This is the point where we no longer struggle with sin. When we're in the fullness of the presence of God and we're delivered from everything. Pointing to that verse in Revelation that says no more sickness, no more death, no more sorrow, no more pain.
All those things are passed away, everything becomes new. It's a lot to look forward to, isn't it? Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. No matter what your life brings, there's something as a believer we can all look forward to and that is the hope of heaven.
It's the destination that matters and it helps us get through our day to day lives. Find out more about this as David McGee continues his study in the book of Romans chapter 1. But before we get into today's teaching, from beginning to end, the Bible shows the special nature of God's relationship with the nation of Israel.
But what does that have to do with you today? Romans chapter 11 tells us that God's covenant relationship with Israel has huge implications for you. To help you understand more, Pastor David wants to send you his teaching video recorded in the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible and You. This powerful resource will encourage and strengthen you as you learn how connected you are with God's chosen people. Israel, the Bible and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. Visit CrossTheBridge.com to request your copy.
Again, that's CrossTheBridge.com. Now here's David McGee with his teaching, We Will Be Changed. Romans chapter 1 verse 16 says, 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. And we talked last week, we talked about these three I am's in verse 14, 15 and 16. Verse 14 says, I am a debtor to tell people about the Lord. Verse 15 says, I am ready to preach. And then verse 16 says, I am not ashamed. So we have those three I am statements, if you will.
I am a debtor. I am ready and I am not ashamed. We talked about that a little bit last week. So we need to understand there's a responsibility, everybody that comes to the Lord, ask God to forgive them of their sins. There's a responsibility for us to live a life to tell other people about Jesus and about the good news.
And I think sometimes we lose that sense of responsibility. You hear it sometimes when Christians begin to talk about how messed up the world is as if they had nothing to do with how messed up the world is. See, how messed up the world is, is a comment on how the church is doing upon reaching the world. And you know, when we ask people, they want to ask Jesus to forgive them of their sins, we give an invitation at the end. Notice that when people come forward and we're blessed they're coming forward and they're making the greatest decision they've ever made, that at that point they don't just poof, disappear. The Lord leaves them here. Why does he leave us here? Wouldn't it make it easier if when you come to the Lord and say, Jesus forgive me of my sins, Jesus will go bam, you're out of here.
No more struggling with sin, no more struggling with selfishness, no more struggling with the world. You're just out of here. But God leaves us here. Why does he leave us here?
To tell other people, to share our faith with other people. If somebody stopped you on the road and said, hey, you know, I'm lost, I'm trying to get to this place. Would you look at him and say, you know what, I'm busy, I don't have time for you, go away. Would you say that?
Hopefully not. Somebody came up to you and said, you know, I'm hungry, I haven't had anything to eat. Is there anything you can do? Hopefully you would give them something to eat. And yet, friend, every day this happens. What if somebody came up to you that was dying and you had the cure?
Own your body. At that moment in time, would you say, you know what, I'm too busy to worry about you that are dying. Now, as I say these things, certainly I hope that you go, no, no, no, I wouldn't do any of these things. And yet every day we're placed in these circumstances. So how do we reach people? How do we reach the lost? Well, we've been talking about that GPS thing, three things you can do that everybody can do is give, pray, and serve.
We can all do those things. We can all give to support the cause, missionaries, the work of the church. We can pray, you know, lifting up the name of Jesus, praying for this church, praying for the many outreaches that we're involved with and serving here to help us to reach as many people as we can while we can. So reaching people, reach and teach. Now this concept of believe, notice what the verse says.
For it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who behaves. Oh, wait a minute. That's not right.
Is that what your version says? To everyone that behaves? To everyone that acts right? That's not what it says. To everyone that believes. You have to start your relationship with God, not based upon your merit, your works, but upon a belief in Jesus.
It's as simple as that. It's been said that in the garden we quit being human beings and we became human doings. There's a lot of truth in that because a lot of us think God is interested in our goodness. But the Bible seems to point out that God's not really impressed with our goodness. As a matter of fact, we'll learn in this book, there's none righteous, no not one, all have fallen short of the glory of God.
What's He interested? First and foremost, in you changing your mind, changing your heart, and out of that outflow, if you will, your life begins to change. But it doesn't start with a change in behavior.
