Summary: Paul had a difficult task and so does the church today.
How To Accomplish a Difficult Task By Gerald Van Horn
Text. Romans 4:13-16
Old Testament Saints.
Old testament saints had a difficult task. The only way that they could be justified was by sacrifices. Such sacrifices could not purge a guilty conscience for the death of animals had to done over and over again and again. They did so in a blind manner for they very seldom saw any results. However, such sacrifices could only point to the greatest sacrifice of all. We will see this later in our message. At the moment our text points to Abraham. He was an example of faith. Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Romans 4:1-3. Believe means to trust in God and rely on Him.
Paul had a difficult task. He was constantly dealing with those who were justifying themselves by the law. God had given him the message of grace. It was in direct conflict with those who were trusting in the law. The law could not save you was his main message. The law was to show that self-righteousness could not lead to righteousness. Paul gave his life for the message of grace through faith. A example is Adam and Eve who tried to get back in the grace of God by their own ability. It just shows the weakness of the flesh. Trying to keep the law only leads to death. The wages of sin is death both spiritual and physical death. All that keep the law will die without hope. But grace by faith lifts man up from sin. Just as Christ died for sin and was lifted up from the earth on a cross.
God had another plan. The giving of his son Jesus on the cross. Sounds cruel of God but it also points out the terribleness of sin. The final battle to overcome sin is defeated at Calvary. The cross cleanses from all sin. Believers must be led from the law to grace. This was the message of Paul.
This was Paul’s task. It was not an easy task. Paul was glad to do it. For you see Paul, himself, went from the law to grace. He went from death to life. Paul was the least among men. He said so many times in his writings.
He faced the Judaism without fear. He brought the message to the Gentiles. Paul was hated for it. He was zealous to proclaim the truth as Jesus had given it to him. He expresses it in writing 1/3 of the New Testament. Paul was zealous for all men to receive God’s grace.
The situation still exists today. People are still trying to work out their own salvation. Man cannot accept grace today. Man feels he must earn God’s favor. Grace is the goodness of God toward lost sinners. It is an act of faith and faith alone. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest man should boast.” Grace is extended to all men they only have to believe. Grace takes over the work of the law. Man is always saved by grace and will be until the door of grace is closed. Grace encompasses all. You can get saved by trusting at anytime and any where. It is only possible by faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. You can believe it and receive it.
Ill. Put a dollar bill somewhere in your Bible. Ask the person, “How can you receive this dollar bill?” You would have to reach inside the Bible and get it. God offers us eternal life free, but H expects us to accept it. He will not force anyone. Heaven is a free gift, it’s not earned or deserved.
We are to accept the difficult task. God will help. Our duty is to proclaim it.
No task is too hard with God’s help. The Word says “open your mouth and He will fill it. “The church that is energized by the Holy Spirit can and will finish the task that Paul started.