|Volume 23 Number 7 July 2021
The last Monday of the month of May is celebrated as Memorial Day each year in the USA. It began with the purpose of decorating the graves of the soldiers who fought in the War Between the States (1861-1864). However, all of our fallen military personnel are remembered on this day. I spoke on one occasion on Memorial Day in the military section of a cemetery in Prattville, Alabama. I had two visual aids in my hands. One was the Purple Heart that was given to my parents after my oldest brother was killed in WWII on April 5, 1945. The other one was a flag that had been placed by my brother’s grave in a military cemetery in the Netherlands.
There is a poem written by Rudyard Kipling entitled “Recessional’ (Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia) that I think is very appropriate on this occasion, and here are two stanzas of the poem:
God of our fathers, known of old, Lord of our far-flung battleline, Beneath whose awful Hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine – Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget – Lest we forget! The tumult and the shouting dies; The Captains and the kings depart. Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, And humble and a contrite heart. Lord God of Host, be with us yet, Lest we forget – lest we forget.
The following biblical truths should always be taught and practiced – “Lest We Forget.”
If we fail to remember God in this life and His Word, for us to learn and practice, there will come a time when our remembrance will not be pleasant. Please observe these words found in Luke 16:25. “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.’”
It is wonderful, however, to remember that God will forgive and forget our sins and iniquities if we will obey Him and live for Jesus. “‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws into their hearts, And in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’” (Hebrews 10:16-17). Our Lord has promised if we are faithful, He will give us “the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
The Grace of God
Mark N. Posey
Thesis: Paul’s inspired view of the Gospel of the grace of God!
Text: Acts 20:24
Song: “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
Introduction: Paul viewed himself as a rock (none of these things move me); accountant (I count); runner (I may finish my race); steward (the ministry which I received); witness (to testify); undeserving recipient of a precious and glorious gift (the Gospel of the grace of God).
Discussion: What was Paul’s understanding of grace?
1. The gulf between God and man. Paul knew that the grace of God was needed because of the gulf between God and man, a gulf which man could never span with his own righteousness and goodness. Cf. Romans 3:10-12, 23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:11-12. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
2. The gift from God to man. Paul viewed grace as a gift. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 5:15, 17. He thanked God for His “unspeakable” (anekdiēgētos – indescribable) gift. God’s indescribable gift is Jesus, the greatest gift ever given and received. Paul’s statement clarifies the deep meaning of one the most beloved Scriptures in God’s Word – John 3:16.
3. The gain for man from God. Some gifts are given but are of little value, yet not so with grace. The recipient of Heaven’s grace receives a generous and abundant gift called eternal life. Cf. 1 Timothy 1:13-15; 1 Peter 3:7b. Notice the specific areas of gain associated with grace: life (Romans 5:17), riches (2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 1:7; 2:7), salvation (Titus 2:11; 2 Timothy 1:9), everlasting consolation and good hope (1 Thessalonians 2:16; Philippians 1:21-23) and opportunities for serving our Master (Ephesians 3:2, 7-8; 1 Timothy 2:7). Grace “appeared” (epiphaino from epí = upon + phaíno = to shine, English = epiphany) - to shine upon and so to become visible and to be made clear or manifest.
4. The gamut to all men from God. Webster defines “gamut” as, “an entire range or series.” Thus, the grace of God is directed toward the entirety of humanity. Cf. Titus 2:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 22:17. God’s amazing grace, mercy, favor and love are described by Paul in Ephesians 3:18. It is wide enough to include every person, long enough to last through all eternity, deep enough to reach the worst sinner and high enough to take us to heaven.
5. The grounding by God for man. God’s grace teaches us to presently live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). Cf. 2 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 2:2. Grace is both restrictive (“denying”) and inductive (“we should live”) in nature; it is both positive and negative in teaching us how to live.
Conclusion: Paul’s words lift us. “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). God’s grace is amazing.