Episode 20- Romans Made Easy

Rome

 

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Romans is the most difficult book in the New Testament for me. After all these years, I still struggle with making sense of parts of it. So what I decided to do was back out and look at it from a higher altitude, so to speak, and look at the big picture. Doing this, helps me a lot.

Lets face it, one of the big mistakes in Bible Study AND Bible teaching is trying to zoom in too close and draw conclusions from the minutiae rather than get the big picture right first. Looking ahead, that is frequently one of the problems we’ll deal with when we get to the book of Revelation. By looking at the big picture we gain perspective.  That’s how I’ve approached Revelation for years, so I decided to use that same approach with Romans, and it’s helped me a lot.

Traditionally, Paul wrote the book from Corinth, shortly before his third missionary journey and trip to Jerusalem where he was arrested. He gives strong indication of this time table towards the end of chapter 15.

Ok, let’s look at the themes Paul covers in Romans. Keep in mind he’s never been to Rome. He’s writing to a Church he’s never visited and has only heard about. That’s why he sticks to more general themes than say, in his letters to the Corinthians.  As a preacher, I will usually approach a message differently when I’m at a congregation I am unfamiliar with than I will in a place where I know the congregation well and where I am well known. You can feel a sense of formality in Romans as compared to the way he writes to congregations where he is better known.

After his introduction, Paul goes into the text of his letter where he addresses some universal truths

  1. The sinfulness of Sin and God’s hatred of it.
  2. The Universal lostness of the human race – We’ve all sinned
  3. Jesus has provided a remedy for our predicament
  4. Paul takes a diversion to deal with the Judaizers and Explains Israel’s Predicament as well as his personal love for his own people
  5. Chapters 12-14 have advice for practical Christian living ( Finding our personal gifts and ministry, dealing with secular authorities, and how to relate to legalists and people with differing social mores as they relate to acceptable behavior.)
  6. Finally, Paul spends time in personal greetings to people in the Church he is familiar with. You can almost feel his desire to be with them.

So, in essence, the Paul’s letter to the Roman Church is a presentation of the Gospel, but from the perspective of someone already a Believer rather than as a message trying to convince a skeptic or seeker to follow Christ.

 

The Amazing Book of Acts – Route 66 Part 5

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Author: Luke

When; Sometime before AD 67, probably before the burning of Rome in AD 64

Why: Sequel to Gospel of Luke, describing beginning and early spread of Christianity with emphasis on ministry of Apostle Paul.

Researched thoroughly. First hand report of Paul’s final journey to Rome. Historical accuracies, example: Politarchs.

What I like: Sermons, Conversions, Opposition (Jewish Religious leaders (some help from corrupt politicians) , the dark world, legalists, pagan religions, but not Rome)

Episode 14 – Every Day, Every Way, Every Where

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Acts 5:40-42

The Gospel is rarely politically correct – Verse 40

A weird Rejoicing – 41. Apostles weren’t masochists, they merely understood that God trusted them.

Verse 42 – Every Day, Every Way, Every where.

Day after day, they never stopped

teaching and proclaiming

in the temple courts and from house to house

note: Chapter 6 begins, In those days, when the number of disciples was increasing. – The Gospel WILL bear fruit.

Next week – Route 66 begins. Gospel of Matthew

Radio Show Episode 12

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Show Notes

Conversions in Acts

Chapter 2 – Pentecost

Chapter 8 – Ethiopian Official

Chapter 9, 22, 26 Saul of Tarsus

Chapter 10 – Cornelius,

Chapter 16 – Lydia, Jailer,

Someday will do a study on baptism, but today we want to merely show how intimately it is tied to receiving the Gospel. In the 21st century we have made conversion a private inner arrangement where we say a prayer and at sometime in the future we may, or may not, make that decision public. We have no examples of that in the New Testament. Even the commission itself says nothing about going and leading in sinners prayers, but rather going and baptizing. At it’s core, Baptism is the place where disciples publicly claim a change of allegiance. I was a follower of Moses, Diana, Apollo, myself, now I am a follower of Jesus. There are no examples of a delayed decision to baptism. It’s immediate in every case. Pentecost is a feast day, lots to do, yet 3000 people took time from preparations to wait their turn to be dunked in water. The Gaza road is a desert, the only water would have been standing pools or runoff streams. The Jailor was in the midst of pandemonium in the wee hours of the morning. Something about this Gospel demanded immediate action.

I find it really interesting that these days, we have days, weeks, sometimes even years between initial decisions and baptisms. Often, we even have classes to make sure ‘candidates’ understand what they’re doing, whereas in the book of acts, there is no such thing. They don’t have a theology of conversion, in fact, as the stories are told, baptism is virtually synonymous with conversion. My personal testimony is this. I was 10 years old when I followed Christ and was baptized. I remember the youth pastor came to visit and hold a ‘class’. I remember zero about that visit. All I knew was, I wanted to follow Jesus, so I was baptized. I got Jesus as a 10 year old. I got theology much later (and some of it was wrong).

Here’s what I want you to do. Go back and read all of the accounts of conversions in Acts. How do they look in side by side comparisons to how ‘decisions’ look today. Are we calling for radical discipleship in the same way the early followers were? Are we getting radical results?

Please share you thoughts. Go to the show notes and use the comments section. Or email me directly. I would dearly love to dialogue with you.

Such A Strange Way To Save The World – Scandalous, Part 3

nativity-thumb-500x321-3681.jpg (500×321)

Episode Notes –

One of the evidences of the truth of the Christmas Story is that no one would make up a story this way. Who would have the king come as the child of a peasant girl engaged to a pauper of a carpenter from a backwater town in an occupied land? Who would include a stable, a manger and shepherd? Is there really a message of love and hope in those details?

How is poor Joseph of Nazareth one of the greatest Biblical examples of faith? How does God reward him?

This weeks text is Luke, Chapter 2.

 

 

 

Everybody Dies Famous In A Small Town – ‘Scandalous, Part 1″ is Up.

GossipWho remembers telephone ‘Party Lines’?  Hint: it has nothing to do with 900 numbers…

If you lived in a small town in the 60s, there’s a good chance you know what I’m talking about.  Yes, I’m old enough to remember life before smart phones, cell phones, digital phones, push button phones and even rotary phones. I distinctly remember asking the operator to connect me to certain lines. Ah, those were the days.

Small towns are different; especially if you are trying to keep a secret. Small town gossip is faster than the internet. It can be pretty impressive.

Imagine for a minute you are Mary and Joseph trying to live in Nazareth, a town of 200 to 3oo people at best, when it becomes obvious that Mary is pregnant and the young couple are not married. I’ll betcha things got exciting around town.

We’re talking about things like that in this weeks, (Re)Discovering the Bible Online Radio Show.

The first episode in our ‘Scandalous’ series is now up.

What’s The Big Deal About The Bible, Anyway? Episode 3

Rediscover Cover(Re)Discovering The Bible Online Radio Show – Episode 3 is out.

Podcast Link

 

Show Notes:

Bible Verses showing what the Bible Says about itself

II Timothy 3:16

II Timothy 2:15

II Peter 1:20,21

John 17:17

Psalm 119 (all of it, but we mentioned verse 105

 

The Jesus Centered Bible – More Info ,  Shop here.

(Re)Discovering The Bible, Vol. 1