Joined at the Hip | TBN

Joined at the Hip

Watch Joined at the Hip
July 14, 2019
27:29

Touching Lives with James Merritt

Closed captions
  • by the friends and partners of Touching Lives.
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  • James Merritt: I want people that walk into this church,
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  • I want the grace of God to hit them right in the face.
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  • I want them to smell grace.
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  • I want them to feel grace.
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  • I want them to touch grace.
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  • I want them to know so this is what grace looks like.
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  • That's what I want, however, I want our church
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  • to be a church that in the spirit of grace
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  • loves them enough to tell them the truth.
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  • announcer: Teaching people everywhere who Jesus is
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  • and why they need Him.
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  • This is "Touching Lives with James Merritt."
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  • James: I believe there's something wrong with a church
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  • that offends everybody.
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  • I believe there's something wrong with a church that gets up
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  • on Sunday and says, "How can we make somebody mad today?
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  • How can I offend somebody today?
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  • How can I run somebody off so they'll never come back today?"
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  • I think there's something wrong with that.
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  • I also believe there's something equally wrong with a church that
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  • offends nobody and goes out of their way never to offend.
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  • And the reason why is because when I read about Jesus,
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  • and I study the life of Jesus, here's what I find,
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  • Jesus did not offend everybody all the time,
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  • but he did offend somebody some of the time.
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  • And the reason why he didn't offend everybody all the time,
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  • but he did offend somebody some of the time
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  • is because he was balanced.
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  • That's what I want us to be.
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  • And so, what was he balanced between?
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  • What did Jesus perfectly balance?
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  • Well, it's those two things that I believe make every church
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  • perfectly balanced, and every believer perfectly balanced,
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  • and those two things are, and I want you to say this out loud,
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  • say it with me, grace and truth.
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  • Let's say it again, grace and truth.
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  • I want our church to be perfectly balanced
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  • between grace and truth.
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  • Now, let me tell you where I'm getting this idea.
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  • If you bought a copy of God's Word or you want to look onto
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  • your iPhone, or whatever it is that you use,
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  • I want you to turn to a gospel called John.
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  • There are four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
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  • I want you to turn to the first chapter of John.
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  • Go past the Old Testament, you'll hit the gospels.
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  • Go to John chapter 1.
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  • Let me tell you who wrote this gospel.
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  • John was one of the 12 disciples.
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  • He had spent three years of his life with Jesus,
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  • and he was no ordinary disciple.
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  • Now, Jesus had 12 disciples and he loved them all,
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  • but he had an inner circle.
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  • And it doesn't take long to read the gospels,
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  • you realize there were three guys that he kind
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  • of--they were kind of on the inside.
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  • There was Peter, there was James, and there were John,
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  • and they really got up close and personal with Jesus.
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  • He let them see things he didn't let the other guy see.
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  • He let them hear things he didn't let the other guys hear.
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  • They were really kind of real tight with him.
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  • And John tells us something that he saw in Jesus that reveals
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  • why Jesus was such a captivating, exhilarating,
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  • fascinating feature--figure.
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  • And what he says he says here in verse 14, John 1, "The Word,"
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  • he's talking about Jesus, "the Word became flesh
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  • and made his dwelling among us.
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  • We seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son
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  • who came from the Father."
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  • Now, what John is talking about there is what we talked about
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  • mainly at Christmas.
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  • He's talking about this doctrine that we call the incarnation,
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  • that is, that God left heaven, came to earth,
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  • took on human flesh, and became one of us.
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  • And when John talks about seeing his glory, what he's talking
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  • about is all that he was from the time he was born to the time
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  • he was--that he died, from the time to the time that he was
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  • raised from the dead.
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  • So, he's talking about the glory of his life,
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  • and the glory of his birth, and the glory of his death,
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  • and the glory of his resurrection.
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  • You know, in his birth, he came out of a womb.
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  • At his death, he came out of a tomb.
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  • From the womb, he was God who came down from heaven.
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  • From the tomb, he was man who came back from the dead.
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  • But then John said something else about Jesus that he saw
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  • in three years that made him so unique, that made him so
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  • different, so unlike anybody else and he tells us something.
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  • And when you see it, you say,
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  • "So, that's what made Jesus so unique."
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  • That's what made people from all walks of life,
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  • the rich and the poor,
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  • the somebodies and the nobodies,
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  • the accepted and the unaccepted.
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  • It's what made everybody that ever--that ever even heard about
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  • him want to meet him, and want to touch him,
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  • and want to hear him, and want to listen to him,
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  • and for many to give their life to him.
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  • John goes on to say he was full of grace and truth.
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  • Jesus was perfectly balanced.
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  • Now, here's gonna make a simple statement.
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  • If you're full of Jesus, you will be full of grace and truth.
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  • If your church is full of Jesus,
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  • it will be full of grace and truth.
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  • Now, here's the problem.
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  • See, for Jesus, all this came naturally.
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  • He was just naturally full of grace and truth.
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  • He didn't lean one way or the other.
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  • Now, I'm gonna burst some bubbles in this room
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  • right now to those who are listening to me.
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  • See, our problem is we're not that way.
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  • I want to tell you something that's true about everyone
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  • listening to this message right now.
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  • We tend to lean one way or the other.
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  • Every one of us listening right now, you tend to be more
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  • of a gracer, or you tend to be more of a truther.
