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Attention Passengers
(Illustration) Flight from DFW to HON; two announcements.
Can I interest anyone in a parachute today? it will make your flight more enjoyable, and in it, I think you will discover a new measure of peace, joy and love.
(insert outcome) - uncomfortable, sneered at and eventually take them off and tell the flight attendant they lied.
STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, pay attention, this plane is going down, who wants a parachute?
(insert outcome) when you understand the severity of the situation than you are ready to do anything for the safety that the parachute has.
The gospel message is Good News for sure, but it is also the Law, for if you don’t know the Law you don’t understand the need of justification by faith.
Paul continues his defense of the gospel and justification by faith drawing back to Abraham and then coming forward.
He shows us
(Slide) Purpose of the Law
(Slide) Need for Justification
(Slide) Teacher of justification
(Slide) Where, when and how we are justified
(Slide) Results of justification
(Slide) Rewards of justification
No this is not a six point sermon, so don’t worry, now in this passage, and the one we will finish with next week, Paul is going to paint the picture of the purpose of the Law and the justification by faith.
So sit back, put your trays away and put your sit in the upright position as we take off on a journey today with God’s Word.
I. Covenant of faith before the Law
Paul’s aim for the entire section, passage is to show the superiority of God’s grace (justification) over the Law and that grace is older than the Law.
Now Paul is addressing the claim of the Judiazers and is going to speak back to them using their own logic.
He is using a form of debate, response that was common of the time, this all made perfect sense to a Jew, though we may have a hard time with comprehending it today, so let me give a little background.
When a covenant was entered, agreed to the covenant was ratified by the death of an animal, the shedding of blood and walking between the animal, example is that you read about with Jonathan and David.
Once the covenant is ratified it cannot be changed, nothing can be added, nothing could be taken away from it.
Both parties of the covenant are in agreement, both parties have a part to play.
- in today’s society it would be once both parties sign their name on a contract there is no changing the terms and conditions of the contract it is set in stone, so to speak.
Paul is speaking to them in terms they clearly would understand (v.15)
Now comes the argument of faith before the law (v.16)
The covenant with Abraham is a covenant by faith.
God made the covenant, God’s terms, God’s way, Abraham had to accept the terms of the covenant (worded as a promise).
We must be careful to understand that the promise was for Abraham’s seed, not seeds.
It was not for a nation (the Jews) but for a person (Jesus Christ).
Though Abraham did not see the fulfillment, he believed and acted on it (He walked by faith).
The promise of all nations would be blessed would come not from Jewish nation, but a Jewish person.
where salvation is from the Jews, from the seed of Abraham to Jesus it is for all nations, all peoples who have the faith of Abraham.
Abraham had obedient faith .
and then in Heb11:8 we see the results
God’s promise was made to Abraham, Abraham believed it and was reckoned righteous.
We receive Christ Jesus by faith, obedient faith just like Abraham.
Abraham accepted the terms, he got up and went, we accept the terms by faith too.
This covenant is a one way covenant, we have to accept God’s terms, just as Abraham did.
This now brings us to (v.17) when a covenant is ratified it cannot be changed.
The Law came 430 years later could not change the promise (covenant) between God and Abraham.
(Slide) The Law does not legally or logically have the power to negate the blessings God gave to Abraham through Christ - Jon Courson
(Illustration/imagination story) - think of possible conversations with Abram and God.
Hey Abram your decendants wil lbe more than the stars in the heavens (ref.
Gen15:5); OK God I believe you, I don’t have any children now, but I believe you (Gen15:2; 6).
God told Abram that He was his shield (Gen15:1).
God said hey Abram go get these things and bring them here, oh yes, Abram would be excited he wanted to cut a covenant with God.
Abram believed God and did it, time passed and the birds of prey came in (v.11) and Abram drove them away, Abram wondering what is taking God so long to enter the covenant with him, God caused a sleep to come upon him (v.12).
See Abram was used to a covenant with the parties met in the middle, God does not meet half way, HE comes all the way through Christ Jesus.
God showed him when he awoke and the covenant animals had been, well, let me give the scripture
And then God entered the covenant, and the rewards of the covenant
God gave a seed promise and a land promise to Abram and since the sacrifice was already burned up, the covenant was ratified and could not be altered or changed.
So why all this?
See God goes all the way for us, Abram heard the terms, accepted the terms and walked in the promise without even seeing it, it was for the future, the promise had a view to the cross, Abram just did not know it.
When God said it, it was done, sealed, ratified, no changing it.
We may have the birds of prey that want to take away or peck away at our promise in Christ Jesus.
Vultures of doubt, we need to shew them away.
Those buzzards of cynicism will peck at you saying you have not done enough (works) but God did it all already, we need to remember:
(Slide) Supply all your needs according to His riches (Php4:19)
(Slide) He will never leave nor forsake you (Heb13:5; Deu31:6)
(Slide) He has prepared a place for us (Jn14:2)
(Slide) He gave you His Spirit and forgave your sins (Act2:38)
Our inheritance is based on a promise not on the Law (v.18) God gave it to Abraham by means of a promise, Abraham received it by faith and Abraham was justified (reckoned) righteous.
So then Paul knowing there would be questions about the Law then and the purpose of the Law brings us to our next section.
Law’s purpose to show faith needed
So if it is by faith the promise was given and received, why the need for the Law (v.19) - it was because of sin.
Remember the flight and the first flight attendant offering the parachute, it sounding nice didn’t it.
But the law shows the severity of sin, hence the message and the urgency of the second flight attendant.
430 years after the promise from God to Abram; according to (v.19) God sent mediators (angels) to bring the law, speaking of the one who was to come whom the promise was made about (the seed: JESUS) and if this is true than God spoke directly to Abram, but through mediator to Moses.
The Law had mediator the promise had no middleman (or angel) it was direct.
The law offers man a choice (v.31) follow perfectly; or look at the promise and receive by faith.
No one can be justified by the Law, there is no means of justification for the law is not of faith.
The Law proves we are all sinners in need of a Savior.
We need God’s promise the Seed of Abram (Jesus) that we receive by faith.
See in reality, grace came before the Law, in the form of a promise from God to Abram whereas God did it all, all Abram had to do was believe and act on that belief (be obedient).
The first flight attendant offered a feel good, love message, but did not speak of the severity, urgency of it.
There and many people out there that think they are good enough, but God’s Word says different.
The Law is needed to show sin, the severity of sin.
There are people who have broken hearts that can receive the Good News of Grace and they believe it and accept it and walk in obedience to it.
There are others who have hardened hearts that need to know the severity of sin so they may respond to the message because of the consequences if they don’t.
(Slide) Who does the Law covert?
The one who hears it and understands it.
-The person who hears, understands the law then can appreciate the Good News.
We need to have a balance of the concepts of salvation and the consequences of sin.
The one who sins pays the consequences for their sins, it is from love that we show that to people for we want them to understand so they can accept the Good News that Jesus paid the price, He took on the consequences if they would only believe and walk in faith.
The severity of God leads people to know the goodness of God.
(intro to invitation)
Everyone falls short; everyone has the same blessing available by faith.
The faith that Abram had before the Law that justified him, is the faith we today and rest in and say “blessed assurance Jesus is mine” or come to receive God’s free gift of grace through Jesus Christ today, knowing without Him it is hell.
Accept the former so you don’t get the later, step up and step out by faith or to the Christian today, be reminded of that saving faith and be willing to share it with others, both the severity of sin and goodness of God.
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