They Need to Change (Exodus 20)

May 10, 2019

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Exodus 20:2

“Human beings were not created autonomous (Free to be lord to themselves), but theonomous (subject to the law of God). R.C. Sproul

As we continue to travel farther away from the time of man’s creation and fall, we hear the roars of the masses who are always saying, we need to change the laws.  People justify men’s laws needing change simply because of the change in culture and change in how we live.  Certainly there is a need for change in our laws because men are less than perfect in their understanding.  But when it comes to God, who is perfect in His understanding and totally free to decide His laws, there was and there is no need for change.

However, society has taken a different view concerning Scripture.  Society says, we need to modernize scripture.   Consider what we would be attempting to do if we were to simply try in one area to change Scripture.

Let’s take the debate of sexuality today.

If we were to change God’s law (which we cannot), we would need to totally remove commandment seven, “though shall not commit adultery.”  Oh, but wait, we would also have to take out commandment eight because people are stealing what belongs to someone else.  But wait again, we would have to take out commandment number six because we would be committing murder of the home.  Then we would next need to take out  commandment number ten because we would always be coveting more and more sexual freedom reaching into what belongs to someone else.  Finally we would have to take out commandments one through three because we would now be attempting to be equal with God in thinking we could change His laws as if they were our laws.

Brothers and sisters, the shock of all of this is simple: Humanity will always want to change God’s Word to fit their sinful circumstances!

Brothers and sisters, the Bible does not need to change, humanity needs to change.  If He is the Lord your God, you will desire to do your duty as a loving follower of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said it best in Matthew 22:37-39

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

 

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A bold Statement (Romans 16)

May 9, 2019

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:20

Sometimes people make statements that seem not only bold but arrogant.  Consider the player on the team that predicted a sure victory over the other team.  What happened next is often what happens when there is arrogance without ability.  The other team used this players arrogant prediction to fuel their momentum to play.  The other team never new what hit them.

I wonder if the Devil used what Paul wrote as momentum to overcome the church in Rome?  The truth is, the Devil could not overcome the church because the church was not acting in arrogance, the church was living in Christ’s authority. The truth is, Satan has been fighting against God since the day he was cast out of heaven.

Here is what I know about God’s dealing with Satan:

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the Devil,” I John 3:9.

“We know, everyone who is born of God is protected by God, and the evil one does not touch him,” I John 3:18.

“We know, that we are from God, and the world lies under the power of the evil one,” I John 5:19.

On the very day Jesus went to the cross, Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled, “Jesus crushed Satan under His feet.”  On that day Jesus made peace with God (Romans 5:1) so that everyone who surrenders their life to Jesus will be able with boldness in Christ to crush Satan under their feet!

Yes, it is true, you and I will have trials and we will have temptations.  However we can boldly say too Satan, “You will never crush me because I serve the God who has already crushed you.”

Brothers and sisters, get up off the floor of defeat and discouragement.  Claim what is yours in Christ.

 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 5:8-10

Ambition (Romans 15)

May 8, 2019

 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, Romans 15:20

While ridding on a church bus, a Christian leader asked a young child this question: what are your goals (ambitions) in life.  The child’s response revealed their goals (ambitions) were tied directly to their associations in life.

The word ambition is defined as a strong desire to achieve something.

As Paul writes in Romans 15 we gain insight into his ambition.  His one ambition was to proclaim the gospel where it had never been proclaimed.  Why did Paul have such an ambition?

Paul was connected to Christ.  His association dictated his ambition. In Christ he was connected to God’s ambition, “In Christ the Gentiles have hope,” Vs: 12.  In Christ, Paul was called to be a minister to the Gentiles, Vs: 16. In Christ Paul accomplished his goal of reaching many Gentiles throughout the world, Vs: 18.

Question:  What are you ambitions?

Last evening, as I was trying to drift off to sleep, this very though was on my mind.  I remember pleading with God.  I pleaded that I would not just live my life in routine that really accomplished little in the Kingdom.  I ask the Lord for my ambition to be to reach people who had never heard with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you share the same ambition, will you join me in praying, Lord make me uncomfortable in my routine.  Will you join me in praying, reveal to me Lord through circumstances what you have for me.

If these two prayers will become yours, your ambitions are about to change.

If you are praying this, send me a message so I can pray for you.

What’s Your Point? (Romans 14)

May 7, 2019

Don’t you just love those people who ask you a question and then answer the question before they hear your answer? The truth is I do not take it so well when people both ask and answer their own question.


20 
Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. Romans 14:20

Usually, I just move on because such people have made their point. Their point was in making sure we understood their point.

In Romans 14, Paul has a point. His point is to help believers who desire to walk in love to understand how to walk through minor differences with their brothers and sisters.

Paul gives us two illustrations of those minor points: Those who eat meat verses those who don’t eat meat; those who worship every day verses those who worship one day per week.

