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Category Archives: Romans

What do you ask yourself when preparing to preach?

I am not a preacher, nor do I play one on TV. But I think I do know something about the subject, having listened to, and spoken with so many talented and God-gifted men in my life. I believe I can recognize good, God-centered, Christ uplifting, scripture breathing preaching when I hear it.  I am also a believer in Jesus Christ, He is my Savior and Lord. With that said, I would like to mention the responses by Mark Driscoll to the question above. This comes to us from TheResurgence web site.

1. What does the scripture say?
2. What does this mean?
3. How or why do we resist it?
  a. What will be the objections to this truth?
4. How does this apply to our missions?

I would like to focus this writing on point number three. What Driscoll says in his elaboration of this point is that preachers should prepare for the resistance of the heart. He mentions that Romans 1 teaches that:

our heart has a propensity to suppress the truth so that we might continue in the unrighteousness of our deeds

So part of the preparation would include looking at your own heart and how it may wish to resist this biblical truth. This point of preparation or even the consideration of it is very rare in the pulpit of the church today. I have heard many preach as if they are trying to cater to the propensity of the heart, or tickle the proverbial ear. Driscoll shares how the Puritan preachers of old used to prepare with objections to the resistance of the heart and apologetically defend the truth being proclaimed in scripture. This is good stuff. Mark Driscoll elaborates more on these points so I have included the video of his response below.

What do you ask yourself when preparing to preach?

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The righteousness of God

While listening to a song called “Watch Your Words” by Alter Bridge the lyrics reminded me of a passage in Romans chapter 1. In particular, verses 16 and 17. The apostle Paul writes about the Gospel and how it reveals the righteousness of God.

16 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. 17 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.”

What is meant by “the righteousness of God” here in this passage. Is Paul writing about the the very nature of God? For He alone is righteous. Is he writing about the righteousness expressed in His promises kept? This very term is mentioned many times throughout scripture in reference to God. But how is it used here in this particular passage in Romans 1? I went to a “new to me” bible exposition to look up how it is used here. The bible exposition is from the Puritan John Gill. In it the use of “the righteousness of God” is made clear to me. Here is what I found:

By “the righteousness of God”, is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of his nature, his righteousness in fulfilling his promises, and his punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but that righteousness which he wrought out by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of his people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called “the righteousness of God”, in opposition to the righteousness of men: and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it. Jehovah the Father sent his Son to work it out, and being wrought out, he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his elect:

So what is found in the Gospel that Paul writes about here? The Gospel reveals the very righteousness of God that justifies men in the sight of God through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Son is the author through His obedience and death, and this righteousness is revealed through God the Spirit to men.

So when it is written that “the righteous man shall live by faith”, that faith has been given by God which reveals the “righteousness of God” through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For just as John Gills writes above “this is in opposition to the righteousness of men” which does not save. Romans 1 is an excellent chapter to read about the Gospel of Christ and how it relates to sinful man. Please take time to read it again.

Below are the lyrics that prompted me to think about this subject and post this:

To truly see well
You must have faith
Oh the righteous they can’t wait
A saving grace
That we all know
Let us pray
Let us hold on

Finally and as a side bar. For those who live here in Nebraska, Alter Bridge is coming to Lincoln December 8th at the State Theater. My wife and I have tickets. We will probably stick out in the crowd. We will be the middle-aged head bangers. Maybe we’ll will see you there.  Rock On!!

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Posted by on November 16, 2007 in Alter Bridge, John Gill, righteousness, Romans

 

Relating to the weaker brother or sister

I continue to read through the book of Romans and today I sumo vs boyam in chapter 14. In this chapter Paul (through the inspiration of the Holy spirit) addresses how believers should relate to one another especially in cases where one is weak or a newly converted believer and the other is a stronger believer.

1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

First I want to try and define each of these believers. What do I (or Paul) mean by a weaker believer? It almost goes without saying that anyone who is a new convert to faith in Christ would be a weaker believer. This would also pertain to anyone who might bring extra baggage from another religion such as the abstinence of eating meat and only eating vegetables. In the New Testament Christ does not hold up one type of food over over another. As a matter of fact in Acts 10 Peter is told by the Lord that we are not to honor one food over another such as was called clean and unclean but to honor the Lord for He has made it clean. So if someone remains in the conviction that they should not eat “unclean” food then I would contend they are weaker in the faith. Paul tells the believers in Rome that if one is of the opinion that some food is unclean and another eats the same food, the one who eats should not despise the one who does not. The stronger believer would be the one who is able to eat and drink without falling into guilt from an issue of conscience.

In order to love one another as Christ commanded we must not condemn one another on these matters of opinion. They are not sin. If we notice a brother or sister refraining from drinking wine because of personal conviction we should not push them to consume because God has not forbidden us to drink it. We may want to show them in scripture where wine is a blessing from God and thus can be consumed by believers. The same would hold that if a weaker believer saw another believer consuming wine they should not despise them. Because abstaining from wine is based on their own personal convictions.

For my two cents…..I remember this very thing being a topic of some debate when my wife and I first began attending Omaha Bible Church. There were some who regarded the abstinence of wine as a higher calling. Since there exists such an evangelical stigma with alcohol consumption some folks have made the consumption of it a sin, and binding what the Lord has not bound. I think we should be very careful not to despise those who have made this a “personal conviction”. Definitely steer them away from regarding it as a sin. And those who do abstain should be very careful not to despise those who do not have this “personal conviction”. Jesus gave us the command to love one another so that the world will know that we are His disciples. The weaker should love the stronger and vise versa.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2007 in Christian living, relating, Romans

 

Grafted in

What do I mean by the title? First let’s look at the wordgrafting a grape vine grafted or grafting. Grafting is basically a process used in horticulture to fuse together part of one plant, much like a branch, and affix it to the tissues of another. The basis for deciding to do this is for plant propagation.  

I have been reading through the book of Romans and in chapter 11 the apostle Paul uses this term to describe to the readers how they, the Gentiles, have come to share in the rich root of Christ.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith.

By God’s grace I, who am a Gentile, have been grafted in to the root system of Christ. Paul is saying that God’s chosen, the Jews, have been broken off. They represent the branches that were broken off. They rejected Christ and thus have been broken off. In horticulture, the plant to be selected to sustain the branches to be grafted in is selected because of its rich root system. The other plant or branch to be grafted in is selected for its stem, leaves, or fruit. Paul is using this analogy which would be understood by those in the Roman church. They would understand these terms because many of the members would have been farmers or wine makers.

Praise our Lord for choosing us to be grafted in to the root system of Christ. He alone sustains us, and He has promised to produce fruit through us.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2007 in grace, grafting, Romans, salvation

 

The bondage to corruption

When you think of evil, what do you imagine? Do you imagine a scary image such as some of the demons or so-called demonic depictions in the movies, or do you imagine someone like Jeffrey Dahmer. Below is a clip from the TV series “Supernatural” that airs on The CW. The two main characters in the clip are Sam Winchester who, along with his brother Dean, (not seen here) travels the country fighting demons. The other is one of their powerful foes “the yellowed-eyed demon”.  (Warning: scene may be too intense for the faint-hearted)

Is the yellow-eyed demon something like you imagined evil to look like? Maybe evil looks more like the image below. The image is of the video taken outside the Target store of the suspect who abducted eighteen year old Kelsey Smith a Kansas City girl who was subsequently found dead.

 

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Posted by on June 7, 2007 in corruption, evil, news, Romans, Supernatural