God is not done with the nation of Israel. His promises to Israel are to Israel, and He will be faithful to fulfill those promises. God is still stretching out His hands to His covenant people, longing for them to come to Him.
We see that throughout Israel’s history. Even if the majority were functioning in unbelief, there was always a faithful remnant who believed.
Paul points to the prophet Elijah as one of these faithful, but even Elijah struggled at times with discouragement and frustration in his ministry. Why? Watch our study in Romans 11:1-5 as we consider the danger of relying upon feelings rather than the facts of God’s word.
In Romans 10:21, the Apostle Paul quotes the Prophet Isaiah, who records the word of the Lord: “All day long, I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Israel didn’t believe that God was going to follow through with what He said He would do if they turned away from Him and were unwilling to repent. They had misinterpreted God’s patience for permission to sin.
So God sent prophet after prophet with the same message: “I am serious—if you will not repent, I cannot relent in bringing the judgment I promised.” After 490 years of pleading with His people to repent, God brought the judgment He said would come if His people walked away from Him.
He says the same to us, expect the judgment that awaits us is more severe than a 70 year exile in a foreign country. The judgement that awaits us if we refuse to repent is eternal. And so, the same God who sent the prophets to plead with His people in the past is the same God who sends preachers to us today to plead with us to repent so that He could relent in bringing eternal judgment.
The public proclamation of God’s word is important. Watch our study of Romans 10:14-21 as we considered the vital role preaching has in our times of gathering.
The Apostle Paul was a passionate person. He loved his brethren, his countrymen, his family according to the flesh—and wanted them to be saved.
His passion and emotion for his brethren was so intense that he was willing to be cut off from Christ if that meant that they could be saved. Even though this desire was deep in his heart, in his head he knew that this wasn’t possible. The Messiah—Jesus of Nazareth—had already given His life to them and they had every opportunity to be saved!
In Romans 10, Paul begins to process why his family according to the flesh have yet to yield to Jesus to be saved. Watch our study of Romans 10:1-13 as we unpack Paul’s heart and head for those he loved who weren’t saved—and what we can learn as we consider those in our lives who have yet to yield to Christ.
There’s a faulty assumption about God that presumes He is obliged to have mercy on everyone. This assumption objects to anything that runs contrary to God automatically being merciful to all people in all places at all times.
But as we’ve been learning in Romans 9, God chooses to be merciful. He isn’t required to show mercy, and yet very often He does. Because He chooses to show mercy, there are times when He chooses not to be merciful. Sometimes God, as a just judge, does not show mercy. Sometimes He allows someone to experience the consequences of their actions. Sometimes He allows a person experience the just judgement for their sins.
That is His choice. That should terrify us and incentivize us to figure out why and when and with whom God make these choices. We should want to learn how we can be in His good graces and how we can be in the middle of His merciful choices. Because, after all, it’s His choice.
Watch our study of Romans 9:14-33 as we consider who God chooses have mercy upon, and how He chooses to have mercy upon whosoever chooses Him.
In Romans 9, the Apostle Paul writes about his desire for his family—his fellow Israelites—to be saved from an eternity of paying the just penalty for their sin. But they are missing the key component—Jesus, The Messiah who ends all self-righteous pursuits by offering His righteousness as a gift.
This is important to understand as we work our way through Romans 9, 10, and 11 as Paul deals directly with the past, present, and future of his family—the Jewish people. He loves his own people enough to be willing to be cursed if that meant they could be saved. And while Paul acknowledges their zeal and enthusiasm to honor God, it won't bring about righteousness by following the law.
That’s because everyone has sinned and has fallen short of God’s holy standard. Everyone—whether Jew or Gentile—needs salvation. The only source of salvation offered to all of humanity is found in a flawless, sinless, substitutionary sacrifice who can take our place—Jesus, The Messiah.
Watch our study from Romans 9:6-13 as we discovered the importance of receiving Jesus and whom God has chosen to give His great gift of salvation.
At the beginning of Romans 9, the Apostle Paul expresses great sorrow and continual grief for his fellow Jewish brothers and sisters. This week, we further explored the reasons why he experienced such deep emotions.
Paul knew that the Jewish people have so much evidence of God’s existence. No other people group has maintained their national identity, religion, culture, cuisine, and language for as long as the Jewish people have. All of this was woven in within the history and regular rhythms of daily life for the Jewish people.
Also woven in within this heritage is the evidence of the validity of Jesus being who He said He was—the long-awaited Messiah. For all of what was entrusted to the Jewish people for all of their existence was to point to Jesus. And that is what prompted Paul to feel great sorrow and continual grief—the realization that many of his Jewish countrymen were lost without Jesus.
Watch our study of Romans 9:4-5 as we considered the great heritage of the Jewish people and the great hope that is offered through Jesus.
Last week, we finished Romans 8, where the Apostle Paul described the highest heights of our eternal condition in Christ. Those eight chapters led us up to a mountaintop of truth…and in the next sentence, Paul immediately brings us into a deep valley of grief and sorrow.
What could possibly pull Paul off that mountain top and plop him into a valley of grief and sorrow? How could the assurance of nothing ever separating us from God’s love lead Paul (in the very next sentence) to confess the “great sorrow and continual grief” in his heart?
The answer…is something we discovered this past Sunday as we began Romans 9. Watch our study as we learned about Paul’s realization for those who aren’t in Christ, how we share that sorrow and grief, and—most importantly—what our response should be!
*Due to some technical difficulties, the audio drops out around 28 minutes into the message, but comes back about a minute later.
In the last portion of Romans 8, the Apostle Paul gets inquisitive. In just six verses, he asks seven questions. But the questions he asks aren’t because he’s curious. He asks them with the aim of producing an effect rather than eliciting information.
They are good questions to ask and for us to consider—especially in light of the clear and compelling, layered and logical argument Paul has been making since the beginning of his letter. The question marks in this section are answered with a resounding exclamation point as Paul draws the immutable conclusion that God is for us and nothing can separate us from His love!
Watch our study from Sunday as we slowly and carefully considered the eternal truths at the end of Romans 8.
There are a finite number of days until we are with Jesus in Heaven—forever! Until then, we lift up our heads and stand on our toes looking for and eagerly awaiting what is to come. As we wait, we have the hope of Jesus and Heaven in our hearts.
And yet…this time of waiting can seem unbearable and difficult, can’t it? At times, we find we don’t know what we should be praying for. We have the hope, but is there help?
YES! There is help from a Helper—the only Helper who helps us in so many ways. The Apostle Paul knew of the difficulties in this time of waiting. He also knew of the help that God offers us.
Watch our study from this past Sunday as we considered Romans 8:26-30 and the many ways the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.
There is a longing and hoping among believers in Jesus as we wait for the person and the place for which we were made. This time we’re waiting in now can be so disorienting, frustrating, and non-fulfilling that we find ourselves groaning for Him and His Kingdom.
But this isn’t by accident. Scripture tells us that creation was subjected to frustration by God on purpose in hopes that we would long and look for someone and something—the Person and the Place we were truly made for.
Between seasons of frustration and groans, we get little glimpses of what’s to come. It’s those glimpses that help us keep looking up and looking ahead to that Person and that Place. Watch our study of Romans 8:18-25 from this past Sunday as we considered the person (Jesus) and the place (Heaven) for which we were made.
Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
In previous studies, we’ve learned how we can become a part of God’s family by grace through faith. So what does it mean that we “suffer with Him”? Must we experience persecution in order to belong to His family? Or is there more to this idea of suffering than meets the eye?
This past Sunday, we slowly studied just one verse—Romans 8:17—as we carefully considered what it means to suffer with Christ. Watch our study and take time to think about what emotions God experiences.
Sowing and reaping are real things. One small seed sown can, in time, produce thousands more seeds. This principle has spiritual applications. The content we consume is seed. If that seed feeds our flesh, then we are sowing to the flesh. If it is seed that feeds our spirit, then we are sowing to the Spirit.
