Grace And Mercy
Are you truly aware of your sins and more importantly, the grace you have? The closer you are to God, the more you realize how much you need Him.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today?
Well, I trust that things are going well with you, and if perchance you’ve struck a rough day, remember you can always look up and say, “Lord, see me through this one.” “When thou passest through the waters they shall not overflow thee.” God will see you through if you trust Him. Yes, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m so glad and grateful for the privilege of coming to your home or your car – wherever you may be just now – with the Word of God.
We’re in 1 Timothy, chapter 1. Paul has just finished saying, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Remember this word. He could say, “I am chief of sinners” because the closer you get to the Cross of Christ, the less you can see of other things and people around you. Stay close to your Savior and you also will be saying, “I’m chief. I need Him most of all.”
And the obverse is true: if you wander away from your Savior, you’ll get your eyes on people and you’ll be critical of others while dry and fruitless in your own life. Stay close to the Cross, stay close to the Savior. The closer you get to Jesus, the less you’ll be seeing of other things and other people.
Now, he says in verse 16, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him with a result being life everlasting.” He said, “I’m chief of sinners,” and he, he had done some bad things. He had caused people to be killed, people to be imprisoned, he persecuted the church, he was a blasphemer and injurious – all of these different things that he says in confessing his wrongdoings before he was saved – but now he said, “I obtained mercy.” One of the great statements. That, that is a watershed in, in human experience right here: “I obtained mercy.”
Adoniram Judson said, when he lay dying – gathered some young men around him and gave them some advice – he said, among other things, “Make much of the mercy in the grace of God, never let a day go by but that you sue for mercy at the mercy seat and make much of the grace of God.” Why? Well, it is as Hallesby says – that great Norwegian theologian – he says, “The one thing that commends us to God is our helplessness and sin. That’s what we bring to Him, helplessness and sin, and we never get away from the fact that we are sinful people.”
We are imperfect. You’ll not be perfect until you get the glory. Now, we know in part, then also now as I’m known, we’re imperfect but then will be perfect. Now we see through a glass darkly, then face-to-face. When we see the Lord Jesus, the Bible says we’ll be like Him for we shall see Him as He is, so there’ll be no flaw – thank God – in that resurrection body and that resurrection personality that God gives you.
But right now all we can bring to God is our capacity to fail and to claim the merits of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in His presence ministry for us as He presents His righteousness on our behalf. Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. There you have it. “I obtained mercy.” That’s the watershed, that’s the, that’s the benchmark, that’s, that’s the high watermark – whatever figure of speech you wish to use – the, the day and the hour when you are aware of the mercy of God in the saving grace of Christ is the beginning of, of different things and a change in your life. “I obtained mercy.”
May I stop here long enough to ask you: Are you aware at all in your own heart of hearts of the mercy of God to you? Have you wept over your own sins recently?
Charles Phillip Finney, the great revivalist of another century, used to say, “Make a list of your sins for you’re with them until your eyes are wet.”
Have you, have you wept over your own sins and shortcomings recently before God? Oh, have you sued for mercy, have you gone to the mercy seat? There confessed your need before your Lord until your heart was just wrung out with the, with the awareness of your human frailty and sin?
Psalmist said, “Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Help me to know my days how frail I am,” he said.
Oh, have you, have you ever had an experience, beloved, of the mercy of God, lately? I want to tell you something. With that kind of experience comes a tenderness and a love and a consideration and a compassion that will show up in your relationships with others immediately. A person who is been to God for mercy is going to be less critical and less demanding, but more holy and more helpful and more loving, more Christlike in every way. That doesn’t mean you’ll be soft on sin. It does mean that you’ll have a heart of love for God, for people. “The love of God,” Paul says in Romans 5:5, “is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who was given unto us.” And when you and I confess our sins and the Holy Spirit is no longer grieved by our disobedience, He does that beautiful work of filling our hearts with love as a result.
All of this grew out of this phrase, “I obtained mercy.” How to get mercy… “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” There are two things I need: One is God’s mercy, to cover my sin, and the other is God’s grace to enable me to serve Him.
Oh, “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure, the gift of Christ,” the Bible says. There is no limit to what God can give you, and so when you come in prayer now, and I trust it may not be long before you find a quiet place where you can talk with God about this very thing, when you come to God in prayer, ask Him, tell Him you’re coming to the throne of grace and that you want to obtain mercy. Confess your sins specifically.
