This message is the start of a new series called Back to Basics. We are actually returning to a series that we have done over the last few years. Over the last couple of years we have covered a number of main ideas or concepts of the Christian faith in this series. Normally each week covers a different topic, but this year we want to do it a bit differently and cover one main idea that is perhaps one of the most widely accepted but least understood aspects of Christian faith – Grace. Over the next few weeks we are going to do some teaching on grace – it is something that we could look at for a long time, but we are going to devote 3 or 4 weeks to looking at it.
I’ve called the message this morning Amazing Grace. When you hear those words if you are anything like me you think of the song Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. This is perhaps still the best-known Christian song, both amongst Christians and non-Christians. You hear this song in movies, at weddings, at funerals and at a variety of functions. It is almost become so popular that the wonderful truth of its message – the amazingness of God’s Grace to us, has been lost or watered down.
We live in an era where we are predisposed to not understanding grace. Instead, much of our world and our lives have been infiltrated with thinking that makes grace seem like a ridiculous idea. I’m sure you’ve heard comments like “if you dream it you can achieve it”, “if you work hard you can achieve anything” – these are not bad notions, but what they do is reinforce the idea that we are the ones who can do it! You may have even heard comments like “God helps those who help themselves”. Lots of people, even plenty of Christians, believe in Karma – you do good things good things will happen to you, you do bad things and bad things will happen to you.
This is what we have been telling ourselves since the beginning, since the Garden of Eden – we are the ones who determine our path, it is our choices and our actions that really matter.
We live in a time where the concept of grace is so foreign to us! So I’d encourage you to listen along as we explore the importance of living in the knowledge that we are saved and set by free by God’s grace alone!