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Sustaining graceSustaining grace

According to Phil.1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Go ahead and circle the word “will “. This verse doesn’t say, God “might” finish it, it doesn’t say, God “hopes” to finish it. This verse says God “will” finish it. What does that mean? It means if you have really given your life to Jesus Christ – if you’ve opened yourself up to God and said, “Christ, be number one in my life – be Lord of my life” – you are going to make it all the way to heaven. There’s no doubt about it. Case closed! Done deal! Finished product! You are going to make it across the finish line. Because the race does not depend upon your performance – it depends upon God’s Sustaining Grace. One question that is important, however, is: “How well do you finish the race?” You know as well as I do that some people finish a race in very poor shape – while others finish the race well.

In 1992, following five operations, British runner Derek Redman was hoping to win gold at the Barcelona Olympics. Everything seemed to be going well for the 400 meter race. He had recorded the fastest time in the quarter-final heat. He was pumped up – ready to go. As the gun sounded he got off to a clean start. But at 150 meters – his right hamstring muscle tore and he fell to the ground. When he saw the stretcher-bearers rushing towards him he jumped up and began hobbling toward the finish line. Despite his pain he continued to move forward. Soon another person joined him on the track. It was his father. Arm in arm – hand in hand – they moved toward the finish-line together. Just before the finish line – Derek’s dad let go of his son – so that Derek could finish the race on his own. The crowd of 65,000 stood to their feet cheering and clapping as Derek finished the race. Heartbreaking – yes! Encouraging – yes! Emotional – yes! We need to finish the race – and finish it well. God who began a good work in you – wants you to finish the race. He wants you to endure. He wants you to be successful. He wants you to finish and finish well. God does not leave you to run the race alone but He gives you His Sustaining Grace.

What is God’s Sustaining Grace? God’s Sustaining Grace is the power to keep you going even when you feel like giving up. Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel? Do you feel like quitting? Do you ever say, “I’ve had enough?” God’s Sustaining Grace is the power that helps you endure even when you don’t think you can. Here is a secret that I have learned: Life is a marathon – it is not a sprint. There are valleys and there are mountains. There are bad times and there are good times and there are times when we could all use God’s Sustaining Grace to keep on – keeping on. God’s Sustaining Grace is the power that God gives to keep you going.

Temptation will happen to all of us. It will cause us to stumble. It will cause us to fall. In 1st Peter chapter five it says: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1st Peter 5:8. You may not realize this – but the moment you become a believer – the battle begins. The devil would enjoy nothing more than to see you stumble – to see you fail – to see you fall. When you become a believer you are no longer Satan’s property – you are no longer on his side – but he wants to get you back. He does not want you to succeed. He is looking for every opportunity to pounce on you.

The Bible says all of us are tempted. I am tempted and so are you. We will never outgrow temptation. Even Jesus was tempted. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are – but he never sinned. Folks I don’t know about you – but when I am tempted I sure could use God’s Sustaining Grace. Look with me at a passage of scripture from 1st Cor.10, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it,” 1st Cor. 10:13

I want you to note two things from this passage: The temptation you are experiencing is common. You are not in this alone. Other people are tempted in the same way as you are. God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can endure and He will make a way of escape. The way of escape may mean – changing the channel. It may mean – running out the door. It may mean – changing the way you are thinking. It may mean – stopping doing it. It may mean – turning the computer off. But God will provide a way of escape – that is God’s promise – that is God’s Sustaining Grace.

Sometimes I get tired. Life can be exhausting. It requires a lot of energy. It requires a lot of strength. Easy things are not always easy – are they? Some-times we think something will take little time and little energy – but easy things sometimes consume most of our day. Easy things are not always easy – and sometimes we get tired. It is at times like this that I need God’s Sustaining Grace. David wrote: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” Psalms 28:7 David relied on God for his strength. He trusted in Him. He put his faith in Him. And because of this fact – his heart rejoiced.

“Blessed, be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation: That we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2nd Cor. 1:3-4, Go ahead and circle the words – “God of all comfort”. Isn’t that a wonderful title? Isn’t that a wonderful thought? When I need comforting – God is the God of all comfort. He knows my trials. He knows my tribulations. He knows when I am exhausted. He knows when I am tired.

Some people say, “It’s so hard to be a Christian!” That is true – if you don’t rely upon Jesus, it is impossible. He is the one who gives the Christian strength. He is the one who gives the believer wisdom. He is the one who will guide you and direct you. He is the one who will give you rest in the midst of the storms of life. He can give you the power you need when you need it – rely upon Him and rest in Him. Jesus Christ is our Sustaining Grace.

114 – Sustaining grace

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