Summary: Justification by faith is an attractive yet elusive idea.
Freedom, Intriguing yet Elusive
Theme: God’s plan of salvation is trustworthy.
Purpose: What do I want to happen in the hearer when I preach this sermon?
A. Increased insight. After I preach this sermon, the hearer should be able to see that:
1. The possibility of being saved from sin by faith in Christ intrigues the human mind because it is appealing.
2. However, because of our fallen state fully and consistently trusting in the gospel is elusive.
B. Changed attitude. After I preach this sermon, I want the hearer to determine to trust in the gospel as the only hope of being saved.
Objective: Trust God’s promise to save us based upon our faith and not upon our performance.
Need to be
Surfaced: We want to believe—trust God—but we just can’t seem to quite get there.
be Offered: God has made a promise and he cannot break it.
Introduction. (Get attention, surface need, make a contract to deliver a solution.)
A. Justification by faith.
1. A very intriguing concept.
a. No lists.
b. No laws.
c. Just a system of love, grace and forgiveness for those who maintain faith in Christ.
2. But, no matter how intriguing the good news may be, it is still elusive.
a. Man has fallen.
b. Sin has entered into our psyche—our perception of the world.
c. Therefore, we cannot
(2) Nor consistently
(3) Trust God to do what he says he will do:
(a) Forgive the unforgivable.
(b) Love the unlovable.
(c) Accept the unacceptable.
B. Peter obviously struggled with this very thing.
Galatians 2:11-14 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.
1. Freedom embraced and practiced: 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles.
2. Peer pressure causes a reversal: But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
3. Peer pressure causes an avalanche: 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
4. The gospel calls for repentance: 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
I. Why is the Idea of Justification by Faith so Appealing?
A. It makes life simple.
1. All food is clean - Mark 7:19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body. (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")
a. No more Kosher rules!
b. No more exorbitant prices for food.
(1) A shochet is a trained, ritual slaughterer.
(2) He is well versed in the laws of shechita (kosher slaughtering).
(3) He is able, through the use of a perfectly sharpened knife (called a challef), to sever the jugular vein with one stroke.
(a) Then the meat must be washed for 30 minutes.
(b) Then it must be rinsed—twice!
(c) Then salted with coarse salt to extract the blood.
(d) If this is not done within three days then some of the blood can coagulate and then it can never be removed and the meat can never be made kosher!
2. No more lists to memorize - Acts 10:9-12.
a. 9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
b. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.
3. No more socially awkward moments - Galatians 2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles;
a. Church fellowship (i.e., potluck) was not very complicated!
(1) Eat whatever you wanted to eat (all food is clean).
(2) Sit with whomever you wanted to sit with (all people are clean).
b. Remaining ceremonially clean was simple!
(1) Mark 7:3-4 The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.