The message from the February 19, 2023 gathering of Tapestry Church.
Autogenerated Transcript of the Message
Can everyone hear me?
So my name is Clancy Kramer.
For those who don’t know me, for those who do know me, just to reminder my name is Clancy.
So that video that we watched the video that we watched earlier.
They’re both just so incredible.
Like I you don’t need to really listen to me at all today.
If you just heard anything from those two videos, it’s absolutely incredible.
As Robert pointed out, this is my third time, not my 4th time, so hopefully I can bring the expectations down a little bit.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
Preaching sermons is really weird, so I want to first of all, just thank you for letting me practice and go through this, you know?
It’s meaningful to me in preparation for all of this.
It’s been just both a blast and a really huge challenge.
So I just want.
Thank you for letting me do this also.
I hope all of you get a chance to preach at some time.
For me, it’s been like, how do I figure out how to say everything I know about Jesus in 15 minutes?
Like, that’s been my struggle, which is, I mean when you when you hear it said aloud, it’s really.
Funny, but like, that’s what I’ve been trying to do and I can’t do it.
So there it is.
But I mean, today I just want to be an encouragement to you.
So that’s that’s all I want to be able to do.
To the scripture.
So we’re going to be in Romans chapter 3 verses 21 for those of you that were at Inter varsity, you’re going to hear.
The same thing twice.
So if you have Bibles.
Go to it.
If not, read it.
On the screen.
Or just listen.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to.
It the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe, for there is no distinction.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift.
Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
This was to show God’s righteousness.
Because in his divine forbearance he passed over former sins.
It was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of our boasting?
It is excluded by what kind of law?
By the law of works?
But the law of faith.
So I was praying through this yesterday and trying to figure out how to talk about what I want to talk about and the difficulty I was having is what I feel like I have to mention is unpopular and I don’t want.
To talk about it.
I would frankly just rather avoid it and what I want to talk about is sin.
Sin is complex.
You know people speaking up here have used it in a way of talking about other people and how they’re wrong.
And if you, you know, are involved in the club that I talk about, then you’re OK, but everyone else is bad.
And that’s not OK and I don’t want to talk about sin in a way that.
Leaves you feeling shame for the things that you can’t overcome or any of that.
But the only way I can talk about what I believe Paul is describing in this passage is to mention sin, because everything is in comparison to the.
Uh, and one of the difficulties in talking about sin is that I don’t fully understand it.
I can’t comprehend all the different ways that it exists in the world or in my heart or in my neighbors heart or in this congregation or in this nation, or in the other nation, you know, down the street.
And but I think.
For those of us who have said, you know what, Jesus, I want to do, I want to follow you.
I want to pursue you and with my life, we have to say that sin is an issue that needs to be dealt with and that we can’t do it.
And Paul in describing.
Oh, thank you.
Paul, in describing to the Romans.
Describes it this way that there is no distinction.
He’s writing to both Jews and Gentiles, and in that church at that time the church was probably started with Christian Jews that were kicked out of Rome for like 15 years, and then came back.
And Paul’s writing to them at this point. So.
You know the Christian Jews leaving, you know, the Gentiles actually taking leadership of the church and then the the Christian Jews coming back this letter, you know, when I was first save, I would I would read it and I would think about it as this like, great pillar of systematic theology.
And there would be like a sentence or two and.
People would argue about it and.
You know struggling through this text the last couple of weeks, it’s been a good reminder to me that Paul was writing to them because he loved the people who went to the church in Rome and he wanted them to understand the grace of God.
So what I’m talking about today is not just one thing, it’s an entire.
A letter that will help understand what Paul is trying to say so.
So there is no distinction he’s describing between Jews and Gentiles.
There is no distinction between you.
It’s all kind of the level playing field.
And he also says for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and.
For me this is kind of a confession I am.
Able to see.
The sin in others before I’m able to see the sin in myself.
Even on the walk over here, you know I passed by this neighbors yard every time I pass by that neighbors yard, I see the new sign that makes me, you know.
To judge them and think well, I’m not going to vote for that person because that’s in, you know, in your yard.
And I know what you believe.
I’ve never met this.
And I have contempt in my heart against them because of what’s in their yard and then later, just to put more fuel on the fire, I see someone else who really kind of did me and my family wrong, and I still have unforgiveness in my heart towards them and.
What I believe Paul is describing is that.
They and myself are in the same boat.
We’re on the same playing ground.
If what God says is true here, it’s also true for them too.
And I have no leg up.
I’m not, you know, better than they are.
And it’s really difficult for me to say that because I’m I get angry, you know, and I get self-righteous and I see that person.
And I say you don’t understand how you’re wrong, you know, and that’s not helpful and nor is that, you know.
Is that is that you know?
Yeah, nor is that helpful.
But I find that it’s easier for me to see that in others than it is to see it myself.
So one of the things I want to say today.
Is there is no US versus them?
People in your life.
I’m guessing like mine that you are able to see the sin you’re able to see how they’ve fallen short, how they’ve either been hurtful to themselves or to those around you.
And I just want to say, because of what Jesus did, there is no US versus them.
The playing we’re on the same playing field, we’re not playing against them.
We are all accepting what Jesus did for us.
And sin is too much for any of us.
We can’t do this on our own.
And when we make enemies of our neighbors.
We’re saying I expect this to do on your own and I expect what you don’t see or what you believe to be, what disqualifies you from the love of God.
So up, up, up, up, up.
So earlier this month and the state of Ohio, there was a a train wreck, literally.
Have you guys heard of this?
And uhm, my brother lives like 15 minutes away from here and.
The people of this community are struggling because, you know, I think the people in charge did what they could after this train was, you know, on fire.
And there was chemical in it that was hazardous and they had to like, set it on fire, otherwise it would have exploded.
And they thought everything was OK, but some of the chemicals got in the water table and that water table is making its way throughout the community.
And it’s now in the Ohio River and that Ohio River the chemicals are making its way towards the city of Cincinnati.
So water is difficult and I think this is a great image.
For at least for me to understand that sin is not something that we can win.
We can’t overcome it like we just can’t.
And this is, I think, a great representation of how things can happen, like the world as it is, is too much for us.
We need each other and we also won’t be able to overcome all of it forever, and I just want to say that it’s.
It doesn’t make it any less brutal or horrifying.
Or uhm, troublesome.
But like we we can’t overcome this stuff.
So Paul continues to say.
We are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
One of the tricky things for me is I’m a performance based person.
I love to achieve.
I love to do all the things and.
The entry point for me and Jesus is not that I can achieve or believe the right things or think the right thoughts or know all the trivia like Brendan Manning said.
It’s the fact that I admit that I I can’t do it.
And my wife yesterday texted me.
Uh, you know how it is.
And sometimes we can read things like this in Scripture and go.
Yeah, I got it.
I’ve heard that before, but we actually don’t internalize what it actually means.
I just want to say, even though you’ve probably heard it before.
Is that the entry point that we have for Christianity, for following Jesus is admitting we can’t do it all?
We can’t be that person that eats us up in the middle of the night.
We can’t overcome the sin.
You know that we have in our hearts, so I just want to say it, make sure everyone hears it so you don’t have those thoughts because Jesus wants us to know who he is and what he’s done.
So when Paul is writing about, there is no distinction for all fallen short of the glory of God.
God, we are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
The equation that we have is to receive this thing by faith.
We don’t have to necessarily do anything.
He has made us right with God.
He has justified us.
Made us be OK, uh, and I think it’s a great thing.
Uh, and later in the next chapter, Paul writes describing Abraham as a good understanding of what it means to be.
To have faith, and this is in the message translation and it says This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God in his way.
And then simply embracing him and what he does, God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it.
Those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them for Abraham, is father of us all.
He is not our racial father.
That’s reading the story.
Backward. He is our faith, Father. We call Abraham father. Not because he got God’s attention by living like a St. but because God made something out of Abraham when he was nobody.
I I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to when I think about faith, I always think about I need to believe more.
