Romans 4 Faith Like Abraham!

80s Christian Metal Blessings!


I’m having a lot of fun preaching through Romans, what an awesome book of Scripture!  In Chapter 1, Paul boldly declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation to all who believe!”  In Chapters two and three Paul beautifully introduces us to the bottom of the barrel as he systematically shreds every argument we try to use to justify ourselves by our own efforts to be “good enough”—then—when we’re at the bottom of the barrel with zero hope of saving ourselves, Paul declares---now look up and see what God has done FOR YOU in CHRIST! 


Romans 3:21-22 (NLT) “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.”


We are “SAVED” when we place our FAITH in JESUS! 


Okay, sounds good, so……. What is faith?  


What does it mean to “put it in someone?” 


That’s what chapter 4 is all about.  


Paul uses the example of Abraham to teach us what biblical faith that pleases God looks like. Let me summarize the key point I want to make in a paragraph.


Paul refers us back to Genesis 15, where God called Abraham to leave his home and follow Him.  God promised Abraham that He would bless him greatly, and Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Okay, that’s awesome, but let me press in a little harder with this question.  How do we know Abraham believed God?  Did He just sit down and say, “Okay God, I believe in you and what you just said… and nothing else? 


NOPE.


We know Abraham believed God because he got up, TURNED away from his old life, and FOLLOWED God. 


Abraham teaches us that the kind of FAITH God blesses and recons as righteous—does two things: 1) It trusts, and 2) It obeys. 


Simply and amazingly enough—this is EXACTLY how Christ calls us to respond when He calls us to follow Him as a disciple (via The Gospel) --  we TURN (repent) away from our old life and follow Him as Lord.  We put our TRUST in Him and step into a life of OBEDIENCE—following Him as Lord.


In other words, we practice faith---JUST LIKE ABRAHAM!


. There’s more to Romans 4 than that, but wow---that alone is a pretty awesome truth isn’t it?!


80s Christian Metal Blessings,
pb
http://pastorbradrocks.net/

Welcome To The Bottom of the Barrel!

 80s Christian Metal Blessings!


I’m preaching through the Book of Romans.  Wow, what an amazing book!  This week I’m covering Romans 1:18 to the end of Chapter 3.  If you are familiar with Romans, you are shaking your head right now, thinking, “PB is nuts, that’s way too much to try to cover in one sermon!”  Ya, well, that’s just where the Holy Spirit took things. :-) 


In this section of Romans, Paul does something AWESOME FOR US.  He introduces us to THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL.  Let me explain.  In my testimony, there is a bottom of the barrel chapter.  I jumped onto the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll train at age 13 and I rode that train full, throttle throughout my teen years.  I made more bad, fleshly, choices than I could possibly count, and all of that wild living led me straight to----THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL.  I made a mess of things.  I was miserable.  I often say, “I was so low I had to look up to see the bottom of the barrel.”  


HERE’S THE AWESOME PART

It was there, at the bottom, that I figured out that I was powerless to fix my life.  


I was toast without God, and specifically without Christ!  


So, I looked up, and praise the Lord, He lovingly reached down and lifted me out of the pit and set my feet firmly on the Rock of Christ Jesus! 


Your testimony is different than mine.  We all have our own stories—unique to us.  But all of us must come to that place that we see, clearly, for ourselves, that WITHOUT JESUS WE ARE TOAST! 


That is exactly what Paul makes abundantly, overwhelmingly clear in Romans 1:18-3:31. 


Here is my outline and conclusion for this Sunday: Paul shares 6 REALITIES with us in this section of ROMANS 


REALITY #1   (1:18-23)   Mankind has rejected God. 


REALITY #2 (1:24-31) Rejecting God Has Consequences.

REALITY #3 (2:1-16) Morals are great, but they don’t save you.”

REALITY #4 (2:17-28)  Religion won’t get the job done either.

REALITY #5  (3:1-8) Religious heritage (Being raised in Church) is great if it leads to personal relationship with Christ.

REALITY #6 (3:9-31) No One Is Righteous apart from Jesus, period.

I.e. There is NOTHING we can do to save ourselves---PERIOD.  We are toast.  


That’s the BAD news.  This is: THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, and while it’s not a fun place to be, it’s a great place to be—If we will humbly receive this occasion as an opportunity to LOOK UP to Christ, confess our sin and need for a Savior.  Turn to Him and follow Him by faith (trust and obedience) as Lord!  Here’s how Paul ends chapter three.


 Romans 3:21-25 (NLT) “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith  in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.  23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.  25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.”


80s Christian Metal Blessings,
pb
http://pastorbradrocks.net/

UNASHAMED Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ!

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Romans 1:16 (NIV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes."


Dude, have you ever felt pressured to be ashamed (silenced) by the world, regarding your faith in Jesus?  I know I have.  That pressure seems to be growing in our country. Paul’s words should ENCOURAGE us. The word “encourage” literally means to “pour courage into.”  


Paul served Christ in a pagan culture where standing up for Jesus as The One & Only, EXCLUSIVE Lord & Savior was seen as intensely POLITICALLY, SOCIALLY, RELIGIOUSLY (etc.) INCORRECT and OFFENSIVE. And yet, Paul, BOLDLY stoop up and proclaimed, “I am no ashamed of the gospel!” 


The word GOSPEL is not a “Christian word”.  It was a common word in the first century.  It means Good News and it was specifically used to describe an announcement of victory over an enemy.  For example--if Caesar conquered and enemy and liberated a group of people---He would send out a herald to announce HIS GOSPEL (good news of liberation) to the people! 


THE GOSPEL of Jesus Christ--is just that--An Announcement of the GOOD NEWS that God, through Jesus has crushed the head of Satan.  He has CONQUERED death, hell and sin for all who will receive Him as Lord and Savior!  It’s the BEST Good News (gospel) EVER!  


So, Paul says, “No way, I will NEVER be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus-----BECAUSE---It is THE POWER OF GOD that brings salvation to everyone who believes!” 


Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV) “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” 


Friend, I just want to ENCOURAGE you today, be bold!  Live unashamed BRIGHT & SALTY lives for Jesus today--and every day!


80s Christian Metal Blessings!
pb
http://pastorbradrocks.net/

Rejoice & Be Glad! Really? How?

 80s Christian Metal Blessings! 

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” 


Okay, cities are on fire.  We are palpably divided as a nation.  Anger seems to be boiling and threatening violence everywhere.  Even in the church, God’s people struggle to love one another—as we respond to all that’s happening in our world through our personal political lenses. 

How do we REJOICE and BE GLAD? 

For me, it’s all about taking a deep breath, reminding myself that this world is NOT my home.  I’m just passing through as a sojourner for Jesus—with my eyes fixed on the prize that God has called me toward—in Christ Jesus!  

With that mindset, I regroup and say (daily, hourly) “Father,  this is the day the YOU have made; I WILL (it’s a choice) rejoice and be glad in it!”  I do this regularly. 

And then we get about LIVING FOR JESUS, doing these four things:


#1. WE SPEAK GOD’S WORDS. 

We allow God’s Word to season our thoughts and our conversations—with ourselves, with God and with others.  We chose to make God’s Word the supreme guide as we navigate each day. 


#2. WE DO GOD’S WORKS. 

God calls us to love, serve, bless, encourage, teach, worship, declare, witness… we get about living for our Lord! 


#3. WE SHOW GOD’S CHARACTER. I’ve always subtitled the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, “The Character Traits of Jesus.”  So, as we walk through out day, our prayer is, “Lord, allow your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to be manifest in my life and interactions with others! 


#4. WE PRAY GOD’S WILL. 

The Apostle Paul exhorts us to pray about everything! (Phil. 4:6)  Jesus set the ultimate example of prayer for us with his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he prayed, “…nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” (Mt. 26:39).  I use those two statements as BOOKENDS for my prayer life. 

“God, here is my heart—I’m praying about EVERYTHING!  Here’s my will… my desires… my requests----Here is what I believe your Spirit and Word are leading me to pray about and for... BUT, I lay it ALL at your feet with this humble, worshipful, addition, may YOUR WILL be done, because in the end, I want YOUR will more than anything!” 


Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 


I.e. When we CHOOSE to reject anxiety and to trust God with all of our concerns---His PEACE (which is bigger, better than words can describe) will GUARD (literally protect) our heart----and from THAT PEACEFUL PLACE---We can REJOICE and BE GLAD in our Savior Jesus each day!


80s Christian Metal Blessings,
pb
http://pastorbradrocks.net/

Marking Moments

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Deuteronomy 6:12 (ESV) " Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

God created us and He hard-wired us to REMEMBER & to TELL STORIES.  We love stories.  Every day of life on this planet, people have sat or stood and share stories about what happened earlier this morning, yesterday, last week or twenty-five years ago.    I love CLASSIC CHRISTIAN METAL!  I love to commemorate anniversaries, like the thirtieth anniversary of TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL---I was totally blessed to see Stryper on that tour, in Indianapolis in 2016--super-cool! 

The struggle we have is we tend to remember junk we ought to (and in most cases want to) forget, and we forget the good stuff--truth about God, His goodness, power, holiness, and grace!  That's why it's a good idea to MARK MOMENTS when God does good work in our lives.

God instructed Moses to do this... A LOT!

When the final plague hit Egypt (Ex. 12) "The Death Angel/Death of the firstborn".  God gave Israel these instructions:

"Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family...  Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover."  (Ex. 12)

In Joshua 4-5 We read about Israel crossing the Jordan, marking the beginning of the conquest of The Promised Land.  When they crossed, God miraculously stopped the flow of the river, so that the people crossed on dry ground.  Once they we all across, God, via Moses, commanded the people to appoint ONE MAN from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, to step back into the dry river bed and get one stone.  They piled the stones up as a "MARKER," a monument to commemorate the moment God brought them into The Promised Land on dray ground---a MOMENT WORTH REMEMBERING!

On and on God gave Israel a calendar filled with days and feasts, INTENTIONAL MOMENTS to pause and REMEMBER God and His work in their lives!

I just want to encourage you to embrace this practice of marking moments.  When you, one of your children, or a friend is baptized into Christ---MARK IT, celebrate it in a way that creates a memory!  Cherish communion----praise Jesus as you "Do this in REMEMBRANCE of Him" ... as you remember The Cross and Jesus' willingness to allow His body to be broken and his blood spilled (the bread and juice) for our sin! When God teaches you something new in His Word--call a mentor, or a close Christian friend and share it!  When God blesses your life, or family---pause and praise His name!  Sit often with friends and family and take trips down memory lane---share stories and praise God together as you REMEMBER "God-moments" in your lifetimes when He used people, moments, circumstances, "coincidences" to teach you, bless you, grow you up, provide for you, etc.  He is so good and so worthy of our REMEMBERING His and praising Him!


80s Christian Metal Blessings,
pb
http://pastorbradrocks.net/