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Sunday Recap for 01.06.18 Romans 1.1-17 – What is the Link Between Faith and the End of Shame?

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Sunday, January 6, 2019, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Romans 1.1-17:

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

From those verses, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question: What is the link between faith and the end of shame?

And we found these three points from that question:

Grace and Someone to Proclaim It
Mutual Encouragement
The Power of the Gospel

Grace and Someone to Proclaim It

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul introduces us to four people in this passage, and each is set apart for a specific purpose.

Paul is specifically set apart for the mission of proclaiming Jesus.
Jesus is specifically set apart as the one that would fulfill all the scriptures.
We have been specifically set apart by grace and the obedience of faith.
The church of Rome has been specifically set apart and called to be saints.

Paul intends to emphasize that God orchestrates and sets apart His intentions and work in the world. God is doing all this work on His own. He is setting apart an apostle, a Savior, a church in that day, and the church in this day. Having made his introductions, Paul says,

Mutual Encouragement

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

I read this passage, and I get so jealous. Paul is thanking the people of the church of Rome because their faith in Jesus is so great that people are talking about it all over the world. I would love a letter that said, “Evident Grace’s faith is proclaimed in all of Fredericksburg.”

The church in Rome was living out their faith which such boldness that it their Godly reputation was traveling across the world. And remember, there was not texting, no Facebook, no newspaper. These folks are getting it done for the kingdom to such an extent that by mere word of mouth alone, the world is hearing about it. How do they do it? Simple. Simple words of encouragement.

The Power of the Gospel

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 

The Gospel of Jesus is our one hope, our one power. It is the power of change and the power for us to walk out of shame. How do we tap into that power? Only by believing and having faith in what Jesus has done.

Big Picture Question: What is the link between faith and the end of shame?

Grace and Someone to Proclaim It
Mutual Encouragement
The Power of the Gospel

Truth: The power of the gospel of grace conquers sin and shame as the church mutually encourages each other.

Application: Live knowing that you are equipped with everything that is needed to conquer your shame.

Action: Impart a spiritual gift of encouragement to someone new this week.

Sunday Recap for 12.30.18 – A New Year

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Sunday, December 30, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Ephesians 4:17-24:

Ephesians 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

We used this quote to guide us in our sermon.

“To live a life of sustainable impact, you must take the long view and think in more permanent terms. This means valuing a commitment to long-term effort over short-term results and pausing as needed to take care of yourself so that you don’t burn out before you’ve had the chance to see your vision through.” Imperfect Courage

We pursued this Big Idea and points:

Big Idea: A Godly Approach to a New Year

The Old Way of Thinking
The New Way of Learning
A Season of Renewal

The Old Way of Thinking

Ephesians 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

Paul wants every Christian to protect themselves from slipping back into their old way of thinking – they way they thought before knowing Christ. The Christian doesn’t have a futile mind. We aren’t darkened in our understanding. We are not alienated form God. Our hearts are not hardened. As we approach the New Year, these are good things to protect our hearts from. We can’t give in to thinking and living as we once did.

The New Way of Learning

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

The new way of learning of the believer is that we must learn Christ. We learn Christ by putting off all the sins that once held us down. As we approach the New Year, we should recognize that we are now gifted to cast off all the sins of our old self and live in a new manner of life. This will lead to…

A Season of Renewal

23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

This coming year can be a season of renewal. We aren’t hopeless or helpless.

Big Idea: A Godly Approach to a New Year

The Old Way of Thinking
The New Way of Learning
A Season of Renewal

Truth: God calls you to a continual and enabled life transformation that displays the work of Christ in your life.

Application: Live knowing that God’s desire in the new year is to transform you more and more into the likeness of Christ.

Action: Renew your mind in Christ this year. It’s not a resolution. It’s a commandment.

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 12.23.18

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Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

We pursued this Big Idea and these three points:

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.

Jesus conquers shame.

Shame is about power
Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria

Caesar Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. He took the throne over Rome by defeating Marc Antony in a bloody battle in 31BC. In the background of this story is the famous story of Antony and Cleopatra. Antony was part of the ruling triumvirate. However he became infatuated with Egypt’s queen Cleopatra. When Antony became more concerned with Cleopatra than well-being of Rome, Caesar Augustus moved in.

