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Romans Chapter 5 Verses 1 – 2 • Two of the most wonderful verses in all of scripture, Paul opens this new chapter with a profound therefore… • Whenever there is a therefore, always think to yourself, ask yourself, “what is it there-for?” Therefore what? Well therefore, in other words, in light of…in light of the marvelous truth that Paul has shared in the previous four chapters…the truth that has absolutely set him free and what’s more, entirely set him on fire. • You ever find a deal that is so good that you become somewhat of a spokesperson? Recently I began to fly Spirit Airlines. I bought the ticket because it was the only flight out late night so that I could go to Madison’s school program. She was going to be signing man and I had to be in Texas the next morning and I was not going to miss her performance! • And so I booked the flight and it was odd. Very cheap ticket but I had to go online and pay for my bags, even my carry on…and I had to pay for my seat. That is their business model. Cheap ticket initially but you pay for everything, your seat included. Well I discovered that to fly first class, the price difference was only $15 and so I said, “hey…bigger seat…I’m in!” After it was all said and done, round trip the entire cost including first class was about $250. • Then I went. New plane. High Tech plane at that. Large, super reclining seat…smooth flight…it was awesome. I proceeded to tell everyone at the office about Spirit Airlines man! The deal. The seat. The cool plane…it was just too good to keep to myself! • Well paling in comparison is my story to the love and the realness that had entered into Paul’s heart through God’s abundant grace. You know Paul was always after that. Why do you think he was so zealous as a Pharisee? Why do you think that he spent countless days and long nights studying the scriptures with Gamaliel being brought up as a Hebrew of the Hebrews? Because he was after truth…but he settled man…he settled for religion when after all of his studying, all of his tutoring, all of his testing and professing…he didn’t find it man… • It was only after he was made blind man…only then was he able to see…Saul of Tarsus, encountering Jesus on the road to Demascus…God touches him and says see as you’ve seen…no more…and Paul was born man…born into a relationship with Truth Himself…filled with God’s unrelenting, unearned and unrestrained love…and what he almost forgot he was looking for…arrived in a moment…. • Truth that is so good that he is just poured out bent on telling the world…that just like Abraham, just like Moses, just like David, he has found grace man…he has found what every human heart is looking for…he found The Way…the One that all of scripture points to…the Truth…the very Son of God risen from the grave…man he found the life…the Messiah…the Savior of the entire world…and man he says here…in light of all that…therefore having been justified by faith… • Not earning it, not learning it…not even discerning it…simply being declared righteous is literally what that word “justified” means in the Greek…simply by God’s open and public declaration by the perfect sacrifice upon Calvary’s cross and the proof of His sufficiency in that the grace could not hold Him…check this out…through my redemption in Jesus Christ alone, I have peace with God! • You can never have the peace of God in your life until you have peace with God folks…why? Why is life void of peace other than simply being saved, citizens of heaven…the sure steadfast promise of inheritance sealed up in your heart of hearts…well, it’s simply really…this world in its fallen state is actually arranged in such a twisted and distorted fashion…that peace is fleeting… • This world is not able to offer you and I peace. From birth, throughout all of history, babies and children and adults have been taught existentialism…be all that you can be…you can do anything that you’d like, if you simply put your mind to it…you have the freedom for the pursuit of happiness as all men are created equal…nothing wrong with that at all! That is pure and good…the problem is…we aren’t. • From birth man, growing up, science projects, school electives, class elections and talent shows…we have all been encouraged and this world system allows each person to see the world uniquely…differently…creatively…and therefore there is no universal truth of how things ought to be…Movies are made without endings, paintings are completed and hung as masterpieces and they are pointless or chaotic which allows the viewer the right of interpretation…to craft their own perspective or resolve. In a world ruled with righteousness, love and purity…this is wonderful. • But in our world, existentialism (which is the only way man in an apple-eaten state can be) this results in disunity and that disunity drives isolation. Isolation indefinitely leads to defense and eventually aggression. The chips are stacked from birth in this fallen place…but Paul has found…peace. Jesus said in John 14, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives…My peace is actually real. It begins and ends at peace with My Father.” • Paul searched his whole life for peace…maybe you’re searching today. Peace from the booze, peace from the pipe, peace with your children, peace with your wife…peace with your coworkers…please hear me…peace is not to be sought out, its to be freely received. What you need is peace with God yourself. You need your heart opened to relationship with the Father through the indwelling Spirit of Him who accomplished your rescue. What you need is surrender man…and until you’re ready to simply believe in Him, trust in Him…even if it costs you greatly…there will be no peace… • But