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April 2, 2017

"AMAZING GRACE - Verse Three"

TEXT: Psalm 138: 1-8
READING:  Psalm 57: 1-11

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SUBJ: The 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 and future.

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 our way.
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 way before:
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. Ephesians 6:12.
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 the faith:
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?

III. Providence continuing and we will be amazed – “Grace will lead me home.”
1. For 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 4:17-18.
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.