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:

Set Free (part 2) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, March 13, 2016 I preached a message based on Romans 6:15-23 at Wildwood Community Church.  This sermon was part 2 in the “Set Free” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio and video.

 

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

Set Free (part 2)

 

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

 

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

Set Free (part 2) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, March 13 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 6:15-23.  This message was part 2 in the “Set Free” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion related to this message.

 

Sermon Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Romans 6:15-23
  3. Romans 6:15-23 indicates that we all serve SOMETHING.  What are some of the things that you have noticed people “serving” with their lives?  (i.e. the most important organizing thing in their lives)
  4. When you break it down to its most basic level, we sin because (at least part of us) WANTS to sin.  Sin is at least somewhat attractive to us.  Paul describes sin in today’s verses, however, in very unattractive terms (impure, lawless, associated with shame, leading to death, etc.).  What are some ways you can help yourself (and those around you) remember what sin REALLY is, not just what it LOOKS LIKE to us in the moment of temptation?
  5. Paul here indicates that we are saved in order to live the righteous life God has for us.  We are to be sanctified, and pursue righteousness through obedience.  What are some areas of your life TODAY where God is calling you toward a higher level of obedience?
  6. The only U-Turn available in life is to repent and trust in Jesus Christ.  Are you trusting in Christ today?
  7. Anything in particular stand out to you about this message today?

To download a pdf of these questions, click here.

Set Free (part 2) Preview

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I grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma – and I still have a lot of family there.  Multiple times every year (and countless times in my lifetime) I have driven from Norman to Bartlesville or vice versa.  I could almost make this drive in my sleep . . . thankfully though, I have always been awake!

The main road between Bartlesville and Norman is the Turner Turnpike.  The majority of the miles between my house today and the house of my youth are logged on this tolled section of I-44.  Since I have made this drive so many times, I have a Master’s level understanding of that road.  Since it is a turnpike, it has one dominant feature — very few on-ramps or exits.  The lack of access to the road allows drivers to safely drive at high speeds.  The lack of exits, however, also means that once you get moving on the turnpike, it is difficult to turn around.  If you get on in Oklahoma City, you most likely won’t get off until Tulsa, with only a few exceptions in between.

In a sense, drivers are under the control of the turnpike.  Based on the laws of road travel enforced by the Highway Patrol, we are slaves to the direction of the road.

I was thinking about this today while preparing for Sunday’s message at Wildwood Community Church.  This Sunday, we will be looking at Romans 6:15-23 together in part 2 of the “Set Free” series.  In these verses, we will see that (to some degree) life is a turnpike headed in one of two directions:  either towards God or towards sin.  If we place our life on the highway of sin, we will most likely not get off until we arrive at the destination of impurity, lawlessness, shame, and death.  If we place our lives on the highway of obedience to God, however, we will surely experience the joy of righteousness, sanctification, and eternal life.  The Apostle Paul seems to be pointing out (in these verses) what should be obvious to us – why would we ever intentionally drive to death, when we could instead drive to life?

All too often people want to assume that life is much more like a residential street than a turnpike.  On a typical residential street there are almost unlimited numbers of opportunities to change course or turn around.  You could use driveways, side streets, even U-turns if necessary to correct course.  However, Paul’s argument in Romans 6 seems to imply that there are far fewer chances to turn our lives around than we might think.  In fact, there is but one chance . . . the turnaround he describes as the “free gift” found only for those who are “in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  It is only through Christ that we can head towards life instead of death . . . and if we have a chance to drive towards life, why would we ever choose death instead?

Join us Sunday in our 8:15, 9:30, and 11:00 worship services as we will look at this idea from God’s Word together.  Join us and bring a friend!

Set Free (part 1) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, March 6, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Romans 6:1-14.  This message was part 1 in the “Set Free” series.  Below is the audio and video from this message for you to watch/listen/or share.

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

Set Free #1

 

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

 

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

Set Free (part 1) Sermon Questions

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This morning at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Romans 6:1-14.  This message was the first message in the “Set Free” series.   Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion based on the sermon.

Sermon Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

  1. Read Romans 6:1-14
  2. Paul anticipates a question in Romans 6:1 (in response to his teaching on the Gospel of Jesus Christ from Romans 1-5).  He seems to expect someone to think that the Gospel is dangerous . . . that it would lead people to living more sinful lives.  Have you ever thought this?  Have you ever heard a presentation of the Gospel that left you thinking, “that is really dangerous – it could encourage people to sin more?”
  3. In the big picture, what is Paul’s response to the question he asks in Romans 6:1?
  4. What are some of the things that we Paul says we need to know about our connection to Christ from Romans 6:1-10?  In the message, we talked about several ways to help remember these things (baptism, Scripture memory, etc.)  Is there any particular application you took from this section of the message?
  5. In 6:11, Paul moves from the head to the heart, and focuses on us “reckoning” or “considering to be true” the things he has just said in 6:1-10.  What would it look like for you to truly “consider” or believe these things are true in a particular sin struggle in your own life?
  6. From 6:12-14, Paul focuses on presenting our hands (or all our members of our body) to God to serve Him in righteousness.  Think of the members of your own body:  Mind, eyes, ears, hands, feet, wallet.  What does it look like for us to present ALL our members to Him?
  7. Anything in particular stand out to you about this message today?

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

“Set Free” – Series Preview

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If the presence of God’s grace is a good thing (and it is), and if God’s grace increases to cover my sin (and it does – see Romans 5:20), then wouldn’t it be good for me to sin SO THAT God’s grace shows up even more?

Let me put it another way:

If salvation is on the basis of what Jesus has done and not on what I do, then why should I care at all about how I live?  I might as well sin all I can!

Thinking of this, American poet W.H. Auden once quipped,

“I like committing crimes.  God likes forgiving them.  Really the world is admirably arranged.”

Have you ever thought anything like this?  At Wildwood, over the past few weeks, we have been going through Romans 4-5, and have emphasized that it is faith in God and what He has done for us through Christ (NOT OUR WORKS) that turns the ignition of our salvation.  As we walked through that series, did you ever want to stand up and say, “Yeah, but wait a minute!  What about our lives?  Doesn’t it matter how we live?”

If you have ever had any of these thoughts, you are not alone. In fact, Paul anticipated these questions as he presented the Gospel in Romans 1-5; he knew that people would wonder about the implications of Christian theology on Christian living.  So, in Romans 6, Paul begins to answer the question: “How now shall we live (as Christians saved by grace not works)?”

Paul answers that question by first pointing out WHY it is absurd for the follower of Christ to pursue or consider a sinful/alternate lifestyle, then shares HOW a Christian lives a truly Christian life (a conversation He will continue from Romans 6:1-16:27).

We will be looking at Paul’s message from Romans 6 the next two Sundays at Wildwood in a series we are calling “Set Free.”  Make plans to join us and invite others to come with you for this relevant (and needed) study of God’s Word on March 6 and 13.  This Sunday, we will focus on Romans 6:1-14.  I hope to see you in our 8:15, 9:30, or 11:00 worship service!

 

P.S.  The title for this series comes from Romans 6:7, “For the one who has died has been set free from sin.”  The chains/slavery/prison imagery reminded me of some of the ministry I have been able to be a part of in a local prison.  A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of speaking at a week long event at the prison, and wrote 3 blog posts about the experience.  I am linking those below in case you are interested: