Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. You don't base your perception of reality on your feelings. You take your feelings and base them on what you know is true about reality or the way we say it here is you don't feel your way into your beliefs. You believe your way into your feelings. You let reality be determined by the word of God and let your feelings adjust to that. Your faith will plunge you to shipwreck if you don't learn this. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Okay, I think we've all felt this. How is it possible to rejoice when we are suffering? If you're like me, you may think it's actually impossible, but Romans Chapter 5 has an entirely different message for us showing us that the gospel changes everything, including how we look at suffering. Today, Pastor J.D. teaches us how we can rejoice in the hope that God will keep all his promises, a hope rooted in the assurance that one day, even if nothing else in our lives works out, that God will restore everything that is broken. Ready for some encouragement?
Let's get into God's word together because as Pastor J.D. says, this changes everything. One of the things that I have personally learned as a parent of teenagers is that middle and high school students have a special, shall we say, jargon or language that they use over text messages in particular. And if you as a parent want to know what is going on in their lives, you have to at least know the basics of that jargon.
That does not mean you should use those things, by the way. My daughters have let me know that. They get offended when I use some of these terms.
They're like, Dad, Dad, just don't even try it. So here is for you parents Uncle J.D. 's crash course list for you of essential insider teen text terminology.
We'll start really, really basic to some that you know. There's a little controversy about how to pronounce this one. I think it's GIF because it's graphic interface format and that would make sense, but that's when you use a picture to kind of depict some emotion.
What's this one? That's laugh out loud. By the way, you've heard the story of true story of the mom who thought that that meant lots of love. And so since her college age, daughter, a text says, Hey, your grandmother passed away this morning, LOL, which is like, Nope, not lots of love. It's laugh out loud. So be careful with that one.
Of course, talk to you later. And then BAE, you know, this one BAE before anyone else. It's like my special someone I've never heard this referred to like as God, but you know, it's for whatever you got it there before anyone else dime. That means on a scale of one to 10, you're a 10, you're a dime. She's a dime. I've never heard it used in reference to a guy, but I guess you could use it that too.
But he's a dime. That sounds weird. But then there's a taupe, which is a combination of totally and dope. Dope means unbelievably awesome.
Like this sermon was taupe. Yo, that would be like a way to use that. My daughters have told me that none of our friends actually use that one.
And I just told them, that's because your friends aren't taupe like me and my friends. So I'm shaking my head in case you missed it. In my humble opinion, my improvement on that one is in my humble but accurate opinion. That's how I text that one. This is one of my favorite ones to use at work.
P-E-B-K-A-C. The problem exists between the keyboard and the chair. That's where the real problem is in this situation between the keyboard and that chair. That's where things are breaking down. And then one of my personal favorites, my daughter sends this to me all the time.
JD is the best father a child could ask for. Period. Full stop. So you're going to want to make sure that you know that one and use that at random times.
All right. So there it is, ladies and gentlemen, there is your insider teen text terminology. The reason I share that with you is because what Paul has been doing now for four chapters in the book of Romans is teaching you gospel insider terminology. And then in chapter five, he's going to take a turn and he's going to start showing you what a difference these terms ought to make in how you see life, particularly how you see suffering. For four chapters, he's giving you the essentials of justification by faith.
If we were giving out certificates, I would give out certificates this morning. I asked our production team if we could do this and they said no, but I wanted to give you a gospel 101 certificate because you have now mastered, if you've been here every week, all the essential gospel terminology. So what Paul does is says, now that you know that, I'm going to show you how these things should transform the way that you interpret life, particularly painful chapters of your life in affliction. How well you actually understand the gospel, you see, how well you understand the gospel is not revealed by what you can do on a quiz or a test. How well you actually understand and believe the gospel, how deeply you believe it is revealed by the attitude and the perspective that you carry through suffering.
