Session 4 – Preaching the Grace of God (Steve Lawson)
Steve Lawson is the preacher for the fourth session, with the subject of preaching the grace of God. His text is Ephesians 1:3-14.
Paul understood grace because he had lived through a revelation of God’s grace on the road to Damascus. Paul understood that all that he was was because of the grace of God.
1. Electing grace. Grace begins in eternity past, before the foundation of the world (verse 4). The word means to be drawn out and set apart for a purpose. To chose out from among the many. God chose by Himself and for Himself according to the tense of the verb. See 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. God’s choosing is not based on merit. Notice the two modifiers of this choosing: in Christ and in love. The order of this electing grace can be constructed from four key words in Ephesians 1:11 – first there is the counsel of God. Out of this counsel comes the will of God. Out of the will of God comes purpose. And what God purposes, He predestines to guarantee the certainty of fulfillment. This grace causes us to preach with humility.
2. Redeeming grace. Verse 7 tells us of the redeeming grace of God. To redeem is to pay a price that a person cannot pay for themselves to purchase their freedom. The price paid was the blood of Jesus Christ. See Ephesians 5:25-27. This grace allows us to preach with compassion.
3. Regenerating grace. This is the grace which has made us alive. This is the grace of the new birth. See Ephesians 2:4-5. The dead person can do nothing. The sinner is spiritually dead, and therefore can do nothing spiritually, However, God, having made us alive spiritually, gives us the ability to do something spiritually. This grace allows us to preach with boldness.
4. Preserving grace. This is seen in verse 13. We have been sealed up in the life of Christ. What has been done in eternity cannot be undone in time. What can separate us from the love of Christ? Nothing. Even our glorification is spoken of in the past tense. This grace allows us to preach with confidence.
This is the grace which we preach. This is the only grace. Any grace which is not these four things is not grace at all.