Here is Pauls point: both sides are doing what they do for the glory of God.

Question: How do you and I get along with people who have different minor opinions about the non-essentials of our faith?

Paul makes five points, in Romans 13, that give us a proper understanding in how to make our points:

  1. You and I are not the judge of other people, Vs: 4.
  2. You and I will give an account for our points before God, Vs: 12.
  3. You and I will never be given the job of judge, Vs: 13.
  4. You and I are called to Kingdom partnership, Vs: 17.
  5. You and I must never place a stumbling block before others in God’s family, Vs: 20.

Here is the deal, there are many non essential things that we each have opinions about and sometimes these minor opinion difference divide us from other brothers and sisters that God intended us to walk with in love. Even more God intends for us to lock arms and reach the world for Christ together.

Let me challenge you to make your points with the understanding given by Paul. Let me challenge you even more, walk in love as you make your points.

Those Neighbors (Romans 13)

May 7, 2019

10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10

Each morning my dad always takes part of our conversation time to bring me up to date concerning his neighbors. I am often amazed at how detailed he is in knowing how his neighbors are doing.

In our fast pace world, most people would consider my dad a nosy person who has no business in other people’s business. But the opposite is the case. My dad lives in a small town where people know each other and yes, still care for each other.

My dad’s way of life is a far cry from how the news outlets depict America today. Americans are depicted as people who are offensive, divisive, and haters of others.

In my city I see fences around houses and I see people seldom outside because they are so locked into their lives. The only time people get together is at funerals. But this is not the way God intends it to be.

As Paul writes to the church in Romans 13, he is focusing on the characteristics true believers are to have. In particular we are to be neighbors to all people.

We are to be neighbors to our government leaders. We are to respect them and we are to obey the laws given by them.

We are to be neighbors by paying our taxes and by pay all the debts we owe others.

We are to be neighbors by loving one another. We love each other by respecting each others personhood and everything that belongs to each person.

The above characteristics are seldom seen in the world, but they are to be seen everywhere in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each week I feel and experience the love of my local church. The news does not report what is going on in God’s house.

Brothers and sisters, consider this, what type of world would we have if we loved everyone outside of God’s house the way we love everyone inside of God’s house?

Good question. Let’s test it this week and see how it goes!!!

A Personal Appeal (Romans 12)

May 3, 2019

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b]  Romans 12:1

Do you believe our God is a merciful God?  As a Christ-follower who has tried to understand the truth of Romans 9-11, I can say, “I serve a merciful God.”  Paul believed this to be true.  Paul appeals to all Christ-followers to surrender their lives completely into God’s merciful hands.

Maybe as you read Romans 12, you spotted some area of your life that is not surrendered to God.  I am in particular thinking about the last section of Romans 12.

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I meet people who sometimes ask me how is it possible to love your enemies?  I do my best to get the person to examine all of chapter 12.

Paul’s appeal was three-fold:

  1. Allow God to transform the way you think, Vs: 1-2.  This is where it must begin.  The Lord turns our minds away from the world’s system of response and shows us God’s system of response
  2. We must next allow the Holy Spirit to be our guide, Vs: 3-8.  The Holy Spirit works to empower us to be able to love our enemies.
  3. We must have a want to in regard to living out the characteristics of a true Christian, vs: 9-21.

When we follow the path of the entire chapter we discover how we can really forgive our enemies.  But it all starts with responding God’s appeal with a simple, I will do your will oh God.  In this moment it is your moment to either say yes or no to God’s will.  This is the key to all that God calls us to do!!!

Who can really explain? (Romans 11)

May 2, 2019

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33

Chapters 9-11 in Romans have always been a mystery in my mind and heart.  I have often scaled the heights of Scripture to try to understand the mind of God. I have dug deep in the Scriptures to try to understand the depths of God’s ways.  But each time I find I have in no-way exhausted the heights and depths of who God is.

For me, I know Romans 11 will always be higher than I can climb and deeper than I can dig.  But still, God says, keep on climbing and keep on digging into the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of who I am.

So, here my brothers and sisters is the result of my climbing and digging:

  • In Romans 11 Paul shares with us the good news of hope for the Jewish people:

1. God has not fully rejected the Jewish people.

2. God is still saving those who come to Jesus by faith through grace.

3. God will redeem Israel through a great revival in the time of Great Tribulation.

  • In Romans 11 Paul shares with us good news for the Gentile:

1. Gentiles are being saved by faith through grace.

2. God has a set number of Gentiles who will be saved.

3. God is leading His church to take the gospel to every Gentile nation in the world.

Out of these two truths I come to realize the following:  God is gathering people from every corner of the earth.  Here is how John sees this in our future in Revelation 7:9

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 

The question that comes to mind is this:  How can I be a part of what God is doing?  The answer is clear, dig deep and climb high in the knowledge and wisdom of God.  As we did and as we climb we are to be proclaiming to the world what we are digging up!  Let the world know of this Jesus who is higher and deeper than the world can ever know.

