Respond to His unfailing love and kindness as He’s drawing you to Himself. Pray this with me today if you are wanting to receive God’s grace and the gift of salvation: 

Lord, I am a sinner and I know I need salvation only You can offer. I can’t make myself right with you on my own. Forgive me for my sins. Forgive me for living my life apart from you. I need a Savior; I need You Jesus to redeem me from my sin and to purify my heart. I believe you shed your blood and died on the cross for me-that you saw my sin and nailed it to the cross. I believe your rose again 3 days later and have victory over death and defeated the enemy. I believe you are seated at the right hand of the Father in glory and rule for eternity as King of all kings. I want you to guide me in all ways of my life. Come into my heart Jesus and teach me Your ways. Lead me in the way of righteousness. I will follow you. Amen. 

If you prayed this prayer, know Jesus has entered your heart and will dwell among you. Reach out to Pastor Karrie for added encouragement in where to go from here and visit our New Believers page for extra support.

 

Let us all remember with thanksgiving today the supremacy of Christ. 

Jesus took the bread as He was with His disciples and gave thanks for it, Lord we thank You for the bread we have that You provide; and He said “eat- this is My body, given for you.” 

We thank You for willingly enduring the cross and focusing on the joy set before you that Your body given would be to our great gain! 

 

Jesus took the wine and also gave thanks, saying “Drink this.  This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.  

We thank you Jesus for Your blood that was shed-spotless and pure- to be the atonement for our sin. Thank You for ushering in a new covenant of grace that we now live under. We praise Your name. We bless You, Lord. We offer our lives to You so You may flow through us and the world might see Your love in us. In Your name we praise and hope Jesus, Amen. 

 

Final Blessing: Ephesians 6: 23-24 NLT  23 Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. 24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *