Summary: None of us are as strong as we like to think we are. The remedy is a personal relationship with God. This sermon explores how a relationship with God REALLY works.
The Remedy for Weakness
Icebreaker: Bluefishtv: “A Man Fell in a Hole”
Intro: Now, we could just about pray and go home right there. Because that’s the message today. But I won’t. Sorry.
-Several of you here this morning made commitments to Jesus last Sunday, either a first time commitment to begin your walk with Him or a recommitment to grow in your faith. In fact, we can celebrate 6 people who made those commitments last Sunday. Let’s encourage them right now in their walk. (Applaud.)
-You’re headed in the right direction. I hope that today can help you go a little further, can help move you a little closer to God. Today’s message in our series is called “The Remedy for Weakness,” and you know why I’ve titled it that, today? Because we are weak. None of us are a strong as we’d like to think we are. And you might sit here sometimes and hear me talk about the importance of having a “personal relationship” with God, and you might wonder, “Well, what does that really mean?”
-Today, as we move to chapters 4 and 5 in our journey into the book of Romans, we’re going to take a good look at how a relationship with God really works.
How a Relationship with God Works
-In Romans 4-5, Paul really gets to the heart of how a relationship with God really works. And there’s a few major themes he hits on. I want to simply talk about 2 this morning that I think tie in really well together when we talk about our relationship with God. I want to talk about Abraham’s example and what it teaches us about our lives, first of all. And then, secondly, there’s this theme of boasting, and what we have no right to boast about and what we do. So we’re going to weave this together today in Romans 4 and 5.
1. God initiates the relationship through grace.
Illustration: Who did you look up to as a kid? You know, we all have our role models who we think can do no wrong.
Questions: But what do we all find out at one point or another? That nobody’s perfect, right?
Statement: Now, if you’ve read the book of Genesis, you know about Abraham. Even if you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably heard the name. He was the man that God chose to be the founder of the Hebrew people. It was His son, Isaac that became the father of Jacob and from that line came David and Solomon and generations down the line, Jesus. And what was so miraculous about God choosing Abraham is that he was 100 years old and his wife was 90.
-And Paul uses the example of Abraham, because the people he wrote to knew all about him. For their education, every little six-year-old Jewish boy went to a local synagogue school called Bet Sefer. It means house of the book. A child usually attended Bet Sefer from age 6 to age 10. And you would attend this school five days a week - from Monday - Friday. There would be a local synagogue Torah teacher who would begin teaching you the Torah. The Torah was the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
-On the first day of class the rabbi would take honey and would cover your slate, your personal chalk board, where you would write. Honey was a sign of God’s favor. There was nothing finer, nothing sweeter, nothing more full of pleasure than honey. And he would rub honey all over your slate. And then he would say, “Now class, lick the honey off the slate and off your fingers.” And so now you also can lick the honey off your fingers. And as you did this the rabbi would say, “May the words of God be sweet to your taste, sweeter than honey to your mouth” (Psalm 119:103). May the words of God be the most pleasurable, the most enjoyable thing you could even comprehend.
-And so as a child you were introduced to the Scriptures as there was nothing more enjoyable in the entire universe than tasting, receiving , accepting the words of God and making them a part of your life. This is how Jewish boys were introduced to the Scriptures. From ages 6-10 they would memorize Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. By age 10 they had memorized the entire Torah and completed Bet Sefer.
-And so the Hebrew people could quote every verse about Abraham by the age of 10. Now, you can imagine how easy it must have been to build Abraham up because of that. And you’d better believe that the people who Paul wrote the book of Romans to did. To them, Abraham was a shining example of all we could be. He was the godliest man who had ever lived, he was obedient to God, we listened to God, He even went so far as to be willing to offer His only son as a sacrifice to God. Of course, God prevented Him from actually following through with it, but even so, His level of obedience was unmatched.