It starts with a change. Literally in the Greek, the word repentance is changing your mind. If you change your mind about who Jesus is and what He's done for you, your heart follows and then your life begins to change. The disciples trying to do things right came up to Jesus in John chapter 6 verse 28. Then they said to Him, what shall we do that we may work the works of God? And Jesus answered and said to them, this is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent.
It's kind of interesting, isn't it? Jesus didn't give them a to-do list. Jesus said, this is the work of God. You believe in Him whom He sent.
That's where it starts. Now some of you may remember another encounter where, and you may have heard it or may have not, where this rich young ruler comes to Jesus and says, I want to follow you. And Jesus says, go sell everything that you have and give it to the poor. Now why did Jesus give that man a to-do list?
Jesus just wanted him to get rid of what was in the way. From him truly believing. So it all starts with a belief. There's three theological terms we're going to use in our study of the book of Romans.
Let's go ahead and get a little familiar with those. One is justification, and that is I was saved. Saved from the penalties for sins in my past. In other words, the moment you come to Jesus and say, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins, boom, you are justified just as if you never did it. That's the way you can remember justification.
Just as if I never did it. Another condition of salvation, if you will, is sanctification. And that is I am being saved. Saved from the power of sin in my life today. In other words, once you start, you ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, then the power of God begins to express itself in your life.
And you find yourself wanting to do things that you didn't care about before. Many of you, I know, didn't used to go to church anywhere before you started coming here. And as you come here, it is an expression of the power of God in your life. And sometimes maybe you run into friends and you're, what are you doing? I'm going to church. You're doing what? You're going to church. Wow.
What's going on in your life? That's the power of God being worked out in your life. The third one, glorification.
Glorification. I will be saved. Saved from the presence of sin in the future. This is the point where we no longer struggle with sin. When we're in the fullness of the presence of God and we're delivered from everything. Pointing to that verse in Revelation that says no more sickness, no more death, no more sorrow, no more pain. All those things are passed away. Everything becomes new.
It's a lot to look forward to, isn't it? So, justification, sanctification, glorification, big words, simple straightforward concept. You're listening to Pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be back with more powerful insight from God's Word in just a moment. But first, God's grace and mercy is greater than any of us could ever fathom. That's why he's been so faithful to the nation of Israel throughout the ages.
And he's not finished. He's promised to remain true to them to the end. We want to show you what God's faithfulness toward Israel says about his relationship with you by sending you Pastor David's teaching video, Israel, the Bible and You. In this exciting teaching recorded in the heart of the Holy Land, Pastor David unpacks important truths from God's relationships with Israel that impact your life today. Israel, the Bible and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So, visit crossthebridge.com to request yours.
Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Now, back to today's teaching. Verse 17, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith. God is righteous.
What do we mean when we say that? We mean he is holy is another word we use. He is perfect. He is without error. God is righteous. And faith to faith and the just shall live by faith. So, in one verse we have this word faith three times. Now, the New Living Translation gives us this verse in this way. Romans 1 17 says, this good news tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the scriptures say, it is through faith that a righteous person has life.
So, again, it's pointed out that it's not through your behavior or your activities where you're forgiven. It's through an act of faith. This is a very pivotal verse, not only in the book of Romans, but also in the Bible, also in human history. Because this is the verse that really spoke to Martin Luther. Because at that time the Catholic Church was caught up in works and you have to do this to be saved. And you've got to do that to be saved. And they had started this practice of indulgence, which is actually when you give money to be forgiven of certain sins. And they actually had a menu list that if you did this, you had to pay that.
And if you paid that, you could be forgiven. Now, Martin Luther looked at that and said, gee, that doesn't seem right. And he came across this verse and it changed human history.
Now, the awesome thing, it's the same word of God, same Holy Spirit, and can change your life as much as it impacted the life of Martin Luther, if you have ears to hear. Now, it's a quote from Habakkuk, chapter 2, verse 4. This is, behold, the proudest soul is not upright in him, but the just shall live by faith. And this is the verse that started the Reformation. It's also quoted in Hebrews.
It's also quoted in Galatians. And what it's saying is we're not saved by our works. We're not saved by our good deeds. Friend, if you've ever been told that God is interested in you doing the best that you can, and hopefully at the end of your life your good outweighs your bad, that was an unbiblical teaching. That's not what the Bible says.
The Bible says if you've broken the law in one place, you've broken it in every place. And quite frankly, even if from this point forward for the rest of your life you never did anything wrong, you still have your past sins that you can't take care of. And I think most of us know that there's not a real good chance of us going through the rest of our life without sin.
