Amazing Grace


Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.7 Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.

-2 Timothy 2:1-7, NLT

What do you think of when you think of a strong person? Do you think of someone who never gives up? Someone who trains hard, fights hard, and gives 110% to the very last second? Someone who is trying to become a champion?

Or maybe, you think of someone who is battling some type of sickness and does so with a smile on his or her face. Someone who smiles even when it's a hard day. Someone who always puts others first and enjoys every moment in life.

Maybe you think of the mom or dad that has dedicated every day to raising a child or children, making sure that child knows she is loved and can become whatever she sets her mind to. She can imagine the world however she wants and even shape the world into something new if she so wishes.

Maybe still, you picture one of our military men or women, or one of our civil servants, who wake up every morning ready to give his or her life protecting others. He trusts the people standing next to him to have his back and the person giving him orders to be leading him in the right direction.

No matter who you imagine as a strong person, none of these people are truly strong without God on our side. At the same time, with God we can all become strong through his Grace and love. We can have the strength to go through our lives and not only survive but thrive as his sons and daughters.

This week, we will be looking into this idea of Grace more as we conclude our sermon series, Amazing Grace. I hope you'll join us.


Click Here for this Week's Faith Notes


Faith Parry serves as our Associate Pastor and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not preaching and teaching, she enjoys documentaries and TV. Read more about Faith here.


For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:11–13, NRSV

Last time, we looked at how God’s grace worked in our lives to enable us to cross the threshold of faith and become followers of Jesus. Now we want to see how God’s grace is necessary for our on–going growth in that relationship.


By way of analogy, we could look at how our body deals with disease processes. We could be living our lives as we always have, all the while, noticing a pain or other malady in our body. Most days we can function very well, but other days, not so much. We may see other symptoms, as well that indicate some is just not right. Think of that scenario as God’s grace drawing us to him. God is pointing out a problem and that problem causes us to seek a solution.

Eventually, we see a physician who diagnoses the problem and maps out a course of treatment for us that includes surgery and a change of lifestyle. She even gives us some directives to follow so we don’t end up causing further damage.


We now have a decision to make. Will we trust the doctor’s skill and diagnosis and go through with the surgery, or will we decide that we know better than she does and keep doing as we always have? It is a huge choice. We can’t do anything about what is wrong with us, except to stop resisting and give ourselves into the care of the professional. This is analogous to God’s grace forgiving us and granting us new birth.

We finally decide to trust our doctor, and the surgery goes off perfectly. However, the cure is only temporary if we do not make certain changes to our lifestyle. If we do not, there will be nothing else that can be done medically. So, we decide to make the necessary changes; and they are difficult. This third stage is growth or sanctification.

Now, any analogy breaks down if you push it too far, but it does illustrate the point.


God’s grace does indeed convict us and draw us to Christ. It also enables us to make a decision to give our lives to Jesus, but that is not all. In 1 Corinthians 3:1 Paul calls some of the believers “infants in Christ;” In John 3 Jesus says we must be born again. In many ways, when we begin our walk with Christ we are infants. You would never take a new born and expect her or him act as a full-grown adult. It is the same way with spiritual babies. As a new Christian, a person needs to be fed and nurtured so that they will grow; that is what God expects of us as well.

For the rest of our lives, we will be learning to respond to God’s grace in our lives, and as we do we will grow, if we respond positively that is. In this week’s sermon, we will look at the ways God’s grace enables us to grow and mature in Christ. I hope you will join us.




Alan Cassady serves as Senior Pastor at Navarre UMC, and has been at the church since 2011. When he's not preaching and teaching, he enjoys sci-fi movies and FSU Football. Read more about Alan here.


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NRSV)

When I was younger, the churches I attended made it clear about how to begin a relationship with God. We had to repent of our sin and ask Jesus to save us so we could go to heaven when we died instead of being condemned to hell. In other words, salvation was a transaction. It was simple, clear and understandable, but it was only a transaction.

I have come to realize that the salvation God offers us is so much more than a mere transaction it is a covenant of allegiance that brings about transformation.


