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Humanity Is Sliding Downward
John Barnett here and welcome to our small group study. I can see you sitting there right on the other side of this table, and I will encourage you to open your Bible to Romans chapter 1. I will tell you, especially if you were sitting in some coffee shop somewhere in the world where Bonnie and I are ministering, thank you. My wonderful wife, Bonnie, is sitting over there recording and running the lights and all the screens and everything. She is a blessing to me, a partner in ministry. If we were meeting somewhere after work, which is what I have to do, because this is what we do at night, recording this small group study with you. I would tell you that most theologians throughout all the centuries of the Church have felt that the book of Romans is the foundation. It’s the most important doctrinal book in the whole Bible. That’s what just makes this study very exciting to me. I have never recorded myself reducing the entire book of Romans to one study. Because I can’t meet with you in person, we had to capture this on the cameras. Actually, we’re using our iPhones. This is an iPhone recording system.
This is what we’re going to do. Get your notebook ready. For those of you that it’s your first time coming to this study, this is a year-long, small group study. We’re on the 34th week. See right here on your slide. We’re doing Romans chapter 1 and we’re looking at the righteousness of God. That’s what Romans 1 and the whole book present profoundly. The power of the Gospel and the famous verse “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” That famous verse is right here in chapter 1. Many people say the Greek word for power is dynamis and the whole explosive power of the Gospel.
Look at this. Romans 1 presents the backdrop like the background of this slide. The background of the slide is black and white speaks of the righteousness of God. Red speaks of the power of the Gospel of the shed blood of the substitutionary atoning death of Jesus Christ. The blackness, the sinfulness of mankind is most evident and evidently described and explained right here in chapter 1.
In the next slide, what you’ve joined is a survey. I’m a Bible teacher. I’ve been teaching the Bible for over 40 years. Maybe even a little longer than that. I started as a teenager, and I was teaching anywhere they’d let me. At a rescue mission before the rescue mission, people that were staying there could eat. They had to have a Bible message, or nursing homes where most of my group would fall asleep during my message, or in my local church. Wherever the Lord opened, I would teach the Bible and I would study it. What I’m sharing with you is a survey of the whole Bible that I have read 100 plus times. I have selected from all my study books and my personal readings, what I consider the 52 most important chapters or passages.
I’m using my personal favorite way of studying. My personal favorite way of studying the Bible is to read the Bible and to do these things in my notebook starting by entitling the chapter. You saw on the plan I called this one the decline and fall of the human race. That’s the title I see in there. Then, I look for lessons. All week long I’ve been looking at this chapter and I’ve been praying Psalm 119 verse 18. My theme verse is that the Lord would open my eyes so I would see wonderful things to share with you. I’m sharing how the Lord is using His word in my life as an example for you to do the same. To read prayerfully and to note as many lessons, truths, doctrines that you can find using resources.
This is the MacArthur Study Bible. This is a great chapter for using the MacArthur Study Bible. This chapter opens to you all of the notes about the imputation, justification, adoption, reconciliation, all the elements of salvation are all here. If you want to go deeper because perhaps, you’re teaching this as I have to spiritual leaders. I’ve taught these 52 key chapters to pastors. I’ve taught it to elders and deacons and to those who are ministry leaders. You might need a deeper look, a systematic theology. A systematic theology, systematizes all the verses in the Bible about each doctrine and puts them into one place, and sorts them into categories. That’s what systematic theology is. With Grudem, with MacArthur, and with the Holy Spirit most of all illumining your heart, writing down notes, you will get life-changing truth.
Then to change your life, think of applying it to yourself. Instead of always thinking and writing down ways that you can share this with your children or ways you could share it with your husband or your wife or your small group, first of all, use the Bible like 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, like a mirror. You know how if you’re going into an important interview or you’re going to have your picture taken you really quickly you glance in a mirror to make sure that everything looks okay? That’s what we’re supposed to do every day with God’s Word. It’s our mirror. It’s where we look at ourselves and see in the mirror, Jesus Christ. We look at where we are not mirroring Him, His character, His responses, His righteousness. We ask the Lord, look at this, ask the Lord to unleash one of these truths you found in your life. For what? For change. See sanctification is me changing more and more to look like Christ.
Here’s the goal of this study. If you’ll do this, if you’ll spend time in the Word, even if you just joined us, if this is your very first class, then take this week and study Romans 1. Ask God to change you. Then, you know what? Share it with. Someone that you can honestly tell what you found and ask them to pray with you for the ways you want God to change you. That’s called sanctification. That’s called being useful to God. That’s the goal of this study.
Here we are in the 34th week, Romans 1, the decline and fall of the human race. This whole column is the titles that I have written for each of these passages. You’ll notice if you’re paying attention, something happened on the slide since last week. When we were looking at Acts chapter 2, I told you that I was making room for key chapters. That’s because I’m hearing from so many of you. You’re saying, are we going to cover this? Are we going to cover this? Here’s a big one. Are we going to cover tongues and spiritual gifts and manifestations of the Spirit? Are we going to cover communion and all the different types of celebration? You mentioned chastening, does God still chasten? You asked so many questions I’ve been burdened thinking about how I can answer those. I thought, look at this, look at week 38. Instead of merely doing chapter 13, the love chapter, which would have been so much fun, talking about Jesus Christ manifesting perfect love and how we should do that too. The chapter after it is about spiritual gifts, the chapter before it, chapter 12 is about spiritual gifts. Chapter 11 is all about communion and chastening by God for disobedient believers.
A little more than a month from now we’re going to try and pack all four of those chapters into one study. It’s going to be the communion, chastening and spiritual gifts. Next week, we’re going to see the justification, sanctification, and our eternal access to God. Then we’re going to look at how to make sure we get eternal rewards, that’s in 1 Corinthians 3. Then God’s plans for biblical marriage. Whether you’re married or hope to be married or were married and you’re alone now, and you’re ministering to others, it’s very good to know about marriage. Do you know why? Jesus said that the way a husband is supposed to love his wife, the way I’m supposed to love Bonnie over there, is the same way Christ loves His Church. Jesus used marriage as the ultimate picture of the expression of love of God the Son for us, His Church. For no other reason, I would study marriage. Some people aren’t into marriage, and it’s fallen on hard times, but it’s a powerful truth that God gives so I can’t wait for week 37 and you can see the rest.
