Sunday – September 26, 2021 Romans Week 22 Romans 5:1-11 “Justification But Wait There Is More”

Sunday – September 26, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – September 26, 2021

Romans 5:9-11
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

The prerequisite and basis for all spiritual blessings is justification. For the believer, the work of Jesus Christ is the well from which are drawn all of the blessings of God. In Christ, God has chosen to save the world and to bless believers. Jesus Christ and His work are central; they are the core of all that is essential in this life and the life that is to come. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). For now, and all eternity, He is the source of our blessings. He should be the focus of our attention, our adoration, and our obedience.

Why then, if Christ is our righteousness, our Savior, our sufficiency, our source of all spiritual blessings, do some Christians keep looking inward, rather than upward? Why are we so intent on our self-identity—if our salvation, our security, and our blessings are all found in Him? Can it be that we have subtly been turned from Christ in our attention by the calling of the flesh back to ourselves and our own experience? I fear this is so. It is not in understanding ourselves that we find it possible to understand God, but in focusing upon Him that we begin to understand ourselves.

Paul’s words here focus on the work of Christ at Calvary, not on the individual conversions of the justified. Many Christians focus on their initial coming to Christ, their beginnings, and then fail to enter into joy of reconciliation with God. Here I must emphasize that our focus should not be so much on our conversion experience as on the redemption event, the cross of Christ. But when doubts arise in our faith, we want go back to an earlier experience with Christ. This is wrong! We dare not go back to our experience or to what we have done. We must always go all the way back, to the cross, for this is the source of our salvation and our security.

Since Christ is the source of all spiritual blessings, then rejecting Him is renouncing and rejecting all the blessings which He alone provides. How tragic the loss if you have rejected the salvation God has made available in Christ! This need not be so. Will you not consider His death on the cross of Calvary which has paid the debt of your sin? Will you not accept the righteousness God has provided in Christ and be justified “by His blood,” saved from the wrath of God through Him? The work of Christ, and its benefits, is the gospel’s emphasis. May our emphasis be the same.

Sunday – September 19, 2021 Romans Week 21 Romans 5:6-11 “Amazing Love How Can it Be”

Sunday – September 19, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – September 19, 2021

Romans 5:7-8
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Probably most of us have bought something, convinced of its great value, only to discover with time and observation that it was not all we expected it to be. It seems that no matter how hard we try to be objective, we see things we want and consider them better than they really are. Even when purchasing a new automobile, before signing the contract the salesman persuades us to buy an extended service warranty. Before the car is even driven off the showroom floor, we must begin to worry about the car breaking down!

There is only one exception—the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ promises men the forgiveness of their sins and the certainty of a relationship with God that will last through all eternity. Once we have entered into this relationship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, we discover a whole new world of blessings we had not anticipated, all flowing out of our justification by faith. In Romans 5 Paul enumerates some of the benefits of justification.

As a result of our justification by faith, Paul writes, we have “peace with God” (verse 1). “Peace with God” is very different from the “peace of God”. The peace “of God” is that inner tranquility that God gives to the Christian, even when there is external turmoil. But “peace with God” is different. It is that peace which marks the end of our hostility toward God and of His hostility toward us.  Justification by faith gives men a place of standing, a place of security. There is no “iffyness” about our standing in grace. Because God deals with us by grace, our justification and our sanctification cannot fail, for it is contingent not upon our performance but upon His grace. And this standing in “grace,” which justification accomplishes, is merely the beginning.

There is a vast difference between the “hype” of our world and the “hope” of the gospel. This world’s “hype” always lets us down. But the hope of the gospel only grows. Paul’s words in these verses offer some of the most comforting words a Christian will ever hear. For those who love God and who desire to explore the riches of His grace, Romans is a gold mine of Biblical truth. Paul speaks here not only of the hope of future blessing, in heaven, but the hope which the Christian finds in the very midst of trials and tribulations. For the Christian living in this world so filled with despair, this message of hope is sweet indeed. I hope you are able to revel in the hope of the gospel as we study this passage.

Sunday – September 12, 2021 Romans Week 20 Romans 5:1-5 “Exulting in Tribulation”

Sunday – September 12, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – September 12, 2021

Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

If someone were to ask you, “What is the most sought-after possession in the world,” what would you answer? Some would say money, some would say wisdom, some would say beauty or popularity. But if you were to analyze these, I think you’d find that it isn’t money people want but rather what they think money will get them. It isn’t wisdom or beauty or popularity but it is the security and peace people believe these things bring. But do these things really bring what they advertise? King Fasel was the most wealthy man in the world, but today his body lies in an unmarked grave. Marilyn Monroe was the beauty queen of Hollywood, but she committed suicide. Leonardo Da Vinci was the most brilliant man of the Renaissance, but he died a discouraged man having admittedly failed in finding the purpose of life.

You see, it is not money, wisdom, beauty or popularity people want most. Just ask the people who have these and you’ll see they aren’t satisfied. Rather, the most sought-after thing in the world is inner peace and security. This is the real need of every person. Inner peace is not the cessation of problems on the outside. Rather, it is the ability to remain stable because you can see the end of the problems and know that you will come out on top.

Peace with God is the most wonderful gift that anyone can possess! This does not refer to the feeling of inner peace, but rather to the objective fact of peace. People may feel at peace with God when in fact they are in danger of His judgment (Jer. 6:14). Because of the universality of sin, the human race is by nature at war against God. Many may feel at peace because they do not comprehend God’s absolute holiness or their own sinfulness. But because of sin, the wrath of God abides on all who do not believe in and obey Jesus Christ (John 3:36). As Paul wrote (Rom. 1:18), “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

This means that unless people come to peace with God on His terms, when they die they will face His eternal judgment. They may be the world’s greatest philanthropists, who have given millions to help the poor. But philanthropy will not atone for their many sins. They may be the nicest, most loving people you could know. But all the niceness and love that anyone can show will not atone for the many sins that we all commit. They may be fastidious about their religious duties, but the most religious people in the world cannot gain an entrance to heaven by their religious observance. None of these things gain genuine peace with God. So, how do we get it?

Sunday – September 5, 2021 Romans Week 19 Romans 4:23-25 “The Nature of Saving Faith”

Sunday – September 5, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – September 5, 2021

Romans 4:23-25
Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Paul has spent an entire chapter hammering home the truth that we are justified by faith in Christ alone, not by our good works, not by our religious rituals, and not by keeping the Law of Moses. He uses Abraham as the prime example of a man who believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (4:3, 5, 9, 22). But now, as he wraps up this chapter, he wants us to plug it in personally. He doesn’t want us to cheer and say, “Brilliant argument, Paul! You really stuck it to those religious Jews! Nice going!” No, he wants each of us to apply it on the most fundamental level so that we, too, are sure that the righteousness of Jesus Christ has been credited to our account by faith.

Paul’s point is that this chapter about Abraham and his faith is not just a quaint history lesson. We need to apply it personally. This is seen in the text by the fact that Paul uses the pro­noun “our” four times: “for our sake also”; “Jesus our Lord”; “our transgressions”; and, “our justification.” These truths must be ours personally. The Bible was written so that first we would understand it, but then so that we will apply it. The story of Abraham is for your sake also. Has the righteousness of Christ been credited to your account? Romans 4 won’t do you any good unless by faith you are a true son of Abraham, an heir according to God’s promise (Gal. 3:7, 29).

Also, Romans 4 shows the importance of understanding and applying the Old Testament. Paul built the entire chapter on the story of Abraham’s faith being credited to him as righteousness. If we do not understand the Old Testament, we will not properly understand the New Testament. The Old Testament continues to speak to Christians and our understanding of this foundation is fundamental to the theology and preaching of the Apostle Paul.  As Paul will go on to say in Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Before we leave this chapter in Romans I want to ask you two questions: First, do you regularly read and seek to understand and apply the Old Testament? Reading through the Gospels is a good plan to do every year but make sure to include opportunities to read from the Psalms and the Old Testament. Don’t neglect the Old Testament as if it were of less importance than the New Testament. Second, have you put your faith in Christ alone, trusting God to credit Christ’s righteousness to your account? If you have not done that, you are not a Christian in the most important sense of the word. A Christian personally believes in Jesus Christ.

Sunday – August 29, 2021 Romans Week 18 Romans 4:16-22 “The Nature of Saving Faith”

Sunday – August 29, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 29, 2021

Romans 4:20-22
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness”.

