Sermons
Sunday Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Dig In Deep - August 20, 2017

Romans 8:1-4, 12-17

As we think about grace and the ways God is at work in our lives. It's key (pun intended!) to see grace as a gift. We have to realize God is always offering that gift. That's what we call prevenient grace. It's here...before us before we look for it or notice it or dare to get close to it. God's gift is here for us.
And that gift isn't meant to just sit here and look pretty. It's not a hood ornament....it's something for us to receive and use daily. We have to open that gift to appreciate it. Seeing

the gift that God has offered and being willing to take it, that's justifying grace. It's the grace that helps us to see that we need help and that God offers that help through Jesus. Justifying grace is the gift of forgiveness, new beginnings, and second chances.
And then we are invited to use it. Now, I could hang it around my neck or stick it in my pocket. I could fiddle with it from time to time....many of us do. But really, grace is a gift God intends for us to receive and use EVERY DAY. And as we learn to use this gift....really, to be shaped and changed by it...transformed by the power of Christ....that's the Christian journey. In the Methodist Church we call it sanctifying grace...it's the grace that keeps making us holy like Jesus. It's the grace that helps us learn and understand the scriptures. It's the grace that makes us more consistent in our prayer life. It's the grace that gives us compassion and understanding to help those in need. It's the grace that gives us the courage to stare down our prejudice and let go of what we learned from our parents....or our neighbors....or the media....to stop seeing people as stereotypes and instead to see people as people...as God's people....worthy of kindness, goodness, and love...not because they've earned it, but because God offers it. It's the grace that nudges us to sacrifice a want for someone else's need. Sanctifying grace is what helps us see our vices and lay them aside.

Sanctifying grace is what allows us to differentiate, as Paul says in his letter to the Romans between the desires of the flesh and life in the Spirit. The gift of salvation through Christ isn't just meant for us to have a key to heaven. It's meant so that we have a key to earth....where we can live like Jesus....not because of our power or desires....but because of the Holy Spirit living in us. Sanctifying grace allows us to keep drawing closer and closer to God, and in that process to draw closer and closer to each other.

Interactive: Hula hoop with ribbons. The hula hoop represents God. The ribbons represent God's connection to us. I need a few volunteers to help us see. (have each volunteer take the end of one of the ribbons/threads)

God has a hold on us. That's this line. This is prevenient grace. It's actually tied around us....we don't choose this connection, God has already chosen us and created a permanent relationship. Now, we may or may not be aware of the connection. We may or may not know that it's there or that there is anyone on the other end. But regardless of our awareness, God's gift is always there. When we come into awareness of this connection. When we see God and see ourselves and see the truth of our need for God....when we confess our failures and ask for forgiveness, that's justifying grace. And then as we choose to draw closer to God and intentionally build that relationship....that's sanctifying grace. It's not just about being forgiven once or even forgiven 100 times, it's also about how we seek to be more like Jesus in our every day living....and that's about getting to know God and building that relationship. But it's also about something even more than that—you see, all these other people are here too. Being near to God means being near to them too. The Christian life makes a distinct claim that we cannot draw closer to God if we do not also draw closer to each other. We're going to bump up against each other, maybe even feel like some people are in our way. But they are here as part of the journey. We have to learn to get along, to communicate, to look at their example, and to help each other too.

We are meant to show compassion, empathy, and understanding....not just when it's easy, but when it's really really hard.

We're supposed to let grace polish us with patience, even though patience doesn't come wrapped up in a pretty little box...but instead, it's hard won through some pretty trying situations...all the while grace is there to help us take deep breaths, offer more time, and see with different eyes.

Now it's important to know that while grace allows us to live differently, even challenges us to live differently...., our living differently isn't what saves us. Grace through Jesus is what saves us. And because we are saved, we are free to live differently....free to live like Christ. It seems simple but it's incredibly significant. Choosing Christ gifts us the Holy Spirit and having the Holy Spirit allows us to be changed from selfishness, greed, pride, and fear. We should seek after that change. And we need to be careful not to believe that our actions are what makes us right with God. I am able because of Jesus. He's not secondary, Jesus is primary. For me and for you.

Current Church News

Get Directions

Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...

Our Latest News