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  • With Jesus, grace and truth were always joined at the hip.
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  • They were always perfectly balanced.
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  • He never shared grace at the expense of truth,
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  • and he never spoke truth at the expense of grace.
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  • It was always grace and truth.
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  • So, as we begin this series, I want to share with you
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  • why I want our church to be balanced.
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  • I want to share with you why I want to be balanced.
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  • I want to share with you why I want us to be balanced.
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  • I want to share with you why we're living in a city,
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  • and a state, and a country, and a world,
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  • that needs to see this balance.
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  • So, over the next few weeks, we're gonna look at how Jesus
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  • was full of grace and truth.
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  • Then we're gonna look at how Jesus was full of grace.
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  • Then we're gonna look at how Jesus was full of truth.
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  • Then we're gonna come back and say it was full of grace
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  • and truth.
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  • What I want to do today is share with you,
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  • here's why we need both, all right?
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  • Number one, we need the compassion of grace.
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  • Okay, we need the compassion of grace.
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  • Now listen again to what John said.
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  • Notice the order in which he said it.
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  • He said Jesus was full of grace and truth.
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  • Now, I don't believe it's a coincidence he came--that grace
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  • was first.
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  • You may say, "Well, Pastor, what difference does it make?
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  • What does it matter whether he said grace
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  • and truth or truth and grace?"
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  • No, he knew what he was doing.
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  • Grace comes first, why?
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  • Who's he talking to?
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  • He's talking to Jews.
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  • Why is that a big deal?
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  • Because 2.000 years ago if you were a Jew, you don't understand
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  • why he put grace first because if you were a Jew,
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  • you understood truth, you got truth
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  • because all you ever heard was truth.
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  • As a matter of fact, if you were a good Jewish boy, you had to
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  • memorize the first five books of the Old Testament.
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  • If you became a pharisee, you had to memorize
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  • the entire Old Testament.
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  • And when you memorized those books, if you read those books,
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  • you realize, man, this is all about truth because
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  • the overarching emphasis of the Old Testament is on truth
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  • because when you think about the Old Testament,
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  • what do you think about?
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  • You think about commandments, right?
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  • Thou shalt, thou shalt not.
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  • You think about certain laws.
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  • You can't eat this, but you can eat that.
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  • You can wear this, but you can't wear that.
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  • You think about regulations.
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  • You're gonna build a temple, you gotta build it
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  • with these specifications.
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  • You gotta sacrifice an animal, you gotta do it this way.
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  • See, Jews had a right way and a wrong way of doing everything.
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  • They knew all about truth from the time they were born
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  • to the time they died.
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  • They got truth in the morning, truth in the evening,
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  • and truth at suppertime.
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  • So, the Jewish religion was all about the truth.
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  • Now, you say, "Well, that's why I don't like the Old Testament
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  • because you don't find grace in the Old Testament."
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  • No, that's not true either.
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  • You do find grace in the Old Testament.
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  • Matter of fact, you may remember the story, God was--had looked
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  • at the entire world, not long after he created it, he was sick
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  • to his stomach because all God saw was evil, and all God saw
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  • was wickedness, and all God saw was sin.
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  • And the Bible says that God even regretted
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  • that he made the world.
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  • He said, God made up his mind.
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  • "I've had it, I'm done with you,
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  • should have never done this to begin with.
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  • I'm gonna destroy the entire world."
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  • And he would have had it not been for this verse
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  • of Scripture.
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  • "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord."
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  • The Hebrew word there for favor is the same word we use
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  • for the word "grace."
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  • But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
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  • In other words, God, in his grace,
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  • chose not to destroy everyone and everything.
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  • So, the truth of the matter is, we're here right now
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  • because of the grace that we find in the Old Testament.
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  • However, the primary emphasis of the Old Testament
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  • was not on grace.
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  • The primary emphasis of the Old Testament was on law.
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  • By the way, that's why John goes on to point out in verse 17,
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  • "For the law was given through Moses."
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  • Everybody knew about the law, that's all they heard about
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  • was the law, truth, truth, truth.
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  • Then Jesus comes along and the light of grace shined
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  • out of his life so brightly that everybody could see it.
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  • See, that's why people who were so unlike Jesus liked Jesus.
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  • That's why Jesus hung out with sinners, and that's why sinners
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  • hung out with Jesus.
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  • Jesus drew unbelievers and lawbreakers
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  • like a magnet draws iron.
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  • And I'm telling you unashamedly, that's why I want to be full
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  • of Jesus because I want to be full of grace.
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  • Let me tell you why.
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  • Listen, this is gonna be such an honest message today.
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  • Most people that we call sinners who are out there don't want to
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  • be around most people who call themselves Christians in here.
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  • And do you know why?
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  • Because we're all about truth.
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  • We're not real big own grace.
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  • But when Jesus burst on the scene, the light of the grace
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  • of his life burst through like the morning sun.
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  • I put it this way, in Jesus, the stern face of the law
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  • was transformed into the shining face of grace.
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  • That's why when people met Jesus, they would always say,
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  • "I've never met anybody like this before."
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  • You know, when you read the four gospels,
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  • I'll tell you something, it never fails.
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  • Every time an unbeliever met Jesus, every time what we would
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  • call a sinner met Jesus, tax collectors, thieves, embezzlers,
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  • prostitutes, the worst of the worst, every time anybody met
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  • Jesus, without anybody saying a word they knew just like this,
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  • "This man loves me.
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  • This man cares for me.
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  • This man wants to help me.
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  • This man desires what is best for me.
  • 00:11:18.290 --> 00:11:22.040
  • I can really have a relationship with this man for sure."
  • 00:11:22.050 --> 00:11:25.220
  • We need the compassion of grace.
  • 00:11:25.230 --> 00:11:29.290
  • But then number two, we need the conviction of truth.
  • 00:11:30.000 --> 00:11:36.060
  • Now, again, I'm gonna read this first,
  • 00:11:36.070 --> 00:11:37.180
  • but I'm gonna put an emphasis on the other word.
  • 00:11:37.190 --> 00:11:39.210
  • Jesus was full of grace and truth.
  • 00:11:39.220 --> 00:11:44.130
  • See, Jesus was not one sided in his approach to people.
  • 00:11:44.140 --> 00:11:47.220
  • It wasn't all grace and no truth.
  • 00:11:47.230 --> 00:11:50.010
  • It wasn't all truth and no grace.
  • 00:11:50.020 --> 00:11:51.230
  • It was grace and truth.
  • 00:11:51.240 --> 00:11:53.250
  • Many of you know what the grace of the United States looks like.
  • 00:11:53.260 --> 00:11:56.100
  • Gonna throw it up on the screen,
  • 00:11:56.110 --> 00:11:57.200
  • and it has within it our national symbol, an eagle.
  • 00:11:57.210 --> 00:12:00.050
  • Now, you may or may not know this, or may have forgotten it,
  • 00:12:00.060 --> 00:12:02.160
  • but you'll notice that he has in one talent, he has an olive
  • 00:12:02.170 --> 00:12:06.110
  • branch, in another talent, he has arrows, why?
  • 00:12:06.120 --> 00:12:09.050
  • Why did they put that in there?
  • 00:12:09.060 --> 00:12:10.170
  • Because what we say to every nation of the world
  • 00:12:10.180 --> 00:12:12.170
  • is real simple.
  • 00:12:12.180 --> 00:12:13.270
  • We come bearing two things in two hands.
  • 00:12:13.280 --> 00:12:17.070
  • If you want peace, we're for peace.
  • 00:12:17.080 --> 00:12:20.100
  • But if you will war, we're ready for war.
  • 00:12:20.110 --> 00:12:25.050
  • Same way every time Jesus met anybody, he would always say,
  • 00:12:25.060 --> 00:12:29.160
  • "Now I've got two things in my hand.
  • 00:12:29.170 --> 00:12:31.240
  • In this hand, I've got grace and in this hand I have truth."
  • 00:12:31.250 --> 00:12:36.090
  • Now, let me tell you why I want you to understand this.
  • 00:12:36.100 --> 00:12:39.070
  • There is a caricature of Jesus in our culture today,
  • 00:12:39.080 --> 00:12:43.230
  • and it's not the Jesus of the New Testament.
  • 00:12:43.240 --> 00:12:46.220
  • I call it the Jesus who is sugar and spice and everything nice.
  • 00:12:46.230 --> 00:12:52.260
  • It's the Jesus who is tolerant of everything
  • 00:12:52.270 --> 00:12:57.000
  • and tolerant of everybody.
  • 00:12:57.010 --> 00:12:59.120
  • It's the Jesus who says, "I don't care how you live.
  • 00:12:59.130 --> 00:13:02.280
  • I don't care how you conduct yourself.
  • 00:13:02.290 --> 00:13:04.290
  • I don't care who you marry. I don't care where you go.
  • 00:13:05.000 --> 00:13:08.080
  • I don't care what you do. I don't care what you look at.
  • 00:13:08.090 --> 00:13:11.190
  • I don't care how you conduct your life.
  • 00:13:11.200 --> 00:13:13.060
  • Hey, I'm okay, you're okay. God's okay.
  • 00:13:13.070 --> 00:13:19.170
  • We're all okay. Group hug.
  • 00:13:19.180 --> 00:13:22.020
  • Have an okay party."
  • 00:13:22.030 --> 00:13:23.240
  • That's the character, not just of the Jesus in our culture,
  • 00:13:23.250 --> 00:13:27.170
  • that is the Jesus as preached in a lot of our churches.
  • 00:13:27.180 --> 00:13:31.160
  • It's all okay. We're all cool.
  • 00:13:31.170 --> 00:13:34.230
  • It's the Jesus who fits in perfectly with the number-one
  • 00:13:34.240 --> 00:13:37.290
  • theological truth of our culture.
  • 00:13:38.000 --> 00:13:39.190
  • You know what the number-one theological truth
  • 00:13:39.200 --> 00:13:41.050
  • of our culture is?
  • 00:13:41.060 --> 00:13:42.160
  • It is wrong to ever tell anybody they're wrong.
  • 00:13:42.170 --> 00:13:46.110
  • You tell anybody you're--they're wrong, you are wrong.
  • 00:13:46.120 --> 00:13:49.180
  • H. Richard Niebuhr, a famous Yale Divinity School
  • 00:13:49.190 --> 00:13:51.230
  • professor said, "We created this make-believe spiritual
  • 00:13:51.240 --> 00:13:55.040
  • fantasy of a God without wrath who brings men
  • 00:13:55.050 --> 00:13:58.110
  • without sin into a kingdom without judgment
  • 00:13:58.120 --> 00:14:01.010
  • through the ministry of a Christ without a cross."