The bad news of universal condemnation seen in the beginning of Romans is overshadowed by the good news of a righteousness of God provided to all who believe in Jesus Christ. What man cannot do by his own efforts, God has done in the Person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ. His death appeased the righteous anger of God toward the sinner. His death and resurrection provide the righteousness which men need to be declared righteous by God. Faith in Jesus Christ makes men righteous before God without Law-keeping.

Jules Henri Poincare, who in extolling the memory of his distinguished friend, uttered these terrible words: “It matters little what God one believes in; it is the faith and not the God that makes miracles.” No statement can be farther from the truth because the Bible teaches it is the object of our faith that makes all the difference between heaven and hell. Here Paul proves this point by examining the faith of Abraham that was credited as righteousness.

Abraham’s faith was in a God Who could create something out of nothing. So far as his chances of having a child, they were nil. He and Sarah were as good as dead. Yet Abraham trusted God to create something out of nothing, a son from an old man and a barren woman. Abraham also believed in a God Who could raise the dead. This is evident in his faith in the promise to have a son of his own loins and Sarah, for they were both as good as dead so far as producing children was concerned. Nowhere is this faith in God’s ability to raise the dead more evident than in Abraham’s willingness to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice (Genesis 22).

In addition, Abraham’s faith was one that did not dwell on the obstacles to faith but on the object of faith. Abraham knew all too well the difficulties, but did not waver in his faith. The point is that Abraham, in spite of tremendous human obstacles, trusted in God to do as He promised. His faith overlooked the obstacles and focused upon the object of faith, God the Father. Because of this kind of faith, Abraham was justified before God. I invite you this morning to receive your reconciliation with that same God by placing all your faith in the work of the one man, His Son Jesus Christ. Then, you too, having been justified by faith, can have peace with God.

Sunday – August 15, 2021 Romans Week 17 Romans 4:9-15

Sunday – August 15, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 15, 2021

Romans 4:13
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Many Christians today are divided with regard to assurance of salvation. The Roman Catholic Church declared, “No one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God”. Among Protestants, those from the Armenian wing (Wesleyan, Holiness churches, the Nazarene Church, Pentecostal churches, etc.) argue that true believers through sin can lose their salvation and fall from grace. Although, some Armenians, inconsistent with their own view of saving grace, do hold believers are eternally secure. Those who hold the Reformed view believe that those whom Christ has genuinely saved, He will keep unto eternity.

Let me give you a brief overview of my understanding of the basis for assurance of salvation. There are three aspects to it: First and foremost, have you trusted in Jesus Christ alone and His death in your place to forgive all your sins and clothe you with His righteousness? If you answer “yes,” then there is a secondary basis for assurance: What evidence of the new birth do you see in your life? While we never will be perfectly sanctified in this life, there should be some definite signs of the new birth: a growing love for God, a desire to know Him through His Word, a desire to please Him by keeping His commandments, a growing love for others, a growing hatred of sin, etc. The “tests” of First John fit into this category, along with the character qualities of 2 Peter 1:5-11.

Third, there is the witness of the Spirit, who “testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). While this aspect of assurance is partly subjective and therefore subject to error, I understand it to be based on the objective promises of God. This inner witness of the Spirit is when He takes the promises of salvation in the Bible and testifies to your spirit, “Yes, these are true and by God’s grace I rest on them!” Or, the Holy Spirit assures you by reminding you of how He has worked the signs of new life in you.

Paul states it as a given that those who have received this reconciliation now exult in God. But do we? Have you spent any time this past week exulting in God because of all that He has freely given to you through the Lord Jesus Christ? I encourage you to make time each day to open God’s Word and pray, “Lord, show me today some of the unfathomable riches of Christ so that I may exult in You. Thank You that I have been justified by Christ’s blood! Thank You that while I was Your enemy, You reconciled me to You through the death of Your Son!” The fact that you are saved for sure—justified by Christ’s blood, saved from God’s wrath, reconciled to God although you once were His enemy—ought to cause your heart to exult in God.

Sunday – August 8, 2021 Romans Week 16 Romans 4:1-8 “Forgiveness is the Greatest Blessing”

Sunday – August 8, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 8, 2021

Romans 4:2-3
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

In the Old and New Testament, Abraham is named in 230 verses. Only 95 of those references to Abraham (or Abram) are during the life of Abraham in Genesis 11–25:10. The remaining 135 references to Abraham, primarily in the Old Testament, point back to historical events in his life. The Old Testament prophets spoke of the righteousness and salvation God would provide in fulfillment of His promise to Abraham. That righteousness, like the righteousness of Abraham, was not a righteousness which men earned by their law-keeping, but a righteousness which God Himself would provide through His Messiah, the coming Savior.

