Mercy and Grace

Worship Service for August 22, 2021

WELCOME

Good day, welcome and thanks for joining CrossPointe Community Church’s online Word worship presentation. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May They bless you this day as a result of your choosing to worship them.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

I am so very grateful that we are a Community Church and accomplishing our purpose, which is to “Share God’s Grace with our Community.”

To that end, Jim and I will be providing the music for the annual Chippewa Lake Pride Committee’s Fundraiser today at 5pm down at Point Park.

And we are also excited to announce that the brothers Tresch will be flying in from Texas and Florida next weekend and there will be a Bridging the Gap Reunion down at The Village Inn next Friday at 7pm. We, and they, would love to see you there!

Next Friday is also our last Friday of the month free Community Dinner. John and Amy tell me the menu consists of Italian stuffed chicken, roasted redskin potatoes, green beans and for dessert… pineapple upside down cake! We will again be serving it to folks as they drive up in their cars. So if you would like to help out, please come by 4:50 and you will be here until about 6:10 pm. Please let me know if you plan to help.

Annie Dean and Gale Arthur will be offering Grief Share beginning this Thursday here at the church between 12:30 and 2:30pm. Grief Share is a ministry offered to folks grieving the loss of a loved one. If you know of anyone who could benefit, please pass this on.

Last but not least, since next Sunday is a fifth Sunday, it is what we call Gather to Scatter Sunday, whereby, we ‘gather’ for worship and then ‘scatter’ into the community to share God’s grace. COVID has set us back a little in this regard. However;

Now to give you a clue as to our theme for today:

How do cats measure the gracefulness of their leaps?
In fluid pounces!

What do you call a chicken that moves ever so gracefully?
Poultry in motion

Modern technology has never matched the simplicity and grace of the traditional pen.
In fact, you could say that there is still no e-quill.

My wife is such a terrible cook,
we say grace after we’re done eating.

What do pastafarians say after saying grace?
Ramen.

And all the vegetables gathered around the meal that lay before them and decided to say grace
Lettuce pray

SCRIPTURAL CALL TO WORSHIP

For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for He himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.

Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

Romans 3:20-28

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

Amazed

Phillips, Craig and Dean

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
How You love me

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
How You love me

How wide, how deep
How great is Your love for me
How wide, how deep
How great is Your love for me

Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
How You love me.

Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
Lord, I’m amazed by You
How You love me.

Amazed lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, Reservoir Media Management Inc
CCLI License No. 1843349

Amazing Grace

John Newton

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 hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

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’d first begun.

Public Domain 
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord our God, is it any wonder that we have gathered together in this way to worship You? For through the scripture, and these songs that reflect its truth, we have been reminded of your wonderful love and amazing grace. And we humbly ask that You would both open our eyes and touch our hearts in such a way that when we leave this place, we will know and know for sure, that we have experienced your mercy and grace. We ask, this in the powerful name of Jesus, the Christ and our Lord and Savior, amen.

OFFERING

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in worshipping and honoring God in this tangible way.

If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:

P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

OFFERING/PRAYER SONG

Grace Flows Down

Giglio, Louie/Padgett, Rod/Bell, David E.

Amazing grace,
How sweet the sound.
Amazing love
Now flowing down.
From hands and feet
That were nailed to the tree,
As grace flows down
And covers me.
It covers me, it covers me,
It covers me,
And covers me.

©1993 dB Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Alan Robbins

Please join me in prayer.

Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father,

We are ever more thankful for the opportunity to be back in your house of worship on this beautiful summer Sunday.

My own recent hospitalization brought to reality the power of prayer. Thank you so much to all those that were in the prayer train for me. It worked, it is real. Please continue on to all those that are needy.

Keep Pastor Randy in our prayers as he “guides us on how Grace Flows Down and Covers us.”

My ongoing prayer is that we know you will stay by our side. We know you will listen and guide our prayers to reach out, to hold, to give help, to give love, to give peace, to give joy and to call the Holy Spirit to those that are grieving, for those that are ill, for those that are hurting in any way and prayers for our own needs.

Thank you Lord, as we give God’s glory, and grace, and joy and refuge, and strength, and love and peace, and the Holy Spirit to our community and the world in which we live.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen

SCRIPTURE

Last Sunday, we began worship by singing, There’s No Greater Love than Jesus, and His Everlasting Love is higher than the sky, deeper than the sea, reaching out to me and finally Think About His Love.

And I did my best to interpret the latter part of Romans 8 by focusing on the meaning of the statement, God is for us. And where we were reminded that; whereas, human love is often doled out or withheld based upon performance God’s love for us is everlasting, steadfast, not going anywhere; “nothing in all creation can ever separate us from the love of God that has been revealed in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

As I was speaking, I could see the wheels turning. We were all thinking about God’s everlasting love. Some of us may well have been wondering whether or not God really can love His children with that much faithfulness. And some of us might have even been wondering whether or not Jesus would agree with Paul that nothing can separate us from God’s love.

That’s why today, I am preaching about God’s mercy and grace. For God’s mercy and grace substantiate God’s love. In other words, God doesn’t just say, “I love you with an everlasting love,” (Jeremiah 31:3) and leave it at that; He backs up words with actions. Biblical agape love, the kind of love whereby God loves us is a love that always takes action on behalf of the beloved in order to authenticate, to prove, to validate that love. And so to demonstrate His everlasting love, God covers us with His mercy and grace.

So let’s read together the gospel according to Matthew, in chapter 20, where we encounter Jesus teaching His disciples, using a parable about grace.

For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work. At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, “Why haven’t you been working today?”
They replied, “Because no one hired us.”
The landowner told them, “Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.”

That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, “Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.”

He answered one of them, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others? So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.

Matthew 20:1-16

And then, let’s check out some of Paul’s thoughts in his little letter to his friend Titus.

Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.

But when God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of His grace he made us right in His sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

Titus 3:1-8

The words I want to hone in on are ‘mercy’ and ‘grace.’

MESSAGE

Mercy and Grace

Randy K’Meyer

“When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy” (Titus 3:4b-5a).

We all know what justice is, right? Justice takes place when we, or more preferably someone else, gets what they deserve.

Mercy, on the other hand, occurs when we don’t get what we deserve. A man may be a mass murderer and deserve the death penalty, but when the judge sentences him to life in prison instead, that’s mercy. He deserves to die, but is allowed to live.

I don’t know about you, but I am not naturally a merciful person. I would rather see justice take place. When I watch a movie, I want to see the bad guy get what’s coming to him. Gail and I watched The Founder, the movie about how Ray Kroc cheated, chiseled and stole McDonald’s from Richard and Maurice McDonald, the true founders. And I was disappointed that Kroc never did get the justice he deserved.

The trouble is, when I stand before God, I will not want to receive what I deserve: I will want mercy.

And in Christ, that’s exactly what God, in His love, supplies.

For the Bible is clear: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That is, eternal separation from God is what we deserve in order to pay the penalty for our sinfulness.

Now, we have a natural human inclination to want to pay for our sin by engaging in good behaviors, thinking God will reward us by letting us off the hook.

As an illustration, the movie Get Low is the story of a 1930s Tennessee hermit, Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), who threw his own funeral party—while he was still alive. In a particularly poignant scene, Felix visits a local minister, the Rev. Gus Horton, sets down a wad of cash and declares, “It’s time for me to get low.” When Rev. Horton asks what he means by that, Felix replies, “I need a funeral.”

When the pastor asks who the funeral is for, Felix says, “Me.”

The preacher says, “What really matters is when you come to the end of your life that you’re ready for the next one; now, have you made peace with God, sir?”

“I’ve paid,” replies Felix. He means he’s spent most of his adult life trying to pay for his sins. In particular, he is referring to an incident from forty years ago. He got mixed up with a married woman; and when the woman’s husband found out about it, he became enraged and murdered her. Felix blamed himself for her death and spent the next forty years depriving himself of a wife and children. Instead, he lived alone, deep in the woods, cut off from community and happiness, all in a futile attempt to pay the debt of his transgression. Now forty years later, he hopes that he’s finally paid his debt.

But Rev. Horton wisely disagrees with Felix, “Mr. Bush, you can’t buy forgiveness. It’s free, but you do have to ask for it.”

And with that, Felix picks up the wad of cash and stomps out of the church. 1
Felix doesn’t understand that God’s justice doesn’t work that way.

Oh yes, to be sure the Bible says that God is just. Isaiah 61:8 says, “For I the Lord love justice.” And because God loves justice, it’s true that someone has to pay the price for human sinfulness. In His mercy, God paid the wages of human sin by dying in our place, “not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).

And what is the result of God’s mercy? Paul says, “He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5b-6).

God washed away our sins.

Erwin Lutzer tells the story set in the 14th century, also told in the movie, Braveheart, where Robert Bruce was leading his men in a battle to gain independence from England. Near the end of the conflict, the English wanted to capture Bruce to keep him from the Scottish crown. So they put his own bloodhounds on his trail. When the bloodhounds got close, Bruce could hear their baying. His attendant said, “We are done for. They are on your trail, and they will reveal your hiding place.”
Bruce replied, “It’s all right.”

Then he headed for a stream that flowed through the forest. He plunged in and waded upstream a short distance. When he came out on the other bank, he was in the depths of the forest. Within minutes, the hounds, tracing their master’s steps, came to the bank. They went no farther. The English soldiers urged them on, but the trail was broken. The stream had carried the scent away. A short time later, the crown of Scotland rested on the head of Robert Bruce. 2

The memory of our sins, prodded on by Satan or by our own memories, can be like those baying dogs, but a stream flows red with the blood of God’s own Son. By God’s mercy, we are safe. No sin-hound can touch us. The trail is broken by the precious blood of Christ.

We thank God for His mercy.

