Grace Upon Grace Upon Grace

Grace Upon Grace Upon Grace


James 4:6 ESV  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  • Last week we preached on James 4:4-5… and the first three words of those Scriptures were: “You adulterous people”.
    • So I preached a hard message about not cheating on God.
    • If you remember, those words, You Adulterous People, were written to Christians who were trying to have a relationship with God and a relationship with the world.
      • They wanted to be married to Christ but have the world as a mistress.
      • And James proclaims “You adulterous people, do you not know that friendship with the world is Enmity with God? Being a friend of the world makes you an enemy of God.”
    • I mean really for the past few chapters James has been going HARD… like really hard… calling out the sin of these Christians who have been spread out because of Roman persecution.
      • He has rebuked them for the sin of partiality, he ahs rebuked them for letting their tongues run wild and cursing instead of blessing… and he has rebuked them for not having enough good works to prove their faith…
        • In James 4:4 he calls the Christians he is writing to “Adulterous people”
        • And in chapter 2 verse 20 he calls these Christians he is writing to “Foolish people”.
          • And then comes verse 6: But God gives more grace.
            • BUT HE GIVES MORE GRACE.
  • Yes we mess up.
    • Yes we have huge blind spots, and prejudices.
    • We fall into passivity and laziness.
    • We run our mouth and curse others God has told us to bless.
    • We covet and envy and greed and lust.
      • And while, for all of this, we deserve destruction… God gives more grace.
        • Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
          • He gives more grace.
  • He gives more grace! Let’s pray.
  • Let’s get right into it with point one this morning: God Gives Grace to The Humble.

Point One – God Gives Grace To the Humble

James 4:6 ESV  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

·         James here is quoting an old testament principal that is found all throughout the Bible, but you kind find these words nearly exactly in Psalm 18 and proverbs 3:

Psalms 18:27 ESV  For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

Proverbs 3:34 ESV  Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.

  • God gives favor to the humble, and He saves a humble people.
    • But to the proud, the mockers and scorners, those with haughty eyes… with a boastful and proud attitude… to the proud he brings down and resists.
      • Now, like I said in the introduction, we have spent a lot of time talking about the proud, the greedy, the prejudice, the lazy, and the spiteful…
        • And I don’t think this sermon needs to be about all that, because again, the first words are “But God gives more grace”.
        • In the same way that I would have done last weeks sermon a disservice by preaching “You adulterous people” in a kind, softy, warm and fuzzy kind of way…
        • I think I would do this scripture… the But God gives more grace scripture… I would do this scripture a disservice by preaching it hard and full of convection and rebuke.
          • So let’s just sum up the warning and rebuke right now this morning “Don’t be proud… don’t think of yourself as higher than God or others… instead, repent from pride and humble yourself. Because God gives grace to the humble”.
            • If you need more rebuke than that this morning, go back and listen to last weeks sermon, or come back next week! I am sure there will be something for you then…
            • But for today, let’s just enjoy the goodness and kindness of a God who gives more grace.
              • Grace upon Grace upon Grace upon Grace upon Grace upon Grace.
  • So again my point this morning is “God gives grace to the humble”
    • And to understand this we need to understand both words, “Grace” and “Humble”.

What does Humble mean?

  • I think humility is best shown in John chapter 3, so let’s start there to talk about what it means to be humble. Go with me to John chapter 3… we will start at verse 22:

John 3:22-24 ESV  After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing.  (23)  John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized  (24)  (for John had not yet been put in prison).

  • So here we see John the Baptist doing what he was named for, Baptizing!
    • There is this big river and on one side John the Baptist is baptizing people… and then down the way, across the water off in the distance is Jesus… and Jesus is also baptizing people at the same time.
      • Ok, all well and good… that is until the pride of some of John’s disciples comes in.