Abraham is also a very prominent person in the New Testament. We see the distorted thinking of the Jews concerning Abraham especially in the Gospels. The Jews took pride in their physical descent from Abraham. Believing they had confirmed reservations in the kingdom of God, the Jews saw the Gentiles as those who would never enter into the blessings promised Abraham. Jesus must have rocked the boat of Jewish exclusivism when He marveled at and commended the faith of the Gentile centurion in Matthew 8:10-12. Because of his faith, the centurion would be at the banquet table, along with Abraham, but many of the “sons of the kingdom” would be cast into hell. Here was a revolutionary thought to the Jews, but one completely consistent with the Old Testament and with the gospel.

No wonder Paul devotes an entire chapter to Abraham’s justification by faith! Not only does Abraham’s justification prove the Jews wrong for trusting and boasting in Abraham as their physical forefather, but it proves Abraham to be the father of all those who believe in God, by faith. Abraham’s justification by faith is precisely the same as that which the gospel offers to all men, Jew or Gentile, today. It is justification based upon the person and work of God, believed by faith, accomplished by imputation. It is a free gift, available to those who are uncircumcised and who are not under the Law of Moses, like Abraham.

Justification by faith is God’s only way of saving men. It is also the same way in which men have been saved from the beginning of human history. Men were not saved by works in Old Testament times and are now saved by faith. Men have always been saved by faith, apart from works. Abraham is an excellent example of justification by faith because he lived in a day when neither the Law of Moses nor the rite of circumcision existed as a part of Israel’s religion. He was saved apart from any works, apart from circumcision, and apart from the Law. His justification, like ours, was based upon God’s faithfulness to His promise and not on human performance. It is a gift of God’s grace and not something earned.

Sunday – August 1, 2021 Romans Week 15 Romans 3:27-31 “The Problem of Pride”

Sunday – August 1, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 1, 2021

Roman 3:27-29
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

If I were to ask all of you to write down the sin that causes you the most trouble, I would probably get many responses listing anger, lust, lying, and greed. I might get a few entries for jealousy, hatred, gossip, and laziness. Maybe I’d get one or two for gluttony. But I wonder how many would list pride as the most difficult sin that they battle every day? It ought to be at the top of our lists, because it is the root of virtually every other sin.

If you get angry, it’s because you want your way and you didn’t get your way. The root of such anger is pride! If you lust, it’s because you imagine that you are so sexy that this woman would want to give herself to satisfy your desires, because you want to use her, not love her. Pride is at the root of such lust. In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis refers to pride as “The Great Sin”. After mentioning that pride led to the devil’s downfall, he says, “Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” He contends that pride is a sin that we are very much aware of and dislike when we see it in others, but most of us are blind to it in ourselves.

I bring up pride because Paul does (3:27): “Where then is boasting?” But that leads to some questions: Why does he bring up boasting here? Why does he ask this string of other questions? Why didn’t he just end the discussion of justification by faith after 3:26? So, why does Paul hammer on this theme? I suggest that it was because Paul knew, both from personal experience and from the Scriptures, how deeply embedded in our fallen hearts is the pride that wants to take some of the credit for being our own savior. Even if we acknowledge that God is the primary agent in our salvation, we’re still prone to claim that we had something to do with it, so that we can boast.

We, like the Israelites forget, the blessings of God upon us are not due to our own righteousness or even God’s vast and immeasurable love for us, but due to God’s grace. The righteousness God requires is also that which He alone provides, by imputation. He does it in this way so there can be no boasting. There is no basis for pride. There should only be humble gratitude and thanksgiving to God for His unspeakable gift. I challenge you to think through the Scriptures, Old Testament and New, and to recall all of the times when God instructed His people to remember their roots, in order that they might be humbled and serve God in truth. How easy it is for us to forget that we are what we are by the grace of God, apart from anything we have done, or will do. To God be the glory!

