FATHER23-05 Better Than You Realize

Better Than You Realize
Bill Giovannetti
You know, everywhere we turn today, we see tragedies, and most of what we hear is bad news.

Well, I've come to bring you some good news in the midst of this bad news.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

When I was kid in Sunday School, they called this verse the Gospel in a Nutshell.
And it is.

Never in all the literature of any culture in any place in this great wide world — never in all the wisdom of all the philosophers of the ages, never in the religions in all the vast panorama of human history, and never even in the Bible itself, will you find a verse that says so much to so many in so few words.

Here we have the world's greatest love story, angels' greatest amazement, and the devil's greatest fear.

These words are the most quoted words ever spoken, ever written, and ever sung.

This verse is the theme song of the gospel and the national anthem of our faith.

It's a song written in the key of B.

Be saved.
Be forgiven.
Be born again.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

It's The Bible's Theme

There is a force in the universe that flows from the heart of God. It's one of those ultimate laws, like the law of gravity. One of the major reasons, sometimes I think it's the very top reason, why God gave us the Bible, is to teach and explain this force.

The force goes by many names, but the main name is Grace. It's called Mercy, love, lovingkindness, faithfulness, tenderness, long-suffering, forgiveness, tender mercies, goodness, giving, generosity, patience, the new covenant, and more.

But the most common name is Grace.

Grace is the kindness of God toward people who don't deserve it. Grace is the love of God for people who are unworthy.

Grace exists because the Cross exists. Grace only exists because Jesus died on the cross. When he died, he satisfied the holiness of God, so that the love of God could be poured out on forgiven sinners without God compromising himself.

Grace is radical. Grace is counterintuitive. Grace is the opposite of religion, because religion means you have to perform your way to gain God's love. Grace is the most revolutionary force in the universe.

I've been a believer in Jesus, since I was a little boy. And I've been a pastor for most of my life. I can tell you that most churches, and most Christians, love Grace in principle and hate Grace in action.

The father showed his son Grace, and the older brother was angry.

There's a religious instinct that is super strong. It's allergic to God's Grace. It's always pulling us back into performance mode and into fear before God.

That's why I think something very special is happening here at Pathway Church.

It's only because we're intentionally, continually tuned in to God's radical, scandalous, truly amazing Grace.

It's the Bible's best kept open secret.

It's what got Jesus in trouble with religious people. It's what got the prophets of old laughed at, ignored, and thrown to lions.

It's been attacked by critics, ignored by theologians, and banned by clergy.

Churches water it down. Preachers mix it with law. Pastors temper it with works. Church-people hem it in with "yes-buts" and disclaimers. They pay lip-service to Grace, but they mean a lukewarm substitute for the real thing.

Real Grace is a blood-bought edifice of love and truth...
- so beautiful it takes your breath away,
- so complex you can't comprehend,
- so counter-intuitive you can scarcely believe,
- so simple a child can get it.

Such Grace is almost impossible to find, like diamonds hidden in the earth.

It's almost impossible to believe, because it feels too good to be true.

It's the Good News you've been looking for, maybe without knowing.

Grace is the outflow of the Cross of Christ. The free gift of Calvary Love.

Once you see it, you can't unsee it. It heals the broken places in your heart. It rewires the damaged circuits of your soul. It opens the door to heaven. It truly, really, actually sets the captives free.

Grace is my theme, because is Christ's theme.
It's the Bible's theme.