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01 October 2006 - Wango Web Works.rtf

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01 October 2006 - Wango Web Works.rtf Powered By Docstoc
					                                      Sunday morning, October 1, 2006

                                            GRACE IS GREATER

If you will turn with me to Romans, chapter 5, verse 20. I want to share a thought with you that GRACE IS
GREATER. Very simple theme but it has been a theme of my ministry for probably 30 years. GRACE IS
GREATER. Since 1977 I have preached about grace and as I look over my sermon notes in the last five
years that I have been in Florida, grace has been a key element of most of my messages. I realized the
other day in my conversation with the Lord that without the grace, we aren’t making it. We’re just not
going to make it. As a matter of fact, I’m finding that grace is the very key element - to getting into Heaven
- to getting into the family of God - to getting into the throne room of Heaven (period) - and yet
sometimes, in some places, you hear very little about grace. In Romans 5:20 the Apostle Paul, by the
moving of the Holy Spirit, wrote these words. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might
abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. And what the Apostle was saying
was, "OK, you’ve got your ten commandments, you’ve got your Leviticus law and they’re going to teach
you what sin is - they’re going to teach you the iniquity of man and don’t you do these things." And I
appreciate God being honest with us and giving us a head start of what offends Him so we don’t offend
Him. God’s not the ignorant one. We are. So we’ve got to choose to learn what God has to say to us -
what God wants to speak to us. We need to be able to understand so He gave us this law in a written
form to be passed down to the generations of man as he moved through the Prophets of old and the
Spirit told him exactly what to write down and, of course, God spoke to Moses face to face as a friend. So
all these things came to us. There’s only one great dilemma that I found in the law. I appreciate the law
because it tells me right from wrong but I found the great dilemma but I really didn’t know what to do
about it. You see, once you break a law, once you break a rule, there’s no other law that fixes it until you
get to Christ. There’s no Old Testament law that can fix a broken law. So once you broke the law, you find
yourself in a dilemma, "How can I fix it?" "How can I fix it?" And then we find the prophets spoke of a
Christ that would be born into the world that would fix that dilemma and in Titus chapter 2, verse 11 - I
love this verse - For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. How many
men? All men. What do we say usually after we pray? Amen or all men? We know that God has sent us
salvation - we know that it came through Jesus Christ who was born of a Virgin Mary who suffered during
the time of Pontius Pilate. Glory to God! We have learned that the grace of God, then, is what has
brought the salvation to us. Because the Word says simply "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation."
It wasn’t the cunning wisdom of man - I would like to think that I’m just so smart and so elegant and so
brilliant speech that I could have brought everybody salvation. But I’m not - unfortunately, I’m just a little
old boy that just happened to be born in the Ohio valley and grew up traveling the hills and climbing in
some of Johnny Appleseed’s apple trees when I was a little boy. And who ever thought that I would ever
be anything anywhere and that one day I would turn to Jesus Christ and found the grace of God came
through Jesus Christ. His miraculous birth on the earth brought the very Son of God to my life. And then
Jesus miraculous clean life - never did any sin - so that when he laid down His life at Calvary, He would
be willing to die for my sins. Now folks, I don’t know what you think but I think that is the most important
message we need to get out to the world today. I know many people think that we need to get into the
political arena - you know, there is a place in the political arena - but I think first of all and foremost of all
we need to be sharing the grace of God with the world. This world is in big trouble. Now they can reject
the grace of God if they decide to but, at least they have heard it and they have seen it in us - that we are
a happy people - that we are glad that God has done this for us - we are thankful to God. You know, this
is the thing that continues to keep me thankful in the midst of my struggle and straining life is I remain to
be thankful for the very salvation that God has given us. You know, I want to thank God and tell Him how
much I appreciate every day - I never get tired of it. No wonder the cherubs fly around God’s throne
crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy!" They never get tired of it. Why not? Because there’s nothing more beautiful
than being close to God. There’s nothing more beautiful than having fellowship with God. He is the One
Who created us. We’re going back to the very One who put us in life and Who gave us an existence and
the whole purpose of life is not what we become for ourselves but our whole purpose of life is fellowship
with God. Boy, if we get that in line, everything else falls in place. And that grace is the only thing that
gives us opportunity to restore fellowship that breaking the law has taken away from us. But salvation is
the grace of God and it appeared to all men. There’s not one person on the Planet Earth that can say,
"God, you didn’t do anything for me to help me." When God says, "Yea, I died for you on the cross of
Calvary. I gave my life for you." In Titus chapter 3, verse 4, the Bible says, But after that the kindness
and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Look what it says, carefully. After the kindness
and love. Kindness and love Boy, I wish I had more of that. I don’t think I ever get enough of it. I find
myself, oftentimes, falling short of it. You know, just falling short of love and kindness is a hurtful thing on
other folks. But God’s kindness and love is strong. And, because of it, our Saviour toward man appeared -
the motive for claiming Jesus was God loved us and was kind to us. Do you think that we deserved it? I
don’t think so. I don’t think we ever deserved it. But, you see, God made us after His image and He loved
us. He cherishes us. But then I look back and I say, "God, have I always loved you - have I always
cherished you?" And every time I do something wrong, whether I know better or not, I have showed God
that I didn’t love Him as much - I have displayed to God that I didn’t cherish Him as much. One day it
appeared to me and came to me as factual that, "God, I could never love you as much as You have loved
me." And it just hit me - knocked me down. Literally knocked me down. "Lord, I can’t love you as much as
You love me but, Lord, I want to." Isaiah 59:2 came out with the pure motive of telling us God’s feelings
                                        th                     nd
about Him. Isaiah spoke in that 59 chapter in the 2 verse and He said: But your iniquities have
separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not
hear. He will not what? He will not hear. What has separated me from God? My wrong doing. It has built
a wall between me and God. I’ve been saved! Thank God! I’ve got Jesus as my Saviour. Thank God! I’m
born again! Received Jesus as my Saviour - the blood of the Lamb has washed away my sins so that
once again, I’m in contact with God. But now, though the blood of Jesus Christ has washed away my sins
and I’m in contact with God, will I sin any more? Will you ever sin again? What would we do without the
grace? If I sin again, what would I do without the grace? You see, there’s one of two things that you can
make a choice in - and if you can come up with a third, you can tell me later. No. 1 - you can get saved
and live a perfect life and never sin again - never make another wrong. That’s a pretty good challenge.
I’m never going to ever do wrong again, Lord. I’ve just never been able to outsmart the devil. Without
"greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world," the devil would just turn me upside down and
inside out. If I didn’t have the Holy Spirit in me to ward him off, I don’t have the ability to outknowledge
him. After all, he has thousands of years on me. You’re not going to out-trick the trickster. You think you
are? Ok - that’s one thing I can do. When I get to heaven, I can just simply live a perfect life. You ever ask
someone if they are going to heaven and they say, "Yea, I’m a pretty good person." Well, if they have
done one sin, what has it done? Has God ever heard their prayers since the one sin they have done?
Why? Because Isaiah 59:2. They need to know it. You thought you had a relation all this time you have
been talking to God and you have been talking to yourself. But I’m religious! That isn’t going to get it.
You’re just talking to yourself. What a waste of all this time that I’ve just been talking to myself - did you
ever walk through the store - you ought to do this just once - did you ever walk through the store or the
hospital hall or walk in a solitary area and a thought comes to you and you talk to yourself for just a
moment and then you realize you did it in front of other people? Did you ever go, "Oops!" because you
just realized you were just talking to yourself in front of other people? You don’t look too smart. Who are
you talking to? You’re talking to yourself. But that’s what it’s like to pray when you think God is listening
and He’s not. Sin is separating you from God - there’s a door closed between you and God. That or
Isaiah is not telling us the truth and I think he is. So I don’t think I want to choose (A) Get saved and live
perfect the rest of my life because I can’t do it. I’m making a statement today that you can disagree with
but I believe it’s impossible to live a perfect life. I just believe it’s totally impossible. And once a danger for
a Christian is - now listen Christians - you consider yourself a Christian - the danger of Christians is to be
judgmental with other people. There’s big danger in that - because you, yourself, are going to fall short.
Yea! But I didn’t do that. It doesn’t matter - big or little - sin is sin and it’s going to separate you from God.
I know that we have to put law in the land or there would be chaos. God’s not the author of confusion but
it doesn’t mean that I have to be harsh and hateful to someone who continually messes up. Matter of fact,
Jesus taught me to love my enemies - pray for them that persecute me. You know, I can always
remember when Elisha brought those Syrian armies to the king and the king said, "Should we kill them"
and he said, "No, feed them and send them home." Wow! Some of you don’t know what I’m talking about
but —. Ephesians 2:8 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; Now some people mix that up and
say, "Oh you’re save by faith." Listen to what it says, "For by grace are you saved - through faith.(by
believing Jesus died and rose from who - but the grace of Him doing it is what actually saves you. The
history wouldn’t be there without the action - and so by grace - the action of what Jesus did on the cross
of Calvary - by grace are you saved through faith) and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (9)
Not of works, lest any man should boast. Now I’m in big trouble because Point A is proven out more
and more. Point A. "Yea! I’ll go to Heaven. Jesus has forgiven me of my sin, now I’ll live a perfect lifestyle.
Oh, Man! You’re a dog, you don’t live up to my standard. Listen, I’ve got this list of stuff. Man! You drink
coffee, you wear short sleeve shirts - oh, you’ve got lots of problems." Of course, you realize there are
some religious groups that don’t allow you to drink coffee or wear short sleeve shirts. "Look at you -
you’ve got a television in your home! And besides that, you let your wife wear slacks and you’re wearing
jewelry and makeup. You’re definitely not going to Heaven." And so we get our little list of cans and can
nots. Trash! Trash it all! Trash it all! You’ll be way ahead. Trash it! That’s religion for you - even the
Assemblies of God have our little tidbits - the Baptists have their little tidbits - the Methodists have their
little tidbits - the Catholics have their little tidbits and even all the Christian organizations have their little
tidbits of trash. Forget it! I’ve probably offended some of you. But it shows - either it is true or only one of
us is exactly right. Who believes that one of us is exactly right. I’m not raising my hands and I’m ordained
with the Assemblies of God. Let me tell you what - these denominations at best can only be served as a
tool. A tool. And that’s the best it can be. The denomination is not the relationship with God - that’s
personal. And in that relationship now, I’ve discovered I can’t live the perfect life like some people can - or
think they can - I should say - think they can. You’ve met them - you’ve met the people who think they
can. How many of you have met the one who thought they could? They knew they were better than
everybody else. Mmmm! Once God’s shared grace with you, it’s commanded that you share grace with
others. Listen. A lot of people feel that they cannot be perfect and it’s true. So if we can’t be perfect - we
try to live a good life but the fact of it is, we just can’t seem to live perfect. So "A" won’t work - so the
second choice to really get to Heaven. The second choice is that I pass on the grace to everyone else.
Who? Everyone else that God has given me. If I will do this, my chances of getting to Heaven are 100%.
"Oh, No, - I thought it was the perfectness that you lived that got you into Heaven." Well, my
understanding is the relationship that gets you into Heaven. When Jesus said there will be those who
come to me and say, "Didn’t we do these great works?’ he’ll say, "Depart from me, I know you not." They
didn’t have a relationship. To maintain a relationship with God, you have to learn to forgive everybody.
Constantly do it. Remind yourself - it’s the biggest trick of the devil to get you to hold a grudge. You might
not like something that someone did but separate the sin from the sinner. I’ll say it again - you might not
like what someone did but learn to separate the sin from the sinner. I don’t like what Saddam Hussein did.
