Summary: An exposition of Romans 3:23-26 Sermon is about knowing your true spiritual condition. Don’t be deceived that into thinking you are okay when in fact you are sinking along with the world
Title: Are you going down with the ship?
One of the great tragedies of the 20th century took place on the night of April 14, 1912. We are all familiar with the sinking of the Titanic. When the ship set sail on its maiden voyage the bands were playing, the passengers were dancing, and everyone was oblivious to the impending disaster. Even when the ship first struck the iceberg many people on board still did not perceive that they were in any danger. When the life boats were lowered down many of them were sent away only half full. The people simply did not know the true condition of the ship. When the band on the Titanic changed its tune to "Nearer My God to Thee" it was already too late.
Many people live their spiritual lives in exactly the same way. They don’t understand their true spiritual condition. They seem oblivious to the great eternal danger that looms ahead. As a result many never look for the spiritual life boat. The very idea that 1500 people would perish was unthinkable to those on board the Titanic, but they found that the cold dark north Atlantic waters were very unforgiving. Survivor Eva Hart remembered that night "I saw all the horror of its sinking and I heard, even more dreadful, the cries of drowning people". Most of the passengers ended up struggling in the icy seas, while those in the life boats waited a safe distance away, listening to the cries of the lost. God has heard the cries of lost humanity, too. He didn’t have to do anything about it. He could have kept a safe distance and just listened, allowing us all to perish, but He didn’t.
What is your real spiritual condition? Are you sinking? Are you going down with the ship? Today I want to challenge you to know your true spiritual condition and to get into the life boat that God has provided for you.
The apostle Paul talked about this issue of knowing our true spiritual condition in his epistle to the Romans chapter 3 verses 23 and 24. If you have not found the passage yet, would you please turn to it as we answer the question: Why would God send YOU a life boat?
Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome. Since Rome was the capital city of the Roman Empire many people were being drawn there from other areas of the empire. This was also true of Christians. Many people, who had been saved as a result of Paul’s ministry, were now in Rome. Paul felt a great responsibility for them. Up to this point he had been unable to visit them, so these Christians had received very little teaching. This lengthy letter which is now known as the book of Romans, was written by Paul as a way to compensate for his inability to give them personal instruction. In this letter the apostle Paul explains fundamental truths about the sinfulness of man. When you discover how bad people truly are you might wonder why in the world would God even care about saving us. In our text today the apostle Paul tells us the reason why. Won’t you please join me this morning as we consider why would God send us a lifeboat?
In verse 23 the apostle Paul begins by showing us our true spiritual condition. He tells us "For all have sinned". That is NOT very good news for us!. That is like saying our boat has struck an ice berg. Sin is a very serious thing. It has become all too commonplace for us in the age we are living in. We are bombarded with it on television and in books, magazines, and on billboards. For the most part we have grown too comfortable with it! It’s common to hear people talk about their "vices" as if it is no big deal. But it is a big deal. It’s a big deal to God for He is Holy. Sin separates us from Him. How serious is sin? Sin carries with it a death sentence. In Romans 6:23 we read "the wages of sin is death"
But that is not our only problem. Paul tells us that not only have we sinned, but we have also come short of the Glory of God. The Glory of God? What is the Glory Of God? We are told in 2 Corinthians 4:6 that we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. When you see Jesus Christ, you are seeing the Glory of God. God’s glory is shown in Jesus’ perfect life. But here in Romans Paul told us we have all fallen short of His Glory. We have not lived up to His perfect standard. If you have ever been involved with labor unions you know that the workers get real upset if someone new comes on the job who is working to fast. They don’t want anyone to show them up. They also don’t want management to get the idea that they are not working hard enough or worse yet that they should do a new time study. That could increase the daily work standard for everybody. When Jesus came to this earth he lived a perfect and sinless life. In effect He showed us up. We all have fallen short of His glory. We have fallen short of His perfect standard. Some people have the idea that Jesus’ perfect life is what saves us. That is not true. His perfect life condemned us. His perfect life is something we cannot live up to. The point is, our boats have struck the iceberg and we are sinking fast friends!