Martin Luther said that justification by faith is the doctrine on which the church rises or falls. In the same way, I would tell you justification by faith is the doctrine on which your spiritual life rises or falls. Everything in your Christian life is going to grow out of your understanding of that concept. Every significant advancement in your spiritual life goes back to you growing in your understanding of the implications of what God has actually done for you in the gospel. It's like we often say around here, the gospel is not just the way you begin the Christian life. The gospel is also the way that you grow in the Christian life. The gospel is like a well. You don't get the best water from a well by widening the circumference of the well.
You get the best water from the well by deepening the well. In the same way, you don't get the best spiritual fruit by widening the circumference of your knowledge about the Bible. You get the best stuff by deepening your understanding, your familiarity with the things that the gospel teaches you. In this chapter, the Apostle Paul is going to go from argumentation for the gospel to celebration of the gospel. Martin Luther calls these verses the happiest text in Romans. You're going to see the word rejoice used repeatedly throughout these verses. It's basically Romans 8, which is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. It's that in miniature in just 11 verses. It's like your preview of what's coming. The main focus of these verses is how the gospel transforms how you see your life and particularly how you experience suffering.
So let's dive in. Chapter five, let's just go word by word. Therefore, let's stop right there, okay, because that's an important word. Therefore, there are four important therefores in the book of Romans. I've heard it said that you can basically explain the book of Romans by these four therefores. First of those therefores occurred at the end of chapter three, chapter three, verse 20, when Paul says, therefore, we conclude that by the works of the law, a person cannot be justified.
Therefore, it's going to take something else to save us. And that's where he introduces justification by faith. There's another really important therefore in chapter eight, verse one, when Paul says there is therefore no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. And then he explains that because of that, we have access to all the benefits of the Christian life that a son or daughter of God would have. There's another important one in Romans 12, verse one, where Paul says, I now urge you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, that you present your body as a living sacrifice. In other words, in light of what God has given to you in the gospel, you ought therefore to offer your life without restriction back to him. Those are three of those therefores. The fourth one occurs in chapter five, when Paul says, therefore, because we've been declared righteous by faith, we are entering a new reality that should reshape how you see everything.
And if you understand this therefore, you're never going to be able to look at life the same. Therefore, because we've been declared righteous by faith, we now have peace with God. Now, peace with God here is not referring to a subjective feeling, a serene feeling of peace. That would be the peace of God.
Peace with God is a reference to the new reality that Christ's death has created for you with God. Feelings are important. I want you to hear me say that. And I want you to feel like this morning, I'm going to be hating on feelings. I am a little bit, but I want you to hear me say that I like feelings, okay?
I'm like anybody else, I got feelings too. Feelings are important, but feelings come and go. It is the reality of your standing with God that is important. I point this out because it seems like most people in our culture think that the primary purpose of religion is to give you therapeutic feelings of peace. And because they think that, they'll say things like, well, I'm really glad that going to church and Christianity and singing songs gives you that feeling of peace, but I get those feelings from yoga or meditation or taking long walks or playing golf or eating kale or drinking bourbon or rubbing essential oils on my lymph nodes or whatever it is that you do. Right? And they think, so that's the way that I get peace. And that's the functionality.
You use Jesus and I'd use this, but more important than feelings of peace is whether you actually have peace with God. Right? I mean, that makes sense.
Just think about it in the physical realm. Which would you rather do? Would you rather go to the doctor with a bad headache, have him run some tests and say, hey, there's nothing wrong with you. This headache will soon go away.
Everything's fine. Would you rather have that happen or go to the doctor feeling great, feel more alive than ever and him say, yeah, we just discovered a brain tumor and you're not going to live for more than six months. Well, of course you'd rather do the former because the feeling is less important than the reality. You ought to base your feelings on what you know to be true about reality. And those are truths that are expressed to you in the word of God. I feel peace in my heart because I know I have peace with God, not vice versa.
It is amazing to me how often people come up to me with those things reversed. They'll come up and say, pastor, I just don't, I don't feel close to God. I don't feel loved by God.
I don't feel like he really cares about me. And they think because they don't feel these things that indicates something is wrong. And I always want to say to them, why are you looking at your feelings for assurance instead of the word of God? You don't base your perception of reality on your feelings. You take your feelings and base them on what you know is true about reality or the way we say it here is you don't feel your way into your beliefs. You believe your way into your feelings. You let reality be determined by the word of God and let your feelings adjust to that. Your faith will plunge into shipwreck if you don't learn this.
And this is where so many people are. The analogy I've used to help you see this comes from Watchman Nee, a Christian, lived 56 years ago in China. Watchman Nee, the Chinese Christian said, he said, it's sort of difficult word picture to get but just follow me. He said it's like three men that are walking along the top of a narrow wall.
Imagine a little narrow wall about a foot wide and you got three men. The first he says is named fact. The second man is named faith. And the third man is named feeling.
They're trying to keep their balance on the wall. He said as long as faith, the second guy, keeps his eyes on fact and feeling keeps his eyes on faith, everybody's going to be okay. But the moment, the moment that faith turns around to check on feeling, it is very likely that both he and feeling are going to tumble off the wall. So the point is your faith has to be grounded in the fact of what God has done for you in the gospel and your feelings should follow behind your faith. Don't base your faith on your feelings, base your faith on the fact of what God has declared in his word and let your feelings conform to that. Do not believe, do not feel your way into your beliefs, believe your way into your feelings. You come up to me and you're like, pastor, I don't feel close to God and I'm going to say, I don't care what you feel. I'm going to tell you what God's word says because you don't look within for assurance.
You look to the word of God and you look at what his promises are, right? And what Paul is saying is you have peace with God and you need to remind yourself of that every single day. Thank you for listening to Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Before we continue with today's teaching, I wanted to let you know about our latest resource. It's Pastor J.D. 's latest book called Essential Christianity. This book is a practical and approachable look at some of the foundational beliefs of Christianity, and it's perfect for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of the gospel or perhaps even help someone else explore the faith. There's a lot to learn about Christianity, but whether you're just starting out in your relationship with God or you've been following him for decades, nothing fuels our spiritual growth like being firm in the essentials of the faith. And with your gift of $35 or more to Summit Life, we'll send you a copy of Essential Christianity and we'll also send you a companion discussion guide that we designed specifically to help you have gospel conversations with the people God's put in your life. You can give right now by giving us a call at 866-335-5220 or donate online at jdgreer.com. Now let's get back to today's teaching from Pastor J.D.
Greer right here on Summit Life. There's a thing I've given you guys called the gospel prayer. It has four phrases. The first one is basically, I've given it to you to, I tell you, especially if you're a new believer, pray this every day because it will help you ground yourself in the gospel. And the first of those phrases is about your peace with God. It says this, in Christ there's nothing I could do that would make you love me more, nothing I have done that makes you love me less.
I have peace with you and because I know I have peace with you that changes how I see things because I don't need to do anything to earn your favor or your love. Because we have peace with God, Paul continues, we have also obtained access through him by faith, look at this phrase, into this grace in which we stand. Now the word grace here, you need to interpret that as favor because in this context Paul is not talking about grace so much as getting mercy for your sins as much as he is talking about walking in a favored status with God. What he is saying is you, like a son or daughter of God, need to understand that you exist in the favor of God, all favor, all the time.
Like any child would feel about a father or mother that he knew, she knew, really loved him. J. I. Packer, the theologian, says that you can really understand, you can really tell how much somebody really understands the gospel just by finding out how much they think about, how much they cherish, how much it moves them, this idea of being God's child. He says this, if this is not the thought, God being your father, that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means he does not understand Christianity very well at all. Your demonstration that you really understand the gospel is how much it just floods your heart with this assurance of knowing he's my daddy and I know that I can go with him to him because I exist in his favored status. So just ask yourself, how does that how you feel when you approach God? Or do you approach God with some kind of like, well, I feel like just this general disapproval. I feel like I got to make all these promises and earn his favor.
I feel just sort of this general negativity. Or maybe like he doesn't really even care. Maybe like he's just too busy with other things.
He's not really listening. Or do you come with that awareness that he has attended a father who literally could not love you any more than he does right at this moment? Some of you, your Christian life is stalled. You're not growing in your affections for God. You're not growing in your sense of closeness to God. And the reason is because you don't have this sense of God being your father this way.