Sunday – July 25, 2021 Romans Week 14 Romans 3:21-26 “The Fathers Perspective”

Sunday – July 25, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – July 25, 2021

Romans 3:25-26
This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

I read a book by a man who served in the army during World War II. While he and a handful of men were stationed on a remote Pacific Island, they suddenly were surrounded by thousands of Japanese troops. The small American garrison only managed to sabotage some of their equipment before the Japanese troops overpowered them. Eventually he was taken to a remote location in Japan as a P.O.W. Determined to keep their minds active and alert, he and other P.O.W.’s organized classes and discussion groups. One class, taught by the captain of the Queen of England’s royal yacht, held many interesting stories of the royal family. Another class, American History, was taught by a British professor, from a British point of view.

Each of us views life from a certain perspective. That perspective is shaped in part by our experiences, our decisions, and our character. Certainly, a British subject would view American history from a different perspective than an American. North Vietnamese and American historians would see the history of the Viet Nam war quite differently; yet a different perspective would be held by a Swiss historian as his country was not involved in the conflict. Our perspective has everything to do with the way we understand history.

We see God’s provision of righteousness from a human point of view. As fallen men, we distort even what we see in God’s provision of His righteousness by looking at it merely from a human perspective. Romans 1:18–3:20 is thought of in terms of our need for righteousness, and Romans 3:21-26 is seen as God’s provision of righteousness to meet our need. Although true, this is not Paul’s primary emphasis. Here he examines the doctrine of salvation from God’s point of view. Man’s salvation through God’s provision of righteousness becomes here a secondary theme. The primary theme is the demonstration of God’s righteousness, through His provision of righteousness for sinners. God is in the spotlight, not men.

The death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary is the most important event in all of human history. The cross of Calvary is understood in many different ways, even by Christians. All of us tend to view the work of Calvary differently than Paul presents it here. We think mainly of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Godhead. Yet in our text, Paul speaks primarily of the first Person of the Godhead, God the Father. We think mainly of God’s provision of that righteousness which we lack. Yet Paul speaks primarily of the righteousness of God which is demonstrated in the redemption of fallen sinners. While we see the cross from a human point of view, Paul’s words here enable us to view the cross from God’s point of view. The way we live as Christians is greatly influenced by this significant difference in perspective. A life-changing truth is taught in this marvelous text if we consider it carefully, and diligently seek to understand our salvation from God’s point of view.

Sunday – July 18, 2021 Romans Week 13 Romans 3:19-20 “Why Did God Give the Law”

Sunday – July 11, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – July 11, 2021

Roman 3:19-20
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Romans chapter 3 began with a question concerning the superiority of the Jews over the Gentiles. Now Paul brushes this question aside with the reminder that we who are condemned should not trouble comparing ourselves with other condemned people. Everyone, Jew and Gentile, are unrighteous. Comparisons between the condemned is foolish and useless. The Law was not given to the Jews to cause them to feel superior to the Gentiles. The Law was given to men to show them how far short of God’s righteousness they fall. The Law was given to men to show them their need for grace.

Paul says the Law does three things to us: First, it stops our mouth: We have nothing to say. You can always tell someone is close to becoming a Christian when they shut up and stop arguing back. Self-righteous people are always saying, “But this — yes, but I do this — and I do that.” They are always arguing. But when they see the true meaning of the Law, their mouth is shut. Paul then tells us the Law was also given to demonstrate, “The whole world is held accountable to God.” The Law makes us realize there is no easy way, no way by which death suddenly is going to dissolve all things into everlasting darkness, to be forever forgotten. The whole world has to stand before God. Hebrews tells us directly, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27 KJV).

Finally, the Law reveals very clearly what sin is. What does the Law want of us? Jesus said that all the Law is summed up in one word: Love. All the Law asks us to do is to act in love- “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself”. Everything the Law states are simply loving ways of acting. When we face ourselves before the Law, we have to confess that many, many times we fail in love. We do not love as the Law commands.

While the Law was given to the Jews to shut their mouths, the Jews used the Law as an excuse to open their mouths. They opened their mouths in teaching the Law and then in judging others by it. They opened their mouths in objection to their equal treatment with other sinners. When the Law speaks as it has here, men’s mouths should be closed.  Not one word should be spoken in objection or in self-defense. The guilty sinner should listen to the sentence which God has pronounced in silence. Too much has already been said by the self-righteous. That is what the Law wants us to see, because, only then are we are ready to listen to what follows in the Book of Romans.