Category: Romans

Keep away from divisive people!

Scripture reading for July 5th:  Romans 16

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 16:17-20  “I 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.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.  Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.  The God of peace will son crush Satan under your feet.  The Grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”  

Paul had closed this letter with numerous personal references to people in the church community.  The church is built on quality relationships through personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  However, there are those that are in the church or come into it that are there to cause division.  Paul warned the church and us today to watch out for them.  They will be recognized by actions and teaching contrary to the Word of God and they do not serve the Lord Jesus but their own appetites!  These people use smooth talk and flattery to draw people away, thus causing division.  Believers are to have nothing to do with them, being wise to what is good!  God is a God of peace, crushing Satan under the feet of His victorious Church!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers will be wise as serpents but harmless as doves concerning divisive people who live contrary to sound doctrine.  God’s grace brings victory!  “The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.”  (Proverbs 16:17)

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Endurance and encouragement through Scripture!

Scripture reading for July 4th:  Romans 15

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 15:1-4  “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not please ourselves.  Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.   For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written:  “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”   

God has given His people His sacred Word.  The Word of God was also embodied in Jesus Christ as He came into our world as a man and lived in obedience to every Word God had commanded, fulfilling Scriptures.  Because of this and Christ’s example, we no longer live for ourselves but for God.  We love our neighbors and seek to build them up by bearing with them in matters of conscience not covered specifically in Scripture.  We know from Scriptures that Jesus is coming again to receive His people and reward them for their faithful service and faith in His sacrifice.

Observations for over-comers:  We must stay close to Christ through living in the Holy Spirit and our prayer life.  We overcome by faith and obedience to the Word of God!  “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.  I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”  (Job 23:10-12)

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Faith working through Love!

Scripture reading for July 1st:  Romans 14

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 14:19-23  “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.  All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.  It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.  So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.  Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”

In Paul’s time, eating meat sacrificed to idols was a big issue.  Some believed that this meat would pollute them spiritually.  Others were concerned that this would cause unbelievers to think that believers were serving idols too. Paul taught the law of love.  When we love others, we do what is best for them and try and keep peace.  Each person should serve God with a clear conscience, acting in faith in whatever they believe in these disputable matters.  This doesn’t mean that we ignore sin and fail to lovingly pray for and confront believers that are still caught in sinful lifestyles.  We must do all that we do to the glory of God and live by faith to please Him!

Observations for over-comers: “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 14:17)“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to You.”  (Psalm 51:12-13) 

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“Love your neighbor as yourself!”

Scripture reading for June 30th:  Romans 13

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 13:8-10  “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to its neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”  

Paul taught that the Law, the Ten Commandments, were all about love.  The first four commandments were all about loving God with all our heart, soul, minds and strength.  But here, the second tablet of the Law was partially quoted to show that those who loved would fulfill the requirements of these commandments.   If you love someone, you will not commit adultery with another man’s wife!  This is not love!  If you love someone, you will not purposely take their life, steal their goods, or even covet what they had!  So love fulfilled the law supernaturally by changing believer’s hearts to flow in Christ’s love and truth.

Observations for over-comers:  Christians don’t work to keep the law, but fulfill the law by living a life of sincere love that comes from the Holy Spirit residing in them and guiding them into all truth and its daily application.  “I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law.  Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous laws.  Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”  (Psalm 119:163-165)

 

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Keep your spiritual fervor!

Scripture reading for June 29th:  Romans 12

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 12:9-14  “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.”

Paul gave practical advice to the believers in Rome about how to live in the midst of a crooked and perverse world. The church was to be a community of heaven, under King Jesus.  This community was to be marked by sincere love. This love would hate what was evil and cling to what was good.  It would be marked by the standards set by Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture.  This love would not tolerate living in the sinful lifestyles of the world but would zealously serve the Lord.  They would honor each other as those made in God’s image–both male and female!  They would be joyful in hope and patient in affliction through constant contact with their King through prayer!  They would share with each other and practice hospitality to those in need.  This advice sounds like a description of Jesus Christ!

Observations for over-comers:  Spiritual fervor flows from a holy life of service to the King.  The best defense is a good offense of living a life of sincere love towards God and others with patience and faith.  “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.”  (Proverbs 19:2)

 

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Worship is the fitting response to God’s mercy!

Scripture reading for June 28th:  Romans 11

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 11:32-36  “”For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all.”  “Oh the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable His judgments and His paths beyond tracing out!  “Who has known the mind of the Lord:  Or who has been His counselor?”  “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever! Amen!”

God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond all human understanding.  All men are of Adam, and through disobedience are under darkness and death.  God’s love bound them over so that He might make His mercy available to all men, Jew or Gentile!  This plan of redemption came through God’s own initiative and the Son’s willing obedience to the Father’s plan.  The promised Holy Spirit would bring God’s wisdom and knowledge to each person who would believe!  From Him and through Him are all things!  He deserves all glory, now and forever!

Observations for over-comers:  God, alone, planned and worked out our salvation and deliverance from the penalty of death from disobedience!  He alone is worthy of praise!  Give Him all glory!  “Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is He, this King of glory?  The Lord Almighty–He is the King of glory!”  (Psalm 24:9-10)

 

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God sent the preachers (believers)!

Scripture reading for June 27th:  Romans 10

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 10:14-17  “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.  For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.”  

Many who name the Name of Christ and claim they follow Jesus never make any effort to communicate the Gospel message to their family or friends.  They say they believe in God’s world-wide program and know He wants all men to be saved, but won’t speak to others about Christ!  How can this be?  How can people hear without someone to preach to them?  How can a preacher go unless he recognizes that he is called by God to preach the good news?  How will our family and friends hear of the message of Christ Jesus and come to faith unless believers preach to them?

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers must embrace the great commandment to love God and others and the great commission to go into the world and preach the good news, making disciples of all men.  This is our call and our act of love for God and others!  “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.  It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” . . .No, the Word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”  (Deuteronomy 30:11-12, 14) (Romans 10:6-8)

 

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The Stumbling Stone!

Scripture reading for June 24th:  Romans 9

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 9:30-33  “What then shall we say?  That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.  Why not?  Because they pursued it not by faith, but as it were by works.  They stumbled over the “Stumbling Stone.”  As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”  

Many people are like the Jews of the time of Jesus and Paul.  They in their human pride think that by their own works and keeping God’s Law that they can assure themselves salvation.  Jesus came to fulfill the Law of God by perfectly obeying it and all His Father’s decrees.  Jesus was and is the only way to find true righteousness but the Jews rejected Him, stumbling by trying to find it through works–the keeping of the Law.   But those who trust in Jesus Christ will never be put to shame or stumble into judgment!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers avoid the trap of human works or religious rules to obtain right standing with God.  They fully trust in Jesus Christ and stand firm on the Rock of their salvation!  “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.  He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior–from violent men you save me.”  (2nd Samuel 22:2-3)

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Help in our weakness!

Scripture reading for June 23rd:  Romans 8

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 8:26-28 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

The Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit is the best gift in many ways!   The Holy Spirit comes into us and gives us a new heart that now wants to do God’s will.  The Spirit brings the life and truth of God’s Word to life in us.  The Spirit helps us in our human weakness of both body and mind.  Paul says that the Spirit, through our prayer language, intercedes for us with groans, or spiritual language, that is beyond our ability to express in human words.  The Holy Spirit perfectly knows the mind of God and our heart as well, and His interceding enables us to understand that God is working all things for our good and His purposes.

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers allow the Holy Spirit to pray through them at all times, empowering them in weakness and times of seeking God’s will.  This act of faith brings assurance that God is working for our good to fulfill His calling for us.  “Answer me when I call to You, O my righteous God.  Give me relief from my distress, be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”  (Psalm 4:1)

 

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The Way of the Spirit!

Scripture reading for June 22nd:  Romans 7

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Romans 7:4-6  “So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit to God.  For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the Law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the Law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

Jesus Christ came to earth to fulfill the Law and thereby be able to offer Himself–His body and blood–for the sacrificial payment for the sins of all other men born of Adam.  Through faith in Christ’s death, we died to the Law of God.  In Christ’s resurrection, we also were raised to a new life in order to bear fruit to God.  Under the old sinful nature our attitudes and actions bore fruit for death.  Sin (breaking God’s Law) always produces death!   In Christ we are released from the Law and now have been given new life through the Holy Spirit!  He wrote God’s Law on our hearts and leads us in the way of the Spirit!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers live in the power of the Holy Spirit, they count their sinful nature dead through the cross of Christ and follow the way of the Spirit!  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.”  (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

 

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