Book of Romans with Gordon Ferguson

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  • Romans Lesson 8: We are the Family of God: Romans 14-16 Slides•       How to Deal with Family Differences (Romans 14) There is room in the Kingdom for differences (vv1-8). –      Jews and Gentiles had very different spiritual and moral backgrounds. –      Some ...
    Posted Sep 14, 2014, 2:04 PM by Media Ministry
  • Romans Lesson 7: Relationships and Submission: Romans 12 & 13 SlidesAudioVideoA Religion of Relationships (Romans 12) In vv1-2, he describes what it means to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength. •       In ...
    Posted Dec 2, 2014, 4:36 PM by Media Ministry
  • Romans Lesson 6: Most Jews Chose Rejection: Romans 9-11 SlidesAudioVideoWhat Happened to Israel? God Has the Right to Make a Choice (9:1-29) – Some of Paul’s “groaning” in 8:23 is shown here. – God ...
    Posted Dec 2, 2014, 4:35 PM by Media Ministry
  • Romans Lesson 5: No Condemnation in Christ: Romans 8 SlidesAudioVideoDelivered From the Law of Sin and Death (vv1-8) What are the laws in these verses? • What does it mean to be “in Christ?” – We are ...
    Posted Dec 2, 2014, 4:00 PM by Media Ministry
  • Romans Lesson 4: Dead to Sin: Romans 6 & 7 SlidesAudioVideoDead to Sin -- the Reality of It (Romans 6:1-7)•Does grace produce a light view of sin? •Me and my earthly father in his old ...
    Posted Dec 2, 2014, 3:04 PM by Media Ministry
  • Romans Lesson 3: The Concept and Price of Redemption SlidesAudioVideoThe Concept in Capsule Form (3:21-31)•The place of faith (vv21-23). •The place of grace (vv24-26). –Justified freely in v24 (from dikaios, a ...
    Posted Dec 2, 2014, 2:56 PM by Media Ministry
  • Romans Lesson 2: The World Under the Wrath of a Mighty God! SlidesAudioVideoThe Best of Us Is a Mess! Romans 1:18-3:20No good news until we face the bad! • Spirit’s first job: John 16:7 ...
    Posted Dec 2, 2014, 2:26 PM by Media Ministry
  • Romans Lesson 1:An Introduction SlidesAudioVideoRomans 1:1-17•Motivation: the key issue! •How we view God and think he views us is the bottom line. •A balanced view of these things ...
    Posted Dec 2, 2014, 2:20 PM by Media Ministry
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Romans Lesson 8: We are the Family of God: Romans 14-16

posted Sep 13, 2014, 1:33 AM by Media Ministry   [ updated Sep 14, 2014, 2:04 PM ]


       How to Deal with Family Differences (Romans 14) 

There is room in the Kingdom for differences (vv1-8).

      Jews and Gentiles had very different spiritual and moral backgrounds.

      Some had a conscience about eating meat which may have been sacrificed to an idol & later sold in a meat market (1 Corinthians 8). 

      Also, some felt a special feeling toward certain holy days from their past.                         

       Differences (continued) 

Here Paul shows that these things are allowed but they cannot be bound.

       How can you tell if it is an “opinion” area?

       Abide by your own personal conscience but avoid dogmatism.

       What are such areas for us today? (Drinking, dancing, dress, movies, etc.)

       Differences (continued) 

How do former religious practices fit in? (Holy days, “holidays,” particularly).

       A strong faith person can participate while the weak faith person cannot (without violating his conscience).

       The strength of faith issue here does not necessarily correspond to strong or weak faith in other areas.

       No Room in the Kingdom for Judgmental Attitudes (vv9-12) 

Narrow-mindedness and self-righteousness are sins of the Pharisees with which Jesus had no tolerance.

       Righteousness cannot be legislated by rules and regulations.

       However, guidelines are needed. 

       What is the difference between rules and guidelines?

       Determining Authority in Making Decisions

Word specifically states something—no doubt about the authority  to enforce it.

       Recognized congregational leaders can determine policies for the church which help everyone to carry out God’s general commands (Hebrews 13:17).

       Giving advice—this area is not “binding” and Hebrews 13:17 is not the text for it.