I need to, you know, read the Bible more.
I need to have God more central in my thoughts.
And I think what Paul is saying is, is actually the opposite.
It doesn’t mean that it excludes those things.
It just means that our faith is received as a gift.
It’s us saying yes, Lord versus us coming up with the bright idea to follow him.
From my understanding, he’s saying that faith is grace and it is a gift.
It’s something that we’re able to just agree with and say yes and it’s not something of our own invention.
It’s something that we’ve been able to come alongside that God has given us and I think that’s just great.
I really do.
And from that, because this is a gift that we are given, we have no ownership over God or other people because of what we accomplish.
Meaning I don’t have possession of God.
It’s not the Clancy.
God, I’m saying yes to to him through faith because of the gift that he has given.
Me through grace.
That doesn’t mean that I am in a bad place.
It just means that.
The gift that he has given me is a wondrous thing, and it doesn’t make me better than my neighbor.
It doesn’t make me better than you.
It doesn’t make me better than someone else.
Everything that I have been given is grace and.
If you can leave with anything today, it’s just that.
And it’s a it’s a very simple and it’s a beautiful thing.
The one of the tricky things is I can’t claim credit for that.
I can’t be more special.
I can’t be more spectacular.
I can’t overperform, I just have to say yes.
And I think.
One of the reasons that uh, it could be like that is that.
Paul describes God as wanting to be the just and the justifier, and I think it is in God’s nature to be absolutely perfect and God loves us so much and in order for his perfection to be able to to deal with us, he had to.
Take on flesh, suffer sacrifice, have his blood cover the sins of us and uh.
And that is just.
That’s an awesome thing.
The fact that he wanted to be both just and the justifier so we wouldn’t have to actually overcome the things that we can’t overcome.
Does that make sense?
When we’re, at least for me, when I think about this, I think about this as something that happened in history and it happened, and then it’s done.
And then today it’s like, OK, intellectually understand, it happened, you know, 2000 years ago, but what does it mean for today, you know, and?
What happened through the cross and through resurrection is not done yet.
Yes, we are justified, but we’re also being sanctified because of who Jesus is and what he did.
And in Scripture it talks about how Jesus, even now is interceding for us.
And there is a passage in Hebrews that I really like.
And it says consequently he is able to save the uttermost.
Those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession, intercession for them.
And God, although we are justified, is still interceding for us.
Meaning Jesus is praying for us even now, which is just a head trip.
If you think about that.
Like it’s bananas, absolutely bananas and.
One of the things. Uh.
To go back to faith as a gift.
In this passage, the word faith is a Greek word described as pistis.
And Pistis is always a gift from God.
It never can be produced by us, which is also a head trip and absolutely bananas.
Meaning, when we have faith, it’s not necessarily just us doing it, it’s a constant gift from God.
So we’re receiving that while we’re we’re saying yes.
Uh, the image that I like to think about is if we can imagine Jesus in the other room and hearing Jesus praying for each one of us individually.
That I can hear him praying my name on behalf of me to his father, like that sort of intimacy of Jesus is absolutely remarkable.
The fact that God wanted to be both just and justifier, yet he still interceding for us, that the faith, the faithfulness of.
Of Jesus Christ for us did and stop.
Then it’s continuing now.
So if anything.
Some takeaways for this week is Grace is a gift.
Faith is a gift.
Just receive it.
Take it in.
Don’t worry about believing more or not believing enough.
Your sin is always going to be a problem, but it’s been dealt with and Jesus is interceding for you.
While this happens, he knows what you suffer.
He’s been through it all and it’s not just potato, potato.
Uhm, and before I end, does anything?
Does anyone have any questions?
Anything I miss that you guys want to talk about anything worth mentioning?
And then today isn’t good.
Ohh yeah, you because you’re in the whole thing.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
That’s sweet. Thank you.
Well, you guys, uh, join me in the closing prayer.
I don’t know if.
You have a slide.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
All creatures here be go.
Praise him above ye.
Heavenly Host praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Thank you all for being here today.
Have an absolutely wonderful week.