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April 16, 2017

"AMAZING GRACE - Verse Five"

TEXT: 2 Corinthians 5: 1
READING:  John 20: 1-18

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SUBJ: The thoughts of John Newton as expressed in the 5th verse of his hymn Amazing Grace and its connection with the assurance received by the resurrection of Christ wherein life is promised beyond natural death.

AIM: That we might move forward with certainty in this life and be amazed even at the things which we have not yet seen.

INTR: As we come to the 5th verse of the original version of Amazing Grace, we take it as providential that we might connect this with thoughts for Resurrection Day and what it confirms as to our faith: “Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, / And mortal life shall cease, / I shall possess, within the veil, / A life of joy and peace.”
1. It is again that we note a smooth transition in thought that takes us from an overview in the first, to conversion in the second, to providential care in the third, to the Word applied and hope secured in the promise of God with the Lord as our portion.
2. Now, in the fifth, the expression is one of confidence of a future life, beginning at death wherein fulness of life will be known in Christ forevermore.
3. Newton claimed this life as a possession, and so do all who receive Christ, as it is enjoyed in Him.

THESIS: There can be no life, either present or future, that does not find its origin in the resurrection of Christ our Lord; all true life is eternal and it is possessed.

I. The certainty of death
1. While the aim of the Apostle is to present hope, the clear implication is that mortality transitions into the fulness of life experienced.
2. On reading of mortal decline: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low…
3. We are reminded of And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27. AND the conclusion of Job: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:26.
4. The difference is well noted as to who is speaking of death and we think of: 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15.
5. Newton, no doubt, remembered the many times when he thought he must surely die and the terror death held for him – the scripture above confirms the fact whether admitted or not.
6. Furthermore, Newton said it well in not using “if” but “when.”
7. And so, he was amazed that certain death held no terror for him and so should we be.

II. Life as a possession given us in Christ
1. Consider the words of Jeremiah to Baruch: And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. Jeremiah 45:5.
1) Implying that it is to be pursued and that
2) It is given us to be realized and owned
2. And then remember Peter’s cheering words: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5.
3. “Within the veil” is a reference to the very presence of God (symbolized by the Tabernacel and Tempe): Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Hebrews 6:19
4. Consider also: My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Song of Songs 2:16
5. And again, Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12.
6. What is here realized in part becomes fully revealed in the fulness of His presence – He is ours and eternal life is ours to be possessed.

III. The delightfulness of our life in Him
1. The fruit of the Spirit, now and evermore – we are alive to love, joy and peace
2. Of Joy from Webster’s 1828: The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.
1) Such feelings are provoked by what we see by faith and then sight
2) By whom and what we know and
3) By what we are doing as we realize that He is shield, portion, possession and life.
3. Of Peace: A state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation…
1) Freedom from war and those that war against the soul in particular.
2) Freedom from internal commotion
3) Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety. It is rather quietness of mind; tranquility; calmness; quiet of conscience. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalms 119:165
4) And so speaks of Heavenly rest and the happiness of Heaven
4. And so to be Amazed for all eternity by such Grace as Christ our Risen Lord embodies.