Scriptures with Songs

The Grace of God

god graceThe Grace of God

Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1: p. 159 – O Day of Rest and Gladness

Hymn 2: p. 163 – The Love of God

Introduction:                                          

In today’s Songs and Scriptures, we will be going back to one of the most fundamental questions in Christianity: What is the grace of God? It is one of the most often discussed words in theology, but can ordinary believers really have a clear and complete understanding of what “grace” really is all about? 

We say that God is a “gracious God”, or that He is the “God of grace”, and His son Jesus Christ came in the flesh “full of grace and truth”, but do we really know its implications when applied practically in our Christian life? Is grace only about the “unmerited pardon” we receive when we are forgiven of sin? Or, is grace something that we can freely dispense with on our own, a “freedom” to do what we please, as is often taught nowadays? Most people today accept a ‘grace’ that in reality is law-breaking (lawlessness), or license to sin.

To know what real grace is, first we need to understand the most basic characteristic and nature of God: the Bible expressly tells us that “God is Love.” Everything God does flows from His love. When God grants His grace, it likewise is rooted in and flows from His love. Thus, whenever He extends mercy and forgiveness, favor and blessing, kindness and forbearance, it is by and through His grace!

In the Old Testament there is one basic Hebrew word which has been translated “grace.” That word is chen, which is pronounced khane. This word is derived from the root word chanan (pronounced khawnan), which means “grace, favor, goodwill, kindness, gracious and pleasant.” The adjective form of c/zen is channuwn (pronounced khannoon), which means “gracious.” The Hebrew root word chanan means “gracious, to favor, to be favorably inclined, to pity, to be compassionate, to make acceptable.” It can also mean “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to be moved to favor by a petition or request, to show favor, to grant or give favor or to graciously show mercy and pity” (Ref: Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon)

For our first batch of readers, let us examine the description of God’s creation in the first chapter of Genesis to understand how God’s grace was revealed through His acts in the beginning. The key word/phrase here is “good” and “very good” to understand how grace operates in God’s creation.

Bible Reader 1 –God’s Grace Revealed in Creation

Genesis 1: 1-19

Bible Reader 2 – God’sGrace Revealed in Creation

Genesis 1:20-31;2:1-3

Thank you bible readers .These verses clearly tell us that when God looked upon His creation, He saw everything that He had made was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). The word good is translated from the Hebrew tolby, which means “beautiful, bountiful, cheerful, fine, good, gracious”; its secondary meaning is “joyful, loving, mercy, pleasant, pleasure, prosperity, wealth, well or well-favored” (Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon). To be declared as good and very good only shows that everything was truly a blessing! As viewed through God’s eyes, His very Creation was a clear manifestation of His Love and His grace.

Brethren, let’s all stand and sing the following hymns…

Hymn 3. p.191 –The Lord’s Lovingkindness

Hymn 4. p.8 –Praise My Soul, The King of Heaven

B. How Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, and Moses “Found Grace”. Still most people today have the mistaken notion that grace can only be found, received or granted in the New Testament. The idea that grace is foreign in the Old Testament can easily be dismissed by considering how God’s people were moved by God in order to receive His favor and grace: Adam and Eve began their life “under grace” in the garden (Genesis 2), Noah found grace in the midst of an evil and crooked generation (Genesis 6:8-9), Abraham received grace when he was promised a new nation (Gen 12), Lot and his family found grace as they were spared from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:17-20). Isaac’ son Jacob despite his scheming attitude and manner has eventually become the recipient of God’s grace (Genesis 32).

The Exodus story showed us how Moses saw the grace of God operating with the deliverance of the children of Israel, Moses himself was a direct recipient and witness to God’s grace in action (Exodus 33). 

Our next set of Bible readers will be providing us some of these events:

 

Bible Reader 3 – How Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, and Moses “Found Grace”

Genesis 2:8-17

Genesis 6:8-9

Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 22:16-18

Genesis 26:5

Bible Reader 4 – How Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, and Moses “Found Grace”

Genesis 19:17-20;

Exodus 3:2-8

Exodus 33:12-17

Exodus 34:5-7

Thank you readers. Please all rise as we sing

Hymn 5. p.17—Thou Art Our God Forever

C. God’s Grace Toward Israel of Old. The witness and examples of the patriarchs of old, showed how God’s grace moved in their lives. Yet despite this knowledge, and other passages of Scriptures that reveal God’s profound love and His manifold graces, most people envision the God of Israel as a harsh and vengeful God of wrath and destruction! Failure to understand grace has led modern preachers and their followers to believe that a stern, merciless God gave Israel restrictive laws that were a burden and a curse. The Bible reveals the opposite! In fact, God’s commandments and laws showed God’s grace. After their deliverance from slavery, the children of Israel were shown how to build a just society based on love and grace: how to love God and neighbour as themselves (Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18).  

Our next Bible reader will give us some of these admonitions:

      

Bible Reader 5 – God’s Grace Toward Israel of Old

Deuteronomy 6:5, 24-25

Deuteronomy 7:7-9, 12-14

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Leviticus 19:18

Proverbs 1:1-9

Psalm 51:1-11

Psalm 86:1-7,10-13,15-16

Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10-14, 17-18

Thank you reader. Please all rise as we sing responsively…

Hymn 6p.18 Great is Thy Faithfulness

Hymn 7p. 23 Bless the Lord Eternal, O My Soul

D. God’s Prophets Saw and Preached God’s Grace. Although only a few were willing to receive God’s grace in Old Testament times, the truth of Scripture is that God did deal graciously with all those who sought Him with their whole hearts and beings! As for those who rejected Him and refused to keep His commandments, upon them came curses as consequences of their “hard-headedness ” and rebellion! But even then, God’s hand was always held out in mercy, whenever sinners would repent and turn to Him.

As proclaimed by the prophets in the Old Testament, it was always God’s desire to extend His love, mercy and grace to His people. The prophets’ tireless works of witness and warning only proved this. Their testimonies and the very words of God handed down to them clearly show that all accusations that the God of the Old Testament was a “God of wrath and vengeance” was a misreading of God’s grace in the lives of the people.

Our next bible reader will read verses pertaining to this.

Bible Reader 6God’s Prophets Saw and Preached God’s Grace

Ezekiel 18:31-32

Ezekiel 33:11

Joel 2:11-13

Isaiah 55:6-7

Thank you Bible Reader. As we have seen, God extended His grace freely to individuals and nations in the Old Testament times. Adam lived under the graces of God in the garden. Men like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and the children of Israel received the grace of God when they humbly seek Him. Even nation such as Nineveh was granted God grace when they repented of of their sins and wickedness. The Bible also record God’s grace and blessings to those women who sought His favor, including Abraham’s wife Sarah (Gen. 21:6-7, Heb. 11:11); Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 1:16; 2:12), and Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Sam. 1:10-19).Thus, the entire Old Testament is a demonstration of God’s gracious works.

Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:

 

Hymn 8: p.124 – In Days of Old

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Watch And Pray:Thank you, brethren. Let us pause now as we hear the news that we need to watch and pray for.

Thank you for the special music offering and for our watchman.

E. Jesus Christ: The Fullness of Grace and Truth. Grace, as revealed in the New Testament, has a broad meaning and application. Grace comes from the Greek word, “Kharis”, which means: “God’s divine, gracious, favor and blessing; gracious care, help, goodwill, benefit, gift, goodness, benefaction and endowment” (Arnt & Gingrich, Greek Lexicon) Grace, therefore, is a multifaceted word, showing many aspects of God the Father’s gracious Love as mercifully manifested through Jesus Christ. The first coming of Jesus Christ was an expression of love by God the Father revealing His grace and salvation through the birth, life, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. that is why John wrote that “By this is the love.”

Hence, contrary to the idea that grace is merely a religious jargon or doctrine from which theological battle lines are drawn; fact is, the true grace of God means life itself! The life and example of Jesus Christ is an act of grace showing us first how to receive grace, and how that grace is to be lived. Without grace there would be no salvation, no Christianity –no eternal life to speak of!

Indeed, grace is the foundation of true Christianity. The New Testament reveals that the coming and “fullness” of Jesus Christ showed the Father’s grace to be an all encompassing attribute.

Our next bible reader will provide us more on these life applications from Christ...

Bible Reader 7– Jesus Christ: The Fullness of Grace and Truth

Luke 2:40

John 1:14,16-17

John 3:16

1 Peter 1: 6-13

 

Bible Reader 8 Jesus Christ: The Fullness of Grace and Truth

Hebrews 11:8-16

2 Peter 1:12-15

2 Corinthians 5:1-8

Thank you Bible Reader. Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:

Hymn 9:  p.29 Our Shepherd Will Supply our Every Need

Hymn 10: p.44 O Lord the Refuge of Each Generation

Conclusion-

F. Christians and Grace: “It Is By Grace We Have Been Saved through Faith”Still most Christians believe that grace is something that God and Christ give and Christians receive. Being the recipients of God’s magnificent and manifold graces, what are Christians expected to do? Let us review what the Scriptures say on this subject as we conclude our readings.

As earlier noted, besides grace and favor, the Greek word kharis is also sometimes translated as thank, thanks, or thankworthy, as well as liberality, gift, benefit, pleasure, joy, and acceptable. It is to be noted that none of these English words translated from the Greek word kharis remotely have the exclusive meaning of “unmerited pardon” which is the most commonly applied meaning.

Moreover, God’s and Christ’s grace demonstrates their righteous character while molding and empowering believers “to grow in grace” in that same righteous character. God’s grace which is completely shown through Jesus Christ is empowered by the Holy Spirit in implanting God’s nature and character in us. The New Testament reveals this to be the “good work” of Christ which will bring about complete salvation to God’s people and the restoration of mankind in general.

More on these verses from our final reader…

Bible Reader 9 – It Is By Grace We Have Been Saved

Ephesians 2:4-10

Ephesians 4:29

2 Corinthians 8:7

Colossians 3:16

Colossians 4:6

Philippians 1:1-6

2 Timothy 2:1-3

Hebrews 12:28

Hebrews 13:15

2 Peter 3:17-18

Revelation 22:20-21

Thank you readers. That concludes our Song Service.

Hymn 11: p.49 The Sacred Bond

Hymn 12: p.25 How Filled With Honor is the Place

Closing prayer.

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