Good News Header.001

Romans 2:1 Questions (Good News Study)

NOTE: The questions  for this week’s study were written by Dee Graves.

  1. As you pray for your study today, ask God to humble your heart so that you may receive the grace described in James 4:6 “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
  2. Read Romans 2:1
  3. STUDY NOTE:  The Apollo 13 mission launched at exactly 13:13 Houston time.  Two days later on April 13, 1970, something happened.  In describing the event, commander of the mission, James A. Lovell, said, “the roof fell in; rather, oxygen tank No. 2 blew up, causing No. 1 tank also to fail. We came to the slow conclusion that our normal supply of electricity, light, and water was lost, and we were about 200,000 miles from Earth.” “Houston, we have a problem.”  At the conclusion of Romans 1, we realize, mankind has a problem. Mankind has failed, is lost, and seemingly 200,000 miles from God.
  4. Look back at Romans 1:18-32 where Paul is describing the “Wrath of God” and mankind’s sin.  How many times does Paul use the word “they” or “them” or “their?”  What effect does this have on us as we read about the sins of mankind?  Do we feel anger and frustration with mankind for their sinfulness?
  5. Now looking at Romans 2:1-16, we see that Paul begins with the word “You.”  How many times does Paul use the word “you” in these first 16 verses?  What message does this communicate about the anger and frustration we felt with mankind when we were reading the end of Romans 1?
  6. What do you think is the main point of Romans 2:1-16?

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

IMG_1725

Good News Header.001

Good News (part 3) Sermon Audio/Video

On Sunday, August 30, 2015 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based out of Romans 1:18-32.  This message was part 3 in the “Good News” sermon series.  The audio and video of the message is posted below for you to listen to or share.

 

 

To download the audio to listen to later, click here:

Good News #3

 

To listen to the sermon online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video below:

The sermon video will be displayed here when available.

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

 

 

GN 3.001

Good News Header.001

Good News (part 3) Sermon Discussion Questions

On Sunday, August 30 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based out of Romans 1:18-32.  This message was part 3 in the “Good News” series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion related to the message.

 

Questions:

  1. Read Romans 1:18-32
  2. Have you ever tried to conceal a flaw in order to sell something?  Did concealing the flaw work?  Why or why not?
  3. In Romans 1:18-3:20, Paul details how God knows ALL about our sinfulness.  The things that we cannot hide, the flaws we try to conceal, and even deficiencies we are not even aware of . . . yet He loves us anyway and provides a way for humanity to be saved in Christ.  How does (understanding this big picture) help you appreciate the painful details of humanity’s sinfulness in these sections?
  4. A primary idea of this section is that mankind’s sinfulness is not a matter of ignorance (we just don’t know any better) but a matter of volition (a rejection of the truth we have received about God).  What are some of the things about God that humanity (regardless of where they live) are able to see?  How has humanity rejected this natural revelation in favor of their own ideas?
  5. God’s judgment (or wrath) is revealed against sin.  One of the primary ways in which God’s wrath is revealed right now is not by His active intervention, but by the removal of His protection.  In other words, because of sin from a  people who wanted to live life without God, God has given them over to a “godless” kind of life where they then have to reap the negative consequences of that.  In what way have you seen this to be true in your life?
  6. What are some areas in your life where you are tempted to make some thing (even something good) an ULTIMATE THING — thus supplanting God as the master of your life?
  7. Paul uses the sexual arena of life in 1:26-27 as an example of how humanity can exchange His natural revealed order for something we think we want.  Why do you think he chose to highlight sexual sin here in these verses?
  8. These verses (1:18-32) remind us of the sinfulness we all experience in our own lives and in the lives of others.  Left unattended, this sinfulness leads to God’s wrath and the removal of His presence.  However, there is another way.  In Christ, “the righteousness of God is revealed” in humanity by faith.  Are you trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If so, how does this passage encourage you?  If not– why not?

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

 

 

GN 3.001

Good News Header.001

Off with the Old, On with the New (Good News week 3 devo)

by Stan Schuermann

 

 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

How does the righteous man or woman live by faith? We must first recall that as a believer in Christ, we are not of ourselves righteous. It is Christ, our substitute, who is righteous. And he grants (imputes) his righteous standing to us. This is why the Bible calls our righteousness an imputed righteousness. It belongs to someone else and he has freely given it to us.

So, believing in the truth about Jesus is how we are declared righteous and now we can live believing the truth about Jesus and the truth about ourselves. As we continue to believe what is true, our mind is being renewed. Calvin, in his Commentary on Romans, uses the word “renovation.” He says that the “renovation of our mind is necessary” because our thinking is naturally opposed to God.

But even with a renovated mind, we often struggle to be free from old habits and sins. This is a very real experience for believers and Paul will describe his own experience in Romans Chapter 7.  Yet, the reality that we are engaged in this struggle should not cause us to despair or feel defeated. It actually gives us confidence that God is at work in us.

When Paul wrote to the young churches in Ephesus (Ephesians 4:22-24) and Colossae (Colossians 3:5-11) he encouraged them with a simple illustration to help them understand this. He told them to lay aside (like an old garment) the habits and sins of who they were and put on (like a new garment) who they are in Christ.  Why would this be good news to his readers? Think about how long it takes you to change your shirt. When you recognize that the one you have on is not the right one, you take it off. You find the one you should be wearing and you put it on. It only takes a few seconds. It doesn’t take years.

This is encouraging news. We experience our sanctification moment by moment, shirt by shirt. This is God’s plan for how we are to grow up and gradually become more like Christ.

So, praise God for a renewed mind. A mind which continues to receive and rejoice in the truth from God’s Word. This is how we can live by faith.

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

IMG_1725

Good News Header.001

Romans 1:24-32 Questions (Good News Study)

NOTE: The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.

 

 

  1. Take a moment to pray.  Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.  I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.  I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”
  2. Read Romans 1:24-32
  3. Why would men and women exchange the truth about God for what is false?
  4. Paul says that as part of the judgment of God, God gave humanity over to unnatural lusts, even lusts which reversed the whole order of nature.  In what way is the example of homosexuality in 1:26-27 a good example of this reversal?
  5. Do you see evidence of God’s wrath against godlessness today?  Do you believe God is currently revealing His wrath upon mankind by giving men over to these sins?
  6. Paul sets forth the relation between sin and punishment in 1:28. Calvin writes, “As they chose not to continue in the knowledge of God, which alone guides our minds to true wisdom, the Lord gave them a perverted mind, which can choose nothing that is right… They preferred their own vanities to the true God.”  Everywhere the Bible tells us that true wisdom comes from God alone. When men reject God’s wisdom and prefer their own, how will they come to know the wisdom from God?
  7. STUDY NOTE:  In 1:29-31 Paul recites a catalogue of vices. While not all were murderers, or thieves, or adulterers, all have been polluted by one vice or another.  This is why the gospel, which Paul will later explain, is such good news and brings hope for everyone. No one is beyond the saving power of the Gospel as he stated in verse 16. This point is graphically illustrated by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  In those verses Paul includes another list of sins and vices, follows that list by saying, “Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God.”
  8. What has the power to change not only our destiny, but also our identity and our habits?

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

IMG_1725

Good News Header.001

Romans 1:19-23 Questions (Good News Study)

NOTE: The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.

  1. As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.  Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24.  “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”  Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
  2. Read Romans 1:19-23
  3. STUDY NOTE:  Paul says that although God is Himself invisible, He makes His glory known in His creation. This revelation is sufficient so that men are without excuse. We cannot plead ignorance. Calvin writes that, “The Apostle means, that man was created to be a spectator of this formed world, and that eyes were given him, that he might, by looking on so beautiful a picture, be led up to the Author himself.” He goes on to say, “We conceive that there is a God and that He should be worshipped, but our reason fails us and we cannot know who or what sort of being God is.”
  4. What invisible attributes of our invisible God should men clearly see?
  5. Our children are full of wonder and curiosity AND questions! What should we teach them concerning the creator of the beauty that they see?
  6. STUDY NOTE:  Men robbed God of His honor as creator as they exchanged the truth about God for images and thoughts which they themselves imagined according to their own reasoning and superstitions.  In our day, although few are creating images of how they imagine god to be, many believe that the beauty and order they behold is merely the effect of random collisions of chemicals.  They believe that science has now shown God to be unnecessary. Professing themselves to be wise, they reject God as creator.
  7. In what ways are CHRISTIANS tempted to exchange the revealed truth about God for a lie.
  8. STUDY NOTE:  Although the knowledge of God in creation is sufficient to render men without excuse, see Acts 14:16-17 and Acts 17:22-31, it is not sufficient to lead men to salvation in Christ. The knowledge which leads us to Christ is found only in his gospel. Paul will explain this fully in Chapter 10:14-17.

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

IMG_1725

Good News Header.001

Romans 1:18 Questions (Good News Study)

NOTE: The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.

 

1.   As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

2.   Read Romans 1:18-32

3. STUDY NOTE:  1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. In this section Paul describes the three stages of the downward spiral of pagan depravity. John Stott identifies these stages as 1) Men knew God, 2) Men rejected this knowledge in favor of idolatry and 3) God gave them over.  To understand verse 18, we must understand the wrath of God. John Stott describes God’s wrath as “God reacting in revulsion against sin. It is his deeply personal abhorrence of evil.”  Paul says God’s wrath is being revealed against ungodliness. God’s wrath is ongoing and is visible in the moral and social corruption that Paul describes. Stott says, “Scripture is quite clear that the essence of sin is godlessness. It is the attempt to get rid of God and, since that is impossible, the determination to live as though one had succeeded in doing so. ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes’ (Romans 3:18).” As you read this section, you will see that Paul describes several “exchanges.” In order to exchange something, I must first possess it. I must first possess a shirt, before I can go into a store and exchange it for one I like better. In verse 23, men exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for images of corruptible men and animals, which they preferred. In verse 25, men exchanged the truth of God for a lie, which they preferred. And in verse 26 and 27, men and women exchanged what was natural for the unnatural function which they preferred.  Paul also, in three separate verses, describes God’s wrath as the terrible judgment of giving men over, or giving men up to their own sinful desires. This is the idea of ceasing to restrain. In verse 24, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. In verse 26, God gave them over to degrading and unnatural passions. And in verse 28, God gave them over to a depraved mind, which is a mind that can choose nothing that is right.

