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The Frustration of Doing Good

The apostle Paul eloquently explains how the law causes us to do the very things we don't want to do—clearly accentuating our need for grace.

Most of us Americans see ourselves as flexible, innovative, and open to change. Contrary to the people who live in the Old World, we see ourselves as having a pioneering spirit. If there's a job out there that needs to be done, if there are changes that need to be made, we perceive ourselves as the kind of people who will do that.

Yet I find that even though we see ourselves as people of change, we are often resistant when change is imposed upon us. If we are initiating it, if we are creating it, then we are for change. But when someone else is imposing it, we tend to be a bit more rigid.

Perhaps it's because we see change that is imposed as being inefficient, or inconvenient. Recently my wife had some cabinets moved in the kitchen. Aesthetically it makes the kitchen look a lot better. But I must now walk four extra steps to get that bowl for my ice cream. I'm not sure I like that kind of change.

When it comes to the church, we are no different. We have the idea that if God is eternal and his Word is eternal, then that which we have done in the past should continue on for eternity. But perhaps the biggest reason we resist change is that we see change as a commentary on the past. If we are making a change in what we do in the church, we often assume that implies what we have done in the past is somehow inferior, inadequate, perhaps even wrong. And we have committed our lives and our service to Jesus Christ by doing whatever for the last five or ten or fifteen years, something someone has now said is inferior.

Sometimes that is true, but often it isn't. Many times changes come because the original idea, the original method, had met its purpose. New purposes have arisen, new goals have come, and therefore changes must be made. ...

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Paul Borden is executive minister of Growing Healthy Churches and author of Direct Hit.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The apostle Paul imposed a major change: live by grace, not the law

II. Why did God give us the law?

III. How does the law cause our downfall?

IV. Paul says something inside of him is "still a slave to sin"

V. How do we break free from this cycle?