Let’s get started. Here’s my Bible. I want you to look over here at my Bible. If you want to know what kind of Bible this is just look down in the description of this video, and there’s a link showing it on Amazon. It’s just a plain Bible that doesn’t have anything that fills the margins so that I can write in the margins and make notes.
Here we go, verse 1, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle separated to the Gospel of God.” Romans is right to the point, it’s about the Gospel of God and talking about “which He promised,” the Gospel “before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,” the inspired word, “concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David,” that prophetic Jewish connection, “according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God, with power according to the Spirit of holiness,” that’s the Holy Spirit, “by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship” look at this “for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name.” Oh wow. We’re supposed to cover this in one sitting at this table? Unbelievable. Just the opening description of this book is so powerful, and I could comment on all of it. Especially verse 5, obedience to the faith. If we know Jesus Christ, we’re supposed to obediently tell others among all the nations to be obedient. That’s witnessing, that’s sharing the Gospel. That’s living the Gospel. That’s sharing the Gospel. Wow.
Here we go. “I thank my God,” verse 8, “that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son.” I’m going to be commenting on all these because it’s so exciting to talk about. You can see how I mark the Bible. Here’s that famous verse 16. “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ” verse 17, “the righteousness of God.” Do you remember the title? See back here in this slide, the righteousness of God, the power of the Gospel. That’s what I was referring to right there verse 16 and verse 17.
Also, look at this famous line right here at the end of verse 17, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” Do you remember last week, how I told you that one of my favorite parts of this Bible is that, see, this is green? Look down here, do you see that’s green? That means I’ve been using my highlighter every time the Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament. I mark it with a green highlighter, and it says Habakkuk 2:4 right there. The just shall live by faith. Then I looked up the Old Testament references using cross-references. Down in the description of this video I have the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. It’s one of my favorite tools because it has 500,000 cross-references. In other words, for every verse in the Bible, wherever it’s alluded to or quoted somewhere else, there’s a little note. It’s an amazing book. It’s called the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Through using that and other tools, look what I found “the just shall live by faith.” Look down here. The very same verse is quoted three times in the New Testament, right here in Romans 1:17, where it describes who is just. Then the second time in Galatians 3:11, how we’re supposed to live. Then, look at Hebrews 10:37-38. What is faith?
The just, who are the just? Romans tells us. Shall live, how do they live? Galatians tells us. By faith. What is faith? Hebrews 10 tells us. See how I wrote that down? That’s what the benefit of the study is. You find it, get it in your notes, and then carefully write it in your Bible. Why would you take the time to write it in your Bible? Because of the amazing way the Lord designed our brains. If you learn something and you read it and you see it and you add to it, the tactile motor skill of writing, it’s embedded. Then every time you’ve marked, written, added squiggly lines because maybe you’re riding on a train or you’re at a coffee shop and you get coffee on your Bible, it just brings back all those memories. I’m a firm advocate, not only of having electronics and look at me using the electronic world. These are Keynote slides and they’re coming through the switcher studio system and I’m using iOS software and hardware to get this camera. Did you know the physical writing in a notebook and underlining in your Bible will cause your synaptic connections in your brain to fire up and you’d remember this?
More things in my Bible, look over here. Romans. Very importantly, there’s going to be a point on this in a minute in my journal typed out, but I want to show it to you in my Bible. “For the wrath of God is revealed.” We’re going to talk about wrath and what breath and why God is wrathful. Look at this, “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” What I tell everyone, and there’s a point about this in the journal notes I’m going to show you. God has put into everyone’s hand when they’re born two candles. Everyone comes out of the womb holding two candles, figuratively speaking. I know I watched the birth of all eight of our children, and I have to confess a couple of times I was looking to see if any of them were holding those candles. I knew they were because God says they were. What are the two candles? Look back at the Bible. The first one is, “for since creation.” The second one is “His invisible attributes are clearly seen” and they were “without excuse” because the two things God does is He has shown them to us. That’s our conscience.
He has surrounded us with creation and conscience. God showed us this God-shaped vacuum that’s inside of us called our conscience. What is our conscience? It’s God’s ally that lives inside of every human that’s ever been born. Every human being has a conscience stamped upon the non-material spiritual dimension of their life is God. A God-shaped vacuum, an ally of the infinite God. Do you know what the conscience does? You’ve experienced it. Should you be doing that? Should you be looking at that? Should you be saying that? Should you be headed there? Are you driving too fast? Are you a little proud right now? Are you a little greedy right now? Are you a little selfish right now? Are you stingy right now? Are you the center of attention? Are you thinking too much, too highly? Are you vain? Are you nervous? Are you anxious? Why are you fearful? Do you ever have those thoughts going through your mind? That’s your conscience. There are only two things you can do with your conscience; either listen to it or erase it. Blast it out of there by getting harder and harder into sin and just neglecting and rejecting and pushing it out of there because sooner or later you can sear your conscience. That’s what God calls it.
A friend of mine, when I went to school, we were classmates and he invited me to come to visit him one summer. We were driving across the country. I stopped at his house, he lived in Texas, and they raised cattle. His mother was a real Texan. We were riding in this Jeep through the Barzona field, these 2000 pound black Angus gigantic cows. She says you’re going to be a minister, aren’t you? I said, yeah. She said my son told me you’re in Bible school. She said, I want to give you an illustration that you might use sometime. I’ve never forgotten that illustration. She was wearing a hat and in Texas with the wind blowing, her hat was held by hat pins. she didn’t have the normal, like Bobby pin hat pin. She had straight pins that were about this long, with a Pearl on the end. She had these hatpins holding her hat down so it wouldn’t blow up. She reached up and pulled out a hatpin, which is a straight pin that was two or three inches long with a little end on it. She walked up to one of those 2000 pound Barzona cows. Right on the side of it was the brand of their ranch, the triple bar or something, and she took that giant long pin. She said, here’s my illustration for you. It’s about the power of sin. She said sin sears our conscience just like the branding iron has seared the nerves of the steer. She took the pin to that 2000 pound monster cow, poked it in, and pulled it out. Do you know what, the cow never stopped chewing? It didn’t feel it.