And just think of it very easy analogy. I think of like my kids with me, when my kids were, especially when they were young, when my kids felt like that I was annoyed with them, when I was in a bad mood, when I was mad at them, and they just avoided me and would leave me in my office by myself and they'd hang out with their mom, right? Because they don't want to be if they feel like disapproval. But the moments, like if I came home off of a trip and I was just so excited to see them, man, they would come to me and climb up my lap and they would cling to my leg and I couldn't get away from them, right? Because that feeling of tenderness from me makes them want to be around me. For many of you, you're not growing in your love for God because you have no real perception of the love of God. If you understood the tenderness of God's love for you, it would make love for God grow in you, right? That's what Paul is talking about.
You need to have access into the grace, this favor in which you stand. Now, I know some of you are like, but wait a minute, JD, you just don't understand. Like my dad was not like this and so I don't really have a way of interpreting this because I never want to be around my dad. Yeah, I get that.
I understand. But it's like I've told you, you need to start evaluating your earthly father through the lens of your heavenly one, not your heavenly father through the lens of your earthly one. You have a father that was that father you always yearned for. He was a father. God's word tells you that was so in touch with your needs that he knows when a single hair falls from your head.
So in touch with your needs that before you even vocalize, he already knows what it is. A God who says Psalm 139 that he literally journals your days in a book. I know some people that are really fastidious about journaling every single day. I don't know anybody that journals about somebody else. Psalm 139, go back and read it, says God journals about you in a book.
I don't know what that metaphor means, but it means he's paying attention. Or this part, my favorite part of Psalm 139. Even if you made your bed in hell, I'd come for you. I've told my oldest two daughters, it doesn't matter where you are. It doesn't matter what kind of trouble you're in.
It doesn't matter what kind of danger you're in, how far you are away, what time of night it is. Even if you made some dumb decisions to get yourself in the situation, you pick up that phone, you call me and I'll be there. And that's basically what God is saying in Psalm 139, right? Even if you made your bed in hell, I'm not going to stand in heaven and lecture you.
You call me and I will come. This was a father who, when you had turned your back on him and spurned him and despised him and ran the other way and said, I wish you were dead. All he did was stand at heaven's gate and look out after you, longingly waiting for you to return. And when you began to return, he picked up his robe and he ran and he embraced you, welcoming that prodigal back home. He is a God that the Bible says Zephaniah 3.17, dances over you with singing, which is a pretty amazing image. When you think about, even in worship here, that there is somebody else that is singing and dancing in our worship services and it is God in heaven. And he is dancing with delight over his love and his tenderness for you.
That is what Paul is saying. You need to have access and walk in this state of favor and know that whatever is happening, that God could not love you any more than he does right at this moment. And then you begin to pray with that knowledge. And when you do, you rejoice, you rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Now we saw in chapter four through the life of Abraham, that hope, hope is the assurance that God is going to keep all of his promises. This is a hope Paul is going to explain in a moment. This is a hope that is rooted in the resurrection because the resurrection of Jesus shows me that one day God is going to restore all the various things that are broken down here. At the end of the day, y'all, if nothing else goes right in my life, if nothing gets fixed, if everything goes wrong, I've still got that assurance that there's a resurrection coming.
I love how D.A. Carson, the theologian, says it. I'm not suffering from anything that a good resurrection can't fix. Amen.
That's good news. Because eventually at some point in your life, something's going to go wrong and it's not going to turn right. Something's going to go wrong. People die.
Our bodies, I hate to be depressing this morning, but our bodies are just getting older. Right? I mean, I know you're like, I'm in high school and I'm caught. I hate you. But I'm talking about the rest of us, right? I had a friend taught me to get in the CrossFit Open this year.
It's a competition that you compete with people worldwide. It was a huge mistake. I'm just going to go ahead and tell you. So I finished 6,180. That was my number of guys ages 45 to 49 around the world. Okay? You're like, well, how many people were in that bracket?
I don't know, like 6,190 maybe? I don't know. But the depressing part for me is next year I'm not going to be physically in a place where I'll probably do better.