It’s important to remember that there is a delay between sowing and reaping. The Apostle Paul knew this, and encourages us to not grow weary of sowing to the spirit for in due season we will reap if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
After a season of sowing, you may find a harvest of right living and the fruit of the Spirit in your life. But the presence of that fruit doesn’t mean we should stop sowing to the Spirit! It’s a continual process of sowing and reaping.
This past Sunday, we continued looking at Romans 8 as we considered the importance of sowing to the Spirit.
It’s been said that the greatest commentary of the Bible is the Bible itself. There’s so much that the Bible has to say about itself that it illustrates examples of key aspects that it describes at lengths elsewhere.
As we have been studying what it means to follow the Spirit, it’s helpful to look to the many examples of followers of Jesus in the past who have kept in step with the Spirit that we can learn from.
This past Sunday, we considered one of those examples in the life of Philip in Acts 8. In this passage, we see not only what it looks like to have our mind set on the things of the Spirit, but also about baptism—which is a great preparation for our time for baptisms this coming Sunday (September 11) at Wilson Park right after service.
Watch our study of Acts 8:26-40 as we looked to the life of Philip as an illustration of what it looks like to be in step with the Spirit.
Even after Christ sets us free, we have a choice of what to set our minds on—the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit. In our previous studies in Romans, we’ve considered the constant conflict between the flesh (our old sinful nature) and the Spirit (our new nature in Christ) for mind—the place where we make decisions and take action.
We have influence over this conflict by choosing which side to feed. This choice is as simple being careful of the content we consume in our mind. Just like planing a seed, our thoughts will yield a harvest. God’s word makes it clear—if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption. But if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life.
Watch our study of Romans 8:5-6 as we considered the eternal importance of sowing and reaping.
Romans 8 begins with no condemnation (see Romans 8:1) and ends with no separation (see Romans 8:38-39). In between these two magnificent truths is a description of our victory through life in the Holy Spirit.
In fact, Romans 8:37 says life can be even more than a victory for you through Him who loves you. But why is it that we sometimes struggle with receiving and implementing this reality in our lives? What keeps us from believing, receiving, and enjoying this truth?
It’s something we considered as we looked at Romans 8:1-4 again this past Sunday. Though we studied the same scripture last week, there is so much depth to these verses that we needed to plunge its depths again! Watch our 2nd study from Romans 8:1-4 and join us this Sunday as we worship the Lord and continue our study in Romans.
Romans 8:1 is one of the most magnificent statements and important truths in all of the Bible: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…”
In order to appreciate this truth to the fullest, we need to consider it in its context—which includes an odd verse before it, and the verse following it.
At first read, it seems as though these two verses go together. However, there is something in these three verses together that will not only help us appreciate Romans 8:1, but will also help us properly appropriate the truth we find in Romans 8:1.
Watch our study from Sunday as we dive deep into the first four verses of Romans 8.
At the end Romans 7, the Apostle Paul expresses what we all feel—the push and pull between mind and flesh. He knows the right thing to do, but he does what is wrong anyway. In desperation, he asks, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
It’s not the law. While the law is good, it cannot give life or save and sanctify us. The only thing that the law can do is show us that we have fallen short of God’s ideal.
Thankfully, Paul provides the answer in the very next verse: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” And throughout the next chapter, we read of the newness of the Spirit available in Christ: no condemnation, no separation, more than conquerers.
This Sunday, we considered the newness of the Spirit made possible to us through Christ as an introduction to one of the greatest chapters in all of scripture. Read ahead as we dive into this amazing chapter this coming Sunday!
We've gotten to know the Holy Spirit—who the Holy Spirit is, what the Holy Spirit does, and the gifts the Holy Spirit gives. In light of this, what should our response be? What must we do? It’s a common question…with an uncommon answer.