Do you know what I’ve thought about since then? I preach the word of God to people whose consciences are seared, and they hear the penetrating painful pin of the word, and it doesn’t faze them at all. They’re like a cow chewing its cud. Be careful that you don’t destroy your conscience. The other candle, look here in the Bible, the conscience is the first one that you can sear. The second one is creation because it says, “the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Do you know what that means? I got up this morning, I don’t know, 5:30 AM. I looked out and have you been reading about the monsoons that they’ve been having in the southwest? It’s just unbelievable. It rains so hard, so long in the drought-stricken area that it’s causing mudslides where the fires were, all that, you see the news.
Do you know what? This morning at 5:30, there was fog hanging in the valleys from all the rain. The sun was coming up and breaking through the thick fog and it was swirling. I thought about the hydrological cycle. That water evaporates and goes up, condenses in the clouds, and comes down in rain. It is one of the pieces of evidence, look at this verse, of the invisible attributes of God. God is a God of refreshment, of new beginning, of new life. God is a God of renewal. God is a God of order. He operates all those laws of thermodynamics and all the laws of electromagnetism and all the laws of mathematics and science, all those laws He built into the universe. Every time you bump into one of those like the complexity of our DNA or anything, it’s a reflection of God. What we do is we say how great You are, oh, Creator. No, look what happens to the lost. “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile and their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” That’s what this chapter’s about.
That’s my Bible. I’ll show you many more. Let me show you a couple more things. They changed, see, I circled these, they changed the glory of the incorruptible God. They exchanged the truth. They exchanged the natural use. They leave. Changed, exchanged, exchanged, left, and then they receive the penalty. There’s so much in this chapter. As you’re reading all week long, remember I suggest that you read the passage through every day. Read through Romans chapter 1, and every time you read it, mark something in it. Every time you mark something, every day concludes some lessons from it.
Next slide. Here’s what we’re going to cover. I’m going to have to tell fewer stories about Barzona cows. Here we go. First, we’re going to look at a summary of the whole book of Romans, and I’m going to show you what I wrote in my journal one of the days when I read this week. I typed it all out for you. I summarized the whole book in one little paragraph. Then we’re going to look at Romans 1:1 because the first word is Paul. See that in your Bible? Paul. Paul was the man God used and I’m going to talk about that. Then in verse 7, we’re going to look at the Roman Empire and God’s plan is reflected. Did you know, Rome is part of God’s plan, and it’s part of God’s plan that’s coming? God not only has planned the past and the present, but He has a great plan for the future. Then Romans 1:8 talks about the worldview that God offers to us. Romans 1:16 is God’s righteousness and Gospel. We’re going to talk about that.
I’ve already introduced you to “the just shall live by faith.” I’ve already mentioned the wrath of God. I’ve already talked about the two candles, but I’m going to talk to you about those who’ve never heard of them and what we do with them. I’ll tell you right now, it says in Psalm 19 that the heavens are declaring the glory of God. The firmament shows His handiwork. It says there’s no speech or language where His voice is not heard. God put a conscience inside of everyone. God speaks through creation. Guess what? The scriptures tell us in John chapter 1, that He’s the light that lights everyone that comes into the world. Here’s a summary of point number eight: every person that’s ever lived God has done this to them. Can you hear that? I’m knocking on my table. Do you know what Paul said when he was sharing the Gospel in Acts chapter 17? He said the God of the universe comes up to you, knocks, and stands this far away. One arm’s-length away. Do you know how close that is? Do you know how long an arms-length is? You have to be close enough to touch someone, so you have to be less than two feet from them. That’s how close God has stood to every human. Every Aboriginal, every Native American, pre-Columbus Native American, every pagan group, Celtic in old Europe before Christianity, everyone in the heart of the darkest jungles of any tropical area. The God of the universe. You were born with the candle of creation. Don’t snuff it up. You were born with a candle of conscience. Don’t sear it away. Wow. Number nine. We’re going to look at the decline and fall of humanity in that list of sins.
This is my journal and I’m showing it to you right there. Since it’s hard to read my writing, I typed it out. In my journal I always put at the top what week we’re on, week 34, the chapter we’re studying, Romans 1, and I write out my title, Paul explains the decline and fall of the human race. Then I do my summary and usually, it’s a description, but look what this is. Chapter 1 is humanity has fallen in decline. Chapter 2 of Romans is God is impartial. That’s what the whole chapter is about. Chapter 3 is we’re all sinners. Chapter 4 is that faith is God’s requirement. Faith is God’s requirement. God says you can’t earn your way, think you’re worthy or anything, you just have to totally throw yourself upon Me by faith.
I thought about that when I sat in this chair I’m sitting in. Did you know, I didn’t even think about it? I pulled it out away from the table and I plopped down on it. Have you ever sat on a chair and had its weave, the joints were coming loose on it or the legs? Have you ever sat on a chair and it collapsed? It takes faith to believe that chair is going to hold you. You have to, in the same way, sit down. Believing the promises of God. Faith is God’s requirement. He offers through faith justification. That’s what all chapter 5 is about. Chapter 6 is sin is still very powerful. Chapter 7 is Paul’s personal testimony. What I want to do I am not doing and what I don’t want to do I am doing. There are two laws operated in, the law of sin and death and the law of grace and righteousness and peace and joy and love and the Holy Spirit. Chapter 8 is in the Spirit of Christ there’s no condemnation, frustration, separation.
Romans 8 starts with, “there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ.” That’s in verse 1. There’s no frustration because why? Romans 8:28, “God works all things together for good.” Therefore, there’s no separation from the love of God. Nothing can separate us. Are you living with no condemnation, no frustration, no separation? That’s Romans 8. Oh wow. Romans 9, God’s plan for Israel is not frustrated by Israel’s rejection. The Gospel is their only hope of all the world, and in chapter 11, Israel has a future. When you read about Israel in the news, as I do, I have a Google alert for anything about Israel and you can set that up with Google news. I love reading how God is at work through all the animosity against Israel, through all the military threats against Israel. God has a future for Israel. See this, the mercies of God are the first 11 chapters. How do I know that? Because Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God.” Therefore is a device Paul used to say, based on everything that’s been up until now I want to talk to you about mercy.