Paul, stoned several times, shipwrecked three times, beaten with rods three times, often laboring without sleep or food, thrown into prison time and time again, well accustomed to being cold and naked…yet his heart cry…I am full, man…the power of peace piercing mightily through any hardship that would befall him… • And notice verse two, the wonderful trifecta of faith…Paul has been given the peace that he’s always thirsted for and faith has also delivered access man and so he rejoices! The inexpressible, inexhaustible wonder of the man or woman filled with the Holy Spirit! They have peace, they have access and they rejoice! • And not only that, Paul would say…but they are unreasonably strong man…look at the next verse… Romans Chapter 5 Verse 3 • “Glory in tribulations?” Paul that’s unreasonable! Of course it is…unreasonable to the short-sided…to the one who is concerned with convenience and comfort rather than wisdom and abiding stability and strength! The child of God sees deeply into the circumstance and trusts God at His word man! Gives God the place of God in their lives! What a novel idea and by watching God be continually continually continually faithful…always always always true to His Word and enjoying even what Paul would call the “fellowship of suffering,” in Philippians 3, when its only you and the Lord man…no one else knows, no one else sees…the pain man that comes from simply suffering for righteousness sake…when you have outs but all of them are unfaithful and so you choose God’s way, even to your own hurt as David would write in Psalm 15… • You know what you find? No one comforts like Him…no one grows you up like Him…no one is faithful like Him…and that kind of faith in tribulation…well Paul tells us here…is power. The storm hits, you stand. The circumstance crushes, you surge! The hearts of the people melt, just like they did at Jericho…yet Joshua marched forward to an impossible victory! Following after the Ark of the Lord. Paul says here bowing the knee to Jesus and honoring all that He is all that He had done…solidifies the lasting and eternal peace with God from which comes access to the Father and a heart filled with rejoicing…so when the storm comes…faith’s face flourishes! • What does it look like? Is the faith real? Enter test…hard times…hard nights…hard people…and the face is exposed (faith’s face)…what’s the faith really look like? Is it real or just sensationalism? Do I really believe? Am I really empty of self? Do I really trust in the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength? The truth is…we don’t know…not without difficulties…not without tribulation and therefore Paul glories, why? Because he sees…perseverance man…and his faith…even to himself…is proven genuine…and most of all, worship occurs. Romans Chapter 5 Verse 5 • And so perseverance reveals the inward work of the Holy Spirit…and character shines forth. Integrity, strength, honor, power, love…a sound mind…you never know what’s in the sponge until you squeeze it…but once character in Jesus advances…blooms just like fruit on a well rooted tree and your heart is filled with hope! • Why? Because you’ve waited on the Lord…you’ve trusted in the Lord and therefore the Lord has an opportunity to show you His love and power and faithfulness. If you trust in self and hope in self then what opportunity does God have? And then when God shows up, you miss Him! You’re eyes are on you! You get the glory! And so very often God withholds His blessings, His provision…He had to! Lest you misunderstand that He is Jahovah Jirah…The Provider…that He is Jehovah Rapha…The Healer…that He is Jahovah Shalom…The peace in not only the situation but the only real peace there is…not you man…and God desires for you to make it…not fail or falter…He desires for you to live and live abundantly…not settle for the scraps when He has prepared for you sufficiency! • Hope in self is forever fickle…”Oh I hope that this comes about…but I fear it won’t.” It’s a fearful hope…this word that Paul uses here, the kind of hope that we are filled with by God is completely different…literally it means, “anticipation of a sure thing…in pleasure!” • It does not disappoint, not while you’re hoping and not at the end of the matter…and that kind of hope is, as Paul says here, “poured out in our hearts.” Not rationed, not enough for today, not enough for this test, not enough for this tribulation…MAN POURED OUT by the Holy Spirit who was earned by us? NO! Given to us! How? Why? • By Jesus giving Himself. We had no hope….we couldn’t even hang out with the Holy Spirit because before Jesus giving Himself and dying for our sins, in our place, we were enemies of the Holy Spirit…but God so loved you and so loved me that He gave His Holy Son…and by that gift, we receive another…the communion in our hearts with the Holy Spirit. Romans Chapter 5 Verses 6 – 8 • Paul had found life…a deal so good, he was set ablaze. And today he stands in the eternal presence of God Almighty when if left to himself, he would be banished to outer darkness where the fire is not quenched and there is incessant weeping and gnashing of teeth…know who said that, Jesus…why? Because He is desperate for you to be with Him. So desperate, that He paid the highest price…He died to set you free. • Call upon His name! You’re so thirsty! All of this trying and reaching….what has it gotten you? You can’t even sleep through the night, your mind is tormented with dis-rest and peace is missing…what’s holding you back? God has not stopped calling to you since the day you were born…you even heard Him once, didn’t you…hear Him again, today…and come alive. Its time you were declared righteous and its time you enter into the power and peace of Your Father who loves you so much!
This week Lead Pastor Tim Osborn turns to Romans 8:1-17 for his talk "This is Your Mind on the Spirit."
This week we turn to Romans 7 as Pastor Jason Simmonds continues our series "Blood, Sweat & Tears" with his talk titled "Positive Rules with Negative Effects."
Romans Chapter 4 Verse 13 • “For the promise that he would be the heir of the world…” Now remember the week before last, Paul had just finished educating the church there in Rome, the believers and his brethren, that the blessedness of God which he describes way back in Chapter 3 verses 21 – 26 as the righteousness of God apart from the law is through faith alone in Jesus Christ and therefore justification through redemption that is in Jesus is available to all and on all who believe!” The gospel, the promise, accessible to all! • He presented the matter theologically…the doctrine of justification, “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned,” right…remember the supporting precept? That Greek word for “redemption?” That all of mankind, slaves to sin having inherited a fallen state, a sin nature from our common father Adam, have been set free, released as it were from the power and the penalty of sin, by the purchase of our new Master Jesus Christ with His own blood however that purchase, that redemption was not from one master to another but the price Jesus paid, the redemption that has been provided, is unto freedom, man… • And then Paul goes to make his case historically and heroically as he delivers to them undeniable, irrefutable, absolutely tangible proof that the root of the root, (remember?), not only has the law (speaking of Moses) been satisfied in that man indeed has fulfilled the law, the Man Christ Jesus that is…but Paul also describes the righteousness of Abraham was indeed by faith…simply believing God, man…and then even David, their great king…Paul shows them how David could even have been described as a “man after God’s own heart.” Because he surveyed his life, and he saw great sin, great unholiness and yet by faith he trusted in God’s imputed righteousness through the promise of the coming Messiah and he wrote, “blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin!” • David said, “I can’t keep the law, I’ve got no chance of being righteous in the presence of a holy and perfect God…but God has made a way…a way for my sins to be removed from me as far as the east is from the west…oh how blessed, how amazed and joyed is the man whom trusts in the Lord!” • And so Paul has made the case very well that the righteousness of man is a promise of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ, not a payment from God for man’s following of the law…no…God’s love, His salvation, His rescue is no payment to man for services rendered…but His promise to His creation that He swore by Himself through His own blood… Romans Chapter 4 Verses 13 – 15 • I love the idea that practical Paul presents here. Practical Paul. As we read through Paul’s epistles, we find a man that can articulate the deep truths of God with immense excellence and intelligence, but what we also find is that Paul is able to present the same deep theological truths in simplicity. • He says here, “if righteousness is found in man…then faith is bankrupt. No need for it. Walk it out bro, you got this…” But as he’s already presented theologically, historically, heroically, practically…that’s simply not the case. And he gives us a great practical idea here in that he says, “for where there is no law, there is no transgression.” • Now remember, there’s a bit of a clever trick involved whenever Paul goes this route…whenever he makes a statement implying, “no law.” We’ve seen this before haven’t we? Reminds us of Chapter 2 verse 12 doesn’t it? And the Jews there in Rome would immediately get this whereas we could easily miss this…the truth that “no law” this idea of “lawlessness” is impossible in a world, a cosmos, a creation of the God of order. • He stated earlier that whether one has heard of the law or not that built into them is a law unto themselves…God’s law written on their hearts and made manifest by their conscience and so all men are completely without excuse whether they’ve read the law or not if they do not bow the knee to their Creator. • And so this idea presented by practical Paul is that because there is a law and because man is unable to keep the law, we have no other option but to break it… • Years ago, when the Susan B. Anthony dollar was issued, no one could get rid of them. No one wanted them! Folks like the paper money. It’s light, it doesn’t make noise when you walk…but one bank in Georgia was selling out! Moving immense numbers of the coins! And so the feds sent a team to find out why and they discovered that the banks simple secret was a sign on the window that read, “Susan B. Anthony dollars