Summary: A sermon that explores the vital componants to our faith and how those componants should be evidenced in our lives.

Spiraling upwards.

a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,

Recently I have been reading a book called Spy Catcher -

It is a fascinating story about a man who basically helps clean up the British secret service.

It seems that MI5 and MI6 were continually hampered by agents who had sold out to the other side. For one reason or another they had given their allegiance to Russia and were constantly reporting the movements of MI5 to the Russians. The worst breach of all was the head of MI5 Sir Roger Hollis was suspected as being a double agent - Most of these agents had their faith in communism rather than in the various democratic governments of Great Britain.

Even the Prime Minister of Britain Harold Wilson was suspected of having connections with the other side.

As the investigation penetrated the lives of these double agents the primary question that emerged for me was - Where is their faith? . Did they in their youth have some ideological link with communism or were they likely to fall in the range of ideologies that were found in the British government.

If not they were likely to be spies.

It occurred to me, that in the Christian church our lives are likely to be determined by what or whom we have put our faith in.

There come moments where our faith is tested and tried and it is out of such great moments of our lives that our faith and therefore our lives are defined.

It is out of such moments, also, that boundaries and limits to our faith are draw. Sometimes in the life of someone who has stood for decades for Christ, they may feel they have not made great inroads, but the satellite picture of their lives reveals the word faith spelt out around them.

In the 2nd Century A.D a young Berber woman of Carthage found herself torn between Motherhood and belief. With Christianity outlawed by Roman rule, she refused to renounce her religion and along with five others preparing for Baptism was condemned to death by the sword. While imprisoned, Vivia Perpetua began a diary, in which she recorded her relinquishing of her infant through the cell bars, the ultimate sacrifice for her faith.

In the last few weeks we have looked at Romans chapter one and this week we look at the verse that has been said to be the key verse to the whole book.

What is it?

17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,

This morning I want to look at three things that God wants us to know relating to faith and three things we can do in response to this knowledge that can lift our Christian lives to a whole new level so that we can have faith that is "faith from first to last"

17 For in the gospel ----------

Lets look first of all at the gospel -

Gospel translated simply means good news. - there is a translation of the bible that is simply titled - good news for modern man -

There is something incredibly important about the gospel because it stands over and against the rest that the world has to offer which mostly is bad news.

If you pick up your daily newspaper or a magazine such as time magazine you may be immediately struck by the amount of bad news that you read.

It is quite simple to read news such as what is currently happening between Israel and Palestine as bad news - but there is much more that is there that is bad news - read of some Movie icon who has just found a new partner and has left behind a shattered marriage and abandoned children - you are not reading glamour and hype but rather bad news that will affect a large number of people for generations.

Melvin Newland says:-

Hallmark has a card that fits the mood of our time by saying, "I can’t promise you forever, but I can promise you today." That’s about as deep a commitment as some are willing to make.

B. But in contrast to that, God exhibits & honors faithfulness. Psalm 100:5 says, "The Lord is good & His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."

Every time you see a rainbow, remember that God is faithful - He keeps His promises. Every time you pick up a Bible, remember that He said, "Heaven & earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" [Matthew 24:35].

The key to the Gospel is it is hope.

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