We started the sermon series “Costly Grace” this weekend, which is a growth and discipleship series, challenging us to go deeper in our relationship with God. It’s inspired by the book, “Costly Grace” by John Walker, which is a modern interpretation of “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
I gave a few definitions to start off:
GRACE: unmerited favor, given freely to us from God, “God meeting us at our point of need in the person of Jesus Christ”
COSTLY GRACE: justifies the sinner and says, “Go and sin no more.” / We say, “I want to change whatever I need to in order to be formed into the image of God.”
CHEAP GRACE: “You’re forgiven (not delivered)… don’t worry about changing. Stay like you are, you have a get out of jail free card called grace!”
Don’t listen to the lie of thinking, “Jesus just wants me to be happy,” instead of realizing that we should be formed in His image, which demands us to change our habits, die to our flesh and make sacrifices in our lives! We start to excuse our behavior when we’re living in cheap grace. There is no sacrifice and no acknowledgement of it.
Cheap grace leads to cheap faith in God – knock-off Christianity. Think about cheap grace as knock-off clothing – you can use it a lot, but as soon as it gets too dirty and needs to be washed, it falls apart. After wash, rinse, repeat and tumble dry (the storms in life) the seams fall out and you’re left with pretty much nothing.
Because of grace, we say no to sin. Grace changes everything. God changes everything – we say no to the things of the world and yes to the things of Jesus!
We can’t just choose to follow God when it’s convenient. Sometimes we choose how we follow God similar to how we choose a cable package: missionaries get the highest package (being in danger, giving risking everything), then pastors (give a lot of time, make sacrifices), then elders/deacons (more responsibility and time) and then you think the rest of us just get the basic package (Christmas, Easter, Sundays here and there). That doesn’t work! We are all followers of Jesus Christ. We need to be more dedicated to Him than to school calendars, vacations, time at the cabin… not that we’re opposed to those things, but they cannot run your life. God must come first and we must be obedient to His timing and His will.
Read Luke 9 – We must remember to plow a straight row! If you plow a distracted, crooked row, you ruin it for other people (9:56–62). Don’t be a DWIW “Doing Whatever I Want” Christian!
We will never be perfect, but because of Your grace, we get the opportunity to have true life in You, be forgiven of our sins and say yes to you and no to the things of this world!
I’m excited for the rest of this series and hope that it challenges you as much as it has challenged me!
Scripture References: Romans 6:1-4 / Luke 9:56-62 // Listen: https://www.rivervalley.org/default.aspx?page=4204&ItemId=360&ChannelId=6&TopicId=141&ImageId=1d190127-bc4d-47ab-8534-cfe832e69998