Summary: 1- The purpose of the law 2- The promise of God
INTRO.- ILL.- One of golf’s immortal moments came when a Scotchman demonstrated the new game to President Ulysses Grant. Carefully placing the ball on the tee, he took a mighty swing. The club hit the turf and scattered dirt all over the President’s beard and surrounding vicinity, while the ball stayed on the tee. Again the Scotchman swung, and again he missed. The President waited patiently through six tries and then quietly stated, "There seems to be a fair amount of exercise in the game, but I fail to see the purpose of the ball." (I DO TOO!)
That was a pretty good response. Purpose is what we’re thinking about in this message, not the purpose of the golf ball but to start with, but the purpose of our lives.
Why are we here? We know how we got here, but what is the purpose for which God put us here? Have you come to a good conclusion for that question?
ILL.- John W. Gardner (October 8, 1912–February 16, 2002 - Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson) said it’s a rare and high privilege to help people understand the difference they can make -- not only in their own lives, but also in the lives of others, simply by giving of themselves.
Gardner tells of a cheerful old man who asked the same question of just about every new acquaintance he fell into conversation with: "What have you done that you believe in and you are proud of?"
He never asked conventional questions such as "What do you do for a living?" It was always, "What have you done that you believe in and are proud of?" It was an unsettling question for people who had built their self-esteem on their wealth or their family name or their exalted job title.
Not that the old man was a fierce interrogator. He was delighted by a woman who answered, "I’m doing a good job raising three children;" and by a cabinetmaker who said, "I believe in good workmanship and practice it;" and by a woman who said, "I started a bookstore and it’s the best bookstore for miles around."
"I don’t really care how they answer," said the old man. "I just want to put the thought into their minds. They should live their lives in such a way that they can have a good answer. Not a good answer for me, but for themselves. That’s what’s important."
I would say that John Gardner hit on a good thought. What have you done that you believe in and are proud of? Your occupational work in this world? Some of you may view your work as being more important than others, however.
ILL.- Let me illustrate it this way. My son Shane drives a truck for RC Cola. It’s a hard job because of the long hours and heavy lifting but he makes a decent salary. However, Shane doesn’t see much of a future in it. I suspect he thinks that lifting soda all day long doesn’t exactly fit what he thinks of as being a success in life. But who said we’re supposed to be ’successful’ in life? Where does this idea come from anyway?
I think it comes from the world. We get the idea that unless we’re making a good salary with decent hours and also doing something we like then we’re not successful. But nowhere in scripture do I find that we’re supposed to be successful in the eyes of the world! In fact, if we are, we may not be right in the eyes of God!
Here is the purpose of life for the Christian regardless of who we are or what we do for a living.
I Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
Can my son Shane drive his RC truck and do his work to the glory of God? Why, of course, he can! How? Do a good job. Be pleasant. Be a good worker and demonstrate a good spirit to everyone he comes in contact. And even be a witness for Christ whenever he can. Speak a good word for Christ whenever the opportunity arises. AND THE SAME THING APPLIES TO US!
And when we get the purpose right, the promise will be even more meaningful. What do I mean? When we figure out that we’re here for the Lord’s glory (and not our own) then the promise of God will have even greater meaning for us in life.
Now to our text, which is also about purpose and promise, only it deals with the purpose of the Old law and the promise of God. Is there a conflict between these two?
PROP.- Let’s discern what Paul is saying.