Right? The body is not going the right direction. When I was young, I used to measure my, you know, strength. How many pull-ups I could do and how fast I could run a mile and, you know, how much I could bench press, how much I weighed. Now, you know, when you get older, you start measuring things like I get out of the shower and stand in front of a full-length mirror and stamp my foot and start a stopwatch. And when the last part of me quits jiggling, I stop the stopwatch.
That's the new way that you measure things. It's not getting better. Okay? Now, I'm obviously being silly, but the point is, the point is at some point, God's not answering that prayer for your body to just keep getting better. At some point, things fall apart.
Right? And again, just to get out of the silly realm for a minute, for some of you, and this is serious, it's like the cancer is not going to go away. God can heal you.
Yes, he can. And we're going to keep praying for that, but the cancer might not go away. The aging process might not reverse itself. And the marriage might never come back together. And people that have departed may not come back. And you may live with this affliction.
And you're just wondering, what am I supposed to do with that? The person who has sinned against you looks like they're never going to be brought to justice. Paul says, that doesn't mean though that you're without hope because you're not suffering from anything that a good resurrection is not going to fix. And Paul said, because of that, that makes me rejoice. Now, rejoicing, of course, is different than happiness, even though Christians often get these two confused. Many Christians think that they're supposed to be happy when what they're supposed to be doing is rejoicing.
And those are different things. Happiness, I've explained to you, is contingent on what you want to happen happening. It's in the very word happiness. Happiness is when what you want to happen happen. And when what you want to happen happens, you're happy. And when what you want to happen doesn't happen, then you're unhappy.
Does that make sense? Joy is altogether different. Joy is not based on your happenings.
Joy is based somewhere else. Many Christians think the Christian life is supposed to be snuggles and giggles and happy, happy, happy all the time. And if you're not, then something's obviously wrong.
This is reinforced to us. I mean, there's a great hymn we used to sing when I was a kid. I love the hymn. I still love it.
It's got this one weird line in it. At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith. I received my sight.
And now, how's it go? I am happy all the day. And I remember when I was a kid being like, man, I don't think I'm a very good Christian because I'm not happy all the day, right?
Because sometimes I have my days are hard sometimes. And I thought, well, and then my first clue that something was off here is when I started to really read the Psalms and realize these are not all happy songs. These are not all, you know, you know, you know, let's just dance around or Job. I read the book of Job and I'm like, Job is obviously a guy who doesn't just, you know, bounce through life with, you know, like a room without a roof and singing happy. He's not that, right? Jesus. I mean, Jesus was a guy who didn't seem to just bounce through life with a chipper attitude all the time. Man of sorrows, what a name for the son of God who came.
He was a man that was acquainted with grief and familiar with sorrow. Yet Jesus was still somebody who said the joy of the Lord is my strength because Jesus understood that joy is not contingent on happiness. Joy is contingent. Joy is based on something you have with God that is better than happiness. And it's better than and it's better than whatever you're missing in life.
Joy comes when you know that what God has promised you in His word is more secure than anything you can guarantee in your own. And His presence is even better than all the things that you would like for life to be. The gospel really does change everything. What a powerful truth here on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. We've been talking a lot recently about the premium resource that we are offering our listeners, which is Pastor J.D. 's newest book titled Essential Christianity.
You know, one of my favorite things about all of Pastor J.D. 's books is that he writes them for a reason and he always has a specific purpose in mind. And in Essential Christianity, he wanted to unpack some of the most difficult and important questions about Christianity in a way that's easy to read and easy to share with anyone who might be exploring what it means to be a Christian. We'd love to send you a copy. And like I mentioned earlier in the broadcast, we'll also send you a discussion guide, which is great to help you think through the book's content on your own, but even better when you use it to help facilitate gospel conversations with a friend, family member or neighbor. We're sending Essential Christianity to anyone who supports this ministry with a financial gift this month. Get your copy of Essential Christianity and the discussion guide when you give by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220 or give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Venovich inviting you to join us tomorrow when we continue this message called This Changes Everything.
You won't want to miss it. Thursday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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