TD Jakes — Moving from Disgrace to Grace
Romans 5:20 and 21, "Moreover, the law entered, that the offense might abound". Now, I want to be sure that you understand that the law comes to reveal sin, not to cure it. Let me break it down this way, 'cause I think this will make it quite clear. Right out there on Interstate 408, they will put a speed-limit sign out there. It is not there to stop speeding, it is there to reveal speeding. For if there is no law, then there is no sin. You could just drive like you're on the Autobahn, just do 140 miles an hour, but the moment they put a sign up there, it will reveal who is a speeder. So what God did in Exodus chapter 4 when he gives us the law, he does it to reveal sin. So when sin comes into existence, it comes because the law shines the light on where God draws the line. Are you hearing what I'm saying to you?
Okay, so, "Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". Now, I want you to think about that, "For where sin abounded, grace did much more abound," and before you move into your guilt mode and start looking at this from your personal perspective and wrestle with the complexities of sin, what I really want you to see tonight is the correlation between sin and grace. "For where sin did abound, grace did much more abound".
Look at this for a moment, it is as if wherever sin did its dirtiest work, grace climbed to its highest degree, almost as if there was something about sin flaunting itself that attracted grace to come and douse out the fire of the raging sin, so you must understand that there is some correlation between the abounding sin and the abounding grace. "For where sin did abound, grace did much more abound". So grace stood back and said to sin, "Take your best shot". And when sin had done every little nasty, dirty, filthy thing that it could think of to do to you, grace came in and said, "I can handle it". And so, you are here today not because you have not been a flamboyant sinner, but in spite of the flamboyancy of your sin, grace said, "I got you covered".
Now, when we think of grace, let's not limit grace to the elementary definition of the unmerited favor of God. I do not disagree with that definition, I just think it is very elementary, because when you reduce grace down to the unmerited favor of God, you are dealing with grace as it relates to its redemptive properties, but grace is more than a saving agent, grace is also an empowering agent. In other words, I have grace to teach this class. That means that God has empowered me to teach this class, and I can do this tired, weak, sick, weary, cross-eyed, and blind, because the grace of God is on me to do it. If God's grace would back up from me, I wouldn't be able to pull my Scriptures, my thoughts, my mind. I don't, very seldom, work with a lot of notes, so most of my stuff is in my head. How can you do that?
Well, the first time I went to a Bible school, I was teaching, so I never studied there, I taught there and never studied there. How could you do that? Because there is a grace. Why do I take the time to say this? Because your prayer should be, "Lord, give me the grace for the challenges I face". So grace is more than forgiveness, it's more than favor, it's empowering you to function in an area or in a place that you would be impotent to function without that grace. There's a grace to be a pastor, there's a grace to be a wife, there's a grace to be a mother, there's a grace to be a husband. God just graces you to deal with some things that other people couldn't deal with. You have a grace to deal with the situation that somebody else couldn't deal with, that's why you can't allow people to tell you, "If I was you, I wouldn't take that". The reality is, you can't take that because you don't have the grace, okay?
"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord". I love the way Paul talks about grace in the Book of Romans. He takes the weight off of my willpower and turns it over to God's ennoblement. He says, "When I would do good," in the 7th chapter of the Book of Romans, "Evil is present with me. That which I would do I do not, that which I would not do, I do, O wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death"? He is saying I know that my redeemer must come from outside of me, because I lack the power inside of myself to save myself from myself.
So, see, and I think that sometimes you have to come to a place in your life that you have given up on delivering yourself by yourself so that you can experience the power of God to enable you to do what you could not do alone. That's the grace of God that enabled you to stop smoking. That's the grace of God that took the taste of alcohol out of your mouth. Some of you were stoned-out alcoholics, but God has just flat out delivered you by the grace of God. He's given you a grace. We did a prayer line Sunday for people who were addicted, and many of you got delivered because God gave you a grace to step out of what you couldn't do by yourself. There is as grace from God to enable you to do that, glory to God. Are you hearing what I'm saying to you?