available. Limit two per customer.” They interviewed the bank manager and you know what he said? “People kept sneaking back in hoping to get MORE than their LIMIT!” • That’s what the law does man…It not only undermines faith but it also underlines failure because in our busted state, unable to keep the standard of the law, we have not other recourse…but to break it! • And so Paul says you better believe and you best be very happy believer, Jew, my brethren that righteousness does not come by you “trying your best” but it is God’s promise man through Jesus. Because that is the only way we can be certain, the only way that we can have any solid hope that we are saved. Because if redemption was predicated on me or my works or my efforts or my faithfulness…if salvation and justification was predicated on any of that then I could never ever be certain you see because day by day…what happens? I…Fall…short. • But Paul says no no no, justification, salvation, redemption, my freedom, man…it is by faith because if it was by works…look we would always wonder if we were really saved. We would walk around beat up, cast down and filled with fret…but when we understand that our salvation, our inheritance in heaven is not based on anything we do or don’t do other than simply believing…just like Abraham, just like David…then salvation becomes something we are not afraid of losing every week. • I love what Courson says…he says, “Salvation: the Father thought it. The Son bought it. The Spirit taught it. The Bible brought it. Satan fought it. But, glory to God, by His grace, we got it!” And by grace, through faith…man we can be certain! Romans Chapter 4 Verse 16 • And so Paul uses that wondrous all inclusive word here, “all.” Not just to the Jew, but also the gentile… Romans Chapter 4 Verses 17 • And what is available to all?...LIFE! God is in the very business of raising the dead man…just like Paul says here, “God gives life to the dead,” your Bible might say “He quickens,” and I dig that because put that though together, life…quickly and what do we get…the rest of the verse…”He calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” In other words, God doesn’t see me how I am, but as I forever will be! He declares it! Just as He declared the light and the light was! He declared the earth and the earth was…He declares me clean and clean I am…quickly! • I see my failings, I see my flailings, I see my falterings, I see my futility…God says quickly turn from all of that stuff and live! I see beauty! I see a masterpiece! I see the love and salvation of My Son all over you so come to life! Leave sin behind and watch what I will do with your life! I will cause you even to see others not as they are in their humanity but as they are in My grace! Man what a tattoo mark of one who is walking with the Lord…patience, kindness, no envy, nothing to prove, their courteous, polite, not easily provoked, taking no pleasure in sin but rejoicing in truth…strong man…bearing all things, believing God in all things, hoping in all things, enduring…never failing…the resume of one who is closely and quickly following after God in intimate relationship with Him…all found in 1 Cor 13. • Look here, Paul tells us Abraham had discovered this… Romans Chapter 4 Verses 18 – 22 • One thing I notice in all that Paul credits to Abraham, all the wonderful fruit of the Spirit that Abraham showed as He believed God and pressed into Him…as Abraham was strong, unwavering, fully convinced of God’s faithfulness and therefore God counted to him for righteousness…one thing missing, one thing that is almost always missing in the life of one who is utterly dependent upon Jesus Christ for their sufficiency… • No where in this wonderful scripture set did Paul say that Abraham understood how God was going to do it…Abraham did not count his own body dead or Sarah’s womb dead but he believed God…unwavering, but not once did God say…”Abe, this is how I’m going to do it…” • Isn’t it interesting that we demand the “how?” God has promised you life, He has promised you peace, He has promised to bring you into the fullness of His will and His presence and yet so often, we pull back…demanding the how. Why? Why would you say we do that? I’ll tell you why…we lack faith. God tells us to do something…He tells us so clearly in His Word how to conduct our lives, our selves, our days, our decisions and yet so often I see so many not willing to simply take Him at His word and their lives are filled with turmoil and tough nights…hard days and situations stacked with difficulty and confusion… • When God’s ways are all together past finding out. His knowledge and wisdom…His plans…unsearchable…and the requirement children…is faith. Trust in Him! We call ourselves the church, we speak of ourselves as His followers yet as our neighbors offend us we take matter