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January 7, 2020 9:00 am
Today on Senate life with JD Greer. Thank God that Jesus didn't hold on to what he had David for me and Jesus David that way for me that's probably how I can see myself in relation to others and their needs see the gospel of grace produces in us a fundamentally different spirit than zealousness and religion does religion makes you proud and self-centered the gospel which you humble and generous with your host, you know that compelled Paul to forsake his life and carried the message around the world for the sake of the last is the same gospel that caused you today to do the same day.
Pastor JD examines the life of Paul. The former Pharisee who understood that with the privilege of hearing the gospel comes responsibility of sharing and shows how the gospel should change the way you look at your life. Let's jump your Bibles as we get what you take them out and open them to Romans chapter 1 today we are going to begin in verse one and just start working our way through all 433 verses of the book. Hopefully today we will get to the first 17 of those verses. Now you ask why you're mostly year-long study of the book of Romans is because many of the greatest Christian leaders throughout Christian history have regarded as the most important theological book ever written. Martin Luther said it was the most important piece of the entire New Testament. He said that its central premise justification by faith alone was the doctrine on which the church rises and falls. Furthermore, I told you study this book has led to every great awakening that I know about in Christian history. It was the study of this book that launch the Protestant Reformation. I remember something this week that the apostle Peter had said in one of his letters that he wrote to the churches hides in the book of second Peter three, I just get a great deal of confidence and pleasure out of this process I can be the three Paul's letters contain some things that are hard to understand which Enron and unstable people distort as they to the other Scriptures and so I thought you know what if Peter was not scared to tackle the book of Romans.
Even though he thought you'd understand a lot of it that I should be scared. Either I get this wonderful image of Peter sitting in a coffee shop in Jerusalem just scratching his head saying I don't know what is talking about here and so they'll probably some moments where I feel like that. Also, we are going to go right into Prilosec a moment and let's review what we went over last week.
This is a book book of Romans. I told you is a book about the gospel is the clearest, most in-depth what the gospel we find anywhere in Scripture, but here's where most people miss the boat.
This is a book about the gospel that is written to Christians. Look at verse seven there will quick to all, Paul says you are in Rome once loved by God to the ones that are called as saints. Christians missed the boat on this because they think the gospel is only for unbelievers but Paul was going to show us that in the gospel are not just the resources to begin the Christian life is going to show us that in the gospel are all the resources to continue the Christian life is going to explain that the way that we begin in Christ is the same way that we grow in Christ.
The gospel is like a well you don't get the best water from the well by widening the circumference of the well you get the best of the purest water by going deeper in the well in the same way you don't get the best parts of Christianity of Christ by widening the circumference of your knowledge so much as going deepen understanding intimately the things that are revealed to us in the gospel now. Specifically, Paul has a very practical problem that he is trying to address with this book and that is the division of Jewish and Gentile believers within the church around you see the original church in Rome was made up of Jewish believers, Jewish Christians, as well as Gentile Christians Roman Christian Jewish Christians because they were the ones that usually came Christ first, but they won a lot of Romans to Christ.
And so, in this church you had Jewish and Gentile believers. The problem was that they very different cultures, different styles, different taste different ways they like to worship different ways they talk different words they used different politics and so there was contention in there that came from that kind of fusion.
To make matters worse, about five years before Romans was written, the Emperor Claudius in Rome banished all the Jews from Rome, which would've included the Jewish Christians. All of a sudden one Sunday to show up and there's no more Jewish Christians is only Gentile Christians not previously Jewish Christians have been in charge by the Romans into it for five years.