So, what we begin to understand as we walk through these various instances and identities is to begin to realize that there is a grace for which we must be responsible for and begin to build on that grace so we can take it to the next level. Touch somebody and say, "Let's build on the grace". We have a responsibility to build on the grace. Now, go to Matthew 25:14 through 30. He built on what God gave him, that's what I want you to walk away from this seeing, that with the gift of God comes a responsibility to build on what he's given you. Not just to say I'm gifted and sit down, what are you doing with the gift that he gave you?
See, if you're going to be an effective leader, if you're gonna lead anything worth talking about, you have to learn the art of delegation, because if you're gonna build anything bigger than your own two hands, you have to be able to delegate to other people, okay? Some people can't delegate, and when they can't delegate, what they do is snuff out the potential to grow to the next level, because whatever it is you have will never get any bigger than you. But in the process of delegating, you must also come back and regulate what has been delegated. If I delegate it to you, and I never come back to check to see if it's done, then I haven't relegated what I delegated, and now I'm in a dilemma.
So, that brings in accountability, so if I delegate something to you, "To him whom much is given, much is required". You can't enjoy the much of the gift without dealing with the much of the requirement. Because I wouldn't have given it to you if I weren't expecting you to build on it, okay? This Scripture clearly shows that God expects you to be participatory in the level of gifting that he's given you. Now, I don't have to be responsible for somebody else's gift. I don't have to be responsible for Fred Price's gift, I don't have it. I don't have to be responsible for Benny Hinn's gift, I don't have it. I only have to be responsible for the measure of gift that has been allocated to me.
So I don't have to waste time competing with other people because we're not comparable. You can't compare me to anybody else, you can't compare them to anybody else, because what God gave me is unique to me, and so I'm not running against what God did in you, I'm running against what God did in me that I might make full proof of my ministry. It's mine, but I still gotta prove it. Touch somebody and say, "Prove it". So, here in the text as we read, we read the subtle expectation of the householder in as much as he has given them talents, and we are watching them build on the foundation.
Now, you don't see the guy with the two trying to compete with the guy with the five, because he is not running against the five, it wouldn't be fair for him to run against the five 'cause he never had five in the first place. And so, he is gonna be judged on the basis of what you did with the two. God is not gonna judge you by what he didn't give you, he's gonna hold you accountable to the level of gifting that he gave you. Are you hearing what I'm saying? But whether you're a five or a two, you better build on it.
"You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many". In other words, he's saying because you took what I gave you to the next level, I will increase the level of what I gave you. So if you are not getting increase, maybe it's because you haven't taken what he's given you. Okay, see, because what happened, the two turned it into four, the five turned it into ten, he said, "Oh, you've been faithful over a few things, I'm gonna make you ruler over many". In other words, this was just a test, I just wanted to see could I trust you?
Incidentally, the word talents actually means money, okay. So he says, yeah, if you look at the NIV and different translations you'll find that it actually refers to money, and what he's saying to you, what I love about this text, and I don't have time to really get into this text 'cause that's not what I'm after, is that it's really teaching about investments. And what he's saying to them is that you should have taken what I gave you to the next level.
Every time God gives you something, be it an opportunity, be it a gift, be it a talent, being it money, he says I expect you to take it and be fruitful. That's the first thing I told you when I created you, was to be fruitful, to multiply, replenish, subdue, and have dominion. And instead of you doing anything, you sat down and let people discourage you, and let people upset you, or let problems get to you, or your attitude circumvented you from going... you'd be surprised how many gifted people are stuck in a rut because they have great gifts but a bad attitude. And until you take what God has given you and taken it to the next level, he's not going to increase. Touch somebody and say, "Increase".
See, I got to 30,000 members because of what I did with 7. If I hadn't passed the test with the seven, I would have never seen the thirty thousand. If I'd of said, "Oh, it's seven people, I'm not teaching tonight," but Pastor Robinson will tell you I taught harder than this when I didn't have but seven people. I mean much harder, I was standing up on pews, and walking the floor, and waking people up, and teaching Bible class. I was radical and crazy, but if you're faithful over a few things... the problem with this generation, if I can be candid, is that they don't wanna pass the test of being faithful over a little bit. They wanna leap frog from the first grade to the twelfth grade, and they wanna be ruler over many when they haven't been faithful over a little. Until you can pass the test on the level you're on, you're not ready for God to increase you and take you to the next level. He says, "So if you will show me increase, I will increase what I allocate.
