By Jack Wellman
There are many great natural sermon illustrations. Jesus used natural illustrations in giving examples of the gospel or the kingdom of God. Here are five great sermon illustrations on grace that you might want to consider adding to your toolbox.
Table of contents
1. Grace is…
I love the acrostic for grace: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. That is spot on. God’s grace could be defined as this: God gives us what we don’t deserve. Mercy could be defined as this: God doesn’t give us what we do deserve. We are saved by grace and not by works (Eph 2:8-9) and that’s why the gospel is such good news because if we had to depend upon works, none of us could make it and none of us could ever be sure if we’d done enough good works to be saved. That’s why messages on grace are so powerful and effective in proclaiming the gospel of redemption through Jesus Christ and why every message should include repentance, confession, faith in Christ, all made possible by the grace of God. There is never anything that we could ever do to earn it, otherwise it wouldn’t be grace! God’s grace was the most expensive thing that has ever been paid for and it was paid for by Jesus’ own life. It was free for us but it was of the utmost expense to God. What we could have never afforded to buy came to us completely free because He paid a debt He did not owe for a debt we could not pay.
2. Happy Birthday
The older I get the less I like birthdays because they seem to be coming at an ever-increasing rate. I suppose I should be happy that I made it this far but grace being like a birthday gift is a great illustration of the grace of God. Jesus said that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3-7) but the best translation is that we must be “born from above” as the Greek indicates. If we are “born from above” then can we boast about it? Of course not, any more than we can brag about our natural birth. We had nothing to do with it. Did we plan when we would be born? Did we plan where we would be born? Did we plan who our parents would be? No, this was beyond our reach or ability to control and so too is the way in which a person is born again. We are born from above which is brought about by the God “from above.” There is not one thing that we did or anything that we could ever do to cause our being born again any more than we could have talked our parents into having us be born. The only thing we contribute is that we must choose to repent and trust in Christ but we can’t even come to Jesus unless the Father draws us (John 6:44). That is why grace simply amazing.
Preach grace as often as you can, as much as you can, for as much of the glory of God as you can.
3. Raising Lazarus
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, what did Lazarus contribute to it? The answer is nothing! Jesus didn’t go into Lazarus’ tomb and ask Lazarus to contribute to his being raised. Jesus didn’t say, “Okay Lazarus, if you move a finger, I’ll do the rest. If you blink your eye, that’ll show me that you really want to be raised from the dead. If you really, really want to be raised from the dead, at least do something!” No! Lazarus had nothing to do with having himself raised from dead. Paul reminds us that “you were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1) and “even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:5). Yes, “you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:13-14). We were made alive; we were raised from the dead that sins had wrought on us. God is the One Who made us alive. Salvation is fully a work of God thereby giving Him the glory and it was “not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:9). If it was by our own efforts, knowing human nature…knowing my nature, I would boast and I would imagine that you would too.
4. Jonathan’s Son, Mephibosheth
When David became King over all of Israel, David inquired about any of Jonathan’s family because David loved Jonathan. Jonathan had been killed but David wanted to know if there were any of his relatives that were left alive. There was one and “Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth” (2 Sam 4:4). So David summoned Mephibosheth and he “came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, ‘Mephibosheth.’ And he said, ‘Here is your servant’ And David said to him, ‘Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always’” (2 Sam 9:6-7). In true humility Mephibosheth said “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I? Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson” (2 Sam 9:8). David told Mephibosheth’s servant, “And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table. Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons” (2 Sam 9:10-11) “And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet” (2 Sam 9:13).
That is grace. Mephibosheth did nothing to deserve this graciousness. Like Mephibosheth, we came crippled, on our face, before the king bringing nothing to the king’s table. Mephibosheth, like we, can be at the King of king’s table. We shall have all the bread we need even though we were nothing more than a “dead dog.” We have no need to fear when we come to the King. Like Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba, the land that belonged to Saul is given to us…the land will produce and provide for us. We were all disabled by sin, we were all “dead dogs,” we all brought nothing to the King’s table, yet we, like Mephibosheth, can eat at the king’s table and be “like one of the king’s sons.” That is grace to the nth degree.
5. Seeing You as He Sees Jesus
One of the most remarkable doctrines of the Bible is that we can have Jesus’ righteousness imputed toward us because it was “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). It was “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” (Rom 3:22-25). After a person repents and places their trust in Christ, they receive grace and then they are “justified by his grace as a gift” through the costly “redemption that is in Christ…by his blood” and this was done “to show God’s righteousness” because “he had passed over former sins.” Let’s see just how much we contributed to this: the universal sign of nothing is “0.” When God now looks at us, He doesn’t see the sinful, wicked, wretched sinner but He sees the righteousness of Christ. Again, this is all a work of God.
Preach grace as often as you can, as much as you can, for as much of the glory of God as you can because that’s what grace is. It is unmerited favor at Christ’s expense. It’s what He gives us that we do not deserve, nor can ever deserve, or can ever earn. That’s why grace is so amazing.
