Sunday, August 18, 2019

Big Words -- Bigger Concepts

Review:
Rom. 1 - Gentiles received some light and rejected it.  Therefore are "without excuse"

Rom. 2 & 3 - Jews received much light and juggled it, misapplied, mishandled it --- therefore, are without excuse"

Which leads to BAD NEWS!!  Rom. 3:23
But, there is also Good News!  Rom. 3:24 - all are capable of being justified

Expanded version:  Rom. 3:20-26 - primary text

Paul uses Big words and Bigger concepts!!  Example = in the text:  righteous, righteousness, justify, justification, redemption, atonement, propitiation

So:  terms defined with (1) bridge illustration  (2)  Bible - lev. 16:6-10, 15-16, 20-22

This = Foreshadow:  a vague, partial picture of that which is  to come!
These goats, this ritual (sacrifice) did not remove sin!!!  Heb. 10:3-4

This ritual/ sacrifice/ goats ... pictured  (portrayed, foreshadowed) the act that WOULD remove sin!!

Today:  look at Big Words and Concepts Paul uses that are illustrated by the Bridge illustration and scapegoat.

#1.  Substitution  (substitutionary sacrifice)  - goats for Israel   Christ for us

#2.  Propitiation/ Atonement  (interchangeable)  to Cover  therefore Satisfy therefore deflect consequences.
Example:  = cover your debt, satisfies obligation, deflects consequences
Rom. 3:25   1 John 2:2
(Hebrew = Kipur  where they get Yom Kipper - Day of Atonement)

#3.  Expiation - "ex" out of, removal - hence -- SCAPEGOAT  - 1 Pet. 2:24

#4.  Redemption  (Ransom)
payment for deliverance from bondage to sin.  Example:  in a kidnapping - pay a ransom to win freedom of on kidnapped
1 Tim. 2:5-6   Matt. 20:28

#5.  Justification (legal term)
payment made, now justified
just demands of the law now met... on one hand known to have been guilty, however now not viewed (treated) as guilty!  Rom. 3:23-24, 26  - back in right standing

#6.  Righteousness = right standing, ability to stand at ease!  (Old English "right wise" - compare to "crosswise")  Rom. 3:21-22

#7.  Reconciliation = restore to proper relationship (in agreement, in harmony) -Rom. 5:1-2, 11

All ADD UP to:  SALVATION
ie:  to be rescued from, delivered from  - example:  "saved by the bell"

What is the Christina saved from?  Matt. 1:21
(primarily) the Consequences of sin!!!  - 1 Thess. 1:10 - rescues us from the righteous anger of God

So:  substitution
    + propitiation
    + expiation
    + redemption
    + justification
    + righteousness
    + reconciliation___
       SALVATION

Is this "salvation by sacrifice?"
on one hand, "yes ---His sacrifice makes all this AVAILABLE!!

However, (technically and practically) Salvation is by FAITH in His Sacrifice!!
examples:  cross the bridge, bend the knee, bow before, make Him Lord, etc)

Saved....
"BY GRACE ................ THROUGH FAITH!!"
Example of what Paul calls "the foolishness of the cross"!!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Everyman's Gospel

Last week = Paul's charge to Rome's pagan society!
Those who rejected God's revelation, God's will - Rom. 1:18-20  - (they received some light from God but refused it = "without excuse"  They rejected the light they had been given.

This Week:  Romans chapter 2 - Paul addresses Rome's Jewish community.
Look how he begins :  Rom. 2:1 - "without excuse"
Have rejected God's will in an internal sense.

So:  On one hand, pagans received some light -- (general revelation) but refused it, therefore subject to God's wrath!  (ie:  righteous anger)

However, Jews received much light (special revelation, scripture).  They received it but did not practice it internally - therefore subject to God's wrath!  (ie:  righteous anger)

Paul's Point:  Rom. 3:23 - all sin, are separated, need a Savior - not just the pagan gentiles

So:  Paul's words to Jewish community:
Rom. 2:1-24, 28-29, 3:1-4, 9, 19-20

He's talking about the attitude toward God's word.  Vs. 11:  God doesn't prefer Jews over Gentiles

Now a closer look:

I.)  1st. Century pagan - received some light (general revelation) yet rejects God's word and will.  Therefore, without excuse and subject to wrath  (righteous anger)

II.  1st. Century Jew - received much light (Old Testament Scripture) yet found ways to manipulate that revelation - example:  Matt. 15:1-9.
Therefore, without excuse and subject to wrath  (righteous anger)

Question:  Any application for us today???

