Romans in 9 Movements

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Over the past 16 months, we have preached through the book of Romans at Wildwood Community Church.  The 43 sermons walked us verse by verse through Romans 1:1 – 16:27.  We arranged our study in 9 different series, represented in the graphic above.  It is our hope that these 9 divisions will help you remember the truth God has given us inside Paul’s masterful Epistle.

Below is a a summary of Romans in a single paragraph, using the series titles as keywords:

There is Good News for people everywhere!  This good news (or gospel) shows the power of God which is able to deliver salvation to those who believe.  In Christ, the righteousness of God is given to sinful people like you and me.  We receive this gracious gift of salvation NOT by our works, but by faith.  This is the way it has always been in God’s economy.  From Abraham to Christ (the ABC’s of Faith), we have seen that the righteous live by faith.  When we come into a relationship with God by faith, we are Set Free from sin’s necessary rule in our lives.  We now have a choice to live out a new life in Christ.  However, there is a problem.  As we try to live out our new life in Christ, we do so inside the old address of our flesh.  Therefore, we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to live a truly Spiritual Life, walking with the God who loves us.  Now, if our hope is tied to God and His work in our lives, how do we know He will be faithful to make good on His promises?  We find out the faithfulness of God by looking at the way He has dealt with other members of His spiritual Family Tree.  By seeing how God has been faithful to His children Israel, we can have faith that He will make good on His promises to us as well.  Once we realize all that God has done for us in Christ, we want to respond and Aim our lives – pointed towards His purpose for us, laying down our lives as a living sacrifice before Him.  As we do this, we will live out our lives in a secular world but inside of His sovereignty as we live in Nations Under God.  We are truly to honor our government, but we are to Walk in Love with our fellow Christian, limiting our freedoms to not tear down our brother or sister who Christ is building up.  All this knowledge of Christ leads to our involvement with Christ in His great Co:Mission, taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  The Gospel is the power of God that is able to strengthen us . . . and those around us.  Given this incredible truth, it is not a surprise that Paul ends praising God – “to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!  Amen!” (Romans 16:27)

Let us thank God together for the power of the Gospel — the Good News of Jesus Christ!

 

Series Titles:

ABC’s of Faith (part 4) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, February 28, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 5:12-21.  This message was part 4 of the ABC’s of Faith series.  Below you will find the audio and video from the message to listen to online or download to listen to later.

To listen to the sermon OFFLINE, click on the link below to download:

ABC’s of Faith (part 4)

 

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

 

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

ABC’s of Faith (part 4) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, February 28, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Romans 5:12-21.  This message was the fourth and final message in the “ABC’s of Faith” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion based on this message.

Sermon Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

  1. Read Romans 5:12-21
  2. What are some things in life you have inherited from your parents that are “unchangeable”?
  3. What does Paul say we have inherited from Adam?  Does this fact bother you?
  4. God’s holiness is displayed through His condemnation and judgement of Adam’s first sin.  God’s love and grace are displayed through responding to humanities MANY sins since by offering His gift of grace through Jesus Christ.  What stand out to you about the character of God from this section of God’s Word?
  5. Sin and death are the chief problems of this world (manifest a thousand different ways).  In what way is Jesus the answer for the chief problem of this world?
  6. Have you ever trusted in Christ to be the One who offers you eternal life?
  7. What stood out to you most about this message?  This series?  Any applications God wants you to take in response to this section of His Word?

To download a copy of these questions in pdf format, click here.

ABC’s of Faith (part 4) Preview

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There are certain things that I have inherited from my family.  Because of my genetics I am a certain height, have a specific eye and hair color, and have “the look” of a Robinson.  I did not earn these things . . . I simply received them when I was born.

Since we come from different families, my combination of the aforementioned items looks different from yours.  You have inherited a different set of traits from your family.  This is part of what it means to be a part of the human race.

If you follow our family trees back far enough, though, they merge.  I know, I know.  Try not to be too grossed out.  In most cases you have to go back VERY FAR to find common ancestry, but if we go far enough back, we will all find it.  In fact, if you go far-FAR enough back, you will find that we all share the same mom and dad.  At the beginning of this earth, God tells us in Genesis 1-2 that human life began with just one person – Adam.

Romans 5 tells us that all of us have inherited something from our Great-great-great-great  . . . Grandpa Adam – and it is not good.  Because of Adam, we have inherited a sinful nature.  Because of Adam, we have inherited death.  All of us.  This explains a lot of what has happened in a world filled with Adam’s kids (you and me . . . and all our “brothers and sisters.”)

But, if you go back to the time of our forefather Adam, you will find that there is one who already existed — our Heavenly Father God.  Our Heavenly Father cannot fellowship with sinful people, yet He loves us, so He devised a way for us to be reconciled to Himself.  He provided that Way through His Son, Jesus Christ.