The first 11 chapters are about the mercy of God shown to a fallen and in decline humanity and that God is impartial. We’re all sinners. God has required faith. Justification is operating. Sin is powerful. All that is God’s mercy. Look at chapter 12, the body, your body, my body, every day needs to be presented back to God. That’s what chapters 12 to 16 are about. It’s how you apply the scripture. Remember the devotional method? We’re looking for all this truth to make a prayer, to apply it to our life. How do we apply it? Chapter 12 is about how to live daily for Christ and His Church. Chapter 13 is about how to be submissive to authority and be a good neighbor. We live in a detached rebellious world. You cannot be squashed into the mold of the world, conformed. That’s what Romans 12 says, don’t be conformed to this world, but let God transform you. How does He transform us? We submit to authorities, and we become good neighbors. Verse 14, we live in step with the Spirit of grace. Chapter 15 is where we live a Spirit prompted life. Chapter 16 is about how to live as a saint. That’s the whole book. That’s my summary.
These are all the lessons I found. In Romans 1, Paul considered himself a slave to God and so should I, and so should you. Romans 1:1-6, the Gospel was promised in the Old Testament, it’s declared in Jesus Christ, and it’s for all the nations. Thirdly, I saw partakers of the Gospel are beloved to God and God calls us saints. In verse 8 Paul served God in his spirit and not only shared, and that’s also what I’m doing. I’m sharing it with you right now. He also humbly allowed others to minister to him. You know what, I love that you all listen. I post these every week, wherever we are in the world. You wouldn’t believe some of the places. When you can’t see very much in the background, we’re in an unusual place. Sometimes we have to close the curtains and I have had to speak quietly. Have you ever noticed in some of the lessons I’m speaking like this? That’s because on the other side of the wall where we’re staying, I have no idea what’s over there, who’s listening, and I have to be very cautious.
We minister in hostile places at times. Bonnie and I have been in over 64 countries around the world sharing the Gospel. Many of them are very resistant to the message. We’ve been expelled from countries. I have been arrested and put in jail for sharing the word of God. What we’re supposed to do is allow others to minister to us. Paul allowed others to minister to him. He received the ministry they gave to him. It blessed his life. That’s what I get. I get your comments. I have one lady that always types into the comment section. I heard that prayer request. I saw your prayer card. I am praying for you. I don’t know exactly where you are, but I am praying for you. Thank you. I mentioned once in one lesson, I said if God is working in your heart, let me know. Floods of people told us how God is at work in their hearts, using us as his instrument. Thank you. We’re blessed by your prayers for us, your ministry to us, your offerings. We are 100% supported in all we do by those of you that send in your support to us. We’re faith missionaries. Every month, all that we need, we just trust the Lord for, and people send it in. Thank you.
That’s how Paul was. He served God in his spirit and not only shared the truth in ministry he humbly allowed others to minister to him. Paul thanked all those, we thank you. The Gospel is the power of God to save us and show His righteousness. Romans 1:18, God is wrathful. We’re going to cover that. God has revealed Himself and humanity have challenged and blocked His revelation. Mankind is darkened by sin. Just read the news as I do. Idols and wickedness come from seeking anything and everything, but God. I just had that conversation with someone today as I was sharing the truth with them. I said, you know, lost people, it’s anything, but God. Anything, any way to life, but God’s way. There’s this built-in thing, it’s called the fall. We’re fallen creatures. We’re sinners by nature, that’s how we were born, by choice, as soon as we’re old enough to make choices, by God’s divine decree written in His word. Finally, the path down and away from God is very steep and God names the evils of humanity’s fallen direction. Those are the lessons I found.
We’re in the second part. Romans 1:1 I’ll read it to you. It says right here, “Paul.” The first word, who did God use? Let me just give you a quick overview. I’m going to do a whole biography of Paul when we get to 1 Corinthians. Right now, I’ll do a short biography. Paul was saved about AD 33. Then God sent him away to Arabia. That’s what it says in Galatians 1. Then after that, he goes to Tarsus. Remember, he gets saved, he goes to Damascus, and they try to kill him. They send him away to his hometown of Tarsus. Look how long he spends there? Seven years. Some people get saved and they want to go right into the ministry. It’s good to share the Gospel. Paul went home to share the Gospel, but all of us need time to grow. To get refined, to get sharpened by believers that are further down the road than us. We need to be in a local church. We need to be around people that are watching us that are saying, what are you reading in your Bible? What are you memorizing these days? How is God at work in your life? Do you see a difference over the last year in your patience, in your kindness, in your selflessness? Are you more patient or less than a year ago? Are you giving more to others or are you stingier? This whole COVID time and all the financial repercussions and everything going on, people are getting stingy.
God says out of your poverty, you give, and He blesses us for sacrificial offerings to the poor. If our hearts are unmoved by poor people, then we don’t have the love of Christ in us. We’re supposed to allow people to shape us by reminding us of God’s truth. See what happened? Number three there. For seven years Paul’s in Tarsus, right there from Acts 9:23 to 30. Then Barnabas comes at the end of those seven years in Acts 11 and takes him to Antioch. Paul is actually in Antioch serving in a local church under Barnabas who trained him how to be a disciple-maker. Barnabas, the son of encouragement, trained Paul. Wow.
Then look at this. You see this line right here, this arrow. Paul trained 14 years from 33 to 47, 14 years to serve for 10. I like the way God does His training program. Primarily Paul was training. He was in service training. He was sharing the Gospel. A lot of the beatings that he talks about in 2 Corinthians aren’t recorded in Acts. Probably they came right here in Tarsus and probably Antioch. He was so zealous, but you know what? He didn’t go out into full-time ministry until he was trained for 14 years, and he only served the next 10. Here’s the beginning of that. For this period, these two years, he did his first missionary journey. That’s Acts 13 and 14.
Then Acts 15 to 18 records his second missionary journey from that journey, he writes three books. Galatians, we’re going to study that in a few weeks. 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Those are epistles that after he does his second journey he writes back to the people of his first journey and those that he touched in a second journey. He does his epistle writing. Then chapter 18 of Acts through 21 is his third missionary journey. From that journey, he is writing, and he writes Romans. See, the reason I showed you that is about 56 AD Paul’s writing this epistle. He wrote it from Corinth. He was probably looking out the window at the lifestyle of the Corinthians as he wrote Romans 1. That’s the context for us to understand.