John 3:25-26 ESV  Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification.  (26)  And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”

  • Wha-oh… “Your John the Baptist! Baptist is in your name! That guy over there shouldn’t be baptizing! That is your job. This is YOUR river… this is YOUR THING… who does He think He is… do you want us to go over there and tell Him what for?!”
  • John responds by saying “Hey, that is Jesus sent from heaven! I rejoice that people are being saved and baptized!” but then, just to make sure these disciples of his get the picture… John gives this verse, my favorite verse in the Bible…

John 3:30 ESV  “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

  • John’s disciples say “That guy is taking over what you should be doing!” and John replies “That guy is God! You want to send Him away but you have it all wrong! This river, this baptism, this world needs less of me and more of Him! I must decrease and He must increase!”
  • Church this is humility! Humility is saying “It is not about me! It is about Jesus!”
    • To be humble is to say “All that matters is that God reigns and others come to him. Whatever may happen to me, whatever others may think of me, that is irrelevant… Less of me and more of Him”.
    • To be humble is to say “Christ has all the power and all the authority and all the glory, and I have none, want none, and will take none. And if he gives me any kind of authority and any kind of power and any kind of glory then I will use it for Him! I will multiply it for Him. Because it is all from Him and it is all for Him!”
  • To be Humble is to say “I don’t deserve any of this… but should I get it… should I get forgiveness, should I get healing, should I get a calling, should I get spiritual gifts, should I get blessings, should I get grace… then I will use it all, every ounce of it, for God’s will to be done, for His Kingdom to come, for His name to be exalted… LESS OF ME AND MORE OF HIM.
  • This is biblical humility… and when we behave this way, God gives us grace.

What does Grace mean

  • So what then does grace mean? It comes from the Hebrew word “Khanan” which is where we get the English name Hannah.
    • And Khanan means “Undeserved Favor”
      • It means that God gives us favor even though we don’t deserve it.
  • And I think this is really well understood when you look at it through the eyes of Parenthood.
    • My kids are my favorite y’all.
      • I like my kids more than I like your kids.
      • I will do more for my kids than you will do for your kids.
        • Why? Is it because my kids are better than your kids? No! (I mean they probably are because my kids are awesome… but… no!)
        • It’s not’s because my kids deserve my favor more than your kids deserve my favor.
        • My kids have done nothing to earn that favor.
          • In fact I guarantee you that MY kids are a much bigger burden on my life than your kids are.
            • Yet none-the-less, they are my favorite.
      • Why? For no other reason then THEY ARE MINE.
        • These are my kids! They will always be my kids.
          • And, God forbid… if they ever curse me, curse my wife, and run away… No matter how far they run, no matter how long they are gone… I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE FOR THEM WHEN THEY COME BACK.
            • Not only will I be here for them, but I will be waiting for them, praying for them, waring for them.
      • Because they are my kids I give them my favor, it is not deserved, it is not earned, it just is. MY KIDS ARE MY KIDS and they have my unmerited favor… they always will.
  • So when YOUR kids ask me to take them to ice cream after Sunday service I am gonna be like “No man, I am tired, I am going home to nap… ask your parents”.
    • But please pastor Christian… PLEASE… we have been so good and haven’t had sweets all week”.
      • “No, little kid… stop being annoying… go find your parents… I am going home”
  • But when my kids ask…
    • “Daddy can we get ice cream after church?!”
      • “No, I am tired and want a nap”
    • “But daddy, we have been so good and haven’t had sweets all week… Please daddy PLEASE…”
      • “Sigh… OK, let’s get some Ice Cream!”
        • Now the only difference between those two scenarios is that my kids get extra favor, not because they deserve it, but because they are my kids.
  • Now if I, being a broken man, an imperfect father… if I can show favor like that to my kids… HOW MUCH MORE does GOD who is perfect show favor to HIS CHILDREN.

Matthew 7:11 ESV  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

  • God will give you good things not because you deserve it, but because you are His children, and He loves you, and He gives you unmerited favor, undeserved favor. God gives grace.
    • But He doesn’t give grace to just anyone… He gives Grace to the humble. Remember, that is our first point this morning…

