Sunday, October 24, 2004

Two Little Questions

Read Romans 3:1-7

Intro: How many of you know what an interrobang is?

1. ‽ It is my favorite punctuation mark. ‽ 2. It is used to express that point in time when we feel both excitement and wonder of what is going on around us. 3. The best example that I can come up with is at a magic show. 4. I dabble in magic just a little. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not – but I dabble. 5. I remember once when my kids were younger – my youngest must have been in kindergarten. I took a single thread of string licorice – the kind you can pull apart into long threads. They saw me take the licorice and take it and fold into two pieces. They saw me push into my hand and take a pair of scissors to cut in half. And they saw me pull the string and, low and behold, it was a single thread again. In their faces you could see the wonder, the wow of the moment. And you could see the question, how did dad do that? If I had to punctuate that moment, I would use an interrobang. 6. I think scripture needs a few interrobangs. The original writings had no punctuation. Neither the OT Hebrew nor the NT Greek, had no punctuation marks. They have all been added by later editors. 7. I think there would be some point in scripture where the interrobang would have a rightful place in scripture. For example, a perfectly good place would be on Easter Sunday when the women come to the tomb and find it empty – and see and angel and then Jesus instead. 8. Today's scripture might be just such a place as well. Paul, in chapter 2 has just finished telling the Jewish and the Gentile members of the church that they both are going to be subject to God's judgement. There is great excitement in that the church as received a letter from Paul, the Paul. Yet he raises some difficult questions for those who are hearing the letter for the first time. 9. Paul addresses two of those questions in the opening verses of chapter 3.


T.S. Let's look at the two questions addressed by Paul in Romans 3:1-7.

I. What is so important about being Jewish

A. If I find myself condemned as a sinner, whether I am a Jew or not, why is being a Jew so important? B. It sounds like God is not making any distinction – I will suffer the same fate as those who are not Jews. So why bother.

(Ill.) The Jews who fell into this trap were falling into the same trap that our kids fall into. They expected life to be fair. I mean they were God's chosen people. Doesn't it seem fair that they would get a free pass.

C. And Paul has already said no! So why bother. D. The descendants of Abraham had done what they had been sent to do. Do you remember the promise that God gave to Abraham when he first called him from Ur of the Chaldees.

Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  (Gen 12:1-3)

E. The Jews had been blessed and in the person of Jesus Christ they had become a blessing to “all the families of the earth.” F. They had been given the privilege and responsibility of taking God's truth – both as written in scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ – and delivering it to a broken world. G. It was both an important and amazing task – both on God's part as he guided and worked through this relatively unknown people for 2000 years leading up to Christ's birth and on their own part as they found a very uncomfortable balance between obedience and failure. H. Why was it important to be a Jew – because they had served God and prepared the world to receive its Savior.

(Appl.) Today we, the church, has the task of taking that Savior to our world. Whether it be in our local community or through our missionary focus around the world.

II. What is so important about not sinning?

A. There is another problem that presents its self. B. If God's grace is made so necessary by our sin, maybe, one might argue, sin all the more so that we can experience even more of God's grace.

(Ill.) I wonder sometimes if our kids figure this one out. My middle son and I had this game. When he got in trouble – we would find an appropriate discipline (grounding, extra chores, apologies, etc.), but then we would end with a hug. As he got older, he would be just embarrassed enough that he would run from me and then I would chase him around the living room and dining room until I caught him. Just think, by doing more, he got more hugs. Do you think .... Naw...

C. But we do live in a culture that increasingly suggests that this is the way we should live. Sin appears to many to be less and less of an issue to our culture as we move into the 21st century. D. But to God it still does matter. We serve an unchanging God – theologians call it the “immutability of God.” It simply means God does not change. E. Paul was being accused of saying that it was okay to sin because it increased provided an opportunity God's grace to be multiplied. He will return to this topic later in Romans 6. For now he merely denies that he has never said such a thing. F. And so, though some will say sin is not a problem, whatever the reason, God makes it clear that sin is still a problem.


God deals with sin.

1. Not by minimizing it 2. Not by saying that it is okay because it is normal behavior 3. Not by ignoring it

4. God dealt with sin by sending his son Jesus. 5. Have you met the savior?

No comments: