Sunday April 10, 2022 Romans Week 48 Romans 9:1-5 “A Burden for the Lost”

Sunday – April 10, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – April 10, 2022

Romans 9:3-4
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

Imagine, if possible, Adolf Hitler writing a history of the Jews. It could hardly be taken seriously by anyone wanting to read an objective, historical account of this race. How could a Jew-hater and a Jew-killer be trusted to deal truthfully with the historical material? After his conversion, Paul was viewed as a traitor at best by his fellow Israelites who had been his colleagues in earlier years. Reaction to Paul was immediate and intense, as seen in Luke’s account of what took place in Damascus after Paul’s conversion in Acts 9.

It did not get better as time passed; it only got worse. The more Paul grew, the more boldly and broadly he proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. And the more the gospel Paul preached was received by Jews or Gentiles, the more their opposition and animosity grew. Paul refused to separate himself from Judaism but rather proclaimed the gospel as the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. It would all explode when Paul made his way to Jerusalem, not long after he penned this letter to the Romans.

With all honesty, Paul can say his response to Israel’s unbelief and very real peril is that of sorrow and grief. These are the responses of love, not of bitterness or vengeance. In spite of all the Jews have done against Paul, he still loves them and finds no joy in their downfall. It is not enough for Paul to feel sorry for his people. If it were possible, he would wish to be like Christ, sacrificing himself for the salvation of his fellow-Jews and bear the wrath of God in their place. While this would not be nor could be, Paul nevertheless unveils his heart toward the Jews. If he must speak ill of this people, he will find only grief and no pleasure in doing so.

Are you burdened for the salvation of lost souls? More importantly, is your burden for the lost like Jonah or Paul? Are you more interested in seeing the comeuppance of those who have become your enemies because of their lifestyle, culture or politics?  Paul is unlike Jonah who desired to see his enemies sizzle in the flames of divine judgment (Jonah 4). He is like Abraham who had compassion on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and pled with God to spare the city for the sake of a few righteous (Genesis 19:16-33). Ask God to give you a burden for the lost as Paul had, with humility and compassion. Pray that the love of Christ will control you to such an extent that you show His love even to those who mistreat you, who deserve His judgment and by such grace, prove the words of Christ to be true- “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Sunday April 3, 2022 Romans Week 47 Romans 9 “Why Write Romans 9 to 11”

Sunday – April 3, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – April 3, 2022

Romans 9:3-4
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

If Romans 8 has the distinction of being the high-water mark of the New Testament, chapter 9 has the dubious honor of teaching one of the most emotionally volatile doctrines of all the Bible, that of election. This chapter is so troublesome to some Bible teachers that they would prefer it not to be in Scripture. And yet Romans 9 is vitally important to the Christian, not only in the sense that it provides a basis for the theological doctrine of election, but in that it has great bearing on our spiritual life.

If salvation finds its origin in the will of the creature, rather than in the will of the Creator, then we could never be fully assured of salvation. The maintaining of our faith would then be a work required for salvation. In fact, if the salvation of others is not in the control of God, then what reason do I have to pray for the salvation of the lost? But if salvation finds its origin in the will of God, then I know that I am forever secure, for even though I may change, God is immutable. Since it was He Who purposed my salvation and He cannot change, then my salvation is as certain as the One Who is its source.

I certainly understand why the doctrine of divine election troubles many Christians, but I believe this is a doctrine that can neither be dismissed nor denied. All the questions of Paul in chapter 8 find their answer in election. Can God work all things together for our good? Will the predestined be called and the called be justified and the justified be glorified? Is there really now no condemnation, and will there be none tomorrow? Romans 9 comes after Romans 8 for this crucial reason: it shows that the word of God’s covenant with Israel has not failed, because it is grounded in God’s sovereign, electing mercy. Therefore, the promises to the true Israel and the promises of Romans 8 will stand!

Romans 9 and the doctrine of election is indeed a glorious text, a text which should lead us to rejoice. When understood correctly, in relationship to other biblical truths, this doctrine provides great confidence, great humility, and great gratitude for the Christian. Because salvation is determined by God, then I may come to Him in prayer with the confidence that He is both able to save, and He takes pleasure in saving as well as in answering my prayers. Let us set aside our preconceived prejudices and emotions, and seek to know God as He is. Let us rejoice and be glad, for He is God, the sovereign God of the universe! Who better to be in control of our lives?

Sunday March 20, 2022 Romans Week 46 Romans 8:35-39 “More Than Conquerors”

Sunday – March 20, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 20, 2022

Romans 8:37
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

In September of 1995, the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters suffered a rare defeat on the basketball court as they toured Europe with a team made up of several former professional basketball stars. The 91-85 defeat in Vienna, Austria, ended the team’s winning streak at twenty-four-years, that is, not games! The team had won an astounding total of 8,829 straight exhibition games since their last defeat before that in January, 1971.

