A Problem Called Grace

Posted by on November 29, 2013.

Below are the notes/semi-verbatim transcript to a message my Pastor Carl Lentz preached (HillsongNYC). I pray this message blesses you and opens your eyes to how amazing our God’s grace truly is.

Ephesians 2:1-6 (MSG): It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Carl first comments about translations of the bible… He uses the Message which is a paraphrase but if you want to know which version of the bible is more spiritual… It’s the one you actually READ!

So first: “It wasn’t so long ago you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin”… EVER met anyone with selective amnesia? “Oh I miss the good ol days!”  Well if they want to do that they should miss it all! Miss the pain of horrific relationships that were godless, miss the DUI’s…

If you ever think you’re helping out God… you’re not!!! (verse 5-6) It’s all God, all the time. He doesn’t need your help. It’s not a collaboration, it’s not a mixtape.

Ephesians 2:7-10… Call it A PROBLEM CALLED GRACE…  I don’t know your problem but I do know your answer… It’s always grace- the grace of God.

As a Christian if you can grab hold of GRACE, it can be a problem for your problem! It can be a problem for what we call LACK because when you grab hold of his grace you will see what you DO have and not what you don’t. Grace can be a problem for your “works based Christianity” because when you wake up in the morning and REALIZE its NOTHING you ever did, you do things for God because you know HE already loves you.

If you have a marriage problem, grace is your answer. If you have an unemployment problem, grace is your answer. If you have a disease that every doctor in the world says u cannot get healed from, GRACE is your answer.

OUR world is in danger of overlooking the only thing worth looking at! It’s Jesus. It’s his grace.

Paul later goes on to say that the only thing he lives to do is preach about Gods grace. Everything else in his life is worthless in comparison. This grace is so good that the devil is doing everything he can to cover it up; to cloak it… This world is about producing so much pain and heart ache with the hope the people will not know what grace is even if it walks right by them.

Gods grace can save lives but people like to chalk it up to some HOROSCOPE or “man I got lucky”… NO!!!! Do you see how much of Gods grace is on YOUR life tonight?

Don’t EVER get used to the grace of God… If that’s you, PRAY that he would open up your eyes every day so you can be in awe of it and aware of it every moment of your life! Grace should produce GRATITUDE not grumbling! (if you’re too used to it, BE WARE!)

The gospels are full of Jesus doing things for NO REASON… Going to find religious bloggers & leaving comments, etc… In Mark 3… The Pharisees were hoping to catch Jesus in an infraction…. Can you imagine being so immune to the good things in this world & the greatness of God that you’re hoping for people to fail?

Jesus says for the man with the crippled hand to stand up because he shouldn’t even be in the temple… he’s unclean, yo! Jesus wanted to make everybody mad, he wanted everyone to see this man stand up… If he wanted to be could have “telepathically” healed him. But Jesus wanted to make a SCENE because that’s what Gods grace does.

You know what religion does to people? It keeps them away from the GRACE of God and keeps them looking at religious law. (Mark 3:5-6)… And when they see the grace or a relationship with Jesus all they’ve ever known is religion law and they can’t even let go and let God.

Imagine this… You’ve got Jesus walking into a temple and he heals a guy who is in desperate need for help and the peoples response is #1 I wanna see if he does so we can kill him and #2 were definitely going to kill him and now let’s go plot out how we can lynch this guy. It’s unbelievable that these people didn’t go “WOW! how great is our God!”… “This guy must be the real deal”… They were so blind to grace and so caught up in other things. Grace is a PROBLEM for your problem.

COULD there be some joy in your journey, some goodness in your marriage, some miracles in your life, that all you need to do is open your eyes to? Make it your prayer that God would open your eyes.

Grace is a problem for your mirror– what you see is no longer what you get. So you can start to get out of your own way. What you see is Him in YOU now… What I see is no longer me, I am a NEW creation! Grace is a problem for the self esteem issue, grace is a problem for what you see now… You might see NOTHING in your future but please believe that doesn’t mean ANYTHING because what you GET is what Jesus says. FULLNESS in Him.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10… ever feel like you don’t measure up? Ever look in the mirror and think “if God really knew who I am…” (LOL)… The apostle Paul goes through this moment… Paul realizes at his weakest, God is at his strongest. Can you let the GRIP of GRACE be STRONGER than the power of your past? Some of us need to be reminded that no matter what we’ve walked through, doesn’t necessarily indicate what we’re about to walk into because of the GRACE of God.

If you don’t know what God’s doing in you, you can’t look at somebody else and encourage them to have a look at Jesus because if you aren’t walking it theres no way you can be talking it with any power.

Do you know that there is more that God has done in your life than you have given Him praise for? God’s GRACE is better than you think it is, it’s more powerful than you know it to be, it’s more magnificent than anybody has wrote about. Some of us need to wake up and practice not believing what we see. “If you remain in me and I in you…” When you start seeing a lot of YOU in the mirror, you need to go back to looking at a lot of Him.

What if you woke up tomorrow instead of saying “God what can I do for you”, you said “God… how much have you already done for me!” #GraceRevelation That’s a Christian who’s in the grip of Gods grace.

Get out of your own way! So many people are busy eliminating themselves when God already eliminated their reason for eliminating themselves. You want to know how to change the bondage cycle in your life? You can change your own mind. As a man or woman thinks, so they are. Most of the problems we face are not with this diabolical devil outside w/ big grim reaper thing… we’re not going to always give the devil the microphone when we should be the ones saying “everything is Good… Jesus took the keys to hell & death so we’re gonna be alright.”

Know where bondage begins and BREAK the cycle. Most Christians will attack an issue in their life symptomatically- not understanding the root that you need to go after. People are trying to change their behavior when Jesus is about transforming their SOUL. #rootissue.

How the bondage cycle works: issue becomes a 1. Mind hold, then 2. Heart hold, then 3. Foot hold, finally a 4. Strong hold that dominates your whole life. If you have habitual sin, fixing the foot issue isn’t going to work… but you can start by renewing your mind and doing what it says in Philippians by fixing your mind on that which is Holy, think on what is RIGHT… it is by Gods GRACE that he will pull me through and some of these bondages that have been so bad will start to go away because it’s not you fighting the bondage… it’s you leaning into WHO Jesus is.

So when reflecting and trying to apply this message, find that thing in your life that you’re not happy with and don’t try to change it… say JESUS I’m running to you. You change the mind hold, and then your heart has no hold and theres nothing to stand on because you’re standing on the cross and then the strong hold is Jesus and the devil gets NO HOLD on your life. His grace has SET YOU FREE!!!

Set your mind right and your life will follow. Don’t hide the worst of you because it shows the best of Him. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10…. If you can remind yourself that you are always weak and God is always strong… most people spend their life trying to hide all the bad stuff hoping no one finds out… but the joy of knowing Jesus is that you get to turn yourself in! It’s FREEING.

If you ever feel weak, remind yourself that God is still strong! Former losers who became leaders: Adam -> Easily swayed by women, Abraham -> depressed all the time, Samson -> loved the ladies, Job -> unemployed, Noah -> drinking problems, Paul -> murderer, Peter -> angry issues

If you think God can’t use you… there is not a soul on this earth that God can’t use!

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