acknowledgement of the providence of God, as it is expressed in the
third stanza of John Newton’s hymn Amazing Grace, in the past present
AIM: That we
might be made more aware of divine providence and be truly amazed, as
was Newton, at its application in the care of God for us.
INTR: Many of
us live most of our lives in blissful ignorance of the dangers that are
all about us and so give little thought to the fact that our salvation
has been in evidence through all our lives.
1. There are those in the
world today whose daily existence is filled with dangers clearly known
to them while we seem to be spared much of that.
2. Others of us have
faced what seemed to be life or death situations and have painfully
witnessed the same in the lives of those we love – it is precious indeed
that when we are able to acknowledge the unseen hand of God attending
3. John Newton faced such providential dangers and was
blessed and made a blessing to us in having those things remain vivid in
his mind then immortalized in the words of this hymn and others.
THESIS: We do well to acknowledge, at
whatever point in time we find ourselves, that it is so in the all-wise
providence of God that we are delivered up and that by that same Amazing
Grace we shall be delivered up at last to Him and by Him who has loved
us and given Himself for us.
I. Past providence applied and
amazing – Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come
1. From Grudem: We may define providence as follows: God is continually
involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them
existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2)
cooperates with created things in every action, directing their
distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs
them to fulfill his purposes. Preservation, concurrence, and government.
2. The Lord’s dealings with us do not begin at the point of regeneration
and conversion. That is when we begin to sense it and that sense
continues to grow ever.
3. We are often reminded of the revelations
to both Jeremiah and Paul as having been foreordained from before birth.
4. And we are likewise reminded of the dangers that have attended the
1) The wiles of the devil and his devices employed to our
hurt. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a
roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8
2) The continued battle: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
3) And that we have protectors on duty: Are they not
all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be
heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:14.
5. As the worst of dangers are
realized, we are made sure that we have been under the watchful eye of
our omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Lord who controls all for
the good of His people.
II. Present realizations that should be
amazing – ‘”Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far”
1. Though I walk
in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth
thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall
save me. Psalms 138:7.
1) At any point in our lives, whether waking
or sleeping, the Lord is at hand: Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall
neither slumber nor sleep. Psalms 121:4
2) This to be understood in
spite of our failures and the futile attempts at self-care rather than:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7.
2. Do we ever stop to think on that to which we are brought in terms of
1) That we are not aware of the being and existence of God
is such a way as only the Lord Himself can reveal.
2) That we stand
secured by no less than the promise of God confirmed and sealed by the
blood of Christ our Lord.
3) That we have been made partakers of the
divine nature so that His laws are written in our hearts and that we
“have the mind of Christ.”
4) That we may rest in the thought that
none of the things of this present evil world can succeed against us.
5) And so the list goes on, but ARE WE AMAZED?
continuing and we will be amazed – “Grace will lead me home.”
he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain,
and to the great rain of his strength. 7 He sealeth up the hand of every
man; that all men may know his work. 8 Then the beasts go into dens, and
remain in their places. 9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and
cold out of the north. 10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the
breadth of the waters is straitened. 11 Also by watering he wearieth the
thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: 12 And it is turned round
about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them
upon the face of the world in the earth. 13 He causeth it to come,
whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. Job 37:6-13.
2. The Life given us in Christ is eternal and so the love of God demands
success, His providence assures success, and His glory involves the
success of all He has set out to do. Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the
day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6.
3. See Paul near the end: 17
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me
the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might
hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord
shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his
heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy
4. Remembering his earlier words: Who delivered us from so
great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet
deliver us; 2 Corinthians 1:10.
5. And also: 22 For we know that the
whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:22-23.