As we continue to look at the mission/vision of Southside Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama, remember that this blog post is taken from a sermon preached in May 2015. Last week, we looked at the first part of that statement which is Seeking God. This week, we are looking at the concept of Sharing Grace.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” King Solomon gave us that bit of wisdom in Proverbs 29:18. If you remember from the last two weeks, we dug deeply into that verse and came away with exactly what the King was saying to us: “Where there is no understanding of God’s divine revelation, the people go unrestrained.” In other words, when we don’t grasp in our minds and in our hearts the plan that God has for us as individuals, families, and churches, we do whatever it is that we want to do regardless of what God’s desire for our lives might be. And that is why we have been going through this re-visioning process for almost a year now and why your church council took all of that information and put it together and came away with what we are calling a statement of vision for Southside Baptist Church. Let me show that to you once more. We believe that:
Southside Baptist Church is a group of born again believers who are committed to:
Seeking God through worship.
Sharing Grace through evangelism and missions.
Shaping Lives through discipleship.
Serving Together through fellowship and ministry.
Understand, while worship must be our number one priority, because without experiencing the presence of God regularly, we are powerless to fulfill the Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples and to obey the Great Commandment to love God supremely and to love others sacrificially. Listen to me this morning, we have been called by God to share His grace to a lost and dying world through evangelism and missions. In fact, the Bible tells us that for His own reasons, God has chosen salvation to come to a lost world through the proclamation of the good news of Jesus, and we are the ones sent to accomplish that task. So this morning, look with me at our scripture as we talk about the second part of our vision statement: Sharing grace through evangelism and missions.
The amazing grace of God, how it changes the hearts and lives of those it touches. The apostle Paul wrote about this amazing grace in our Scripture today. He had experienced it for himself. Paul was the man who knew the grace of God. In I Timothy, Paul says, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy….This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” This man had done it all. Persecuted Christians, jailed them, had them put to death. He had fought the gospel of Jesus Christ until one day the grace of God found Paul on the road to Damascus. Jesus Christ Himself appeared to this chief of sinners, and the amazing Grace of God made a difference in his life.
Let me ask you a question. Do you know what grace is? Most of us memorized a definition of the word when we were children in Sunday School. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. In other words, we don’t deserve it, but God has chosen to provide for us the way of salvation. Perhaps you learned the acrostic: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. In other words, God has given you all of the riches of heaven and charged it to His only begotten Son who died on the cross to pay the price. Understand this morning, however you choose to define the word, grace is what you desperately need. It’s what you need to make it through these days of our lives. It’s what you need if you intend to go to heaven when you die. Paul tells us in our text today that we need grace! We need God’s saving grace. Unfortunately many have no concept of what God’s saving grace is all about, so look with me at what Paul has to say.
(To Be Continued)