  • 00:14:01.020 --> 00:14:04.120
  • That's kind of where we are today, and it perfectly
  • 00:14:04.130 --> 00:14:06.270
  • signifies what it means to be all grace and no truth.
  • 00:14:06.280 --> 00:14:10.250
  • I'm gonna say it again till you get sick of hearing it.
  • 00:14:10.260 --> 00:14:13.030
  • He was full of grace and truth.
  • 00:14:13.040 --> 00:14:16.140
  • Now, we want to speak grace, I do.
  • 00:14:16.150 --> 00:14:20.020
  • I want to give grace.
  • 00:14:20.030 --> 00:14:21.120
  • I want people walk in here to know the grace
  • 00:14:21.130 --> 00:14:23.000
  • of God's available to you.
  • 00:14:23.010 --> 00:14:24.140
  • The grace of God is accessible to you.
  • 00:14:24.150 --> 00:14:26.100
  • And our number-one goal is to give you grace.
  • 00:14:26.110 --> 00:14:28.080
  • However, we will not do that at the expense of speaking truth.
  • 00:14:28.090 --> 00:14:34.080
  • We want to give grace, but we give truth.
  • 00:14:34.090 --> 00:14:37.230
  • Gotta do--so let me give you example.
  • 00:14:37.240 --> 00:14:39.120
  • I'll tell you how this works out.
  • 00:14:39.130 --> 00:14:42.000
  • Grace says there's a way to God for everyone.
  • 00:14:42.010 --> 00:14:46.060
  • Truth says, there's only one way to God.
  • 00:14:46.070 --> 00:14:49.290
  • Grace says, redemption is possible.
  • 00:14:50.000 --> 00:14:55.090
  • Truth says, repentance and turning from sin is necessary.
  • 00:14:55.100 --> 00:15:00.070
  • Grace says, I love you just the way you are.
  • 00:15:00.080 --> 00:15:04.090
  • Truth says, I love you too much to let you stay that way.
  • 00:15:04.100 --> 00:15:09.010
  • Grace says, I love sinners. Truth says, I hate sin.
  • 00:15:09.020 --> 00:15:17.250
  • Grace says, anybody can come to God.
  • 00:15:17.260 --> 00:15:21.200
  • Truth says, everybody must come through Jesus.
  • 00:15:21.210 --> 00:15:25.160
  • Grace says, God is love. Truth says, God is holy.
  • 00:15:25.170 --> 00:15:32.230
  • Grace says, there's a heaven and you can go there.
  • 00:15:32.240 --> 00:15:37.240
  • Truth says, there's a hell and you can go there.
  • 00:15:37.250 --> 00:15:42.040
  • Grace says, there's a salvation for all those who desire it.
  • 00:15:42.050 --> 00:15:46.220
  • Truth says, there's a judgment for those who don't.
  • 00:15:46.230 --> 00:15:50.090
  • Grace says, you're saved by grace through faith.
  • 00:15:50.100 --> 00:15:54.080
  • Truth says, faith without works is dead.
  • 00:15:54.090 --> 00:15:58.130
  • We need the compassion of grace,
  • 00:15:58.140 --> 00:16:01.140
  • but we also need the conviction of truth.
  • 00:16:01.150 --> 00:16:05.230
  • Now, that leads me to kind of wrap this up and say this,
  • 00:16:05.240 --> 00:16:10.010
  • therefore, we need the combination of grace and truth.
  • 00:16:10.020 --> 00:16:16.180
  • Now, listen again to what John says.
  • 00:16:16.190 --> 00:16:18.010
  • This is his concluding statement.
  • 00:16:18.020 --> 00:16:19.110
  • Listen now, "For the law was given through Moses,
  • 00:16:19.120 --> 00:16:23.210
  • but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
  • 00:16:23.220 --> 00:16:27.240
  • John says, grace and truth are joined at the hip.
  • 00:16:27.250 --> 00:16:32.080
  • So, grace without truth is deceptive.
  • 00:16:32.090 --> 00:16:40.260
  • Truth without grace is defective.
  • 00:16:40.270 --> 00:16:45.200
  • You remember two plus two equals four?
  • 00:16:45.210 --> 00:16:47.110
  • Let me give it to you in a mathematical way,
  • 00:16:47.120 --> 00:16:49.120
  • maybe you'll understand it.
  • 00:16:49.130 --> 00:16:51.160
  • Grace minus truth equals liberalism.
  • 00:16:51.170 --> 00:16:56.200
  • See, those who want grace but no truth, they're quick to excuse,
  • 00:16:56.210 --> 00:17:00.290
  • boys will be boys.
  • 00:17:01.000 --> 00:17:03.210
  • Slow to confront.
  • 00:17:03.220 --> 00:17:06.170
  • Now, truth minus grace equals legalism.
  • 00:17:06.180 --> 00:17:11.100
  • These are people who, they're quick to judge, slow to forgive.
  • 00:17:11.110 --> 00:17:20.240
  • Grace plus truth equals liberty.