Now, come on, let's think about it a minute. You're a good person, you're a nice person, you're a loving person, how many of you wanna empty out your 401K and invest it in some stock that's failing? You don't wanna do that. I mean, you'll help somebody out whose failing, you'll give 'em a little something, but it's not gonna be your 401K, 'cause you're not gonna put that weight of blessing on something that has not proven to be productive. So, what God does, he will give you a test blessing. What did he say? He said something: let me see what you do with $10. And you say, "$10, it ain't nothin' but $10, Lord, you know I need more than $10, $10 won't take me nowhere. I can't get but 2 gallons of gas with $10, Lord. What's he expect me to do with $10"? You don't know that he's got $100 in his pocket, and if you'll say thank you for the $10 and manage it well, then he'll take it to the next level. Touch somebody and say, "Build on it".
Now, as we talk about this, though this particular text is talking about money, it could be anything. You'd be surprised at the people sitting out there who can sing. I don't mean hold a tune, I mean sang, "Just don't wanna give up, that's the only evening I have off and I'm not comin' out there to no rehearsal for no three hours on the only evening I have off". And then you be busy asking God to do stuff for you but you can't give up an evening. Then some kind of sickness or something comes on and you start realizing that if God didn't bless you, you couldn't catch your breath. See, it wouldn't be bad if you couldn't sing, but for you to be able to sing and really be a blessing, be gifted to do it, but be stingy with it, and you keep praying for God to be lavish with you while you are stingy with it... I'm gonna get out of that, y'all don't want that.
See, most people I've seen that were incredibly blessed of God were always givers, they were givers. They'd give not just money, they bake cookies, they clean the house, they come over and answer the phone, they find some... it's like a child, you know, a kid don't have no money but they'll draw you a picture. "Mama, I got a picture. I came to give you a picture," because love gives itself away. I said love gives itself away, and so there's something about loving God that makes you a giver, and anybody that I've ever seen that was used mightily, they were a giver, they were a giver of their talents, they were a giver of their time, they'd just give, they'd just give, they'd just give.
If I get up here and start teaching, I'm gonna give. You never have to worry about me gettin' up here and actin' funny. If I got up here, I'm gonna give you the best that I have and I'm not afraid to give you whatever God has given me, even if you go somewhere and preach it. I don't mind you going any place to preach it because I know that the more I give you, the more God is going to give me, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. I will help you with yours because as I help you with yours, he will help me... oh, this is good, okay. So we gonna build, look at your neighbor and say, "I'm getting ready to build".
I gotta go over here to Proverbs and pull this, because when we got to talkin' about this, it drove me into Proverbs. I gotta go to Proverbs 25 for a minute, verse 28. "He that have no rule over his own spirit is like a city whose walls are broken down". Now, you have to understand, putting in the context of the times we're in, in the Bible days, a city was only as strong as the walls around it, that's why Nehemiah wanted to build the walls back around Jerusalem, because a city without walls is vulnerable to enemy attacks.
So how do I know I have walls? I have walls when I can rule my own spirit. I don't have walls 'cause I can rule you, ruling you is not the goal. I'm not trying to rule you, that's manipulation, I'm trying to rule my own spirit, and the more you can rule your own spirit, stop your own depression, lift your own mood, put yourself in a place of stability, the more you can stop the onslaught of the attack of the enemy. Somebody holler, "Stop it". Oh, good God, I felt you rebuke something just then. I don't know what you are going through, but I felt the rebuking power of the Holy Ghost. Somebody holler, "Stop it". Glory to God, stop it, enough is enough. I'm sick of this, stop it. Somebody holler, "Stop it".
The Bible said that God commanded the angel and he put his sword back up in the sheath. I don't know what is about to happen, what's been threatening you, what's been hanging over your head, but God's about to stop it tonight. Somebody holler, "Stop it"! I got to stop it, I got to stop it tonight. Somebody ought to give God the praise. Stop it tonight, arrest the enemy, stop him in his tracks, put him out of business, shut him down, stop it tonight.