Something else for you to read: Walking and Creativity
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Grace means to get something that you do not deserve; unmerited favor. Mercy means you do not get a punishment that you deserve; compassion, forbearance. God is abundant in grace and mercy and we can read about it in the Bible. His greatest act of grace is the gift of salvation that is available for all people through faith (Eph 2:8-9). When the gift is accepted, eternal life is promised to the recipient. This eternal life is a promise of a home one day in heaven with God. The promise to the believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that one day Jesus the Christ will return to earth to claim His purchased possession (Eph 1:12-14; 4:30). Jesus purchased every sinner with His own blood on the cross at Calvary.
You can read more about the grace of God and the Savior Jesus here. Following are twenty inspirational Bible verses about grace.
Esther 2:16-17 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Jeremiah 31:2-3 Thus says the LORD:”The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Acts 15:39-40 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 11:22-24 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
Acts 14:1-3 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
John 1:15-17 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Acts 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Romans 1:1-5 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Grace: A Gift Eternal
Romans 3:20-24 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
Romans 4:15-17 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”— in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:12-21 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Christian Quotes About Grace
“Do you find life too difficult for you? So did we, but not now, with the amplitudes of grace there are for us in Jesus Christ, it grows satisfying and successful and exciting beyond measure, becomes another and a richer thing.” ~ A. J. Gossip
“Just as the sinner’s despair of any hope from himself is the first prerequisite of a sound conversion, so the loss of all confidence in himself is the first essential in the believer’s growth in grace.” ~ A. W. Pink
“The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.” ~ A. W. Tozer
“Grace, then, is grace,–that is to say, it is sovereign, it is free, it is sure, it is unconditional, and it is everlasting.” ~ Alexander Whyte
“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Do you have a favorite Bible Verse of Quote about grace? Share it in the comments below. Also, if you liked this topic you might also find some of these other good Bible Verse articles helpful:
Bible Verses By Topic– Check out this list of different Bible topics with a set of verses for each topic.
25 Bible Verses About Love– What does the Bible say about love? Check out these great scriptures and quotes.
101 Proverbs About Money– An extensive list of great verses related to money.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
www.youtube.com Song “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” By Chris Tomlin
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If God is no respecter of persons and He was willing to release and impart His divine grace upon the apostle Paul so that Paul could successfully carry out all of his divine assignments for Him – then I believe that God will do the exact same thing for each born-again believer who will fully surrender their lives over to Him.
If you really want to see how far God can actually take you in this life to become everything that He is calling you to become in Him – study these next 5 verses very, very carefully, as they are giving you a major, powerful, spiritual secret.
If the apostle Paul can have the grace and power of God flowing and operating through him, then so can you if you are willing to work in cooperation and in union with the Lord.
Here are 6 major power verses showing you what God can do through an anointed believer, and how far He can really take you in this supernatural realm if you are willing to yield to it and work with Him on it.
- “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.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
- “… of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ …” (Ephesians 3:7-8)
- “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God …” (Romans 15:15-16)
- “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles …” (Galatians 1:15)
- “For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)
- “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. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
The first verse perfectly sets the stage as to what had happened between God and Paul. Paul makes one of the most classic statements ever made on the power of God’s grace operating through a believer when he says that it is “by the grace of God I am what I am.”
Paul grasped a very powerful, spiritual secret and truth when he came to the full realization and the full conclusion that all of the successes in his life were as a direct result of the grace of God that was upon him and his life. It was by the divine power of God flowing and operating through him that caused him to probably become the greatest of all of the New Testament apostles.
Paul continues to hammer home this point in the additional verses listed above. Notice in the second verse he says that he first became a minister of the gospel as a result of the “gift of the grace of God” that was given to him. In the third verse he once more makes the direct statement that he became a minister of Jesus Christ “because of the grace” that was given to him.
In the second last verse he sums it all up very nicely when he says that it was not with “fleshly wisdom” that he was able to walk and work with the Lord so successfully – it was “by the grace of God” that was upon him that he was able to walk and work so successfully for the Lord.
Paul knew that he did not have the natural abilities within his own mental and emotional makeup to be taking on these kinds of extraordinarily, heavy, divine assignments from the Lord. As I pointed out in my article titled, “Trials and Tribulations – The Testing of Your Faith,” this man literally had to go through hell and high water to accomplish everything that the Lord wanted him to accomplish in this life.
In that article, I gave you a list of all of the troubles and hardships that he had to personally face and endure as God launched him off to preach the gospel and write the epistles he ended up writing.
This man knew, and had grasped very early on, that the only way he was going to make it through all of these trying ordeals was to completely rely on God and His supernatural power to see him through all of it.
And just as Paul needed to completely rely on God and His divine power and grace to fully accomplish all of his divine assignments for the Lord, so too must we learn to do the exact same thing.
Paul is without question, one of the greatest role-models and heroes of the faith from our Bible.