Christians want to think of victory in terms of winning. We like to think that Christ’s power and purposes are most evident when we win, when we overcome our opponents. Paul simply underscores a principle which has always governed God’s work: God uses apparent defeat to produce ultimate victory. God uses the suffering of His saints to make them conquerors—more than conquerors. We are victorious when we suffer the calamities of life, in faith, trusting in God, knowing that He is accomplishing His purposes through our affliction. Our confidence must not end when the going gets tough. The testing of our faith really begins here.

The expression “overwhelmingly conquer” needs to be pondered. The Bible does not promise to make “copers” of us, but conquerors. It is not enough to muddle through life merely enduring our adversity. God does not promise to take us out of our afflictions, but He does promise that we will emerge from them victorious. We will be victorious in the sense that we will grow in our faith, hope and love. We will conquer in that we will become more like Christ due to our sufferings. We will conquer in that God’s purposes will be achieved through us and others will see the grace of God at work in our lives.

How does one overwhelmingly conquer? I think I have a small grasp of what this means. We overwhelmingly conquer as the sons of God. When God created man, Adam and Eve, and put him on the earth, he was created to reflect God’s image. The fall greatly marred this image of God in man. God has purposed our salvation to restore this image. Paul has written in verse 29 that we are predestined to become conformed to the image of Christ. Man was originally to reflect the image of God by subduing the earth and ruling over it, in God’s name. We, as the sons of God, with Christ, will have a part in the conquest and restoration of the earth. This is that for which all of creation eagerly awaits (8:20-23).

Sunday March 13, 2022 Romans Week 45 Romans 8:33-34 “Gods Answer to Guilt”

Sunday – March 13, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 13, 2022

Romans 8:33-35
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”

Most of us know what the courtroom is like from watching on television. At the front of the courtroom, the judge is seated. He will be the one who hears the testimony, views the evidence, and pronounces the verdict. To the left of the judge, the prosecution is seated. The task of the prosecutor is to make accusations against the accused and to prove the charges are legitimate. To the right of the judge sits the defendant—the one who is to be accused. And at the side of the accused is seated the counsel for the defense, whose job it is to argue on behalf of the accused in his defense.

Just as God has ordained that there is no other Savior than Jesus Christ, so there is no other Judge than Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has two roles. The first is that as Savior, second is that of Judge. All who receive Him as Savior need never fear facing His sentence of condemnation as the Judge of all the earth. Those who reject Him as Savior most certainly will be condemned by Him as their Judge. These two roles of our Lord—Savior and Judge—are both claimed by our Lord (John 3:17, 5:22, 5:27, 12:47-48).

At first it seems that Jesus’s words are contradictory. He did not come to judge, and yet He will judge. This difficulty is easily explained in the light of our Lord’s two comings. The purpose of our Lord’s first coming was not to come as the Judge to condemn sinners. The purpose of His first coming was to make an atonement for the sins of men. But when He comes again, He comes to judge the earth and to condemn all who have rejected God’s salvation through His shed blood. The Lord is either one’s Savior or one’s Judge. If He is your Savior, He will not be your Judge, who will pronounce God’s condemnation upon you. If you reject Him as Savior, He will most certainly be your Judge.

It is this truth—that God has made Jesus either one’s Savior or his Judge. Ponder this courtroom scene for a moment. Outside of faith in Jesus Christ, every man is a guilty sinner. When judgment day comes, he must sit in the defendant’s seat, the seat of the accused. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Judge, the One whom the sinner has scorned and rejected. The Lord Jesus is also the prosecutor and the accused sinner has no defense. But salvation changes all this. The forgiven sinner need not sit in the defendant’s chair because the prosecutor cannot press any charges. The Father, the Judge, has already pronounced us to be righteous, justified by faith. How could the Judge condemn us? Jesus Christ has already been condemned in our place. He was raised from the dead, and He now is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. No one can rightfully condemn us, the One who was our Judge has become our Justifier.

Sunday March 6, 2022 Romans Week 44 Romans 8:31-32 “Enduring Opposition”

Sunday – March 6, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 6, 2022

Romans 8:31-33
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

Confidence can be a very good thing. It can also be a mill stone around one’s neck. Being confident simply is not enough. The crucial issue is in whom, or in what, is our confidence. Ill-founded confidence is deadly. Well-founded confidence is proper and good. Some Christians have no confidence at all, believing that with one slip, one sin, they are out of the faith. Agonizing their way through life, they hope no sin has gone unnoticed and unconfessed; if so, they fear they will not get to heaven. These Christians desperately need the confidence of which Paul speaks in Romans 8.

