Are You in Prison?
A. Alcatraz. Even the word bring a certain amount of fear and trembling
B. Alcatraz was built originally as a military prison
C. From 1934 to 1962 Alcatraz housed some of our nations must notoriously known criminals including one more Al Capone
D. 36 prisoners were involved in escape attempts: 7 were shot and killed, 2 drowned, 5 unaccounted for, the rest recaptured. 2 prisoners made if off the island but were returned. As for the June 1962 escape, Morris and the Anglin brothers were successful in escaping both the intuition and the island, but their survival is very questionable
E. Alcatraz was known as the rock. The rock was one of the most successful examples ever of an escape proof prison.
F. But there is one prison that is even more inescapable and it the one refereed to in the passage we just read: The bondage of sin!
G. Paul responds to the teachers who have been trying to add to the message of salvation
H. Paul’s response is that the law is not a way to escape the bondage of sin
I. Rather it is through faith in Christ and trusting in his sacrifice on the cross as a payment for sin is the only way to be set free from sin’s bondage, which is death
J. Now let me be upfront today’s message is not one that might seem readily applicable to your life. One where you might be tempted to walk away and say, “yeah that is nice, but what does that have to do with me?”
K. It does have a lot to do with you, it has a lot to do with your understanding of the Bible and who God is
Today there are three goals that I have for each of you:
A. To have a better understand of God’s Grand Plan of Grace
1. That you will gain a deeper understanding of God’s grand plan of Grace throughout History, which will enhance your understanding of Scripture
B. Use that understanding to Grow in Faith
1. That this understanding will cause your faith to grow and you will snuggle just a little bit deeper into God’s grace, resting in the sufficiency and completeness of Christ
C. Use that increase of Faith to serve God More
1. That this increased faith will cause you to exercise your freedom in Christ to serve Him more and more
The question that we need to answer today is: How does the Law of Moses relate to the Promise to Abraham, and how does each apply to our new life in Christ?
This section of scripture can be divided into 2 parts:
• The first part deals with the relationship of the Law to God’s promise to Abraham
• And the 2nd relating to the purpose of the law
I. The Priority of the Promise (15-18)
This first section deal with the fact that the Promise that God made to Abraham back in Genesis to bless the world through his offspring is still in tact
A. The Law does not set aside the promise
a) Take a look at verse 17. (Read 17)
What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.
b) What this does is points out that the promise to Abraham is still in effect
c) If the promise to Abraham was changed, then God would break his promises
d) And if God breaks His promise everything that we know and believe would crumble
e) It would be like God going up to Abe’s decadents and saying new deal now it is going to be faith PLUS obedience and then introducing the law
f) But that is what was the Judiezers had said to the Christians in Galatians. Ok you’re saved through trusting in Jesus, but now if you want new life, you have to follow these rules.
g) That is not fair even in human understanding, surely God isn’t trying to pull a slick one
a) Everything God said He will do He does, He doe not back down on his promises
b) He does not change his promises
c) He does not Go back on His word
d) What he says He is going to do He does
a) Of course we are getting reading for the presidential election. I am sure that the month leading up to this you are going to see the records of both being carefully examine to try and find an inconsistency with them, such as things they changed their mind about
b) If you were to examine the promises that God made, in particular with Abraham, you will realize that God never changes. God is who He says He is, Does what He says He will do, And never goes back on his Promises
B. The promise is a Gift not a reward
a) Take a look at verse 18 (Read 18)
For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
b) The inheritance that Abraham was promise was not based on what Abraham did, it was a Gift of God
c) Have you ever paid for a gift?
d) If you have it is not a gift!
