Category: Pauline epistles–BibleTrekToday

Sunday Rest and Reflection:Romans 12-16

Dear Friends,

Greetings on this wonderful day of rest in Jesus Christ!  I have somehow gotten off in my writing and we will need to read for the next six Sunday’s in order to finish the Bible on December 31st!  I am not sure how this happened but ask your forgiveness and pray for grace!  If I do this next year, I pray that I keep on track!  I am resting in God’s grace and thankful that it works out by doing it this way!

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.”  “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8,10

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” Romans 14:17-18

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6

“May 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.” Romans 15:13

“Now to Him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made know through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey Him–to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen!” Romans 16:25-27

In His Love, Pastor John

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Everyone Who Calls on the Lord Will Be Saved!

Scripture reading for November 21st: Romans 9-11

There are some people in religious circles who believe in universal salvation.  In other words, no one will be lost.  They contend that God is good and He would never send anyone to hell who is made in His image.  If you take only the verses on God’s love and twist your reading of Scripture, you could justify this position.  However, this is not the teaching of the Scripture!  Paul is explaining in Romans 9-11 how God plans to save the Jews, a very religious people who had the right of adoption as sons, the covenants, the law and temple worship, and all the promises.  Although they had all this, they still needed to come to God by faith in His Son Jesus Christ!

“That 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.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never  be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13

Salvation begins in the heart.  It is with the heart that we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.  We believe that He died for our sins on the cross as the Son of God, descended from Abraham in the flesh through the son of promise, Isaac.  We simply believe in God’s mercy through Christ, not in our works to be right or righteous. When we believe, we are justified by faith just like Abraham and Sarah.  Our believing is counted as righteousness in our heavenly account because of what Christ has provided in His death, burial and resurrection.

Because we believe in our heart, we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord!  This is the confession that can save us.  Confession is not a work that we must do.  It is the natural flow of a heart that believes and is fully persuaded about Jesus Christ!  It is an outworking of faith.  We confess Jesus as Lord and live in submission to Him and His word.

Faith puts both Jew and Gentile on the same level ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Believing opens the door to all who will call on the Lord for saving!  In this manner, all will be saved who call on the Lord!  If you will not believe and confess Jesus as Lord, you will be lost eternally!  It is really simple.  If you have called on Jesus for salvation, take time and thank Him for His marvelous gift.  If not, today is a great day to do so!  It’s available to everyone who will!

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Abba, Father (Daddy)!

Scripture reading for November 20th: Romans 6-8

Fathers are important people in the lives of their children.  God has given fathers the responsibility of modeling for their children the character of God, the Father.  They are to teach their children how to love, serve, and give their lives to God and others.  Sin has marred this process so that many times fathers teach the opposite to their children.  Children hate their fathers or in many instances don’t even know their father.  In Romans 8, Paul teaches us about the new relationship that salvation brings with our heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co -heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:15-17

When we repent and invite Jesus to be Lord of our lives, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.  We are adopted into the family of God and made a part of that family.  The Holy Spirit gives us a deep understanding that we are children of God and our inner man cries out, “Abba”, which is the Greek word for “Daddy”.  It is the affectionate title of a family member for their father!  Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9)   He told them that He only did what his Father showed Him to do.  (John 5:19-20)

We become “co-heirs” with Christ in the Father’s family!  (Romans 8:17)  This means that we are in the will!  We have an inheritance from our Daddy’s estate!  What does that estate contain?  God owns everything!  He made the universe, stars, planets, and every living thing visible and invisible!  He rules as King!  We are heirs of the highest royalty!  This truth is beyond our comprehension with our natural mind!  We must have revelation to grasp what God has given us!

There is one stipulation that is often overlooked.  We will share in this inheritance of glory if we are willing to share in His sufferings.  What does this mean?  When Jesus lived on earth, he suffered temptations and overcame them by the Holy Spirit.  He suffered persecution, physical torture, and even death because of His willing obedience to the Father who loved Him and us.  He loved us enough to endure the pain and shame of crucifixion so that we might be adopted into Father’s family!  (Hebrews 12:1-2)  Now that we are part of that family, we must obediently submit to a path of suffering to enter into glory!

As you go through your day today, take time to talk to your “Abba” and tell Him how much you appreciate what He has provided!  Take any inconvenience or suffering as opportunity to thank Him for the coming glory!

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Considering God Faithful

Scripture reading for November 19th: Romans 4-5

Faith always has an object and that object is God!  God alone is trustworthy and faithful to His word.  If He said it, He will do it!  He has the power to do whatever He says He will and the character of never lying!  Paul writes to us today about Abraham and Sarah and what they discovered in their journey with God.

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it has been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.'” Romans 4:18-22

Sometimes things look impossible to the natural eye.  When Abraham and Sara left their home to go to Canaan, God told them that He would give them offspring.  (Genesis 15:4-6)  In fact, their offspring would number more than the stars in the sky!  Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteousness!

Time passed and they tried to produce the offspring.  Nothing happened and they were getting older.  Sarah gave Abraham her maid and she conceived a son, Ishmael.  They thought that perhaps this child was the promised seed, but God visited them again and told them that in their old age that they would have a son from their own bodies!  This seemed so impossible that Sarah, listening to the angelic visitor, laughed out loud!  (Genesis 18:10-15)  However, God restored their bodies and they had the child, Isaac, whose name means “laughter’!  God’s word is good and He is faithful!  He has the power to do whatever He says!

What lessons can we gain from today’s Scripture reading?  Faith is not difficult.  It is simply coming to the point of being fully persuaded that God is faithful!  What He has promised, He will bring to pass!  If you have heard Him promise you a child, believe it and prepare for a child!  If He has shown you it is time to move to a new city and preach the Gospel, pack up and head out!  Your faith is counted as righteousness!  How marvelous is the grace of our amazing God!

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God Gave Them Over!

Scripture reading for November 18th: Romans 1-3

My wife and I have raised 5 children and discipline has not been easy.  Children are born with a strong sin-nature.  They want what they want, when they want it!  Part of the job of parenting is to set boundaries and not allow the children to have their own way.  Sometimes, their own way could be dangerous and lead to injury or possibly death.  As parents we want to instruct our children to make wise choices that will enable them to go through life with God’s blessing and favor.  We use various means of discipline to help them out but when they become old enough, they must find out for themselves.

In Romans, the Apostle Paul describes God’s discipline on those who refuse to acknowledge Him and His right to direct and discipline their lives.  God makes Himself known to all men through nature.  (Romans 1:20)  When men, made in God’s image, refuse to acknowledge the truth about God as creator and sustainer of all life they come under God’s wrath.  God’s wrath is His holy anger against sin and rebellion.  God’s wrath is something that is happening on a continual basis and also something experienced by those who die in a lost state after the final judgment.

As a result of suppressing the truth about God that was made clear to them by God through nature, men become darkened in their hearts and their thinking becomes futile and empty.  They imagine themselves as the center of all things and think they are wise and intelligent.  This foolish thinking leaves God out and puts man at the center of everything.  When man chooses this route, against all evidence to the contrary, God’s response is to give them over to what they desire in their darkened hearts.  “Have it your way!” might be another way to say it!

As a result of being given over, men exchange the truth of God for a lie and begin to worship created things rather than the creator.  (Romans 1:25)  They go into sexual immorality and sin.  The sexual immorality takes the form of homosexuality and lesbian activity.  Every kind of sin and wickedness flows from God simply withdrawing His light from their minds because of their choice to ignore plain truth!  These under God’s wrath of being ‘given over’ not only participate in this wickedness but honor others who also practice this same kind of wickedness!  (Romans 1:32)

As we look at our nation and it’s spiritual state, we can understand where we are in God’s sight.  He has given many people over to their own lusts and darkness.   Much light is available, but when men refuse light and choose darkness, God gives them over.  He forces no one to follow truth, but offers truth to all.  He wants none to perish but has made provision for all who will choose salvation.  The power of the Gospel message offers righteousness by faith to all who will believe!  (Romans 1:16-17)  Lord, have mercy on our nation!

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