Monday, January 27, 2020

Romans - Chapter 9 Introduction

So far:  Bad News, Good News, Ongoing Struggle, Holy Spirit Assistance.

Now = change of subject.
Rom. 9:1-5 - Paul's Sorrow - Israel's heritage
God chose and raised up Israel to:
        (1)  Reveal Himself to the world  (special revelation)
        (2)  to be the people group through whom the Christ (Greek, Messiah - Hebrew) would come.
We owe the Jewish nation a huge debt.  That is Christians' roots.

Yet - Israel (largely) Rejected this Christ and His message.  To the point of having him crucified.

So..... did God's word fail?  Was His plan thwarted?
Rom. 9:6-8 - not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

Point being:  "God's people" (the group) NOT determined by Ethnic origin.  But by belief/faith ... in God and in His Messiah.
Compare:  John 8:37-47

So:  Question:  Is God Done with Israel?   are they still "the chosen"?

Group #1:  DONE - the new "people group" is the church  (often called "the New Israel")

          #2:  NOT DONE = will be used again - probably near the End Times.  Example:  Rom. 11:25-27
(This view bolstered by Israel's return in 1948)

Either Way:
(1)  God is Sovereign - and will act according to His wisdom/ plan

(2)  God is NOT obligated to our interpretation(s).   God will do as HE decides to do.
(example:  end times teachers)

(3)  This (like many other things) is a Mystery!!
Rom. 11:25, 33-34

Now.......... in the middle of this 3 chapter discussion, Paul returns to his point of the 1st. 6 chapters.
ie:  "Salvation is available to all who believe"  (Jew and Gentile alike)  This is the real issue.

Rom. 3:23 - all sinned and are separated from God
Rom. 3:24 - all can be justified by grace

This = reminder ... that amidst many valid studies of Various issues, let's not lost sight of:

(1)  the Main message  (individual salvation through Christ)
(2)  the Primary mission  (make disciples for Christ)
Rom. 10:5-15  (Vs. 9 & 10)

I.  The Main Message remains simple
here = "believer, confess, trust"
Examples:  John 3:16, 11:25, 1:11-12
Is as simple as Bridge Illustration
        simple as ABC - Admit - Believe - Confess

Non-believer often uses complexities and mysteries to avoid the core issue --- but we will answer for the core issue!!  ie:  where to you stand with Christ?

II.  The Primary Mission remains simple
Matt. 28:19-20
= witness  baptize  teach  train  equip  send  support

to this we are called   - example:  our logo - CP2G  (connecting people to God)
to this You (the individual) are called
(generally fulfilled within the context of the New Testament church!)

So ... we will explore Chapters 9 - 11 and will look for relevance and personal application.  

But let's not lose sight of (1) the Main message  (individual salvation)
                                     (2)  the Primary mission  (discipleship)
AND the application of these ...... to You (personally)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Predestined to Be Conformed

Bad News, Good News, Ongoing struggle, Certain Victory ...
Last week - "all things => good" - Paul is adamant about this.
Now - heading into deep water!
Rom. 8:28-30

The big question here?  Predestination
by definition = pre-determined, fore ordained, decided ahead of time.

In theology  (1)  God is all knowing  therefore  For Knowing  (knows everything that will happen
                   (2)  God is Sovereign therefore in control of all things.
So...           (3) how much of man's life does He Pre-determine?
especially    (4)  concerning Salvation!!??  Eph. 1:4-5, 11

This = (1) ancient question - precedes Paul, precedes Christ.  Example:  Josephus had same questions
 with   (2) many views

Quote:  "a mystery Paul presents with no attempt to explain"

Pastor's view:  on one hand, the serious Bible student must wrestle with this question
However, it appears to be beyond resolution in this life.

But here  (in our text) = "pre-destined to be conformed" - Rom. 8:29 - is not about predestination to salvation.

