As presented at Life Church of Mobile, Alabama, Sunday, October 15, 2017
Grace and Favor can be used interchangeably, they are connected, they are identical twins.
The real challenge for everyday believers is to live out what God has put in.
You spend a lot more hours out there away from the church, than you do in here, at the church.
Most of you, at tops, I get you two hours a week unless you follow us on line.
In the Scriptures, the men and women that filled this book (holding up the Bible) did not live their lives in this kind of worship service or this type environment that we are able to participate in on a regular basis. Their lives were lived out there: in the dust, in the heat, in the cold, and in the summer and the winter; and with everything that life brings, they had to live their lives out there. The stories that are in the Bible are about people who had to go through everyday life.
Everything that we can imagine in life was lived out by the people in the Bible. People began to isolate the things of the Bible and segregate it and think it's only for Sunday morning, for about two hours. What a waste of what God has put in us.
Have you encountered anything in your life that has been a surprise to you?
Surprise encounters are God's grace being put into you. You are going to encounter some things that you did not see coming and you did not think the timing was right. It is one thing to do things in church, but it is another thing to do something when you are on the island of Malta as Paul was in Acts 28, and you ended up shipwrecked because someone else did not listen or take your advice; or when you are thrown in a pit like Joseph was by his brothers and sold as a slave, and falsely imprisoned (Genesis 37); or you might be like Ruth who became homeless, a foreigner, and hungry (Ruth 1-2). Things can sound so good in here at church or online, but when you get out there in life and things start happening, it is three o'clock in the morning and you're awake because you cannot sleep; then you think, "Where are you now Brother Scotty?"
Here is the truth. . .
The Gospel is to be lived out in our everyday living! . . Not just when we are worshiping on Sunday!
If all we do is come in here (the church building) and have a worshiping experience or a teaching experience and they do not impact our lives, I am not interested in having this type experience.
I am not interested in having church or having a group of people who go through their religious duties, get it over with, then segregate themselves and live out their lives that way. I want a Gospel that can be walked out in my daily life! I want to know that God is in the middle of my mess!
The life of Joseph, Ruth and Paul serve as people who were confident that God was working to fulfill His purpose and promises in them regardless of the circumstances or when they faced surprise assignments to carry out.
Make this declaration:
"God can transform every situation in my life for my good and for His glory!"
This is what Romans 8:28 means. God can cause all things, even evil attacks to work for His glory and for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
"And we know all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
We see in the lives of people like Ruth, Joseph, and Paul how God was working in their story to bring glory in an even bigger story.
God will use your story to bring a much bigger story.
Joseph's story and the bigger story.
Joseph's brothers got jealous of him and they wanted to kill him.
Instead of killing him they decided to make some money off of him and sold him into slavery.
If they had never sold him into slavery Potiphar would never had bought him.
If Potiphar had not bought him, Joseph would never had ended up in the dungeon interpreting the butler's dream.
If he had never interpreted the butler's dream he would never had interpreted Pharaoh's dream.
If he had never interpreted Pharaoh's dream he never would never had run the country and saved millions of lives in the middle of a famine.
This whole story started with jealousy.
So don't think that God can't turn it around and cause all things to work together for good!
Understand that whatever it is to you, God is turning it around!
Ruth's story and the bigger story.
Naomi's family fled to Moab because there was a famine.
Her sons took wives of which one was Ruth.
All the husbands died.
The desperate women ended up back in Bethlehem, homeless and hungry.
But God. . . .
And Ruth's story became the bigger story. . . Ruth 4:13-22.
Here are some Key Promises of God
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, so save may people alive.
So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace."
But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."
There was a relative of Naomi's husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter."
1. Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2. by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4. and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5. and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
God's grace comes to transform our lives.
God's favor comes to transform our lives.
Grace will cause you to overcome.
Favor will cause you to overcome.
Grace is God's undeserved favor, His unmerited love. It is something that God gives us, does for us or enables us to do that we did not earn and we do not deserve. Thank God for Grace!
The old covenant was Do and Live.
By works and obedience to the Law one is accepted and justified.
