Lectionary Year A
June 16, 2002
Romans 5:1-8

Contemporary Address


Here is a Presbyterian preaching to a Disciples of Christ suburban congregation. It is a substantial church, with intelligent, insightful and committed upper middle class folk. They live in a state capital, much like those to whom Paul wrote in Romans. They have a lot about which they like to boast; things in and about their church and things in and about their vocational lives and things in and about their personal accomplishments. Do they face their weaknesses, physically, congregationally or in any such way? Not in this lifetime. Will this passage, exegeted and proclaimed, bring them any greater truths and/or comfort and/or inspiration? We can hope, Paul told us we could.


Every Biblical passage can bring comfort to the troubled and can trouble the comfortable. Romans 5:1-8 is no exception. Since I'm preaching to mostly strangers this time, I would emphasize trying to comfort the troubled more than vice versa. More people I know are troubled when they get honest with themselves. Honesty is good. Will my theological musings provoke any attempts on their parts to find true hope in God's grace and see that God's grace stands longer and stronger than anything else into which they might be tempted to put their trust? Let's try it.


"Peace Is Possible" or "Pathways To Peace"

We long for peace. Peace escapes us most days, all day and long into the night.

I. First Steps Toward Peace
Focus on God. Identify God and Christ via actions they took, e.g., justification, Jesus' death for the ungodly and for us so timely; God's grace, God's glory, as experienced by Old and New Testament characters, e.g., Isaiah's call, Jesus' calling the disciples, etc.

II. Second Steps Toward Peace
Acknowledging our sufferings and struggles as real. How we suffer, what we endure and how character has been built in and through us as we do/did. E.g., how we struggle to make sense out of the Littleton tragedy and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, the rampant commercialism in which we live, etc.

III. Third Steps Toward Peace
The triune God's total involvement in our salvation = God's love and grace; Jesus' passion and death; the Holy Spirit's gift to us = pouring God's love into hearts. Watch modalism, emphasize God's total giving.

Christ's Best Example of God's Love Expressed Incomparably. We're talking, here, of One sacrificing His life for the likes of you and me! Sinners of the first order!

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