When he took the throne, he mellowed becoming less bloody. He passed a lot of moral laws and proclaimed that he had brought justice and peace to the whole world. He then declared his Father, Julius Caesar to be divine thus making himself the Son of God. Poets wrote songs declaring him the savior of the world. He once issued this gospel: “Divine Caesar Augustus, son of God, imperator of land and sea, the benefactor and savior of the whole world, has brought you peace”

Caesar was about exercising his power and controlling people. That is the fertile ground for shame. Psychologist, Dr. Robin Smith, spoke about the power of having power over someone. She said, “I will define who you are and then I’ll make you believe that’s your definition.”

So how do we define ourselves?

By power over us?
By ourselves?
By our creator? Our designer.

The only way to for 1 and 2 not to make a problem, even when trusting 3 is to trust and pursue the scriptures.

Shame is not hopeless

3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Both Mary and Joseph had received messages from God about the birth of Jesus. Mary in Luke and Josephs in Matthew. So, the census causing them to go to Bethlehem made sense b/c Micah 5:2 said that the savior would be born there. According to Matthew, Mary and Joseph were now married, but Matthew says that they did not consummate the marriage relationship until after Jesus birth, so she could still be called his “betrothed”. I think of Mary making that journey of 90 miles. Poor woman. Amy is on bedrest and getting up is a challenge some days. I can’t imagine riding on a donkey for 90 miles.

Retuning home is about confronting shame, especially because we return home or face family. But it was not hopeless for Mary and Joseph because they were ushering in the Savior of the world.

Jesus conquers shame

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The conception was miraculous; the delivery was the normal painful birth of any delivery Wrapped him in swaddling cloths, laid him in a manger b/c there was no place in the inn You wonder why they didn’t stay with relatives? Maybe b/c Mary was a sinner? The idea of inn was a two story building. Sort of like a beach house. The second floor was where the people stayed and the first was where the animals were kept. This is probably where they stayed. As we know, the manger was a feeding trough for animals. Can you imagine? I remember how paranoid we were with our first child about germs.

In the midst of that, Jesus conquered our shame.

2 Cor. 8:9 – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.”

Jesus was born in a stable not a palace. He was laid in a manger not in cute crib or bassinette. This all spells poverty and deprivation. Allow Jesus to meet you in your most embarrassing and shame-filled moment.

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.
Jesus conquers shame.


Truth: Shame wants you to think you are powerless. You are not. Jesus took your shame, and faith in Him conquers any shame that you or anyone else tries to put on you.
Application: Live knowing that Jesus defeated all your shame and wages war constantly and vigilantly to assure you of that fact.
Action: When you have shame-filled thoughts, write them out somewhere, maybe the notes on your phone. Then, erase them letter by letter thanking Jesus for His work on the cross.
I agree with our first commentator. He says, “We must imagine that God is using ordinary, dirty spaces as extraordinary sacred places for real evangelism.”

Sunday Recap for 120918

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Sunday, December 9, 2018 Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Luke 2:1-7

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

From those verses, we pursued this Big Idea:

Big Idea: The End of Shame

With that Big Idea, we looked at these three causes of shame:

Unkept Promises
Lack of Compassion
Humiliation

Cause of Shame: Unkept Promises
The End of Shame: God Keeps His Promises

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

In the midst of suffering from an unmerciful Caesar who demanded his subjects to declare, “Caesar is Lord”, Mary and Joseph trudged home to be counted. In the midst of this, God uses the actions of this dictator to bring about the fulfillment of His promises from Isaiah 9 that a savior would born in Bethlehem.

Unkept promises from loved one and people in authority cause shame. Our unkept promises cause shame. God keeping his breaks that cycle. As we approach God, God doesn’t need our promises because we will break them. God needs our brokenness and need.

Cause of Shame: Lack of Compassion
The End of Shame: A Sympathetic Savior

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

The humanity of Jesus is important. In fact, owning his humanity as much as His deity is essential to our salvation. I think we lose an appreciation for His humanity but His humanness is as important as His deity. But we know from the scriptures that he was born, he grew, he got thirsty, he got tired, he got hungry. We need Jesus to be human. We need the compassion of a Savior who knows our every hurt, our every broken place.

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Gregory of Nazianzus, the theologian who helped us understand the Trinity better than any other said this, “That which he has not assumed he has not healed.”

When we feel we lack this compassionate presence, we despair.

“We believe the most terrifying and destructive feeling that a person can experience is psychological isolation. This is not the same as being alone. It is a feeling that one is locked out of the possibility of human connection and of being powerless to change the situation. In the extreme, psychological isolation can lead to a sense of hopelessness and desperation. People will do almost anything to escape this combination of condemned isolation and powerlessness.” Brene Brown

Cause of Shame: Humiliation
The End of Shame: A Man of Sorrows

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

No family or friends to take them in. Their child born in a stable. A scandalous reputation that they didn’t deserve. Homeless. Seemingly helpless. Your Savior endured this humiliation so that He may exalt you out of yours.

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Unkept Promises
Lack of Compassion
Humiliation

Truth: The lowly birth of Jesus is evidence that God keeps His promise to remove our shame.

Application: Live knowing that Jesus redeemed every discompassionate, humiliating, unkept promise that you have ever experienced.

Action: Ponder the end of your shame.

Evident Grace Reverse Advent Effort

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EG Family and the Surrounding Community,

This past Sunday, our deacons announced our December “Reverse Advent” effort.

As you will see in the attached image, we are collecting canned and dried goods to replenish the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank. Often, local food banks are drained post-Christmas because of the demand and the decreased giving post-holiday season. We want to help eliminate their upcoming need.

Our desire is to bring all the food collected to our December 23rd worship service, place food up front, and pray for the families who will receive it. The YMCA will then connect with the Food Bank for a pickup following our service.

If you can’t make the 23rd service, we will let you now where the YMCA would like for us to store it until then. We will let you know that information as soon as we know it.

What we would like prior to the 23rd is to know how many families are participating. If you plan on participating, could you simply email Amy Duncan at [email protected] to let her know? Don’t worry; if you forget to email her, we can still accept the donations on the 23rd, but we would like to know how many families are participating.

Thanks so much in advance for caring for and serving these families.

Pastor Gordon

Sunday Recap for 12.02.18 The End of Shame

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Sunday, December 2, 2018, Evident Grace looked at Isaiah 9:1-7:

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

We used these verses to pursue our study of how Jesus’ advent means the end of shame. Understanding shame is so important.

“The less we understand shame and how it affects our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, the more power it exerts over our lives. However, if we can find the courage to talk about shame and the compassion to listen, we can change the way we live, love, parent, work, and build relationships.” Brene Brown

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

The context of our passage:

Isaiah 8:22 They will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Contempt

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

Contempt is the disease of sin and shame. Contempt is what continues when we have ongoing shame that isn’t removed. This was the state of Israel and our state when shame remains.

Darkness

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder

The promise of the removal of shame comes in the form of the birth of Jesus. The birth of Jesus would lead the people out of the darkness. Instead of shame, there will be an increase of joy as the harvest. There will be an increase of gladness. The burden of oppressors will be removed and replaced with the light yoke of Jesus. Their war will come to an end, and it will be replaced with the government of Jesus whose reign will know no end.

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. Brene Bown

Peace

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Jesus will usher in a time of peace and will be our wonderful, non-shaming, counselor. His peace and government will know no end. And God is eager to do this on our behalf.

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

Truth: Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, and our Prince of Peace. He alone can remove our contempt and shame. He alone gives us peace.

Application: Live knowing that there is hope for your shame, and it is found only in the person of Jesus.

Action: Jesus despises shame. He took yours for you. Pray that God would help you believe this. Pray that God protect you from adding to the shame that Jesus removed.

Practical verses to live this out.

Jesus 12:2 Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Sunday Recap for 11.25.18 Introduction to the Book of Romans

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Introduction to the Book of Romans

James Montgomery Boice: “We cling to man-centered, need-oriented teaching. And our churches show it! They are successful in worldly terms – big buildings, big budgets, big everything – but they suffer a poverty of the soul. All this means, in my judgment at least, that it is time to get back to the basic, life-transforming doctrines of Christianity – which is to say that is time to rediscover Romans.” 10th Pres Massive Church

Swiss theologian Frederick Godet: “Every great spiritual revival in the church will be connected as effect and cause with a deeper understanding of this book.”