It’s one thing to say, “Lord, forgive my sins.” That sounds great, but it isn’t very helpful. It’s only helpful when you confess your sins specifically before God. “Lord, I was selfish there. Lord I was greedy there. Lord I had, I lost my temper there. Lord I spoke out of turn there. Lord I was lustful there.” See, specifically confessing your sin until your heart is broken with the knowledge of your own weakness and shortcomings and the, the, the, the blessed Spirit of God has a chance to work within you, and then God can speak a word of comfort and, and love and cleansing and forgiveness to you. You’ve obtained mercy.
The second thing you do when you come to God this way, it says, “You may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Yes, I need help, yes, I need strengthening, yes, I need wisdom, yes, I need guidance, yes, I need the ability to, to, to see it through these tough days. You find grace to help in time of need. Where does it start? Mercy. Start with mercy. When your heart is warm and tender and broken up before God, He says, “To this man will I look to him that is of a contrite spirit” – That means broken, broken spirit – “and that trembleth at My Word.” He says, through Isaiah, “I dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite and broken spirit.”
God’s, God likes to live with people who are right with Him and whose hearts have been broken before Him and have obtained mercy. Then you can have grace to help you in your time of need, and growing out of that seeking of God, when your heart has been made right, then you can face the toughest challenge of any day, knowing that God’s grace is available.
“Boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” G. Campbell Morgan used to interpret that phrase, “in time of need,” by saying, “In the nick of time, just in the nick of time God will give you exactly the grace that you need to come through victorious.” Trust Him for that today.
Says, “I obtained mercy.” Now, why? “That in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.” That’s quite a mouthful and I don’t think we’ll finish it before time runs out on this broadcast, but he said, “that in me first.”
Now, the idea here is that you cannot really encourage and help others until you’ve had an experience with God yourself. You can’t teach tithing unless you’re a tither. You can’t teach prevailing prayer unless you learn how to spend time with God in prayer. You can’t teach soul winning unless you’re a soul winner yourself. It just is impossible to rise – let me put it differently – it’s impossible for your hearers to rise any higher than you yourself have gone. Talking to pastors, I would emphasize that your congregation will never go beyond your own spiritual development. Pastor, you have to be above them and you have to go ahead of them, and if you’re going to teach anything you have to know about it yourself. “Me first.”
There is a comparable thought over in 1 Corinthians 15, that Christ our Lord was crucified and dead and buried and rose again, and was seen by the apostles and then by 500 brethren at once, and then he said, “Last of all me also.” That personal awareness, the personal awareness of God and of His power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of His resurrection reality. Personal experience.
“Oh, that I may know Him,” Paul says in Philippians 3:10, “and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, be made conformable unto His death.” The marks of knowing Christ’s resurrection power and Calvary love in Christ’s likeness of character; those are the marks of really knowing the Lord in me first.
There is one of the writers that tells how she was distressed over the attitude that her family had about certain things, and she tended to preach a little to them. On one occasion one of her daughters lashed out at her and said, “Oh Mother, stop preaching.” It just broke her heart to have that sort of a rebuke from a child. She went and sought God for herself and came away with the realization that she herself needed to be changed, and so for a whole year she said she prayed the prayer, “Lord change me, Lord change me.”
And she said not only did God do something in her heart, but she found the attitudes of her family changing as well without her saying a word, and finally that same daughter that had lashed out at her and said, “Don’t preach to me,” that same daughter said, “Mother you’re right about these things.”
Mother didn’t have to argue. Listen, Mothers and Dads, you don’t have to argue with your small fry. Yes, there is a place for parental discipline, especially when they’re little, but after they’re up into their teens, into their 20s, you can’t very well order them around any longer. They are their own persons. What are you going to do then? You trust God to work so in you, that His power and His truth and His Will, will be manifest in your life. “Me first.”
Oh, may God speak to each of us personally. May we each of us have that personal experience with our Lord that will make it possible for us to be a pattern for others. We’ll get at this pattern idea the next time we get together, alright?
Dear Father today, do a first work in us, that we may personally be aware of Thy greatness and Thy power before we speak to others. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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