Free Online Sermon Transcript of "When Grace Is A Curse" by Pastor CD Brooks.

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(from the Breath of Life Series by C. D. Brooks)
transcribed and edited by Derek Morris

Our subject tonight: “When Grace is a Curse,” and of course, this is part-two of last night’s message. I ask you to pray in your hearts that the Holy Spirit would open your eyes and your minds tonight to receive God’s Word. I ask you to do this because when we talk about God’s law, which the Devil knows is a transcript of God’s character, and which the Devil knows is the will of God for His people, and which the Devil knows is the highest standard of morality extant, when we talk about the law of God immediately the Devil seeks to bring confusion and dark feelings. People will say to you, “Oh, we’re not under the law; we’re under grace!” But do they really know what they are saying?

I want to start off by declaring something tonight, and I want to say it in such a way that you will not misunderstand me: I believe that we are not under the law, but we are under grace. I believe that with all my heart. That’s the only way I can come out here and preach night after night. But you have to understand what it means. There are people who feel that anybody who mentions the law is a legalist. Well, let me ask you: Is it legalism to have red lights and stop signs? Is it legalism to have police in our troubled towns? I think not. It is sensible. It indicates that you have got your act together and that you want to function orderly. Isn’t that right?

Friends, we read last night that God’s law is the only standard which exposes sin and tells us what sin is. Do you remember that from Romans 3:20? “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” By the way, if I seem to stay in the New Testament a lot with these subjects, it’s deliberate. I believe in the whole Bible, but you’ve got folks who are dispensationalists, and unless you read it to them out of the New Testament, they’ve got problems. I don’t have problems, but I like to accommodate those who do. I want to read to you from Romans 4:15. The Bible says, “Because the law worketh wrath, for where there is no law, there is no transgression.” I John 3:4 says, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” Now, that’s clear isn’t it? If I’m driving down here to the meeting and I come to an intersection and there’s no stop sign, and there’s no red light, and I keep going and a policeman stops me, I’ll wonder what’s wrong with him. 
He’ll say, “You went through the intersection.” 
And I’ll say, “But there’s no sign there. There’s no red light. There was no policeman there to tell me to stop, and where there is no law, I haven’t done wrong.” Do you see how simple that is?
Paul writes, “Where there is no law, there is no transgression.” So if you do away with God’s law, you do away with sin, for sin is breaking the law. Satan hates God’s law. It is he who has made a concentrated attack against God’s law, and he even misuses Scripture in his attack. But God knew he would, and so the Bible warns against those who “wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). You can take something out of context and make it seem to support anything you like, and so you’ve got to be careful. That’s why I tell you, don’t just read one little text and take off. Read the context, and read corroboration texts. The Bible says in Isaiah 28:10: “Precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” Did you know that there’s a text in the Bible that says, “There is no God!” Now, is it safe to just read that phrase, and build your life on those four words? Of course not! You have to read the context! The whole text actually says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” Is the fool right? No! He’s dead wrong. In the very next verse, Psalm 53:2, the Bible says, “God looks down from heaven to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.” There is a God. Only the fool doesn’t believe that! Do you see what trouble you can get into if you only read one little phrase?

Now, the Bible does say we are not under the law, but under grace. But what does it mean? Let’s define terms. What is grace? I’ve got several definitions. Grace is unmerited favor. Unmerited means you don’t deserve it. Amen? Grace is pardon which we don’t deserve. If you deserved it, it wouldn’t be grace. It would be justice. If you’re hauled into court for something you didn’t do and the judge says, “Alright, I find you innocent. You may go,” he didn’t give you grace. You don’t need grace when you’re not guilty. Would you say Amen?

What else is grace? It is the unbounded love of God expressed in the gift of Jesus Christ. Christ is grace. Maybe that’s enough. Let’s keep that in our minds. Grace is pardon which we don’t deserve. Grace is unmerited favor from God. Grace is life when we deserve death. Grace is heaven when we deserve hell. That’s grace!

Now, Paul said, “We are not under the law; we’re under grace.” I’m preaching to you tonight by grace. There are things I did before I got to know Jesus that I would be ashamed for you to know, but I am able to stand here tonight without condemnation because of grace. He took my sins away, and I can talk to you about a straight message, and preach to you out of the Word of God as though I never did wrong in my life. That’s grace! When I look at myself, I don’t see how I can be saved, but when I look at Jesus, I don’t see how I can be lost! That’s why they call it Amazing Grace! “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.” And I didn’t deserve it. I deserved to die in my sins. I deserved to be cast into outer darkness and blackness forever. But Christ gave me not what I deserve, but grace, and invited me into His family. He made me His child. The Bible says, “You are a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, a holy nation.” That makes me royalty! I’m a prince! A child of the King! Born in Bristol, England of humble parentage and home, but I’ve been brought into the family of God. And whatever the world may think of me, I know I’m somebody special. As the old gospel song goes, “A tent or a cottage, why should I care, they’re building a mansion for me over there. I’m a child of the King!” By grace. 

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved, through faith.” We’re saved by what, friends? By grace. Yet the Bible also says in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have a right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.” And so, dear friends, in spite of all that I’ve said about grace, I’m repeating the Word of God that those who are saved by grace must also obey the Lord.

Now, the difference is they don’t try to put the cart before the horse. They don’t go trying to obey in order to be a Christian. They don’t go trying to obey in order to merit God’s salvation. They obey because they are Christians. They obey because they love the Lord, who saves them. Would you say Amen?

In other words, an apple tree does not produce apples to prove that it’s an apple tree. An apple tree produces apples because it is an apple tree. The natural fruit of a born-again Christian is obedience to God’s Word. It will be your deep desire to bring your life into harmony with God’s will. In fact, Jesus went so far as to say unless you have that deep desire to obey God, you’re not really joined to Him. You may think you are, but you’re just fooling yourself.

Let me share with you a simple illustration that will make this message crystal clear: Suppose I walk downtown on Monday morning after 9:00 a.m. and I go into the bank on the corner. I have a right to go in there, don’t I? Sure I do. It’s a public bank; it’s open for business. Now, I want you to follow my illustration. I go in the bank and there are several people in line. Finally I get up to the counter and there’s a lady there counting money. She’s got a great stack of twenty dollar bills like that, and it’s right by the window. Are you following? Now, I’ve got a right to be in there. Do you agree? So I’m standing there and she’s counting the money, and I’m trying to look honest! Then I give her a check to cash, and while she’s walking over to the computer to see if my check will bounce I look around and grab that stack of twenty dollar bills and put it in my coat. What have I done? I’ve stolen. I’ve broken the law. Now, I didn’t think anybody was looking, so I turn to walk out of that bank and all of a sudden there’s a firm hand on my shoulder, and when I turn to look, there stands blue eyes and brass buttons! And he says to me, “Young man, I saw you take that money. You come with me.”

The minute he does that, I’m under the law. I had a right to be in that bank, but when I stole, I broke the law, and because I broke the law, the policeman takes me into custody. I am under the law. And while I had planned to go out the main door in the front, he takes me out the side door. I can’t even go out the way I planned because I’m under the law. 

Now, my little blue Volkswagen is out there in the parking lot and I want to ride in my car; but he has a car, and whether I like it or not, I’m going to ride in his car. Why? Because I’m under the law. He takes me to a building and marches me in. With great humiliation I go in and the people stop and stare. Folks don’t like thieves and they look down their noses at me. He takes me up to a cell, unlocks the door, and shoves me in there. As I turn I hear the dull clank of metal on metal, and when I go over to try the door, it’s locked. Now I’m under the law.

Later on that evening, they bring me a plate of beans. I say to them, “Who do you think you are, bringing me beans? Why, I’m accustomed to a special salad, with garbanzos and avocado!” 