The new covenant is Live and Do.
Not in order to but because of.
Become what you are, children of God like him, who are spirit empowered.
God's grace comes to transform us, to change us, to empower us.
It does not empower us to make excuses for sin, it empowers us to overcome sin.
Grace will cause you to stick it out. It will give you the desire to change because it will give you a makeover (rework your personality and life). This is not a makeover that comes from the outside in, but this is from the inside out.
Grace will cause you to walk in your calling and become committed to be what He has called you to be.
"Because of grace and favor I am becoming who I really am!"
That's what grace will do! That's what favor will do!
They will empower you to become who you really are!
Some of us are sixty, seventy, eighty, even ninety years old and we are just finding out who we really are. Isn't that Awesome!?
Declare with me:
"I am becoming who I am and who I shall be by the grace of God!"
"I am sold out because I know how much grace it took to get me here!"
The good news is the grace is not over, He is not finished in any of us!!!!!!!!
His love never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out on us!
Grace and Favor are Empowering
Whatever it is that God has called you to do You've Got Grace and Favor For It!
If you have a surprise assignment given to you by God, you have grace to carry it out.
If you have some things you do not understand, you have favor for it.
You are graced for it with a particular grace that has your name on it.
It has been designed just with you in mind.
The enemy will fight your entire live-time attempting to restrict your access to the favor and grace of God. He wants to stomp them and blind you to the grace and favor of God.
Be encouraged, there is great grace and favor from God for all that may come your way.
This message is to help you stir up the grace and favor that is on you.
Satan cannot keep God from giving you grace and favor.
So what Satan does is try to cause us to waist grace and favor.
Declare today that you will not wait your grace and favor!
God has decreed them and Jesus' blood has provided for them and there is nothing Satan can do to keep God from giving them to you.
This is how Paul could say in 1Corinthians 15:10, ". . by the grace of God, I am what I am."
But then he went on to explain he was making sure that the grace that was on his life did not go to waste or in vain.
Because of this you can say, "What I am called to go through I am Graced to go through."
You are Graced to fill Your Place! You have a grace for where you are, for what you are walking through and what you are believing for.
Hebrews 13:8-9 Amplified Version
Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and through the ages. Do not be carried away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established and strengthened by grace and not by foods [rules of diet and ritualistic meals], which bring no benefit or spiritual growth to those who observe them.
People will say, "I am blessed and highly favored." What does that mean?
Most people say that it is believing that something is going to happen on day and then they are going to come into the grace and favor of God for one big time event.
NO. . NO. . NO! I am not going to be blessed, graced and highly favored. . .
I AM Graced and Highly favored!
It does not matter what my situation may look like on the surface because. . .
God's grace and favor is what sustains us in this life to deal with the daily grind!
Grace is not something that is going to happen out there when you win the lottery or come into some great inheritance someone left you.
Grace is not waiting for you out there somewhere. . . .
It is working for you today!
God graced Joseph with favor to serve before He graced him favor to rule.
He served Potiphar. . .
He served in prison. . .
He served prisoners. . .
Even when he came into ruler ship, he humbly served his family and they did not deserve it.
Notice that the word "DESERVE" obtains the word "SERVE".
It could be said, "You do not DESERVE until you have SERVED".
Sometimes Favor does not have to always be on you.
You just have to be hooked up with the right person.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8); was Noah the only one to survive the flood? You just need to be in the right boat.
I want to be in the boat with Noah.
I want to be in the boat with Jesus.
I want to be in the boat with Paul.
I don't want to be in the boat with Jonah.
I want to be in the boat with people who have grace and favor on their life and its working.
Noah's sons survived and came out on the other side because they were hooked up with somebody who had grace and favor on their life.
Find you a church that has grace on it.
Find you a church that has favor on it.
Find you a family that has grace and favor on it and get in that boat.
Joseph's brothers came into grace and favor because of Joseph who was graced with favor to serve before he was graced with favor to rule.
God also graced Ruth to serve before He graced her to rule. She served Naomi.
Principles to Learn about Leadership:
Do not follow leaders who have never learned to serve.
These would be people who have been catered to their whole lives.
Do not follow leaders who use their gifts and their favor to intimidate and belittle people who are beneath them.
In the Kingdom of God there is no such thing as little you's and big I's.
I am graced to serve where I am.
I am favored to serve where I am.
We have to get past this thought that one day I am going to get to this certain place and then I am going to use my grace or then I am going to use my favor.
Stop waiting to get there and realize you are graced for your place; no matter where that place is, today, right now.
Start planting your favor in the soil of your environment.
Grace and favor are given to us; we are stewards over them; and they are to be planted and used.
Favor can be Painful
When you look at favor in Joseph's life you can see where favor can be painful.
You open up somebodies dream then they forget you when you need help (Genesis 40:23).
People were all about Jesus when he was giving them fish sandwiches. But then he said, "If you want to be my disciple, take up my cross and follow me. . . If you want to be with me you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood. . .And they said, "This guy is weird, we are out of here."
You open up somebodies dream and they forget you when you need help or they reject you.
Joseph helped everyone that he came in touch with, in every situation, but they all forgot him.
Here is the Revelation from God, He is saying:
"I have used you to bless everyone else. . .
I know they've forgot you. . .But I've got you!"
I have seen it. . .I have heard. . .And I have not forgotten you!"
"You and everything you have prayed. . .which you have whispered to me through hot tears. . .
I will bring it to pass."
"You will bring a divine shift to your family, your present and your future."
"You will be a game changer to generations."
"You are graced for this place."
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. . ."
The power that is working in you is called the Grace of God!!!!
It is called the Favor of God!!!!
And man cannot stop it!!!!
People may forget you, turn their backs on you, and they may reject you. . .
But the Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty! Hallelujah!!!
God sees, God hears, and God will make a way.
Grace is the uncommon force, the uncommon favor that we have.
It is not based upon our background, our talent, abilities, or anything that we have earned.
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I am not waiting to get to a place I am graced for, I am already there!
I am not waiting to get to a place that I am favored for, I am already there!
1. Establish it in your heart.
2. Believe for it.
3. Confess it.
4. Receive it by faith.
5. Imagine it.
6. Start exercising it.
The Practical Application of Your Grace Place
What did Joseph and Ruth do to allow the dream and the miracle to take place?
1. They persevered in faith through the hard times.
They did not forsake God nor did they turn their backs on Him.
Joseph spent thirteen years in slavery.
Ruth was homeless and an outcast.
Those who see their God given dreams fulfilled are the ones who persevered through hard times.
They are the people who refused to quit.
2. They kept the blessing by maintaining their character and their attitude. They stayed grateful.
Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man's dream in one night and each man's dream with its [own] interpretation. And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they [were] sad. So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in the custody of his lord's house, saying, "Why do you look so sad today?"
We read this and it just flies right by. But if you were Joseph and you were there with these men, and they were looking sad, the temptation would be to sympathize with them by stating how bad your situation is. You could say, "I'm just serving God and doing everything right and look at what it gotten me. I will just set here and be sad with you."
Instead Joseph asked them, "Why are you looking so sad today?"
You have to know that wherever you find yourself today God is going to give you grace and favor for it.. Stay hopeful, stay thankful, stay humble, keep a good attitude.
So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after [him] in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter."
She Stayed Hopeful.
She was saying, "I don't know what is out there. . . .I'm not sure. . .But I know this right now, we are homeless, we are destitute and we don't have anything, but I am going out there. . .And who knows?. . .I might find favor and I am going. . . Is it OK?"
She stayed thankful.
Those who stay grateful and hopeful are thankful people.
Breath in and take a breath of air and hold it. . .Now let it out. We take breathing for granted. Go visit the hospitals and see how difficult it is for some people to breath.
You will have a wake up call when you realize every breath is because of the grace of God.
Every step I can take is because of the grace of God.
Everything that is good in my life is because of the grace of God.
I got up this morning because of the grace and favor of God.
I am able to stand up in this church and preach because of the grace of God.
I told the Lord the other day, "I have a lot of problems but thank you that I am strong in you, and even though I have problems, I have strength in you to deal with them."
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving. It can turn routine jobs into joy.
It can change surprising and difficult assignments into blessings and steps toward your dreams and your destiny.
3. They refused to corrupt favor and grace.
We need to think of favor and grace as God's investment in us.
Then ask the question, "Can God trust me with the favor and grace that I am praying for?"
Are you believing God for some powerful things? If God cannot trust you with what He is giving you today, then how is He going to trust you with that which you are believing for?
Can God trust me with the power? With the leadership?
Be like Joseph and do the right thing even when you don't like that you do it.
Most people would want to get revenge on their brothers, but not Joseph because he refused to corrupt the favor and grace that was on him. His favor and grace was not in vain.
This is doing the right thing right!
Joseph had to have work through a place where he thought, "I must be the stupidest person in the world for being good to them after what they did to me. . ."
"My flesh wants to. . . !"
"My mouth wants to. . . !"
"But. . .I am going to act right toward them even though I don't like the fact that I am acting right toward them."
Do the right thing even when you don't like that you are doing it.
Even when we are hurting we will rise up above how we feel.
I am not saying things don't hurt.
When Joseph was about to reveal himself to his brothers there was a cry that went out from deep within him (Genesis 45:2).
I am sure it was because of the pain and the scares for all that they had put him through.
All that had been bottled up inside him. . .Not knowing if his father was alive or dead.
While he was in prison he spent years with no one to share how he felt.
Mostly no one cared how he felt.
In a specific moment Joseph cried out and it was so deep and so strong the servants came to see if he was alright.
Joseph did not abuse the grace and favor of God. Instead of abuse He give them blessings.
He sent wagons of gifts to his father and brought his entire family to live out their days in the land of Goshen, which was the most fertile land in all of Egypt at that time.
Stay in the season that God has you in and the grace and favor of God will take you exactly where you need to go. In that moment you can load up the wagons and you can be the blessing also.
There was grace for Jacob's place because God had somebody in a place of favor and grace; somebody who would be responsible to keep their heart right and the wagons of Egypt began to roll toward Jacob and preserve his family.
You must know that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He can load up the wagons of Egypt for anyone who will trust Him and know that there is grace for the place that He has you in.
4. They did not wait for the stage to shine.
Don't wait for the stage to release your gifts.
God told me one day to take the things I had been writing and post them on Facebook. To not be concerned about putting them in a book for sale. I am not waiting to write a book I can sale before I can start blessing people. I am going ahead and putting it out there now. People can copy it, do all kinds of stuff with it, and I say Good! Glory to God!
Be a blessing to somebody.
I am not waiting until they put me on TV to start doing what I am called to do.
I am going to release the gifts I have today. . .
I am going to release the favor I have today. . .
I am going to bless people today. . .
Let's shine where we are!
They diligently applied their natural gifts whether it was leadership, administration, or being a caretaker. They were faithful in any and every situation: slavery, jail, Pharaoh's court, in Moab, on the journey back to Bethlehem, in Bethlehem, and in Boaz's field.
Our character is reflected in our work. . .Favor should be reflected in our everyday grind.
"In Jesus' name I am hidden in Christ my Savior.
I am righteous in Christ, accepted and sealed.
I am entitled to the covenant grace and favor of Jesus that is and will continually surround me.
I expect the grace and favor of God to be upon me, through me, and around me wherever I go and in whatever I do.
I declare grace and favor to be my shield from anything and everything the enemy may seek to throw my way.
I am blessed with favor in my life, my work, my business, and my home. . .
IN EVERY DAILY TASK AND ASSIGNMENT.
I am the head and not the tail.
I am set above, not below.
I am positioned to experience the immeasurable, unsurpassable, unimaginable grace of God.
I choose now to believe for the best in my life and for my future no matter what the circumstances or assignment.
Yes, I believe. . . Yes I believe. . .Yes I believe favor for me and I accept God's grace, goodness and favor starting right now and increasing every day!
I WILL FAITHFULLY DAY BY DAY BE FAITHFUL WITH GOD'S FAVOR!"