  • 00:17:20.250 --> 00:17:25.270
  • Grace wants to free you, but only the truth
  • 00:17:25.280 --> 00:17:28.290
  • will set you free.
  • 00:17:29.000 --> 00:17:30.090
  • So, I don't want to be full of grace and empty of truth.
  • 00:17:30.100 --> 00:17:33.200
  • I don't want to be full of truth and empty of grace.
  • 00:17:33.210 --> 00:17:36.080
  • I want to be full of grace and truth.
  • 00:17:36.090 --> 00:17:38.150
  • Now, y'all look like you're relatively awake and kind
  • 00:17:38.160 --> 00:17:40.220
  • of maybe into this a little bit, so help me out here.
  • 00:17:40.230 --> 00:17:43.260
  • How many wings does it take a bird to fly?
  • 00:17:43.270 --> 00:17:45.280
  • Somebody tell me. It takes two, right?
  • 00:17:45.290 --> 00:17:48.000
  • Good, you did great.
  • 00:17:48.010 --> 00:17:49.100
  • They got it right at 9 o'clock too.
  • 00:17:49.110 --> 00:17:50.260
  • Birds need two wings to fly, you know why?
  • 00:17:50.270 --> 00:17:53.010
  • Because if a bird only has one wing, he's grounded.
  • 00:17:53.020 --> 00:17:55.030
  • That bird's not going anywhere.
  • 00:17:55.040 --> 00:17:56.130
  • Now, the gospel needs two wings to fly.
  • 00:17:56.140 --> 00:17:59.180
  • It needs the wing of grace, and it needs the wing of truth.
  • 00:17:59.190 --> 00:18:02.200
  • So, here's where we are.
  • 00:18:02.210 --> 00:18:04.070
  • Every time I get up here, I want to speak truth,
  • 00:18:04.080 --> 00:18:08.200
  • but I want to do it in the Spirit of grace.
  • 00:18:08.210 --> 00:18:12.060
  • On the other hand, I want to give grace,
  • 00:18:12.070 --> 00:18:15.290
  • but I want to do it in the spirit of truth.
  • 00:18:16.000 --> 00:18:18.190
  • Jesus was not 50% grace and 50% truth.
  • 00:18:18.200 --> 00:18:22.060
  • He was 100% grace and 100% truth.
  • 00:18:22.070 --> 00:18:25.060
  • He wasn't grace on Monday and truth on Tuesday.
  • 00:18:25.070 --> 00:18:28.010
  • He wasn't--he was grace and truth 24/7.
  • 00:18:28.020 --> 00:18:31.170
  • And when you read about Jesus, you see it
  • 00:18:31.180 --> 00:18:34.070
  • every day of his life.
  • 00:18:34.080 --> 00:18:35.170
  • For example, on the one hand, he was all grace.
  • 00:18:35.180 --> 00:18:38.130
  • He welcomed sinners.
  • 00:18:38.140 --> 00:18:40.100
  • He welcomed tax collectors. He welcomed Pharisees.
  • 00:18:40.110 --> 00:18:44.060
  • He welcomed prostitutes.
  • 00:18:44.070 --> 00:18:46.080
  • He welcomed little children to come and sit on his lap.
  • 00:18:46.090 --> 00:18:48.260
  • He would touch the untouchable.
  • 00:18:48.270 --> 00:18:50.180
  • He would heal the lepers, and the lame, and the blind.
  • 00:18:50.190 --> 00:18:52.260
  • He even made sure before he died that a convicted felon on the
  • 00:18:52.270 --> 00:18:56.150
  • cross next to him received grace before he drew his last breath.
  • 00:18:56.160 --> 00:19:00.060
  • He was full of grace but he was full of truth.
  • 00:19:00.070 --> 00:19:05.000
  • He condemned the religious leaders of his day
  • 00:19:05.010 --> 00:19:06.220
  • and called them liars and hypocrites.
  • 00:19:06.230 --> 00:19:09.020
  • He talked about hell more than he talked about heaven.
  • 00:19:09.030 --> 00:19:12.190
  • He said, "You want to be my disciple, then you gotta take up
  • 00:19:12.200 --> 00:19:15.140
  • your cross daily, deny yourself, and you gotta follow me."
  • 00:19:15.150 --> 00:19:18.290
  • He said to a city that he loved with all of his heart, a city
  • 00:19:19.000 --> 00:19:21.210
  • named Jerusalem, "You're gonna fall under the judgment of God
  • 00:19:21.220 --> 00:19:24.270
  • because you would not believe in me."
  • 00:19:24.280 --> 00:19:26.220
  • So, let me tell you what I've learned about.
  • 00:19:26.230 --> 00:19:28.130
  • I've learned this about me and it's true about you.
  • 00:19:28.140 --> 00:19:32.000
  • When you're full of self, one of two things will be true.
  • 00:19:32.010 --> 00:19:35.040
  • When you're full of self, you'll either be full of grace
  • 00:19:35.050 --> 00:19:38.160
  • and empty of truth, or you'll be full of truth
  • 00:19:38.170 --> 00:19:41.210
  • and you'll be empty of grace.
  • 00:19:41.220 --> 00:19:43.150
  • Now, I want to make a confession.
  • 00:19:43.160 --> 00:19:45.080
  • There's some of you in this room right now,
  • 00:19:45.090 --> 00:19:46.210
  • I've been your pastor for 32 years.