       More on Giving Advice

Advice for those on staff is often (but not always) binding, because an employer/employee type of relationship is involved.

       Although advice generally may not be binding, our attitudes must lead us strongly toward agreement, not toward differences.

       Practicals in Giving Advice

Giving advice is teaching another to think like Jesus, not thinking for him.

       How can we not follow advice without being independent and/or rebellious?

       What is our response when the advice we give is not followed?

       Practicals (continued) 

Are you comfortable giving someone you disciple or otherwise lead the right of appeal  (to a higher leader)?

       What is the correct way to handle such an appeal if you are the one leading?  If you are the one being led?

       Overall, just how binding do you think your advice should be?

       No Room for Examples Which Destroy  (vv13-23) 

Your example causes some to stumble (not simply grumble - Jesus’ example).

       The one caused to stumble was a young Christian with an untrained conscience in certain areas, not an older, cranky  legalist.

       The way a weak brother was caused to stumble was in following the example of another in doing what his own conscience would not allow (1 Corinthians 8).

       Conscience Issues

Be willing to forfeit your “rights” in order to help younger Christians.  (Consider Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9.)

       Do not violate your own conscience (vv22-23).  Consciences can be changed, but not violated during the process. 

       (In what areas of conscience do you walk close to the line?)

       How To Build Family (Romans 15-16) 

God’s family is unified (15:1-14).

      Unified in pleasing our brother (vv1-4).

      Unified with both mouth and heart (vv5-6).

      Unified in acceptance (vv7-14).

      The issue is still the Jew/Gentile relationship (vv8-12).

      We are “competent to counsel” one another (v14).   What does this mean?

       God’s Family Has a Mission (15:15-33) 

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles (vv15-24)—the mission of evangelism.

       Godly ambition is always right (v20); worldly ambition is always wrong; having no ambition is also always wrong (discuss that one - we can be too afraid of ambition and too often associate it with pride).

       God’s Family Has Intimate Relationships (16:1-27) 

Look at the list of people and the very personal things said.

      Would you like to have some of these things said about  you?

      Do you create these kind of relationships in the church?

      Do you verbalize such terms of endearment?

      What can you do to better pull people in emotionally?

       Destroying Relationships Cannot Be Allowed  (vv17-20) 

In this passage, Paul does not state that the divisive false teachers are in the fellowship of the church, nor that they are to be excluded from such. 

       Neither does he mention any action to be taken in reaching out to them, or warning them.

       Therefore, he apparently left this issue somewhat undefined in order to allow the directions in the passage to be applied as needed - to anyone causing divisions and putting obstacles in the way of Christians.

       Handling False Teachers

The passage will fit a member of the church who becomes destructive to the faith of others, a former member who is destructive, or even a total outsider.

       The focus is not specifically on the identity of the sinful person, but rather on the damage he is causing - which cannot be neglected. Divisive teaching is smooth and subtle.   (How do we tell if it is divisive?)

       Final Thoughts

Paul closes out his letter with a focus on evangelism  (vv25-27). 

      Like the God of all grace of whom he wrote, this apostle of grace never lost sight of the mission. 

      Seeking and saving the lost is the only possible response of love for the disciple who understands both the damning nature of sin and the loving nature of God.


Romans Lesson 7: Relationships and Submission: Romans 12 & 13

posted Sep 13, 2014, 1:04 AM by Media Ministry   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 4:36 PM ]




A Religion of Relationships (Romans 12) 

In vv1-2, he describes what it means to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength.

       In vv3-8, he describes how to love (view) ourselves.

       In vv9-21, he describes what it means to love our neighbors (in the church and out of the church).

 Our Relationship with God (vv1-2)

(vv1-2) Our motivation:  God’s mercies.

       Our worship:  Living sacrifices (7/24 disciples); reason, not ritual.

       Our focus in this relationship.

      We are transformed, not conformed (metamorphoo -- to change to another form. See Matthew 17:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18).

      We are able to discern his will for us - understand our gifts and roles in the body.

Our Relationship with Ourselves (vv3-8) 

Humility (v3) is a matter of seeing ourselves soberly (literally, to be in one's right mind) - who are we really?

