Grace Unplugged - Radical
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Grace Unplugged

In the Mosaic law, the salvation of God was a religious symbol and access to God was for the elite. In Christ, the salvation of God is a righteous sacrifice and access to God is for everyone. In this message on Exodus 24:1–18 and John 1:1–18, Pastor David Platt teaches Christians about the grace of God that is available for us.

  1. In the limited grace of God in the Mosaic law, the view of God was partial.
  2. In the unlimited grace of God in Jesus Christ, the view of God is personal.

I want you to turn to two texts this morning. I promise you it’s not two sermons, so don’t panic. Exodus 24 in the Old Testament and John 1 in the New Testament. So if you have your Bible, go find both of those places. We’re going to start in John, then go to Exodus, and then come back to John. So keep a piece of paper or some kind of marker in both of those. Exodus is the second book in the Bible, and John is the fourth book in the New Testament. Exodus 24, John 1.

One of the most incredible blessings to me about our Bible reading plan that many of you—most of you—are tracking with (and if you’re new with us, let us just bring you up to speed and tell you we’re reading the Bible through together as a faith family, and then we’re using our teaching and preaching time to take one of the texts, or in this case, two of the texts that we’ve read, and teach on it) is to see how many times there is a relationship between what we read in the Old Testament and what we read in the New Testament. Sometimes that happens on the same day: you read a passage in the Old Testament and a passage in the New Testament, and they go together. Sometimes it just happens in the same week.

The thing that I want us to think about today is a relationship that surfaces in two passages that we read this week that really contrasts the grace of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament. So let’s look at that contrast. It’s summarized here in John 1, where we’re really going to spend the bulk of our time in just a little bit, but I want to begin by calling our attention to the contrast so we know what we’re looking for

So let me read John 1:14–18, a familiar passage to many of you, and then we’ll go to work on this thing. So hear the word of the Lord.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Now he’s talking about John the Baptist. So John the apostle is the human author of this book, and now here in verse 15 he speaks of John the Baptist.

(John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:15–18)

Now, the contrast that I want us to look at is really centered around the two uses of the word grace that you find at the end of verse 16: “grace upon grace.” But the contrast is highlighted in the preposition that is between them. In my English translation it says upon . . . “grace upon.” Some English translations say “grace for grace.” Literally translated (from the original Greek), this little preposition here is best understood to be “instead of.” And so the apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, talks about this word “grace,” and he immediately introduces the idea that we’re talking about two manifestations of grace: grace instead of grace.

And then he identifies the two kinds of grace he’s talking about—the law of Moses and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He actually magnifies this contrast by showing the vehicles through which these manifestations of grace were given. And he does that in verse 17, when he says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” So John identifies the law given through Moses as one manifestation of grace, and then he points to the ultimate manifestation of grace, which is Christ himself.

John 1 1–18 Reminds Us that god has Existed for all of Eternity 

In verse 15, when Scripture mentions John the Baptist, it reminds us, his readers, of what John the Baptist had done, and he takes our attention to verses 6, 7, and 8 in this chapter, to tell us what John was talking about: the preexistent light of God—the light of God that has existed since eternity past that is now being introduced into the world.

You look at (John 1) verse 6, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.” The purpose of John’s coming was so that all might believe in Jesus. John was not the light, but he came to bear witness about the light, and then John the apostle tells us here in verse 17 who that light is This preexistent light he identifies as the person of Jesus Christ

We have a contrast of two manifestations of God’s grace. 1) The law of Mses in the Old Testament—and he identifies that as a manifestation of the grace of God. It’s not as if that was law, this is grace. John, like other Biblical writers, reminds us that the law of God given in the Old Testament was a manifestation of the grace of God. But then he makes sure to show us the difference in the other manifestation of God’s grace, as if to say, “Here is God’s grace unbounded.” 2) He shows us the fullness of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. So I want us to look at that contrast that he’s making in these two passages of Scripture.

So let’s go back to the Old Testament. Hold your place in John 1—we’ll come back here in just a moment. But I want you to look at Exodus 24. Now, when you’re reading through Exodus, especially when you get into some of these chapters that are just outlining the stipulations of the law, it’s easy to sometimes miss some of the key turns—the pivotal places—in the story.