The Roman Christians are in charge right before the book of Romans is written, Claudius allows the Jews to come back again. Which meant all the Jewish Christians came back in and they wanted to rejoin the church, but now you got a problem and that is the Jewish Christians used to be in charge and it used to be their preferences and their taste of Gentiles been renovated five years and they're the ones that are in charge. You can imagine the drama that might have ensued. You try to mimic, here's a little known story from Summit history that very few of you around or remember this, but once you do know merely what want to get into when we sold our original property back. A whole school Road up north during the church that bought it from us was was just a very different culturally and stylistically than we work and so for a while we shared that that the property together. We would meet on the weekend and they would use it during the week and then at this kinda magical date.
We flipped and we started to meet at Riverside high school and we would use it throughout the week and the title of the property officially went to them and so didn't tell us this, but the more the title went to them they didn't inform any of us.
They brought in these demolition crews and they just they changed everything and make putting this bright pink carpet which was note is not as good as the data puke green carpet that we had previously brought his bright pre-carpet and they put in marble everywhere there was the statues, golden statues of Eagles up on the stage, they put cash registers out in the lobby, the pastor in the little pastor's bathroom, put this, like extensive collection of perfume and cologne bottles back there and I couldn't even find my old spice in my funeral ax body spray that I was used to doing so put that in there. They there was mostly cold and probably the biggest thing was to put this 40 foot stretch limo parked it in the parking lot right from the church because that's what they used to pick up their guests to our people. So back cover prayer meeting will like what is going on now. I'm not trying to say that this is the same thing that was happening in the Jewish and in and in Roman fusion, but you can imagine that when the people who had been in charge, not in charge of the coming back in. It leads to all kinds of like what is happening here okay and so Paul is writing the book of Romans to try to show them that there is a new humanity that is created by the gospel that should overcome all the differences that have traditionally separated Jews and Gentiles. This is an incredibly relevant book for us because we have people coming into the church that are from very different backgrounds. This shows us that the one thing that our culture most wants, which is a unity among the ethnicities and the cultures that's going to be found in the resources of the gospel today. I have told you to try to look at the first 17 verses pulse can introduce three things to them in these 17 verses number one. The man to ensure why he's the one that should be writing this epistle number two is going talk about the message and the number three is going to introduce us to the mission guide was told one of the time by number one the man man who was Paul verse one Paul servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God who was Paul. Paul was a former Pharisee Pharisees were a sect in Judaism who were hyper devoted to the law and the book of Philippians, Paul tells us he wasn't even a normal Pharisee Pharisees like the Navy SEALs of the religious world both like I was leaving just a normal Navy seal I will seal team six when it came to Pharisees. I was uses words in Philippians Pharisee of the Pharisees. The train under a teacher named Gamaliel who was one of the most sought after and respected teachers of his day being trained under Gamaliel will be something like being a Rhodes scholar of religion today. You did not choose a teacher like Gamaliel. He chose you. He was the Mr. Miyagi of religion, for sure. Paul would've had most if not all, of the Hebrew Scriptures memorized and he would have been proficient in multiple languages. He was zealous he tells us not just for knowing the law.
He was zealous for keeping the law. He says in Philippians if anybody thinks that they're good at keeping the law humbly. I was a lot better. I was good. He says and be in good he was so zealous in fact that he devoted himself to destroying Christians, which of course seems to us like a bad thing.
But Paul, at least initially saw it as a good thing, something to brag about.
He thought Christians were the enemies of God, and he said I was so devoted to God that I was even willing to kill for God. When you stand up say I'll do whatever it takes pulse that I literally would do whatever it took, which was part of Paul's dilemma. Paul begin to realize that his zeal for being good and led him to a really bad place this and believe it or not, Bill Marr, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the apostle Paul all agree on one thing. Religion turns you into a really really bad person. Religion caters to the worst parts of us. Pride, self-centeredness, judge mentalism, self-righteousness and bigotry, which is why religious people are the worst in all God's people said when and how you can respond to. Soren Kierkegaard tells a great little storage in our little story but he tells a story that I think I would start illustrative security guard was the suppression philosopher equals a fictional story about a man who dies and goes to help when a man gets to hell in the pit of hell.