  • 00:19:46.220 --> 00:19:49.050
  • You were at my church before I pastored here
  • 00:19:49.060 --> 00:19:52.050
  • when I came in 1985.
  • 00:19:52.060 --> 00:19:53.170
  • I've been your pastor 32 years.
  • 00:19:53.180 --> 00:19:55.160
  • You probably already know what's true, you just kind of cut me
  • 00:19:55.170 --> 00:19:57.180
  • some slack so I'm gonna go ahead and just kind of admit it.
  • 00:19:57.190 --> 00:20:00.060
  • For a long time in my ministry, I was real big on truth,
  • 00:20:00.070 --> 00:20:04.240
  • wasn't as big on grace.
  • 00:20:04.250 --> 00:20:07.180
  • And people have said to me, you know, through the years,
  • 00:20:07.190 --> 00:20:09.080
  • "You know, pastor, as you've gotten older and more mature,
  • 00:20:09.090 --> 00:20:11.250
  • your preaching has changed."
  • 00:20:11.260 --> 00:20:14.080
  • Yes and no.
  • 00:20:14.090 --> 00:20:16.020
  • I still preach the Word, still preach it on apologetically,
  • 00:20:16.030 --> 00:20:19.070
  • still preach it without compromise.
  • 00:20:19.080 --> 00:20:21.010
  • But God has softened my heart and I finally have realized you
  • 00:20:21.020 --> 00:20:25.130
  • can really talk about hell like you're glad people are going
  • 00:20:25.140 --> 00:20:30.110
  • there, or you can talk about hell like you're sad
  • 00:20:30.120 --> 00:20:34.040
  • that people are going there.
  • 00:20:34.050 --> 00:20:36.000
  • There's a big difference.
  • 00:20:36.010 --> 00:20:37.100
  • Here's what I want for us, this is what I want for our church.
  • 00:20:37.110 --> 00:20:40.080
  • This is what I want for me.
  • 00:20:40.090 --> 00:20:41.280
  • This is what I want for you.
  • 00:20:41.290 --> 00:20:43.160
  • I want people that walk into this church,
  • 00:20:43.170 --> 00:20:45.080
  • I want the grace of God to hit them right in the face.
  • 00:20:45.090 --> 00:20:47.290
  • I want them to smell grace. I want them to feel grace.
  • 00:20:48.000 --> 00:20:51.000
  • I want them to touch grace.
  • 00:20:51.010 --> 00:20:52.140
  • I want them to know so this is what grace looks like.
  • 00:20:52.150 --> 00:20:55.180
  • That's what I want.
  • 00:20:55.190 --> 00:20:56.290
  • However, I want our church to be a church that in the spirit
  • 00:20:57.000 --> 00:21:05.110
  • of grace loves them enough to tell them the truth.
  • 00:21:05.120 --> 00:21:09.270
  • Both are necessary.
  • 00:21:09.280 --> 00:21:11.120
  • So, here's the next step, okay, I always try to give people.
  • 00:21:11.130 --> 00:21:14.150
  • So, you know, when you hear a message like this,
  • 00:21:14.160 --> 00:21:16.040
  • I want to answer the question.
  • 00:21:16.050 --> 00:21:17.220
  • "All right, so pastor, what are you asking me to do then?
  • 00:21:17.230 --> 00:21:19.290
  • In light of this message today, how do you want me
  • 00:21:20.000 --> 00:21:21.200
  • to apply that to your life?
  • 00:21:21.210 --> 00:21:23.070
  • I guarantee you most everyone in this room can do it,
  • 00:21:23.080 --> 00:21:25.170
  • and I'm gonna give you two examples of what you can do.
  • 00:21:25.180 --> 00:21:29.010
  • There's some of you, perhaps, and you're gonna know it
  • 00:21:29.020 --> 00:21:31.020
  • when I tell you this.
  • 00:21:31.030 --> 00:21:32.120
  • There's some of you, there's a relationship you have
  • 00:21:32.130 --> 00:21:33.260
  • and it's not right.
  • 00:21:33.270 --> 00:21:35.140
  • There's some real tension.
  • 00:21:35.150 --> 00:21:36.240
  • There may be--may even be some unresolved anger.
  • 00:21:36.250 --> 00:21:39.130
  • And here's the problem, you're a truther so you confronted this
  • 00:21:39.140 --> 00:21:45.000
  • person with the truth, and you were right in what you said.
  • 00:21:45.010 --> 00:21:50.050
  • And you were right to take the stand that you took.
  • 00:21:50.060 --> 00:21:52.170
  • And you won the battle, but you lost the war
  • 00:21:52.180 --> 00:21:58.190
  • because even though you gave them truth,
  • 00:21:58.200 --> 00:22:01.180
  • you gave them no grace.
  • 00:22:01.190 --> 00:22:04.000
  • Even you told, even though you told them
  • 00:22:04.010 --> 00:22:06.110
  • they're living in darkness and you curse the darkness,
  • 00:22:06.120 --> 00:22:08.250
  • you did a light a candle.
  • 00:22:08.260 --> 00:22:11.100
  • So, maybe there's someone you know that you need to go back
  • 00:22:11.110 --> 00:22:13.180
  • to and you maybe need to give some grace.
