Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Are you willing to let the resurrection make you doubt your doubts? You pride yourself on being such a skeptical person.
Great. Are you willing to doubt your own doubts? Because maybe the undeniable fact of the resurrection ought to make you consider some of the unexplainable things and realize that there is a reason that God gives us to believe.
It's not throwing your mind out the door. It's believing that in light of the undeniable, we can live with the tension of the unexplainable. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch, and I'd also like to welcome you back to our study through the Book of Romans. As we return to this study today, let me ask you a question. Do you ever have doubts about your faith?
If so, you are not alone. Even the first disciples had unanswered questions. We'll be reminded that the resurrection not only shows us that Jesus is who he said he was and that his death accomplished what he said it would. In a sermon originally delivered on Easter Sunday, let's remember that the resurrection truly does change everything. Here's Pastor J.D. If you brought your Bible, I'll ask you to do what I ask you to do every weekend, and that is to take it out and to open it up or turn it on and find Romans chapter six.
I love Easter because Easter is the perfect time for many of you who have been considering becoming Christians to actually cross the line of faith and to become one. Many of you, you've been reading books and you've been asking questions and maybe listening to sermons, maybe some from here, maybe you've been watching them on TV and you're like, you know, I think I got enough of my questions answered and I think I'm ready to do this thing. And this is going to be the weekend that you cross that line of faith and actually begin to follow Jesus.
But it's also the perfect time for those of you who are on the other end of the spectrum. See, I know that some of you didn't come in here searching. You came in here, you got both feet on the brakes, emergency brake pulled up, door locked, double bolted. You're like, no way, not now, not ever. Truth be told, you're only here because the guilt trip that your mom would put you on if you skip church and didn't come with her this weekend is too great for any mortal to bear and you just couldn't handle that. Or maybe you're here because that girl sitting beside you is super cute, super cute.
And you're like, she was like, the only way that I'm gonna go out with you is if you come to church with me. And so you're here. Maybe you're honestly not even sure how you got in here. You got an invitation to go to brunch and next thing you knew, you're walking in here and you're like, I don't know what's going on.
You don't look like you're about to serve me food. And no, I am not about to do that, but whatever it is, you're like, no way, I'm not interested. I've just seen way too many hypocrites. Or maybe you grew up in a really strict religious household and you've seen religion used in the worst kinds of ways.
Or maybe you've got all these questions that you have and you're like, I just don't get how, if there's really a God, how he would allow this to happen or that to happen. But you're just not interested. You're like, no way.
You're like, no way. Well, this weekend, I want to present you with something that might make you reconsider some of those objections. You see Easter has the potential to be an end around all of your objections.
I mean, just think about it. If you knew, if you were certain that Jesus raised from the dead, wouldn't that make you reconsider some of your objections? I told our congregation a few weeks ago that I had this realization years ago in the midst of some of my own doubts, some of my own questions and objections. The realization was if Jesus suddenly appeared to me and did something that proved it was really him. He took me on a flight to the universe or took me back to the dawn of creation.
And I knew it was him. And then he looked at me and said, you know what? I'm not going to answer the questions you have right now, because to be honest with you, you really don't have the mental capacity to understand them. And in eternity, I'm going to expand your capacity to understand, and then you understand. But for right now, I'm just going to ask you to trust me. I asked myself the question, would I be willing to trust Jesus if that scenario happened? And I knew the answer was yes, because even though I wouldn't necessarily have had all my questions answered, I would have seen something that proved that there was an answer. And so what I did is I set about to discover, was there real evidence? Was there really sufficient proof to believe that Jesus raised from the dead? Was there sufficient reason to believe that he really was who he says he was?
And I found out that there was. And that led to one of my favorite definitions of faith. Faith happens when the unexplainable, the unanswered questions, meets the undeniable.
If you're waiting until all your questions get answered, you're probably never going to get them answered. But there is something that Easter offers to you, and it's something that's undeniable. And it is the fact that Jesus raised from the dead. And if the resurrection is undeniable, then see, that can change some of your discomfort with the unexplainable.