       Function (vv4-5) -- we have different roles in the body to meet other’s needs.

       Gifts (vv6-8) are mentioned to demonstrate the view we are to have toward ourselves.

What About These Gifts? 

Except for prophecy, natural or non-miraculous gifts. 

       They have been called genetic and environmental gifts.

       We are born with talents or capabilities, and our environment has served to help develop them.

More About the Gifts 

Gifts of the whole body reveal Christ.

      Compare Col. 2:9 with Ephesians 1:22-23.

      Just as Christ revealed the fullness of God, the church reveals the fullness of Christ!

       Difference between gifts and responsibilities is important.

       Let him use his gifts -- use yours and others discover and use theirs! (NOTE: the NIV 2011 gives the charge to the gifted to use their gifts.)

A Final Thought About Gifts

Some gifts are more “up front” gifts, and other are more “behind the scenes.”

       Which type are we most impressed with?

       Which type is God most impressed with?

       God’s answer:  the ones most connected to character (which are not the “up front” gifts, by the way).

Our Relationship with Other Christians (vv9-16) 

Sincere love.

       Zeal spreads--stay fired up (v11).

       Joy, patience, prayerfulness, and hospitality are demonstrations of love for others (vv12-13).

       Righteous responses when hurt by others is vital (v14).

       Harmony is the atmosphere (vv15-16).

Our Relationship With Our Enemies (vv17-21) 

Do not seek retaliation (let them win their “be ugly” contests!).

       Do set an absolutely pure example.

       Make peace your goal (not “winning”) with everyone, even those who test your patience and heart most!

       Serve your enemies in every way.

       Trust God with the outcome!

  A Religion of Submission  (Romans 13)

Disciples are submissive in a number of different areas:

      To Christ (Ephesians 5:24).

      To each other (Ephesians 5:21).

      To leaders in the church (Hebrews 13:17).

      To masters, employers (Ephesians 6:5-9).

      Wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24).

      Children to parents (Ephesians 6:1-4).

      To leaders in government (Rom. 13:1-7).

Submission to Government (vv1-7)

  • – •It is commanded by God (even with Nero in power). 
  • •It is a reasonable response. 
  • –God established governmental authority (the concept, not a specific type - vv1-2). 
  • –Rulers protect society (vv3-4). 
  • •By punishing wrongdoers. 
  • •By rewarding those who do good. 
  • •“Bear the sword” v4 = capital punishment.
Submission to Government (continued) 

Because of our conscience (v5) - the violation of laws also violates our conscience.

       It is a responsibility (vv6-7).

      To pay taxes.

      To respect officials.

       Never speak evil of them (Titus 3:1-2).

       Always pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

       NOTE:  only exception--Acts 5:29.

Submission to Each Other in Love (vv8-10)

(vv8-10) Don’t build up worldly debts.

       Do stay in debt to love the brothers.

       Love fulfills all of the other one another commands.

      Love for God is our primary motivation to serve him (Matthew 22:36-40).

      Love for others is our highest obligation in human relationships.

      1 Cor. 13:4-7 = Say Jesus’ name, & yours!

Submission to Righteous Living (vv11-14)

(vv11-14) Wake up! -- You are closer to death and judgment than ever before.

       Eradicating sin is but one part of righteousness (see Matthew 12:43-45).

       Being clothed with Christ starts at baptism (Galatians 3:27), but continues daily (Romans 13:14).


Romans Lesson 6: Most Jews Chose Rejection: Romans 9-11

posted Sep 13, 2014, 12:25 AM by Media Ministry   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 4:35 PM ]




What Happened to Israel? 

God Has the Right to Make a Choice (9:1-29)

– Some of Paul’s “groaning” in 8:23 is shown here.

– God had always made choices, of which these Jews were well aware.

– He is the potter and can do what he wants with the clay (but see 2 Tim. 2:20-21).

Israel Made the Wrong Choice (9:30-10:21)

 The cross exposed their hearts (9:30-33). 

• Their zeal for God was misdirected (10:1-4).

• Righteousness is readily available (10:5-15).

• Israel’s rejection & Gentile acceptance-- a matter of OT prophecy (vv16-21).