And the minute I say that he’s going to say, “I’m sorry,” and run and get my salad, isn’t he? It’s tough when you’re under the law. You eat beans or you go hungry. You have no rights when you’re under the law.
Finally, darkness falls and I want to get some sleep, and I’m tired, so I go over to what looks like a bed. When I pull back the blanket all I see is a hard board covered with a thin old pad. Now, I’m used to a queen-size bed, with inner spring mattress, and an electric blanket, and a down pillow! But here I am with that little, old, flat, hard, dirty bed, and former inmates have left their marks on it. So in a fit of disgust I call the jailer and complain. “I can’t sleep on this!” 
I can hear him now, laughing. “You can sleep on it or sit up.” It’s hard when you’re under the law. Day after day I am being abused and humiliated under the law, and I know good and well that there’s a trial coming up, and I know good and well that when you rob a bank you’re going to serve time, and I know good and well that punishment is on its way. I can’t eat right. I can’t sleep right. I can’t see my wife. I can’t enjoy my home. What’s wrong with me? I’m under the law, hanging over my head, like the proverbial sword of Damocles, by a single thread of providence: Punishment.

And while I’m considering that, I begin to stop feeling sorry for myself, and stop feeling proud and haughty about the wrong I’ve done. I begin to think this thing through, and it occurs to me, man, you were a fool. Repentance is starting. Are you following me? So now my attitude changes, and I go to the front of the cell and I call the jailer. 

When he comes over, he asks, “What do you want?” 

I say, “Sir, can I get in touch with a lawyer?” 

Well, I have that right, and because my attitude has changed he says, “Alright.” And he lets me out into the hallway to use the phone.

I call up the best lawyer in town and in a little while that lawyer walks into that dirty cell. Now, lawyers are respectable people; they’re reputable as a rule--distinguished. But he’s got to come into that dirty cell because I played the fool. He comes out of his element to help me--don’t miss this, now. He sits down on that bed with me and he says, “Now, Morris, the first thing I want to know is did you take that money?” 

Now, I can lie to him or I can tell the truth, but it doesn’t make much sense to lie to your lawyer. So I say to him, “Yes, Sir, I did; I took the money.” 

“Alright. Now we have got to see what we can do to help you. Let me ask you this: What do you think about your actions now?” 

And the tears begin to flow. I say to him, “Attorney, I was a fool to take that money. I don’t know what happened to me. At that moment I saw the money and I thought of all the things we needed. I thought if only I could get away with it we’d be happy. But now I see that doing wrong never brings happiness; it always brings a bitter harvest of tears and trouble.

“I’m thinking clearly now, and I want to tell you, Sir, I’m sorry for what I did. I want to make you a promise. I know that you shouldn’t have too much confidence in thieves, but I want to tell you, I’ve learned my lesson and if you can help me, Sir, if you can put in a word for me with the Judge, if any way you can get me another chance, I promise you, I’ll never do it again.”

My lawyer gets up and walks out. Finally, the day of the trial arrives and there you all are, out in the courtroom. You heard about me over at the firehall, and now it’s in the newspapers. You all came in the front door, but I have to come in the side door, handcuffs on, policemen walking on either side of me. They bring me out there and out in the audience is my wife, and I’d like to go and sit with her but not when you’re under the law. You sit where they tell you to sit. You stand when they tell you to stand. 

Finally, the Judge comes in. My case comes up and the Judge says, “Morris, stand up.” I stand up, and the Judge says, “Now, I want to know, are you guilty or not guilty?” 

And with my head down, I say, “Your Honor, I’m guilty.” 

You know, when I say that, the Judge doesn’t need a jury. He doesn’t even need a trial. The minute I say “I’m guilty,” the Judge has a book, the Book of the Law. The Book of what? And all he’s got to do is reach over and get the law and he’ll read in the law, “Thou shalt not steal from the bank. And if thou stealest from the bank, thou shalt spend twenty years at Lawton.”

Are you following me? Now, the Judge could throw the book at me and still be a reputable judge, because that’s what I deserve. I have said to him, “I’m guilty, Sir.” The Judge doesn’t have to worry about his reputation if he’s hard on me. All he’s got to do is apply the penalty that the law prescribes, and off to Lawton I go for twenty years. And I’m standing there, deserving it, can’t say a thing in my defense. I’m trembling. What’s going to happen? My head is down. The tears are flowing.

All of a sudden I hear a familiar voice. My lawyer speaks up and says, “Your Honor, may I address the court?” 

Now, the Judge is not accustomed to talking with thieves, but he’ll talk to the lawyer. After all, they have respect for each other. They have confidence in each other. I don’t have the right to say anything, but my lawyer has asked for the floor. The Judge says, “Alright, Attorney. Approach the bench.” 

So my lawyer goes over and says, “Your Honor, I sat down and looked him straight in the eye, and if I’m any judge of character, I can tell you that he’s truly sorry for what he’s done. He longs to be forgiven and he has promised me that he would never do it again, and so I’m standing in his place and pleading for your mercy.”

The Judge looks at the book of the law. . . twenty years. He looks at me. Then he looks at the lawyer, and there’s a relationship there; and the lawyer’s appeal has touched a responsive chord. My destiny is hanging in the balance. The Judge says, “Alright, Morris, stand up here. Now, I want to make something very clear to you. I don’t like folks robbing banks. You deserve twenty years.” 

And I’m standing there trembling. 

“But your lawyer has spoken to me. I know him to be a judge of character, and I’m going to let you off this time. But I want you to understand something: I’m not letting you off because of you. I’m letting you off because of your lawyer. Now, your lawyer has put his reputation on the line for you. I want you to understand that, and I’m going to give you another chance.” The Judge picks up his gavel and pounds it on the desk: “This case is dismissed and the charges are dropped.” 

The old policeman that brought me in there is standing with his hand on me. The minute the judge says “The charges are dropped,” I’m no longer under the law. I’m under grace. So I turn to that policeman and say, “Alright, take your hand off me. I’m not under the law. The man in charge of this court, in whose hands my destiny laid, has given me grace. Let me go.”

All these folk came down to watch this trial, and they are all walking out of the front door, and I’m going out the front door, too! Five minutes before I’d have to go back through that little side door, but after grace, I can go out with all the other respectable people. Praise the Lord! I’m no longer under the law; I’m under grace.

That same day I go down to the bank on the corner. It’s open. Can I go in there? You’d better believe I can! But the minute I walk in there the clerk grabs the money and puts it under the counter. The policeman that arrested me jumps up out of his chair and puts his hand on his gun. So I go over to him and I say, “Sir, I have a right to be in here. The judge has given me grace. I’m not under the condemnation of the law anymore.” But just because I’m not under the law, does that mean I don’t have to keep the law? Does that mean I can disobey the law, as some people suggest? Does that mean I can go and steal more money from that bank and escape judgment, just because I’m under grace? Absolutely not! In fact, I, of all people, should be especially zealous to live in harmony with the law, because I have been given grace. Would you say Amen?

The Bible says that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And the wages of sin is what? Romans 6:23. Because we have sinned, we deserve to die, and sin is the breaking of God’s law. Everybody in this auditorium is a sinner. We deserve hell fire, and the God who sits on the Throne of the Universe could destroy every one of us and still be a just God. We deserve to die. The wages of sin is death.

But whenever a man or woman, a boy or girl decides that he’s sorry, whenever a sinner wants forgiveness and victory, I want to tell you that standing next to the Throne of Justice is a Lawyer. His name is Jesus Christ. You can call Him up; tell Him your need. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:16, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace.” You don’t have to talk to a preacher or a priest. You can go into your room and shut the door and the minute you drop on your knees, by faith you’re right in the presence of the Lawyer. The Bible says in I John 2:1, “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” Would you say Amen?

And the Lawyer says, “Alright, are you a sinner?” 
“Yes, Lord, I’m a sinner.” 
“Well, what is your attitude now?” 
“I’m tired of sin, Lord. I want to be a candidate for heaven. I want to be in Your family. I want to be a child of God. I want to live in harmony with the will of God for my life.” 
“Are you willing to give up sin?” 
“I am, Lord.” 

At the Throne of Grace is also justice, and no sinner has a right to be there. But Christ the Lawyer is there and God the Father could look at us and say, “You deserve to die because you’re sinners.” 

But Christ the Lawyer stands up and says, “Father, Derek prayed to Me. He confessed his sins. He’s asked Me if he could be forgiven. He has pleaded for grace. He has reached out to Me as His Savior.” And when justice cries out for the death penalty for me, Jesus holds up His nail scarred hands and says, “I have already paid the price for Derek’s sin.” And justice is satisfied.

Then the Father looks down at me and smiles. “Alright, Derek. Go and sin no more. Your Lawyer has made an appeal. You are no longer under the law. You’re under grace.” Would you say Amen? 