If you want to know more about that, it’s what we had to study before. Every book has that opening description. Let me get to one book, Jeremiah, Lamentations. The title, the author, the date, the background, and setting, and then the key elements, the historical themes, the interpretive challenges, and the outline. Every book of the Bible. See, a study Bible is like a whole Bible college or even seminary education packaged up for you to prayerfully study and look at the maps and to read these footnotes. I can’t share with you more earnestly, get a study Bible. You can see one in the links down below and see what they look like and use it as a lifelong tool.
Then in the eighth stage of Paul’s life, he’s imprisoned in Caesarea from 56 to 58. Then he goes to Rome from 59 to 62. During that period, the book of Luke and Acts was written. Why? Because Paul had to go before Nero. Before you go before the Roman Emperor there has to be a legal brief. Dr. Luke prepared a two-volume description for the lawyers to understand the case so they would understand what Paul was being accused of. By the way, Luke and Acts God used because Paul was released. Nero didn’t kill him. Nero didn’t do what the Jews sent him to have done, that’s executed. Nero, let him loose. Do you know why? God used Luke to write Luke and Acts to show that the Gospel is not against the government, it’s not anarchism. Paul said that you’re supposed to be obedient to the Roman leaders. He was respectful to them. He said, obey the law, pay your taxes. Don’t grumble and complain. Luke says in Luke that if a soldier says carry his pack one mile, carry it two. Do you see the whole tone of the Gospel? I bet Nero got a chuckle out of that. My legionaries carry their pack two miles. I like this group, temporarily.
Also, Paul wrote four prison epistles, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. All those are written from prison. Were they written from Rome or Caesarea? I don’t know. Probably both. I can’t imagine that Paul waited for 3 to 10 years to write to the churches of his third missionary journey. I can’t believe he’d wait that long. I think that he was burdened to write to them while he was in Cesare. When we take people to Israel, I take them to the Praetorium in the city of Caesarea Maritima. We sit there and I say, open to your favorite verses in Philippians, and think about Paul in this prison. He may have started writing that epistle from here. Amazing to think.
Then Paul’s final stage. Here he’s in Rome in Acts 28, but after that, he writes to Timothy, he writes to Titus, and then he’s in prison again in 2 Timothy and he’s awaiting execution. Look down here. He spent 10 years in the ministry, then he went to prison and look at this. The last 10 years of Paul’s life were hard. He’s alone and he suffers for a decade. Going through hard times? Join the club. Paul went through hard times. All the writers of scripture went through hard times. What does God want us to do?
Let’s look at what it says in Romans 1:7, let me read it to you. “To all who are in Rome.” Just like Paul should be studied. Rome should be studied. Look at the slide. The Roman empire is part of God’s plan. It’s actually mentioned. Let me show you what I mean. Rome and how God sees that there are only four world empires. Daniel, the prophet in the Old Testament, remember we covered Daniel 9 many weeks ago? Jesus calls him by name, and He explains the future in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
Do you know what Jesus advocates? Jesus advocates that these faces that we see in museums, these are all the museum pieces, the marble busts of the faces of the Gospel era. Of Christ and the apostles. Here’s Tiberius. He was the son of Augustus Caesar that oversaw the times of the birth of Christ. There’s Caligula, the madman from the isle of Capri, the terrible emperor, and Claudius the uncle of Caligula. Claudius was Tiberius’ brother, and Claudius oversaw so much of the Bible times. Then Nero, the evil one. What does it have to do with God? Number one, it says in Galatians, and we’ll get there in the future, that in the fullness of time God sent forth His Son. Do you know what God waited for? Look at this. He waited for the Roman empire’s Pax Romana. What is that? 200 years of peace that were begun during the time of Augustus. 30 years before Christ’s birth. Pax Romana, huge in history, two centuries of basic empire-wide peace. If there wasn’t peace, the legionaries squelched, anything that was going on.
Do you know what that made? It made a time of having a universal language, lingua franca it’s called, koine Greek. The Greek language that Alexander spread across the world that Rome conquered, Alexander’s empire, and spread that language from border to border of the empire. Then built the Roman road. Thousands and thousands of miles of them. They built them like this, a retaining wall, then all the sand and gravel and rocks and more gravel and then pavers. Bonnie and I in our travels have driven on these things in Europe. They’re still in use. There are still Roman bridges. There are still Roman aqueducts. There are still Roman roads all over the place. Why? Because in the fullness of time, God wanted the Gospel to go to the ends of the Earth. It did. The Roman laws meant that Paul could say, oh, I’m a Roman citizen. They would let him go. He could travel freely and share the Gospel.
That’s not all. Here’s what first-century Rome looked like. I don’t want to bore you. This is the Coliseum, all of you recognize that. This is what’s called the Roman Forum area. Paul was right there in the Mamertine Prison, right there. I’ll put a star there, Mamertinum it was called, that’s where he wrote 2 Timothy. That’s where he awaited execution. You’ve heard of this, Circus Maximus, the chariot races. Do you remember Paul said, I press toward the mark for the prize. That’s a chariot racing term where they would press, trying to lean forward as those horses were galloping, and move with them so that they could win by just the nose of their horse in that chariot race. Look what this is, do you see this brown line? That’s the incredible network of aqueducts so that Rome could build their cities anywhere in the world. Paul could come to a city and go to the bathhouse and wash up and then find the local synagogue where the Jews were meeting and start preaching. Then when he got thrown out of there, go to the forum area, the agora, the marketplace, and share the Gospel. Every Roman city had those. They had these aqueducts, they had this forum, they had all the athletics. That’s ancient Rome, Tiber River, the Palatine Hill. By the way, I’m studying right now. This fall I’m going to be teaching an overview of all the epistles of Paul. It’s one of the courses I’m teaching so any of you that join those classes you’ll see all these maps.
Remember God saw four empires in the future in Daniel. It was the Roman empire of the New Testament world and the future revived Roman empire. This is the extent of the Roman empire during the time of the New Testament world. Look how it surrounded the Mediterranean Sea. It went all the way up to the Caspian Sea here, all the way to the gulf, all the way around the Black Sea. Amazing. It conquered the third empire, which was the Greek empire. This empire was headquartered in Rome, the Roman empire. The Greek empire was headquartered at Pella, that’s Alexander’s birthplace, Pella. From here, it went all the way to the border of India, all the way to Egypt, all the way to the steps of what we would call modern-day Russia. That was the Greek empire. Before that, the Greek empire conquered the Persian empire, see Persia was headquartered at Susa.