By faith in Christ, we can be born again (John 3:1-14).  If we are born again in Christ, we then inherit something entirely different . . . and entirely wonderful.  This Sunday morning at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:15, 9:30, and 11:00 worship services we will be looking at Romans 5:12-21 and celebrating communion together.  In these 9 verses (the conclusion to our “ABC’s of Faith” series) we will see what God has done for us who are connected to Christ and how it differs from those who have only been born “of Adam.”  I hope to see you (my brothers and sisters) Sunday morning, February 28!

ABC’s of Faith (part 3) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, February 21, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Romans 5:1-11.  This message was part 3 in the ABC’s of Faith sermon series.  The audio/video from this message is posted here online for sharing or to listen to/watch for the first time.

 

To download the audio to listen to online, click on the link below:

ABCs of Faith 3

 

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

 

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

ABC’s of Faith (part 3) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, February 21, 2016, I preached a sermon based on Romans 5:1-11 at Wildwood Community Church.  This message was part 3 in the “ABC’s of Faith” series.  Below are a set of questions for group discussion or personal reflection related to this message.

Sermon Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

  1. Read Romans 5:1-11
  2. When was the last time someone tried to sell you something?  What was their strategy?
  3. Paul’s strategy and sharing the Gospel did not begin with its benefits, but began with our need for salvation (Romans 1:18-3:20) and Jesus full payment for our salvation that we receive by faith (Romans 3:21-4:25).  Only after presenting those two pillars does Paul expound upon the blessings of believing in Jesus (5:1-11).  Why do you think Paul chose to present the Gospel in this order?
  4. What does it mean to have “peace with God” (Romans 5:1)?
  5. What does it mean to have “access to grace” (Romans 5:2)?
  6. What does it mean to have “joy in suffering” (Romans 5:2b-4)?
  7. What does it mean to be “indwelt by the Spirit” (Romans 5:5)?
  8. What does it mean to be “loved by God” (Romans 5:6-8)?
  9. What does it mean to be “saved from wrath” (Romans 5:9-10)?
  10. What does it mean to be “reconciled to God” (Romans 5:11)?
  11. What stood out to you most from today’s message?  Any particular application you are taking away from this message?

 

To download these questions in pdf format, click here.

ABC’s of Faith (part 3) Preview

Slide1Weaving in and out of the rocks and inlets and surrounded by majestic pines lies the ribbon of real estate known as Alaska’s inside passage.  Though this is a part of the country most have  never seen, it may be the United States finest for natural beauty.  One of the interesting features of the inside passage is that all the waters that make up this coastline are fed by the Pacific Ocean.  Because of that the waters are salty, deep, and full of marine wildlife not found in your local reservoir or stream.  Orca and porpoise greet travelers most mornings in the passage, reminding you that you certainly aren’t in Kansas anymore.  In some ways, we need this reminder.  We need this reminder because even though we are surrounded by pine trees and grizzly bears, the water is amazingly calm.  In fact, the water is like glass at times . . . you could even ski on it if you wanted to!  This calm water does not look like any picture of the Pacific Ocean I have ever seen.  So what causes the water to be so calm in the inside passage?

The water is calm in this area in places like Yes Bay, Alaska because the rocks of the outside shore line have blocked these harbors from the crushing blows of the waves that are present on the open sea.  A few years ago I got to go to Yes Bay for four days of fishing and fun with a set of friends.  While we were fishing there, we quickly learned the difference between the protected waters of Yes Bay and the rough waters of the open sea.

Each morning, we would hop on our boats and cruise around Yes Bay to drop down shrimp pods and crab traps.  This was a relatively easy job, and on the gentle waters of the bay, we walked freely around our little boat to move the ropes and pulleys in order to accomplish our job.  After a few minutes setting these traps, however, we would head out to different locations to fish for salmon.  En route to these other locations, we would drive across the open sea.  The moment our boat left the comfort of our protected bay, we would all sit down and hang on.  The waves in this section battered the boat each day, and the roar of their power made it impossible to have even a conversation with the one sitting next to you.  It was amazing to know that this was the same body of water, so smooth in one location and so bumpy in the next.

Isn’t life like that?  Our lives are lived on a “body of water” that is smooth at times and rough at others.  In a world this unpredictable and violent, how can we stand firm and move around freely without fear of being thrown out of the boat?  In response to these questions, Romans 5:1-2 gives us some great insight.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into the grace in which we now stand.”

This passage talks about how those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ have gained access into grace.  This is a strange choice of wording because as it is phrased, it sounds as though grace is a place.  What can it mean that we have gained access into grace?  To better understand this idea, it is important for us to look at the original meaning behind the phrase translated above “gained access into.”  The original word here was used often in nautical settings to refer to a boat being granted access to enter the safe and secure waters of a protected harbor.  In a sense, the word could be used to accurately describe the transition from the rough waters on the open Pacific to the protected glassy waters of Yes Bay.  What I think this passage is trying to tell us is that because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, we get to live our lives perpetually in the protected sphere (or realm) of God’s grace.  But what does this mean?