Does that make sense? You see, I realize that a lot of you really pride yourself on doubting. Oh, I'm a skeptical person, and I don't take anything at face value.
And honestly, that's great, all right? Here's my question for you, though. Are you willing to doubt your doubts? Maybe your doubts are the one things you've never really doubted. And maybe you need to start saying, maybe my doubts aren't really telling me the truth. What if there was a reason to believe that there was an answer, even if I couldn't necessarily grasp it right now? What if I was convinced that Jesus raised from the dead, would that make me doubt my doubts and suspend judgment on some of the unexplainable in light of the undeniable? By the way, if it makes you feel better, evidently, even the original disciples had some of their own unanswered questions.
Here's how I know that. One of the most interesting verses in all the New Testament to me is Matthew 28, 17. It occurs at the end of Matthew's gospel, after Jesus was raised from the dead, after he spent 40 days with his disciples, eating with them and doing miracles in front of them, says he brings them out to the Mount of Olives.
They go up the mountain together. He gives them what we now call the Great Commission, the command to take the gospel to all the different nations of the earth. And then it says that he begins to ascend to heaven in front of them. Then Matthew 28, 17, as he is ascending, some worshiped, but others doubted.
Others doubted? I'm like, he's been dead. Now he's alive. You've eaten with him for 40 days. He's walked through walls.
He's floating in the air right now. And you're still like, ah, I don't know. I'm not sure. How would you doubt in a moment like that?
Well, here's why. The objection that they had was so emotionally complex to them, they are still having trouble with it. Their objection was, if God was really good and God was really in Jesus, then why is Rome still in charge? Because for a hundred years, Rome had pillaged and tortured and raped and murdered and brutalized those people, the Jewish people. And they're like, if God is really in charge and he was really in Jesus, why is he leaving if Rome's still in charge? And Jesus didn't answer that question. But see, they learned to trust Jesus even though that question never got answered because they were convinced that Jesus raised from the dead. And see, that's good news for those of you with unanswered questions. The apostles had their own and they learned to trust Jesus anyway. You see, what I want to do is invite you to consider something that might make you reconsider your objections, that might make you ask the question in light of the undeniable, am I willing to accept some of the unacceptable, right? You're in good company if you've got some of those questions. So my hope today is that you'll at least have an open mind and reconsider this.
So here's what I'm going to do today. I'm going to show you how Paul in the book of Romans establishes the resurrection as the foundation of literally everything in Christianity. Already in these first five chapters of Romans, Paul has explained that the resurrection proved two things to Paul that Paul had not always accepted. In fact, Paul had been vehemently against these things.
Here's what they were. The first was that Jesus really was who he said he was. This is what Paul says in Romans four, watch this. Jesus, Paul says, was declared to be the son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead. That doesn't mean that the resurrection from the dead made him the son of God.
Of course, he was already the son of God. It's just that the resurrection declared him to be that. It proved that he really was the son of God. Secondly, Paul said the resurrection proves that Jesus accomplished what he said he accomplished. Romans 4 25, Paul says Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life.
That word for in Greek really could be read as because of. He was raised to life because of our justification. In other words, because Jesus's death accomplished our forgiveness and use a fancy Christian word, justification like he said it would, God raised him from the dead.
God's raising him from the dead was the verdict that his death worked. So Paul says, see, the resurrection proved two things that I didn't believe. One was that Jesus was who he said he was.
The other was that he accomplished what he said he accomplished. I didn't believe those things and my opinion on those things changed instantaneously. In fact, Paul had given his whole life to refute those things and he changed his mind on them in the space of about seven minutes one afternoon.
What caused the change? It was because he'd seen the resurrection with his own eyes. You know, sometimes I think we lose the absolute astoundingness of Paul's conversion in the first century.
This is the number one enemy of Christianity becoming its biggest proponent instantaneously. And by the way, in so doing, he walked away from a world of prestige and promise and money and power. He was a rising star in the Jewish community and he left all of that to become a poor persecuted Christian who would spend more time in prison than he did walking free, who would undergo numerous beatings. He would die by beheading and he walked away from all these things to maintain this confession.