Israel’s Choice Is Not Irreversible (11:1-36) 

Only a remnant of Israel had ever made the right choices (vv1-10). 

• How God intended to use even their wrong choices (vv11-24).

• The motivation and opportunities for future choices (vv25-36).

• All Israel Will Be Saved 

The word “so” in v26 is from the Greek houtos, an adverb of manner, meaning “in this way.” 

• In this way refers back to the envy-provoking process mentioned in vv13-14. (Paul refers to the same idea again in v31).

• “All” is potential (John 12:32; 13:35).

• Some think Paul is referring to spiritual Israel, the church (Galatians 6:16), but that doesn’t seem to be the context.

Romans Lesson 5: No Condemnation in Christ: Romans 8

posted Sep 12, 2014, 11:50 PM by Media Ministry   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 4:00 PM ]




Delivered From the Law of Sin and Death (vv1-8) 

What are the laws in these verses?

• What does it mean to be “in Christ?”

– We are baptized into that relationship (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13).

– We maintain it by walking faithfully in the light of God’s Word (1 John 1:5-10).

– We lose it only by allowing sin to become full-grown heart and life (James 1:13-15).

We Have the Holy Spirit (vv9-17) 

He indwells us (Acts 2:38; Galatians 4:6)

• He is our seal (Ephesians 1:13)

• He is our deposit (Ephesians 1:14)

• He strengthens us (Ephesians 3:14-21)

• He aids us in godly living (Galatians 5:16-26)

• He intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26-27)

• He acts providentially (Matthew 4:1)

We Have the Hope of Resurrection (vv18-25) 

Hope changes our view of suffering.

• What is the “creation” here?

– Mankind generally (but verse 19)

– Church as new creation (but vv19, 22-23)

– Physical creation (see Psalms 96:11-13; 98:7-9)

• Verse 23: groaning inwardly shows the imperfection of this life, even in Christ.

We Have the Perfect Providence of God (vv26-30) 

Verses 28-30: Key lessons

– Not all things are good, but work for good.

– Goal is not happiness, but Christlikeness.

• Predestination issue: tie together 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Matthew 22:1-14.

• Foreknowledge is a fact (Acts 2:23).

We Have the Absolute Assurance of God’s Love (vv31-39) 

With God on our side, nothing else really matters (vv31-34).

• To the disciple who holds on to God, nothing in this life, no matter how bad, will ever separate him from the love of Christ (vv35-39).

• “The Advocate” illustration (a modern-day parable)

Romans Lesson 4: Dead to Sin: Romans 6 & 7

posted Sep 12, 2014, 9:09 PM by Media Ministry   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 3:04 PM ]




Dead to Sin -- the Reality of It (Romans 6:1-7)

•Does grace produce a light view of sin?
•Me and my earthly father in his old age.
•Much forgiveness = much love (Luke 7:36-50)
•Grace is designed to help us grow stronger in our battle against sin (2 Timothy 2:1)

Death to Sin in Baptism

•There is but one acceptable baptism to God (Ephesians 4:4-6).
•The JW’s have a lot right about the one Lord, but they don’t believe in the one Lord of the Scripture.
•Three questions: What? Who? Why?
•Is baptism a work? (Can it be that?)

Dead to Sin - the Conviction Behind It (Romans 6:8-14)

•Verses 8-10: one time for all time death (Jesus and us).
•Verse 11: Consider yourself dead to sin.
•Verses 12-13: Feed the right dog!
•Verse 14: Not under law (but in another sense, we are under law -- 1 Corinthians 9:20-21.

Dead to Sin - the Righteous Life Following It (Romans 6:15-23)

•Verses 15-18: Whose slave are you?
•Note the progression in verse 17.
•Verses 19-23: No one can stay the same.
•How do you view your past? (verse 21)
•Paul’s example--1 Corinthians 15:10 and 1 Timothy 1:15-16.