III.  21st Century Neo-pagan (new pagan - return to pagan thinking, worshiping nature rather than God, etc.)  They (likewise) received some light, BUT rejects, refuses it ... therefore without excuse, subject to God's wrath (righteous anger)

IV.  21st. Century Cultural Christian - (goes to church once in a while, maybe at Easter or Christmas, attends church weddings, is not Hindu or Jew or Muslim, so must be Christian.)    Has been exposed to much light!  (went to Sunday School, VBS, lives "good" life)  BUT picks and chooses from Scripture, ignores that which is inconvenient, etc.
Therefore, without excuse and subject to wrath  (righteous anger)

CONCLUSION:  Rom. 3:23   - That's BAD NEWS!!!

Question:  Why is Paul so passionate, emphatic, insistent about BAD NEWS???

Some reasons:

(1)  Sin Separates  - example:  Bridge Illustration
which places man in position of condemnation. - John 3:18
Which is NOT God's desire - John 3:16-17, 2 Pet. 3:9

(2)  Sin incurs God's wrath - (ie Righteous Anger!!)
Wrath may be Passive                 active               Future
                  (backs away)       (intervenes)         (final judgment)

Note:  sin doesn't always lead to immediate wicked behavior  Rather ... SIN leads to distorted thinking which leads to wicked behavior.
Example:  Adam and Eve - Romans 1
This is why repentance, conversion is more than a change of action, behavior.  It = change of MIND!!

(3)  Sin is universal - Rom. 3:23 - 1 John 1:8

(4)  Unless and Until man sees his sin, he will not address it as sin!!  Example:  Step #1 of AA?  - admit you have a problem)

(5)  the Holy Spirit uses the proclamation of sin to convince(convict) man of sin.  example:  Acts 2:37.
Rom. 10:14

So.... Paul IS passionate about the BAD NEWS.
BUT ... even more passionate about the GOOD NEWS!! - Rom. 3:21-27

One issue within the church today - the emphasis/proclamation of the GOOD NEWS ... (loving God)
with out proclamation and explanation of the BAD NEWS!!! - separation, wrath!

Focus = Love  (agape).  Mercy - compassion - forgiveness

without righteousness, justice, judgment, wrath

The cross proclaims BOTH!!

The proclamation of one is incomplete without the other!!

This doesn't mean we should exclude Love, doesn't mean should move away from Love.
BUT should present His live within the proper framework of Everyman's Gospel

Closing Scripture:  Eph. 3:16-21


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Romans 1: 18-32

Book of Romans - condensed:  "Paul, an Apostle, concerning the gospel (good news! - evangelical witness) of Jesus Christ."

The Good News = you can be right with God (ie:  in right standing; able to stand "at ease" in His Presence - won't be condemned)

BUT ... it's preceded by the BAD NEWS!!  ie:  (until you come to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.....) you are NOT in good standing with God!!!
Illustration:  the Ugly Pill.   Fellow says to his friend,  Good news!  We have discovered a pill that will cure ALL the uglies no matter what.   The bad news is that you need this pill!!!
This is why the gospel is so offensive!

Romans Chapter 1, verses 18-32 = the BAD NEWS!!
Is a lot of heavy content therein!  So..... before reading it, will define some terms!!

(1)  Righteousness = able to stand "at ease" in His Presence.  Talking about our righteousness here.  God's righteousness = He is always right, all the time.
Two types of righteousness - (a) Positional righteousness = in right position with God
                                            (b) Practical righteousness = practice of right living

(2)  Sin = any transgression of God's law, or any lack of conformity to God's law.  (commission & omission)

(3) Wrath of God = Anger!!  emotional response to evil and injustice.
it = righteous anger - always
it = settled (or studied) anger  (not sudden) - rational, reasonable, thought out.

Also note:  Active wrath  (in anger He intervenes)
             w/ Passive wrath (in anger He withdraws) - We see this passive anger in this passage

(4)  Revelation  = two types:  general revelation - general in scope and content - given to all people
                                             special (specific) revelation - available in scripture.  Example:  Christ's substitutionary death.  Would not get that from general revelation.

(5)  Free Will - which = on one hand, the freedom to choose, however is NOT freedom to choose without consequences.  Choices have consequences.

