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

Sunday – May 2, 2021

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

Sunday – April 18, 2021

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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

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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

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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

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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.