He doesn't think that he should be there so he makes an appeal to the apostle Peter, who was staying at the edge of hell says I shouldn't be down in this pit and Peter says why not.
He says because I did so many good deeds in my life.
And Peter said okay. Tell me about some of his good deeds in the man thought for a minute he thought. One time I gave a carrot to a poor hungry man and Peter said well let's see that'll get you outta health so it puts the put a little hook in the carrot like a fishing pole. He throws over the edge of help lowers all way down to this guy and this guy reaches up and grabs a hold of the carrot so that Peter can pull him out of hell. As he hangs on the spirit and as he starts to pull him up out of hell.
Everybody else in hell notices. Hey, that God did not help. So they run up and try to grab hold of him so that they can be pulled up along with him.
And so the guy is now afraid that the little fishing line is gonna break the research, kicking and punching people is like now that's my carrots. That's my carrot. Kierkegaard was trying to illustrate that when you're doing religious deeds in order to save yourself or exalt yourself there actually done from pride and self interest. Religion is inherently competitive.
It's done out of insecurity and I have to be better than you, so that I can guarantee that I'll be accepted by God to caters to the worst parts of us that is what Paul's experience with religion had done to him. But there is one exception to that Paul is going to explain to us in Romans one exception to that and that is the gospel because the gospel teaches the opposite of what religion teaches us the gospel teaches us that God gives salvation not as a reward to those who earn it.
Not as a reward to those who set themselves above everybody else. God gives the gospel to people who were totally unworthy of it and you cry out to him from the pit and say only you can save me and I can't save myself. You gotta do it as an act of generosity and that produces a fundamentally different spirit and people so because of my experience in the gospel. Paul says still in verse one. I am now a servant of Christ Jesus. The Greek word there is new lawsuit literally means slave. In other words, the lowest of the low, which was the opposite of what Paul had been going for as a Pharisee as a Pharisee. Paul's zeal in religion was aimed to elevate him about people.
Now he sees his experience with Christ is the reason to lower himself below people and to serve them as a Pharisee when he had encountered people who were simple and had problems. Paul would say well you're just getting what you deserve.
If you also might mean you wouldn't have a lot of those problems now. When Paul encounters people assuming problems he's gonna say yup I had a lot of problems to thank God and Jesus love me anyway in my problems that he help me and Jesus loved and forgiven. Help me when I have problems and that's on to treat you and your problems as well has a Pharisee when people would wrong poultry Paul badly. Paul would respond with vengeance.
He would say I am righteous.
How dare you treat me that way if you treat me badly to be badly. I will hate you and pay you back now after the gospel.
Paul will say yup.
You treat me badly, but not as badly as I treated Jesus and thank God that Jesus kept loving me even after I had wronged him as a Pharisee. When Paul saw somebody in the Paul would say what I have is mine when I was nine, I earned it.
I don't know what anybody now after the gospel. Paul says will thank God that Jesus didn't hold on to what he had, but he gave it for me and Jesus David that way for me that's probably how I succeed my stuff in relation to others in their need to see the gospel of grace produces in us a fundamentally different spirit than zealousness and religion does religion makes you proud and self-centered. The gospel makes you humble and generous near some of you know that one of my veterans ministry I was getting Clayton King's pastor now down in South Carolina. There's a guy on his staff are the store recently. The former surrender stories that I've heard are of recent guy on their staff, he is pretty on his wife was pregnant with her second child.
His pregnant wife and their two-year-old daughter were riding in the car early one morning and they got hit head on by an EMT worker who had just completed a 24 hour shift or was just completed 24 ships and hid them and instantly killed his wife and his unborn daughter because she was an EMT worker because he never should've work on all the shifts in a row because he had violated the law. The sky was in pretty serious trouble.
