Title: 3 Things God Wants Us to Understand

Focus: God is faithful to us even if we are unfaithful. However, his faithfulness does not negate our responsibility. But our responsibility in following his rules will not itself save us. In the end, we are ultimately saved because of God’s faithfulness

Goal: To urge ourselves to be humbly responsible out of a motivation of a love response, not a motivation of working for merit in order to “obligate” God to us.

Text: Text: Rom 3:1-20

1.  Not understanding each other can be disasterous to a relationship
2.  That is what we will focus on in this morning’s study
3.  Text does not directly call us to “do” anything, but it does explain some things
4.  So, the text will tell us three Characteristics of our relationship with God that
God wants us to understand

I.  God is Faithful (1-4)
	A.  God is faithful even if we are unfaithful
	B.  I don’t know if we can really appreciate the amount of his faithfulness
		1.  In our thinking - If someone not faithful to us, we not obligated
		2.  Not so with God
			a.  He made a covenant with Israel at Sinai
			b.  Just after the commands, they worship a golden calf!
				- Did God give up?  No!
			c.  Israel later practiced oppression, idolatry, child sacrifice
				- DId God give up?  No!
		3.  “Normally” when one party breaks a covenant, that dissolved it
			a.  Not so with God
			b.  That is why we often call it a “promise”
	C.  ILL:  Preacher married an ex-harlot
		1.  Became the Gossip of the town
			a.  She is no good for him
			b.  Why did he do that
			c.  It will not last
			d.  But the preacher was determined it would work
		2.  Sure enough, she left home and went back to her old ways
			a.  People said he shouldn’t take her back if she returned
			b.  Other’s said he should not write her off, but make it hard
		3.  She didn’t return -- but he went to red light district after her!!
			a.  People thought him to be crazy!!
			b.  SHe is only going to leave again, it’s her nature!
			c.  Sure enough, she left again
		4.  He went out after he again!!!
	D.  True story from Hosea 1-2
		1.  You will never find anyone more faithful than God
		2.  Text says God is true (genuine, faithful)
		3.  Not only is he ready to take us back, but he pursues us
		4.  Don’t you just want to thank him and rejoice?

II.  God’s Faithfulness Does not Release us from Responsibility (3:2, 5-8)
	A.  God calls us to reponsibility, not just priviledge
	B.  Paul makes this point by asking 2 questions:
		1.  What advantage does the Jew have?
			a.  From chapter 2, would think the answer is - “none”
			b.  But there is - they entrusted with God’s oracles
				- Having Torah a priviledge
				- But God did not call them to just priviledge
			c.  They to be a blessing to all the Families of the Earth
				- They to be a light to the Gentiles
				- Instead, they cause Gentiles to blaspheme
				- They were a nation of priests to bring people to God
			d.  Is it any different for us?
				- We have the Gospel
				- The Gospel comes with responsibility
		2.  2 Question:  What if our unrighteousness increases God’s?
			a.  ILL:  Like oil and water - oil rises with more water
				- Likewise, God’s grace always greater than sin
				- Increase sin, it increases his grace
			b.  If I do what I want, it makes God look even more merciful
				- Good comes from bad, he forgives more
				- So Bad is actually good
			c.  Ridiculous
				- God not call us to be spoiled priviledged brats
				- God calls us to responsibility
	C.  ILL:  Parents always harping on responsiblity
		1.  Most agree kids not care for things given as well as things 
			a.  Parents prefer kids “work for” things to appreciate it
			b.  Place higher value on what is earned
		2.  Makes me want to say you “earn” salvation
			a.  Maybe people value their Christianity more
			b.  Maybe people not be so nonchalant about it
		3.  But we don’t earn it - Jesus earned it for us at the cross
			a.  Brings it home and offers it to us as a gift
			b.  And we often do not take care of the gift
		4.  Problem - Not that it a gift, but that we not “invest” anything to it
			a.  Think in terms of relationship, not an inanimate object
			b.  Like a Marriage - Not “earn” love
				- I not perfect or always lovable
				- Love each other and value and cherish
				- Not be that way if not invest self in relationship
			c.  If problem in a marriage - one person not investing self
			d.  You have to really work at a marriage
	D.  This is the kind of responsibility Paul is talking about
		1.  God is faithful, and wants us to be faithful to him in return
		2.  He doesn’t expect pefection, he knows he wont get it
		3.  However, he wants to be first place in our lives
		4.  What kind of responsiblity in this relationship?
			a.  Meaningful communication - Prayer
			b.  Do what pleases him - Holiness
			c.  Worship and Honor him

III.  Salvation comes only from God (v.9-20)
	A.  In other words, being a responsible believer is not what saves you
		1.  So why did Paul spend so much time with responsiblity?
		2.  Because can easily misunderstand God
			a.  On one hand, his grace does not mean licentiousness
			b.  On other hand, law keeping not obligate God to you
	B.  If Law cannot save you, what does it do?
		1.  Holds you accountable
			a.  Israel - Did God give Torah and they save self?
			b.  No.  God saved them, THEN gave them Torah
				- They not saved because they kept law
				- They saved because God is faithful
				- They sinned with golden calf, God forgave
				- They owed existence to a merciful God
			c.  God told them - “I have given you Torah”
				- Torah was a gift  (It literally means, “Instruction”)
				- Rom 1:18ff - Absence of instruction expression of 
				  God’s wrath - “gave them over”
				- So expression of love and grace was “Torah”
			d.  Torah told them how to live - They not left as orphans
		2.  Makes us conscious of sin
			a.  If not have “rules” it doesn’t “feel” right
			b.  With rules, you “know” it is wrong
			c.  Rom 7:13 - Law makes sin more sinful
		3.  Law is powerless to save you from sin
	C.  ILL:  I learned this with an experience of the “law” of my parents
		1.  Law - “Do not go swimming in the river”, but did anyway
		2.  Swept under by swift current, started to drown
		3.  The “law” can’t save me from drowning now - I was stuck
		4.  I was clearly concious of what I did wrong
			a.  If not have the rule, would have just did something stupid
			b.  With the rule, I was stupid AND disobedient
		5.  Only way to be saved - not by the law, but by a rescuer
	D.  Law designed to “keep” you from sin, not save you from it
		1.  Only way to be saved is for someone to save you
		2.  That is Paul’s point - Law not save you, God does

1.  So God wants us to understand 3 characteristics of our relationship
	a.  He is Faithful
	b.  His Faithfulness does not release us from responsiblity
	c.  Responsiblity will not itself save us, God does
2.  That brings us back where we started - God’s faithfulness

3.  Is there an application?   -- It affects “how” we serve God
	a.  For the proud and arrogant - It should bring humility
		- Hard to accept if have never felt hopelessness of drowning
		- Out of control, helpless, need help
		- Don’t be like drowning swimmer that pushes away savior
		- Reach out to lifegaurd like Peter did when he was sinking
	b.  For the Apathetic  -- It should bring motivation
		- It is like a marriage
		- If take faithful wife for granted and never come home, marriage 
		  will crumble in spite of her faithfulness
		- God doesn’t want you to stay out all night, he wants you home
	c.  For the discouraged -- There is encouragement
		- Sometimes you feel like nothing is good enough
		- Get down on self, lose all strength and motivation
		- But know God is faithful - He loves you and accepts you
		- So we serve not to earn his love, but because he loves us
			- Serving from true love - No end to strength and joy
4.  Application Questions in the Bulletin
5.  Invitation