This realm of God’s grace is a place we can now “stand” in according to Romans 5:2.  The picture this conjures up for me is the image of the ease and confidence we had to put out the crab traps and shrimp pods in Yes Bay.  The stability of the boat caused us to be able to stand and do what we needed to do without fear of being rocked over the side of the boat.  The grace of God is a lot like that.  For believers in Jesus Christ, living in the sphere of God’s grace gives us the confidence to live our lives out by faith without fear of God rocking us over the side of the boat if we screw something up!  We are in the protected waters perpetually.  Now this does not mean that there will not be difficult things that will crash into our lives as we progress in this world, but it does mean that we are secure in Christ as those waves come our way, so we can stand confidently in the midst of life’s chaos.

The inside passage to peace with God is protected by the Rock of our salvation.  The crushing blows of the waves of life cannot throw us off the boat when we are standing in the sphere of His grace.

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be continuing our series entitled, “ABC’s of Faith.”  In this, our third week of the series, we will look at Romans 5:1-11.  Join us this week as we see what the realm of God’s grace and mercy means for those of us who live by faith.  See you Sunday in either our 8:15, 9:30, or 11:00 service!

ABC’s of Faith (part 2) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, February 14, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Romans 4:13-25.  This message was part 2 in the “ABC’s of Faith” series.  The sermon audio and video are included below for online listening/viewing or downloading for offline viewing.

 

To listen to this message offline, click on the following link to download:  

ABC’s of Faith #2

 

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

 

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

ABC’s of Faith (part 2) Sermon Questions

 

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On Sunday, February 14, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 4:13-25.  This message was part 2 in the “ABC’s of Faith” series.  Below are a set of questions for group discussion or personal reflection related to the message:

 

Sermon Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

  1. Read Romans 4:13-25
  2. Think through different eras of your life.  How have you believed salvation was “awarded” at different times?  How do you believe salvation is “awarded” now?
  3. In Romans 4:13-17a, Paul makes the argument that people are not made righteous by their adherence to the Law, but by placing their faith in the promises of God.  The language of the Law is “If you _______, then God will______.”  However, the language of faith is, “God will ________.  Do you believe it?”  Is your understanding of the Christian life more organized around the language/understanding of the law, or of faith?  What is the connection between the law and faith?
  4. Faith in God is not a blind leap.  It is based on our understanding of the character of God.  What do you know about God that makes it easier for you to trust Him?  Is there any evidence in the world that makes trusting God not seem unreasonable?
  5. Abraham was placed in the dramatic position of having a “dead” body, but God promising life.  Abraham kept his faith in God, even though trusting God would have seemed strange given his age and past personal experience (childless for all those years).  Yet Abraham persisted in faith and was rewarded for it.  What are some areas in your life where God’s Word seems at odds with what you are feeling or have experienced in the past.  What would it look like for you to keep firm in faith even when your situation looks “as good as dead?”
  6. Jesus won the trophy of righteousness and salvation for all who would believe in Him.  Has there been a time in your life where you have trusted Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and received the righteous He is offering to you?  If so, when?  If not, why not?
  7. What stood out to you most from today’s message?  Any particular application you are taking away from this message?

To download the sermon questions in pdf format, click here.

ABC’s of Faith (part 2) Preview

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We live in a world that often provides trophies for children.  When I was a child, trophies were awarded only to the championship teams.  Today, however, trophies are handed out for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes kids receive a trophy because their team won the title.  My son’s soccer team has won several trophies over the past couple of years for placing high in tournaments or finishing the regular season in first place.

Other times people receive a trophy because they participated in the league.  We gave “awards” to each player on the flag football team I coached this past fall even though we only won two games.  Mere participation on the team qualified you for one of these awards.

We live in a trophied-up world.  So much so, that some have wondered aloud if these awards have “a-trophied” our internal drive, or damaged our ability to deal with failure. 

Truth be told, many people take a similar trophy concept and transfer it onto the Christian life.  We assume that Eternal Life is like a trophy.  Some believe that this trophy is earned only by moral champions who live a life that is “good enough.”  Others believe God will give eternal life to all . . . simply because we are on the human “team.”  But, which one is it?  Those two ideas exhibit vastly different philosophies of life.  They cannot both be right.

The reality is that God DOES award eternal life on the basis of performance, and God DOES provide this salvation to people who did not earn it.  Sound confusing?  Paul reconciles this for us in Romans chapters 1-4.  He lets us know that God’s wrath (not His reward) is poured out toward ALL unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) and ALL are unrighteous (Romans 3:23).  This means that ALL are on the losing team based on our own performance.  However, God (in His love) chose to graciously give to humanity the victory of Jesus’ righteousness (Romans 1:16, 3:24-26).  Jesus is undefeated against sin and His record is offered freely to all of us “losers.”  The trophy is ours to receive by faith, not to earn.  The victory was won by Jesus but can be credited to our standing. 


In God’s economy, no one’s performance earns them the trophy of Eternal Life . . . except Jesus.  And His reward is offered to us.  Have you received it by faith?

This Sunday (February 14), we will be talking more about this in our Sunday morning worship services at Wildwood Community Church.  We will be looking at Romans 4:13-25 in our 8:15, 9:30 and 11:00 worship services as we continue our series on the “ABC’s of Faith.”  Hope to see you there as we find our hope in Christ together!