“Grace loves us as we are; Truth refuses to leave us there”
SCANDAL: We are drawn to scandals as they help us cover our own brokenness
• Catch: In our world everything has a catch (pill with exercise and healthy diet leads to losing weight). If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Truth VS Grace: Some are drawn to truth and view grace as dangerous, others are drawn to grace and see truth as damaging. Grace and Truth are not ours to control.
• We see grace and truth at opposite ends of huge spectrum. We speak of grace but live from karma. Some view grace as an obstacle to truth, others view truth as an obstacle to grace. The truth is our world is one of karma over grace. We speak of grace but live from karma. So long as this remains we keep both at a distance and radically tame what is not ours to tame. Grace and truth are not polar opposites; they are interwoven realities that connect together. Grace and truth breaks the pendulum and points us to Jesus.
• "Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.” – Jerry Bridges
1. What are some of the things in our world that sound too good to be true?
2. Which side of the fence are you most drawn too (truth or grace)?
3. How does karma influence your day to day life?
4. Why do we often think the answer to these issues is to find a balance?
JESUS: Jesus consistently embodied grace and truth in unity
• (John 1:17) Religious people were offended by Jesus and rebellious people were drawn to Jesus. Today religious people are drawn to the church and rebellious people are offended.
• Jesus accepted all people and yet did not approve of their lifestyle. It is time for the church to discover afresh the grace that accepts and truth that calls people into something better.
• John 8 - This woman was caught in the act (no denial, no repentance). They used her to trap Jesus. By accusing her they were hoping to justify themselves. They were correct in their truth. She deserved death according to the law. Jesus’ response to their lawful accusation was to write in the dirt (scripture, meaning of life, sins). In the Old Testament God wrote on stone, laws of how people could get right with God. Jesus writes on the dust (which is blown away in the wind) showing that God got to us and seeks to write his law on our hearts. The only right to accuse is one that is free of accusation. The most religious person must know even they sin. The older ones leave first, as they have the most sin. Jesus is the one who could accuse and condemn; yet he doesn't. His grace is not conditional upon her response. In Jesus we see grace and truth revealed as the ground for reality shaking our standards and calling humanity into a new way of life.
1. Why do you think rebellious people were drawn to Jesus and religious people hated him?
2. What is it about the church that sometimes results in the opposite?
3. Which parts of this encounter with Jesus speak to you?
GRACE: Jesus is the Grace that meets and loves us as we are
• John 9: This woman deserved death but was offered life
• (Belong-Behave-Believe) Grace does not have strings, we add them. Jesus loved a world knowing it would refuse him and yet His love remains (1 John 4), Jesus’ grace wasn’t dependant on her response.
1. What is so offensive about grace?
2. Why do we think we need to clean ourselves up before coming to Jesus?
3. How can we share this grace better with those outside?
4. How have you compared your sins with others (Rom 3:23)?
TRUTH: Jesus is the truth that calls us into something better
• John 9: Jesus called the woman into a better life (truth always calls us into something better)
• Jesus is TRUTH that loves us too much to leave us where we are. Grace will always lead to truth. Yet truth is not always received. This is what is so offensive; that grace can be given but its truth can be not appreciated, misunderstood, abused, ignored. And yet grace keeps on giving. Grace always leads to truth and no matter the response remains.
• Grace creates a platform for the truth to be spoken. If grace does not lead you to truth chances are you haven’t experienced it or are ignoring the truth.
• Car Accident: The collision is not the place for accusation but for acceptance! There is time for us to worry about what went wrong but now is the time for healing. We all find ourselves in a collision with brokenness. We are all not where we are supposed to be. We may be ‘better off’ but we all need help. Jesus is to us and our world the grace that meets us in our brokenness and calls us into something glorious. The church is called to embody this.
• "Grace alone produces the conditions that induce change, but grace is not conditional on change. It is pure gift – independent of outcomes." – Tulian Tchavidian
1. Why is the truth often hard to speak?
2. How can we speak the truth in love?