AMAZING   GRACE              

 In 1725 a baby boy was born into an English sailor's home. Called John his mother died when he was just 7 years old. At the age of eleven, he left school and joined his father's ship to begin life as a seaman. Plunging into debauchery, he became exceedingly rebellious. After serving on several ships and working on the islands and mainland of the West African coast collecting slaves for sale to visiting traders, he became captain of his own slave ship.   

On March 1O, 1748, while he was sailing to England from Africa, a tremendous storm arose and it appeared that all would be lost. Newton was so terrified that he began to read a book titled, "Imitation of Christ." Through this book, God sowed the seeds of conviction bringing repentance. At the age of 39 he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Influenced by the Wesleys, he commenced a preaching ministry and for 15 years told of the saving grace of God in his own life.

 Wherever he preached, large crowds gathered to hear the "Old Converted Sea Captain."  He wrote-

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.

    You may not have lived as wicked a life as John Newton nevertheless like the old sea captain you need to receive God's amazing grace.  Unlike the old adage which states "God helps those who help themselves" grace is the very opposite. It is that which is given without charge. Emphasizing this Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; Not of works, lest any man should boast". He reminded them that salvation was not through their works or their giving but a gift to be received. The materialist says buy your way to heaven. But salvation is not a do religion or a don't religion it is a done religion. Christ having finished the work all you have to do is receive it. Receiving it not only your sins but your fears will be washed away.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;

How precious dld that grace appear

The hour I first believed!