The Pace maker
Consider Psalm 19- Thank God He has revealed Himself through His Word, Receive examination and correction from the word of God that will keep you from sin. Speak and act as one who desires to please God.
Consider a race of untrained people various sizes and shapes, different ages young and old, some with handicaps some super fit. (A picture of the church)
We are all running at different speeds, Spiritual growth can be accelerated or it can be almost invisible but growth it must be. If you are going to produce something (trophies) you better be on the pace.
Ex: F1 do practice sessions so that the fastest cars start at the front (imagine if the fastest cars were at the back.)
The growth and outcome of our discipleship is dependent on us, not someone else, not the pastor and ultimately not even God.
In some races we see a pace maker. He is usually setting the pace for others to win. He is prepared to take it on, he is selfless, he doesnâ€™t receive the glory. But he does enable others to run faster.
Like the wife who sticks by her alcoholic husband until he finally beats his addiction is a pace maker. Or the father who keeps his loving arms open to his rebellious son is a pace maker. Or the missionary who forsakes all to serve and reach an unreached people with the gospel is a pacemaker. Like Muller, C.T. Studd, Mother Teressa, Billy Graham, Wigglesworth, Spurgeon, Wesley as well as the untold multitudes of disciples that determined in themselves to do as Paul said:
1 cor 9:26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as onebeating the air.27But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
The Corinthians knew well about the Isthmian games. They kept a strict diet they conditioned themselves to hardships and they trained. Any fleshly desires and comforts could not be accommodated. Paul was comparing this attitude and environment to a disciples race.
What makes the difference between those who set the pace, growing, maturing as Disciples for Jesus, and those who from there own testimony fail to move on in the Lord, missing their calling and ultimate potential in Christ? The answer is â€œThey have received an â€œabundance of graceâ€
Rom_5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
What do we mean by abundance of grace?
O.T. grace = Favour and kindness and the gratitude that favour evoked.
N.T. grace = Gods Undeserved mercy in redeeming mankind.
This is the secret to reigning His abundant grace means The sin of Adam no longer has claim on my life. I am now running in total freedom and authority through the justification of Christ. This is receiving something that you have no right too and it is this abundance of grace that fuels the Christian runner to go faster and further in Gods purpose. His running shoes are gratitude, thanksgiving and praise to the supplier of His abundant grace. His training is in the quiet place in devoted prayer and the study of the portrait of Christ seen through His written word.
Its in this place that God draws us into His deeper plans and purposes but it is at this point when we face the biggest crisis when our hearts respond, â€œAh Butâ€ . Ah but I want us to take a leaf from that great pace setter Paul.
2Co_12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
His grace reminds us that without Him we have nothing and can do nothing to fulfil His will, but with his grace all things are possible, that the race I run is not only winnable but can be an inspiration to those who are struggling.
There seems to be a principle in the Kingdom of God and it is this â€œ how we use what God gives us will determine what we recieveâ€
Luk_6:3838 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together,running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Luk_19:17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
The issue is about servanthood, responsibility accountability and increase. This is not about winning salvation points or trying to please. Its about the harmonising of our lives with Gods order and kingdom and yielding of our lives to the Godhead of the father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Gods answer to the cry of I canâ€™t or what if, is: â€œWhat about my abundant graceâ€
Tennessee Williams A high station in life is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.
We were not just saved from sin but also to have power over it. Not just called out of darkness but to be a light in this world. Not just set free from bondage but to walk in Authority. Not just to be healed but to pray for the sick. Not just talkers but doers. Not just starters on Gods way but runners and finishers and winners.
His abundant grace is available to keep us from mediocrity and complacency and cause us to be passionate, expectant and dedicated disciples. I am not talking religion or church programmes. I am not talking dutifully doing your bit. I am talking the heart and attitude of Jesus.
Heb_12:2 who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Can you say this today that â€œNothing is more important then Gods Graceâ€
Eph_2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Denis Waitley Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.
Martin LutherFaith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.
John 1: 16 And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
This grace upon grace received is given as we rise and walk on new levels of our spiritual experiences and services. It is a grace to stand the ferocity of a cunning enemy. It is grace upon grace to cope with the unimaginable crisisâ€™s of life. It is grace upon grace to go the extra mile with those who criticize and even condemn you. It is the grace upon grace that says keep going for great is your reward in heaven.
When you say â€œ I have had enough and God canâ€™t help me you are limiting Gods Grace to have its way in you.
There will be some who will run past you, some who have grasped. the issue of â€œAbundant Graceâ€ They are not favourites of God they are those who have settled the issues and priorities of life. They are those who know their God and have asked and received the promise of abundant grace and have risen above the obstacles of life.
We pray for all to be in our lives today.
I want us to pray for Abundant Grace that we may endure for the sake of the gospel and for glory of Jesus our Lord.