So it leaves us in a place of desperation. If we can't earn it, what do we do? And see, people that still think they can earn it, that's a very frustrating life. There's many people that call themselves Christians that are trying to earn their salvation.
And they're living a very hard life. Churches are filled with them this morning. You ask people, hey, are you going to heaven? Everybody thinks they're going to heaven, at least in the south.
I was born and raised here. I mean, seriously, you ask, are you going to heaven? Oh, absolutely. Well, why are you going to heaven? Well, I go to church.
I'm basically a good person. I've kept most of the Ten Commandments. Those three reasons are all wrong according to the Bible. We're not saved by works. We're saved by faith. And that doesn't just count the day you come to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you of your sins.
That's every day you wake up. You will once again be dependent upon grace. Because once we receive grace, we think, okay, I can take it from here. I don't really need the grace every day.
Well, time out, friend. You need it every day. Every day you need the grace of God. The Bible tells us that the mercies of God are new every morning. You know why they're new every morning? You know why God gives you a fresh batch of mercy every morning?
Because you used all of yesterday's completely up. You don't have any mercy left from yesterday. You need a fresh batch of mercy. Thank you for a fresh batch of mercy. God, I was so desperate. Thank you. And then you can get on with your day. It's like that old joke.
The guy is praying. He goes, Lord, too far I've done so well. Haven't spoke ill of anybody. Haven't got angry at anybody.
Haven't gossiped about anybody. But in a minute, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed. And I'm going to need your help to get through this day. So by grace we're saved. Galatians chapter 3 verse 11 says, But that no one is justified by the law, and the sight of God is evident. Quoting this again, For the just shall live by faith.
No one is justified by the law. See, the law was given because it points out, illuminates, casts light on the fact that we sin. See, if you didn't understand the law, then you wouldn't be real clear on what sin is. And we talk about the Pharisees, and if you've read the Gospels before, you've seen the Pharisees, and the Pharisees were a religious bunch of people. And we look back and we think, well, they are all hypocritical and all, just a bunch of religious bigots or whatever. They, some of them were. But the Bible says many of the Pharisees began to follow Jesus, we see in the book of Acts. So our notion that all the Pharisees were out in left field and just religious hypocrites is wrong. Some of them were deeply committed and deeply spiritual people.
And yet Jesus turns to the disciples, and what he says must have really disturbed him, because he said this, Matthew chapter 5 verse 20. He says, For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, these Pharisees, I mean they wouldn't go into the public market for fear of touching somebody that was unclean. They wouldn't eat in some places for fear that the food was unclean. They were very devout, and yet Jesus says to the disciples, unless your righteousness exceeds those, you won't see heaven.
Maybe we should bring it into the modern day. Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of, say, a Billy Graham, there's no way that you'll be allowed into heaven. Kind of puts it in perspective, doesn't it? And so once you come to that point, you become a little more curious about how you would gain entrance into heaven. Well, the Bible tells us, Ephesians 2, 8 through 10 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Now notice the trail here. You're saved by grace, not of yourselves, not of works, because if that were true, we, you and I, would probably brag about it. Now there's people that evidently aren't familiar with this verse that feel the need to brag about their Christianity as if they've achieved a certain level that nobody else can. I got mine, you got yours?
You know, sometimes they stand at the entrance of the church. Oh, you got, oh no, you just don't look like you have yours yet. I'll pray for you. I've got mine, I earned it. God set up a system where that cannot happen. You cannot brag about it.
Why? You cannot earn it. It's grace, it's a gift.
Now follow the trail though. Saved by grace for what? Verse 10 tells us, for good works, to begin to do good things, to begin to do right things. So you don't just stop with salvation, but that power of God begins to emerge in your life.
The life lesson here though, we are saved by faith alone. It's interesting to me that Paul is writing this book, this letter to the Romans. He's not been to Rome. We've talked about that. He's not been to Rome yet.
He's writing this letter. One of the great themes of this letter is the fact that you can't earn your salvation through these things. And yet the church at Rome has engaged in these things such as indulgences, confession of your sins to a priest. Confession of your sins is tied to communion and based these forgiveness things on works, the very thing that Paul was writing about.
It's kind of ironic. So again, our faith should lead to good works. Our faith should lead to asking Jesus to forgive us and then that should lead to good works. And understand, when we talk about faith, we're talking about a strong, it's a trust. It's more than belief. If you're sitting here going, well, I believe that Jesus died for the sins.