But wait, God’s not through demonstrating His everlasting love for us. For Paul goes on to say, “Because of His grace He made us right in His sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

Whereas justice is getting what we deserve and mercy is not getting what we deserve, grace goes one step further because grace is when we receive what we do not deserve; in this case, right standing with God.

That’s what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 20. Note that He begins by saying, “For the Kingdom of heaven is like;” (20:1). In other words, this is how God sees things. Then as we listen to Jesus tell this story it makes economic sense to us; especially when the man doing the hiring tells the workers, that they will be paid “whatever is right at the end of the day” (20:4).

And then comes verse 9, which catches the workers and us off guard. “When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage!” Wait, what employer in his right mind would pay the same amount for one hour’s work as for twelve?!!!

Jesus’ story makes no economic sense! And that was His intent! He was giving us a parable about grace.

The point of the parable is that in the Kingdom of heaven, God dispenses gifts not wages. Grace is a gift and cannot be earned.

What is grace’s gift? That Christ Jesus paid the penalty for our sin!

Sally Krall sent me a little acronym that perfectly describes grace: G.R.A.C.E. = God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Not at our expense; we don’t have to pay the price because Jesus did!

As Paul wrote the Romans, “God in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin” (Romans 3:24-25a).

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul puts it this way: “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor so that by His poverty He could make you rich!” (II Corinthians 8:9).

Is it any wonder that a few verses later he writes, “Thank God for this gift, too wonderful for words” (II Corinthians 9:15).

Thank God that He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die, that is to pay the price for sin on our behalf; so that we wouldn’t have to. “Thank God for this gift, too wonderful for words.”

And like any gift, it can only be accepted or rejected. So we all have a choice to make. We can pay the price of death for our sin if we wish. Or we can accept the gift of grace; His death for our sins.

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was for grace, so God sent us a Savior. 3

A pastor was having an argument with one of his flock over what the Bible has to say about how to obtain everlasting through grace alone apart from works of the law. “Do you mean to tell me you really believe this monkey business Paul preached about being saved by grace and not good works?”
“You bet I do,” said the minister, “and I can’t wait to ask Paul more about it when I get to heaven.”
“And what if Paul isn’t in heaven,” says the parishioner.
The pastor thought for a moment and said, “Then you ask him.”

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.

John3:16

In his wonderful book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? Phil Yancey writes:

Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more; no amount of spiritual calisthenics and renunciations, no amount of knowledge gained from seminaries, and divinity school, no amount of crusading for righteous causes. And grace means (put on your safety belts now) there is nothing we can do to make God love us less; no amount of racism or pride or hatred or pornography or adultery or even murder. Grace means God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love. 4

Because of God’s mercy and grace, we can sum up the entire Bible in 3 words, we don’t need to write a book about it: GOD LOVES YOU!

That’s what the world needs to hear! The message of grace is, GOD LOVES YOU!

That’s what we need to hear; that’s what the world needs to hear! Grace is the ultimate expression of the love of God. That love that is always seeking, constantly searching. Grace that describes that activity of God as He relentlessly pursues you and I. Grace described by that hymn writer George Matheson, “Oh the love that will not let me go.”

In Hershey, Michigan there is a boy’s camp for underprivileged kids named Eagle Village. On the chapel wall hangs a portrait of two 12-year-old boys, blond-haired Rick and a black youngster named Rosy. These two boys met at summer camp and quickly became the best of friends. Some of the boys went on a canoe adventure on Lake Superior. Because a steady wind began to blow, the leaders decided to go ashore and camp. As they were working onshore, Rosy spotted something floating in the water and pushed off in a canoe by himself to retrieve it. The strong winds quickly began blowing him away from shore. The staff recognized that Rosy was in trouble and went after him. When Rick saw his best friend in trouble, he too hopped in a canoe.

All three canoes were helplessly tossed about and finally capsized. Miraculously, all the staff members were able to swim back to shore, but Rick and Rosy were lost in the depths of Lake Superior.

A poem on a plaque between the boys’ picture in the chapel tells the story: “Rick, who loved enough to give his life for another, Rosy, who was loved enough to have another pay that price.”

Rosys all of us. Loved so much that despite our sinfulness, Jesus came to our rescue.

You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich!

II Corinthians 8:9

CLOSING PRAYER

[I encourage you to pray as you feel led by the Spirit of God].

CLOSING SONG

Wonderful, Merciful Savior

Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh, You rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost our way
Oh, we’ve hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the mercy and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the mercy and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the mercy and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for.

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

II Thessalonians 2:16-17

1 Get Low (Sony Pictures, 2009), Directed by Aaron Schneider,
Scene 2 at 0:09:24 to 0:11:13;
submitted by, Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/april/3040411.html

2 Erwin Lutzer, Putting Your Past Behind You, Finding Hope for Life’s Deepest Hurts, [Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishers, © 1990] page 42.

3 https://www.sermonsearch.com/sermon-illustrations/2511/our-greatest-need/

4 Philipp Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace? [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, © 1997), Page 70.

Randy K'Meyer

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