I think one of those is Exodus 24, because you see here is where God and his people are ratifying the old covenant—the Old Testament—relationship that God entered into with his people. They’re ratifying this covenant, and the interesting thing is that they were doing this according to the traditions of entering into covenants in the ancient world

Here’s how this would happen a lot of times: They would take an animal, and they would kill it on an altar. And then they would take the two parts and separate them. If you can, just kind of picture this speaker right here to my left and your right as being one of the pieces of the animal, and then this speaker over here (on my right and your left) being the other piece of the animal. They would separate those two parts of the animal and then the parties that were entering into the covenant would pass through—they would pass between—the two pieces of the animal as an indication of their solidarity in this agreement, as well as—because of the death of the animal—the seriousness of breaking the covenant . . . of either one of them compromising the covenant.

And you know is happening in Exodus 24? This whole scenario—ratifying a covenant—is being played out between God and his people. But it’s interesting, when you walk through this chapter—as many of you read—it’s playing out in two locations. Part of it is playing out between God and the leaders that represented the people way up on Mount Sinai. The other part is being played out between those leaders who would come back down the mountain where the people were.

And so Exodus 24 is a kind of back and forth interchange of scenes in these two locations. And Exodus 24 actually reaches back, and it reaches forward. It reaches back to chapters 20 to 23, where the stipulations of the covenant, the rules that God gave the people to abide by, are outlined. But then it reaches forward as a sort of representation of the rest of the book of Exodus, as well as the whole Pentateuch—the first five books of the Old Testament . . . and really even much of the entire Old Testament itself.

So this is extremely important. What is taking place on Mt. Sinai and at the foot of Mt. Sinai during this interchange between God and his people is extremely important. For instance, when Moses and the contingency go up on the mountain, Moses gets rules about the tabernacle (and that’s going to be delineated in some other parts of Exodus). The tabernacle is what’s going to become the representation of God’s presence to the people. He also gets stipulations about establishing the priesthood, about abiding by the Sabbath . . . all of those important things.

The Limited Grace of God in the Mosaic Law

And even in this scenario—if you put it all together—one of the things that takes place at the foot of the mountain while Moses is up there is that infamous golden calf experience that’s described in chapter 32 of Exodus. All this is happening around this scenario of ratifying the covenant between God and his people, and all of it points to the limited grace of God in the Mosaic law. You can see the limited grace quickly in this chapter.

Now it’s not my intent to read every word of this chapter. I want to give you a 30,000 foot view and simply call your attention to some places to hang our hat on in regard to the limited grace of God in the Mosaic law.

The access to God was for the elite.

For example, this chapter begins by reminding us that access to God was for the elite. Now, when I refer to the elite, I’m not referring to people who are something special; they aren’t better than everybody else. I’m talking about those that had been selected as leaders of the people.

The chapter begins with God telling Moses to bring Aaron and his two sons and seventy of the elders of Isral up on the mountain. But notice at the end of verse 1, it says they’re coming up to worship from afar, from a distance. Moses alone, in verse 2, is called to come up a little bit farther than the other group, which had to stay back a distance to worship. And then you notice that some people, in verse 2, are not permitted to come up at all. They had to stay at the foot of the mountain.

And so what we see from the very outset is that everybody didn’t get to play in the Mosaic law when it came to direct and intimate access to God. The grace of God is manifested in that the people would get the Word of God, but they wouldn’t get it directly. They would get it from their leaders who had gone up to the mountain and would bring it down. And so they do that.

The salvation of God was a religious symbol.

They go up, Moses gets the laws, they come back down, and then in verses 3 and following we have the people hearing all of the stipulations of the covenant, and they agree. They say, “Count us in for every bit of it. We are going with God.” And the next thing Moses does is to give them a representation of the relationship that they’re entering into with God. What unfolds in the next paragraph is a reminder that the salvation of God was a religious symbol in this context.

What does Moses do? He builds an altar. He gets four pillars, and each of those pillars represent the 12 tribes of Israel, and then he leads the children of Israel in making a sacrifice that contains two offerings. One of those offerings is an offering for sin—an atonement—and the other offering was an offering of peace. And this is what it would look like. Moses would take the blood that came from the animal sacrifice, and he would sprinkle part of the blood on the altar as a representation of the atonement for the sins of for the people of God. And then he would take, if you can imagine this, the other part of the blood, and he would sprinkle it on the people . . . just throw it on them. And that indicated that now this blood had been applied to their life, and therefore they were at peace with God. They had come into relationship with God. And so God, by his grace, painted a picture for his people about what salvation looked like. And he showed them his forgiveness and his fellowship, but he did it with pillars and an altar and animals and the blood of those animals.