Dead to Sin - the Freedom From Legalism Behind It (Romans 7:1-25)

•Dead to law - It’s official (vv1-6).
•Dead to law - It’s essential (vv7-13).
•Dead to law - It’s paradoxical (vv14-25).
–We are not saved by works (Ephesians 2:8-9), yet we are not saved without works (James 2:14-26).
–We cannot work to earn our salvation, yet we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling! (Philippians 2:12)

Will Somebody Help the Two of Me? Romans 7:14-25

•Who is being described here?
–Paul as a Christian?
–Paul as a Jew?
–Why first person used if not the former?
•Do you feel this tension? Often? When?
•It should not be descriptive of the life of a disciple.

Sustained Frustration is Not What the Bible Teaches

•We are under bondage to Christ, not to sin (Romans 6:16)
•We sin, but we do not practice sin (1 John 3:7-9).
•Christ dwells in us, not sin (Galatians 2:20).
•We can follow through in faithful obedience with God’s power (1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13).

Frustration (continued)

•Although there is a struggle between flesh and spirit (Galatians 5:17), the Spirit wins (1 Corinthians 4:16-17; 11:1; Philippians 3:15-17; 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
•The law of the Spirit frees us from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
•We are filled with rejoicing (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16), not with the kind of frustration and failure described in this chapter!

Romans Lesson 3: The Concept and Price of Redemption

posted Sep 12, 2014, 8:25 PM by Media Ministry   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 2:56 PM ]




The Concept in Capsule Form (3:21-31)

•The place of faith (vv21-23).
•The place of grace (vv24-26).
–Justified freely in v24 (from dikaios, a legal term).
–Redeemed in v24 (bought back from the slavery of sin -- 1 Peter 1:18-19).
–Based on God’s sacrifice of atonement
•(at-one-ment - being at one with God).

The Place of Law (vv27-31)

•Not saved by law keeping (performance).
•Law is upheld in faith system (verse 31)
–Its original intent of leading to Christ and the New Covenant is accomplished.
–Its design to convict of sin is also done.
–It is now used as a proper response to faith.

Law and Faith

•Can be used as instrument to express trust in self or in God.
•If use it wrongly, sinless perfection demanded (Galatians 3:6-12).
•If used correctly, humility and dependence on God is produced.
•We are not under law (Romans 6:14), but we are under law (1 Corinthians 9:21). (not as a means of earning salvation, but of expressing true faith)

Abraham Saved By Faith (Romans 4)

•Justified by faith, not works (vv1-8).
–Works of faith and works of law definitions.
–James 2:21-24 and Genesis 15:6.
•Justification and sanctification difference? (See 1 Corinthians 6:11.)
•Who is the person in Romans 4:8? (1 John 1:5-10; Romans 8:1; James 1:13-15).

When Was Abraham Justified? (verses 9-15)

•We don’t really know for sure -- he is introduced as a faithful follower of God (Hebrews 11:8; Acts 7:2-4).
•Abraham clearly was justified long before he was circumcised - thus, he was not justified by virtue of being a Jew and not by virtue of law-keeping.
•Original justification is not the issue here.

Abraham is the Ultimate Example (vv16-25)

•He was to be father of the physically circumcised and spiritually circumcised.
•He faced the facts and then faithed the facts!
–Faith for the disciple is not realism, nor is it simply the worldly quality of optimism.
–It is idealism - the childlike (Matthew 18:3) decision to believe that our future really is as bright as the promises of God!

Grace/Faith Salvation Demanded a Cross (Romans 5)

•The results of our justification (vv1-2).
•The growth in justification (vv3-5).
–Compare with James 1:2-4.
–Compare with Hebrews 12:4-15.
–Compare with Jesus in Hebrews 5:7-10.
•The basis of our justification (vv6-11).
–The death of Jesus for the ungodly.
–The life of Jesus for the reconciled.

The Power that Brought Justification (vv12-21)

•Original Sin Concept -- the idea that babies are born guilty of Adam’s sin.
•Original Choice Concept -- the idea that Adam introduced sin into the world, Jesus righteousness, and we choose.
•Original Consequence Concept -- the idea that we die physically because of Adam and spiritually due to our sins.

Consequences of Other’s Sins

•Compare Exodus 20:4-6 with Ezekiel 18:20 (consequence & guilt difference)
•Hebrews 7:9-10 shows the concept.
•See 1 Corinthians 15:20-22.
•The Jews evidently had trouble admitting that one man (Christ) could affect all of mankind (but they forgot Adam).