4. How do men presently “suppress the truth” about the glory of God?

5. Why do men attempt to suppress the truth?  Are they successful?

6. Are those whom God has “given up” (ceased to restrain from sin) beyond the saving power of the gospel? Why or why not?

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

 

 

IMG_1725

Good News Header.001

Good News (part 2) Sermon Audio/Video

On Sunday, August 23, 2015 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based out of Romans 1:8-17.  This message was part 2 in the series “Good News.”  The audio and video of the sermon are posted below to listen to or share.

 

 

To listen to the sermon offline, download the audio by clicking this link:

Good News #2

 

 

To listen to the sermon online, use the media player below:

 

 

To watch the video from the sermon, use the Vimeo video below:

 

 

 

To access the entire “Good News” study, click here.

 

 

GN 2 Insta.001

Good News Header.001

Good News (part 2) Sermon Discussion Questions

On Sunday, August 23, 2015 I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based on Romans 1:8-17.  This message was part 2 of the “Good News” series.  To further our interaction and application of this passage, there are questions below for group discussion or personal reflection.

 

 

Questions:

  1. Read Romans 1:8-17
  2. Has there ever been a time that you acted in a way that appeared to be “ashamed” of the Gospel?
  3. Given what you know about Paul’s life and ministry, does it surprise you that he was “eager” to go to Rome to preach the Gospel (1:15)?  Why or why not?
  4. Throughout these verses, Paul indicates that a major reason for his interest in sharing the good news of Jesus in Rome is because he believed that ALL people are in need of the Gospel.  It is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that all the people in our world need Jesus.  Who are some people in your life that God is prompting you to share the Good News of Jesus with?
  5. In what sense are we “under obligation” (1:14) to share the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus?
  6. The righteousness people need to obtain salvation is a righteousness that is totally beyond human ability. It is “righteousness from God.”  For this righteousness to be credited to our account, the power of God must be manifest.  Many times we believe that our sin is too great for God to forgive . . . as if something we did was more powerful than God Himself!  Salvation is a product of God’s omnipotent power.  In what way does this truth encourage you to trust Christ for your salvation?
  7. Humans are saved NOT by earning salvation but by faith in Jesus Christ.  In what way does this make Christianity unique from other world religions?
  8. In the message, an alternative paraphrase of Romans 1:17 was offered, “the one who is made righteous by faith lives.”  Has there been a time in your life when you have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If so, when?  If not, what is keeping you from trusting Him and experiencing the life offered in Christ?
  9. What stood out to you most about this message?

 

To access the entire Good News study, click here.

 

 

GN 2 Insta.001

Good News Header.001

The Power of God (Good News week 2 Devo)

The Power of God

By Stan Schuermann

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,

What was the reason Paul was not ashamed of the gospel? Why was he so confident? Paul knew that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. He knew that the gospel has the power to change lives.

My grandchildren recently were amazed as they watched a tractor equipped with a loader bucket lift boulders and heavy tree stumps. The lifting of these giant loads seemed to them impossible. But each time a boulder or stump rose into the air, they gave a collective, “Wow!” as they marveled at the “awesome” power of the tractor. We are most impressed by power, when we see it displayed in doing what to us seems impossible.

To understand the power of God for salvation, consider what the prophet Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? The answer is certainly no. It is impossible. Jeremiah goes on to say, “Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23 NKJV) The prophet made his point – We have no ability to change ourselves.  Yet everywhere the gospel is preached we see the power of God displayed in the changed lives of people who believe.

Corinth, like Rome, was a place of commerce, wealth and luxury. At the same time, Corinth abounded in every evil and vice. A church had been established there through the preaching of the gospel and Paul wrote to encourage and instruct them –

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)

Notice what Paul is saying. The people in the church in Corinth were no longer identified by their old sinful habits. They had been washed clean by God’s free pardon of their sins. And by His Spirit, He had given them a new nature so that they can now aim at holiness.

What hope this gives to all of us with sinful habits! The power of the gospel comes to us in Christ. It is by faith that we receive Christ, and have his graces applied to us.

I will close with a wonderful quote by Charles Spurgeon, from a portion of his June 28 morning entry of is devotion Morning and Evening, titled Looking to Jesus.

“It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn out eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan’s work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within… If we are to overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking to Jesus.” Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh upon your mind… Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.”

Amen!

 

To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.

 

IMG_1725