The view of God was partial.

Now, the guys that go up on the mountain are given an incredible experience—to get a glimpse of God himself. And that’s what you find in verses 9, 10, and 11. But the view of God was partial. You see it in verse 10. They saw the God of Israel. In verse 11, toward the end, they beheld God. And you notice they ate and drank—this was that part of that traditional meal as they passed through the covenant. They were doing this on behalf of the people.

But the interesting thing in these profound statements that they saw the God of Israel and beheld God is that the only description we’re given is what they saw of his feet and the surface on which he stands. Now, let’s think about that for a moment. Wouldn’t you agree that if somebody saw all of God and then was describing him, then probably the only thing that they describe wouldn’t be his feet? But that’s all we get here. And it’s an indication to us of what we know from other places of the Bible, like Exodus 33 (verse 20), that say that no one can see God and live. And here are these guys that have this incredible experience, and when you see this description, you think, “How awesome it would have been to be there!” But they were only seeing—getting a glimpse of—God in part. Peter Enns said that, “When they met the eternal King, the heavenly King, their gaze rose no further than his feet.” God gives them a glimpse in his grace. But this view is only partial.

And then in verse 12 and following, Moses is summoned up a little higher to actually receive the law of God specifically noted in this text—the Ten Commandments—and then he’s going to take it back down for the instruction of the people. This is what God says in (Exodus 24) verse 12, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”

The Word of God was about rules.

A little bit earlier in the chapter, the tablets are described as God’s rules that are written down. These are the details of the covenant, and they are graciously given for the peoples’ daily lives—what they’re to do and what they’re not to do. And I want to call your attention to the fact that, at this point in the Mosaic law, the Word of God was about rules. God gave them rules to live by. And God reminds them—as he does in a number of places, including in chapters 20 through 23—that these rules are the conditions of his covenant with them. If they keep his rules, then they will receive his blessing. If they don’t, he will withdraw his blessing.

But don’t miss the grace of God in this. In the ancient world—in this day—that kind of thing didn’t happen. Among the nations and their perceived gods—the false gods that they worship—we don’t have any record of a god ever giving rules to his people. Kings did that. Not gods. Now a king might claim that God gave him the rules to give to the people, but there isn’t any record, outside of this relationship between the God of Israel and his people, of a god giving his people his rules directly, much less writing them down on stone himself. To be sure, God was the teacher of Israel, and he was giving his children instructions and rules to live by.

The glory of God showed His greatness.

Then, when this chapter closes, in verse 15 and following, we see everybody—not just the elite leaders—getting an incredible picture of the presence of God: they’re able to see his glory manifested in the cloud that covers the mountain, that is somehow (in verse 17) is described as a devouring fire. What does that look like? I have no idea. But we know that the glory of God in this Mosaic covenant showed his greatness. And one of the things that reminds us about God’s greatness in this display is that it was a pillar of cloud—of dark cloud—that guided the children of Israel in the deliverance out of Egypt, that provided for them and delivered them across the Red Sea, that sustained them against Pharaoh’s army. And then it was a pillar of fire that guided them by night. So you had this pillar of cloud and then you had this pillar of fire, and both of those showed the strong power of God and his faithfulness to his people in caring for them and protecting them. The glory of God in the Mosaic covenant may be one of the most vivid depictions of his greatness. And that’s what’s going on here in Exodus 24.

Now, let’s leave that, and let’s go back to John 1. Do you remember the contrast we started here with? It was a contrast between the law of Moses as is described in John 1:17, and then grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ.

The law of Moses was a manifestation of God’s grace. The grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ, John tells us, was grace instead of that grace. It was a grace that replaced that grace, if you will. In John 1, we see God’s grace cranked up to the highest decibel. What we see is God’s grace on steroids, God’s grace unplugged. God intended the grace of the Mosaic covenant to foreshadow this grace in John 1.