Martin Luther: “I had no love for that holy and just God who punished sinners. I was filled with secret anger against him. I hated him because he was not content with frightening (by the law and the miseries of life) us wretched sinners. Already ruined by original sin, he still further increased our tortures by the Gospel.

But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood the words – when I learned how the justification of the sinner proceeds from the free mercy of our Lord through faith, then I felt born again like a new man. In very truth, this language of Paul (in Romans) was to me the true gate of paradise.”

Provenance:

Was the church of a church plant or an established church? Well, they were a lot like us, maybe a bit older but not too young.

When Paul wrote this epistle to the church in Rome, that congregation must have already been in existence for a number of years, for Paul writes that he had desired to visit them “these many years” (15:23).

To him this church was strong enough to help him carry out further missionary activities. They are not called recent converts; they are not treated as having been improperly instructed, but seem to have been an organized and well-grounded congregation (15:14, “filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another”).

The epistle deals with no major error in the church; nor does it have to deal with organizational principles. It was a church that was universally famous (1:8), and not merely because it was in Rome.

The Roman church was a group that had a large Jewish element, but was also filled with Gentile converts from paganism, both free as well as slaves. How the church in Rome was started is unclear. The Roman Catholic view is that Peter founded it; another view is that Roman Christians from Pentecost in Jerusalem made their way there. But it may simply be that several Christian families or groups from Pauline churches in the East settled in Rome and grew together.

According to the end of the book, there were several congregations meeting in the city. At the outbreak of Neronian persecutions, Tacitus says that the Christians in Rome were “an immense multitude.”

Based on the material from Acts and the Corinthian epistles, the Book of Romans clearly indicates that it was written from Corinth on Paul’s third missionary journey.

Paul had never visited Rome; but after fulfilling his mission of mercy to Jerusalem, he hoped to go to Rome en route to Spain (Rom. 15:23-25).

At any rate, the date of the book is probably 60 A.D.
One generation after the resurrection of Jesus and Pentecost.
4 years prior to Nero’s persecution of the church.
10 years before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.

Outline

I. The Revelation of Righteousness (1:1-17)
II. Justification with God (1:18—5:11)
III. Union with Christ (5:12—8:39)
IV. The Sovereign of God & His Relationship with Israel
V. Application of God’s Work (12:1—15:13)
VI. Conclusion, (15:14—16:27)

Significant Verses and Themes in the First Half of the Book

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 3:27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 07.22.18 Big Idea: God Blesses Those Who Read His Word

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Sunday, July 22, 2018, Evident Grace looked at Psalm 1:

Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers. 

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

From those verses, we pursued this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  God’s word gives fruit, prosperity, and rest.

Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

God promises blessings to any who do not sit in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.  Instead, God blesses those who delight in the law of the Lord.  Essentially, God is calling us away from the counsel of those who do not know Him and promises to bless us when we seek counsel from Him.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.

The blessings of delighting in God’s law is similar to a tree planted by a stream of water.  Just as the tree has a constant source of nutrients, so a person who delights in God’s law has a constant source of blessing.

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Those who do not have a relationship with God are blown away like dry chaff  They will not stand before God as those who have great faith will.

 

Mission #1:  Studying the Scriptures is a direct avenue to receiving God’s blessings.

Mission #2:  Not studying the Scriptures is a direct avenue to being deceived by others.

Mission #3 Enjoy the Prosperity of God by hiding scriptures in your heart so that you might persevere and not whither during difficult and tempting times.

Mission #4:  Let God’s intimate knowing of you motivate you to know Him better in His scriptures.

Sunday Recap 07.15.18 Big Picture Question: What are Your Options When You are Bitter?

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Sunday, July 15th, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 22:

1 Samuel 22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.

20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

From those verses, we pursued this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What are your options when you are bitter?