Do you remember Queen Esther and all that? That was the number two empire on God’s list. The number one empire, look what it was, Babylon. Babylon came and took Jerusalem and took the Jews and put them into captivity in Babylonia. What am I talking about? I’m talking about what God said in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. Jesus affirms this in His sermon in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 and Mark 13, and the book of Revelation. What He said is there are four empires, a golden empire, a silver empire, a brass empire, and an iron empire that becomes weak at the end and mixed with clay. He said in Daniel 7 that the gold empire was like a winged lion. The silver empire was like a bear. The brass was like a leopard and the iron was like a terrible beast with 10 heads and 10 toes. Those were identified as the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek, then Rome I, and Rome II.
Why do I say all that? Because Jesus affirms for us that world history will be wrapped around four empires and that the rise of the Anti-Christ will come out of the fourth empire. Also, the return of the real Christ will come when the revived Roman emperor, who is the Anti-Christ, battles against the real Christ. That’s prophecy, we’re getting to that in Revelation. The Anti-Christ from the revived Roman empire will be the worst human ever. He’s called the man of sin, the son of perdition and the false Christ. All that is reflected in the seventh verse. God’s plan for the Roman empire is to make communication, language, travel, global before Christ returns. We’re seeing that we’re the first generation. I can’t wait to get to Revelation with you.
What does Romans 1:8 say? Look in your Bible. It says this, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit.” Look at this Romans 1:8-9 talks about the worldview that God offers. What am I talking about? Look at this. God says we are immortal spirits that live in a temporal human body, and we’re waiting for the time that we’ll get a celestial body. We’re going to cover that in a whole chapter. One of the future chapters in just about two weeks or three weeks is going to be coming about in 1 Corinthians 15. Everyone on Earth either sees himself primarily as temporal, so they have a temporary physical body with an eternal spirit, or they see themselves as eternal, an eternal spirit, with just a physical body.
Did you know what I’m saying is that either you can look at yourself as having this physical body and that’s all there is, or you have this eternal spirit in this physical body? Choosing God’s upward orientation explains life from God’s perspective, that’s the worldview God offers. He says that we see things with the long view of eternity. They’re just a small part of the picture. Paul calls our life a light momentary affliction. Which do you think about first? Do you look downward? That’s the temporal physical body, it’s primary. Do you see only this world? Your body, your aches, your pains, you need money. You need this and that, or are you looking up? There are only two ways to look. A life lived looking downward, always thinking about your body wearing out, the world’s getting worse, our nation’s getting worse, our culture just discourages us. God says life is going to be full of trouble, but we know where history is heading and where we’re heading and it’s a different direction.
Romans is a challenge for Christians to stop looking down and thinking I’m a body with a spirit but to think that I’m a body with a spirit. I’m looking up and this world is not my home. My citizenship is in Heaven and I’m going to know life is hard. It is hard. Look what it says, we have light momentary afflictions. Life is full of troubles Job said, but I know where I’m headed. I know that all who are godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, but I’m an immortal, infinite creature of God. I have His image, His Spirit lives within me. I’m His temple and I’m His servant forever. That’s the worldview.
Our worldview frames our behavior. Romans tells us we have answers to questions like, is there a Supreme God? How did the universe originate? Where did humans come from? What happens at death? Are there absolutes and where is all this headed? The book of Romans gives you a worldview that answers that. You can be godless, naturalistic, evolutionary, which is what almost everyone is, and the result is despair. Look at what Carl Sagan said. He said humanity is marooned on a pale blue dot in a possibly endless cosmos. We are unnoticed, insignificant, on our own. That’s a summary of his book, Cosmos. God says I want to be at the center. I want you to have a Creator-based life that’s defined by the Bible. By the way, this is what Jesus said is the narrow way. The result is not despair, but hope. God says you’re created in a created universe formed by the only uncreated being there is, our Creator. That our Creator has revealed Himself to us. Everything He wants us to know is right here.
What does that do? God says if you read and understand the worldview in Romans you’ll find that I’m eternal, self-existent, and creator of everything. I revealed my desires for you and communicated them in the Bible. You can see what God looks like because Jesus Christ is the exact image and representation of God. God has authenticated that His word is absolutely accurate. You can trust the Bible. If you study Romans carefully, you can see God has absolute morals, absolute truth. Salvation is unearnable. Human religions say you got to earn your way. God says you can’t earn your way, it’s undeserved. Human religions say merit, try and be good enough for God. God says you’ll never be good enough. Confess that you’re unable to be good enough. Confess you’re hopelessly lost and fall upon my grace by faith I’ll save you. God described the absolute span of the history of the universe from beginning to end in the Bible. Wow.
Fifth point or we’ll never be done with this book. Look at verse 16, look in your Bible and I’ll read it. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” God’s righteousness, His Gospel, is this: everyone we meet at the very moment we meet them is either saved or lost. That’s what Romans says. Start thinking about that. Start thinking of that today, tomorrow, when you go to work, when you go to school, when you’re out enjoying life, when you’re biking or jogging or at a restaurant wearing your mask. Every person is either saved or lost. There aren’t halfway, in between people going other ways to God. There’s only one way to God and either they are on that way or they’re not. They have the Son, or they don’t.
Number two. If the person is saved, you can dispense God’s word to them. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re supposed to be encouraging other people with the word of God. That’s why you’re memorizing it and studying it and have your study Bible and everything. If the person is lost, they need the Gospel more than anything else. All other spiritual truth, they’re unable to receive it says in 1 Corinthians 2:14. It’s foolishness, the natural man doesn’t receive the things of the Spirit of God. They can’t understand your Bible study. They can’t understand all of your wise advice. They need the Gospel, and we need to pray that they get convicted. That the Spirit of God will convict them, that they respond and open their mind to God’s truth. Any other help we give is limited. It should be based on compassion for the real condition. They need to hear where their life is headed. The ungodly, Psalm 1:6 says, are not sober, they are like chaff, which the wind drives, and it’s headed for the fire.