It is not doubt, nor fear, nor guilt which should motivate our service, but a confidence in God mixed with deep and abiding gratitude. Because we are secure in Christ, we may serve. We need not focus on ourselves but on Him. Since He is the “author and finisher of our faith,” we must “fix our eyes on Him” (Hebrews 12:1-2). With God on His side, the Messiah was both willing and able to face a world that would reject and persecute Him. This confidence, which sustained our Lord, is that same confidence which is also able to sustain every saint.

We dare not be confident in ourselves. This would be folly. We dare not doubt that we shall be more than conquerors as this would be to deny His Word and to distrust God. We, like Paul, should be absolutely convinced concerning these things, based upon the Word of God. God, who has done the most for you by giving His own Son, will help you endure every trial that you go through for Christ’s sake. Because of His great love for you, He will bring you safely to glory. Our security is rooted in God, in His sovereignty, and in His unfailing love.

Today self-confidence is looked upon as a virtue and lack of self-assurance as a vice. Even in Christian circles we are being told how we can raise our children so that they feel good about themselves, are self-assured, and confident. The Bible calls for humility, not pride; for dependence on God, not self-sufficiency. Let us beware of seeking that which God’s Word condemns. Let us look to God, to God alone. He is our refuge and strength. In Him, and Him alone, is our confidence.

Sunday February 20, 2022 Romans Week 42 Romans 8:29 “How All Things Work Together For God”

Sunday – February 20, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – February 20, 2022

Romans 8:29
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…”

We have all received an email from some person in a foreign country who wanted to give us $10 million. All we would have to do is send our bank account numbers and they would deposit the money. If you count on that promise as true and reorganized your life around the hope you would receive that money, many would rightly question your sanity. So how can you know that Paul’s promise in Romans 8:28, that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” is true? What if that promise is about as likely as the one from the guy promising to give you $10 million?

You can only bank your life on Romans 8:28 if you know for certain that it’s true. Paul explains why (“For”) you can know that verse 28 is true- because God works all things together for good for us because our salvation is part of His predetermined eternal purpose to glorify His Son. Verse 29 specifies what “good” in 8:28 means. The “good” that God is working toward through all our trials is that we be conformed to the image of His Son. He saved you so that Christ would be the firstborn among many brethren. God saved you so that you will make much about His Son. Our salvation is all about the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament has prepared us for this concept. The God who is sovereign is the One who has “prearranged” history. God sometimes tells men of His plans, as He told Abraham of the blessing of mankind through his seed (Genesis 12:1-3). When the prophets foretold men of God’s predetermined plans, they often used the past tense to highlight the certainty of the event. The coming of Messiah is but one prophetic theme progressively unfolded in the Old Testament, with increasing detail, as God’s predetermined plan is unfolded.  He has not only chosen His children in eternity past, but He has predetermined a plan whereby all His children will be conformed to the image of His “first-born,” Jesus Christ.

God’s foreknowledge and His predestination are linked together. They are inter-dependent. God’s ultimate goal is not to save men but to glorify Himself. In order to do this, God purposed to save some. Those He purposed to save, He also determined to sanctify. He is glorified when those He saves are like Christ. God’s eternal decree, His all-inclusive plan established in eternity past, had to include not only the choice of those whom He would save but also the process through which He would bring them into conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. His glory is linked inseparably to our good, and we can be sure that He will accomplish His purposes—for our good to be sure, but most of all for His glory.

Sunday February 6, 2022 Romans Week 40 Romans 8:26-27 “Praying in the Spirit”

Sunday – February 6, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – February 6, 2022

Romans 8:26-27
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Paul wants to encourage us, especially when we feel our own weakness, because the Holy Spirit is praying for us. Even though we do not know how to pray as we should, we should be encouraged to keep praying because “the Spirit also helps our weakness.”  We tend to look at the spiritual giants in the Bible and think, “Wow, they were strong!” Look at Elijah! What a guy! He called down fire on his sacrifice and then slaughtered 400 prophets of Baal. Yet James (5:17) tells us, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed….” Elijah was weak, just like we are. But he prayed to the God who is strong.

Or, consider Moses. He stood up to the most powerful monarch in the world by calling down miraculous plagues on him and his kingdom. He parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could pass through on dry ground. He seemed to be a rock of spiritual strength! And yet in the mournful Psalm 90, Moses laments the frailty and shortness of life. The psalm ends with his plea (Ps. 90:17), “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands.” If Moses needed to beg God to confirm his labors, how much more do we? Moses was aware of his own weakness, which is why he prayed.

