February 7, 2021
NOTES FROM A SERMON PRESENTED BY DR. GREG SLOOP AT THE KANNAPOLIS CHURCH OF GOD. FOR VIDEO OF SERVICES, GO TO THE CHURCH WEBSITE, HTTP://WWW.KCOG.ORG, AND CLICK ON THE LIVESTREAM LINK TO VIEW LIVE OR FOR A REPLAY OF THE SERVICES. YOU MAY ALSO WATCH LIVE OR A REPLAY ON the DR. Greg SLOOP FACEBOOK PAGE. FOR AUDIO OF THE SERVICES, GO To THE WEBSITE, kcog.org, AND CLICK ON THE MEDIA PAGE.
May 21, 2023
Amazing Grace, The Hymn
It was written in 1779 by John Newton, one of the most respected preachers in England at the time.
Newton wasn’t always a spiritual leader. Born in London in 1725, he was the only child of a sea captain and a churchgoing woman. His mother taught him to read the Bible and go to services, but she died when Newton was seven years old. His father and stepmother did less to keep him on the straight and narrow, and he got into trouble many times.
However, he never forgot the lessons his mother taught him.
As a young man, Newton fell hard for a young woman named Mary, and when he was 19, while traveling to see her, he fell victim to a “press gang.” The press gang forced Newton to join the crew of a ship, where discipline was harsh, and the food was bad and scarce.
Newton’s spirit was nearly broken. His mother’s God seemed far away and uncaring. When he tried and failed to escape, the ship’s captain had him stripped and flogged.
Later Newton was transferred to another ship, and he became involved in the brutal 18th-century slave trade. The work was horrific and cost many human lives. Yet at the time it was legal—and lucrative.
Newton became known for his wild behavior (he almost drowned after falling off a ship during a party) and for openly mocking faith. He seemed as far away from God as he could get.
But God had other ideas.
God loves to show mercy even to those who believe they’re beyond redemption.
In 1748, Newton was on board a slaving ship called the Greyhound. The ship was in bad shape. During a violent storm, it began to fall apart and take on water. A crew member was swept overboard.
All night long Newton tried to keep the ship from going under. And he thought about the state of his life. He knew he had run from God, hurt other people, and made a wreck out of his own situation. He had even mocked the Gospel.
Newton realized he might die in the storm. Would God still be forgiving, even after Newton had rejected Him?
At last, Newton recalled what his mother had taught him from the Bible: God loves to show mercy even to people who feel they are beyond redemption. Newton asked for God’s help for the first time in years. He survived the storm.
It didn’t happen overnight, but Newton’s life began to be transformed. He learned to pray. He found friends who shared his faith and could help him understand how it applied to his life. Eventually he gave up his role in the slave trade and stopped sailing for a living.
Instead, Newton, who had married Mary, became the curate, or pastor, of a small English church. He also became a writer. One of his hymns, “Amazing Grace,” describes his very personal journey out of spiritual blindness into the light of God’s grace.
In his later years, Newton became the pastor of a larger church in London, where he helped lead many people to the God he had once mocked. He was also active in the movement to abolish the British slave trade. When the prime minister appointed a committee to investigate the slave trade, Newton was a key witness. He explained the horrors of the “industry” from the inside out. His compelling testimony helped make the slave trade—and eventually slavery—illegal.
Passion for the Message of Grace
24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.Acts 20:24 (NLT)
The Wonder of Grace
12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.
14 Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come.
15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin.
For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
20 God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 5:12-21 (NLT)
Attention to Grace
1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?Hebrews 2:1–4 (NKJV)
The Shame of Grace Rejected
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.Galatians 1:6-7 (NAS)
- Takeaway Thoughts
- Grace is Full of Wonder, Awesome, Amazing
- Grace is the Message of the Gospel
- Grace should not be neglected or forsaken
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