1. By now we understand Paul’s point in Romans:
a. “There is ONLY ONE way to be saved.”
b. There aren’t 2 options, or 3 options… but just 1.
c. The righteousness required by God is the very righteousness provided by God through his Son Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
NOTE: No one is left out of the picture because it’s the heart of God to see all come to salvation…
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV) 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
• He’s addressed the unrighteous, unbelieving pagans in CH1.
• He then turned to the self-righteous hypocrites in CH2.
• Now he turns to the super-righteous Hebrews in CH3.
I. (3:1-2) GOD GAVE HIS WORD
1. (1-2) Doesn’t being a Jew mean something?
a. The Jews really saw themselves as being absolutely, 100% right with God because of their ancestry & their birth.
b. They were God’s chosen people… that settles it!
c. Yet that’s the question Paul anticipates here: “Hey wait a minute, how can we be the same as them?!”
YOU SEE they trusted in themselves.
• They lived with a religious self-confidence that deceived them.
• Because they had the Word of God they were safe.
• Because they were Hebrew, were God’s spiritual gift to the unbelieving, sinful world, and that alone was enough for them to be on a right standing with God.
And they, like we, reading through the first few chapters of Romans can so easily fall into a sense of self-righteousness…
• Oh, we study The Bible today… so we’re OK.
• We have the right religious affiliation, we were born into the right family, we were raised in the church…
TODAY this question might be something like…
• What does my water baptism mean then? Why did I go through confirmation? Doesn’t my giving put me in a different position?
• I’ve done everything the priest or minister told me to do.
• Doesn’t that amount for anything?
• Sure some it can be beneficial, but not for salvation.
WELL FOR JEW, they were given great advantages.
• Greatest one was receiving & delivering the very Word of God! -- He revealed His Word to them. Isn’t that cool?
THINK BACK FOR A MOMENT… the very first time something in the Bible made sense to you. Wasn’t that just so wonderful?!
• As a kid I would read the Bible and sit in church, but not understand a thing the pastor was saying!
• As a matter of fact, my parents gave me crayons & paper to pass the time because THEY KNEW I wouldn’t understand.
• But at age 23 it clicked! The Spirit of God opened my eyes to my own sinfulness… the Bible went from being just black, white, and red letters on white paper to being in full color!
THROUGH THE JEWS… God used prophets, leaders, & apostles to proclaim His word to the world! What a wonderful privilege that is!
• Do you know it was the Jews love for God’s Word that has preserved the very Bible that we have today!
• The Word of God has been held in highest honor & reverence by the Jewish people!
NOTE: The Jews would never set their Bibles on the floor. They would never put any other books on top of it. When they opened the Word they would kiss it.
• The Talmud (Torah Commentary) gave specific instructions on how to care for the scrolls as they were being copied.
An authentic copy must be the exemplar, from which the transcriber ought not in the least deviate. No word or letter, not even a yod (a vowel mark), must be written from memory, the scribe not having looked at the codex before him…. Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene; between every word, the breadth of a narrow consonant; between every new section, the breadth of nine consonants; between every book, three lines… Besides this, the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress, wash his whole body, not begin to write the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink, and should a king address him while writing that name he must take no notice of him…. The rolls in which these regulations are not observed are condemned to be buried in the ground or burned; or they are banished to the schools, to be used as reading books. http://www.evidenceforchristianity.org
There was a deep awe & reverence for God’s Word.
• I think we as Christians have the intimacy down in our relationship with Jesus but have dismissed the awe!
• Like the first time you saw the Grand Canyon… It’s awesome!
• Or the view of the Rocky Mountains at sunset… awesome!
• But not anything compared to how AWESOME our God is!
Exodus 3:5 (NKJV) 5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
• Flip over to Isaiah 6
• This is NO ORDINARY book we have. It’s GOD’S WORD to man!
APP: Generally, that high view of the BIBLES in our hands has been lost today in the church among Christians.
• Not only is it treated like any other book, but in some circles today, it’s not even regarded HI enough to bring to church!!!
John 6:63 (NKJV) 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
• So the Psalmist cries out…
Psalm 119:97 (NKJV) 97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
NOTE: We can trust it because it was written by God not man.
• Flip back to 2 Timothy 3:16ff
NOTE: It’s ALL valuable. Genesis, 1 Samuel, Leviticus…
• The gospels, the epistles… all of it!