e) God has not asked us to ear salvation as a reward for following the rulebook, we would never be able to earn that
f) Plus it would make it a matter of human effort and not Gods grace
a) To try and add requirements to salvation, is to say that God’s gracious gift is not enough to accomplish salvation
b) God grace is sufficient, God grace is enough to offer Salvation
C. The promise is fulfilled in Christ
a) Take a look at verse 16 (Read 16)
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ
b) The Bible is without error, inerrant as we like to say, do not think for one second that this is just some slip up in singular nouns and plural nouns
c) It says Child and it meant to say Child
d) The bottom line is this, the promise to Abraham was to be fulfilled ultimately in Christ
e) The law may have foreshadowed Christ, but ultimately it was a stopgap measure to get God people from the time of the promise, until it’s fulfillment in Jesus when the times was Right
f) The promise, given upon the basis of faith was the promise of Jesus, the law does not change that
a) Let’s say I bought a brand new BMW Z3. I had it special ordered to make sure I had it exactly that way I wanted, while I was waiting for it to arrive from the factory, the deal gave me a used Chevy Cavalier to drive around
b) Should I be satisfied with the Cavalier? OF course not! I was promised the Z3 and I should get the Z3
a) The promise has priority over the law, because it preceded it
b) The law was just meant to carry God’s people through until the promise was fulfilled gloriously in Christ
II. The Purpose of the Law (19-25)
The second section deals with purpose of the law. The first reason is:
A. Show the Expectations of a Holy God
a) Take a look at verse 19a (Read 19a)
What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come
b) Or as the New Living puts it: It was given to show people how guiltily they are.
c) Through that law we get a glimpse of the Holiness of God
d) Much of the Law given through Moses is intended to show us simply that God is great, far above and beyond us!
e) Another things that the Law demonstrates is that God is Lord, He is free to make whatever rules He sees fit.
f) The Law us shows us most often that God more then anyone else understands how He intended for Creation to work
(1) God’s prohibition of sex outside of marriage is not some attempt to be a cosmic party pooper but because God understand both the physical and emotional havoc that promiscuity wreaks upon his creation
(2) God says don’t steal because society doesn’t work otherwise, society could not exist without stealing being a crime
(3) Take a Sabbath, why? Because your body needs it!
(4) The parts about cleaning your food and washing your hands, simple because you risk that chance of getting sick otherwise
g) So the first purpose of the law is to help us understand what God requires of us, usually for our own good, and to help us understand him
B. Puts us in Protective Custody
a) Look at verse 22-23 (Read 22-23)
But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.
b) This is interesting. The real bondage is the bondage of sin, its physical emotional and spiritual consequence
c) We need protected from that.
d) The solution was the law, but the problem with that law it to created a bondage, a prison if you will, of do this and don’t do that
e) We were locked up being a prisoner to both sin and the law until as Paul says faith should be revealed
f) That faith being revealed was Christ, those who put their faith in Christ are not longer under sins bondage, nor are they under the law’s bondage
g) They are completely free
a) Now does that mean then that I am free to sin? That can be a complicated question, but a least the main part of the answer is simple:
b) “What? Are you crazy”
a) Just because I don’t have someone saying check my oil, that does not mean I don’t have to do it
b) Just because I am not bond to the law of the Sabbath doesn’t mean it is good not to practice it
c) Just because I am not bond to the law of the tithe, does not mean I do not need to practice that principle in my life, not for God’s need but for my own
d) If you look at verse 24 there is the idea that the law is our teacher (much clearer in the new living)
e) So think about a school setting, once the bell dismisses us, we are free from the teacher.
f) We can choose to ignore all that we learned, but wouldn’t that be foolish?
C. Leading us to Christ
a) Look at Vs. 24 (read 24)
So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith
b) Lead us to Christ
c) Back to the school setting, teacher model we just were talking about.
d) The picture is that the law helps us to understand our desperate need of grace
e) Following the law is harsh way to live, especially if we do it with a sense of trying to earn God’s favor.
f) The law of Moses in particular was a harsh schoolmaster, the incredible holiness of God revealed in the law would make any thinking person realize how sadly even the best human attempts at holiness fall short
a) The law makes us ready for grace
b) The oppressing burden of our sinful state helps us shed our pride and fall at the food of the cross desperate for grace
c) Grace that God is anxious to give – In keeping his promise to Abraham – and in the same way as he blessed Abraham, by faith
A. Our sin bond us
B. The law keeps us shackled still
C. But Christ sets us free
(Romans 8:1-2) 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death
D. The law of the spirit of live, Jesus, sets us free from condemnation understand the law, and sets us free to live in Grace, not sin
E. Did we accomplish our goals today?
a. 1. Do I have a better understanding of God’s Grand Plan of Grace?
b. 2. Does this understanding allow me to grow in my faith?
c. 3. Will this increase amount of faith cause you to Serve Christ more and more?
F. We began looking at a prison known as the Rock – Alcatraz – we now end with another Rock – The Rock of Salvation – The Rock that does not imprison us, but frees us
G. (Let’s pray)
H. (The Solid Rock)