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Renovating Our Will

January 29, 2023 | Romans 12:1-2 | discipleship

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Have you learned to pray as Jesus did? Asking for the Father’s will in your life? Do you struggle with knowing and doing God’s will? Most Christians don’t have trouble knowing it, they have trouble obeying it. Why? Because we have what Willard calls “the splintered will.” This is a will that has been “splintered,” corrupted and turned against itself by choosing to its own way, rather than God’s. The splintered will asks, “How can I get my way?” Rather than, “How can I please God?” Manipulation, deception, seduction, and malice replace transparency, sincerity, and goodwill, as exaltation of self replaces submission and service to God.

But what would it look like for our hearts, our wills, to be in total alignment with God’s heart and will? Is this way of life even possible? In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he appealed to believers to fully submit themselves to God for renovation of the will, transforming it to know and follow God’s will.

Gospel Guidance, Greetings, and Glory

November 20, 2022 | Romans 16:17-27 | exposition

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The gospel reveals God’s love and righteousness to us and Paul closes the letter the way he began, with the gospel.

In Romans 16:17-27, the apostle Paul closed his letter to the believers in Rome with a final word of gospel guidance, greetings, and God’s glory. Even in closing his letter, Paul was showing them how to apply the gospel to their relationships. We can apply the gospel to our relationships.

Greetings and Commendations

November 13, 2022 | Romans 16:1-16 | exposition

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Many who preach through the book of Romans skip over these verses as a mere list of mostly unknown names that the apostle Paul commends and greets in closing. It’s neither propositional nor prescriptive, so they decide it’s not preach-able. Yet, we can learn much from the personal and affectionate way that Paul begins to close this letter. Paul really knew how to greet fellow believers and commend them for their faith and service!

Do you know how to greet people? Some of us never learn. We just talk about ourselves, our own problems and ailments. We forget to focus our greetings on the other person. Some of you are here today, and you really need to make some friends. You’ve forgotten what it’s like to really be greeted and welcomed, to be commended and edified.

If that’s you today, I pray that you experience the greeting of God’s people and of the Lord Jesus Himself before you leave today! In Romans 16:1-16, the apostle Paul began to close his letter with personal and affectionate greetings and commendations for the believers there. We can learn how to greet one another in the Lord from Paul’s example.

The Gospel Church

November 6, 2022 | Romans 15:14-33 | exposition

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There’s not a lot of good news today. We have to remember that the news business is just that… a business. And bad news sells. Violence sells. Sex sells. If it bleeds, it leads. But aren’t you sick and tired of all the bad news? As followers of Jesus, we’re the ambassadors of the good news. But what does it look like to see ourselves as the people who proclaim the good news, the gospel of Jesus?

In Romans 15:14-33, the apostle Paul described how God had called him to the gospel ministry and invited the believers in Rome to join together with him in the gospel ministry. We are called to join together in the ministry of the gospel.

Living in Harmony

October 30, 2022 | Romans 15:1-13 | exposition

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We need unity in the church today. For there is certainly little unity in our country or world. We live in one of the most divisive and divided days in our nation in my life time. Yet, the church is supposed to be different. One of the key marks of the church is supposed to be our unity, our harmony.

In Romans 15, the apostle Paul prayed that God would grant the believers in Rome to live in harmony with one another in Christ Jesus to the glory of God. We can live in harmony with one another in Christ Jesus.

Discernment over Judgment

October 23, 2022 | Romans 14:13-23 | exposition

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Judgment condemns, but discernment seeks to understand and point the person to Jesus. The motive in judging is self-righteousness and a sense of superiority, often accompanied by anger. But the motive for discernment is humility and love.

In Romans chapter 14:13-23, the apostle Paul told the believers in Rome that as a result of having their minds “transformed” (Rom. 12:2) by faith in Jesus Christ, they were now able to consider one another with spiritual discernment rather than judgment. As believers in Jesus, we can consider one another with discernment rather than judgment.

The Welcoming Church

October 16, 2022 | Romans 14:1-12 | exposition

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What are you looking for in a church? Do you want to be part of a church that looks like you, talks like you, thinks like you? Same color and race, same political party, same favorite basketball team and BBQ style? Or are you willing to welcome and receive others who have different personalities and preferences, but want to love and follow Jesus? God calls us to unity, but not uniformity. And in order to be a welcoming church, we must know the difference.

In Romans chapter 14, the apostle Paul told the believers in Rome, who came from both Jewish and Gentile backgrounds, that God had called them to be a welcoming church, not a judgmental and quarreling church.

The Law of Love

October 9, 2022 | Romans 13:8-14 | exposition

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What is your mental operating system? What kind of gravity tugs and pulls at your thinking? Do you struggle with anger, with depression, with a poor self-image, with unforgiveness, with temptation, with addiction, with hatred…? What controls your thoughts and attitudes and therefore your actions? Is it love?

In Romans chapter 13, the apostle Paul instructed the believers in Rome that they were to let God’s law of love govern their attitudes and actions. As believers, we are to let God’s law of love govern our attitudes and actions.

Dual Citizenship

October 2, 2022 | Romans 13:1-7 | exposition

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In this passage, Paul describes how Christians should relate to their government. In other words, how those whose citizenship is in heaven are to relate to their worldly government. And the instruction he gives from the Lord is this: we are to submit to the governing authorities.

With all the political division in our country and with the approaching midterms in November, don’t you want to know what God’s Word says about how we as believers are to relate to our government? In Romans chapter 13, the apostle Paul instructed the believers in Rome that God wanted them to live in subjection to the governing authorities. As Christians, God calls us to live in subjection to the governing authorities.

“I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey” (Romans 15:24 NLT).

August 3, 2022

DID PAUL GO TO SPAIN? What we know from Scripture is that Paul did indeed visit Rome, carried there to appear before Caesar under Roman guard. According to the final verses in Acts (Acts 28:30-31), Paul was held under house arrest in Rome for two years awaiting trial, yet had great freedom to preach and