(6)  Progressive Depravity - ie:  moral corruption in a downward spiral

Text:  Rom. 1:16-32

  • Rom. 1:18 - present tense; wrath not primarily against men, but against the godlessness and wickedness that men do;  suppression - holding down with force something that will pop back to surface if released.
  • Rom. 1:27 - current wrath;  punishment for sin is sin itself.  (continued downward spiral)


OBSERVATIONS:


  • 1.  God takes sin seriously  
  • 2.  A just God deals with sin .... justly!!  But,
  • Mercy is also available!  
The most vivid display of God's righteous anger against sin = The CROSS!! - Matt. 27:45-46

The clearest demonstration of God's love and concern for His creation = The CROSS!! - Rom. 5:8-9

Put love and justice together --> 2 Cor. 5:21
(it's fitting that the symbol = CROSS - where love and justice meet!!)

"Good news" - labored over the next 8 chapters, but, we must be convinced of our "lostness".  1 Pet. 3:18

Are 2 paths available:  (1)  Justice  (which = wrath) - take your chances with God.  Get what's coming to you.

  or (2)  Mercy --- you choose!!  


Closing Scripture:  Rom. 8:12-14



Sunday, July 28, 2019

Romans: 2nd. Introduction

Last week - Introduction to Romans - Rom. 1:1-7 in a nutshell - "Paul, an Apostle, to the church at Rome .... concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ"

Question:  Why study a letter to a specific people group 2,000 years ago?

Answer:  Because:
 #1 - the letter has universal application!!  - it could have read:  ".... to the church @ Octavia"
And, #2.  DOCTRINE MATTERS  - What we practice (how we behave) must be based on truth.

So, the 2nd. Introduction.  Rom. 1:8-17
Paul hopes to visit Rome (and will in chains!  Acts 28)
He hopes to accomplish:
(1) fresh harvest - (non-Christian to Christian ratio at this time, 100 AD = 360:1)
No Apostle had ever been to Rome at this time.
(2)  Spiritual edification  = build up!!  Most of these letters written to churches!
(3)  mutual encouragement  ie:  to bless and BE blessed by

So Paul says ..... I am.... (1)  obligated - ie.  by Christ!!!
                                      (2)  eager   BUT!!  (approaches with fear and trembling) 1 Cor. 2:3
                                      (3)  unashamed .....then and now!!                                   

Because  the Gospel is  (1)  The Power of God
                                    (2)  for salvation  (to effect)
                                    (3)  to all who believe  
Rom. 10:9-10,  John 14:6

How can a story effect salvation and transformation??

Answer:  Rom. 1:17  (abbreviated)  "the gospel reveals a righteousness from God that is by faith"

OBSERVATIONS:
This Righteousness is right standing (relationship) before God
ie:  the ability to stand at ease in His Presence - Rev. 1:17

This Righteousness comes from God  
This is more than words, outward actions ... Matt. 7:21-23

AND .. The Gospel reveals all this!   (makes it known!)

Example:  Bridge Illustration:
1.  Right Standing - (in His presence, at ease)
2.  from God - He built the bridge
3.  Obtained ... by faith = CROSSING!!  Believing is not faith!
And,
4.  Revealed in the Gospel!  Hands, heart, head - all together

This gospel has been the power of transformation in billions of people.

Closing Scripture:
  Rom.3:22-24

Monday, July 22, 2019

Introduction to Romans

Paul - to the church @ Rome
which = (a) mix of Jewish and Gentile believers
            (b)  founded by unknown persons.  Paul had never visited Rome, no apostle had visited Rome at this time, but the church was well established.

Letter was written ... approximately 56 - 58 AD = 25 yrs. after the Resurrection  (Paul had been preaching less than 20 years)

On one hand, though Paul never visited Rome, he knew people in the church - Rom. 16:1-10  (29 names listed in this chapter)

So, the church had trusted friends, solid believers, competent leaders, but had no Apostle or trainee of an Apostle  (examples:  Timothy, Titus - trained by Paul)

So.. While Paul was concerned for their Practice (behavior), he was MORE concerned with their Doctrine (beliefs!)

Why??  Because Christianity is NOT BUILT on Practice, but BUILT on Doctrine/Beliefs/TRUTHS!!!

So - Romans = heavy on doctrine because DOCTRINE MATTERS.  Without proper foundation, a building will NOT STAND!!  Romans deals with fundamental, primary views of the Christian faith.
Example:  ancient builders - Roman library - 6' wide 11' deep - building is gone, foundation is still there.

