Sunday – May 23, 2021 Romans Week 8 Rom 2:1-5 “Self Righteousness is Unrighteousness”

Sunday – May 23, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – May 23, 2021

Romans 2:3-4
But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

Waiting for his first orthodontist appointment, a 12-year-old boy was a bit nervous. He was completing a patient questionnaire and had high hopes of winning the dentist’s favor. In the space marked “Hobbies” he wrote, “Swimming and flossing”. We all want to make a good impression, to portray ourselves to others as better than we really are. But when we do that, we’re forgetting something important, namely, that God knows the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, “all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13). Someday we will stand before Him to give an account of our lives.

Paul begins to zero in on the moral Gentile or Jew in these opening verses, using the same indirect approach that the prophet Amos (Amos 1 & 2), where he begins by condemning the foreign nations around Israel. Just when the Jews are cheering him on, he moves in to hit them with their sins. Self-righteous people tend to justify themselves by blaming others. Self-righteousness is a very difficult sin to get people to see and condemn in themselves. But it’s a serious sin because it keeps people from seeing their need for the gospel. It believes the lie that we can be good enough in ourselves to qualify for heaven. “Maybe really gross sinners need a Savior. But me? Hey, God wouldn’t judge a good guy like me, would He?” Or, would He?

Paul isn’t condemning the act of judging others per se, in that he expects the moral person to agree with him that the sins of Romans 1 are wrong. The problem with judging others is when you secretly engage in the same behavior that you openly condemn. When a politician postures as standing for family values, but it comes out that he snuck off to visit his mistress in South America, he has condemned himself. Paul is not saying that it is wrong to judge others. Rather, he is saying that it is wrong self-righteously to judge others, while at the same time you’re practicing the sins that you’re judging.

The self-righteous are in error concerning divine judgment. They fail to distinguish between God’s present wrath and His coming (future) wrath. One purpose of God’s present wrath is repentance, leading to salvation. The primary purpose of His future wrath is justice. There is no turning back from this judgment. When we look upon those God has “given over to sin” as eternally doomed, we are just as incorrect as looking upon those who are presently experiencing God’s “kindness” as assured of eternal blessing. For now, both God’s kindness and His severity are directed toward man’s salvation, not his destruction.

Sunday – May 16, 2021 Romans Week 7 Rom 1:24-32 “The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same”

Sunday – May 16, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – May 16, 2021

Roman 1:23
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”

If you were born after 1970, you may not realize how drastically America and the West have change. I grew up watching TV shows that depicted the typical American family where the father wore a suit, supported the family, and was looked to as the head of the home. The mother wore a dress, prepared the meals, and dispensed wisdom to the kids to help them navigate life’s normal struggles. We’ve gone down a long way since then! Some would say because of her cultural sins, America is on the brink of God’s judgment. But Paul would say, “No, America is already under God’s judgment.” When a society flaunts and gives hearty approval to sin, even applauding them as right, it shows God has already given that society over to impurity, to degrading passions, and to a depraved mind.

We might wonder when this divine judgment of giving people over to their sin took place. Is Paul describing the fall? Or does he have in mind the demise of certain cultures, such as Sodom and Gomorrah? Or is he talking about individuals who go so far in sin that God gives them over to their sins? The Bible make clear is that all three are true and have a role to play in this downward spiral.

At the fall, the human race was cut off from fellowship with the holy God and plunged into sin. We all are born in sin, alienated from God. We are not sinners because we sin; rather, we sin because by nature we are sinners. But on another level, it applies to individual cultures throughout history. At the Tower of Babel, proud sinners defied God, bringing down His judgment by confusing their languages. Ancient Greece and Rome had their times of glory, but idolatry and immorality brought them down. And this is also true on the individual level. All people without Christ are in sin, but when an individual brazenly turns his back on the light that God has given him it sets them on a path to pursue sin and give themselves over to the sinful desires of their hearts.

If only from what you have read here, you know enough understand that you are a sinner and need the gospel to be saved from the punishment your sin deserves. I must ask you this question. What have you done with what you have heard? It is not enough to know that you are a sinner, and that your deeds render you guilty of sin before a holy God. It is not enough to know and to believe that Christ died for your sins, bearing your punishment and offering His righteousness to you. You must personally receive the gift of salvation by placing your trust in Jesus as God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins and for the righteousness you need to enter into His kingdom. If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ for your salvation, I pray that you will act on this offer now, that you will receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

Sunday – May 9, 2021 Mother’s Day Zechariah 8:1-8

Sunday – May 9, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – May 9, 2021

Zechariah 8:4-5
Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. ‘And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.’

If someone were to ask, “What does the kingdom of God look like?” we might think of heavenly choirs singing praises to the accompaniment of harps. There is no doubt that glorious worship will be an important part of God’s kingdom. But I would guess that few, if any, of us would ever think to describe His kingdom as our text does: “Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets” (Zech. 8:4-5).

This is not Zechariah’s personal idea of what the kingdom of God will look like, but the direct word of the Lord of hosts (8:4). This word was intended originally to encourage the remnant that was struggling to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem after the exile. It fit into the overall theme of Zechariah, that God remembers His chosen people, and that He will bless them in His time. But the words also apply to God’s people in every generation who seek to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ as we await His glorious return and His coming kingdom.

Sadly, those words do not describe a large segment of American society. In 2018, The Office of Children and Families reported 1788 children under the age of 15 died from abuse or neglect and that number continues to rise annually. Most such abuse occurs within the confines of the home. Our streets, especially in large cities, are not safe, especially for women, children, or the elderly. By way of contrast, when the Lord will rule and reign, the elderly will be at rest and the children at play, unafraid of attack or harm. Since these two groups represent the most vulnerable in any society, if they are securely at rest, everyone else will also enjoy peace. How a society treats its elderly and its young children may be a good measure of how close that society is to the Lord. When He dwells in our midst, He describes the result as this scene of peaceful joy for the aged and the young.

The Lord taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). While the Lord’s kingdom will not come in its entirety until He returns in power and glory, we should labor for that kingdom to come in the interim. We should demonstrate, as much as possible, kingdom living in the here and now. Those who do not know Christ should be able to look at our homes and our church and get a glimpse of what it will be like on earth when Jesus reigns as King and dwells with us.

Sunday – May 2, 2021 Romans Week 6 Rom 1:18-23 “The Present Wrath of God”

Sunday – May 2, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – May 2, 2021

Romans 1:18-20
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

God is doing a work today, and few even know He is doing it. He is presently revealing His wrath on “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). God is judging men for their sin today, and few even know it is happening. Unbelievers are unaware of God’s judgment, because they do not know God, nor are they alert to His presence and power in the world today. This is to be expected. But many Christians are equally ignorant of God’s present judgment of sin. They think of God’s judgment only in terms of the future. And they think of the sinner’s present self-indulgence in terms of pleasure, not punishment.

Many Christians look upon the sinfulness of our culture in about the same way one of the psalmists of old looked upon his culture—with envy. Instead of grieving over the sins of others, as Lot did over the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, we are tempted to envy sinners, as though they are privileged to enjoy pleasures we Christians are denied. And so, very much as Satan implied that God was withholding good from Adam and Eve, we are tempted to believe that God is withholding something good from us. We try to console ourselves with the thought that though we must suffer now, we do so in order to enjoy better pleasures in heaven.

In the time of the great tribulation, God will allow men to do as they please. He will remove all restraints. But men will learn that there is no joy or pleasure possible when each seeks his own pleasure at the expense of others. Men want God to leave them alone; they want none of His controls. When God removes His controlling and restraining hand (Colossians 1:16, 17) the universe will begin to fall apart at the seams (Matthew 24:29). Men wish God to leave them alone, and God will give them an eternity of separation from Himself (2 Thessalonians 1:9). What an awesome thought. Hell is getting exactly what we want. And on the reverse side of the coin, how grateful we Christians should be to our heavenly Father Who has and will withhold much of what we ask for, for our own good.

Paul’s words may take many of us by surprise. We are not inclined to believe that God’s judgment has a present, as well as a future, manifestation. And even if we do believe in a present judgment, the form which this judgment takes, according to Paul, is not that which we would expect. The Book of Romans will force us to re-evaluate much of our thinking on the judgment of God. We must have the Holy Spirit illuminate His Word to understand it, and we must have divine enablement to apply it. Let us petition God for the ministry of His Spirit, as we approach our study in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Sunday – April 25, 2021 Romans Week 5 Rom 1:16-17 “The Power of God for Salvation”

Sunday – April 25, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – April 25, 2021

Romans 1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

For us to understand the power of these words, we need to see the flow of Paul’s reasoning. Paul states, “I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” Why? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel….” Why? “For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” How is this gospel the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes? “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Is this a new idea that Paul thought up? No, he cites Habakkuk 2:4, “as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’”

At the outset, we may wonder why Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” It is a figure of speech called litotes, where through understatement the affirmative is expressed by the negative of the contrary. For example, if you say, “he’s not a bad athlete,” you mean, “he’s a pretty good athlete.” So when Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel, he means, “I glory in the gospel. I’m astounded by the gospel.”

But why does he express it this way? Well, there were many reasons a first century Roman might feel a bit uncomfortable about this Jewish man coming to a sophisticated city like Rome to preach about a Galilean carpenter-prophet who was executed by the Roman government in the most humiliating manner possible, by being crucified. After all, this was Rome, the capital of the civilized world! Your message had better appeal to the educated or it won’t fly here! Your message needs to offer political solutions to the pressing needs of the empire or it will not gain a hearing here! It had better offer some answers to the massive problems of greed, hopelessness, lust, and violence, or the people in Rome won’t listen!

But Paul’s main message did not directly address these issues. His message focused on the main need of every human being, whether the most religious Jew or the most educated, worldly, immoral Greek—the need to be reconciled to the holy God. How can I be right before God? Paul’s theme in Romans is God and the good news that comes from God, how sinners can be delivered from His righteous judgment and reconciled to Him. It is the very power of God to save everyone who believes, because in it God reveals how His perfect righteousness will be put to the account of the guilty sinner who trusts in Christ. This is called salvation. I pray that we will understand the gospel, believe it personally, preach it to ourselves every day, and proclaim it unashamedly to this lost world.

Sunday – April 18, 2021 Romans Week 4 Rom 1:8-15 “Saints Serving Saints”

Sunday – April 18, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – April 18, 2021

Romans 1:11-12
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

Paul is still introducing his letter to the Romans, most of whom he has never met. He knew that due to his enemies, he was sometimes portrayed as a radical who was teaching all sorts of dangerous things (Acts 17:6; 21:28). But he longed to visit these fellow believers in Rome and share together in the things of God. He is a man with a mission, an apostle with a commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, leading to the “obedience of faith.” He is also a man with a heart for the saints at Rome. So, Paul has the delicate task of explaining to these mostly unknown Christians, some of whom may have heard negative things about him, who he is and why he wants to visit them and preach the gospel there.

Paul shares how he has heard of their faith and how frequently he prays for them. He shares his heart about wanting to come and spend time with them, both strengthening their faith and also being encouraged himself by them in the things of the gospel. He lets them know that he has often desired to come, but thus far has been prevented. But now he hopes to come and find opportunities to preach there. So Paul wants to use his gifts to serve these people he does not yet know, and he wants to benefit from them using their gifts to serve him, as together they labor to see the gospel expand in Rome. This little snapshot of Paul and the church at Rome gives us a picture of serving saints.

God wants all whom He has saved to be serving saints. It’s obvious that Paul is not the only one in these verses who is serving. He begins by mentioning how he has heard all over about the faith of the Roman believers. He also says that he expects not only to minister to the Romans, but he also expects to be ministered to by them. As we saw in verse 7, the believers in Rome were “called as saints” and all believers are to be serving saints. Serving saints long to be with other saints for the purpose of effective ministry by and to each other.

Paul wanted to go to Rome to impart some spiritual gift to them (1:11). What does he mean? 1 Corinthians 12:11 tells us the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to each person “just as He wills.” It’s not that Paul had the ability to impart various spiritual gifts to others. Rather, he wants to impart the gift of his apostolic understanding of the gospel, which we have in the Book of Romans. As Paul exercised his gift of teaching, these believers would be more established in their faith. In turn, the saints in Rome would be able to exercise the spiritual gifts they had in the life of Paul to encourage, equip and expand his ability to minister.  This is why at Sunrise Community Church, we value ministry by and to each other.

Sunday – April 11, 2021 Romans Week 3 Rom 1:1-7 “The Gospel of God”

Sunday – April 11, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – April 11, 2021

Romans 1:2-4
“…the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

My fear, as we begin our study in the Book of Romans, is that we are often so familiar with certain words, such as “gospel,” or so academic in our approach, that we are not thrilled and moved to the depths of our being by the wonder of it all. The gospel of God is the theme of Romans and Paul describes it here in his introduction to the church at Rome.

God originated the gospel and the gospel is all about God. It tells us how we can be rightly related to Him through His eternal Son, whom He sent. This is not Paul’s or any other apostle’s idea. Rather, it comes to us right out of the Old Testament, which he refers to as the “holy Scriptures.” God promised the gospel in prototype in Genesis 3:15, right after the fall, when He said that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent. The gospel was implicit in the Old Testament sacrificial system, revealed most thoroughly to Moses but even revealed from the outset to Cain and Abel. The wages of our sin is death, but God graciously would accept the blood sacrifice of an acceptable substitute. As Isaiah 53 makes plain, Jesus is the lamb of God who was wounded for our transgressions.

God’s promise in the Old Testament to send the Savior is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Although from the human perspective it took many centuries, but God always keeps His promises in His time. No doubt there were scoffers then, as there are now, who mocked, “Where is the promise of the Savior?” But there were those, like the godly Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38), who were waiting expectantly for God to keep His promise. Although you may be tempted to despair at times, wondering, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:4) persevere in faith. God always keeps His promises. Jesus is coming to judge this evil world and to bring full redemption to His people.