I believe that he was really God. It's more than just belief. It's that you're trusting in that. That's the way you're gaining entrance in heaven. That's the way your sins are forgiven.
I've heard it described this way. There was a man at Niagara Falls. He walked across a tightrope across Niagara Falls all the way over, all the way back with a barrel in his back. And he gets back and he goes, hey, how many people believe I can put somebody in this barrel and do that again? And they were like, yeah, we believe it, we believe it. And then he turned to the crowd and he goes, which one of you will it be?
They're like, ooh. See, they believed he could do it, but they weren't willing to trust that he could. So that's where it comes in. It's not just, I call it a mental acquiescence or you kind of mentally give in to God that you believe these things, but that's what you're trusting in. And not just that day of salvation. Galatians chapter 3 verse 2 says, this only I want to learn from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? In other words, that day that you came to Jesus totally based upon grace, grace didn't stop there. You need grace every single day of your life after that.
And you're not going to be perfected by your own efforts, but by the power and the Spirit of God emerging in your life and beginning to change your life. Leaves us again desperate for the Spirit of God. Verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. What's happening in the next few verses is he begins to describe what happens in this slippery slope that any of us can fall down if we're not careful. The wrath of God holding back the truth.
What does this mean, suppress the truth? You know, I have cable and I watch it, openly confess in front of you all. I think that little TiVo DVR was one of the coolest things ever invented, but you know, these programs on Discover Channel, History Channel, stuff like that, I enjoy watching. I enjoy watching them, some of them that ask questions about spirituality, ask questions about Christianity, ask questions about the history of the church.
I enjoy those things. When I get disturbed is when I see that clearly there's agenda and they're not presenting well-known archaeological evidence. They're disregarding well-known historical and literary evidence in order to make their case stronger, because what are they doing? They're not wanting to engage in debate. They have an agenda. They want to lead you to a certain truth, to, oh, well, you know, Jesus actually was married to Mary and Jesus was buried in this tomb and we still have his bones or that Jesus was the son of a Roman soldier, all these things.
Guys, it's not anything new. That's suppressing the truth. I love talking to people that don't know Jesus and having those discussions. As a pastor, to be honest, it gets more and more difficult because, of course, in my workplace, I hope everybody's saved, and so, no, I'm kidding, all the staff is saved.
I'm just joking. But so, you know, I actually have to go outside to find people to witness to and stuff, the expression of the truth. That's where I have a problem in some of these discussions. Understand the wrath of God is an emotion he has towards sin and wrongdoing. Now, I know a lot of people and we say God loves the sinner but hates the sin. This verse kind of challenges part of that notion. Absolutely, God loves people. He's bringing people into the kingdom, but when somebody is messing up and suppressing the truth, this verse says it arouses God's anger. Now, again, this is God looking on and seeing things go wrong, people being mistreated, people being abused and all these things. That arouses God's anger, and you know what, friend?
It should arouse ours. Now, I'm not talking about necessarily having picket signs outside of abortion clinics. I'm talking about loving people. I'm just talking to them and seeing the things that they're going through and being upset at the evil that's in the world, at the deceit that's in the world. Jesus said turn the other cheek.
He didn't say look the other way. And as I look on the landscape of humanity, I'll have to be honest, there are certain things that arouse anger in me. When we look at this and we look at our own lives, which is really, friend, if you want to get upset about sin, do you know whose sin you should be the most upset about? Yours. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that He died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask Him to forgive you.
Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned. And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things.
Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name, amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.
Jesus said He would not turn anybody away who comes to Him, and He came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. You can call us toll-free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Before we go, we want to encourage you in your faith so that you can experience more of the grace and love of God for you. That's why we'd like to send you Pastor David's teaching video recorded in the heart of the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible, and You.
This encouraging look into the history of Israel and God's covenant faithfulness to His chosen people will help you take bold new steps in your relationship with God. Israel, the Bible, and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com now to request your copy. Also, if you're not able to make it to your home church this Sunday, why not join us for our live stream at 9 a.m. and 1130 a.m. Eastern? Just visit crossthebridge.com and click on our live stream link. There you can watch Pastor David teach from his home church, The Bridge, in Kernersville, North Carolina. Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. And be sure to join us next time on Cross the Bridge with David McGee to hear more from the Book of Romans. We'll see you then.
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