Lectionary Year A
February 24, 2002
Step VI - Contemporary Address
(JFC) A sermon from this passage might encourage people to continue to find real
Gospel to be sustaining and motivating.
B. Describing the Audience
(JFC) Any congregation with or needing more of what a prospective member of one
(Presbyterian USA) church I served called "a recovering Baptist" could find this text's sermon confirming and inspiring.
C. Contemporary Address
(JFC) Sermon, entitled, for this working draft, "Paul's Gospel and Ours"
So, what comes to your mind's heart relative to this strategic passage in Paul's Epistle to the believers in Rome? (Preacher, can you and those in the pews dialogue here? You might try it. Of course, you might need to remind them of the text's main points, by reciting them here. That tactic might remind them of the points major to them)
I. GOD'S PROMISES
A. To Abraham, God promised and delivered many offspring and many nations to inherit blessings from on high (Genesis 15:1-6). The fifth century BCE Greek dramatist, Aeschylus, wrote, "It is never the oath (promise) that makes us believe the man (the one promising), but the man (the promising one) the oath (promise)." God makes and keeps promises. We believe in such a promise-fulfilling God, as did Abraham.
B. God promised forgiveness (Psalm 31:1ff) and delivered on this promise via Jesus. We have such pardon, as the liturgy assures us weekly, in Christ.
II. GOD'S GRACE
A. Jesus expressed God's grace in much He did. (Preacher, recite a litany of some of your favorite New Testament stories illustrating this point. Mark 10:45 is one of mine.)
B. Paul discovered from the Damascus Road (Acts 9) experience on, that the Law could never bring salvation, whereas, believing God's promises and the Incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ does bring salvation. Salvation comes by faith through grace!
III. GOD'S FAITHFULNESS AND OURS.
A. God's faithfulness is certain, although many in Biblical times and many today, as well, question God's faithfulness. William James, psychologist and philosopher states, "Our faith is faith in someone else's faith, . . ." Perhaps it is. Our faith is in God's faith. God is faithful and can be trusted totally.
B. We share our faith with Abraham. God considered him righteous, today's Epistle Lesson tells us. And our faithfulness can originate with Abraham's and Paul's and others, too. (Preacher, name some who have witnessed faithfulness to you in your life and assure the parishioners that such witnesses were undeserved.) Such witnesses are gifts from the author of our faith, God, who gives us such gifts underserved. Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works through love, faith is made effective when we love faithfully.
The recent (Spring, 2002) Catalogue of "Wireless", for supporters of Public
Radio, advertised a "Believe Pendant". It said, "Believe in yourself and miracles will happen". The ad described it, "The power of you is an awesome thing. For when you need a little recharge, our brushed sterling Believe Pendant will inspire and empower." I wish. You do, too, do you not? I guess. Well, Abraham knew better. He believed (in) God and God blessed him beyond calculating. So can we, both so believe and be blessed.
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