We found these three answers to that question:

Gather in a Community of Hope

Inflict Pain and Isolate

Take Responsibility

Gather in a community for hope

1 Samuel 22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. 3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

David is on the run from King Saul.  He seeks shelter in a cave, and everyone else in the area who was also distressed joined him.  He has people who have been hurt by others, and he has people who are responsible for their own problems (debt).  They gather together under David’s leadership.  This is one hopeful approach to warding off bitterness – gathering together in community.

Inflict Pain and Isolate Yourself

6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.

King Saul throws a royal hissy fit.  He is upset that people don’t like him.  He is upset people like David.  He is upset that his son helps David.  When he finds out that Ahimelech helped David, he kills Ahimelech and 85 priests.

We don’t kill people when we are bitter, but we do lash out verbally to people and we seclude ourselves from them.  These things only compound bitterness instead of moving us towards healing and grace.

Take Responsibility

20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

David is responsible for the death of Ahimelech and 85 priests.  Instead of wallowing in guilt and bitterness, he takes responsibility for his actions and his sin.  Taking responsibility moves us away from bitterness.  It keeps us from going deeper and deeper in despair.

So what do we do with bitterness?

Big Picture Question:  What are your options when you are bitter? 

Truth:  Bitterness is an indication of a hardened heart and a retreat from Godly community.

Application:  Live knowing that when we take comfort in the love of Christ and shelter in a Godly community, we are able to grow in faith and avoid bitterness.

Action:  Take time this week to journal through a bitter situation.  Ask these questions:

What circumstance in your past has been the most difficult to reconcile?

What circumstance presently tempts your heart towards bitterness?

Is there a circumstance or relationship that tempts you to think that the grace of Jesus is insufficient?

Pray through Ephesians 4:25-32.

Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Sunday Recap 07.08.18 Big Idea: Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

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Sunday, July 8th, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 21:

1 Samuel 21:1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen. 8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” 12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

From those verses, we discussed the tension between our identity and the realities of our life in light of this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

From that Big Idea, we looked at these 3 points:

We struggle to trust God.

We trust our own strength

We trust our own wisdom

 

We struggle to trust God.

1 Samuel 21:1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

David is on the run from King Saul.  He is tired, lonely, homeless, and hungry.  When David arrives to Nob, the priest asks him why he is there.  David flat out lies.  He says he is on a mission from Saul and then asks for something to eat.  The priest would then allow him and feel compelled to give him whatever food was there, even if David wasn’t allowed to have it.  In David’s trials, he struggles to trust God and lies.

Why do we lie when we struggle?  We lie because we fear that the truth won’t get us what we want.  We think out lie is better than God’s truth.  We think lying will enable us to control the situation.  David doing just that.  He is hungry and on the run.  He needs food.  He lies to get it.

We trust our own strength

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.

8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

There is nothing wrong with David gaining the sword of Goliath.  It is his after all.  The problem is he uses the lie of being on the king’s business to gain it.  David is on the run.  He is lying about what he is doing, and he is trusting his own strength.

We trust our own wisdom

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”

12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

King Achish is hesitant to have David in his kingdom.  He knows David is the anointed king of Israel and he knows that Davis is a mighty warrior.  For all he knows, David might try to overthrow him.  David is aware of this, so David begins to act like a madman to avoid any conflict.  King Achish doesn’t want him around.  He says he has enough madmen already.

David again is trusting his own wisdom in his time on the run.

What is wisdom?  Well, knowledge is knowing facts, wisdom is properly applying them.  How then do we gain wisdom?  James tells us.

James 1: 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

God gladly gives wisdom to those who ask and believe that He will give it.  God doesn’t despise us for needing wisdom.  He just calls us to believe that He will grant it to us.

2 Peter 1: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,  and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

2 Peter helps us understand this wisdom that we need. As we grow in our knowledge of Jesus, His divine power gives us everything we need to live.  What we need comes from his great promises.  Once we have them, those great promises enable us to add things like self-control and steadfastness to our lives.  All of these things come from our knowing our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Big Idea:  Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

Truth:  God uses Godly people who struggle just like we do, but their struggles, along with our own, should create an affection for our Savior, Jesus.

Application:  Live knowing that your struggle to trust God is intended to make you thankful for the love of Jesus, not fearful that you will lose it.

Action:  Pray for and support your church leaders as they struggle along with you to trust Jesus.

 

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