Thank God it’s all about grace.
FEBRUARY 22, 2021
Zach Van Dyke:
Thank God it’s all about grace. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
You’re listening to Key Life. We’re here to communicate the freeing truth that God’s not mad at his children. Steve Brown invited Zach Van Dyke to do the teaching this week. Zach’s the teaching pastor at Summit Church here in Orlando, Florida. If you’re a struggling believer, you’ve come to the right place.
Zach Van Dyke:
Thank you Matthew. And thank you all for joining me today. I am so excited to be with you all. I love this. I love that Steve lets me come in here about once a month and talk with y’all about what God is doing in my heart. And I’m so excited about this week, because we’re talking about my very favorite thing in the whole wide world. And that’s grace. I started saying about 15 years ago. I’m so glad it’s all about grace. And I am, that hasn’t changed, for the last 15 years, I am definitely so glad it’s all about grace. I started saying that as a reluctant young youth pastor, you see, I didn’t want to go into a ministry job. I had a seminary professor who said, if you make your living off your religion, you’ll either lose your living or your religion. And so I fought hard against actually doing ministry as work, but it’s not because of the reason you might think. I didn’t want to do this job, because I knew that I would fail a lot. I knew that most of the time, I could put on a good show, I could spin a mistake and make my failures seem not that significant. Maybe even hide them completely. They’d be unknown to most, but I knew that there was no way I have what it takes to do this job. I knew I wouldn’t be as Holy as I should be. In fact, I knew there were times that I wouldn’t even want to be as Holy as I should want to be. I knew there would be struggles with doubts about whether or not this is even true. I’ve talked to you all about that, sometimes I’ve come on here and said, you know, pastors, people in ministry, they struggle with doubts too. I knew my wife and my kids would see my hypocrisy. But I mostly knew that growing up in the Christian environment that I did and winning awards at my Christian high school for being Christian of the Year. And yes, it is a real award. I’m actually right now looking at one of the trophies. We’ve got one of the trophies here in the Key Life studios. If you don’t believe me, you can ask our producer, Jeremy, he can verify that there is a gold trophy, that says my name and says that I was Christian of the Year. You see, I knew, I knew that I know how to play the Christian game. I knew what to do in order to be seen as this upstanding, Godly person. And I also knew that I can quickly fall into legalistic, moral, striving performance-based faith that has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus. So. I really didn’t want to go into ministry as work. I didn’t want it as a job. And I reluctantly accepted a job as a youth pastor, ironically or providentially. However, you look at it in the church that I grew up in, in the same church that I won that award for being a good Christian, but this is what I decided. I decided I was going to make sure that no matter what I talked about with the students that God had called me to, no matter what passage of Scripture I was teaching them, I would always land everything I said, every message on grace, because I wanted them to know no matter what messages they hear from the world, which isn’t very gracious. And maybe more importantly, what destructive messages they hear from uptight, self-righteous Christians, that everything they would hear for me about Christianity would always end with grace. And I know, it was as much about them as it was about me. In order for me to keep doing the work, in order for me to do ministry as a job, I needed to daily be reminded that it’s all about grace. So within my first year of ministry, I started ending all my talks, “I’m so glad it’s all about grace”. Now. I don’t end every sermon saying that, but it’s what I’m always thinking. And if I ever preach a sermon, I’ve told my congregation this. If I ever preach a sermon to y’all and I don’t leave you with grace, I’ve failed. So, what is grace? Do you have a definition? When I said at the beginning of this program, we’re going to spend this week talking about grace. What immediately popped into your head? When you think about grace, what emotions come to the surface? Are you wary of it? Worried that it would cause bisensuousness or laziness? Do you smile? Do you let out a sigh of relief? When I say the word grace, how do you respond? What do you think of, do you think immediately of people who embody grace or people who abuse grace? When you think about extending grace to someone, what does that look like for you? And does it have limits for you? Are there some people that you just think I can’t show them grace, because, Oh man, it will end badly for them. A few weeks ago, I preached a sermon where I quoted Titus 2:11. And it wasn’t the main point of the sermon at all. But ever since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about this one verse. I don’t know if you’ve ever read a verse and it just, it sticks to you. It’s like you weren’t, it wasn’t even the main point. It wasn’t even what you were really focused on, but it’s the verse that keeps coming back to mind. And, and it grabs hold of you in a way that you can’t escape. It, it, it won’t let go of you. It’s like it’s chasing after you. And sometimes it shows up in the most inconvenient times, like, Hey, I’m just trying to hate watch some reality TV right now. Right. And then all of a sudden that verse pops into your head. Well, that’s Titus 2:11 for me. It grabbed hold of me and it won’t let me go. And so this week, that’s what I want to talk about. I want to spend the whole week, just talking about this one verse. So, let me read it for you, Titus 2:11.