He was going to get home is in charge of the felony and was gonna have to serve some pretty harsh jail time will unexpectedly as they're getting ready to sentence the sky into the courtroom comes this pastor and he asked if he could have a word with the judge and the jury and he pleads for a more lenient sentence for the sky amply did not get any jail time that he just be put on probation and says I don't want you to hold this guy accountable for that. That led to an eight year friendship thus far ate your friendship where they have met these is probably every week or two got together and this EMT worker who who killed his wife and daughter is now. He says basically and adopted part of their family.
I didn't even first hear the story from Clayton. Actually it was on to David the today show the people on the today show are looking at this pastor asking what what you and I would ask like how why why would you do this, why, what, how could you, how could you befriended taking your family somebody that has taken the very best thing in your life from you and discuss response was, he said well.
He didn't really take the best thing in my life from me.
The best thing my wife is is Jesus. And when I had wronged Jesus. And when I heard Jesus. Jesus love me and brought me into his family.
So it just makes sense that this is how I should respond to others, friends, religion doesn't produce that kind of spirit. It is the gospel and the gospel alone that produces that kind of spirit.
The gospel humbles you the gospel turns selfish, proud people into humble, generous people, by the way, you can even see this in Paul's name the name the pole went by before he experienced the gospel was Saul.
Saul was that victorious Hebrew king who literally stood head and shoulders above everybody else, right after Saul excretes the gospel. He adopted the name Paul, which in Latin means little small so another words, Paul went from Saul, the might eat up all the small because now he saw himself not as somebody would exalted himself the religion he saw himself somebody was humbled by the gospel and not changed every single thing in his life. He was now a person who was ready to be generous. Here's the question has that transformation happened to you. So I would say looking at a church like this and we got a lot of people who were still pretty thoroughly endued with with religion where you're trying to be good and you were trying to be competitive and that's why you're jealous and hateful and judgmental as this transformation happened. You were you gone from Saul the mighty to all the small, the servant as we says next time set apart for the gospel of God, formally Paul had tried to distinguish himself to his talent and his goodness. That was his identity. Now, he said.
From this point on, I only want to be known for the gospel. Both have seen what my talents and my goodness can do and it was not pretty. So now I figure it's better to put Jesus on display. From this point forward that it is to put Paul on display. Here's my question for you. What is it that you want to be known for. How are you trying to set your self apart is it to your talents as of your goodness this.
Here's what I've learned in the 17 years or so being your pastor, you guys been impressed with my talents or my goodness is not going to help you at all for a couple reasons.
First of all, like Paul, what you see on stage here is not all there is to me I would tell you just let the cat out of the bag. I'm a lot less impressive. The closer you get to make this. Ask any of the dozen or so people that are closest to me there a lot less impressed with me than most of you are because what you see is the stage presentation and you're looking up there like a look like you have this marriage in this family and this writer and pets think the reality. The second reason is because I know that even if I were perfect, even if I did live up to all your expectations. My perfect example wouldn't help you would just discourage you. I could you be like, well, he can be perfect and even enough temptation even seem to be no troubles and in and as a dad. Meza has a husband like I do. I don't want to stay and appear and give you a perfect model that you could never emulate. Anyway, what I wanted to extend.
Did you a savior that you can hope in and that can be accomplished better mommy putting on display. The weaknesses in the struggle that I have not. So you'll admire me but so that you will open the Jesus that I have found hope in so I want to be set apart for the gospel of God, and I figured is better to use whatever platform God gives me the results JC that it is to exalt JD and then Jim Elliott Jim Daly. The missionary said it this way is that we missionaries are just a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt a great big somebody to get what you want people to know about you, what you want them to think about when they talk about you what's those of the first thing that you think should come to mind when you think about you. You trying to be Saul the amazing you trying to be Paul. The small okay congratulations on the church you are finished with verse one, 432 to go. Okay, try to remember to the message. What made Paul so confident and driven in this message anything about why is Paul willing to go around the world, the places he's not welcome the people he's never met the tell them things they don't even want to hear people still ask this question today Miller choir Christians are pushy and motherly all you know like the talking of their faith and always great these awkward moment in religion a private matter, why, what, why should Christians always trying to share your faith with total strangers and creating needlessly awkward situations to Ms. Boyd acknowledges right a front-page couple things. One, first of all a lot of Christians have bad social manners and God and the gospel are not to blame for that.
