Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 38)

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.” Romans 1:16-17.

We recently finished a special study about God’s Eternal Plan for Overcoming the World – a plan that Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together before time began, before God created “the world.” If you haven’t read it yet, you may find it helpful before moving to the next part of our study.

You may also find it helpful to look back at our introduction to Acts 1:16-17 to remember some of the important aspects of Paul’s letter to the Romans and the honor-shame culture in which they lived.

Continue reading

Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 37)

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.”

We are currently looking at God’s Eternal Plan for Overcoming the World – a plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together before time began, before God created “the world.”

Continue reading

Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 36)

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 Plan for Reconciliation. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and joined with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in determining and designing an eternal plan “before time began.” We see God’s Plan revealed through God’s Word.

Continue reading

Christian Unity … Think About It (Part 7)

We are looking into a unity movement in and around the Christian community known as Emergent Church. Tony Jones, one of the founders of the movement, defined terms within the movement like this:

  • emergent Christianity – The new forms of Christian faith arising from the old; the Christianity believed and practiced by the emergents.
  • the emergent church – The specifically new forms of church life rising from the modern, American church of the twentieth century.
  • the emergents – The adherents of emergent Christianity.
  • Emergent – Specifically referring to the relational network which formed first in 1997; also known as Emergent Village.

We looked at the influence of Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt through their books and speaking.  Other major influences have been websites, blogs and social media.

Continue reading

Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 34)

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.” Romans 1:16-17

In our last study we looked at God’s plan – a plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together in eternity, before creation, before time began. We saw how the plan unfolded in the garden of Eden as the serpent deceived the woman and through that deception has deceived “the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). We saw how God quickly took control of the problem and presented the solution – So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). Jesus Christ won that victory on the Cross.

Continue reading

Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 33)

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.” Romans 1:16-17

In our last study we looked at God’s Eternal Plan that Father, Son and Holy Spirit purposed together “before time began.” We’ve seen the Eternal Plan Revealed and The Plan to Rule. Now we’ll look at The Plan to Overcome.

Continue reading

Christian Unity … Think About It (Part 3)

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.” Psalm 133

Psalm 133 is one of the shortest Psalms, but also one of the most poignant and powerful. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” King David chose one of the most powerful images for the unity of God’s people – the anointing of Aaron the first High Priest of Israel.

Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.” Leviticus 8:10-12

God rescued His people from slavery in a foreign land and unified them as one people who would carry God’s banner to the promised land. Moses poured so much oil on his brother that the oil ran from the top of Aaron’s head to his beard and onto the edge of his garments. The anointing of God set apart every part of Aaron for the great work he had been called to accomplish.

One of my biggest personal disappointments as a Christian has been the lack of unity among Christians. I read Psalm 133, John 17, Romans 12 and 14, Ephesians 4, and Philippians 1 and 2 and wanted to experience the beauty of unity with other believers. I’ve taught and written about the importance of unity in the Church since becoming a Christian almost 45 years ago … but … I don’t want unity at the expense of truth. Unfortunately, that is what we have been witness to for far too long.

In our previous post about Ecumenical Unity, we looked at the danger of Christians shedding truth for the sake of unity. As our series about Christian Unity continues we will look at concerns about Emerging Unity.

Continue reading

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).

Continue reading

Thinking About the Cost

The “cost” of Christianity is vital to a Christian’s spiritual health. Here’s why I say that.

Do you know any Jews who have become Christians? How about Muslims? Atheists? Mormons? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Hindus? If you do, you’ve most likely noticed they seem to be deeply in love with God and have a healthy spiritual relationship through Bible study, prayer, discipleship, service and evangelism. One thing many of them have in common is that becoming a “Christian” cost them a lot. Many are ostracized by family. Many lose friends, jobs, positions in society, etc. Many suffer severe persecution – losing homes, possessions, even their lives.

Continue reading