into our own hands! As our husbands and our wives fall short of what we think we need…we take matters into our own hands! As a situation is clear in the Word of God…we cut corners to protect our homes, our jobs, our cars, our television service… • Television service? Someone in here knows what I’m talking about. You haven’t given to a charity, given to a friend in need, given to God’s work in months but you keep paying that TV bill…you count the questionable items each year on your taxes to make sure you get that extra couple of bucks back in your return…this business is worse than dangerous. Man anytime you make a move outside of God’s direction, and you know it…that eery feeling of “oh I wonder could this be wrong,” or “I’m the only one that will ever know,” man that is God’s pre-installed design in you to bring you into faith! • You’re trying to keep that money coming, keep the house, pay the rent, keep the TV, keep the car…but acting unfaithfully, I’m telling you…mark my words…you will lose it and more…but if you just trust God…trust Him at His Word…not understanding the “how” its not yours to understand anyway…if you did you wouldn’t even need faith…but if you just confess you sin of disbelief and call out for God to help your unbelief…just as that broken man did in Mark 9:24, then God can work with you man…He can work with your life! • I call it “batting left handed.” Its not natural…not at all…it’s called sowing to the spirit man…and once your life is filled with trusting God and not even questioning His plan because just as Abraham did not waver in unbelief…then pretty soon you will find yourself and your life strong, filled and strengthened in faith and a life that gives glory to God…not just you thinking you do but others testifying that you do! Ever ask someone…does my life bring God glory? We may be surprised at how we’ve fooled ourselves… • But man that is what I’m after…unwavering, surging with strength faith so that I might bring God glory trusting God not only at His promise but all the way to the performance of the promise and therefore not just proclaiming myself righteous but being the real deal man…filled with the righteousness of a sure and powerful God! • And Paul says that was Abraham my brothers…my fellow Jews, my fellow believers…even you non-believers…that was him but he wasn’t some super man…he was just like you and me…this is also God’s will and plan for you…to find faith apart from the law and then walk in righteousness as God becomes more than a fact, more than an idea, but the very leader and liberator of your life! Romans Chapter 4 Verses 23 – 25 • And so right before Paul tears off into Chapter 5 to teach them and us on the joy by faith in God’s grace, hope and glory, he delivers the simple gospel…one last time. That Jesus was delivered up, He endured the cross, the crown of thorns, the shame, the sneering of the people…because of our offenses…not just our offenses yesterday, but even today…and the offenses in our weakness we will commit tomorrow…sin in total man…He took upon Himself and gave up His perfect life so that He might shackle my sin to the grave and allow me to go free as He was raised for my justification… • Understand, no law is comparable to the love I have for the Lord…for what He’s done…that while I was His enemy, yet He still set me free…not only free to live alive now in such a way, such a form that sin has no legitimate power over me….just the power that I give it…not only to live alive not but also free to live forever man without the penalty of my sin! • If you wrote me a list of rules, do’s and don’t regarding what April finds acceptable and unacceptable…I’d follow them closely…if I didn’t love her…but you see my love for her, my heart filled with desire for her and identity in who we are as one…needs no list…needs no law…man I will exceed that list a million fold…and so the law is overcome man…overcome by relationship…by love you see… • And that is what God did for us. That He so loved us and desired us…that He made a way for something so much more powerful than the law…so much more effective and freeing…He made way for relationship…and it cost Him everything…but even so…even as Jesus prayed in the Garden, nevertheless…Our love for them is so great…this cup cannot pass…even as it cost Him everything, His heart broke for us…to save us man…to rescue us… • Once you glimpse that…once your heart opens to the Lord and His Holy Spirit in light of all that He has done…Paul says here to the Jews, and to us…the law is fulfilled…life enters and relationship with the Father will lead you into all things that pertain to life and godliness…and all of that, because of His great love for you and for me.
This week Pastor Morris Dirks shares some thoughts from Romans 6 for his talk titled "Out With The Old and In With The New."