God created human beings to know Him. Though we fell into sin, which separates us from Him, God has prepared a way for every person to return to a relationship with Him. The image of God can still be seen in people's moral, rational, spiritual, and personal components. Fallen nature tries to work its way back to friendship and reconciliation with God. This is the essence of religion. However, the Bible teaches that the only way back to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Acts testifies that in the early days of the church, the persecution continued and increased. Tonight, we investigate the account of Stephen’s arrest and amazing testimony before the Jewish council.
In Romans 10:18-21, Israel typifies all religions. The religious mind has been well described as full of energy, sincerity, and equity. Religious people make great efforts to do all they can to earn God's favor. They sincerely believe what they are taught. And they hope (although without certainty) that all their efforts are enough. Jesus often has a place in their lives, but He is not governing their lifestyle. This can be seen in patterns of unbroken sin. Human nature will never submit to one Lord alone.
God is working through His faithful witness to proclaim the gospel.
Psalm 73:3 expresses a feeling that most Christians experience after they have been saved for a while: "I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Job expressed the same thought in Job 21:7-20. This is especially challenging in a culture where sinful lifestyles are celebrated.
Psalm 73 addresses the issue of why the wicked prosper, but without answering the question. It answers the deeper question of why the righteous envy the wicked and what the solution is for that.
Philippians 3:10 expresses the Apostle Paul's desire to "know Him [Christ] and the power of His resurrection." In the Bible, the word "to know" usually means to share one's life. We share life with those who are closest to us, spouses, family, and close friends. We share in Christ's life when we know Him as our Savior.
Grasping the meaning and context of Romans 10:14-17 will ensure a church's existence for years to come and a spiritual progeny until Jesus returns. The incorrect preaching of this passage will bring decline and demise to a church.
Faithful witnesses exemplify and protect the purity of the Church.
In most of Scripture, God speaks to mankind. The poetic books of the Old Testament are unique because in them, man speaks to God. Human authors used the poetic structures available to them in attempts to surpass the limits of human language and recreate their experience with God.
Faithful witnesses have a spiritual perspective of the increasing threat to the Gospel.
When religious people hear the Gospel, they respond to it sincerely from a heart that has been trained religiously. They generally reject God's free offer of grace without knowing so as they continue to work for God's favor. God never intended people to work for salvation; it is impossible! In fact, "religious good works shipwreck grace." God offers the free gift of eternal life only through His Son (Romans 6:23).
Faithful Witnesses of Jesus Christ Proclaim the Need for Repentance
In Romans 9, Paul explained how God sovereignly saves. In chapter 10, he discusses how people respond. God saves faithfully, mercifully, and particularly. The righteousness of Christ has changed you and me! This settles our heart when distressed over those yet to be saved.
When new believers are added to the church, members and the new believers enjoy a new mutual fellowship built on Christ and His Word.
In Romans 9:19, Paul anticipates another question from his readers, then proceeds to dispel any fear or doubt they might have about God's justice in saving. God saves righteously: He is equitable, fair, and just.
The greatest joys in life are knowing Christ and seeing others meet Him. Yet of equal magnitude in grief is seeing those who hear the Gospel refuse Him.
Romans 9 shows us how to find our way back to joy. Paul's answer is considering God, His person and His attributes. This will give us the ability to work our way out of any grief.
When situations leave you feeling uncertain, depend on the promises of God’s Word and the blessing of other Christians.
In whatever change we seek, God seeks to change us.
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