This past weekend, we opened up a new sermon series called, “Who We Are,” looking at our core identity and direction. We began by sharing the three core values within our DNA, which we will be unpacking over the next few weeks…
We also believe that every Christian needs to be engaged in three key actions in order to live out our calling as disciples of Jesus. We will be walking through each of these in a few weeks…
- Connect UP daily with Jesus
- Journey deeply WITH others
- Serve OUT in the community
To start, we explored the first DNA marker and core value: Grace.
More specifically, we are a grace-first church.
And, this distinction matters, because there are truth-first churches, dress-like-this-first churches, condemnation-first churches, and hide-who-you-are-first churches.
But, at Bethany Community Church, we are a grace-first church, because God is a grace-first God.
To explore this theme further, we looked at the parable in Matthew 18, in which Jesus tells the story of a servant who racks up an enormous debt to a king that he cannot possibly pay back. And, the king’s response is one of compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.
After this encounter, the servant goes back and squeezes another servant for his debt, and gets him thrown into prison when he cannot repay it. Upon hearing what happened, the king dispenses justice, and throws the wicked servant in prison for receiving such a large gift of grace, but refusing to share it with anyone else.
And, what we need to remember here is that the wicked servant isn’t thrown into prison because he couldn’t pay off his debt. The king had taken care of it already. Instead, he was punished because he refused to set other people free from their debt. He withheld the very grace he was freely given.
In this passage, Jesus shows that there are essentially two ways to live in this world: Grace-giving or score-keeping. And, He is incredibly clear that His Kingdom is run by grace-giving. The ledger of sin was paid at Calvary. The debt and sin of every single person was cleared by Jesus on the cross.
Each of us has received the greatest gift of grace possible, and our calling is to share that grace with others.
We ended with this main point: We are a grace-filled, grace-first church. Grace grounds us here at Bethany. And, we aren’t perfect in this. We mess it up. But, this is who we are.
So, with this in mind, we ended with this challenge: Give grace to someone else this week.
Now, grace doesn’t mean we don’t establish boundaries with toxic people. Rather, it means we stop keeping score and harbouring unforgiveness. For more on this, check out this sermon on Necessary Endings.
But, the challenge is clear: We need to keep our posture open and full of grace to those around us. Because, we are a grace-filled, grace-first church.