The Apostle Paul's letter to the church of Rome, which we find in the Bible, is a wealth of information on the Christian faith. In this short, four-week series, Pastor Stephen leads us in a 10,000 ft overview of Paul's masterpiece focused on the essentials--the foundation, or "brass-tacks"--of the Christian faith.
Text to Read: 2 Samuel 23:8 NIV
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The main points:
We don’t die when our hearts stop beating. We die when our hearts top skipping a beat in pursuit of God and the dream he’s given us, when our hearts stop breaking for the things that break the heart of God.
When you pursue a dream you’re passionate about you’ll see it through.
See Jeremiah 20:9 NLT
Your ultimate source of passion comes as a response to the passion of Jesus Christ.
See Philippians 3:7-8 NLT
See Matthew 6:21 NIV
Spend time reflecting on the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice for your life until you rediscover your passion for Christ.
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We all know people who are choosing to carry the burden of their sinfulness on themselves, even though Jesus already paid the price to take those sins upon himself.
Read: Genesis 22:1-18
This isn't an easy passage to read. Why would God do these things? This is the only time in the Bible when God tested someone in this way. He wanted to ensure that Abraham's trust was in God himself, not just the promises that God had made him. By asking Abraham to offer up Isaac, he was asking him to be willing to give up the promises God had given him.
As well as serving as a test for Abraham, this story foreshadows the coming sacrifice of Jesus. Isaac and Jesus have many similarities. Both were born miraculously, both were to be sacrificed, both were dead for three days (Isaac in Abraham's eyes during their 3 day journey, Jesus in reality for three days), both carried the wood that would be used to sacrifice them up the hill, both were raised to life (Isaac through God staying Abraham's hand, Jesus being raised to life from the tomb).
In fact, where Abraham's obedience with Isaac caused God to promise again to build a nation through whom the nations of the world would be blessed, he was speaking about Jesus who was to come and whose sacrifice on the cross truly would bless the nations with the gift of an eternal, life-giving relationship with Jesus for all who believe in him. Jesus was the lamb God would provide for himself, mentioned in Genesis 22:8!
God sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice so you could find life and freedom.
Jesus’ sacrifice has saved you. If he went through all that for you, what are you willing to do to share His message of hope?
It's a scary thought for many of us--sharing our faith. But we must remember that God is the God who provides. He provides the growth of faith in the people we share the Gospel with. He is the one who provides us the courage and the wisdom and the words as we do so.
Additionally, while you may be wary of putting yourself out there if it doesn't get you anything, remember the testing of Abraham: consider if you trust in God himself, or just in the benefits you get out of following him. He has commanded all who follow Jesus to share the Good News, and we must do so out of our faith in Jesus, not because of any benefit it may bring us personally.
- Consider: are you willing to obediently share your faith if there is nothing in it for you?
- Tell people about Jesus: engage in spiritual conversations, invite people to church and to our Easter Extravaganza!
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People like to think humanity is good at its core, but then there are news reports like this one:
PEZ Candy hosts an annual Easter egg hunt in its hometown of Orange, Connecticut, but had to abruptly cancel the event in 2016 because of the adults. The child-focused tradition turned into chaos on March 26 when parents stormed the egg-covered fields before the event even started. Over 9,000 eggs were placed on three separate fields with each designed for certain age groups. Before the PEZ staff was ready to begin, parents rushed onto the first field to get a head start. Then like swarming locusts, they hurried their children from the first field to the second and third fields. Before the posted start time arrived, everything was gone (USA Today, March 28, 2016).
Humanity has a problem called a sinful nature. No matter how good you are, you've experienced that pull to do things that you know are wrong, and you've failed to prevent yourself from falling prey to those desires--at the very least every once in a while.
This message begins a new series where we will be looking at a few places in the Old Testament of the Bible where we can see Jesus and learn about him. In this message, we'll be looking at Adam and we're going to see that, even in humanity's darkest hour, God gave us a glimmer of hope.
Suggested Bible Reading: Genesis 2:4-3:24 (NLT).
Look again at Genesis 3:15: "And I will cause hostility between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offsprings and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel." Here is a glimmer of hope as Jesus enters the scene.
God created the world, already knowing the sacrifice he would make for you.
The sacrifice he made was sending Jesus for us. Here's what Paul says that accomplished:
Romans 5:12-21 (NLT) "When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
What Paul is saying is that:
Adam's sin brought death and defeat; Jesus' death brings life and victory!
Because of what Jesus has done, you're no longer stuck with the consequences of Adam's decision. Instead:
You have a choice to make: will you accept Christ's life, or will you continue on the path toward death?
Whichever path you get on, there will be consequences. But at the end, will you look back and be proud of the decision you have made, or disappointed in it?
Action Step: Share the hope we have with those struggling to find it.
If you would like to accept Jesus' gift of new life, send us an email or contact us via phone or Facebook Messenger!
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