August 4th, 2002, Sunday Morning
The difference between cheap and costly grace
NOTE: Target audience for this message is for those already saved
Today's speaker: Mr. Dirk Russell, Minister of Education
OPENING: 2 Timothy 2:1-7
- "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism
without church discipline, communion without confession,
absolution without personal confession.
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go
and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods.
It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble;
it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace
is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which
a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls
us to follow Jesus Christ."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In 2 Timothy, Paul has been calling upon Timothy to be both a follower of Christ and
to make others followers of Christ.
- To be a follower of Christ means to suffer for the sake of His
- Paul has already told Timothy to:
- Join with him in suffering for the gospel
- Suffer without being ashamed
- Act as a soldier who suffers hardship and keeps himself free from the affairs of this world
- Paul is describing "costly grace": it is not that we must earn the grace
(because that's impossible--salvation is a gift, not a reward for works--Galatians 2:16) but when grace
is given, even though we're rewarded with an abundant harvest (2 Timothy 2:6),
it requires a lot from us.
2 Timothy 2:1-7: Paul uses the illustration of a farmer to explain
how the grace of GOD works in the lives of GOD's people:
- #1/3: HARD-WORKING
- Being a farmer requires a lot. The phrase "hard working" means to toil intensely,
to sweat and strain even at exhaustion. He is concerned for crops, insects, livestock, etc.
- "The industrious farmer starts his hard and demanding work early and quits late.
He endures cold, the heat, the rain, and the drought. He plows the soil whether it is hard or loose.
He does not wait for his own convenience, because the seasons do not wait for him. When the time
comes to plant, he must plant; when weeds appear, he must remove them; and when the crop is mature,
he must harvest it."
- John MacArthur
- The farmer is never separated from his profession. Wherever he travels in the world
he is a farmer. Similarly, as Christians (followers of Jesus Christ), that title goes with us
wherever we go for our entire life--it doesn't stick only in church where we once again resume
husband, wife, employee after the service. As such, we need to apply the work ethic of the farmer to our
Christian life as representatives/followers of Christ so that we bring Christ the glory He deserves.
- This is the picture of costly grace. This is why Jesus died, that we might live our lives
with all diligence. The farmer never considers whether or not he wants to plow--he has to. The picture
of the Christian is the picture of the tireless farmer.
- Philippians 2:12-13: The scripture says "work out your own
not work for your salvation. The difficulty is that it requires us to actually work. We do so
"with fear and trembling" because salvation is serious business. It is our spiritual muscle
which must be regularly exercised.
- Philippians 2:13: GOD's not saying, "Here's salvation. Now go do good things
for Me." This verse proves that GOD is at work within us for his pleasure.
- Ephesians 2:10: The distinction of an ordinary and a saintly Christian:
(and by the way, all saved Christians are considered living saints)
- Ordinary: saved but floats through life doing
nothing for Christ's cause. This is NOT O.K.
- Saintly: Doing the good work He has ordained us to do
- 1 Corinthians 3:12-15: And consequently, all works we do in this life--whether
it be good or evil, will be tried to see if it's worthy of a reward to you.
- Within those verses, the "foundation" is Christ. Our salvation is a foundation which
GOD built for us. We must build on that foundation.
- The one who laid the foundation will judge the quality of the work
- "He will receive a reward..." is based on the quality of the work. This follows the pattern
of 2 Timothy 2:6 that the worker will receive the first fruits of his labor
- PROBLEM: The world today expects great quantities of
tangible, earthly riches for a reward for hard work. If
that's not received, then the worker believes all (s)he's done was for nothing. Instead of waiting
for GOD's time to reward the worker, the worker changes gears to work in his/her way to ensure
getting a quick, temporal earthly reward.
- This is a matter of covenant not of convenience. The Bible does not say if you want a
better life then you have to do greater things. The Bible says, as GOD's covenant people, we are
to do and not do certain things. We don't have a choice of working or not working ... it is simply
a choice of obedience or disobedience.
- #2/3: GRACE
- We've highlighted the hard work that accompanies salvation but we must also consider
grace because we can work forever but working does not earn us salvation (Galatians 2:16).
It is the grace that leads us to Christ.
- James 5:7: Even the farmer knows that all of his work will not ensure a harvest.
He must be patient and wait upon the Lord because farmers can only plant and water. But it is GOD
who gives the increase--who makes the plants actually grow.
- We work but GOD produces the harvest. Grace is not a doctrine but a work of GOD, transforming
the weak and lowly into useful workers for His kingdom:
- Grace made Moses, who was a poor public speaker, GOD's mouthpiece to pharaoh and eventual
liberator of Israel out of Egypt
- Grace made David, a meek shepherd boy, the king of Israel
- Grace made Noah, the only obedient person on earth, the ambassador of GOD's covenant through the
- Grace killed the Son of GOD to make us righteous. Our responsibility for this righteousness is
to work like the diligent farmer
- #3/3: REWARD
- 2 Timothy 2:16: Paul concludes by recognizing that the worker deserves
the first of his harvest. GOD's blessing is the reward for godliness--not earthly riches
- Matthew 5:3-11: The beatitudes
are the perfect picture of godliness: poor in spirit, mourning, gentle, hunger and thirst for righteousness,
merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness ... and end with, "Blessed
are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely,
for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the
prophets which were before you."
- Hebrews 11:24-26: GOD's reward is a life of contentment rather than
excitement ... and Moses is a prime example of this. He chose to forego an easy life of being called
Pharaoh's son and living in Egyptian pleasures and sin. Rather, he chose to suffer with GOD's
people, "esteeming the reproach of Christ greater
riches than the treasures in Egypt..."
- In this case, to accept being called Pharaoh's son and living in the palace would've been
"cheap grace" whereas Moses choosing to suffer with his people was "costly grace." A costly grace
that will be more highly rewarded (John 14:2)
The reward of faithful service to Christ far surpasses the "passing pleasures of sin."
- Moses knew it and he crossed the Red Sea; Joshua knew it and was able to see the Promised
Land; Stephen, the first martyr in the New Testament
(Acts 7:55-60) knew it and he saw the Glory of God.
If you are a parent, work hard to train and discipline your children
If you are child, obey your father and mother (Ephesians 6:1)
If you are a husband, love your wife as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25)
If you are a wife, be subject to your own husband, as to the Lord
If you are in Christ (saved) you have no other
option but to be hard working in all things. The reward may take time but it will come.