  • 00:22:13.190 --> 00:22:16.180
  • Maybe you need to go back and say, "You know, I'm not gonna
  • 00:22:16.190 --> 00:22:19.170
  • take back what I said about what you did, or how you acted,
  • 00:22:19.180 --> 00:22:22.010
  • or how you're living.
  • 00:22:22.020 --> 00:22:23.110
  • I just want you to know on the other hand, except for the grace
  • 00:22:23.120 --> 00:22:25.270
  • of God, you'd be talking to me instead of me talking to you.
  • 00:22:25.280 --> 00:22:28.090
  • And I'm not really here just to throw a rock,
  • 00:22:28.100 --> 00:22:30.160
  • I'm really here to help.
  • 00:22:30.170 --> 00:22:31.260
  • I'm not here to curse the darkness,
  • 00:22:31.270 --> 00:22:33.060
  • I am here to a lot of candle.
  • 00:22:33.070 --> 00:22:34.160
  • I want you to know that God can deliver you from what you're in.
  • 00:22:34.170 --> 00:22:36.270
  • I want you to I'm gonna love you whether you're delivered or not.
  • 00:22:36.280 --> 00:22:39.210
  • And I want you to know that I'm here for you."
  • 00:22:39.220 --> 00:22:41.010
  • Maybe you need to have that conversation.
  • 00:22:41.020 --> 00:22:43.290
  • On the other hand, and this is more painful, I fear that some
  • 00:22:44.000 --> 00:22:50.080
  • of you have enabled people out there who are not living like
  • 00:22:50.090 --> 00:22:54.040
  • they ought to live and they're not what they ought to be.
  • 00:22:54.050 --> 00:22:55.230
  • And you've been so full of grace,
  • 00:22:55.240 --> 00:22:58.020
  • you've kind of given it a false impression.
  • 00:22:58.030 --> 00:22:59.200
  • "Oh, that's okay. God's okay.
  • 00:22:59.210 --> 00:23:01.040
  • Jesus's okay. You're okay.
  • 00:23:01.050 --> 00:23:02.140
  • We're all okay."
  • 00:23:02.150 --> 00:23:03.240
  • No, they're not okay.
  • 00:23:03.250 --> 00:23:06.020
  • And you may need to go back to them and say in love, I mean,
  • 00:23:06.030 --> 00:23:09.020
  • really in love, "Look, I've got to give you some counsel.
  • 00:23:09.030 --> 00:23:12.050
  • I've got to confront you.
  • 00:23:12.060 --> 00:23:13.210
  • You need to take a different direction in your life.
  • 00:23:13.220 --> 00:23:15.260
  • It's not that I'm better than you when I say that.
  • 00:23:15.270 --> 00:23:17.270
  • It's not--it has nothing to do that at all.
  • 00:23:17.280 --> 00:23:19.120
  • It's just that I really believe and know that God wants
  • 00:23:19.130 --> 00:23:21.230
  • what's best for you, and this is not what is best for you
  • 00:23:21.240 --> 00:23:24.270
  • from his viewpoint."
  • 00:23:24.280 --> 00:23:26.100
  • So, my point is, when people walk into our church,
  • 00:23:26.110 --> 00:23:31.230
  • I want people to find grace and truth.
  • 00:23:31.240 --> 00:23:35.150
  • I want you to imagine last night you drew your last breath.
  • 00:23:35.160 --> 00:23:39.000
  • And I want you to imagine that you wake up
  • 00:23:39.010 --> 00:23:42.050
  • and you're face to face with Jesus.
  • 00:23:42.060 --> 00:23:43.240
  • Here you are in heaven, you're finally face to face with Jesus.
  • 00:23:43.250 --> 00:23:48.230
  • At that moment, you're instantly going to see grace and truth
  • 00:23:48.240 --> 00:23:55.010
  • because when you wake up and you're now in the presence of
  • 00:23:55.020 --> 00:23:57.280
  • God, grace is gonna say, "Man, I don't deserve to be here."
  • 00:23:57.290 --> 00:24:06.200
  • But then truth is going to say, "When you look into those
  • 00:24:06.210 --> 00:24:10.020
  • nail-scarred hands of Jesus, the only reason I am here
  • 00:24:10.030 --> 00:24:15.180
  • is because you died for me."
  • 00:24:15.190 --> 00:24:19.070
  • announcer: Stay tuned for a final word from Dr. Merritt.
  • 00:24:19.080 --> 00:24:22.110
  • announcer: To watch an extended version of today's
  • 00:24:22.120 --> 00:24:24.270
  • teaching message with Dr. James Merritt,
  • 00:24:24.280 --> 00:24:27.030
  • go to touchinglives.org.
  • 00:24:27.040 --> 00:24:29.240
  • announcer: Join James and Teresa Merritt this fall in
  • 00:24:31.270 --> 00:24:34.020
  • beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • 00:24:34.030 --> 00:24:35.250
  • for the 2019 Mountain Top Conference.
  • 00:24:35.260 --> 00:24:38.200
  • Hear powerful preaching from Dr. Merritt, great music from the
  • 00:24:38.210 --> 00:24:41.220
  • Cathedrals Family Reunion and the Booth Brothers, and
  • 00:24:41.230 --> 00:24:44.240
  • sidesplitting comedy from the one and only Tim Lovelace.