For the grace of God has appeared, that offers salvation to all people.
This is God’s word. So, what is grace? What does that verse telling us? I love what Philip Yancey says about grace. He calls it, the last best word. In his book, what’s So Amazing About Grace, he makes the case, that words tend to spoil over time, their meaning rots away. It’s one of the reasons that it’s important to have different translations of the Bible, because sometimes word’s meaning change over time. So you could translate a word one way and think it means something. And then years down the road, that word has significantly changed. It’s why it’s important sometimes to go back to the original languages. And I know when a preacher says and the original Greek or the original Hebrew, I know what you’re thinking, cause I’m thinking it too. But listen, I do it, but y’all I got a D in Greek. Okay. So I’m not bragging. I’m not trying to show off. I’m simply good at reading commentaries of people who love and understand Greek, but there’s something in the original language that sometimes we lose over time. Sometimes words change in meaning, sometimes words spoil. For example, when the King James Version of the Bible was being translated, the translator spent a lot of time trying to figure out what would be the best word to describe the highest form of love. And they landed on the word charity. Now for me, I hear the word charity today. And it doesn’t immediately give me the warm fuzzies inside. In fact, I sometimes think, I don’t want your charity. Right? And so charity, I don’t think today is the best word to describe the highest form of love, but what Philip Yancey says in What’s So Amazing About Grace is that grace is the one grand theological word that has not spoiled over time. It hasn’t spoiled. It’s the last best word, and think about it. Every form of the word. When you hear the word grace in any form, there’s some of the glory of the original. People say grace before a meal, right? Acknowledging that their daily food, is a gift from God. We’re grateful when someone shows us kindness, we’re gratified by good news, we’re congratulated when successful, we’re gracious in hosting friends. When we’re pleased with someone’s service, we leave a gratuity. Yancey says in each of these uses, you hear the paying of childlike delight in the undeserved. So what is grace? Grace is undeserved. It cannot be anything else. By definition, grace is undeserved. When I look back at my start in ministry and how reluctant I was to do this work. Again and again, what I see, is God showing up in ways that were undeserved for me. There were so many times that I got it wrong. You know, now I’m a parent of teenagers and I look back on some of the ways in which I was leading these teenagers and, the ways I was thinking about their parents and thinking their parents were just missing it. And the parents just didn’t get it. And now as a parent of teenagers, I’m like, I was what I was an arrogant young man who knew nothing about what it’s like to raise teenagers. But what God has done again and again is show me that in all of this, it’s all about grace. And I’m so thankful that the back then, when I first started, he pressed it so deeply on my heart that no matter what I taught. No matter what passage of Scripture I cover, to always end. I’m so glad it’s all about grace.
Thank you Zach. That was Pastor Zach Van Dyke introducing a verse, the verse that we’ll be exploring the rest of this week, Titus 2:11. So much more to hear from Zach. And we’ll get into that tomorrow. Make sure you join us. Well if you listen to this program, Key Life, then you’ve been blessed to hear some really great stories from Steve and Zach too. But did you know that Steve wrote a story? It’s actually a parable. It’s all about a boy who loved music and baked into every detail of this beautiful parable is the essence of Key Life’s teaching on grace, the heart of God’s message to us. The story is small. It fits in the size of a booklet, but even though it’s brief, you will never forget it. Get your copy, while supplies last, by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, just send it to
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