Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

How God Works His Grace
1 Peter 5:10-11 (NAS)

10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen {and} establish you. 11 To Him {be} dominion forever and ever. Amen.

How does God work His Grace. We could say "anyway He wants to ". If we went around the congregation and ask individually we would get many responses. I want to mention from this text three areas in which God works his grace.

God Works His Grace Through . . Calling.

God Works His Grace Through . . Caring.

God Works His Grace Through . . Celebration.

1.    God Works His Grace Through . . Calling.  v 10 a

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. KJV

A.    The Present Aspect of the Call. v 10 a
            But the God of all grace, who hath called us . . . "

        1.    Note the other times the word Called is used in 1 Peter. (4 other times) all NAS

1 Pet 1:15
15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all {your} behavior;

1 Pet 2:9
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for {God's} own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Pet 2:21
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

1 Pet 3:9
9 not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Because you are called of God into His salvation; what purpose do you have?

B.    The Future Aspect of the Call. v 10 b
            ". . . called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, . . . "

1 Pet 1:4 to {obtain} an inheritance {which is} imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

        1.    This Glory is a . . Reflected Glory.

A person wanting to be critical of some Christians said "you Aint nothing but moon-shine". To which the Christians said "thank you". The critics asked "Why thank us for calling you moon shine". The Christians replied "because the Moons light is just a reflection of the sun, and we want to reflect the Son."

The real legacy of my life was my biggest failure--that I was an ex-convict. My greatest humiliation--being sent to prison--was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life; He chose the one experience in which I could not glory for His glory.     Charles Colson, Loving God

        2. This Glory is a . . Revealed Glory.

Illustration Topic: Heaven Index: 1357-1358 7/1996.452 Title: Then they will understand
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond.

They did notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with his friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, he gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

"Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you suppose he is going?" Up, up, up he went slowly. Even as they watched him, the water bug disappeared from sight. His friends waited and waited but he didn't return.

"That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't he happy here?" asked a second water bug. "Where do you suppose he went?" wondered a third. No one had a answer.

They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered his friends together. "I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he went and why."

"We promise," they said solemnly. One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water, and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of the sun dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly.

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by, he lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were, scurrying about, just as he had been doing some time before.

Then he remembered the promise: "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he went and why." Without thinking, he darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water. "I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least I tried, but I can't keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies, too. Then they'll understand what happened to me, and where I went." And the dragonfly winged off happily into his wonderful new world of sun and air.


This glory is a revealed glory and all we know about it is what the word of God tells us. No human being has gone to heaven and come back to tell us about it.

Luke 16:27-31 27 "And he said, 'Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father's house-- 28 for I have five brothers-- that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30 "But he said, 'No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' 31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'" (NAS)

2.    God Works His Grace Through . . Caring.

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. KJV

        NAS " will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen {and} establish you.

A.    Caring In Our Suffering. 16 times in 15 verse in this epistle

            1.    "For a while". KJV . . . . "For a little while" NAS

            2.    Suffering as a Matter of . . Chastisement. Heb 12:6-10
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives." 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom {his} father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?     10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He {disciplines us} for {our} good, that we may share His holiness. (NAS)

2 Cor 4:17
17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, (NAS)

        2.    Suffering as a Matter of . . Creation.
Rom 8:22
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (NAS)

I know of a family where there are four brothers. One of the brothers has had a lot of suffering in his life. On one occasion when I talked to him, I knew that he had a very rough experience in the second World War. I knew that he had a failed marriage where he was in no way a guilty person, And I knew that he had lost a little child. As we talked about one of his brothers, he said, "Well you have to remember that this brother has not had any trouble in his life."

This was not a derogatory comment. It was just an observation and the one brother who had the trouble was saying that it had matured him in a way that his other brother had not experienced. But the elder brother said "he will have trouble someday". And you know that brother has had trouble. What the older brother was saying and what I am saying is that simply because we are a part of this creation, we will have trouble. And God works His grace through our suffering.

B.    Caring In Our Perfecting. (Restoration) v 10
            " will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen {and} establish you.

            1.    Perfecting through Restoration.

RESTORED -- PERFECTED v 10 B KJV 2 Times Mended, 1 Time Restore 2 Time Fitted
2675 katartizo (kat-ar-tid'-zo);
from 2596 and a derivative of 739; to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust: KJV-- fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore.
739 artios (ar'-tee-os); from 737; fresh, i.e. (by implication) complete: KJV-- perfect.

[Make you perfect ...] The Textus Receptus makes this and the three following verbs in the optative mood, expressing a wish. So the King James Version But the best texts make them all indicative future, and thus convert the wish or prayer into an assurance. Thus, then,

[Shall himself perfect] [autos (grk 846) katartisei (grk 2675)]. The King James Version overlooks the [autos] (grk 846), "himself," which is very significant as indicating God's personal interest and energy in the work of confirming his children.

"Shall perfect." The English Revised Version (1885) reads "restore," in the margin. The root of this word appears in [aroo] (grk 142) or [arariskoo], "to fit or join together." So [arthron] means a "joint." The radical notion of the verb is, therefore, "adjustment"-- the putting of all the parts into right relation and connection.

Note how this word is translated in other places.

Matt 4:21 And going on from there He saw two other brothers,   James the {son} of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. (NAS)

Gal 6:1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you  who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; {each one} looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. (NAS)

        2. Perfecting through Stability. (Confirmation)

[Shall stablish] [steerixei (grk 4741)]. The word is akin at the root to [stereos] (grk 4731), "steadfast" <1 Pet. 5:9>, and is the very word used by Christ in his exhortation to Peter, "strengthen thy brethren" <Luke 22:32>. Possibly there is a reminiscence of this in Peter's use of the word here.

Luke 22:32 (NAS)
32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

        3.    Perfecting through Strengthening .

STRONGS # 4599 sthenoo (sthen-o'-o);
from sthenos (bodily vigor; probably akin to the base of 2476); to strengthen, i.e. (figuratively) confirm (in spiritual knowledge and power): KJV-- strengthen.
2476 histemi (his'-tay-mee);
a prolonged form of a primary stao (stah'-o) (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses); to stand (transitively or intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively):
KJV-- abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up). Compare 5087.

[Shall strengthen] [sthenoosei (grk 4599)]. Only here in New Testament. Compare <Eph. 3:16>

        4.    Perfecting through Settling. (Establish or Foundation)

[Shall settle] [themelioosei (grk 2311)]. Omitted by some texts, and by the English Revised Version (1885) From [themelios] (grk 2310), a "foundation." The radical notion of the word is, therefore, "to ground securely." It occurs in <Matt. 7:25>, of the house "founded" on a rock; in <Heb. 1:10>, of laying the foundations of the earth. In <Eph. 3:18>, it is joined with "rooted." The massing of these expressions, unconnected by conjunctions, indicates strong feeling. Bengel thus sums up the whole: "Shall perfect, that no defect remain in you: shall stablish, that nothing may shake you: shall strengthen, that you may overcome every adverse force. A saying worthy of Peter. He is strengthening his brethren."

Matt 7:25
25 "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and {yet} it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. (NAS)

A little boy was taken by his father to a major city and as they walked along the streets of down town, they noticed a skyscraper being built. The father walked over and there was a peek hole where you could look in and see the construction going on.

There was a very deep hole being dug. The little boy thought in his mind, "My goodness! What are they building?" He was thinking it was going to be an awfully deep swimming pool. But he asked his dad "What are they building?" And his dad pointed out other skyscrapers to him and said, "Look, son. This is what they are building. They're building skyscrapers." The boy looked again and said, "Dad, they're digging in the wrong way. They're digging down, not preparing to go up.

And the father then had the opportunity to explain to his son that the only way to build a skyscraper was to have a very solid foundation.


I would liken that in our Christian life. The only way to build anything that would be something like a skyscraper Christian is to have a depth and a quality about us.

God Works His Grace Through . . Caring.

Caring In Our Suffering.

Caring In Our Perfecting.

3.    God Works His Grace Through. . Celebration. v 11 

To Him {be} dominion forever and ever. Amen.

A. Powerful Celebration
        To Him {be} dominion...." Word only use to describe God.

B.    Permanent Celebration.
        ". . . forever and ever. Amen."

In recent years there have been a number of stories in the "Life After Life" vein. One of the most moving that I have read is the story that is told by singer Johnny Cash about the death of his brother, Jack, in 1944. Jack was two years older than Johnny and had always been his hero and model. On Saturday, May 12, 1944, Jack went to work at a workshop, cutting fence posts. Johnny had tried to talk Jack into going to a movie with him that day but funds were low and the family needed the money.

While at the workshop Jack fell across the table saw and was badly injured. He was rushed to the hospital, but they didn't expect him to live through the day. He lingered for a week, in and out of consciousness, sometimes hallucinating, then back into a coma. After a week of his condition worsening, it was obvious that he was going to die. The family gathered in the hospital room. Jack was swollen from the ravages of the traumatic injury. Johnny Cash tells the story:

"I remember standing in line to tell him good-bye. He was still unconscious. I bent over his bed and put my cheek against his and said, 'Good-bye, Jack.' That's all I could get out.

"My mother and daddy were on their knees. At 6:30 A.M. he woke up. He opened his eyes and looked around and said, 'Why is everybody crying over me? Mama, don't cry over me. Did you see the river?'

"And she said, 'No, I didn't, Son.'

"'Well, I thought I was going toward the fire, but I'm headed in the other direction now, Mama. I was going down a river, and there was fire on one side and heaven on the other. I was crying, 'God, I'm supposed to go to heaven. Don't You remember? Don't take me to the fire.' All of a sudden I turned, and now, Mama, can you hear the angels singing?'

"She said, 'No, Son, I can't hear it.'

"And he squeezed her hand and shook her arm, saying, 'But Mama, you've got to hear it.' Tears started rolling off his cheeks and he said, 'Mama, listen to the angels. I'm going there, Mama.'

"We listened with astonishment.

"'What a beautiful city,' he said. 'And the angels singing. Oh Mama, I wish you could hear the angels singing.' Those were his last words. And he died.

"The memory of Jack's death, his vision of heaven, the effect his life had on the lives of others, and the image of Christ he projected have been more of an inspiration to me, I suppose, than anything else that has ever come to me through any man."

Johnny Cash, Man in Black


God Works His Grace Through . . Calling.

God Works His Grace Through . . Caring

God Works His Grace through . . Celebration

Have you started on the grace Road?

Eph 2:8   (NAS)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God;