  • 00:24:44.250 --> 00:24:48.030
  • Also, this year's program includes an encouraging message
  • 00:24:48.040 --> 00:24:50.230
  • from special guest, Ron Walters.
  • 00:24:50.240 --> 00:24:53.020
  • Your conference ticket includes admission to Dolly Parton's
  • 00:24:53.030 --> 00:24:56.060
  • Stampede Dinner Show, the Smoky Mountain Opry,
  • 00:24:56.070 --> 00:24:58.290
  • and a day pass to Dollywood.
  • 00:24:59.000 --> 00:25:01.020
  • You don't want to miss Mountain Top 2019 as you will leave
  • 00:25:01.030 --> 00:25:04.210
  • relaxed, refreshed, and renewed after spending time in the
  • 00:25:04.220 --> 00:25:09.020
  • beautiful Smoky Mountains.
  • 00:25:09.030 --> 00:25:10.190
  • Sign up now to join James and Teresa Merritt for this amazing
  • 00:25:10.200 --> 00:25:13.130
  • experience by going to mountaintopconference.com,
  • 00:25:13.140 --> 00:25:16.190
  • or by calling 800-309-0816, 800-309-0816.
  • 00:25:16.200 --> 00:25:26.060
  • James: People often ask me the easiest way to connect
  • 00:25:32.030 --> 00:25:33.260
  • with "Touching Lives," and the quickest way
  • 00:25:33.270 --> 00:25:35.180
  • to find the weekly sermons.
  • 00:25:35.190 --> 00:25:36.260
  • I get it all the time.
  • 00:25:36.270 --> 00:25:38.030
  • Well, the answer right here on your phone.
  • 00:25:38.040 --> 00:25:41.150
  • The "Touching Lives" mobile app is available for free.
  • 00:25:41.160 --> 00:25:44.150
  • It has been newly redesigned from top to bottom.
  • 00:25:44.160 --> 00:25:47.110
  • And honestly, the new design's pretty cool,
  • 00:25:47.120 --> 00:25:50.120
  • in fact, it's spectacular.
  • 00:25:50.130 --> 00:25:51.270
  • Through this app, you can watch nearly ten years of messages,
  • 00:25:51.280 --> 00:25:55.160
  • read the daily devotions, you can even set up your own
  • 00:25:55.170 --> 00:25:58.060
  • Bible-reading plan.
  • 00:25:58.070 --> 00:25:59.190
  • You need to get this app on your phone today.
  • 00:25:59.200 --> 00:26:02.160
  • Download the "Touching Lives" mobile app for free right now
  • 00:26:02.170 --> 00:26:06.130
  • by searching for "Touching Lives" in the App Store.
  • 00:26:06.140 --> 00:26:09.150
  • And by the way, every time you open this app, pray for me,
  • 00:26:09.160 --> 00:26:13.020
  • pray for the ministry, and thanks for watching.
  • 00:26:13.030 --> 00:26:15.240
  • James: I'm often asked about my opinion on the state of the
  • 00:26:17.010 --> 00:26:18.260
  • church here in America and in response to this question,
  • 00:26:18.270 --> 00:26:20.240
  • I developed this series that I call Balanced.
  • 00:26:20.250 --> 00:26:24.050
  • I believe many churches have lost a proper balance between
  • 00:26:24.060 --> 00:26:27.140
  • grace and truth.
  • 00:26:27.150 --> 00:26:29.000
  • Churches have either become too full of grace, so they're
  • 00:26:29.010 --> 00:26:32.080
  • unwilling and afraid to call out sin and call it what it is,
  • 00:26:32.090 --> 00:26:35.080
  • or they become so full of truth that they condemn
  • 00:26:35.090 --> 00:26:38.150
  • just about everybody and anybody.
  • 00:26:38.160 --> 00:26:40.030
  • I believe that the church should be full of Jesus, which means
  • 00:26:40.040 --> 00:26:43.260
  • the church will be full of both grace and truth.
  • 00:26:43.270 --> 00:26:47.040
  • Grace and truth are joined at the hip in Scripture.
  • 00:26:47.050 --> 00:26:50.000
  • They were joined at the hip in Jesus.
  • 00:26:50.010 --> 00:26:52.030
  • He modeled, perfectly balanced between the two.
  • 00:26:52.040 --> 00:26:55.010
  • As believers, we need to strive to live a balanced life
  • 00:26:55.020 --> 00:26:58.180
  • because grace without truth is deceptive.
  • 00:26:58.190 --> 00:27:01.170
  • The truth about grace is defective.
  • 00:27:01.180 --> 00:27:04.250
  • You will not want to miss the rest of the episodes in this
  • 00:27:04.260 --> 00:27:07.130
  • series, so be sure to tune in here each week as we're gonna be
  • 00:27:07.140 --> 00:27:11.000
  • talking about grace and truth in our walk with Jesus.
  • 00:27:11.010 --> 00:27:16.040
  • announcer: Touching Lives, teaching people everywhere who
  • 00:27:16.050 --> 00:27:19.110
  • Jesus is and why they need him.
  • 00:27:19.120 --> 00:27:21.240
  • This program is sponsored by Touching Lives Ministries
  • 00:27:21.250 --> 00:27:24.070
  • and is made possible by the grace of God
  • 00:27:24.080 --> 00:27:26.200
  • and your faithful prayers and gifts.
  • 00:27:26.210 --> 00:27:29.060
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