They were socially awkward before they became Christians understated say that okay God not to blame for that. But Ms. would let the other cat out of the bag here. If you are a guest here today.
I'll go ahead now. We really really really want to convert you okay there I said it I owned it now on the same page. We once you trust Jesus like we have let me let Paul explain why that is to you is explained in the next few verses he says pursue. This is wives are driven as white around the world like this. This gospel was promised beforehand through his prophets. Paul's most compelling evidence that religion was not just a private matter.
Something at work for him that that other people might work for them to do something that was something everybody should know was because of the way that had been foretold and fulfilled through all the prophets in the Hebrew Bible is interesting to me that even before Paul goes to the resurrection as his evidence that Christianity is true the first place. He turns is the way that God fulfilled prophecy have explained you before that Luke 24 after Jesus was crucified. There were a couple of Jesus's disciples were walking on this road to Emmaus. They did know about the resurrection yet and they were pretty discouraged. Jesus was dead after Jesus comes up tomorrow incognito and he got, sidles up beside them and starts up talk with as I hate filled level on faces and and so they begin this point, Jesus is dead.
And so Jesus again without knowing who he is starts and says that Moses and the prophets, and begins to explain to them how all the things in the Old Testament ultimately pointed to him, not you would think that he was wanting to convince them that he was true that he would've just revealed himself as the resurrected Christ right there.
I am that would've done it, but evidently he knew what a more abiding evidence of more compelling evidence was to show how a book 39 books.
In fact, written over the space of 1500 years by 30 different authors all had one point they were trying to make that point wise. Jesus is coming to rescue you have 28. We don't know exactly what Jesus said that day but he probably would've started in Genesis and he would've explained how he was the word of God created the heavens and the earth, and how he was the one that was promised to Adam and Eve who would would crush the head of the serpent, even while his healing doing the crushing would be bruised how in Exodus.
He was the Passover lamb whose blood will be sprinkled on the doorpost of art so that we could escape slavery and little bit as he was shown how he was the Temple a holy place where we met with God in numbers he would've shown that he was our ever present God that pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, who will never leave us or forsake us in Deuteronomy was shown how he was becoming prophet who was greater than Moses. What is the first 534 books to go to Bible teaching ministry pastor, author and theologian Jeannie here are so many joined us today as mentally answer listeners to really take a step of faith and get involved in supporting this ministry financially.
Jeannie share a little bit about what they are giving his accomplished gala like a said last month the end of the year is a critical time for summer life and that's why were exceptionally grateful for this really step up and join with us in financial partnership allows us to in the year in a solid financial position which sets us up well to expand into new communities in the coming year, as well as to provide some some new content. We think that is helpful for you in your own growth in Christ. Maybe for your family and also for ever reaching out to neighbors and friends. So I get what I want people to hear is just is just thank you, thank you for those who stepped up to support us in 2019 were excited about the way we see God used Summit life excited to see the power of the preached word gospel go out in the new community.
So thank you for those of you partner with us and that he said were so great with ice at such a critical time of year the foundation of this ministry comes from the ongoing support of our gospel partners.
So when you join this important team. Today we will say thank you by sending UNIX list of resource the 2020 Summit life day planner, the other the a daily reminder to stay in God's word makes him the center of all of your plans as per the Senate life, day planner, when you become a gospel partner when you get a single gift at $25 or more highlight 663-3520 866-335-5224. You can get firstname.lastname@example.org I wasn't interested out tomorrow pastor JD's message found the man in the message in the mission. Listen Wednesday to Senate life JD Greer