Summary: 1. Receiving Jesus brings freedom from condemnation. 2 Being close to God means surrendering control to our loving Father 3. Being a part of God’s family means we are blessed when we face difficulty.
Sunday 17 May 2009 ASHINGDON PM
“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
(Nothing Can Separate You from God’s Love)
I’ve been wrestling with what the Lord has given me for you for a couple of days.
In my personal devotions this week I read Luke 24:45 which says:
“Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
And I really felt that was where we were supposed to be tonight.
That tonight we needed God to speak to us through scripture, to open up His word for us. A word relevant for today.
And I prayed that God would speak into the time in which we live, speak into our lives now and build us and strengthen us.
And something strange happened.
Normally the Lord will lead me to a passage first and then the points of the sermon follow.
This time He gave me the points first and then led me to the passage.
The three points are:
1. Receiving Jesus brings freedom from condemnation and war against sin
2. Being close to God means surrendering control to our loving Father
3. Being a part of God’s family means we are blessed when we face difficulty.
And God then led me to Romans 8 and I understood what He wanted to say to us today.
Before we look at Romans 8 I want us to take a quick look at the whole book of Romans,
yes the whole book,
all 16 chapters in the next couple of minutes!
Imagine it’s the winter of A.D. 57-58, Paul is in Corinth at the close of his third missionary journey.
Soon He will return to Jerusalem with an offering for the poor.
A woman named Phoebe, who lives in a suburb of Corinth, is going to sail to Rome soon and Paul sees an opportunity to send a letter to the church in Rome with her.
The only postal service in the Roman Empire was for government business, personal letters had to be carried by friends.
Paul was not sure he would get away from Jerusalem alive and he wanted the Christians in Rome to have a written explanation of the gospel. He wrote this letter, which Phoebe delivered safely to the church.
Realizing that this may be his only only communication with the church in Rome, he wrote about two important truths of the Christian faith – the belief that results in salvation and the behavior that results from salvation.
In chapter 1 Paul begins the Roman letter by clearly outlining man’s depraved condition before God. After a few introductory words about himself, the Roman church’s reputation, Paul’s thwarted plans to come to them, and the nature of the gospel he preached, he tackles the sin problem.
In the latter part of chapter 1, Paul deals with the gentile world. Although they do not have the Mosaic law, they have a law within their own hearts, which they have violated, failing to live up to the truth they posses. For that reason, the Gentiles stand as sinners before God.
In chapter 2, Paul deals with the Jewish people who have religious privileges - but fail to realize their possibilities, violating God’s law and refusing to live up to the light that has been revealed to them.
Paul ties all the strings together in Chapter 3, ending with that great statement that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (v23).
Chapter 4, deals with salvation by faith. Man has always been saved by faith, even in Old Testament days – we are told that it was Abraham’s faith that God counted for righteousness.
In chapter 5, the glorious results of faith are outlined;
in chapter 6, Paul makes clear the obligations of one who has been justified by faith, concluding with the timeless declaration that the “wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v23).
Chapter 7, pictures the struggle between the old man and the new man in the life of the believer.
Chapter 8, shows the victory that comes to those that are in Christ and the security they enjoy because of God’s constant presence and unfailing power. Paul concludes chapter 8 with a glorious statement that nothing is able “to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v39).
Chapters 9 through 11, deal with the Jewish people and are, in a sense, a transition between the doctrinal section and the practical section.
Chapter 12 is the “watershed” of this letter. Paul explains a life given over to Christ and life in the body.
Chapter 13 explains the life in society, a life in love and issues a wake up call to “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ”.