In Matthew 7:11, Jesus says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
This past Sunday, we considered the good gifts God gives us through the Holy Spirit. Knowing what these gifts are was only half of our study. It’s essential that we have a proper understanding of how we are to use these gifts and why He has given them to us.
Watch this third part of our Walk in the Spirit series—then join us next Sunday at 10am as we conclude this series and consider our response to the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is so much more than a self-help book, yet many approach it as if rules and regulations will finally help them overcome life’s many problems. “If I could only try harder to control myself enough to actually do what the Bible says to do, then one day maybe I could actually have self-control.” This thinking is a tragic mistake.
When we look at the Bible like a self-help book, we err in thinking that all we have to do is try harder. But trying harder and attempting to control ourselves doesn’t work! A reliance on the Holy Spirit that comes naturally though a daily relationship does!
As we consider Paul’s encouragement in Romans 8:1, we’re taking a closer look at what it means to walk in the Spirit so that we won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. Last Sunday, we learned who the Holy Spirit is. This past Sunday, we looked at what the Holy Spirit does and how He helps us.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” But what does it mean to “walk in the Spirit?” It's an important question to ask—and answer. Before we start this walk, we took time on Sunday to get to know the Holy Spirit.
There are two extremes in reaction to God’s grace: on one side there is license; on the other side, there is legalism.
On one side of the spectrum, there are those who see God’s unmerited favor too good to be true. It’s almost too dangerous to tell people that they are completely forgiven and righteous forever because of Jesus. After all, wouldn’t they use that as permission to sin? This is license—“since we are saved by grace, we are free to live however we please.”
On the other side of the spectrum, others feel compelled to avoid the dangers of license and think it is necessary for strict adherence to some sort of tether to goodness and godliness—a law we must live by if we are to have any hope of pleasing God. This is legalism—“we must please God by living according to the law to sanctify ourselves through our own efforts to be good.”
Normally when there are extremes on either end, there is usually a position found somewhere in the middle. But, that’s just not the case here. God has something for us that is completely separate from this entire spectrum.
Watch or listen to our study of Romans 7 as we understand how we can be free from the pull of these two extremes.
In our previous study in Romans, we talked about how the power of sin has been broken and how we are to reckon that we had died to sin and rose to newness of life in Christ. We no longer have to live in sin!
This Sunday, the Apostle Paul walked us through how to practically offer up our body to Christ so that we don’t even have to sin episodically—even if there is an ocean of God’s grace.
Watch or listen to our study of Romans 6:15-23 as we considered the simple, yet effective information, appropriation, and application that will keep us from living in and falling into sin.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” This is a question that the Apostle Paul poses in the section of scripture we considered this Sunday. After all, since God’s ocean of grace is greater than our thimbles of sin, should we just keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace?
In response to his own question, Paul doesn’t advocate for legalism (trying to earn God’s favor) or license (using God’s grace to rationalize sin). Our motivation for obedience should always be love for God. After being saved by grace through faith, we want to choose to stop sinning out of our love for God.
And yet, Paul’s answer to the question is more elemental than love. He encourages us to remember who we are in Christ—and then simply be who we already are. It’s here, at this basic level, where we find a more readily employable application than just another exhortation to love the Lord more.
Watch our study of Romans 6:1-14 as we reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.
This past Sunday, we paused our study in Romans, but continued the theme we considered at the end of Romans 5—the thimble of our sin compared to the ocean of God’s grace.
We see this illustrated in the short letter to Philemon, which the Apostle Paul wrote to Philemon regarding his runaway slave Onesimus. Though seen as small, insignificant, and worthless in the eyes of society, God would esteem and elevate Onesimus to the highest position that anyone in creation could ever hold—co-heir with Christ!
God wants to do the same for you. He thinks about you more than the number of grains of sand on earth, more than the stars in our universe, and more than all aspects of all creation combined! His thought towards you are good.
This is what the letter to Philemon is about. You are NOT worthless. You are loved by God, who invites YOU to be transformed from His creation to one of His children. Watch our study from Sunday and marvel at the marvelous grace of Jesus.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends