Amazing Grace

“Amazing Grace”
Acts 4:32-35

Introduction

  • In our KJV Bible, the word “grace” appears 170 times in both Old and New Testaments.
  • We can also see there were many people in the word of God who found the “grace” of God. Here are a few…
  • NOAH – Genesis 6:8…But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
  • MOSES – Exodus 33:17…And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
  • ISRAEL – Ezra 9:8…And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. (Israel’s sinful connections with foreign lands finds Ezra giving thanks to God for the remnant of Israel that survived God’s judgment because of God’s grace)
  • THOSE WHO DO RIGHT – Psalm 84:11…For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
  • JESUS – Luke 2:40…And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
  • THE EARLY CHURCH – Acts 4:33… And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.   
  • We have already discovered the popularity of the song “Amazing Grace” and the grace shown by God to those of the Bible, now let us look at the “Grace” of God shown to us today which causes us to sing “Amazing Grace.”

AMAZING GRACE

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound) That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
– ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believ’d!
– Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
– The Lord has promis’d good to me, His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures.
– Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
– The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below, Will be forever mine.

I. Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

A) Amazing Grace

  • What is the difference between “grace” and “mercy?”
  • Grace means…to give something to someone who does not deserve it.
  • Mercy means…to withhold punishment to someone who deserves to be punished.
  • As we looked into our introduction, we saw God’s grace upon several people.
  • Stop and look at their lives. Were they perfect? Of course not.
  • Noah – the “most perfect in his generation but, not perfect.
  • Moses – not the most perfect at all, and definitely did not deserve grace. But God had grace on Him because Moses was anointed by God to lead Israel from bondage.
  • Israel – Oh my word! How many times has God shown His grace to them? And how did Israel repay Him? By playing the life of a harlot (idol worship) over and over.
  • The early church – Did they deserve God’s grace? No, because they neither was perfect nor close to perfect. The early churches struggled with sexual sins, men not wanting to work, women who took over the leadership roles, idol worship, perversion of God’s Law, fighting among themselves, and on and on we could go of the sins that the apostles faced in trying to organize the early church.

B) Grace upon America

  • I think of the song “America” and the words in “America! America! God shed His grace on thee. And crowned thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”  
  • There is nothing more true than that today.
  • Look at the sins of the American people. Look at Christendom in America alone. Does it deserve God’s grace? No it doesn’t.
  • Why does America not deserve God’s grace? Because we are doing what we feel is right and not what God says is right. Like the days before a king was chosen in Israel…Judges 17:6… In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
  • What is wrong with that? God tells us in Proverbs 12:15 (KJV)…The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
  • Proverbs 21:2…Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
  • We should be daily in thanks to God for His grace on America.

C) How sweet the sound

  • “How sweet the sound” means that “grace” has a beautiful sound or meaning to it when applied. It is like a sigh of relief to the person undeserving of it.
  • We know we do not deserve it but when shown grace, a person should feel thankful enough to do whatever it takes to earn that grace.
  • First of all we need to “acknowledge” the sound of “grace.”
  • I believe we are living in a world today where people “expect grace.” When they do not get grace, they become mad, upset and seek revenge.
  • This behavior is not “Christ-like.” It is of the devil.

D) That saved a wretch

  • We also must acknowledge the fact that we are a “wretch.”
  • A “wretch” is a miserable, unclean, dirty, degraded person.
  • When we accept the fact that we are a wretch, we have taken on a Christ-like character in being humble or filled with humility.
  • As we have said many times… in order for anyone to be forgiven and heal from sin, they must humble themselves before an almighty God and ask for His forgiveness.

E) I once was lost/blind

  • In the song “Amazing Grace” we see the words “I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.
  • There is a physical blindness that Jesus cured in John 9:25…He answered and said, Whether he (Jesus who healed him) be a sinner or no, I (the blind man) know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
  • To be lost is to be blind. A person is not lost when they know where they are at. They are lost when they cannot see where they are going or desire to go.
  • To be blind, means that you cannot see anything.
  • A person without Jesus Christ as their personal Savior cannot see the ways of God. They cannot understand the ways of God, nor can they know the things of God.
  • BUT…because of God’s grace upon you and me, we can know God, we can see God, we can understand God. AMEN!

II. Grace Applied Teaches

A) Teaching FEAR

  •  ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears reliev’d;
    How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believ’d!

“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,”

Why would grace teach our hearts to fear?

It’s meaning is to fear God’s judgment if we do not obey His commandments in also knowing that at some point His grace may not apply.

God’s grace is not limited, but God does have a limit as to how long He will allow a person or nation to go on living in sin.

Leviticus 25:17…Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 6:13… Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 

II Kings 17:39 …But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

The problem in the New Testament churches was this…Romans 3:18…There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Ephesians 5:21…Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

What we need to understand is… that it is not to be afraid of God if we are His children. But we are to fear His judgment upon Him for not being obedient to His commands.

1 Peter 2:17… Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

B) And grace my fears relieved

  • ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears reliev’d;
  • God does not have the same grace upon the world that He has for his own children.
  • But when you are saved and know that you are a child of God… God’s grace will be of relief to you knowing that it is applied should you sin, fall into the devil’s snare (trap).

C) When is God’s “grace” applied?

  • When does God’s grace appear unto us, or is applied to us?
  • Look at the song…   ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears reliev’d; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believ’d!
  • Once you are “called of God” to be saved…He chooses us, we do not choose Him. Note Romans 1:7… To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Christ Jesus gives us this grace at Salvation…Titus 2:11… For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
  • I Corinthians 1:4… I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

III. ‘Tis Grace Hath Brought Me Safe Thus Far

A) Through much Faith, comes much Grace

  • Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
    ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
  • I believe that we need to understand that we must have an abundance of faith in order to receive an abundance of Grace.
  • Haven’t we all suffered at some point in our Christian life?
  • Haven’t we all stared danger in the face?
  • Haven’t we all been entrapped by the devil’s snares traps or temptations?
  • We must realize that it is God’s grace that has allowed us to escape death and see life forever in Heaven.
  • Hebrews 11:6…But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  • What is one of the rewards that God grants believers with faith? GRACE!

HISTORY OF THE SONG…AMAZING GRACE

  • Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn published in 1779, with words written in 1772 by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton (1725–1807). It is an immensely popular hymn, particularly in the United States, where it is used for both religious and secular purposes.
  • Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by others’ reactions to what they took as his recalcitrant insubordination.
  • He was pressed (conscripted) into service in the Royal Navy. After leaving the service, he became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748, a violent storm battered his vessel off the coast of County DonegalIreland, so severely that he called out to God for mercy. This moment marked his spiritual conversion but he continued slave trading until 1754 or 1755, when he ended his seafaring altogether. He began studying Christian theology and later became an abolitionist.
  • Ordained in the Church of England in 1764, Newton became curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire, where he began to write hymns with poet William Cowper. “Amazing Grace” was written to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773.
  •  It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses; it may have been chanted by the congregation. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and Cowper’s Olney Hymns but settled into relative obscurity in England. In the United States, “Amazing Grace” became a popular song used by Baptist and Methodist preachers as part of their evangelizing, especially in the South, during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies. In 1835, American composer William Walker set it to the tune known as “New Britain” in a shape note format. This is the version most frequently sung today.
  • With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. Author Gilbert Chase writes that it is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns”.Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that the song is performed about 10 million times annually.

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