Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 4”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. Follow this link to read any previous messages in this series. This week we are studying Romans 4.

As in the previous chapters, Paul talks about how we are justified before God and made righteous by faith, not by works of the law.  Paul explains how Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.

How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

v. 10-12 (NASB)

Abraham set an example for us to follow in his footsteps as he, against all hope, believed God was faithful to deliver what He promised him. Because he stood firm in faith, Abraham received what God promised and he became “a father of many nations” (v. 17).

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 power to do what he had promised.

v. 19-21 (NIV)

We can learn by Abraham’s example how to receive what God has promised us in His Word. First, we learn that Abraham didn’t deny the fact that he and Sarah were well past child bearing age. Walking in faith doesn’t mean we ignore the facts. Walking in faith means we trust that God can change the facts. 

…God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

v. 17 (NASB)

Second, we learn that Abraham didn’t allow himself to waver in unbelief. The Bible says, But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8, NIV). Abraham was spiritually minded. He refused to entertain carnal thoughts of doubt.

Third, we learn that Abraham’s faith grew as he did not allow himself to doubt God. He was fully convinced that God had the power to do what He promised. To receive God’s promises we must be fully convinced in our minds that He will certainly deliver.

I once needed healing in an area. I read God’s promises on healing and believed it was His will for me to be healed, but I didn’t see any change.  One evening, when I was starting to lose hope, I cried out to Jesus and told Him if He was here on earth today I would come to Him and He would touch me and I would be healed. I told Him that His Word says He’s the same yesterday, today and forevermore. I cried out for Him to reach down and touch me so I would be healed. Later that night, I awoke from my sleep and noticed my husband was awake. My husband, not knowing what I prayed for, said that while I was asleep God spoke to him to tell me I was healed. Receiving that confirmation took away any doubt and convinced me in my mind that it was already given to me. Because God spoke that promise to me I was able to stand firm in faith and receive what He promised.

It’s not that we don’t have the faith to receive from God. The Bible says that God’s already given us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). And all it takes is the faith of a tiny mustard seed to move mountains and do the impossible (Matthew 17:20). It’s that our minds need to be renewed and convinced of His will in order to see it come to pass in our lives.

Do not conform 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 12:2 (NIV)

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that no matter how many promises You have made, they are “Yes” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).  We want to receive all that You have for us. Help us to renew our minds in Your Word and cast down any doubt, so that we can be fully convinced that You have the power to deliver what You have promised us.

In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 4? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we study Romans 5. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week renewing your mind in God’s Word!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 3”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. Last week, we studied Romans 2. This week we move on to Romans 3.

The chapter starts off with talking about how the Jews were first entrusted with the teachings of God. And though some did not believe God, it did not nullify His faithfulness to His Word.

The Apostle Paul explains:

“What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,

That You may be justified in Your words,
And prevail when You are judged.’

Romans 3:3-4, NASB

God’s Word will stand as complete truth regardless whether we believe Him or not.

Jesus said:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

Matthew 24:35

Even though our unbelief cannot hinder God’s faithfulness to His Word, it can hinder His Word from having an effect in our lives. Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law:

You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

Mark 7:9-13, NIV

Many people question God’s faithfulness today. There are many things written in His Word that people try to refute on the sole basis that they haven’t experienced or seen it happen.

Why is God’s Word alive and active in some people’s lives and not others? Why are some experiencing God’s promises while others are not?  Is God faithful to some and not to others?

Jesus said:

“Did I not say to you that IF you believe, you WILL see the glory of God?”

John 11:40, NASB (emphasis mine)

God is faithful to His Word. As we learned last week in Romans 2, God shows no partiality. He will do for each of us exactly what He says He will do.

The remainder of Romans 3 talks about how though the Jews were the first to be entrusted with the teachings of God, they were not better than others. They were just as guilty of sin as everyone else.

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;  as it is written,

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
“Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:9-18, NASB

The chapter stresses once again that the only way to be justified before God is by faith (Greek Word:“pistis” Definition: faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness).

To summarize what I learned in Romans 3: God is faithful to His Word. When we put our trust in Him, and are confident in His faithfulness, His Word will have a powerful effect in our lives.

Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

Acts 19:18-20, NIV

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You are faithful.  We can trust that Your Word which goes forth from Your mouth will not return to You empty, without accomplishing what You desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which You sent it (Isaiah 55:11). We put our faith in You, and not in what others say or what we see happening around us. We praise You that faith comes by hearing Your Word and that Word is alive and actively working in us.

In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 3? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we talk about what we learned in Romans 4. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week trusting God that He is faithful to His Word!


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Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Believing Jesus’ Teachings”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

This is the sixth message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link to read previous posts in this series. Last week, I talked about receiving God’s blessings. Even though it’s nice to receive blessings from God, we can’t fulfill our calling if that is all we are seeking Him for.

In John 6, after Jesus fed the five thousand and crossed over the lake, the crowds were looking for Him and He answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

John 6:26-30

When we are more interested in what God can do for us than what He requires of us, we will not continue following Him and doing His will.

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.”

… From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6:35-40, 60-69

God’s will is not burdensome. God wants us to simply believe what He sent Jesus to teach us. I was talking to a woman once about Christianity. She said she felt that people just complicate it. She said we have to look at it as through a child’s eyes and just believe it. If Jesus says it, we need to believe it, no matter what.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14).

When you tell a child something, they don’t normally try to reason it out. They simply believe what you say is true. We are to receive Jesus’ teachings the same way, with childlike faith.

Many Christians say they believe the Bible is true and they believe Jesus, but they only rely on what their pastor or minister teaches them. They don’t seek to dig deeper on their own and learn directly from Jesus.

The Israelites relied on Moses to teach them. But Joshua also sought God on his own as Exodus 33:7-11 explains, “Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

God has used my pastor and many other people to minister to me through the years. But the greatest teachings and revelations I have received have come directly from Jesus. There is so much more that Jesus taught than what majority of the church is teaching today. If we are not willing to seek Him and fully believe what He taught us, then we will not fully live the calling God has planned for us.

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:8-12

I don’t know too many Christians that are doing what Jesus did, let alone even greater things than He did. When I have seen teachings on some of the things Jesus did like healing, casting out demons, raising people from the dead, it’s often taken to the extreme and for flattery or financial gain. The devil will try to pervert anything that Jesus teaches to prevent us from believing and following it. That’s why we must seek Jesus for ourselves and continue believing what He says over what we see and hear from others.

Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

John 12:44-50

Let us all join together in making a New Year’s resolution to seek Jesus and believe His teachings. I pray that 2013 would be a year of revelation and revival in the body of Christ as we stand together believing the One God sent to teach us His will.

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Prayer For The Week:

Heavenly Father,

I praise You for sending Jesus to teach us Your Word. Help me to study Jesus’ teachings so that I can learn Your will. Give me understanding and revelation of Your Word and help me believe. I pray also for the body of Christ to seek You with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. Bring a spiritual revival to us in 2013. Help us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus doing what He did, and even greater things, through the power of Your Holy Spirit in us.

In Jesus’ name I believe You! Amen!

Verses To Meditate On:

For this week, study Jesus’ teachings in any of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

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