 James 4:6 ESV  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  • God gives grace to the Humble!
    • To Adam and Eve God showed grace, creating coverings for them and allowing them to live out the rest of their days.
    • To early mankind, who deserved to be destroyed, God showed grace through Noah and his family.
    • To Abraham, and imperfect but humble man, God showed grace choosing Him to be the father of God’s people.
    • To Rehab, a prostitute in an evil city, God showed grace and saved her family.
    • To Moses, a murderer and run away fugitive, God showed grace calling him to greatness.
    • To Ruth, a poor widow and Moabite… God showed grace and gave her a husband, a kinsman redeemer.
    • To David, the youngest and unworthy son… the poor shepherd… God showed grace and made him king.
    • To Jonah, a disobedient prophet running from God, God showed grace sparing his life and giving him a free, albeit stinky, ride to Nineveh where God was calling him.
    • To Nineveh for that matter, a city so evil and wretched God was going to destroy it like Sodom and Gomorrah… yet God showed grace. Sparing it and it’s people.
    • TO MANKIND: God showed grace sending His son Jesus to die for us… so we can be saved and redeemed if we would just believe in him.
    • To the repentant thief on the Cross… God shows grace.
    • To the woman caught in adultery… God shows grace.
    • To Zacchaeus, the hated tax collector… God shows grace.
    • To the man at the pool of Bethesda… He gave grace.
    • To the paraplegic lowed through the rough… He gave grace.
    • To the blind man… grace.
    • To the woman with the issue of blood… grace.
    • To the centurion’s servant… grace.
    • To Mary and Lazarus… grace.
    • To Saul the persecutor of Christians… grace.
    • To Peter the denier of Christ… grace.
    • To Thomas the doubter of Christ… grace.
    • To all the prodigals who have ever lived and returned to God… GRACE!
    • To my wife, to my children, to my mother, my father, my step father, my sister, my friends… to you and your family and your loved ones and everyone who you know who has been born again…
      • Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
        • Whoever you are, whatever you have done, wherever you are in life right now… if you would just humble yourself… if you would just come to Christ… if you would just draw near and say “Father… I need more of you and less of me…”
          • God will give it to you.
            • He will give you grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
  • Point two this morning is “God Gives more Grace”.
    • Point one was “God gives grace to the humble”. This is your starting place. And of course it starts with the grace of Salvation, we will talk about that more at the end of service.
    • But God’s grace STARTS with humility, but it does not end there. Because God gives MORE grace… That is our second point.

Point Two – God Gives More Grace

James 4:6 ESV  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”.

  • God gives more grace.
    • To get MORE grace means that you started with some and then God added on to it.
      • Let me let you in on a spiritual truth that maybe some of you have forgotten and maybe some of you have just never known.
        • God’s grace SNOWBALLS.
          • It starts with the grace of salvation then it adds and it adds… grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
          • It starts with the kindness and goodness of God drawing you to repentance.. and it adds and it adds… grace upon grace upon grace.
          • It starts with just a taste… but then it adds and it adds and it adds… grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.

Psalms 34:8 ESV  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

  • Taste and see that the Lord is good. It starts with that taste… that is that first grace.
    • You know we sing this song sometimes that says of God “You keep on getting better, you keep on getting better”
      • Now if you have a wrong understanding of that line it is blasphemous… Because God does not change. Therefore He is just as good today as He was a thousand years ago. And He will be just as good in ten-thousand years as He is today.
        • God doesn’t change.
      • And the writers of this song know this… that is why they also say in this song:

You have always been patient

You have always been kind

You’re consistent through the ages

Oh, what a friend of mine

So I’ll remind my soul to bless You

Standing firm upon Your truth

Knowing You cannot be shaken

‘Cause I’ve seen what You can do, oh

  • How is it in one line they say God is consistent through the ages… but in the next they say “You keep on getting better”.
    • Because it is not that God is changing, it is that I am getting more of him.
  • Have you heard the story of the Atheist professor? I don’t know if it is true or not, but it is a powerful story non-the-less… it goes like this.
    • In a big Christian university an atheist professor is invited to give a seminar.
    • The seminar is on the topic of “God is not good, therefore you shouldn’t believe in Him”
    • The auditorium is filled with thousands of students ready to hear this famous atheist.
    • And for an hour and a half this atheist professor gives a rousing, engaging, and challenging presentation.
      • He shows through a variety of handpicked and out of context Bible verses that God is not good.
        • And he is very convincing… and students are starting to doubt their faith…
        • This man is commanding, and he seems to have all this evidence against God…
        • Now at the end of the presentation, this man in all the pomp and pride of a lion that just conquered a fleeing gazelle proclaims: “Now do any of you students dare challenge what I have said… or do you admit that God is not good?”
        • Silence fell over the auditorium as thousands of students begin to have a crisis of faith.
          • But then one hand, near the back, raises.
          • The professor scoffs “You have something you want to say there in the back?”
          • The student stands up, and pulls an apple out of his sack lunch.
          • The student takes a big bite of that apple, chews it, and swallows… then asks “Professor, is this apple that I am eating sweat or sour?”
            • The professor responds “How could I know the answer to that question? I have not tasted it”.
            • “Neither have you tasted my Jesus!” The student responds.
  • Taste and see that the Lord is good!
  • Man that is a powerful story, and maybe some in here need to have that first taste…
    • But remember the words our key passage starts with “God gives more grace”.
      • If one bite of the apple is good… Then two bites are better.
        • It is not that the apple has changed, not at all, the apple has remained the same… I just have MORE of the apple.
    • God keeps on getting better, He keeps on getting better.
      • Not because God is changing… but because I am getting more and more and more of Him!
        • Like a dessert that gets better with every bite.
        • God gets better with every grace.
  • See we start with a little bit of grace… and that is good… but God gives MORE grace… and that is better.
    • And here is the application for you today… if you are a born again believe…
      • If you are not a born again believer, taste and see… but if you ARE a born again believer… here is the application:
        • As you look for MORE grace… return to your first grace.
          • If you need Grace this morning… then let me encourage you to return to that place of first grace… because that is where you will find more grace.
        • I know some of you need a lot of grace in this season.
          • You are struggling, you are hurt… you are confused.
        • Others of you are wrapped up in sin and addiction…
          • You love God and hat your sin… but you just can’t seem to get away.
        • Some may not feel worthy of the Grace of God you once felt and you need to be lifted up.
        • While others… and I see it happening in this church… your connection with God is starting to grow cold… you are starting to feel lonely… you don’t feel close to God like you once did.
        • Maybe you don’t fit into any of those categories… but you still need more grace… grace for a miracle… grace for a healing… grace for provision… You read about Paul’s thorn in his flesh and how God says “My grace is sufficient for you” and you wonder “but is it sufficient for me… I need some of that sufficient grace”…
      • No matter what category you fall into, the application is simple: Return to the grace you have already been given… soak in that grace, and God will give more grace.
        • Stop trying to get the third bite of the apple when you have forgotten what the first bite was like.
        • To the church in Ephesus Jesus writes:

Revelation 2:4-5 ESV  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  (5)  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

  • Return to your first love. Return to that first grace.
    • Worship like you used to worship.
    • Praise like you used to praise.
    • Pray like you used to pray.
      • Don’t you remember when you first gave your life to Jesus and how sweet that Grace was?
      • Return to that grace.
      • Get more of that grace.
        • Start afresh, make a new disciple, come to the altar and pour your heart out, be at the church every time the doors are open… be vulnerable with those discipling you… be grateful for all the Lord has done and is doing.
        • Bask in that first grace… return to that first grace… then watch as God gives MORE grace.
        • I feel like the Lord says “Stop looking for NEW grace and start looking for MORE grace. You have the grace I have given to you and it is sufficient… you don’t need a new grace, a new work, or a new miracle… my grace is sufficient, come and get more of it.”
  • Church we know where this Grace comes from… we don’t need to find a new method, a new source, a new revelation…
    • We just need more grace.
      • Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
        • God hasn’t changed… and if you feel lacking in the grace of God this morning it is not because God has changed… but maybe it is because you have.
        • Return to your first love.
        • Spend more time in worship.
          • Worship at home, in the car, with your family.
        • Spend more time fellowshipping with other believers.
        • Spend more time praying in private.
        • Spend more time praying with others.
          • Get more of the grace of what God has already given you, and watch as it is sufficient… because God gives more grace!
            • Watch as God starts adding to those graces. Then adding to those graces. Then adding to those graces.
            • Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
  • Grace for miracles, grace for healing, grace for companionship, grace for forgiveness, grace for encouragement, grace for spiritual gifts, grace for empowerment, grace to be more than a conqueror.
    • God will give you more grace as you live out and rejoice in the grace that He has already given you.
        • Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.


  • The first taste starts with the humility to admit you are a sinner in need of a savior. God gives grace to the Humble:
  • Gospel Call
  • Now the following verse is for those of us who know Jesus as savior… it comes from John’s introduction of Christ…

John 1:14 and 1:16 ESV  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  (16)  For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

  • God gives more grace. Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace: Rededication and altar call. Bring people forward. Sing a song?

Aaronic Blessing


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