Faith comes… (Romans 10)

May 1, 2019

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

It happens from time to time.  I know we live in a broken world and I should expect it to happen.  You ask, what happens?  Honestly, there are times when people misquote what I have said.  I know, It’s no big deal, because most people only half-listen anyway.

But is actually a big deal. The truth is at stake when we speak.

In Romans 10, truth is at stake.  Paul has clearly proven, salvation is in Christ alone.  Paul has clearly proven, the Law cannot bring peace with God.  This only comes through Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).

Paul’s own countrymen are like those who misquote others.  In one sense they are establishing their own truth.  The Jewish people were trying to establish their own righteousness (Vs: 3).  It was as if they had their own gospel.

Paul corrects their error by writing the following, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for all who believe.” The law was given by God to be the guardian of men (Gal. 3:24) and to show everyone their need of a Savior to do what they could not (Gal. 3:25-28).

Jesus came to perfectly keep the law (Matt. 5:17). Jesus proved He was the Messiah.  But the Jews would not evidence faith in the truth.  Here is the deal:

Faith comes only when truth is accepted.  When truth is accepted it leads to application in one’s life.  Once applied this truth is now accurately shared with others.

This process only happens when truth is established!!!  The truth is, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Brothers and sisters, we must be committed to accurately sharing the truth of God’s Word.  When we do, faith comes!!!  But when we don’t false gospels take root and people believe as did the Jews, they were right with God when they were not right with God.

Make sure you are attending a church that is faithful to God’s Word.

In whom or in what do we depend? (Romans 9)

April 30, 2019

16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[b] but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:16

This could be the most difficult chapter in the Bible.  Years ago I wrote as a heading over this chapter, “Above my pay grade.” The subject matter of this chapter is the sovereign election of God.

This chapter begins with Paul’s heart being revealed. Paul was willing to give up his own life if it would be the means by which his countrymen would be made right with God.  But Paul knows his own life could not save any man.

Now Paul dives into the subject of sovereign election.  Here are three things that Paul understands:

  • Paul understands it is only by God’s mercy that people are saved.

Paul gives us several illustrations.  Not all of Israel will be saved, only those of the chosen seed.  Jacob was saved but not Esau.  Pharaoh was not saved.

  • Paul understands it is the potter who both selects and molds the clay.

As the potter, God selects some people to extend mercy. As the potter, God endures the rebellion of some, in their lifetime, with judgment to come at death.  As the potter, God has chosen to save Gentiles.

  • Paul understands whoever believes in Jesus will be saved, Vs: 30-33.

Brothers and sisters, reading what Paul understands helps me in the following ways:

  1. I am depending on God’s mercy to save me.
  2. I am depending on God’s hands to mold me.
  3. I am depending on God’s power to see me safely home.

Now, there may be deeper arguments and there may be deep divide among some who read this.  If this be true, just know I am depending on God who extends mercy to “whosever calls on His name!”

Its Over (Romans 8)

April 29, 2019

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

The game seemed to be in question.  The two teams were going back and forth with only seconds left.  Then it happened, one team made the crucial move that won the game as the horn sounded.  The game was over and the winning team ran onto the court knowing they had won the game.

Two-thousand years ago, Satan ran on the court of life in Jerusalem thinking he had won the battle with Jesus, but the opposite had occurred.  The cross brought the victory man could never have over his sin.  The cross brought the sufficient payment for our sins so that the condemnation of God delivered in the wrath of God was paid.  But there was more, three days later Satan’s last trophy, called death, was taken away as Jesus got up from the grave.

As we read Romans 8 we need to read it with this victory in mind.   The old life has passed away and the new life has begun.

In this glorious chapter we see the victory:

  • We have victory in knowing there is a new address by our names.
    • Heaven will be our home, 8:20-24.
    • We call God our Father, because He addresses us as His children, 8:12-16.
  • We have victory in knowing there is a new assignment for our lives.
    • We are to walk in the Spirit of Life, 8:5-10.
  • We have victory in knowing we are protected  by God, 8:28-38.

Our lives now make sense.  We are now living with certainty in a world that is so uncertain.  We know God is for us and we know God is winning on the field of life.  The journey may become stormy and the journey will sometimes hurt deeply, but in the end, we will arrive at our new address in heaven.  As we arrive we will fall before our Lord and worship at His feet.

Brother and sisters, the war is over!  Jesus has won the victory.  Isn’t it time that you claim what is yours in Christ.  Get out there in the field of life.  Cease worrying and ceasing wondering if you are going to make it.  God has won and is winning the victory!!!