If they’re saved and they know it but are struggling, or if they lack assurance they need to be reminded. That’s one of the things as a pastor I saw over and over again, people don’t have assurance. They need to be reminded of the truths of the Gospel. How do you do that? I’m glad you asked because look at verse 17. I’ll read it to you. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just,'” those justified freely by God’s grace “‘shall live by faith.'” Okay. How do you do that? We need to help people around us and some of you listening to me right now, you struggle. You’re not sure that you are saved. You are not sure that if your heart stopped beating, you have eternal life. You need to preach the Gospel to yourself if you’re lacking assurance if you’re lacking confidence if you’re lacking the rock-solid assurance that Jesus Christ lives in you.
If you can’t boldly share that with someone, here’s what to do. Through seven divine works of God, guilty sinners are made ready for becoming the dwelling of the presence of God forever. Their bodies, formerly slaves to sin, instantly become the very dwelling place, the temple of God I’m describing salvation. Remember a few weeks ago in John 3 I had you mark your Bible with the Romans Road? How many of you did that? Raise your hand. See what I do in my Bible study. I say, could you show it to me? Have you marked that yet in your Bible? You need to go back to that lesson, I don’t know, is it number 30 or something? About a month ago. Have you marked that? That’s how you share the Gospel with someone.
Back to the slides. How does God do all that, how does God save someone? When they call the name of the Lord? When you share the Gospel tract? When you explain to them and they pray with you? When they go forward in a Billy Graham crusade or a Franklin Graham crusade? Something in your local church? How does God save them? He does it through seven elements that make up the gift of salvation. This is what you need to do if you’re not sure of your salvation. You need to learn to confess. Do you know what confess is? It’s the Greek word homologeō. It means, say the same thing. That’s what homo is, the same and logeō is to say. What we need to do is say the same thing about ourselves aloud to God. We confess to God the truth. The first thing to get saved, we have to confess we’re lost and call on Him to save us. “Whoever will call the name of the LORD will be saved,” Romans 10:13. How do we have the assurance of our salvation?
Number one, we need to say I am forgiven. The hymn writer put it this way. “When Satan tempts me to despair And tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there.” Charitie Bancroft wrote that during the American Civil War. See, “upward I look and see Him there Who made an end to all my sin. Because the sinless Savior died, My sinful soul is counted free; For God the just is satisfied To look on Him and pardon me.” How do we do that? I am forgiven. What does forgiveness mean? God has removed my debts. Christ died the substitutionary death to take the hopeless debt I can never repay and owed to God. He paid for it with His own life. The eternal death sin had made me responsible to pay, He paid. That’s forgiveness. Where does it say that in the Bible? Right here in Ephesians 1:7. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Do you know what is the most important thing to know on your last breath? That all your sins are forgiven. Number one, when Satan tempts you and says you’re not a Christian, you failed again. You say I am forgiven. Jesus died in my place.
Number two, I am justified. God has changed my state. Christ died to take me as a guilty convict and destroy every record of my sin by taking my place of punishment. Jesus was punished by God like He committed all my sins and God treats me like I’m righteous like Christ even though I’m not. It’s imputed to me. Wow. That’s justification. Where does it say that the Bible? Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith.” Next week, we’re going to study all about justification, Lord willing. When Satan tempts me, you say I’m forgiven. I’m justified.
Thirdly, I am regenerated. Do you remember a month ago I told you I was sharing the Gospel with that fellow I knew wasn’t a Christian? I did the Romans road with him. I said, and this is what you do. You tell them to do this. He looked up at me and he said, I couldn’t tell him to do that. I’ve never done that. You need to make sure you have called on the name of the Lord so you can say I’m forgiven. I’m justified. I’m regenerated. What is regenerated? God transformed my heart. Salvation isn’t praying a prayer. Salvation isn’t saying something. It’s God transforming your heart. Christ died to take me, dead in my sin, and make me a vibrant, full of endless life and brand new person. It says in Ephesians 2 all of us are dead in our sin. That’s regeneration. He takes old, dead, lifeless me and makes me alive. Where’s does it say that? Right here in Ezekiel 26:26-27. One of my favorite verses. You ought to memorize these verses. These are some of the key verses in the Bible, add them to your list. “A new heart also I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you; I’ll take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I’ll give you a heart of flesh and I’ll put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My commandments and do them.” You notice I memorized it in King James. Whenever I look up verses and out comes King James version even though I study and read the New King James and ESV and NIV and New American and all the rest. I am regenerated.
Fourthly, I’m reconciled. God has become my friend. Christ died to take me, His enemy, and make me a friend. That’s reconciliation and that’s Romans 5 that we’re going to study also, Lord willing, next week.
Number five. I not only say aloud I’m reconciled, but I say I’m adopted. God has changed my family. Christ died to take me from being a stranger, to be a son of God. That’s adoption. Where does it say that? Romans 8. We’re going to also study that next week. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” We have the Spirit of adoption in us.
Number six, I am redeemed. God has changed ownership. The title has changed. I belong to God. Christ died to free me from slavery to sin. I’m no longer owned by Satan, by sin, by lust in the flesh. He makes me free forever by His ransom. That’s redemption. I love this verse. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price;” that’s the word redemption. “Therefore glorify God.” I’m teaching right now in classes, interpretation. That’s the current class I’m teaching. Yesterday or the day before I was teaching about the redemption-driven life. That’s what we’re going to talk about in Heaven. That we’re redeemed and that drove us through life. What does that mean? That we were bought at a price, therefore we want to glorify God.
Finally, the last truth of salvation, I am sanctified. God has changed my behavior. Christ died to take my soiled and spotted life and make me clean, focused, and fruitful. That’s sanctification. Do you know what sanctification is? Being useful to God. Where does it say that? “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Sanctification is a daily process and it’s the word of God transforming me more and more when I look in the mirror to the image of Christ.
