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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?

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33 ESV)

July 28, 2016

After Paul described the mystery of God’s salvation for Israel and the fulness of time for the Gentiles, he concluded with an exaltation of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Paul recognized that he was only scratching the surface of understanding God’s plans. He was only able to describe that which the Spirit had revealed to him. Yet, there remains a depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge that would take eternity to plumb, and still not reach its limit. How foolish are those creatures who would question the Creator’s judgments and ways. Their finite perceptions and understanding are so limited that they do not even know themselves, much less their Maker. How wonderful it is for those who have received God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. We have believed that which God has revealed, so that we might trust Him with that which remains a mystery.

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14 ESV)

July 27, 2016

After quoting Joel 2:32 (also in Acts 2:21), “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” Paul asked a series of questions to draw out the implications of this statement for those who have yet to believe. His logic is clear: People need to hear the gospel before they can believe it. If faith comes by hearing the Word, then we must be busy about declaring it. If they do not believe after hearing the gospel, it is on them. But if they do not believe because they have not heard, is it not on us?

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1 ESV)

July 26, 2016

Paul continued to express his desire that the Jewish people believe in Christ for their salvation. This was his constant prayer. Do you know someone that needs the Lord for which you are moved in such a way? Have you considered praying for an unreached people group that has never heard the gospel? You can find a list here:

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:2-3 ESV)

July 25, 2016

The apostle Paul was continually filled with sorrow and anguish because of the Jews rejection of Christ. His grief moved him even to the point of wishing that he could switch places with them, so that they were accepted and he accursed. Everywhere he carried the gospel, he always started with the Jew and then the Greek, preaching first in the synagogues and then the marketplace. Paul burned with passion for the souls of his people. Yet, only a few believed. Is there someone in your family that is far from God? Are you in sorrow and anguish for them as you pray for them and share the gospel with them? Have you ever felt as Paul did about your loved ones who have not received Christ?