Jesus is Grace.

Here is the first in the "Jesus is _____" series by Judah Smith of The City Church. It is based on Luke 15, which is three parables Jesus tells in response to the Pharisee's chide that He was eating with sinners.

There is some powerful stuff here about how we should receive our worth and grace from God. Jesus says in Mark 10:15, "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Judah reads this and points out that kids don't try to repay gifts...until they get older. 

I remember being in high school and making a CD for our awesome punk band, Minus the Standard. We printed off a bunch of CD booklets on my parent's printer and then sold the CD's at one of our shows. I then tried to pay my dad back from our proceeds for the ink and paper I used. I remember trying to hand him money, and him refusing, and then my friend's dad saying abruptly, "just keep the money," emphasizing that I was just a kid and this was a gift of sorts. 

I've always been kind of like that -- trying to make things even in life. Judah mentions that, for some reason we always try to pay gifts back as we get older (I guess I hit that point a little early). Of course this carries over into our relationship with God, trying to pay back God's gift of grace with good works. This is futile, but oh so natural.

Check out this sermon -- it's really good:

  •  Fasting is good, but eating is better
  • In those days, a meal was an event, and involved a lot more than it does now
    • So Jesus was spending hours with "bad" people
    • What Jesus says after the Pharisees complain explains why a just and holy God would befriend "sinners"
  • Ephesians 2:8 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—"
    • This grace is not of yourself and not of works.
    • The essence of our belief system is "gift"
      • A gift ceases to be a gift when you try to pay it back
      • Christianity has nothing to do with us paying God back for what He's done for us.
  • We all believe worth is earned
  • Jesus speaks their language - sheep, coins
    • Most of us would have been cool losing the 1 sheep
    • The lady trashes her house to find 1 coin
      • Both of these are illogical
      • When it comes to people, God's love is illogical
      • Jesus is showing us our worth -- an illogical worth
    • The third story about the prodigal son is different -- he's not a beast or a coin, but a person with a will
      • The older son is the logical one
      • The prodigal son believes worth is earned
        • The son's speech is never acknowledged -- his attempts to earn worth are ignored
    • All three (representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) search, find and celebrate
      • Jesus says I hang out with bad people because it's who I Am
  • Worth is received, like everything else with God
    • Mark 10:13-16 - disciples rebuke parents because kids aren't worth it to them
      • Jesus says the Kingdom belongs to such as these, and it will be received as they do (like a hug)
        • Kids don't offer to pay back, they just receive gifts...for now.
    • No other belief system on the earth is like this -- it's totally illogical
  • Christianity starts and ends in God's arms