I was thinking like, what is a modern comparison to this? The best one I could come up with, and this is a terrible one, but I was like, imagine Coach K holding an emergency press conference this afternoon, announcing that after a short personal retreat in the mountains, he is now a committed Tar Heel and he is resigning immediately from his position as head coach of Duke University basketball. And he's returning all the money he has ever made from that institution. And he is now going to join UNC's coaching staff as a water boy.
And he wore whatever else Coach K has for him. If that actually happened this afternoon, you'd be like, what happened on that personal retreat? What happened, right? Now this is a ridiculous, it's a ridiculous example, but something would have happened. Even if that ridiculous scenario happened, that would be about one, one thousandth of what Paul's transformation cost him. What had he seen? Well, he saw something real. You said, well, I wish I could see Jesus with my own eyes like Paul did.
That would settle my doubts too. Well, yeah, but you have his testimony. What else would encountering something real would have caused that kind of change? One religious historian pointed out that whenever you have somebody teaching something, they know to be false.
And by the way, that happens sometimes. Sometimes religious leaders teach what is false. Sometimes they teach things they know to be false. He says, but whenever you have one that is teaching something they know to be false, you will always find that they're teaching something that is false as a way of gaining them money or power or prestige or respect or something. Did Paul gain any of those things through his teaching? No, quite the opposite.
Quite the opposite. In fact, he refused even to take a salary from the churches that he was establishing and serving because he didn't want them to ever get confused on his motives for doing what he did. And he kept on testifying all the way to the point of martyrdom because he believed that what he had seen actually happened. In addition to that, you've got the testimony of all the other apostles as well. We know that every single one of those apostles was either tortured or went to a martyr's death and not one of them, not one ever went back on their testimony. And to be honest, the idea that this was some kind of myth that just sprang up as stories got exaggerated and accounts got exaggerated.
Honestly, it's just kind of crazy. The apostles were martyred for this confession. And by the way, the whole first generation of Christians was martyred, not all of them, but a large part of them for maintaining that confession. The resurrection wasn't some kind of add on to their testimony. The resurrection, if you read it in Acts, was central. It was the main thing that they testified. The idea that they were willing to die or to watch their friends die and many times their loved ones die for something they knew to be false or an exaggeration or even something they weren't absolutely sure is true.
The idea that they would do that is just crazy. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today we're venturing into part two of Pastor J.D. 's teaching series through the book of Romans, and we'll get back to that in a minute.
But first, I wanted to tell you about a brand new and very special premium resource that we are offering our listeners starting today. With your financial gift of $35 or more to this ministry, you'll receive the first part of a two-part Bible study through the book of Romans written by Pastor Tim Keller, who was one of Pastor J.D. 's biggest influences in the faith. Not only will this Bible study help you gain a better understanding of one of the deepest, richest parts of the Bible, but it's also a great reminder of Pastor Tim's years of faithful gospel ministry as he takes us through the first seven chapters. Be inspired to embrace this gospel message and all of its beauty. To get your copy, call right now with your gift.
You can reach us at 866-335-5220 or visit jdgreer.com. And as always, we want to thank you for your continued support of this ministry. Now let's get back to today's teaching from Pastor J.D.
right here on Summit Life. Chuck Colson, who was a special counselor to President Nixon right in the middle of the Watergate scandal. He became a Christian years after Watergate. And he said, right after Watergate broke, he said that the inner circle of Nixon's advisors, we got together in a room and we came up with a story, a false narrative about what actually happened to Watergate. We all swore together to maintain this narrative.
We had to tell the same story. He said, looking around the room, there was about 10 of us. He said, we were some of the most accomplished, toughest men in the nation. Most of us were former Marine officers, Marine captains, special ops, special forces.
We had proven that we had what it took to get the job done. He said, within three weeks, every single one of us had broken. All of us had broken and confessed the truth because we were offered a reduced prison time if we did so. He said, the idea that a group of untrained, uneducated fishermen could maintain a lie under duress and torture for 40 years without a single one of them ever breaking and telling the truth, that's absolutely impossible. By the way, one of those guys who would not break and kept on preaching was a guy named James, who was Jesus's younger half-brother, right? James's half-brother was executed because he kept saying that his brother was the son of God who rose from the dead.
But I don't think you're getting this. How many of you in here, how many of you, how many of you have an older brother? Raise your hand, put your hand up, all right. What would it take to convince you that he was God?
That's a fair question, right? What would it take to convince you that guy you grew up with was God? You're like, oh, Satan, maybe, but not God.
It's not. Here's James who goes to his death saying, yeah, the guy that I used to fight with over the last piece of chicken at the table, that guy, it was God. What would cause him to say that if he didn't actually believe it to be true? So Paul says the resurrection proved to me that Jesus was who he says he was and that he really accomplished what he said he accomplished.
Now, before we go on to chapter 6, I just want to ask you, what about you? Are you willing to let the resurrection make you doubt your doubts? Again, you pride yourself on being such a skeptical person.
Great. Are you willing to doubt your own doubts? Because maybe the undeniable fact of the resurrection ought to make you consider some of the unexplainable things and realize that there is a reason that God gives us to believe.
It's not throwing your mind out the door. It's believing that in light of the undeniable, we can live with the tension of the unexplainable. Now in chapter 6, Paul is going to explain one other thing that he believed the resurrection shows us about Christianity, which might be the most convincing proof of all to him. He says in chapter 6, the resurrection means that the gospel is power. It means that the gospel is not just another competing theory of religion. It's not a new way to live.
It's not a superior moral code. The gospel is about actual life-giving, heart-regenerating power. And the proof of that, he said, is the way that it changes lives. And the best proof of that to me, Paul says, is the way it changed my life. Paul said, first the resurrection changed my mind about Jesus. Then the resurrection actually changed me.
Watch this. Chapter 6 begins with a question. What shall we say then? Are we a continuing sin that grace may abound? This is a very natural question for the reader of Romans at this point, because for five chapters, Paul has been arguing that salvation is a free gift that comes to all who will receive it.
Every other religion in the world, all of them, operate according to this premise. I obey, therefore God will accept me. If I obey good enough, if I obey often enough, if I go to church enough, pray enough, be a good enough person, then God will accept me. And that becomes a motivation for being good, right? Because if you're good enough, then God will accept you. And the better you are, the better your chances are. He's making a list.
He's checking it twice. You want to make sure that you're on the nice list. Paul says the gospel flips that absolutely on its head. Because the gospel says, nope, God has accepted me, therefore I will obey. God has accepted me by a free act of his grace. And in response to that, I obey, not because I have to, to earn my position before him, but out of gratitude for what he's given me in the gospel. When it comes to my acceptance before God, all I have to do, all I can do, is receive it like a gift.
Because that's all you can do with a gift, right, is just receive it. Some of you know that I went on a short mission trip down the Dominican Republic in one of our services. Before that, the weekend before, I just made that announcement. The guy comes up to me afterwards. The businessman comes up and says, hey, what time is your flight on Thursday?
I was like, oh, it's like, oh, dark 30. That man shows up an hour and a half before my flight, meets me there at the airport, walks me up to the front. He's one of these guys, like with Delta, it's like a 6 million miler, I think.
Just crazy status. He goes up to the front, takes me and my 11-year-old daughter. Everybody in the airport knows him.
They're calling him by name. He walks up the front, cuts the line, says, hey, this is my friend and my pastor. I want you to put him on my account, and I want you to upgrade him and his daughter all the way to the Dominican Republic and back. Now, what can I do at that moment, right? If I'd have been like, no, no, no, I insist on flying on my own status, right? Well, then I would have been not in first class, I'd have been back in the cattle car with the rest of the summit team, okay? So all I could do was receive it.
It cost him his points. I got his status. That's what Paul has basically said in five chapters. What Jesus showed up as he says, I'll get you there on my account. I live the life you were supposed to live, and I died of death.
You were condemned to die. And so you can just receive it as a gift, and you can go to heaven on my account because I'm offering it to you as a gift of grace. Well, see, Paul understands that that's gonna raise a question for a lot of people. They're like, well, then if Jesus paid at all, if we got this like divine visa card with an unlimited balance that comes from the blood of Jesus, we can just flash that card whenever we send with this unlimited balance, like the master's card or something like that. You're like, maybe we should just send whenever we want to, right? It's already prepaid.