Our weakness lies in our complete inability to verbalize our groanings—or to know what to ask in prayer. Our groanings are beyond the ability of words to communicate—any words. If the gift of tongues is the ability to speak in some language, then even speaking in tongues could not convey our groanings. The Spirit intercedes for us, communicating our groanings to God. He conveys to God what we cannot put into words, and He also intercedes with requests which are consistent with the will of God. When we cannot speak, the Spirit speaks for us, to God. The Holy Spirit is the communicative link between our own heart and the heart of God. He ministers to us in our present weakness.

Has suffering and groaning found its way into your life? Are there deep inner agonies you cannot even verbalize? Our experience is not unique, but that of all creation. It is that which should be happening to every Christian at various times and with various levels of intensity. We should not feel guilt-ridden or unspiritual over our groanings. If you have come to recognize your own fallenness and that of the world in which you live, you have come to see life as it really is. You are sharing in that same kind of suffering and groaning which our Lord experienced as the Son of God.

Sunday – January 30, 2022 Romans Week 39 Romans 8:18-25 “Suffering in the Spirit”

Sunday – January 30, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 30, 2022

Romans 8:20-21
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Often people observe the terrible suffering in the world and doubt either God’s love or His power. The argument is especially emotional when we consider little children suffering physical or sexual abuse or the horrible effects of war or natural disasters. We think, “It’s one thing if wicked people suffer such things, but how could a God of love and power allow these precious little children to suffer such things?” But Paul shows that all life is suffering, in the natural world and in the human experience, and it stems directly from man’s fall into sin.

Creation’s present subjection to corruption and futility is the result of a divine decree by God. But Paul pointedly writes that God subjected creation to corruption and futility “in hope” (verse 20). Just as the Christian’s present condition of suffering and groaning is temporary so is the suffering and groaning of creation. Creation awaits the day of its own redemption from the chaotic consequences of sin when its present condition will be set aside. There is hope for creation. God’s purpose for subjecting creation to corruption and futility was not to destroy it but to deliver it.

Groaning is not a response of despair but a response to pain and suffering. Paul writes not of a groaning over what will be but over what now is. If creation’s groaning is present, its hope of glory is focused on the future. Like the creation, we who have been justified by faith suffer and groan. Our groaning is due to the present corruption and futility we see both within us and without. Sin, dwelling in our flesh and in this fallen world, causes us to groan. Hope is a prominent theme in our text and knowing the certainty of the future glory gives us hope to persevere. The pangs which creation presently suffers are like birth-pangs for they promise a glorious delivery. These pangs lead not to death but to deliverance, life, and liberty. There is hope for creation and the believer.

The fact of terrible suffering does not undermine the fact that God has a plan and that He will accomplish His plan. If we become anxious or depressed in trials and lose hope, it’s because we’ve forgotten the absolutely certain outcome: Future glory forever with Christ! Yes, there is present suffering because we live in a fallen world. But God has promised future glory. Keeping that in view will enable you to persevere any suffering with hope.

Sunday – January 23, 2022 Romans Week 38 Romans 8:14-17 “Assurance in the Spirit”

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 23, 2022

Romans 8:14
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

The exhortation of Romans 8 is that the Christian is living out our lives in the Spirit to be far from passive. We are not to be striving to be righteous in the strength of our flesh, but we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh through the Spirit. There is no peaceful co-existence with the flesh; we must choose sides. We will either walk according to the Spirit or according to the flesh. If we walk in the Spirit, we will wage war against the deeds of the flesh. This is a struggle every Christian must take seriously.

The Christian’s walk according to the Spirit is a walk of obedience, based upon our obligation to God, according to His goodness and grace to us. There are no harsh words, no dictatorial commands. Paul is not a sergeant here addressing new recruits but a brother reminding us of the goodness of our Father. God’s Spirit is a gift from the Father to every Christian. He reminds us that we are sons. He leads us and empowers us so that we may act like sons to the glory of the Father.

The challenge in our walk is usually not in what we do, but how and why we do it that makes something of the Spirit or the flesh.  We falsely assume certain activities (like prayer, worship, and Bible study) are spiritual, but others (like washing dishes, changing diapers or the oil in the car) are not. Whether we work at preaching or teaching in secular schools, the issue is whether we are doing it by means of God’s Spirit or by means of the flesh. Some of the activities which appear most spiritual are those which can be, and often are, done in the flesh. For example, James warns us prayer can be accomplished in the flesh, or in the Spirit: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Even Paul experienced that preaching the gospel can be done in the flesh or in the Spirit: “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will” (Philippians 1:15).

The great danger faced by the church today is not that of “secular humanism” but that of “religious humanism”—seeking to serve God and to please Him in the power of our own flesh, rather than “according to His Spirit.” The greater danger is that of appearing to be spiritual and religious in the power of the flesh. Take note of the strong distinction which the Scriptures make between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit. May God grant us the ability to distinguish the two and to choose to walk according to the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh.