Read Romans 3:21-31.
We are sinners in the Land of Sin. Our people moved here as an act of rebellion. We had lived in the Kingdom of God, the Land of Righteousness, but we didn’t like the King’s rules. We didn’t like anyone telling us what we had to do. So we left. We established our own land. It became known as the Land of Sin.
Eventually, we realized that we were suffering the death penalty for this act of rebellion. But this death penalty isn’t like death in the electric chair or by being hanged. It is a slow painful death brought by the anguish and the stench of life in the Land of Sin. In some ways, it is a permanent death sentence, an ongoing death sentence, a living death, a dead living.
The King has called us back to the land of Righteousness to live with him there. He wants to make peace with us. But a great ocean separates us. Some of us were sick of the poverty and filth of our own land, and we had heard of the riches and beauty of the Kingdom of God. So we decided to go to the beautiful Land of Righteousness.
We got into a boat and pushed away from the shore. It was a sailboat, but we didn’t know how to use sails, so we cut holes in the side of the ship for oars. We cut the masts down and chopped them into oars. We named the ship the SS WORK. And then we began to row our way to the Land of Righteousness. Row. Row. Row!
It was hard work. We rowed until sweat dripped off our faces. We rowed until our arms and shoulders ached. We rowed until our hands were blistered. We rowed through waves and wind and storms. Row. Row. Row!
After days and weeks, we could still see the dock where we had started. “Work harder!” was the cry. We rowed day and night. We extended our shifts. We rowed through fatigue and blisters. Work. Work. Work!
After months and months on the SS WORK, we could still see our own land on the horizon, and we started to fight among ourselves.
“Why are you resting? We’ve got too much work to do.”
“I rowed all last night. You better take you’re turn tonight.”
“Don’t tell me what to do. I work just as hard as you.”
“If you didn’t take so many breaks, we’d be there by now.”
“If you were more focused, instead of piddling around with your own selfish games, we would be able to see the Kingdom by now.”
“If you were more pure, maybe God would help us out here.”
“Me, you’re the sinful one. Listen to how you’re judging me.”
Sometimes, we fought so much that someone got injured and couldn’t row anymore. That just made us angrier.
After years and years of struggling, when we could still see the mountain tops of our own land, we had made no more than a few miles of progress on a journey of a thousand miles. We were out of food. We were out of water. We were out of supplies to maintain the ship. The storms continued to come.
To continue reading this sermon, click here.