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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


The Second Sunday After Pentecost

Option #1:  "The Sacrifice of Atonement"
Romans 3:21-28
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. The problem: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God--Rom 3:9-10 & 19; 11:32; see also Eccl 7:20; Gal 3:22; 1 John 1:8-10. (Note: The phrase "the glory of God" here refers to falling short of the point at which God could praise one for his life--similar to Paul’s question of the Corinthians in 1 Cor 11:22). [Richard Lenski writes: "Doza is used in its very first meaning: ‘good opinion,’ and is equivalent to epainos, ‘the praise from God’... The point is exactly this: God cannot possibly extend his acknowledgment to sinners (and all have sinned) when nothing but law and their sins is before him, i.e., he cannot declare a single one righteous. In a world of sinners, anything like law only robs us of the favorable acknowledgment, of his verdict of righteousness." Interpretation of Romans, p. 249]

II. The solution

       A. The sacrifice--text, v25; see also Lev 16:15-16; 1 John 2:2 & 4:10

       B. Justice served--text, v26

III. The result

       A. v24, "justified freely"--Rom 4:1-4; 1 Tim 1:15-17; Rev 5:9

       B. No boasting--Rom 3:19-20; 1 Cor 1:29-31; Eph 2:8-10

IV. Justified without the law--the only way

       A. For certainty--text, 25-28; Rom 4:5-8; Rom 8:1-4; John 3:14-17, 5:24, 6:40; Acts 13:38-39; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 2:15-16, 3:8, 11-14; Phil 3:8-9; Titus 3:4-7

       B. For peace--Rom 5:1-2; Acts 10:36; Rom 15:13; Phil 4:6-7; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 13:20

John MacArthur writes: Because man cannot become righteous on his own, God graciously provided for his redemption through the atoning sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus Christ. That sacrifice was not made in the dark or even in the hidden and holy recesses of the sacred Temple, but openly on the hill of Calvary for all the world to see. God displayed His Son publicly as a propitiation. Hilasterion (propitiation) carries the basic idea of appeasement, or satisfaction. In ancient pagan religions, as in many religions today, the idea of man’s appeasing a deity by various gifts or sacrifices was common. But in the New Testament propitiation always refers to the work of God, not of man. 

Man is utterly incapable of satisfying God’s justice except by spending eternity in hell. The only satisfaction, or propitiation, that could be acceptable to God and that could reconcile Him to man had to be made by God. For that reason, God in human flesh, Jesus Christ, "gave Himself as a ransom for all" (1 Tim 2:6). He appeased the wrath of God. That ransoming propitiation made by Christ was paid in His own divine blood. To believers scattered throughout the Roman Empire, Peter wrote, "You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ" (1 Pet 1:18-19). 

The Hebrew equivalent of hilasterion is used in the Old Testament in reference to the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies, where the high priest went once a year, on the Day of Atonement, to make a sacrifice on behalf of his people. On that occasion he sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat, symbolizing the payment of the penalty for his own sins and the sins of the people. But that yearly act, although divinely prescribed and honored, had no power to remove or pay the penalty for a single sin. It could only point to the true and effective "offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.… For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb 10:10, 14).

In his beautiful hymn, Horatius Bonar wrote, "Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul; not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole. Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God; not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load. Thy grace alone, O God, to me can pardon speak; Thy power alone, O Son of God, can this sore bondage break. No other work save thine, no other blood will do; no strength save that which is divine can bear me safely through."

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Option #2: "A Father's Day/Parenting Preamble"
Deuteronomy 11:18-21, 26-28
Rev. Kelly Bedard

(This is the first in a series of [pre-]Father's Day sermons based in part on Dr. Tim Elmore's book
Nurturing the Leader Within Your Child, of which the following outline is a condensation)

A. It's not the quality or quantity of time we spend with our children, but the quantity of quality time.

       1. [We] must welcome the teachable moments when they come and plan for them when they don't seem to be coming naturally.

       2. Emma K. Halbert said, "Parents are prone to give their children everything except the one thing they need most. That is time. Time for listening, time for understanding, time for helping, and time for guiding. It sounds simple, but in reality it is the most difficult and most sacrificial task of parenthood." One hundred years ago, parents spent 54 percent of their waking hours with their children. Today parents spend 18 percent of their waking hours with them. Dr. Robert Blum is right when he says, "We call ourselves a family oriented society [but] we are not. We are a work-oriented society. Kids are left to their own devices." As parents, we need to get things straight. Our children need a large quantity of quality time if we expect them to embrace the values we are communicating. Where do we find it? Stephen Covey suggests the issue is not prioritizing our schedule but scheduling our priorities. Put it in the calendar now.

       3. When parents and kids do have time together, it is often hurried and filled with noise. It is seldom what we could call "quality time." Kids spend eight more hours each week in school than they did in 1981. They do more household chores and accompany their parents on more errands. Participation in organized activities is up 50 percent since 1981. Obviously, this is not bad. We just have to determine if this is truly quality time together. If it is just noise and activity, we are teaching the wrong things. Weekly leisure time available between parents and kids dropped from 40 percent in 1981 to less than 25 percent today.

B. What's worth remembering is worth repeating.

       1. I've discovered important principles will be remembered if we:

             a. Shape them concisely. Be sure they are short and simple.

             b. Share them constantly. Be sure they are communicated over and over.

             c. Show them creatively. Be sure they are demonstrated in imaginative ways.

       2. A new study from Purdue University finds that kids catch values better when their relationship with both parents is good; when both parents share values; and when those values are repeated again and again and again.

C. Justification-->grace-->redemption through Christ-->faith-->fruit! (Romans 3:24-25a, 27-28, Matthew 7:17-20)

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:31 PM