The Christian view - doctrine = this is what we believe.  Therefore, this is how we should behave (practice)

So Paul for example:  spiritual foundations - Matt. 16:18,  Essential beliefs, eternal truths!!  1 Cor. 3:10-11

Chapters 1 - 11 = Doctrine.  Then Application/Practice - Chapters 12-16

Rom: 1:1-7 - (we often skim the introduction to a book, but here = good material.

Vs. 1 - Paul = willing servant - by choice hence loyalty, service
                      called - by God - to ministry
                      set apart FOR the Gospel (from godspel = good tale, good story)

Vs. 2 this gospel =
           promised by God
           revealed through prophets
           recorded in Scripture
Point:  this was not new!!  Was now brought to fullness in and by Jesus Christ!
The Roman Christians didn't have the New Testament - built on what was written down by the prophets

Vs. 3  This gospel is "regarding His Son".
There Is NO Biblical Gospel apart from Christ!! - John 14:6

Vs. 4(a)  Who (Jesus) on one hand was Son of Davis (human and qualified to be Messiah)
However, was Son of God through the Spirit of Holiness  (therefore qualified to be the substitute sacrifice!)
HOW BOTH??  - don't know but Col. 2:9

Vs. 4(b)  who is clearly shown to be God's Son .. By the Resurrection!!!  Jesus Christ overcame death, defeated death.  Was a sign that He was who He said He was.
This = unique claim of Christianity - founder is still alive.  No other religion can make this claim!!

Vs. 5  Apostolic task includes:
           Call people
           to obedience born of faith
Christianity IS a religion of works!!  BUT - works = born of faith!!!!  Don't obtain salvation by works!!!
Eph. 2:8-10

Vs. 6 - you are among the called
Vs. 7 - you are called to be saints
In Rome then.  In Octavia now!!
Paul wrote to the Romans but through the Holy Spirit wrote to us today.

Closing Scripture:  Rom.12:1-2




Sunday, June 30, 2019

God & Country - A Biblical View

Definition:  blending Faith and Patriotism - honor or nation AND the God who gave it.
The people putting this together had high recognition that God had a mighty hand in establishing the nation.

Biblical examples.... of men who qualified as patriots.

#1.  Jeremiah - preached destruction under 5 kings for 40 years!! - condemnation by the hand of God.
Jer. 5:26-31, 19:7-9  Not a popular message.
But known as "the weeping prophet" - which led to him writing Lamentations.  He wept over his people and his nation.

#2.  Ezekiel - preaches the message of Jeremiah's letter to the people exiled in Babylon.
Jer. 29:4-7 - deported into Babylon.  Ezekiel - not popular either.

#3.  Daniel (carried away in the first exile) - served Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, & Darius as a favored advisor, yet  ... Dan. 6:10, 9:1-3 - patriot of Israel

#4. Nehemiah - faithful servant of Persian King Artaxerxes - (100 years after the return) - Neh. 1:1-4, 2:4-6 - don't know if he'd ever been to Jerusalem

#5.  Jesus - Matt. 23:37-38, 24:1-2 - total desolation 35 years later

#6.  Apostle Paul - Apostle to Gentiles!!  - Rom. 9:1-5, 10:1


These men shared some common national views ... that serve as Biblical models for us.

(1)  They loved their nation - (why did Jeremiah weep??)
Therefore:
(2)  They sought the good of their nation -
which = why in every instance = "return to the LORD"
Additional:  they loved enough to give back - most of these men died martyrs.
Example:  Declaration of Independence signers:
56 signatures - their fate?
5 captured and executed as traitors
12 had their homes ransacked and burned
 2 lost sons in the colonial army
 9 of the 56 fought and died of wounds or hardships of the war
several others lost their businesses and personal holdings to the British Army
Francis Lewis saw his wife jailed for being married to a patriot - she died in that jail
Thomas Nelson authorized the shelling of his own home - which was occupied by British as a headquarters
Carter Braxton lost his shipping fleet to British navy.
British soldiers looted the property(s) of at least 8 others.
Point =  they sought the good of the nation at their own expense.

Example:  statement by JFK - "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"

BUT  (3)  they put God before their nation
   (a)  the nation is NOT the Lord    (b)  the nation is temporary!
Phil. 3:20, 1 Pet. 1:3-4

(4)  they recognized the sins of their nation AND owned selves as part of the problem!!  Dan. 9:4-8

(5)  They believed God would RIGHTLY judge their nation - whether judgment = blessings or curses ... it'll be RIGHT!!

(6)  They believed in God's good will toward their nation - in fact ... toward ALL nations!!  Jonah 4:1-3

and so... John 3:16-17, 1 Tim. 2:1-4 - this is the heart of God.

(7)  They believed God would not abandon their nation  (His people)  Jer. 29:10-14
short range pessimist / long range optimist

put together ... (8)  they always held forth HOPE for their nation.  Lam. 3:19-24  The prophets never ended on gloom and doom, but on hope!

OBSERVATIONS???
How can I make a difference?  I'm not a prophet - statesman - wealthy - influential ... only a drop in the bucket!!

On one hand - you may be only a drip, however, you are called to be a Faithful drip!!  Do what God calls you to do - drips accumulate and make a difference when all together.

Closing Scripture:  Matt. 5:13-16


Monday, June 24, 2019

Biblical Guidelines for a Prospering Nation

Opening introduction:

Article written by Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman - published in American Political Science Review - 1984 - "The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late 18th. Century American Political Thought"/

15,000 writings were reviewed of the era between 1760 and 1805.
Of those they selected 916 previously published items for their research.  (books, newspaper articles, pamphlets, etc.)

Then they counted citations (reference made to previously published works) within these writings as a means of measuring the influences upon our Founding Fathers (as they hammered out constitution for this new-found nations - the United States of America.

Of 3,154 citations found in these 916 publications, 34% were quotes from the Bible!!!  - Apostle Paul was most quoted.

"...the Biblical tradition is most prominent among the citations .... It is relevant ... to note the prominence of Biblical sources for American political thought, since it was highly influential in our political tradition and is not always given the attention it deserves."

Question:  What book of the Bible most often quoted?  Answer:  Deuteronomy.
Why?  note the (1) historical setting, and therefore, (2) the content and (3) parallels

Question:  IF the bible was relevant to the colonials in late 18th. century (ie: in developing our constitution)
THEN is it relevant to us in early 21st century?

11 years ago, preached a sermon entitled "Biblical Guidelines for an Aspiring Nation."
Better = "Biblical Guidelines for a prospering Nation"

Because, the words, instructions, warnings are (mostly) for once they are IN the land ... settled, prospering....  Deut. 8:10

On one hand, we recognize America = a prospering nation
However, also fear it = a faltering nation!!

So, (as approach our 243rd birthday) - lets looks at some
"Biblical Guidelines for a Prospering Nation"

Note:  this is not a message to the nation.  Rather = a message to individual citizens of the nation!!
Because - a _________ nation is made of __________ people!  (fill in the blanks with the same word)

So.... (1)  the setting of Deuteronomy
         (2)  the parallels to the colonies  (& to us!)
         (3)  the text - Deut. 4:1-2, 5-6, 9
                              Deut. 8:1-20
God's will is never done corporately until it is done individually first.

BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR A PROSPERING NATION 

#1.  Be Reasonable - Deut. 8:17-18
our prosperity = result of ..._____?

#2.  Be Thankful - Deut. 8:10
Example:  saying grace at meals - is not necessary, but is appropriate - Psm. 50:23

#3.  Be Careful - Deut. 8:11-14
Be careful to (A) remember  (16 times in Deuteronomy, 166 times in scripture)
                    (B) not FORGET
(prosperity tends to pride ... which = forget Him and focus on ME) - not good for us, not good for the nations.

#4.  Be Wise - Deut. 30:11-16, 19
wisdom is more than knowledge = practical application of Knowledge!  (which = relationship with God through Christ)
Biblical wisdom is using knowledge in a wise way!

#5.  Be Instructive - Deut. 4:9, 6:4-9
IF national blessings = result of following God,
then why are we not more vocal about the need to follow God.   The Jews were supposed to be a mouthpiece for God.

#6.  Be Evangelical - Deut. 4:6
Israel's calling included making God known therefore drawing people to Him
The church's calling includes making God known.... through Christ and the Cross

#7.  Be Faithful (to keep what He instructs)  - Deut. 8:6 - "observe" - this means more than stand and watch!!
Examples:  holy days, festivals, rituals = FOR the people (not for God).  When a people neglect, ignore God's institutions .. that people will suffer loss!!  Example = church.  Christ died for the church!  Is His bride!!!

The audience = common folks!  Believers who want God's blessings on themselves, their children, their neighbors, their nation!!!

The choice/decision we (like they) must decide how we will respond to:
(1) these vast blessings and
(2) the God who provides them.

This can be a corporate, national choice ONLY if it is 1st. an individual choice!!!
Because ... a ___________ nation is made of __________ people!!

Close w/Jesus' words - John 13:17


Closing Scripture:  2 Chron. 7:13-14