Basic Interpretation of Text

•Involuntary participation (no choice)
–Verses 12-14: we die because of Adam.
–Verses 15-17 form a parenthetical explanation of how Christ more than offset what Adam did to mankind.
–Verses 18-19 pick back up the basic argument.
–See John 5:28-29.

Voluntary Participation (a Choice is Ours to Make)

•Verses 15-17: The “much more,” the “gift,” and “God’s abundant provision of grace” refer to spiritual salvation which must be personally accepted.
•Verses 20-21: The “increased” sin refers to our own sins which bring spiritual death (but can be forgiven).

Other “Born in Sin” Proof-texts

•Psalm 51:5: the context points in the opposite direction.
•See Psalm 22:9; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 71:6 for other similar passages using hyperbole (overstatement to emphasize a point -- man’s sinful choices in this case)

Romans Lesson 2: The World Under the Wrath of a Mighty God!

posted Sep 12, 2014, 5:48 PM by Media Ministry   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 2:26 PM ]




The Best of Us Is a Mess! Romans 1:18-3:20

No good news until we face the bad!

• Spirit’s first job: John 16:7-8; Acts 2:36-40; Acts 24:25.

• Message is not “How can a loving God send people to hell?” but “How can a just God do anything else!”

• Who do we feel for: man or God?

Gentiles Are in Sin (1:18-32) 

Man is accountable to God:

– By voice of conscience (see verse 32).

– By voice of creation (Psalm 19:1-4).

• Man’s view of God & sin’s progression:

– Loss of gratitude (verse 21).

– Humanism reigns supreme!

– Sexual immorality accepted (v24).

– Sexual perversion comes next (vv26-27).

– Depravity in mind and behavior (vv28-32).

The Jews Are In Sin (2:1-29)

 Subtle sins & self righteousness (vv1-4).

• Partiality expected (vv5-16), but the reverse is true (Luke 12:47-48)!

• Gentiles had only moral law, while Jews had revealed law.

• By contrast, some Gentiles were more faithful with what they had than were the Jews.

Moral and Revealed Law

Moral laws are self-evident, based on the nature of God Himself.

• Other laws are not self-evident, based only on the revelation of God.

• Some things are true because they are in the Bible, while others in are the Bible because they are true!

• Which are easiest to accept and obey?

• Why are people lost? (life jacket)

• Hypocrisy and its Dangers

Knowledge without practice is self-deceptive.

• It turns others away from God (v24).

• Creates trust in man not God (vv25-29).

– They trusted circumcision (do we trust baptism in the same way?)

– Circumcision of heart always demanded (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Col. 2:11-12.)

Whole Human Race Under Condemnation (3:1-20) 

Those with Word should have done better.

• Critics have problems with grace (3:5-8; 6:1-2). (Any truth to their charge?)

• Sin equals “missing the mark.”

– Jesus is the mark (how are we doing?).

– Sins of commission, omission and biblical repentance.

Romans Lesson 1:An Introduction

posted Sep 12, 2014, 5:21 PM by Media Ministry   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 2:20 PM ]




Romans 1:1-17

•Motivation: the key issue!
•How we view God and think he views us is the bottom line.
•A balanced view of these things is paramount – Romans 11:22
•Where does our view of God come from?

The Nature of God

•In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word for God is Elohim – a plural word. Genesis 1.26 says, “Let us make man in our image,” again the plural usage. Elohim is used throughout the creation account of Genesis 1:1-2:3.
•Verses stating that God is “one” use the Hebrew word achid. The term, yachid, means “unique, the only one of its kind."
•Achid is found in passages like Genesis 2:24: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Achid obviously can be used to express a unity that is compound in nature.

How Do You View God?

•Since the Triune God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, how do you picture God most naturally?
•Does it matter?
•If you answered yes, why?
•Helpful hints.

Background Issues in Romans

•The conflict between Jews and Gentiles
•Jewish misconceptions over basis of salvation.
–They confused physical election as a nation with spiritual election as individuals.
–Thought they were good enough to be saved. (See Luke 18:9-14.)

