PURPOSE AND GRACE                                                                                                                 Andy Hollifield 1-21-17

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (9) Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (12) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

Did you catch verse 9. It says he saved us and called us not because of our works but according to his PURPOSE and GRACE. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are doing that we can get to thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to. Paul covered that in Romans 12:3. It really is an easy thing to do. Keep your schedule full doing the work of the Lord, which is good, but if we aren’t careful it will go from what HE is doing to what WE are doing. At that point, his purpose and grace get lost in the shuffle. When I read this scripture the other day, verse 9 just jumped out at me. Anyone that has ever studied for a message or a lesson has probably had one of those moments. I don’t know exactly what it is but “his purpose and grace” was what caught my attention.

Before I get too far along I want to look back at the other verses. Now in verse 7 we all like that power and love and sound mind part. In verse 8 when it starts talking about a testimony, we start to back off a little. Then when we see prisoner, we start to think this must just be for the preacher. Then when Paul gets down to being a “partaker of the afflictions of the gospel” we are sure he is talking about the preacher. We just don’t do afflictions. That’s what we pay the preacher for. If that is your attitude I can tell you that you are living far below your privilege and the blessings God wants you to have. In verse 9 Paul clears it up when he says God has “saved us and called us”. It is a holy calling. He didn’t call us to salvation because of our good works, but saved us unto good works according to Ephesians 2:10. On over in 2 Timothy 3:17 it says we are “thoroughly furnished unto all good works”. If he has given us a “holy” calling and saved us “unto” good works and “thoroughly furnished” us unto ALL good works; why are we not doing them? Purpose is simply the reason we do what we do. Grace is “divine favor”. With our calling and furnishings and a reason to do good works and divine favor while doing them, what’s the hold up?” The bible said in John 4:35 “…look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Sometimes we get to looking at all we are doing and just fail to look at the field. We have a world full of lost folks that are looking for something to fill a void and we are not taking the time to try to turn them to the Lord. We may do a lot, but sometimes we lack purpose. When we lose sight of our purpose, we are in a dangerous place subject to enemy attack. The grace or divine favor go hand in hand. God don’t waste grace. If you’re not working, you don’t need grace. You don’t need dying grace if you are not dying. You don’t need daily grace if you won’t use it.

Look back at verse 12 for a minute. Paul did a lot of suffering for the cause of the gospel. He did it because he was not ashamed of the gospel. The reason he wasn’t ashamed is because he personally knew the one that saved and called him and was persuaded that he would take care of him. Our trouble sometimes is that we won’t endure enough affliction for God to prove himself capable and competent in our lives. God gives us “divine favor” or grace through our afflictions and we always wind up better off but we lack the persuasion. The only way to be persuaded of something is to experience it. That is what Paul was saying ” I’ve been through enough to know he can handle it”. We won’t commit anything to God because we lack persuasion because we haven’t done anything for him and experienced firsthand his divine favor. I like what else Paul said. He said in so many words, ” if I commit it, he will keep it.” Isn’t that a comforting thought? All we have to do is commit to what God wants out of us and he is able to take care of everything else.

I don’t know why God had this on my heart but I believe he sent it for someone. You may be holding back on being obedient to God out of the spirit of fear. “Can’t never could do nothing”. Do you remember that one? What about this one, “…to obey is better than sacrifice…”(1 Samuel 15:22). You better be obedient and give up your spirit of fear and take on his spirit of power and love. If you take on that spirit of love, it will make you love God and lost humanity. That love will breed the power of God in your life.

The word purpose is in the bible 36 times beginning in Ruth. “Purpose” was what Boaz instructed his men to leave for Ruth. It represented God’s provision for Ruth and for Boaz and even for all of Israel. You see, Christ came through the bloodline of David and David was the great-grandson of Ruth and Boaz. God made provision for them because he had a purpose. Out of the lineage of a devout Jew and a young lady that was considered a gentile dog from Moab, God gave the world a Savior. I doubt anything like that was in Ruth’s wildest dreams that day when she said good-bye to her parents and everything she had ever known and went into a strange land with her mother in law. What if Boaz had let the spirit of fear and ridicule keep him from committing to the Lord. God would have somehow accomplished his purpose but what a blessing those two would have missed out on.

What you are going to miss out on by not committing anything to the Lord? You never know what he might want to use you to accomplish. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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