Grace is God’s unmerited favor granted to us even before we know him and extending through our lives. That same grace helps us begin our relationship with God and a life of ongoing transformation. I have defined grace as God’s unmerited, undeserved kindly regard for us. That grace, God’s disposition toward us, enables us to respond to God’s offer of a relationship.


We begin our relationship with God by responding with repentance and faith. John Wesley said that repentance involved knowing that we are sinners, hopelessly separated from God and unable to do anything about our condition. This self-knowledge prepares us to hear the good news that God has done something about our condition and invites us to as new relationship.


Our second response to is faith, faith in Jesus Christ. When we know our true selves as sinners and hear God’s invitation, we respond with trust in what God has done through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The passage of Scripture cited above reminds us of several important aspects of this relationship. First, it was not our idea; neither is it accomplished by our power, but only through the grace of God. God’s grace conceived the plan, offered it to us and then enabled us to respond to the invitation. Second, as I said earlier our response is faith, trust in what God has done in and through Jesus Christ.


Finally, beginning this relationship calls us to a new life, a life of “good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” (verse 10). Beginning our relationship with God through Jesus is not a mere transaction, but a real relationship – a covenant. The point of this covenant is not to help us avoid hell and gain heaven, but to enable us to take up our calling to as bearers of God’s image in this world and work with God to bring redemption to the whole creation.

God desires this real relationship, and so God has taken the initiative to create the path and enable us to walk it. And that changes everything.


Pastor Alan


Alan Cassady serves as Senior Pastor at Navarre UMC, and has been at the church since 2011. When he's not preaching and teaching, he enjoys sci-fi movies and FSU Football. Read more about Alan here.


From [Jesus] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:16–17 (NRSV)

Grace has come to mean a variety of things in our culture. The meanings range from a sense of beauty and poise to allowing someone to do wrong things without holding them accountable. That last definition is the one most often held to in the church.

In the church, grace has come to mean that no one should be held accountable to any standard of behavior unless it is someone else! If a fellow Christian is called out because of immoral of hurtful behavior, they will often play the “grace card” as a way of deflecting any accountability. In this vein grace is some expected or even demanded from others.

Grace is freely given

In many ways, this idea is far from the biblical notion of grace. First, in Scripture grace is never something expected or required, it a gift given solely at the discretion of the giver. Someone can choose to grant grace or not; they are under no obligation to give grace. Grace is given because the giver wants to do so, not because the recipient needs or deserves it.

Grace is unearned

Second, look at the popular definition: grace is unmerited favor. Notice what those words were taken separately mean. Unmerited denotes something that is not deserved or not earned. Something that is unmerited is given not because of anything in the recipient, its sole reason for being given is found in the giver.

Favor means the esteem one person grants another. Webster’s dictionary defines it as the friendly regard shown to another, in particular by a superior or approving consideration or attention given to another.

Taken together, grace is the friendly regard or approving consideration given to us by God not based on anything that we have done or not done nor any merit we may have ourselves.

Grace is a gift

Third, we need to understand that grace is not a force or a tool used by God, it is God’s disposition toward us and the motivation behind the things God does for us. For example, why did God choose Abraham and enable Sarah to give birth to a child when she had been barren for so many years? Because God had an undeserved and unmerited friendly regard for them. Why did God bring the Israelites out of captivity and make a covenant to be their God? Because God had an undeserved and unmerited friendly regard for them. Why did God choose to send Jesus to bear the consequences of sin on behalf of the whole human race? Because God had an undeserved and unmerited friendly regard for us.

It is that same undeserved and unmerited friendly regard that reaches out to every human that has ever been born and invites them into a relationship with God so that in turn they can be a vessel of undeserved and unmerited friendly regard for someone else.

That is grace! Join us this Sunday as we talk about how God’s grace reaches out to us even before we become followers of Jesus.



Alan Cassady serves as Senior Pastor at Navarre UMC, and has been at the church since 2011. When he's not preaching and teaching, he enjoys sci-fi movies and FSU Football. Read more about Alan here.