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Illustration: Good to see all of you.
Its good to see.
Many of you have probably been to the eye doctor on at least one occasion.
When they come to the conclusion that you may need glasses they set you on a chair and pull this mechanical mask vision tester thing over your face.
You rest your chin and forehead into it and they show you a line of lettering that at first is very fuzzy.
They proceed to show you this lettering through a series of lenses.
They ask you, “Now can you see the letters better through lense 1, or lense 2… 1, or 2?” Say I answer that question as number 2. They then show me the lettering through another set of lenses and ask you to, “Pick between 2 or 3… 2 or 3?” They go on with this until they have the exact right prescription for you.
The point of all this to see more clearly the lettering on the wall in front of you.
I know that all of you may have not had the experience of putting on a new pair of glasses to correct your physical sight, but...
Transition: There are a number of different lenses that we can see God’s grace through that can correct our spiritual.
We may look at God’s grace through the lens of prosperity, but God does not promise us all that we want.
Maybe we are peering through the false lenses of popularity or self gratification.
God’s grace is not a provision for the flesh or a magic trick to get something.
Now maybe these incorrect lenses work for a time.
They may give us satisfaction for a moment, but in the end they leave your vision, your peace, your hope all sore and irritated.
I want us all to see that...
PROPOSITION: Observing God’s grace through correct lenses reveals hope.
INTERROGATIVE SENTENCE: What are the correct lenses that show me hope?
TRANSITIONAL SENTENCE: I want to look at God’s grace through 3 sets of lenses, the trifocals of seeing hope if you will.
I truly believe that focusing on God’s grace through these lenses will remind us of the hope we have in Him.
Please if you would to Micah chapter 7, the very end of the book.
We will start in verse 18 and go through verse 20.
The first lense I believe this passage is pointing to is…
The distance lens of God’s uniqueness.
Look at this as the top lense in trifocals, the long distance lens.
The big picture of who God is, His uniqueness.
At the beginning of verse 18 it reads, “Who is a God like you,” I think that we could all dwell on that phrase our whole lives and not fully grasp how holy, how set apart God is.
When we look at God’s grace through the lens of his uniqueness it should reveal hope to us.
Throughout the book of Micah we see God pronouncing wrath and discipline that will be poured out on Israel and for their sins.
Israel was guilty of a whole slew of things, some we would deem as awful sins like stealing, teaching and prophesying falsely, adultery.
It is interesting that in the midst of all these awful sins things disrespecting family members is listed.
God hates all sin, even those that we would say, “Aren’t a big deal.”
He punishes all sin that which he hates.
God is unique in the way he views sin.
All sin is contrary to God’s nature and deserving of punishment.
Israel was about to be carted off to serve the Babylonians.
We are just as deserving of awful punishment just as Israel was.
God is unique in the just way that He judges sin.
We overlook the wrongs of others often.
Illustration: It is easy to ignore the wrongdoing of others.
We need to pray for wisdom in challenging others to seek and walk with the Lord.
We should do our best to be gracious to those around us in the way that we point out wrong.
Ultimately it is not sinning against other people that condemns us.
Our sin is chiefly against God.
And we are deserving of punishment because of that.
Transition Illustration: I’m sure many of you have seen either the animated, or live action version of Beauty and the Beast.
In this film there is a burly man named Gaston.
He stood out among the crowd; he was unique.
There is a song that is sung to him: “No one’s slick as Gaston.
No one’s quick as Gaston.”
Gaston could do many feats that no one around him is capable of or would even think of doing.
He was different from others around him; He was unique.
Gaston was unique in ways that weren’t important in the grand scheme of things or in bad ways.
But God...
Transition: God is different from everyone around him, he is holy, perfect; He is unique.
Micah recognizes that when we view God’s grace through the lens of God’s uniqueness, a few more characteristics of God can be visualized.
At the beginning of verse 18 we have seen the big picture in the distance lenses of God’s uniqueness, now we will look at the intermediate lenses of God’s forgiveness.
2. The intermediate lens of God’s forgiveness.
There is an incredible forgiveness of our wrongdoing, of our sins.
It is brought about by our confession and God’s character and His unique grace even though we are deserving of the worst of punishments.
View God’s grace through the intermediate lens of forgiveness.
It helps us have hope despite our flaws.
It gave Israel hope even though they were going to be sold into slavery in a short amount of time.
There are four pictures that Micah gives us to help us grasp the reality of God’s forgiveness.
The first picture is in verse 18 where it says that our unique God will, “pardon iniquities.”
He pardons iniquity.
This gives the picture of a courtroom where the judge pardons an offender.
And not just for no reason either.
He is not an unjust god who would let the guilty go unpunished.
Christ shed his blood for the sins of the world.
Every person ever.
Never lose sight of the picture of grace that we see in the pardoning of our sins through Christ.
The second picture Micah gives comes right after the first.
We see our unique, gracious God, “passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance.”
He passes over transgression.
This could very well be alluding to the passover sacrifices that Israel had to make.
Where the lamb was punished instead of the Israelites who deserved it back in Exodus.
The Israelites often needed that “passing over.”
They were almost taken out if it weren't for Moses intercession at Mt. Sinai.
How much we too deserve to be taken out for being the sinners we are.
There is a small break from these picture at the end of verse 18 where it describes a few of God’s promises.
I want to focus at this time on the promise at the beginning of verse 19.
“He will again have compassion on us.”
No matter how many times we fall He will always have compassion!
But that doesn’t mean that we should sin it up!
Remember Romans tells us, “By no means!”
Even when God shows us compassion there will still be consequences.
Pastor Harves in Lagrange, Kelseys inlaw, said once, “Obedience is better than confession.”
We see in Hebrews 12:6 and Proverbs 3:12 that, “the Lord disciplines those that He loves.”
As believers we can expect to be disciplined by God when we fall short.
I know that I would rather live with God’s grace in my vision, obeying the one who made me and saved me.
I implore you to do the same.
Obedience is better than confession.
The first picture was of the courtroom and God’s pardoning through Christ, the second was alluding to the passover and God making provision for His remnant, the people that made it through their enslavement.
Now look right after the part on God’s compassion at the beginning of verse 19 for the third picture.
It says, “He will tread our iniquities underfoot.”
He will treat our sins as though they are not even there, just passing over them as the second picture implied as well.
I picture a well worn trail that is engraved a foot down into the grass around it.
That path is definitely treaded underfoot.
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