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April 23, 2017

"AMAZING GRACE - Verse Six"

TEXT: 2 Peter 3:  10-14
READING:  Revelation 21:  1-18

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SUBJ: The sixth verse of John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace” and the end of that Grace that finds true believers in anticipation of the things to come beginning with the end of life on earth an continuing with Him for all eternity.

AIM: That we like Newton and countless others may ever stand amazed at the grace of God and God who gave it as we look to Him in Christ Jesus our Lord.

INTR: We come to the closing thoughts of “Amazing Grace” and again take note of the order (Paul wrote to the Corinthians of order of things ending with the delivering up of the Kingdom).
1. We have proceeded as follows: Amazement as the proper experience in contemplating the grace that brings salvation; grace realized in our quickening, repentance, faith and conversion; the acknowledgment of the providence of God in bringing along, the ability to recognize and claim the promise of God in receiving Him as our shield and portion; to the ability to look beyond mortal life to an eternity in His presence so possessing Him.
2. We come now to the realization that life on earth as we know shall end in a cataclysmic manner and will give way to the predetermined purpose of God for all His elect.
3. “The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, / The sun forbear to shine; / But God, who called me here below, / Will be forever mine.”

THESIS: The forebodings of the flesh are soon dissolved, like the snow of Newton’s hymn, as we witness by faith and are Amazed at future grace wherein we are made to know the undisturbed possession of God and “joy’s eternal increase.”

I. A certain end – The earth dissolved and the sun darkened
1. The tendency of men is to assume that all things will continue as they are forever and they have difficulty conceiving of their own end (There is a need for the status quo in some regards and for change in others).
2. Our Lord was careful to prepare the disciples for the future and graphically described both what He would endure, but what they would face.
1) He addressed them in the matter of challenges in the near future and
2) He gave them to know that this world was not permanent and would be destroyed and give way to New Heavens and New Earth.
3. Peter was a direct recipient of these things as He listened to our Lord’s confirmation of multiple Old Testament prophecies:
1) The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: Joel 2:10
2) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. Joel 2:31
3) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: Acts 2:20
4. And so would preach and teach with the realization that the end was not to be reached here and that hope was to be anchored in the Amazing Grace of Christ our Lord – no feeble glimmer of hope is that!

II. The confidence given us in Grace – It is God who called and who justifies
1. At the end of the hymn, Newton would present the overview of the purpose of God and aim of Amazing Grace in that it begins with the calling of God and ends in an eternity with Him.
2. So, was the expression of our Lord in: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:3
3. We are given a precious and comprehensive picture by Paul: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30.
4. We are reminded of the personal emphasis on calling throughout: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:39.

III. The purpose of God fully brought to fruition – Will be forever mine
1. From Cowper: “His purposes will ripen fast, / Unfolding every hour; / The bud may have a bitter taste, / But sweet will be the flower.
2. Faith is both substance and evidence of the realities of promises and is precious indeed.
3. But, we have no way to describe the experience of seeing the eternal purpose of God wherein faith becomes sight and through the senses of a new body we shall behold new heavens and new earth and above all to see Him in all His splendor and glory and grace will be Amazing us forevermore.