Jesus is the center of the gospel. When the gospel is shared, the discussion must center on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus asked the disciples (Matt. 16:15), “But who do you say that I am?” That is the crucial question! If Jesus is who He claimed to be and who the Scriptures present Him to be, then He is Lord of all and we must bow before Him. Is Jesus your Savior and Lord in that sense? The gospel of God is not primarily about you and how Jesus can help you find happiness and peace and fulfillment. Rather, it is from God and about God. Is He the eternal Son, risen from the dead, exalted as Lord? If so, then make sure that He is your Savior and Lord!

Sunday – March 28, 2021 Romans Week 2 “Tracing Righteousness Through Romans”

Sunday – March 28, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – March 28, 2021

Romans 3:21-23
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

The righteousness of God, one of the most prominent attributes of God in the Scriptures, is also one of the most elusive. Initially, distinguishing the righteousness of God from His holiness or His goodness seems difficult. This is because the righteousness of God is virtually synonymous with His justice. No one states this better than A.W. Tozer, “Justice, when used of God, is a name we give to the way God is, nothing more; and when God acts justly He is not doing so to conform to an independent criterion, but simply acting like Himself in a given situation.”

The righteousness of God and the justice of God are not secondary matters; they are primary. When summarizing the very essence of what the Old Testament Law was about, Amos and Micah both spoke first of justice and righteousness. The righteousness or justice of God is to be the guiding principle for the people of God. So often we think God’s righteousness is revealed in His judgment of sinners and His mercy by His salvation of sinners. The Scriptures teach that God’s righteousness is the cause of both condemnation and justification. He is righteous in saving sinners, as well as merciful and compassionate. God is righteous in all His dealings with men.

The righteousness of God is particularly important in relation to salvation. In Romans 3, Paul points out God not only justifies sinners (that is, He declares them righteous), but He is also shown to be just (righteous) in the process. Men have failed to live up to the standard of righteousness laid down by the Law (Romans 3:9-20). God is just in condemning all men to death, for all men without exception have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). God is just in condemning the unrighteous and also just in saving sinners. As Paul puts it, He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

How can this be? God is just because His righteous anger has been satisfied. Justice was done on the cross of Calvary. God did not reduce the charges against men; nor change the standard of righteousness. God poured out the full measure of His righteous wrath upon His Son on the cross of Calvary. In Him, justice was meted out. All of those who trust in Him by faith are justified. Their sins forgiven because Jesus paid the full price; He suffered the full measure of God’s wrath in their place. And for those who reject the goodness and mercy of God at Calvary, they must pay the penalty for their sins because they would not accept the payment Jesus made in their place. The good news of the gospel is that salvation by grace is offered to all men, and by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, men may be forgiven of their sins and made righteous.

Sunday – March 21, 2021 Book of Romans – Week 1 Introduction

Sunday – March 21, 2021

Problems viewing?


Word On Worship – Sunday – March 21, 2021

Romans 1:2-4
…the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The Scriptures are said to be the defining work of civilization. But the Scriptures are not just a collection of men’s ideas about God, nor is it a guidebook for living that people developed over the centuries. The Bible was written by dozens of authors over many hundreds of years. Some are very brief–less than a page, while others are much longer. Yet, despite their diversity, when you examine them, you discover they all have a common theme: God’s relationship with the human race. Ultimately, the Bible deals with timeless questions: Who are we? Why are we here? How can we redeem our mistakes? How should we live?

Of all the books found in the Bible, no book answers these questions better than the Book of Romans. God has used this powerful letter in some remarkable ways to change the lives of some of the greatest thinkers, missionaries and theologians throughout human history. It is the book that was instrumental in leading men like Augustine, Charles Wesley and John Bunyan to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  It changed the course of church history after being read by Martin Luther. It was so important to church father Chrysostom that he had it read to him twice each week.

The Swiss commentator, Frederic Godet, wrote that “every great spiritual revival in the church will be connected as effect and cause with a deeper understanding of this book.” His summation of Romans was: “For what is the Epistle to the Romans? The offer of the righteousness of God to the man who finds himself stripped by the law of his own righteousness (1:17). In a nutshell, the Book of Romans is the gospel: the good news that God declares sinners to be righteous when they trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on their behalf. It involves both the imputed righteousness of justification (Romans 3-5) and the imparted righteousness of sanctification, worked out progressively through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 6-8).”

As I said last week, the Church of Jesus Christ faces challenges never seen before in the history of the church. There is a pervasive darkness in our country and a lack of clear biblical thinking in this generation. And our calling is to be a people who are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) If we are to reclaim this mandate from God, we must fully understand how that calling was granted to us and how we are to live it out. There is no better time than now to understand the wisdom of God found in the Book of Romans.