Sunday, June 26, 2005

Justifiably Broken

Intro.: I expect that you remember the little children's song

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King's horses

And all the King's men

Couldn't put Humpty together again.
  1. Sometimes life feels like that.

  2. Life has crashed around us

  3. It has not turned out the way we thought it might

  4. And we are immediately reminded that we are broken people.

  5. Turn with me to a passage that begins to explain how God deals with broken people.

Read: Romans 3:21-26


Trans: A new series starts today.

  1. During the last few weeks we have worked our way through the life of Abraham.

  2. Today we take begin to take a new direction.

  3. In a few weeks I will be taking a class just North of Indianapolis. In preparation for that class, I have to read all of the letters of Paul.

  4. That comes to approximately one chapter per day.

  5. This week I have woven my way through the first three chapters of Romans.

  6. Three chapters that remind us that God is in the business of redeeming broken people.

  7. In today's scripture, we read one of the most familiar scriptures found in the NT. But immediately following this, is one of the most important scriptures of the NT.

  1. For all have sinned

    1. When I am asked to explain what I mean by the gospel, I start with a number of Bible verses – John 3:16 and John 10:10 come immediately to mind.

      1. God does love you, he loves you more than any single human being has ever loved you.

        • Think of your parents – God loves you more

        • Think of your first girl friend or boy friend – God loves you more – okay, duh

        • Think of your spouse – God loves you more than your spouse

(Appl.) The sad part is that I don't always experience God's love. Life gets in the way. God loves me no matter what, his love is totally unconditional, his love is based on who he is. But yet I don't always experience it. It comes back to Romans 3:23 – I am a broken person and as a broken person, I will miss some of what God wants me to hear. As a broken person, I may hear about God's love, but I will fail to see it.

    1. Men are very much aware of their falleness.

    2. We spent much of the last two months looking at one of the major OT men – Abraham. Here was a man who sinned. That is amazing, because most of the literature from this time attempts to paint an amazingly pretty picture of their heroes. But in Abraham, we see a man who God chose to work through, but who also stands out for his sin – he lied (not once, but twice), there were times when his faith was weak. In Abraham we see proof that a man of faith will also be a broken person.

(Ill.) Noel Coward was a famous playwright and actor from the early 1900's. It is said that on one occasion, as a practical joke, he wrote to the 20 most prominent leaders in London. It was a small note that mearly said, “All is discovered, escape while you can.” He knew nothing, he had no secret knowledge. He merely sent the note. But the result was dramatic – all 20 of those leaders hurriedly left town upon receipt of the note. You see, Noel Coward knew that these were broken men – and they would have things to hide.

    1. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (NIV)

    2. We did not need Noel Coward to prove it through a practical joke. The Bible says it is true. But we also know it is true in our own lives. There is nobody in this room that would say anthing different.

    3. There are some preachers that would stop there and that would be the end of the matter. But that seems like a sad place to stop. It seems like a dark message if that is all that I have to say this morning.

    4. And, all too often, this is where we stop reading. We stop here – but there is more.

  1. And are justified by His grace

    1. It was one of those things that I have read dozens of times, but I had missed it.

    2. But like so many others, I knew about Romans 3:23 – it was the next piece of my gospel message. I must have stopped reading so I missed the next verse: “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

(Ill.) The Woman's Study Bible says, “Justification is a legal term referring to a right standing before God. That standing can never be earned. “Redemption” refers to the act by which a slave is given freedom. Through faith in Christ, sinners are delivered from slavery to sin.”i

    1. That sounds an awful lot like theology – but theology, rightly understood, will impact our lives. As broken people we do not have right standing before God – There is a distance between

    2. But the day that Christ died on the Cross, God purchased our redemption – we were redeemed, we were justified – and we received the right to stand to stand before God.

(Ill.) There is a scene at the end of one episode of Without a Trace where a child has been missing and for some period of time, the father was thought to be guilty of harming the child in some way. He had the means, the opportunity, and the motive. Except that the father had done nothing. The child had merely wandered off and gotten himself lost. At the conclusion of the show the father turns to the FBI agent responsible for the case and says, “I hope that I never have to see you again.” The father was declared righteous, he was innocent. But he never wanted to see the detective again.

Our relationship to God is different – God, working through the person of Jesus Christ, has made it so we are declared innocent. But in being declared innocent, we are allowed to approach God.

Conclusion: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

  1. I missed that second verse.

  2. Oh, I knew its truth, but I missed it here.

  3. Am I perfect? No, but God has forgiven me.

  4. Am I innocent? No, but God has redeemed me.

  5. Are you perfect? No, but God offers forgiveness.

  6. Are you innocent? No, but God offers you redemption.

  7. And in that we are allowed into God's presence – that is what it means to be justified.


iThomas Nelson, 1997. Woman's study Bible . Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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