When we talk about the worldwide church, we don’t to forget the suffering many face for The Name. We hope that today it will awaken your heart to prayer for your brothers and sisters across the globe. We also hope to ignite your heart of thanks to God for the freedom we have to worship and, furthermore, to stir one another up to live less comfortably and more boldly for the glory and gospel of Christ!
Regarding persecution, we don’t know what our immediate future holds. I wouldn’t venture a guess as to whether or not we will face the kind of persecution in our lifetime that would drive us to have to meet underground, but it could come. Nevertheless, we should be mindful of the thousands of believers that are meeting in secret this very weekend. We should seek to know about them and pray for them…and as we do, may we be impacted and challenged by their faith!
I would suggest that one of the main reasons why Christmas is a favorite holiday is because of the expressly Christian sub-themes that supply this particular season. A primary one being HOPE.
My friends, Christ was born into this world and came as a servant to bring HOPE. I think you would agree that this world needs hope…you might even say, “Dustin, I could use a shot of hope right now.” Permit me to invite you to prepare your heart to be encouraged by the Word of God with the ultimate HOPE that we have in Christ. It is a glorious hope indeed!
Our unity is based upon essential doctrine not preferential opinion. We’ll see that the gospel that transforms our lives, also forms the basis for our unity.
“I don’t understand how someone could really love Jesus and still go to the movies, drink wine, or approve of dancing. I mean, are they really serious about the Lord?” Comments like these reveal a reality that has existed from the beginning of the church. The reality that Christians have many differing opinions on issues that the Bible doesn’t explicitly speak to. And as the above quote reflects, sometimes these opinions are very strongly held.
So, how does the church handle things like this? Do we duke it out in the hallway? Do we fire pastors and stiff arm members with whom we disagree? Do we flaunt our freedoms and label everyone else as legalists? Do we start new churches around our preferred opinions? I mean, how can the church work when we bring together so many different opinions on lots of different issues? Well, that’s exactly what Romans 14 is about.
Paul has spent the first 11 chapters of Romans describing the Gospel, leading to a moment of worship and exclamation when viewing the Palace that God built. It leads him to a moment of awe and joy that overwhelms him and and should take us right along with him.
We’ve spent a great deal of time working verse by verse through the book of Romans and have made it through a lot of heavy doctrine in the process. Though we’ve worshiped our great God throughout and have marveled at His redemptive story each week, we come tomorrow to Paul’s worship-filled conclusion of the first 11 chapters.
Paul is in awe. In awe of God. In awe of His gospel. In awe of its depths. In awe of His mercy and grace to redeem. You see, Gospel doctrine leads to Gospel doxology! I’m amped for this study and want to invite you all to prepare your hearts to worship our amazing God as we contemplate His remarkable, breathtaking, and beautiful truth!
As we’ve wrestled with the questions of whether God has abandoned Israel, we’ve seen that His grace is emphatic that His promises are still intact and certain. In today’s message, we peek ahead to a time when it will no longer be promises but fulfilled.
Paul’s question in Romans 11 if God has rejected Israel for their rejection of Jesus. He very quickly answers that question as “no” and then focuses our attention on how God has used their rejection to spread the wealth of the Gospel around the world, ultimately using that to bring Israel back to Him.
God is fully trustworthy. He has always kept His promises to Israel, and He will always keep His promises to us. God’s Word has not failed, and he will never reject his people. In fact, He will always preserve a remnant of believing Israelites.
When we focus on getting to the bottom of why something isn’t work as it should or perhaps why someone isn’t doing what they should, it’s common to use the strategy of ruling things out. This leads us to a rational method of understanding things without always assuming the worst. Paul uses that strategy in Roman 10:5-21 to understand why we may not take the action that the Gospel leads us to.
The message of Easter offers us something much better than a guess or a magic pill and gives us more confidence than a shrug and an “I hope it will work” when it comes to our hope in reaching Heaven. The message of Easter offers us a true miracle that brings confidence, assurance and hope!