• All Scripture is given by INSPIRATION OF GOD. God inspired the human authors to write His Word.
• Literally, All Scripture is “God Breathed”
JUST as God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s Body, so did He breath His own divine life into the very words of Scripture!
2 Peter 1.21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
You know how people will come to the Bible and say something like, “well that’s just a book written by men”…
• Well you can answer that by saying, “yes men wrote it down, but God inspired, or literally, carried them along” as they did!
All Scripture is INSPIRED and PROFITABLE. It profits the reader.
• Remember the promise in the book of Revelation?
Rev. 1.3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Now it says that Word of god is profitable.
#1 - DOCTRINE – Teaching us Truth about God.
#2 - REPROOF – Teachings us what’s wrong
#3 - CORRECTION – Teaching us how to fix what’s wrong.
#4 - INSTRUCTION – Teaching us How to maintain what is right.
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE… Be careful with your Bibles… don’t let anyone take it away or discourage you from using it.
• Don’t let churches encourage you not to bring or use it.
• Don’t let cults try to replace it or add to it.
• Don’t let the enemy try to get you away from it.
The Bible is an awesome BOOKS. Books? Yes.
• 66 books, 40 authors, 3 languages, 3 continents!
• Yet there are no contradictions!
One theme: God’s undying love for man and His plan for man to have his sins forgiven and his eternal life secured!
NOTE: God’s Word is truly so effective & powerful guys.
• I look around at the work God is doing here among us and I’m just in awe of His faithfulness.
• I’m just a knucklehead. What am I doing in the pulpit?!
• I’m teaching the Word and watching God do the work!
• If you read it. If you study it. If you take heed to it.
• God’s Word will accomplish His work! Stick with it gang!
And for the Jews… what an advantage!
• They received the preparation work for the gospel message.
• It motivated Paul in his ministry to go to the Jew first.
Romans 16:13 (NKJV) 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
• Why? Because they would have the foundation already in place to receive the good news of the coming Messiah.
• They would know & understand passages like:
• Isaiah 53… Psalm 22…
The Jews knew the prophecies… they studied them.
• They had the advantage of the warnings & cautions.
• But they didn’t heed the Messiah. They rejected Him.
TODAY Rabbis look at these same passages and say they refer to the nation of Israel… God has forsaken His nation they say.
• And the Jews today just don’t see Jesus in Isaiah 53.
• The reason is that He so perfectly fulfilled them.
• I can say that if you go back to the 1st century writings of the rabbis, they see the Messiah!
• A lot has changed over the years… a hardness of heart.
Guys… having the Bible today is a great advantage for you & me.
• Jude says we have the faith, “Once for all delivered to the saints.”
• All that we need for faith & life is contained in this book.
• It’s not just a book of instructions, it’s a book of life!
• REMEMBER JESUS in John 6:63??
TOO MANY today are seeking life elsewhere… really looking to man for what God has promised us through His Word.
Corrie Ten Boom was right when she said, “You’ll never discover Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have!”
Hebrews 10:7 (NKJV) 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ”
• Jesus is among us guys… not only through His Spirit residing in you, but revealed in the Bible open before you.
• Read your Bible… every single day. As you do, you’ll hear the words that will speak to you personally & specifically.
Let’s close with Psalm 19:7-9… 6 effects of God’s Word…
1. v7 - The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.
• The law speaks of the totality of the Word. From where does emotional or mental restoration come? Not from delving into or digging up our past. It comes from taking in the Word.
2. v7 - The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
• The word “sure” means “solid.”
• The word “simple” means “open-minded.”
• Thus, the Word of God gives solid footing to those who would otherwise sink in the sands of open-minded acceptance.
3. v8 - The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.
• Studying the Word of God will make your heart happy.
• Jeremiah—who was cast into a pit, and whose ministry was seemingly unsuccessful—said, “Thy Word was found and I did eat it. And thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (see 15:16). Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, said, “You know where I find joy? In the Word of God.”
4. v8 - The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
• The commandments are pure—without flaw. They are workable, understandable, and powerful. How does one see clearly? Through the Word.
5. v9 - The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
• The Word of God is not based upon a passing fad, pop culture, or humanistic understanding. It’s clean—pure, straightforward, easy to grasp—and it lasts forever.
6. v9 - The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
• We know in our heart of hearts that the Word is true. Our spirit confirms its truthfulness.