Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 32)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

In our last study we looked at God’s Eternal Plan that Father, Son and Holy Spirit purposed together “before time began.” Genesis 1 is a recounting of how God revealed the Plan and how it culminated in God’s crowning achievement – man (male and female). God (elohim) made (na’a’seh – let us make) man (adam) “in Our image” (besalmenu), “according to Our likeness” (kidmutenu).

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I’m Praying for You 2

Man Praying Near WaterHow often has someone said, “I’m praying for you”? How did that make you feel? Probably pretty good “if” you believed they were praying for you.

It’s harder to know whether someone really is praying for you in the social world since it’s so easy for all of us to “like” someone’s request for prayer, “retweet” or “share” their prayer request or write in the comment box – “praying for you.”

As we saw in the first part of our study, Jesus Christ prays for us. He proved it during His time of ministry on earth 2,000 years ago. We know He meant what He prayed because He sacrificed Himself for us on the Cross.  Jesus is now at the right hand of God making “making intercession for us” (Romans 8:34). The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us “in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

Jesus taught His apostles the importance of praying for each other. Notice in the verses below how often the apostles’ prayers led them to reach out and meet the needs of the people for whom they prayed. As we read each example, let’s think about people who are part of our social community who need our prayers and help.

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Teaching Wisdom to Our Children – Part 2

Last week we began a special series about teaching wisdom to our children. Given the fact that knowledge currently “doubles” about every 12 months, our children will know more than any previous generation. However, another fact is that wisdom to use the growing volume of  knowledge is diminishing rapidly.

King Solomon of Israel was the world’s wisest man. When he spoke, people listened. They were amazed at his combination of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.” 1 Kings 4:29-34 (NKJV)

A good place to begin teaching wisdom to our children is through the words of Solomon and his father, King David.

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 19)

SAMSUNG“… and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:4

Romans 1:1-4 is one sentence. Verse 4 is the last part of that sentence and a vital component in the opening statement of Paul’s amazing letter to Christians in Rome. The context is Paul’s greeting to the saints (Romans 1:7) that includes the following Christian doctrines (teaching):

  • Paul is a bondservant of Jesus Christ
  • Paul is called to be an apostle
  • Paul is separated to the Gospel of God
  • God promised His Gospel before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures (Old Testament)
  • The Gospel concerns God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord
  • Jesus was born of the seed of David according to the flesh
  • Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead

Romans 1:1-4 is Paul’s opening salvo concerning the Person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle is writing a letter to the Romans in preparation for his trip to see them. Some of the Romans knew what Paul taught about Christ, but many had not heard Paul preach. People often lied about Paul’s teaching and the Apostle wrote letters to address those lies. As Paul prepared to go to Rome, he made sure that no one would misunderstand what he believed and taught about the Humanity and Deity of Jesus Christ. Paul made clear that the Gospel he preached concerned the Birth, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the Son of God.

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 16)

SAMSUNG” … concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh …” Romans 1:3

In our last study we looked at the importance that Jesus Christ “was born of the seed of David.” That connected Jesus to both His position as the promised Messiah who would rule from the throne of His father David, and to God’s promise to Eve that her Seed would bruise (crush) the head of the seed of the serpent and God’s promise to Abraham concerning his Seed. Today, we will look at what being born “according to the flesh” means to Jews and Gentiles.

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 13)

SAMSUNG“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:1-4

The good news (Gospel) the Old Testament prophets spoke about concerned “His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” So much is said in just those six words.

First, we see that Jesus is “His Son.” The Greek reads tou huiou autou – “the Son of him.” I am very proud of my sons and love them deeply. The father-son relationship is a very special human connection, but what must it be like for God? God the Father and God the Son have an eternal connection; they’ve loved each other forever!

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Fathers and Sons (Part 2)

In our first study about fathers and sons, we saw that God has called on fathers to discipline and correct their children in the same way our Heavenly Father disciplines and corrects us. God Created men in His image and likeness, so we need to look to God to understand our purpose in the family, the Church, and the world.

God “formed” men from the earth to “form” things from the earth. Men are formers, leaders, providers, and protectors in the home. Our wives look to us to accomplish those things in the lives of our children. The result of doing that? “A wise son makes a glad father.” (Proverbs 10:1) The result of not doing that? “A foolish son is a grief to his father.” (Proverbs 17:25) “A foolish son is the ruin of his father.” (Proverbs 19:13) How does a son become wise? “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction.” (Proverbs 13:1) The Hebrew word here translated “instruction” is the same word from Proverbs 1:8 – musar – meaning “discipline” and “correction.”

The Apostle Paul wrote often about the importance of the father’s role in the family. In Ephesians, before telling men about their role as father, Paul told them to love their children’s mother – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) I heard someone say many years ago that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. How true! Men loving their wives is one of the highest human examples of how God loves His people. What’s the purpose of that kind of love?

“… that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. ” Ephesians 5:26-28

Notice three things Christ’s Love accomplishes for the Church: sanctify, cleanse, present. The Greek words – hagiase, katharisas, paristemi – mean “set apart for holy service,” “free from impurity, spotless, without blemish,” “to set beside.” How does this happen? “… with the washing of water by the word.” “Washing” is loutron and speaks to the effect the Word of God has on the activities and behavior of a believer. It is through that process the Lord presents His Church as glorious, “not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Jesus wants men to do the same thing for their wife – “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” Men loving their wives is part of fathers training their sons to become men of God.

Important note: The work of disciplining and correcting children has the potential of becoming unbalanced. Look at what Paul wrote fathers about this in his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians.

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

The word “provoke” in Ephesians 6 is parorgizete and means “arouse to wrath anger, exasperation.” The word in Colossians 3 is erethizete and means “stir up” in a negative sense. How does a father do that? How does a father arouse or stir up a child to become so angry that they become intensely irritated, infuriated and annoyed?

Fathers – what is in your heart when you discipline and correct your children? Are you angry, irritated, infuriated, frustrated, annoyed? Or are you filled with love for your child and want only the best for them – knowing that the best thing you can do for your child at that moment is to discipline and correct them? Children will respond to their fathers in the same way their fathers discipline and correct them. Children are sensitive to emotions behind actions. They can see in your eyes and body language and hear in your words (or lack of them) and the tone of your voice what emotions are driving you to discipline them.

Discipline and correction are when men can teach their children so much about God’s love. God teaches us in many different ways – including discipline and correction. Does God love us less when He disciplines us? when He corrects us? Of course not. God’s Love is always perfectly balanced. That balance is an important lesson for human fathers as well. Children need discipline and correction to learn how to deal effectively with the many challenges of life. Fathers discipline best from a position of love and compassion – just like our Heavenly Father.

In the next part of our study, we will look at the important role fathers have in the Church.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”