The reason he was able to become so successful in his own personal walk with the Lord is that he found out very early on the spiritual secrets that he was going to need with the Lord – and the first and most powerful secret and truth he found was learning how to walk in the grace of God for his life.
As a result of all of the trials and tribulations he had to personally go through to make it to his own finish line in the Lord – he once again makes a very intense and powerful statement. The last verse above has to do with the thorn in his flesh that the Lord would not take away from him.
Once he realized that God was not going to take this thorn out of him in order to keep him humble with what had been given to him – he ends this incredible verse by stating that he would rather boast all day long in all of his infirmities, persecutions, and distresses – because he came to the revelation that when he would become weak by going through all of these adversities, then he would actually become stronger as a result of relying on God’s power and grace to actually see him through all of it.
God Himself tells Paul right at the beginning of this verse that His grace is going to be more than sufficient for him to weather this particular adversity.
And if God’s grace was going to be more than sufficient for him to weather this particular adversity, then that same grace would be more than enough to get him through the rest of the storm clouds that he would have to eventually face later on.
The lesson to be learned from all of this is that no matter how rough and hard your life may get from time to time – realize that God’s grace and power resting upon you and flowing through you will be more than enough for you to be able to take on the storm clouds of this life and eventually make it through these storm clouds in one piece and gain eventual victory – just like He did with the apostle Paul. If God is no respecter of persons, then what He did for Paul He will do for you if you will just fully trust Him to do it for you!
This is part of our series on the Grace of God, you can read the rest here,
1. 1st Corinthians 15:9-11 AMPLIFIED VERSION
The apostle Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth:
15:9 “For I am the least worthy of the apostles, who am not fit or deserving to be called an apostle, because I once wronged and pursued and molested the church of God, oppressing it with cruelty and with violence.
15:10 But by the Grace (the unmerited favor) of God I am what I am, and His Grace toward me was not found to be for nothing. In fact, I worked harder than all of them, though it was not really I, but the Grace of God which was with me.
15:11 So, whether then it was I or they, this is what we preach and this is what you believe.”
You can call this a sermon or a testimony tonight, it really makes no difference to me, but I’d simply like to speak to you for just a little while on this thought, “I Am What I Am ONLY By The Grace Of God.”
2. Grace simply means the unmerited or undeserved favor of God.
Webster’s Dictionary defines Grace as “Unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification”. It also says that it is, “A virtue coming from God”.
You can’t work hard enough and earn grace.
You can’t be good enough for grace.
Grace is freely given to us by God.
Romans 3:23 – 24 from the Amplified Bible says, “All have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. All are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is provided in Christ Jesus.”
Thank God for His gift of Grace.
Where would I be tonight, but for the Grace of God.
3. Some time ago, I was at a church for the weekend services and I staying in the evangelistic quarters.
It was late on a Saturday night and I was seeking God’s direction for the following days services.
While I was in there meditating, I began looking back at my own life and where I was in my walk with the Lord at that time.
I thought to myself, “Here I am preaching, singing and sharing the good news of God’s mercy in my life and I was pretty amazed at how far I’d come over the past few years.
To think, I’m actually preaching. Me???!!!
That’s nearly unbelievable.
Nobody could be more unworthy than myself.
I’ve come quite a long way from where I used to be and life is going pretty well over all.
I’m selling CDs and tapes.
My schedule is staying full.
I’ve really done quite well for myself.”
If you’ll notice in my thoughts, I was giving myself a whole lot of credit for where I’d come from.
“Lord, Help us to realize that we are nothing within ourselves and that ALL GOOD things come from you alone!
But as I pondered these sorts of thoughts and I felt a hint of pride welling up within myself, this question began piercing it’s way into my consciousness, “What has Grace done in your life?”
As I began to focus on this question, I began to see what God was wanting me to see.
I began to realize that there’s a lot more to it than, “I’ve done pretty good for myself”.
I began to realize that because of things that I had done for myself years earlier, that God’s Grace had to reach that much farther for me.
I realized that Grace is the reason that I’m alive!
Grace is the reason my mind is working and my heart is beating.
Grace is the reason that I’m able to sing and preach.
It didn’t take me very long to see the handprint of God’s Grace all over the days and years of my life.
I cried and said, “Lord, I know what I am.
Forgive me for boasting within myself.
You have delivered me from drugs, alcohol, death and hell and I Am What I Am today ONLY by your Grace and nothing more!”
My friend, we’d better know that it’s only by His Grace that we’re able to be here right now.
If things are going well in your life, you’d better remember that God gets the glory.
4. Whenever I was in drug rehab, I was there with 14 other addicts.
They were 14 other nice folks, who simply had a real serious problem, just as I did.
This isn’t a brag or a boast in anyway upon myself, but I can say that by the Grace of God I was able to establish a relationship with Him and it’s only through that relationship based on His Grace that I’ve remained clean and sober for 4 ½ years.