John 1 1–18 Shows Us that Grace has Existed Forever

In fact, what we see when we come to John 1 is that the grace that we find here is actually the grace that has characterized God forever in eternity past. It is the grace that he has been introducing to the world ever since time began. How do we know that? The chapter starts off in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word . . .”

Word, in the language of the New Testament, speaks of divine self-expression. This is how God made himself known. This is how God expressed himself. Divine speech. This is how God talks.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1–5)

The Unlimited Grace of God in Jesus Christ …

John 1:9 says, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” So God was manifesting this grace. He was manifesting himself, introducing it to the world. Verse 10: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” And what John is giving us here is a description of how, from eternity past, and especially beginning in recorded history on the pages of the Bible in the book of Genesis, God was introducing his grace to the world, his grace to me and you. He was speaking. He spoke, and things happened. Things were created. And he set in motion, in recorded history, the manifestation of his grace to his creation, all leading to this point. All leading up to this description of the unlimited grace of God in Jesus Christ.

The access of God is for everyone.

Now let’s examine the other half of this contrast. Remember—in the Mosaic law, access to God was for the elite, right? But here in John 1, access to God is for everyone. Notice it in verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Back in Exodus 24, the leaders, on behalf of the people, had to go up the mountain to access God. Here in John 1, in Jesus Christ, God comes down to where people are. The word dwelt in the language of the New Testament is equivalent to the Old Testament word tabernacle. In verb form, it means that he “tabernacled” among us. He pitched his tent in our midst.

Back in Exodus 24, Moses went up and got a description of the tabernacle to take down to the people. They would build it as the story moves on in Exodus, and that tabernacle essentially became a “to-go” box or a “carry-out” box of the presence of God that is being manifested on Sinai. There on the mountain, God gave them a way for his presence to be with them through the tabernacle.

The salvation of God is a righteous sacrifice.

But here in John 1, we’re not talking about a building. We’re talking about a Person. And God comes down and pitches his tent right in the middle of where men and women and boys and girls like us live. In the Mosaic law, the salvation of God was a religious symbol. But here in John 1, in Jesus Christ, it is a righteous sacrifice.

Notice again in verse 14: “the Word became flesh.” The preexistent Light of God, eternal Word, at this point, in the person of Jesus Christ, became a real, live, physical human being. Now why was that important? Do you remember where this chapter started? We read it a moment ago: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Understand this: God spoke physical creation into existence. If sinful man—sinful mankind like us—was ever going to be recreated into the image that he was created for, it was going to take an event on the par of physical creation. It was going to take an event equal to physical creation that would provide atonement for the sins of the people.

And this is why, later in the same chapter, this John the Baptist that we referenced would say, when he saw Jesus in the presence of the people, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (verse 29). He was pointing to a physical person—the person of Jesus Christ—and he said, “That is the Lamb that will atone for peoples’ sin.”

Today, in our daily Bible reading plan, we’re on John 6. Some of you may have already read it. If you have, then you know that Jesus made this claim about himself. He claimed that his flesh was going to have to be a part of actually bringing eternal life to people. Jesus feeds 5,000 people, and he walks on the water, and then he has this conversion with people that really messed a lot of people up.

This is sometimes called the “Bread of Life Discourse,” from (John 6) verse 22 all the way to the end of the chapter. Let me just go ahead and tell you . . . if we had time to look at it, I’d show it to you. At the end of this conversation—at the end of this teaching—the Bible says, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” Whatever it is he says here was so heavy and so deeply rooted in the spiritual economy of God in redeeming his people, that many of his followers at that time couldn’t stomach it.

Let me just show you a part of it, beginning in verse 51. Here’s what Jesus says. “‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” (John 6:51–52).

Now, if this me and I’m standing in Jesus’ place right here, I’m going to tell you what I would have said. I would have said, “Well, hold on, guys. I’m talking in figurative language. This is metaphorical, okay? This really has a . . .” But Jesus doesn’t do that. He presses in. He leans into this in verse 53 and says to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:53–56).

Jesus said his flesh would be the key to people getting eternal life, and many other biblical writers agreed and affirmed this. Let me just show you a couple of them. Let me show you Romans 8. This is what Paul said, “For God has done what the law,” think about Exodus 24 and that section of the Word, “weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). He had to be in the flesh for this to happen . . . for our salvation to take place.

