Hebrews 11:6 says that faith is essential to please God. Many claim to have faith that helps them through difficult times. But there is a difference between religious faith and saving faith. True saving faith can calm us in the midst of earthly storms and save our souls for eternity. Salvation always comes by faith in Christ.
In the church of Rome, the religious element was asking questions about the Gospel and good works. Paul is answering for anyone who came from a religious background that emphasized good works.
When a natural disaster is coming, human organizations spend a lot of time and effort getting ready to withstand it safely. Rehearsing the core doctrine of justification was necessary preparation for the Roman believers about to face severe persecution under Nero. Christ and what He has done for us through the Gospel is our only anchor in any affliction.
Have you ever dealt with a blocked pipe? Water cannot drain where it needs to; instead, all kinds of contaminants can seep into what was clean water. And it stinks, at that! If relationships are a pipe, sin blocks fellowship from flowing between two parties. Proverbs 28:13 says that concealing our sin prevents the Lord's blessing, but confession and forsaking sin clears our relationships with God and others.
Knowing intellectual data about Jesus is not enough to save a person. Nicodemus was a learned Jewish teacher, but he still did not possess saving faith until he knew what it meant to be born again (John 3:1-21). The longest 18 inches is the distance from the head to the heart, from knowing about Jesus to placing our full faith in and submitting to Christ.
God’s mercy sustained a poor widow through a time of grief, turning her troubles into a blessing for all mankind. Please take time to read the book of Ruth, one of the most delightful accounts in the Scriptures.
The world likes to ask why bad things happen to good people, but the more appropriate question is why good things happen to bad people. Romans 1-3 comprehensively shows that all unbelievers are equally lost, whether they are religious, moralists, or irreligious. Those who think they have some good in them are actually the most wicked in God's eyes. No one can be saved unless they believe themselves to be the worst of sinners.
The Passion Week of Christ, Continued
The inventor of the weather vane said its purpose is to remind us that human nature is fickle. Similarly, this first section of Romans is a reminder of our character. It is uncomfortable truth to be reminded of, but it is for our help, encouragement, and learning.
Paul continues his argument about the depravity of mankind. This section deals with the Jews or, by extension, anyone who relies on a religious system to make them right with God. Despite any religious affiliation, sin still makes everyone liable to God's judgment. This truth is actually liberating when considering our eternal destiny: it's not up to us.
People who are considered moral need God too. Many moral people can sound Christian without actually knowing Christ. There is only one Judge who knows the whole truth. Romans 2:2-16 describes four ways that God judges moralists.
The Kindness of God Towards His Forgiven People.
God's charge against humanity continues in the divine courtroom. He is answering the question, Is all the world lost? The answer is yes, all are guilty before God. In Romans 2:1-16, we learn the moralist is just as guilty as the immoral person. It's important to remind do-gooders that they need Jesus just as much as the wicked. None of us have an excuse before God (Romans 1:20).
The Olivet Discourse, Part 2
Christians long to have confidence in sharing the Gospel. Paul provides a model for an effective gospel witness. Paul could say that he was not ashamed of the Gospel because he lived out the Gospel. It was something that he not only professed with words, but possessed in his daily life.
An authentic, bold gospel confidence is preceded by personal spiritual integrity. Integrity is characterized by being undivided. Paul was wholeheartedly submitted to the Gospel and the Person at the heart of the Gospel, Jesus Christ.
The Olivet Discourse, Part 1
At the end of his letter to the Romans, Paul names many individuals who were an encouragement to him in the Lord. Paul had not been to visit the churches in Rome, but he knew many believers who had evidently moved there. The list begins with a woman named Phoebe who likely delivered Paul's letter about AD 57 (Romans 16:1-2). Her inclusion, along with Priscilla and her husband Aquila in the next few verses, reminds us that women are very important to the essential ministry of disciple-making in the church.
The theme of the book of Romans is the righteousness of God as revealed in the Gospel. We should never cease to wonder that God's mercy and power were enough to save sinners like us!
We will take our church theme for 2017 from Romans 1:16-17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’”
Virtually every Christian faces fear and hesitance in sharing the Gospel. What is the pathway to personal confidence in sharing Christ? The Bible teaches that an ingathering of souls is always predicated by prayer. The book of Acts is replete with instances of the miraculous salvation of souls on the heels of intercession by God’s people.
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