Romans

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Connect to God’s People

September 3, 2017 | Romans 12:4-5 | community groups, three commitments

God’s provision for our connection and growth is the Spirit within and the body of Christ without. In the book of Romans the apostle Paul told the Roman Christians that even though they had followed Christ by an individual decision they must recognize that in following Him they had become one body, connected to other believers. When we follow Christ we must make an individual decision to follow, but that leads to a corporate identity. We become the body of Christ connected to every other believer.

“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5 NKJV).

July 17, 2017

Our best attempts at being righteous through religiosity, self-denial and good works cannot justify us before God. This takes away all human boasting, for humanity is steeped in sin and beyond saving itself. Yet, God has provided a Savior, which is Christ Jesus the Lord. The one who “believes on Him” is made just in God’s sight. The believer’s faith is counted as righteousness by God, for it depends on the righteousness of Christ, rather than his own.

Stop working and believe. Rest in Christ’s work.

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:28-29 NKJV).

July 15, 2017

Paul wrote that the outward signs of Judaism were inadequate for proving their faith. What matters is the inner life, the circumcision of the heart. For “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). This principle is also true for the one who would claim to be a Christian. It’s implications are:

– Outward religion is less important than inner relationship. Have you become a child of God through faith in Christ?

This means that…

– Being born into a Christian family does not make us so.

– Baptism without heart change will not save.

– Profession of faith through creed or prayer alone will not save.

– Church attendance and generosity alone will not save.

As Jesus said, “You must be born again of the Spirit” (John 3:5). Have you received Jesus as Lord and Savior, so that you are born again by His Spirit?

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NKJV).

July 14, 2017

Don’t let the richness of God’s goodness, the apparent way that He seems to let those who continue in sin still prosper, and His patience towards evildoers in this world, lull you into doubting His existence. Or worse, despising Him as unjust because He does not judge sin immediately. For it is His goodness that should soften your heart and bring you to repentance, changing your mind on self-rule and surrendering your will to His. And it is His forbearance and patience that should cause your heart to tremble because He is storing up His wrath for the Day of judgment. For God is loving and good, but He is also holy and just. Repent therefore, and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, that you might be forgiven and be accepted on that Day.

Spiritual Life

May 7, 2017 | Romans 8:1-8 | resurrection

There’s a lot of interest in spiritual things these days. The 20th century’s emphasis on science and technology and the related philosophy of materialism– that accepts only the natural and denies the supernatural– resulted in a generation that is starving for the spiritual. People today, especially young people, are looking for something more. They are looking for a spiritual life. And the numbers are growing…

However, this new search for meaning in spirituality and religion doesn’t necessarily mean that people will discover true spiritual life. Nor will they find the benefits for which they are longing. They only way to find this true spiritual life for which our souls desire, is to place our faith in the resurrected Christ! In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul encouraged believers to understand the benefits of their new spiritual life in Christ. We can be encouraged by the benefits of our new spiritual life in Christ.

Reconciled Life

April 30, 2017 | Romans 5:6-11 | easter, reconciliation, resurrection

There are so many places that we need reconciliation today. War, terrorism, hatred, the brokenness of communities, countries and even churches, these are just some of the outward symptoms of people living without reconciliation. Then, there are the more personal effects of living without reconciliation: Divorce, depression, unresolved anger, unforgiveness, and even suicidal thinking.

The truth is, a lack of reconciliation is at the root of all of these factors. If we could be reconciled to God, reconciled to others, and even reconciled to ourselves, what joy and peace might that bring into our lives? What if Christ’s death and resurrection, could mean a reconciled life for us? In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome to show them how they might rejoice in the reconciled life they have through Jesus Christ. We too can rejoice in the reconciled life through Christ.

New Life

April 16, 2017 | Romans 6:4-11 | easter, resurrection

Have you been playing your version of the game of life and realized you were either following the wrong rules or aiming for the wrong goal? You thought more money would make you happy, but it made you hungry for more money. You thought new stuff, a new car, new house, new boat would make you happy, but you still feel empty. You thought a new relationship, a new boyfriend, a new girlfriend, a new love would make you feel like a winner. But you still feel like a loser.

So, how do we get a new view of life? Is there a way of starting over, starting fresh, with a new life? In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that those who identify with Christ’s death and resurrection might live in newness of life. We can experience this new life by identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Worship and Witness is…Transformational

September 11, 2016 | Romans 12:1-2 | discipleship

Do you feel like your are running in place sometimes or just not moving at all? Sometimes we can feel that our lives have no meaning or that we are going nowhere. We often put our focus or our worship on things that don’t move us or give us meaning. Newton’s first law of motion says that, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” You may feel this way now, like a stagnant person or a person in motion towards the wrong things. God has designed us for more.  He is the unbalanced force that can get us not only moving but moving in the right direction.

In the book of Romans, Paul appeals to his fellow believers that they would become living sacrifices as worship before God. He tells the believers in Rome that their worship of Jesus will transform their life. We too can be transformed by our worship and witness of Jesus.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 ESV)

August 1, 2016

Scripture contains two streams. One stream flows tortuous and muddy through a valley, filled with real stories of human sin, violence and judgment. Seeing its filthy flow, we are overwhelmed and often disgusted. We wonder why a loving God would allow for such. Why would this stream of stories even be in the Bible? The second stream falls down from the mountains cool and clean, it sparkles in the sun as it gushes down rocky heights with revelations of God’s righteousness, forgiveness and love. Observing this dangerous torrent and hearing its mighty roar, we are filled with a fearful longing. We have a deep desire to dive into its crystal clear depths, yet one inward glance at our fragile fallen selves reminds us that we would be destroyed beneath its crashing flow. Then, as we follow the two streams passing from the Old Testament to the New, we see them converge. The two streams of Scripture crash together at the cross of Christ. We finally understand. Seen through the lens of the cross it all makes sense. Our sin and God’s righteousness collide in Christ. He took our sin, separation and death, that we might have His righteousness, sonship and life. The two streams of Scripture were written for our “instruction,” both for our endurance and encouragement, that we might have hope in Christ.

“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” (Romans 14:13 ESV)

July 31, 2016

In Romans 14, the apostle Paul addresses how Christians should treat one another concerning matters of liberty and conscience. Specifically, he mentions diet, drink and holidays as areas that should be left up to conscience, but not to let our freedom in these areas cause another brother to stumble. Paul is clearly not speaking of doctrinal matters here. Certainly such things as lying, stealing and immorality are sin. He is speaking of disputable matters, like whether eating meat or being a vegetarian is preferable for a believer. This was an especially relevant topic during Paul’s day as Jewish background believers with their kosher diets were now breaking bread with Gentile background believers who had no such dietary restrictions. What is the timeless principle for us today? Isn’t it to put your brother’s welfare ahead of your own?