The apparent order in this:  (Individual application - concerning you!!)
A.  IF drawn ... then called!!
If you sensed the tug, pull, draw, invitation to come .. then you are called .... By God TO Himself!
which = called to Repent, cross (the bridge), salvation, etc.....

IF called ... then chosen - He CHOSE you!!!
Obviously chosen!! selected!!  "THE ELECT"
regardless of your view of Pre-destination, this = Great Honor!!  (Compare to being selected, invited to an elite team)

IF chosen.... then ???  tension part of the issue.  ie:  do you choose to cross?  can you refuse to cross?

IF crossed .... then will be justified
which includes forgiveness, reconciliation, adoption, etc.
("if justified, also glorified"  ?)  future act in present tense!!

IF Justified ... then predestined (to be conformed to the image of His Son)

This is called Sanctification - you will be made holy.

(1)  It is a process  (not an event)
= process of being made holy, of being made like Jesus!!  (contrast positional and practical) Positional = what you have, practical = how you act.
God will use "all things" (Rom. 8:28) to accomplish this!

(2) It is a cooperative effort
Obviously, it won't happen apart from GOD working in/on you!!
However, it includes your cooperation, your efforts - 2 Pet. 1:3-7   You have a part in this.

(3)  It includes the whole man
outwardly ... then!!  1 John 3:2
inwardly ... NOW!!  heart, mind, character => actions!!

(4)  It is a life-long process
Example:  Abraham @114 years of age - got test regarding Isaac

(5)  it may be an eternal process

All this brings us to Paul's 4 questions for the believer:

Rom. 8:31 - Who can stand against you?  or "what"?
On one hand, it may be powerful and consequential.  People will stand against you!! Example:  martyrs
However, it is ultimately inconsequential!!!  especially in light of Rom. 8:28 - will be recompensed and rewarded

Rom. 8:33 - Who can bring a charge against you?  If God's on your side, what can they do of consequence.
On one hand, can accuse,
However, can't make it stick!! - Zech. 3:1-5

Rom. 8:34 - Who can condemn you?   Jesus = your advocate, lawyer, judge, surety, ....
Rom. 8:1 - you are secure   Heb. 7:25

Rom. 8:35 - Who (or what) can separate you?
example:  Prodigal son  - even when he walked away, it didn't separate him from his father's love!!

This whole passage is about confidence, faith regardless of what you are going through.

Application ... Have you been called?              
                       Have you responded?  (crossed the bridge)
                       Are you now confident?  (in your standing?  in His attendance?  etc?

Closing Scripture:  1 John 5:11-13

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

God Uses Your Struggles to Produce Good!

Romans so far:
the Bad news
The Good news
The Ongoing Struggle - Christians can anticipate this.
Our present Help (ie:  the Holy Spirit)
Our future Hope - Rom. 8:16-17 -  Biblical hope = expectation, not hope as the world uses it.

To all this ... Paul now adds:  Rom. 8:28 - one of the most important verses of the Christian walk
ie:  in addition to all He's done and is doing, ADD This....
God uses your struggles to produce Good!!!!

(Reworded for presentation) ...
God is at work - active, not a passive God
In all things - good times and bad times
to produce good  (develop good stuff out of that)

to produce good ... For Those Who Love Him (the called) According to His Purpose
If true, this is and incredible claim, and incredible promise!!!  (awesome promise)

2 Classic Biblical examples:
#1.  Joseph - Gen. 50:20 - same sentiment as Rom. 8:28

#2.  Jesus (cross)  2 Cor. 5:21 - worst possible scenario, God turned into the ultimate good!

2 Cor. 4:17

#1.  All things are not good!!  - Rev. 21:4 - things are abolished because the are not good!
but ...
#2.  In all things God works.  Example:  Rom. 5:3 - suffering does not always lead to perseverance, but suffering by a Christian IN the hands of God???
Note:  God = sovereign ... needs No help to produce good.  However, the outcome often determined by cooperation!!  (example:  Joseph's attitude)
If you refuse to cooperate, He may not use that suffering for your good.  We have a hand in this.  God doesn't need us, but we need to do our part.

#3.  The 'good' may not be immediate.  
example:  Joseph - spent 13 years before elevated to second in command to Pharaoh.  22 years before saved 'Israel'.

#4.  The 'good' may not be visible.  (ie in this life!)
example:  Job - no idea why his sufferings happened

#5.  This promise is for believers!!  
Doesn't mean that God can't or won't do this for non-believers.  But the specific text = His Own!!!

#6.  The 'good' will be according to His plan, not yours!!
Jeremiah's letter to the exiles - Jer. 29:11, but note - Jer. 29:10

IF TRUE = Great Promise!!
BUT also = great challenge!!!  not "can I believe it"?  but can I embrace it"?
in both,--- times of tragedy (loss of loved one)
                 times of annoyance  (flat tire, plugged toilet) - Rom. 8:28 says "in all things"

Why should we believe this??
("because the Bible says so", but let's go beyond that)
Because we believe the Biblical Portrait of God ....

God is all powerful AND all good.

Skeptic - "all powerful and all good???  then why Evil and suffering?"
Believer = "all powerful and all good, And will eliminate Evil and Suffering!!

Meanwhile... He uses all things    
                     To produce good
                     For those who love Him
                     According to His Purpose

Rom. 8:31 (a) - is more that a response to Vs. 28/ = to Chapters 1-8
Answer:  Rom. 8:31 (b) & Rom. 8:32
IF God is working for me, why fret about forces working against me?

So, whom do you trust?  How much do you trust Him?

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 8:35, 37-39

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Romans Cont. - Our Future Hope

Review:  (from 11/17/19)

The Bad News = all have sinned and are separated  (Chap. 1-3)

The Good News = forgiveness & reconciliation available (in Christ) - (Chap. 4-7a)
Illustration:  The Bridge (Christ on the cross) - bridge does not save you.  Gives opportunity to be saved.

The Ongoing Struggle of the believer( child of God)  with SIN - (Chap. 7b)

The Presence and Assistance of the Holy Spirit - both with you and within you. - beyond the ongoing struggle, we have the assistance of the Holy Spirit

Our Future Hope - Rom. 8:16-17
Note:  how "suffering" keeps coming up!
Point = Christ suffered and we'll suffer!!  Are not exempt from suffering because we are a Christian

Will suffer because:
#1.  We live in a fallen world!
#2.  As Christians, we stand against the world!  (ie:  the "world view") - 2 Tim. 3:12
#3.  We have a Spiritual adversary - 1 Pet. 5:8  ie:  Satan

BUT - though you suffer Now.... you'll be compensated then!  Rom. 8:18, 2 Cor. 4:17

So:  Summary so far:
The Bad News
The Good News
The Ongoing Struggle
Our Present Help - Holy Spirit
Our Future Hope

Salvation is behind us and heaven before us,
BUT we live ..... in between!!!
(Compare:  war bride - married yet without the experience of marriage!)

Ever struggle with Christian life?  no just Sin but everyday life?
Ever struggle to maintain Christina attitude, outlook?
You are not alone in frustrations.

Creation groans  in frustration and anticipation - Rom. 8:19-22

The Believer Groans in frustration and anticipation - Rom. 8:23-25

The Holy Spirit groans in frustration and anticipation - Rom. 8:26-27.  He knows what is needed, knows the mind of our spirit

Point:  Life had struggles, Christian life has struggles, BUT
(1)  this is not unusual - 1 Cor. 10:13 - that's the norm
(2) it is not a sin to groan in frustration - 1/3 of the book of Psalms = laments.  Laments = evidence of faith!!
(3)  Hope waits = Rom. 8:25 with Heb. 11:1
true faith waits, we wait with patient endurance

This text is "sandwiched" between 2 great scripture verses:
Rom. 8:18 = you'll be compensated THEN
Rom. 8:28 = He'll use all things for good Now

Closing Scripture:  2 Thess. 2:13-17