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10/25 Romans 15-16

Paul finishes up his letter to the Romans with some prayers and instructions.  The first prayer is that the believers should be unified.  It seems that the different denominations today could take heart in this prayer of Paul’s.  The differences today surly reflect the need for more prayer on our part for unification.

5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s first instruction to the believers is to accept one another.  Again the unity theme.  Do you think that maybe Paul knew what could happen down the road?  Were different churches during Paul’s time already starting to believe differently?

7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Paul again lifts up the believers asking that they be filled with all joy and peace.  Even to the point that their hope was overflowing by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Maybe I need to look a little harder for this filling and overflowing.  When was the last time we overflowed with hope?  Okay, I’ll pray for you and you pray for me to….., better yet let’s both pray for all Christians to be filled with all joy and peace.

13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s last instruction in Chapter 16 is a word of caution to be on the look out for those that would divide.  Ever run into those type of people?  Just a few words out of their mouth and you can tell they love to stir up trouble.  Pit this one against that one.  Not fun is it.  Of course we never run into those type of people in church, right?

17I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.

Well I guess that about finishes it for Romans.  Upward and onward to 1 Corinthians and it’s got the Love chapter in it.

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October 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

10/26 Romans 12-14

Chapter 12 of Romans begins with Paul explaining how the body of Christ should function.  This explanation is manifested today in the church and Northside is a great example of that functioning body.  There are so many areas to serve and a great many different levels of commitment.

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

I think James puts it best in chapter 2:17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” and also in verse 26 “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” As a Christian how are you using your God-given gifts to function as a member of the body of Christ?

So if you feel that your gifts are not being fully utilized for the kingdom, you need to contact Mark Williams.  I’m not exactly sure what all his responsibilities are, but based on his new title I would guess that getting you and me involved in kingdom work is a big part of it.  Don’t wait to be asked.  Take action.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

10/24 Romans 10

Romans 10 lists two steps that each person must take in order to be saved.   First you must believe in your heart.  Not in your head.  If you try to logically prove that Jesus is the son of God and that God raised him from the dead, you will be forever looking for proof and evidence and will miss salvation.  Faith is belief, not proof.  Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Second, is that you believe enough to state publicly that Jesus is Lord.  Confess it before others and you will be saved.

8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Do you know someone that is hung up on you proving to them that something happened over 2,000 years ago?  How do we overcome their need for hard evidence?  We don’t.  The best anyone can do is to present the Gospel message to them and then pray that God will soften their heart.  If you have completed part one then better get started on part two.  Pray.

October 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

10/23 Romans 7-9

We know we should turn of the TV and go walk a few miles on the treadmill, but the Yankees and Angels are playing right now.   We know we should be up early in the morning studying God’s word, but we hit the snooze button to many times because we were up late last night.  We know we should be giving more to the church but that flat screen LCD TV was on sale last month and it was too good of a deal to pass up.  Okay, now I get what Paul is talking about in chapter 7 about doing the opposite of what he wants to do.

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I get it, let’s blame it on the sin and not take any responsibility for ourselves.  Nope I don’t think that is going to work.  It is our choice to avoid sin with help of the Holy Spirit.  Chapter 8 explains how.
Follow this link to keep reading

October 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

10/22 Romans 4-6

Paul starts chapter 5 with the fact that those who believe in Jesus Christ are justified by faith.  There comes that living by faith theme again.  Good thing I made a note for myself yesterday.  Then comes the harder part, rejoice in your sufferings.  When was the last we did that?  Maybe after the suffering is over, but I would imagine not during it.  The result of suffering is perseverance, that leads to character and then straight to hope.  Hope is a bee line to the love of God.

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

I dare same many of us would die in place of a spouse or child, but hey not for the drug addict or the homeless person or someone we don’t even know.  But that is exactly what Jesus did.  He died for the best of us and the worst.  Most important, he died for us. Follow this link to keep reading

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

10/21 Romans 1-3

The book of Romans is a fantastic book that many believe was written before Paul returned to Jerusalem and was arrested.  In these first 3 chapters he explains that righteousness comes from God and that all mankind are sinners.  I really like verses 16 and 17 in chapter 1.

16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Note to self:  Live by faith.

Paul goes on to talk about the type of people that rebelled against God.  Funny, well not funny, but it sure sounds like a list of people today.  Paul starts out Chapter 2 explaining that God has the right to judge us.  Then he explains that the law will not save the Jews because they can’t or don’t keep the law.

10As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Follow this link to keep reading

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment