Summary: Paul now begins to unpack his Grand Proposition (2:15-21). In 3:1-18, Paul supports the first part of his proposition: legalism is not the SOURCE of human justification.
Freedom, It Comes Apart from Law (Part One)
Theme: As faith justifies a human being, justification morally obligates that human being.
Purpose: What do I want to happen in the hearer when I preach this sermon?
A. Increased knowledge. After I preach this sermon, the hearer should be able to state, in general terms and from memory, that:
1. The New Covenant was talked about in the Old Testament in places like Jeremiah 31.
2. That the prophecy of Joel 2:28ff that God would pour forth his Spirit upon “all flesh” is fulfilled in the New Testament:
a. Beginning on the Day of Pentecost when God poured forth his Holy Spirit upon certain Jewish human beings.
b. Completely in Acts 10:44-48 when God “poured forth his Holy Spirit upon certain Gentile human beings.”
B. Increased insight. After I preach this sermon, the hearer should be able to discern that:
1. Faith in Jesus Christ and him crucified justifies a human being.
2. That justification creates a moral obligation upon the justified human being.
3. That same faith thereafter transforms that justified human being into a co-laborer with God in the awesome task of human redemption.
C. Changed attitude. After I preach this sermon, I want the hearer to determine to:
1. Quit focusing on external rules, regulations and observances as the means of insuring that they “will one day get to heaven.”
2. Instead, I want the hearer to focus on their faith in Jesus Christ and him crucified, and the implications of that event for their daily life, as the basis of their relationship with God.
Need to be
Surfaced: People of faith desperately want to know God intimately. However, our view that eternal life only implies a life that begins when this life ends causes us to miss the profound implications of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.
be Offered: The gospel is not merely the means that God uses to save our souls from hell; it is also the means God uses to transform us from the inside out into co-laborers with him in the awesome task of human redemption.
Introduction. (Get attention, surface need, make a contract to deliver a solution.)
1. A young, successful, prominent businessman reverently approaches God with a question: What must I do now, in this life, in order to insure that my soul will go to heaven when I die?
2. The question itself reveals a number of positive things about this person’s theology, his understanding of God:
a. He believes in God.
b. He believes in the eternal nature of the human soul—an afterlife.
c. He sincerely wants to live a good, upright, respectable life here on earth.
d. He wants to, and appears willing to, do whatever it takes to insure that he does everything that is necessary to insure that his soul will go to heaven when he dies.
(1) He has some excellent beliefs, doesn’t he?
(2) That’s why the Bible says that Jesus loved him (Mark 10:21).
(3) I rake him over the coals but my Master LOVED HIM!
3. The question also reveals some misconceptions about God’s plan:
a. He may believe in God but his God seems to be “far off—way out there.”
b. He believes in the eternal nature of human beings but seems to reveal an understanding that this aspect of our nature only becomes relevant upon our physical death.
c. He seems to miss the point that heavy involvement with this realm distracts one to the point of blindness to the eternal purposes of God.
d. He does not seem to catch the profound implications of God’s desire to have an ongoing partnership (collaboration) with human beings right here and right now!
4. With all due respect, here’s how I would summarize this man’s approach to his life (by the way, I am intimately and personally familiar with this particular approach to life):
a. My life is grand!
(1) I have a beautiful wife, a great job, wonderful kids, huge house—all the trimmings. (2) I go to the “right church”—its got the right doctrines, the right approach, it even has the right name.
b. There are bad things going on in the world, I admit it!
(1) There are people who take drugs.
(a) But that doesn’t affect me. Why?
(b) Because I have made it perfectly clear doctrinally that taking drugs is a sin.
(c) I’ve discharged my obligation.
(2) There are people who are murdering their unborn children right here in my community, I KNOW that—and I am upset about it!
(a) But, that’s not my problem.
(b) I’ve taken a stand against abortion (and homosexuality and every other perversion that is being practiced in my community.)
c. But, the way I look at it, if God wanted something done about it, he’d come down out of heaven and get the job done!