FAQ - Judgment
Sun, Mar 04, 2018
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. -- Romans 3:1–2 (ESV) Romans 2 is rough if you are self-righteous or Jewish. Paul has been cutting off any possible escape routes for these individuals from the wrath of God. Nothing is going to save them - not their morals, or their knowledge, or ethnicity, or their ceremony. It is a full assault with no retreat. All of this raises a few questions. Didn't God choose the Jews as His people? Was that pointless? How does all this judgment display God's glory? If God gets glory from judging people then why would he do anything else? These are important questions that Paul won't leave behind. In Romans 3, he begins by addressing some of them. Take a few minutes to read through Romans 3 to prepare your heart and mind to worship together.
I'm God's Favorite
Sun, Feb 25, 2018
For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. Romans 2:28–29 (ESV) 'God Bless You' says an anonymous stranger after I blew out a thunderous sneeze. It's a weird custom, but in polite company you hear it still uttered. Did you know it has odd, even superstitious origins? In the Middle Ages people had a much more active view of the supernatural world. For some reason, it was believed that a sneeze represented a demonic assault on an individual. (It probably started when someone thought they were cursed for having hay-fever.) The only way to ward off that spirit was with a specially uttered and timely blessing. Thus a custom was born. We might think this is a silly defense to a supernatural onslaught, but we also think other things will shield us from God's wrath. If we go to church, or have a quiet time, or study our Bible, then God will love us. Paul wants to bust through these superstitions as he addresses religious Jews that believe their position and customs will give them a favored status. Take some time to read through Romans 2 and consider why God should shield you from his wrath. What is your defense?
Believing the Gospel - Righteous and Adopted
Wed, Feb 21, 2018
Believing the Gospel - Righteous and Adopted
I Know More Than You
Sun, Feb 18, 2018
For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. Romans 2:12–13 (ESV) I Know > You We are Bible-people. While others have abandoned God's Word, we have clutched it tight! We believe it is God's inherent, infallible word to us. We believe that in its pages God is revealed. We believe that it provides for us everything we need for life and for doctrine. I know that many of you are at Hope because of this belief and conviction. But is that enough? Is what we know (and take pride in) enough to save us? This Sunday, as we continue to look at Romans 2, Paul calls us to reconsider what we take pride in. He will call us not just to know, but to consider what we actually do. This section calls for some self-examination as we continue to diagnose the human condition. Will you take some time to read through Romans 2 before Sunday to prepare your heart and mind?
Shrinking the Cross
Wed, Feb 14, 2018
How do we reduce the gospel in our view as we grow in Christ?
Me Greater Than You
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
Me > You Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. - Romans 2:1 (ESV) This is the equation we live out most of the time. We live on a sliding scale of righteousness. We compare ourselves to those around us and somehow we always seem to end up on the better, cleaner, holier side of the scale. This is a church-people problem, but it actually has ancient roots. This week we step into Romans 2. In this chapter, Paul continues to lay out the problem of our condition. Last week it might have been easy to look around and point at 'those people' but this week points squarely at us - 'good people'. Take a few minutes to read through the chapter to prepare your heart for worship.
What does gospel growth look like?
Wed, Feb 07, 2018
How do you think of your 'spiritually' growth? How does it happen?
What is the Gospel?
Wed, Feb 07, 2018
Do you know what the message of the gospel is? Gain some clarity before we apply this message to who we are.
Wrath Revealed
Sun, Feb 04, 2018
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. - Romans 1:18–19 (ESV) You go to see the doctor. Over the course of the last few months you have been plagued with chronic stomach issues. Some days are better, but most end in pain and nausea. Alongside these symptoms, you have a pulsing headache most of the time. Your feet seem to go numb occasionally. As you describe your symptoms, the doctor nods. As you finish, he makes a few notes. Without looking up he says, 'Well, I think you should take some Pepto for your stomach. Tylenol is good for headaches, and I would get some 'Support Socks' that promote better blood flow. I hope you feel better!' With that he turns and heads out of the room. My guess is before you leave the parking lot you would be on the phone looking for a second opinion because he treated the symptoms, but he did nothing to get at the root of the problem. Unfortunately, when it comes to a proper theological diagnosis for what ails the human soul we tend to treat the symptoms. What we see and feel is what we go after. Without ever addressing the core issue. Paul is not satisfied with such a surface diagnosis. The next several chapters layout for us the depth of our problem.
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