How Sweet the Sound – Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace is an amazing song. Some estimates claim that Amazing Grace is performed roughly 10 million times annually. Regardless of exactly how many times it is played, Amazing Grace is easily one of the most recognizable hymns in the English-speaking world. Even with its success, Amazing Grace does not do justice to God’s amazing grace for each of us. But in some small way, the song helps us appreciate God’s grace in a new and more profound way.
Something To Talk About:
Amazing Grace is a song about one man’s real and ugly sin — the sin of slavery. At the same time it is a song about the power of forgiveness, a song about looking into the depths of very real evil and, even there, especially there, finding grace that is bigger than all the hate.
- God’s gift to me: Grace is God’s part and His gift to me, to everyone. By definition, the word grace means unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor. Grace has nothing to do with you. God desires all men to be saved, but we cannot save ourselves. It is impossible to accumulate merit before God. Regardless of what we may do that is approved of God, we are still saved by grace. It is a gift. Grace is God’s part.
- Receive by faith: Faith is defined as being a positive response to what God has already provided by grace. In other words, faith is your positive response to God’s grace. Faith is our part. It says we are saved by grace through faith, not one or the other. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) says,: 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God looks at faith, not works. His power is found in people who trust His goodness instead of their good behavior. We need to receive His grace, or unmerited favor, through faith.
- Available to everyone: God’s grace doesn’t play favorites. Regardless of your status, your background, or the highs and lows of your life, God loves you. God’s grace is for everyone. And God’s grace is for all of us. Even though we sin. Even though we have weaknesses. But the overwhelming message of the Bible is that God’s grace is still available to you. Romans 4:16 says, “So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.”When the Bible says that God’s grace is available to all, it gives no preconditions. It means God’s grace is available to you whether you’re a frequent church attender, a spiritual novice, rich, poor, tall, short, or somewhere in between. God’s grace is available to you by faith.
- Grace comes through Christ: The Bible is very clear that saving grace comes through Jesus Christ alone. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 ESV). Acts 15:11 adds, “We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” And Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” Jesus is the only source of saving grace. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV). Jesus Christ is the only true source of grace.
- Grace extended throughout eternity “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus….” (I Peter 5:10) The grace of God is infinite, illimitable and inexhaustible. We find a number of Scriptures for the subject of this message; but we reduce them to look at two verses. First is a verse which speaks of God’s grace before the world began: “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time–to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” And the other which tells of the grace of God in the ages to come: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” You might say that grace is the gift that keeps on giving. When you get to know Jesus Christ and His grace and love, it is available today and and extended throughout eternity.
- About what percentage of the song Amazing Grace do you think you could recite from memory? Look up the lyrics to the song Amazing Grace. Which parts of the song do you especially identify with? Why?
- As a group, let’s come up with a practical definition of grace. What is grace?
- Why is grace not explained in terms of an employer-employee or seller-buyer relationship?
- What is the difference between a Christian who is motivated by grace and someone who does good works to gain a right standing with God?
- Read Ephesians 2:1-10: How does that make you feel? How should we respond to these truths?
- God’s grace lasts forever, and nothing can snatch us from His hand. How does that fact help us face our fears?
- How have you seen God’s amazing grace at work in or though you? What are some of the ways grace has saved you?
- How can God’s grace and strength help us in our life’s vision/mission?
- Did God stir you or show you something? Is there an action to take in the area of grace?
Take one thing home with you
The tomb is empty. Oh the overflow that resulted from that single event. After His death on the cross, Jesus rose, conquering sin, Satan and death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest event in all history, for this event is the earthly culmination of God’s atoning work on the cross.
During Easter season, it is hard to not be impressed with the grace of God. Especially when we think of Jesus, specifically His suffering in the place of all sinners. Or when we think of Jesus, the one who is due all glory and honor, bearing all of my shame and dishonor, so that I might be forgiven.