But when I’ve received grace, do I go right out and deliberately break the law again? Why, folks who are under grace ought to be the most careful people on earth to live in harmony with the law of God. Would you say Amen?

That is exactly what Paul is saying in Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Paul says shall we continue to sin, to break God’s law, because we’re under grace? Or let me put it this way: Should I keep on robbing banks just because there’s a judge downtown who has mercy? How foolish can you be! Paul says in verse 2, “God forbid. How shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?”

And yet this falsehood is frequently taught today, that just because we’ve received grace, we don’t have to obey God’s law; we don’t have to keep His commandments. But listen to what Paul says in Romans 6:15: “What then? Shall we sin,”--and what is sin? “Shall we sin,”--shall we break God’s law--“because we’re not under law, but under grace?” Again Paul says, “God forbid.” If that’s clear to you, would you say Amen?

Now, I’ve got some little children up here this evening. I’m going to give these children some names and I’m going to point to them. I’m going to see how smart you are! I want you to follow me. The first name I have is sin. What’s his name? Come on now! What’s his name? Now every time I point to him you’re going to say what? (Sin). The next is law. This is grace. Who is this? (Grace). Who is this? (Law). Who is this? (Sin). And this is Christ. Who is this? (Christ). And this is gospel. Who is this? (Gospel). Let’s see if we can go all the way (Point to the first five). This is preacher. Who is this? (Preacher). And this is church. Who is this? (Church). Now let’s see if you can do them all:
Okay. Now, I’m going to quote the Bible and I want you to help me. The Bible says that:
Sin is the transgression of the law. 
Whoever hates God’s law upholds sin
because sin is breaking the law
and where the is no law, there is no sin
so anybody who fights God’s law is upholding sin
Now, whoever hates sin, must support God’s law

Let’s try that one more time. The Bible says that: 
Sin is the transgression of the law
and grace is pardon for sin, which is breaking the law.
And everybody needs grace because all have sinned.
Now Christ died that we might have grace, 
which is pardon for sin, which is breaking the law
And the preacher preached the gospel in his church.

Now, there are some preachers who will tell you that God’s law is done away with (remove child).
Now, if you do away with the law you also do away with sin (remove child), 
because sin is breaking the law.
And if you don’t have sin, you don’t need grace (remove child).
and you certainly don’t need Christ (remove child),
who was foolish to come and die for nothing.
And if you don’t have Christ, you don’t have a gospel (remove child).
And if you don’t have a gospel, you can get rid of the preacher (remove child).
And if you get rid of the preacher you might as well get rid of the church (remove child).

And friends, that’s exactly what the Devil wants. The Bible says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). And Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets...I came not to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). In His life, the Bible says Jesus was obedient. John 15:10. The Bible says, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”

The Devil says, You don’t need to keep God’s law. You don’t need to obey God’s Word. But Jesus says, I died to save you. You are under grace. And, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). How many does God want us to keep? James 2:10. The Bible says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” 

To those who say, I just love Jesus. I don’t need to keep the law, the Bible says in 1 John 2:4, “He that saith I know Him and keepeth not His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” The Bible said that. Over in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation 22:14 the Bible says, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

Jesus says to you tonight, I love you! I loved you enough to die to save you. And I offer you grace, forgiveness, victory, eternal life. And I want you to love Me back. If you love Me, Jesus says, keep My commandments.

If it’s clear to you tonight that God wants us, His children who are saved by His grace, to love Him back and keep His commandments, and if you love Jesus tonight and desire grace to do His will, I want you to mark a big check on the pink slip that the ushers handed out. Just fill it out, and don’t forget your name and address because I want to pray for you tonight that God will give you grace to do His will.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord, we thank You for the clarity of truth, that we need not be deceived; that Your way is plain. Lord, we need grace to pardon our sins, and grace to live by from day to day. We want our lives brought in harmony with Your word, and we can’t do that by ourselves. Lord, we need outside help. If You want somebody to preach the truth to people, Lord, I’ll do that. But I can’t change hearts. I can’t give people power. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. So we ask for that power and that help tonight. We want to obey Your word and enjoy it. Lord, bring this about, we beg in Jesus’ name. Amen.

APPENDIX: Children with posters with these words:

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