Threat of Legalism is Real

•“Beginning with the Spirit” at baptism (trusting grace) but afterwards “trying to attain your goal by human effort” (trusting works) - Galatians 3:3.
•Trust in externals rather than internals leads rapidly to legalism.
•Judaism in the captivity period led to problems -- Why? (see John 5:29).

Purposes of the Law

•Positive purposes:
–Basis of fellowship with God.
–Typology and religious nomenclature.
–Prophecies about the Messiah.
–Examples for future generations (1 Corinthians 10; Hebrews; etc.)
–Civil legislation to govern a nation.

Negative Purposes of the Law

•Designed to restrain sin and keep people separate from other nations.
•Increased sin by numerous statutes and be raising desire to sin (5:20; 7:7-8).
•Galatians 3:22 -- law made the whole world a prisoner of sin, in order that we might seek a Savior.

Negative Views of the Law

•How to view the OT became one of the biggest discussions in theology.
•See John 1:17 and Galatians 3:10-12.
•The OT (along with terms like “law” and “commands”) has often been seen as overly negative, without regard for biblical and historical context.
•The NT has often been viewed in an opposite extreme -- grace only.

OT Salvation: Grace through Faith

•Grace is God’s part, based on cross.
–Romans 3:25-26 and Hebrews 9:15 tell us that faithful people before the cross were saved by the cross, because it was a reality in the mind of God before it ever occurred (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:20).
–Time means nothing to God (2 Peter 3:8).
–Practical & Legal aspects (Hebrews 11:39-40)

Faith is Man’s Part

•Hebrews 11:6: three components of a saving faith.
–Belief (of the facts of the Bible)
–Trust (of the promises of the Bible)
–Obedience (to the command of the Bible).
•Simply stated -- just taking God at his Word.

Basis and Conditions Distinction (vital)

•God’s part (grace) is the true foundation or basis of forgiveness.
•Man’s part (faith) is only a condition of accepting this mercy.
•The former actually merits forgiveness, and the latter simply accepts it.
•This understanding keeps us God-reliant rather than self-reliant.

Do We Really Get It?

•Faith must focus on trusting the ground of forgiveness (grace, the cross), not in our response to the graceful conditions of God.
•This is true whether the condition was an animal sacrifice in the OT or a response specified in the NT.
•Neither action earns salvation, but gratefully accepts it (Psalm 51:16-19).

Attitudes Are Everything!

•Trust in self (our level of performance) leads God to then demand perfection of us (Galatians 3:10-12).
•Trust in God’s favor allows him to accept our faithfulness in place of perfection (Romans 1:17).
•Difference in legalism and faithfulness is what we are thinking while doing!

A Practical Illustration

•How did you feel right after you were baptized?
•We began with repentance and baptism, but we continue with repentance and prayer -- 1 John 1:7-9.
•Question: Do we feel as forgiven now as when we were just baptized?
•If not, why?

The Value of Romans

•Correct Motivation
–Fear of God valid (Proverbs 1:7)
–Hope of eternal reward (Revelation 21:3-4)
–Christian fellowship (John 13:34-35)
–Desire for purpose in life (leadership goal can be deceptive -- comment “he would fall away if not on Staff.”)
–Gratitude for God’s grace the only motivation that will sustain us for a lifetime.

Unconditional Love

•God does not say “measure up and I’ll accept you” (for no one ever measures up).
•Rather, he says, “I’ll accept you in Christ, and now you and I will walk and work together in my strength!”
•Difference between desire and duty; delight and drudgery; heart-deep and not simply habit-deep religion!

Become Evangelistic, Not Just Do It (Romans 1:11-17)

•Verse 13 - Paul lived to bring in a harvest.
•Verse 14 - He was deeply obligated to share. (Cure for spiritual cancer found!)
• Verse 15 - Paul was eager to preach.
•Verse 16 - He was unashamed of the only lasting good news in the world.
•Verse 17 - His righteousness came from God, not his own deeds.

Theme of Romans: 1:16-17

•Gospel full of power (dunamis).
•Saving grace & strengthening grace.
•Quote from Habbakuk 2:4.
–Read Habbakuk 3:17-18 for context -- all about trusting God no matter what.
–Faith only? (Fine, with the right definition.)
•Paul, the apostle of the “heart set free.”

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