Let’s hope he gets saved before he gets executed. You’re kidding me. No. Look at all those bad things
they did - killed. They are still going to have to answer to God. I still hope he can get saved. Boy, wouldn’t
it just tear the world up if Saddam Hussein came into court saying I’ve become a Christian? "You know,
go ahead and kill me if you need to - and I did wrong but I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour." My
lands. The Muslim world wouldn’t know what to do. It would knock them down. Don’t you think it knocked
the Jewish community down when the Apostle Paul became a Christian? Let’s go to Hebrews 12:15 and
look a little bit about what I’m talking about. This is a very important Scripture because, since it’s
impossible to live a perfect life, it might be very important to know for sure how I can go to Heaven and
not miss it. You see, I think everybody wants to go to Heaven but not everybody understands that grace
is the only world that leads there. Oh, I thought that being a Southern Baptist lead you there - we’re
United Methodist, we thought that lead you there. No, there’s only one way to Heaven. Jesus said, "I am
the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." Jesus. Now, Hebrews 12:15
says, Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; Diligent - what does diligent mean? Is
that how emotional I can get? Or is it using some wisdom. The wisdom that God gives us - the
understanding that God give us - the clarity that God gives us. Listen! I love those Pentecostal meetings
when we get excited - we jump up and down - wave our hands and we go out of here knowing that we
have had a good aerobic exercise when we’re done. The worship team gets going and everybody is slain
in the Spirit just during worship time. I love those times. There’s a time of diligence during those times.
Looking diligently lest you fail. That means it’s possible, folks. I don’t know who throws this out of the
instruction book but it’s possible to fail the grace of God. Looking diligently. Now, we can only do one or
two things. Realize that we can fail the grace of God or tear a page out of the Bible. How many verses
does it take? God’s Word gives us complete instructions. Though He wants us to walk in assurance of our
Salvation, He wants us to realize that there is a possibility that we can fail the grace of God. Now, He
doesn’t want you to fail the grace of God so let’s see what happens to really cause you to fail the grace of
God. I want you to look carefully at this because it isn’t going to tell you the sins that you are doing. This
may be a surprise for you. It says, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby
many be defiled. Say defiled. What’s defiling you here? Bitterness. What’s bitterness? Somebody say
unforgiveness or lack of grace. I told you that when God gives you grace, you have to take that grace and
give it to everybody else or you lose it. You’re kidding me! Matthew, chapter 5:7 Blessed are the
merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Mercy for mercy. How much mercy do you want -
that is how much mercy you need to give. What happens if I lose the grace? What happens if I lose the
grace - I’m separated from God. I’m not getting into heaven. Oh, I thought you got born again. I did. But I
failed the grace of God because I wouldn’t give it to others. I got bitter - I got hurt. I know - I did this at one
time. I did it big time - I really did it up right. My sister died - I was 16 years old and I lacked at the age of
16 - I lacked the maturity. I knew the Scripture. Folks, I had read the whole Bible. Not only had I read the
whole Bible, I had read the whole Koran - the whole Book of Mormon - the whole Book of Confucius - I
had read the whole scriptures of Tetteh - I had read all of 15 different Bibles in the world. By the age of
16, I had read it all. I came to the conclusion that I only believed the Holy Bible. I had read all the false
religions just to know that the Bible was the only one that held water. I learned what I was up against. I
knew a lot - I was knowledgeable at 16 but I didn’t have the maturity. Oh, My! Look at the qualifications of
a minister in I Timothy 3:6 Not a novice. I had the knowledge but I didn’t have the wisdom. I had one and
one is two but I didn’t have the wisdom to pick it up. And I got bitter at God that my sister died because I
prayed that God wouldn’t take her. I wasn’t thankful that she had heaven to go to - I wasn’t thankful that
she was with Jesus - I was just upset because God had taken her. I quit talking to God. Above all things, I
got mad at the worst person - I got mad at the One Who died for me on Calvary - I quit talking to Him.
Pretty soon there was an empty spot in my soul. I quit going to church. I didn’t want to go where there
was a bunch of hypocrites. Anybody ever heard that before? Those bunch of hypocrites! Did you ever
realize you are one of them? You still sin. What’s separating them? It’s because we distribute the grace .
Next thing I know, the empty spot is gone so I’m doing drugs to fill it. I’m drinking whisky and moonshine
to fill it - and that’s not enough, I’ve got this urge and energy in me so I’m getting in fights. And that’s not
enough, I’m getting in fights in bars, motorcycle gangs - next thing you know, I’m leaving home on a
motorcycle. Got me a pistol to keep in my boots. I didn’t have God to protect me - I needed something. I
went all of men’s routes but a man that lives by the sword - well, that’s the route he takes for his own
destruction and I was right in the middle of it. Bitterness! You can pick it up but you better not. And if you
have, you need to let it go because it will cause you to fail the grace that Jesus died on Calvary for you.
It’s the devil’s biggest tool in his tool box. I thought living the good life would get me to heaven, Bro.
Bailey. Good life will do you no good without the grace. You need to learn to forgive. Well, in 1996, on
Valentine’s Day, a doctor killed my mother. I was so angry with that doctor - then I found myself having a
hard time to preach. God, what’s the matter with me - I’m having a hard time preaching - I’ve never had a
hard time preaching. God said, "It’s not what you have done - it’s what you haven’t done." I needed grace
to forgive that doctor. But he killed my mother - it was my mother! Never see it happen again - it was an
accident. It’s hard to see the accident when it’s someone you care about that has taken my peace. So
hard to see - so hard to swallow. Once again, even as a minister - even in my 30s - when I thought I had
the choice, God rebuked me. And I said, "Lord, how can I forgive this doctor, I don’t have the strength - I
don’t have the power." And God said, "Greater is He that is in you." Jesus, you are going to help me
forgive this doctor? I’ve got my Spirit in you, I’ll give you what it takes to forgive him. I didn’t say you have
to go to him for medications. My daughter with her first husband - he went to work and got his boss
pregnant and my daughter, even though they were still married, said you need to go to church - you don’t
need to go to hell because of this. I’m floored! Florence, I’m floored! And I’m going my daughter died - she
died - she works with kids that die every day. She works with children at the McGuire Children’s Home up
in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, a little town called New Brighton, north of Brookville. If the kids at the
hospital aren’t going to get well, in their last days, they take them over to McGuire Home and that’s where
the kids expire. That’s a nice word for saying they die. And she tends to those children until they die. She
had a heart to forgive. I’ll tell you what - I’m not the hero - I think my daughter is! Then I realize - no,
Jesus is. Only God can enable you to forgive someone who has mistreated you and betrayed you. Yea,
but I don’t know if I can trust him again. You don’t need to trust him. God didn’t say that I should trust him.
I can forgive a thief but I’m not going to say, "Will you hold my wallet a minute - I’ll be back in about an
hour?" I can forgive a guy for stealing a thousand dollars but I’m not going to let him hold my wallet. You
know - a new wallet with nothing - credit cards or anything in it - and I have my old wallet still in my pocket
- here you can hold this wallet. Trust is one thing - forgiveness is another. Forgive people - from your
heart. Because you can’t live the perfect life, you might as well get to heaven by forgiving everybody else.
I’m telling you - this might be the most important sermon you hear this whole year. Oh, I thought the birth
of Christ - or I thought maybe Christmas or Easter - I’m telling you that, once you become a Christian, if
you don’t remember to give out the grace that’s been given to you, you can lose it. I have just been kicked
out of 30% of the churches in the United States making a doctrinal statement that I believe to be correct.
You can lose it. Grace is Greater!! Where sin abounds, the text Romans 5:20 Moreover the law
entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
Grace what? It much more - get the much more stuff in there - grace is the most fabulous way to smile -
grace is the most fabulous way to go to sleep at night forgiving everybody and doing whatever it takes,
forgive her. Jesus, will you help me forgive so and so? I’m really struggling with it Lord - I want to forgive
them but I can’t, I’m human. Holy Spirit, will you - will Jesus help me forgive them. You mean, the Holy
Spirit will help me?! Sure! That is what the Holy Spirit came to life for - to help things we can’t do. God
knew you couldn’t do it - that is why He put His Spirit in you when you were born again. You mean, every
born again person has the Holy Spirit in them? Every one of them! And all speak in tongues. Then you’re
talking about the baptism - that’s a whole another thing. But it’s the same Holy Spirit that baptizes you -
you don’t have to be afraid of it. So, here I am realizing that grace is greater. May it much more abound.
But if I let the bitterness spring up it says many be defiled. This is interesting. What defiles man? What
defiles a man? You can’t drink that coffee - that coffee’s bad for you - you can’t drink coffee. It might be
the Mormons that say that. You can’t drink that coffee - it’s bad for you - you’re defiling – are you? You’re
not defiling your body, are you? You’re not defiling the body because, what’s really defiling it is sin. And
other things that are defiling it are - breaking the 10 commandments - it’s not the bad habits you have - I
hate to say that to you. Bad habits are bad for you. You know, the only thing is, some of you might get to
heaven quicker than others. But, then again, I have known perfectly good athletes that have perfectly
good habits of eating and exercising and then they die in a plane crash. Men’s days are numbered. You
can shorten them or you can lengthen them but how many of you know they are numbered. Now, one
message from old Bro. Terry. Old Bro. Terry said we should never, ever hold a grudge - it takes away our
salvation. He believes it that strongly. Now, those are the only two conclusions I came up to - I can either
get saved and live a perfect life or I can get saved and learn to forgive everybody. Now, if you come up
with a third one, I’m interested in it. OK? And you have my permission to approach me. - but I’ll bet one of
those two will be in it. Now, here we go - once God shares His grace with you, it is commanded you share
it with others. I know - Jesus said, John 14:15 - I’ll let you turn there if you want. If I have enough grace, I
don’t have to worry about whether I sin or not because it displays the love of Jesus. Whether you sin or
not, if you have grace going for you, you’re going to get to Heaven but - do you want to show Jesus you
love him? Jesus said, "If you love me, obey my commands." It displays how much love you have - after
all, you love me so much, you sent your Son, and Jesus, you loved me so much, you died for me.
Through my obedience, I’m not even going to try perfection - through obedience I’m going to try grace.
There’s one obedience, I have to try my salvation - that’s giving grace to others. Now I like to think that all
that other obedience is going to get me to heaven - but I’m not saved by my works lest any man should
boast. So, why would I obey God? It is my way of saying, Father, I love you and thank you. I’ve got a way
of telling God I love Him and He can hear it. My actions speak louder than my words. If you love Me, keep
my commandments. So we want to live a good life, No. 1, to show God we love Him. You want to live a
good life to show God you love Him. How much do you love him? How good are you living? Now I know I
can’t love God as much as He loves me but I want to try to live a life where I’m not stealing, I’m not killing
or I’m not lying, I’m not in adultery, I’m not — but then I start looking at Jesus’ definitions - look at Jesus’
definition of murder - if a man hateth his brother, Jesus considers it murder. If a man looks at a woman in
lust - you don’t even have to touch her, he commits adultery. Bearing false witness - have you ever been
pulled over by a sheriff or a trooper and the particular officer says, "Do you know how fast you were
going?" And you know you did - but you say, "No sir." That’s a lie. That’s a lie - you’re trying to get out of
paying a ticket. You don’t want to pay that ticket. Right? You’re trying to be innocent. You’re trying to put
on a good display of being innocent. The fastest I was ever pulled over for, I was going 95 in a 45 mile
zone. I talked my way out of the ticket. I talked my way out of the ticket. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
I know, you’re thinking, "What did you say?" Thou shalt not bear false witness. Ok. We’re covered with we
love - God by being obedient. Another reason you want to live obedient, you want God’s favor. You’re
going to ask God for some things in your life and you want to reap what you sow. Obedience has a lot to
do with divine favor. See, I’m not letting you off the hook. I’m not saying because you want to go by grace
to get to heaven, you lay down your obedience. I think I can preach this and keep it in it’s proper balance
so you can have your cake and some icing. I John 3:22 And whatsoever(that’s I John chapter 3, verse
22 - you want to check this before I turn you loose back to worship time - we’re not done with that - I’m
going to tell you - too many people think that worship prepares you for the Word - let me tell you, worship
is part of it - worship is not a preliminary to anything - God is teaching people to worship in Spirit and in
Truth so let the Word prepare you for worship - we traded sides this morning) I John 3:22 And
whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things
that are pleasing in his sight. By living the obedient life - it’s not going to save us. Without grace, we’re
not going to be saved. But by living obedient life, No. 1, we show God how much we love Him - No. 2, it
gives us favor. Why? Well, what does it say? Let’s read it again. I like this - I John 3:22 Whatsoever we
ask, we receive of Him because we keep - that’s the reason - because - that’s a condition. The more
obedient you are to God, the more He is going to give you what you ask for. How many believe it? Is that
true or false? All we have to do is read and believe and do those things that are pleasing in God’s sight. I
can come to church but if I really want to please God, I’m not only just going to come to church, I’m going
to sing. I don’t have to but if God tells me to, I’m going to sing. If God tells me to stand, I’m going to stand.
If God tells me to jump up and down and clap my hands, I’m going to jump up and down and clap my
hands. You don’t have to. Maybe God tells you to sit there quietly and weep. But maybe God tells you
stand up & jump up and shout "Glory Hallelujah!" Have you ever tried to freely worship? Whatever you do,
don’t grab somebody else and tell them what to do. I don’t want to be in a service where someone says,
"You come along you need to go to the alter now - you come along. You’ve taken away that person’s
freedom. They’re free to say yes or no thanks. You’ve just interrupted their freedom. Where the Spirit of
the Lord is, there is liberty. Freedom. I don’t have a right to go drag you to the alter. I might walk up and
say, "Would you like me to pray for you?" You might say, "Yes" or you might say, "No, thanks." No, I’m
walking up to you - I’m the preacher. I’m a little different than everybody else. I see you’re in the
congregation - maybe you’re in a wheel chair and I can help you get to the alter. I won’t take away your
freedom though - I’ll make sure you desire to come. If you say, "No, thank you," I’m not offended - that’s
up to you - that’s your freedom. It’s your freedom. But in the end, I want to do those things that are
pleasing to God. I want to obey his commandments and then do some things just to please Him. You
know what really pleases God? What really pleases God is that, if I know Sis. Connie has a flat tire along
side of the road and I stop to help her fix it. Woooo! Does that make God feel good, or what? Does that
make Him feel good, or what? Who’s Connie made in the image of? You don’t think by helping Connie,
I’m helping God? It’s not in His commandments, really, that I have to stop and help somebody with a flat
tire - maybe I’m busy. But if I start doing good things, God answers my prayers because I am obedient
and I do the things that are pleasing in His sight. But I still need grace. And in the end, grace is going to
be greater than all else. And Jesus Christ’s death on the cross gave me the grace I’m talking about.
Without that, my friends, we don’t know God and we’re not part of His family. But through Jesus Christ’s
death on the cross and His resurrection, we are able to respond - repent of our sins - and just as
important Matthew 5:16, if we do good things, forgive men their trespasses so God will forgive ours. Don’t
forgive and you won’t be forgiven. Boy, I put that in the Terry Bailey version and it’s a lot shorter. And in
the end, grace is greater. You can choose your route if you think you want to make it all the way to
heaven, but you better forgive everybody. Because, if you don’t forgive everybody, I’m afraid I might not
see you there. And I intend on being there. You mean you have never messed up? Yes, I have. Peter
messed up after he was filled with the Holy Ghost - he was prejudiced and Paul rebuked him. We went
over that last week. Yea, God uses imperfect people. That’s what we preached about. But today we’re
talking about grace. Was God still able to use Peter after he made his mistake? Sure. I’ve been a pastor
for many years - I haven’t lived a perfect life - I’ve tried but I still get angry sometimes or maybe frustrated
at some things. To be honest with you, my daughter did a lot better job of forgiving that fellow than I did.
But I made a mistake and realized he was just human. I actually felt sorry for him. People really mess up.

				
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