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Description: Peace and Grace from God our Father
Peace and Grace from God our Father
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Our verse today is Colossians 1:2, “grace and peace to you in God our Father.” That’s the normal
kind of greeting that you find the in epistles of Paul. He always opens it like this. “Grace and
peace to you in God our Father.” Of course we normally being sophisticated Americans or Westerners,
we say, ‘Oh, what a nice thing to say.’ However for Paul it meant far more than that. “Grace to you
and peace from our Father.”
It’s really saying I wish you grace; the grace that God gives you this day. I wish that to you. May
you experience that and may you have it and peace from God our Father. We usually think to ourselves
good, good, I need grace. I need to say grace before meals and I need grace whenever I can get it;
without grace I couldn’t do anything. But really he is saying this is this is the whole basis of
your life. If you ain’t got grace, you’ve got nothing.
Everything depends on the fact that you cannot explain for a moment why that goes there when I say
it goes there. Or whether it goes back here when I say it goes back here. I can explain the veins,
arteries and muscles that connected up but I really can’t tell why that does that — just because my
mind says. I’m very aware that a million miracles take place to get that thing to go from there to
there. This whole thing is moving at millions of miles an hour. The whole room is moving. Every
little particle that I cannot see is whizzing around in millions of miles an hour. The whole world
is in motion. The only reason it moves this way is because there is a life, strength, power and
energy that is being exercised every second by the Maker of the universe who is maintaining it.
So the whole thing is by grace. It’s his grace; not just unmerited favor that we have talked about
before. It’s his grace as the power, ability and energy of the Holy Spirit that enables everything
to happen in our world. It enables our mind to think what it is thinking. So when Paul says that he
means everything that enables you to exist, may you have that and be utterly dependant on it.
Of course, it throws you back to that great piece in Ephesians 2:4, “God who is rich in mercy and
made us sit with him in the heavenly places.” Verse 7, “That in the coming ages he might show the
immeasurable [the Greek word definition is ‘beyond anything that can be imagined’] riches of his
grace and kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” It goes back to that promise that he would give us
grace for everything. What does it result in — nothing but a huge miracle. I don’t know if you have
experienced much of ‘he is in me and he is able to do it.’ Those moments, those rare moments when
you realise it is by the energy of Jesus that you are able to do anything. It is by his energy that
you are able to do this thing. Indeed his strength is made perfect in the midst of your weakness. So
it is when you are weakest that you are conscious of his grace and strength in you. It is that sense
that gives anybody a feeling of ease in life.
It is that ease that gives you the power to do things which you in your own fleshly strength won’t
have the power to do. It is no small thing to you when Pauls says grace to you because without it
you are finished. There’s nothing. It’s Jesus in you that enables you to do anything. The killer is
we often don’t believe that for a moment. So we labor and labor. It must look strange to God
because we are laboring to do something that he himself is actually doing. But we are laboring
pretending to do it. So all our weariness comes from thinking it is our responsibility to do this.
It’s by our power alone that we are able to do it. That’s what wears us down. You would say it
yourself. We all know it. The old story we use in psychology: Fire — the house is on fire. The
father has just managed to get out of the house barely with some of his clothes still burning.
Someone says the child has not come out and back he goes.
So it doesn’t matter how worn out and wearied you are — the strength is there and you find it there
at certain moments. It is therefore true the whole thing is by his grace. What I can see in my own
wretched, miserable example that I am, though I know I’m supposed to say, ‘Do as I do,’ it takes
you back to 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph and
through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ
to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To one a fragrance from
death to death; to the other a fragrance from life to life.” It’s that. “Thanks be to God who
always leads us in triumph and spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” Well, how
are you today? Is it going alright? Yeah, the economy is getting better. Or, it can be — great
day, isn’t it? Because you feel it in your heart.
It’s a big difference between what you put on your outside and what comes from inside your heart
because of the fragrance of Jesus. That’s the fragrance that we are here to spread. Through us to
spread the fragrance of Christ everywhere. It is a fragrance when you are living in grace; in the
grace of Jesus’ strength and life within you.
I’m the first to say I can end up in a strop — it’s good to exhort — it’s good to say truth and
speak it. It’s good to share truth with each other. It’s better to be able to waft the fragrance of
Christ. That’s the best. That’s the best when your consciousness of Christ’s strength and life in
you is running things. He’s so strong that you are at ease. You are at peace and ease down deep.
That fragrance comes over to others.
So grace is pretty important. It’s the invisible movement of Jesus’ Spirit from your spirit to
others. It connects them up miraculously with the power of God’s Spirit in the universe.
That’s what happened when these men went around. Through them God spread the fragrance of Christ
everywhere. People began to sense there is a power in this world that gives me strength that makes
everything work together. Of course that’s why Paul said the grace and peace to you in God our
father because God our father has reconciled us to himself. He has solved all these things. They are
all solved. They are all already done so live in that peace.
That’s why I have said to Myron and Dan because all of us are conscious when the wretched machine
breaks in the middle of this order production. Or the electrical fuse box gets shorted out from
something and cuts off the power to the factory. In those moments every one of us knows the panic
that assaults you. Immediately those of us who are practical creatures harshly get to work by
pulling the right things and make the right moves. So we are very aware of the motivation within us.
You’d like to think it is motivation from the right place but it is often motivation from what are
we going to do if it lasts the whole day. Or, what are we going to do if this order can’t be
shipped? It’s those moments of course where you determine if you are living in reality or not.
That’s it. You determine whether you are living in a world that has been reconciled by God in
Christ. Or, whether you are living in the unreality that looks so real around us of a world that is
falling apart — a Louisiana delta that is losing an acre every hour from the sea. Is this the world
that is real? Or, is this the unreal world we are living in?
It’s very real what Paul is saying here. Grace and peace from God our Father be to you. Live in
that. I pray that you will be living in it every moment. Because that will spread the fragrance of
Christ everywhere. It probably gets down to that simple fact. It’s deeper than what we thought when
we said ‘belief’. It’s belief, it’s faith. Are you living in faith? Yes, it is. But it’s not, YEAH,
I’m living in faith [shouting it out].
It is faith that knows this world around us is the one that has passed. This is the one that has
been fixed by God. This is not the broken one that we look at. This is the broken one that has
already been reconciled by God to his whole plan. So it’s OK we are all out. Steady — take it
easy. God’s clarity and his achievement will be manifested. We really are people that are waiting
for the manifestation. We have no doubt that the actual essence is already there but we are waiting
for the manifestation. It’s a bit like the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1] It is the
substantiating of things that have already happened. That’s what faith is.
I think it is worth thinking about these things as we receive him again today. We are receiving a
living Savior. We are receiving a living person. This is not just the bread or the wine. It is not
just an idea — oh what a nice idea that Jesus is in us. It’s receiving him in his grace and peace
so that he will live his life in us. This will allow others to see you seem to be different. You
seem to be different from so many others. You seem to walk with a peace and a freedom from anxiety
that others don’t have. He’s there all the time inside us.
Let us pray.
Now the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each
one of us throughout this day and week. Amen.