Encounter - One of the most beloved hymns over the past few centuries is Amazing Grace. Take a few minutes to listen to this hymn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tae3rpIvpg
and read through the original lyrics written by John Newton below.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved 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 relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers toils and snares
I have already come
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun
Thank God for His grace by offering a prayer to Him about the impact of His grace in your own life.
In the Church, we often talk about grace and experiencing God’s grace. If someone, let’s say an unbeliever, were to ask you “What is grace?” How would you respond?
According to Scripture, grace is the undeserved gift, favor, kindness, liberality of Jesus Christ. What we deserved was death, but what we get instead is freedom to live a new life because Jesus died the death we deserved (Romans 5:16-17). This grace is made manifest in so many different ways as God interacts with His people each and every day. One story of God’s grace is through Josiah.
Way back in the Old Testament, we read about Josiah, who was the king of Judah just before God’s people were exiled to Babylon because of their decision to go their own way and forget the ways of the LORD. Let’s read more about him. Read 2 Kings 22 as well as Zephaniah 1:1, 2:1-3, and Jeremiah 29:13.
We learn from 2 Kings 22:2 that Josiah was a godly man, but we also learn from this chapter that Josiah’s faith in God was not based solely on the book of the law, which had apparently been lost in the temple for sometime. It is likely that Josiah’s faith was originally spurred on by the spoken word of God through the prophets Zephaniah and Jeremiah, and reaffirmed through the written word in the book of the law, which was found while the temple was undergoing some maintenance. We also read about how Josiah related with God through the priests of the temple and the prophetess, Huldah.
Josiah experienced God’s grace through the spoken Word of God from the prophets, the written Word of God in the Scriptures, and the community of believers around him. There were likely other instances of God’s grace upon Josiah’s life that led him to live so dedicated to the Lord, some of which may be very similar to our own encounters with God’s grace.
This Sunday we will explore the nature of God’s grace and the impact it has on God’s people, especially how it enables us to live free from the power of sin and to instead live free in the power of the Spirit.
By His Grace,
Reflect - Does the song “Amazing Grace” hold a significant place in your life of faith? Why? What is it that God’s grace has done for you?
Encourage - Experiencing God’s gift of grace is a truly blessing. Has there ever been a situation in your life that enabled you to not only receive the grace of God, but to then pass it along to others? Are there circumstances or situations in your life this week that provide you with the opportunity to practice being gracious to others?
Gather - Consider providing space for conversation about grace in action in your life as you gather with your spouse, family, friends, or small group/life group. What does grace mean to you? How have you experienced grace from God or others throughout your life? What was the impact of that grace? Have you ever had the opportunity to show grace to others, if so, did it seem to impact the recipient of that grace?
P.S. - Join us for prayer Sunday morning at 9:10 in the Sanctuary!