We read this next one last week in the book of Hebrews. We just cited it. Let me show this one to you. Hebrews 10:19 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh” (vv. 19–20). The preexistent Word of God had to become physical flesh in order to atone for your sins.

Over there in Exodus 24, in the old covenant, it was represented and symbolized through animal sacrifice. But here in the New Testament, in Jesus Christ, it was realized through a literal human yet perfectly divine and righteous sacrifice. And this is where we see grace instead of that grace.

The view of God is personal.

So go back to John 1. Remember back in Exodus 24—the view of God was partial. I want you to note that here (in John 1), the view of God is personal. Look again at (John 1) verse 14, “We have seen”—John says—“his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In my English translation the phrase, “glory as of the only Son from the Father” is more literally translated as “the one and only, best-loved Son.” He’s talking about the kind of glory that a father would give to his one and only, and consequently, best-loved son. And John, in essence, says, “This is what we saw in Jesus Christ.”

Do you know what this means? It means that this preexistent Word “coming into the world” (John 1:9)—the incarnation of Jesus Christ—was personal to God. And guess what . . . it becomes personal for us because he lets us see the glory of God in Jesus Christ. And then John takes it up a notch in John 1:18 when he reminds us that “no one has ever seen God.” Moses and his crowd didn’t see God fully in Exodus 24, and in essence, we don’t see God fully. Why? One of the reasons is because God is a spirit. Another reason is that if we did, we would have to die—it would kill us. But notice what John says in verse 18: “…the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

Now, this is kind of another awkward phrase, but I want us to understand what it means. Let me show you what may be the best educated guess that language scholars have at what John was actually saying right here. Literal translation: “The one-of-a-kind Son.” So in essence, John 1:18 says “the one-of-a-kind Son—God—who is in the closest relationship with the Father, he has made him know.”

I want you to look at this description here. “One-of-a-kind Son” is described as God and the one who is in the closest relationship with the Father. If you’ve ever thought, “I’m not sure I can get my arms around that. How can he be God the Father and be God the Son at the same time?” . . . welcome to the party. This inspired Bible-writer describes the relationship between God the Father and God the Son as best it can be described.

John 1 1–18 Reminds Us that Jesus was a Walking Manifestation of God the Father

Now notice two mind-boggling truths that I think that grow out of this. Number one, notice how intimate and personal the relationship is between God and Jesus. I mean, there’s just no other way to describe the closeness there. And then second, I want you to notice how he has brought us into that personal relationship, into that intimacy. Do you see that last phrase there in (John 1) verse 18? “He has made him known.” In the language of the New Testament, John doesn’t choose the most common term for describing something being manifest, something being put out there for people to understand. He chooses a word that literally means “to give a full account, the whole story.”

Some of you older folks in here remember Paul Harvey. He would always say, “Now here’s the rest of the story,” and he would go on with his narrative, giving the full account. And that’s what John is talking about. And this is basically what he said: “When you and I look at Jesus Christ, we get the full account of God . . . the full account of the story about him.”

The Word of God is about relationship.

In the Old Testament law—the Mosaic law, Exodus 24—the word was primarily about rules. But here, it is about relationship. I want you to go back to verse 14, and I want you to look a little bit closer at how this intimate relationship is described.

Remember, in Exodus 24, people had to send representatives up the mountain, and they got the law of God and came back and gave it to them, including the tabernacle and the description of it. Moses got the law in written form. He wrote down part of it; God wrote down part of it; and he brought that record down, and that record was the rules that the people were to live by.

But did you notice that John 1 does not scream of rules? It screams of a relationship with Jesus Christ. You see it in verse 14; John said: He “dwelt among us, and we have seen . . .” Verse 16: “For from his fullness we have all received . . .” When God fully and finally manifests himself to his people, in his pursuit of the rebellious people that he continued to search out and come after . . . when he finally and fully manifested himself, he did not describe it in terms of a bunch of rules to be kept. He described it in terms of an intimate relationship that we would have with him.

The glory of God shows His goodness.

In the Mosaic law—old covenant, Exodus 24—the glory of God showed his greatness. Notice here in Jesus Christ, the glory of God shows his goodness. John 1:14 says “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” That last phrase is repeated in verse 17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

Now, as we read on through John’s Gospel, we’ll see that these two words go together a lot. In John, this phrase alludes to a similar expression in the Old Testament. Some of you have run across the words, “loving kindness and truth.” And do you know what those things essentially speak of? They essentially speak of the goodness of God—that characteristic, that quality, that attribute. His goodness was beginning to surface even in the Old Testament, in this idea of his glory.