It was prepaid with an unlimited balance just to send, send, send all the time because it's already been paid for, right? Or an even sicker twist, Paul says, is there are some who say, well, maybe if God gets glory from showing grace, maybe we should just send all the time because then we get more forgiveness. God shows more grace. He gets more glory. I send, God gets more glory.
That's the way we should do it. Paul's answer, verse two, by no means. By the way, scholars say in Greek, this is the strongest, shortest way of saying no. One scholar said it.
He said, it's like, it's like, you know, well, I'll put it in my own terms. I got a friend who, if somebody asked him to do something he really doesn't want to do, he will say, do you want the plain old one word no, or would you like the deluxe two word edition? No.
This is Paul's deluxe two word edition. Heck no. No way. No way. By no means. How can we who died to sin, how can we still live in it?
Now this is going to become the question that's going to shape the rest of the chapter. How can we who died to sin actually still live in it? So what is the phrase died to sin?
What does that actually mean? Well, first let me explain what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that you and I have lost all interest in sin after we become a believer. It doesn't mean that we're slowly moving away from sin. We're slowly dying to it as we mature.
Here's two reasons we know that. First, the word died in this verse you see is in past tense. It's not that we're dying. It's not that something that's happening to us.
It's something that's already happened. We have died to sin. Secondly, in chapter seven, Paul is going to explain in the next chapter that the Christian can indeed still be tempted by and even seduced by the power of sin. Paul is going to explain. He's like, listen, I'm an apostle and my whole life is wrestling with sins and sometimes they get the better of me because my body, my simple body is always trying to convince me to do a bunch of stuff that I know I shouldn't do and seems like half the time my body wins out over me and I do what I don't want to do. So Paul doesn't mean here that we've just lost interest in sin. No, what Paul means is what he explains in the next verse.
He explains it for you. Verse three, do you not know that all of us who've been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, we too might walk in newness and newness of life. Paul says when you accept Christ you die to sin in two ways.
Here from that verse. First he says you renounce sin once and for all. You die to sin by renouncing it once and for all. The picture of this Paul says is baptism. One of the questions we ask you when we baptize you, are you willing to go wherever Jesus tells you to go and do whatever he tells you to do?
Right? That is called repentance. Repentance means a change of mind.
It means I was going the direction of doing what I wanted to do. I was the Lord of my own life and now at this point forward I am going to turn an about face and I'm going to do what Jesus wants me to do. He is now the Lord of my life and the picture of that is baptism because then we put you into the water showing you are dying to your old independent way of living and you're being raised to this new life of following Jesus. Again that is called repentance. It is surrender and it is the essence of conversion that you have an about face that you renounce sin. Today's message was titled The Resurrection Makes It Real as we return to our Romans teaching series here on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Well in case you missed it when I mentioned this earlier in the show, we are thrilled to be offering the first volume of a two-part Romans Bible study as this month's featured resource. Each of the book's seven studies walks you through passages of Romans along with application questions and prayer prompts.
Use it for yourself with a friend or maybe lead a small group. Remember we're all about making disciples here at Summit Life and what makes this resource even more special is that it was written by the late great Pastor Tim Keller. If you've listened to Summit Life for very long you've probably heard Pastor J.D. quote Pastor Tim once or twice.
Okay maybe a lot of times but what a source of wisdom and encouragement he has been and will continue to be. We can't think of a better way to honor the legacy of his ministry than by sharing just one of his insightful Bible studies with you. If you never got a chance to read something Pastor Tim wrote, this is a great place to start and I promise you will be encouraged as you dive into the book of Romans. It's available exclusively for our monthly gospel partners and anyone who gives financially to support the ministry. To receive your copy with your gift of $35 or more simply give us a call at 866-335-5220 or you can give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch and friends it is great to be back in the book of Romans isn't it? Let me invite you to listen again Tuesday as we dive deeper into Romans chapter 6 here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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