Some of you remember that Moses asked at one point to see the glory of God. Exodus 33:18 . . .

Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. (Exodus 33:18–19)

Look at how God responded to Moses’ request to see his glory. If you’ve read this, do you remember what happened next? God couldn’t let Moses see all of his glory because it would kill him, so he put him in the cleft the rock, and God passed by, putting his hand out to guard Moses from his glory. Look at that account in Exodus 34:

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6–7)

God essentially said, “I will continue to be a God of truth, and I will continue to be a God of goodness. I will be gracious, and I will be faithful to you.”

In the Old Testament law, we see the manifestation of God’s glory as speaking loudly of his greatness. And he has not let any of that go. But in Jesus Christ—beloved, make sure you understand this—you and I get to be partakers of the greatness of his goodness. In the Old Testament it was given and represented through animal sacrifices and the sprinkling of the blood on people. Here, in the person of Jesus Christ, we become the recipients of this great goodness of God. And did you notice verse 16? “For from his fullness we have all received . . .” (John 1:16). You and I—in Jesus Christ, in relationship with him, based upon what he did on the cross for us—are the recipients of the full dose of the goodness of God. And this is what John tells us in this passage of Scripture.

The Available Grace of God for You …

 

Now, based upon that grace uncorked, grace unleashed . . . grace unplugged, with all the believers in Jesus Christ in this place today, I want to be an instrument of extending this available grace of God to you if you’re here today and you have never confessed Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

There is an incredible representation of this availability for you right here in the two verses that lead up to the text that we just studied. And they really just lay out the simple opportunity to either say “yes” or “no” to the available grace of God. They’re printed there on your worship guide, and you can them read them in (John 1) verses 11 and 12 in your Bible. Look at what it says: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

The grace of God—this unlimited grace of God—is available to you. Understand this. You haven’t earned it—you can’t earn it—and you don’t deserve it. John 1:13 says that: the ones that received him, “were born, not of blood.” In other words, your family name doesn’t get this because your momma and daddy were Christians and your granddaddy was a preacher, or because you grew up in the South, or because you’ve been in church all your life, or because your family has been in church all of your life.

“Nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man” (John 1:13). This is not something you can earn; it’s not something you deserve. It’s something that God does and extends in his grace, and it grows out of his goodness. And today, to any man, woman, boy, or girl in this place or within the sound of my voice who’s never received that, I want to invite you to receive this grace of God by confessing Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord—as the full manifestation of God’s grace.

So here’s what I’d like to ask you today. I want us to bow our heads in a posture and spirit of prayer, of being before God, and if you came in here today as a believer in Christ, I want to ask you right now to pray. I want you to pray for somebody that you know that doesn’t know Christ. Maybe they’re sitting next to you. Maybe there’s somebody else in this room that you know that doesn’t know Christ. Maybe it’s somebody that you know that’s not here. But as Pastor David has prayed already this morning, may we be compelled to go away from this place to share this grace with them. Pray for that person . . . for those people right now.

But if you’re here today and you’ve never received the grace of God by confessing Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord—this unlimited grace of God—I want to invite you to do that right now. Would you acknowledge in your heart right there in your seat that he came to die for your sin—to provide forgiveness for your sin? Would you acknowledge that your sin separates you from this eternal God and that he came in the person of Jesus Christ to make a way for that sin to be forgiven? Would you acknowledge in your heart today that he died on the cross to incur the wrath of God—a holy God—against you and against your sin, and then, in incurring that wrath, that his shed blood made it possible for you to be forgiven? Would you acknowledge that? And would you acknowledge today that he rose from the dead by the hand of God to give you back the life that God created you to have, the life that you were created for . . . that he rose from the dead to put God’s life back inside of you? And right there at your seat, would you just cry out to God, based upon all of that, to save you, right there in your heart? Cry out to him to save you and confess that Jesus is your Lord and your Savior.

Jim Shaddix is a professor of expository preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a pastor in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, and Colorado, and as dean of the chapel and professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Shaddix is the author of several books, including The Passion-Driven Sermon: Changing the Way Pastors Preach and Congregations Listen.

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