We’re only on point seven. I’ll go faster. Look at verse 18. I’ll read it to you. “For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness.” What’s that? Wrath is one of God’s moral attributes. There are many attributes. His goodness, His love, His mercy, which is His grace and patience and holiness, His peace. These are all attributes. God is good, and love, and merciful, and holy, and peaceful and righteous, which is His justice and jealousy. Look at this one, this is the least known attribute of God. Most people think God’s just mad, and He’ll get over it. No, His eternal character is eternally, changelessly angry, wrathful at sin. He cannot allow sin to continue to exist around Him. That’s His wrath. Wow. His wrath is a constant theme of Christ’s ministry. Jesus reflected God. What’d He say in Matthew 8:12? Beware of the wrath that will cast rebels into outer darkness, He said in 8:12. Matthew 13:42, Jesus said to be aware of fake followers of Christ. Such tears will be cast into the burning furnace of God’s wrath. Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 13:50. The wrath and God’s word. Do you know how Paul put it? In 2 Thessalonians 1:8, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s His wrath.
His wrath has elements. There’s a present consequential element of His wrath. “Be not deceived; God’s not mocked; whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” By the way, that’s operative for all humans saved and lost. There’s a consequence for sin. For lost people they’re just piling it up, they’re going to face eternal wrath. For believers, every sin we don’t immediately confess, forsake and repent we face the consequences of that sin. Do you know what the consequences are for believers? Boredom, listlessness, uselessness, feeling distant from God, feeling hopeless, feeling that I don’t get anything out of the Bible. All of those are consequences of sin because it grieves the Holy Spirit. We’ll cover that when we get to Galatians in Ephesians. There’s a future wrath coming. That’s the tribulation. Then there’s Hell, final wrath.
God has three types of wrath. God’s eternal or alternate wrath, eternal conscious punishment in Hell. There’s God’s coming wrath, the bursting of the dam when God spites the earth and the tribulation, but there’s the constant warning of God’s present wrath against sin. Romans 1 for lost people, Galatians 6 for us who know Christ. The two candles. Remember I told you that? See what it says in verses 19 and 20? “What might be known about God is manifest in them.” Conscience. “The creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen.” That’s the candle of creation.
Then finally, I want to finish this up because they’re closing Starbucks. They’ve already taken our cups away. They’ve wiped all the tables at Chipotle. The manager is leaning on the broom at Panera. Have you ever been there so late? They do that. Let’s finish. Romans 1. Look at verse 21. It says “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile.” That whole section you’re going to study this week is the decline and fall of humanity.
Look at this. This is what we’re going to see as we study this week. Fallen humanity, that’s us, must renounce our heredity. We are born, Jesus said in John 8:44, “you are of your father the devil.” Satan’s monstrous system of evolutionary, polytheistic, pantheistic, spiritistic, astrological idolatry has permeated every culture in the world. Even modern evolutionary scientism. That’s what every public institution in America teaches. That’s what all museums are based on, except for The Creation Research and Answers in Genesis and the Master’s College, and a few other Christian places. Everybody else is evolutionary or is nothing but ancient paganism and sophisticated garb. This is the reason why every nation and tribe of the past or present, except those whose view of the cosmos is based on Genesis 1 and 2 such as Christianity, Judaism, and even actually there is some Islamic awareness of creation. All other religions are idolatrous, polytheistic, pantheistic, everything else. They serve the creation more than the Creator. That’s what it says in verse 25.
Our world is drifting into Satan’s global religion that Romans 1 describes. Here’s how it describes it. Romans 1:23, pantheism believes the physical universe rather than the transcendent Creator is the ultimate reality. That’s what all of this cosmology of Sagan is and all the secularists. That’s why they just want to get out there and they want to find some higher beings and get some hidden knowledge. When everything has been beamed down to us by the Creator, we already have the secrets written down.
Polytheism is believing deified cosmos manifest locally as various forces. Star wars, systems of nature are personified as gods and goddesses. That’s all the Greek and Roman Pantheon. That’s everything. Look at this, verse 23, idolatry. Believing these gods or goddesses or personified forces and systems should be worshiped through images. That’s all the Baals of the Old Testament, the Buddha’s of the modern world constructed to represent them and possess and energize them. That’s all around us. That’s even the inward look and all of the self-help and awareness and consciousness and opening your mind and letting in spirit beings.
Then look at verse 25, worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. Thinking the creation created itself. Verse 25. Believing these personified forces of nature somehow generate higher and higher orders, including man and spirits. That’s the spontaneous generation of life from non-living materials inorganic materials and spontaneous evolutionary thought. That’s what Romans 1:25 says is Satan’s religion. Humanism. Worshiping man is the highest attainment of the cosmic process.
Then beyond Romans 1, we find other varieties. We find animism and spiritism in 2 Kings. Astrology, worshiping the stars, and looking to the stars for guidance are also in 2 Kings. Then look what Revelation talks about. ET’s, extraterrestrial beings, super humanism worshiping spirit beings is still higher than evolution. They’ve evolved greater than us and people are looking for them. That’s what all this ET stuff is. Do you know who the ultimate ET’s are? The demons. Do you know who the ultimate ET will be? When Satan enters a human and they become the highest ET, they become the embodiment of Satan called the Anti-Christ. That’s what Romans is about.
How do you apply all this? How did I apply this chapter after reading it every day all week long and after writing my notes? Here’s my prayer and I’ll read it. If we’re still in Panera, I would say, could you read yours too? This is what I pray. Lord, I am Your slave just like Paul said in verse 1, the bondslave of Christ. Your Gospel has saved me so You’re my Redeemer. Your Spirit has made me a saint even though I don’t feel like it sometimes. I want to know you. I want to follow you. I want to flee sin because it’s so horrible. I want to share Your hope with many. Use my life. Keep me strong and pure for Jesus’ sake. Amen. Nothing profound, just the cry of my heart. That’s what you need to find this week and write out.
Then I have three challenges. Find someone to share it with. I say that every week, but that’s because new people are joining this study every week. Did you know that? Every week we have new people, they say, I just found this. How do I find the other ones? That’s how I know they just were first-timers. They asked me every week. I get all these notes. How do I find the rest of them? I have a staff member, or I try to send them the playlist. Find someone to meet with and study the Bible with, you need that. Especially in these COVID isolated times, we’ve been going through.
Secondly, work on getting the Bible inside of you by memorization that you meditate on. That’s the only way to live this life, by having the transforming power of the word of God that I have eaten. You know what it says in Jeremiah 15:16, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart, for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” That’s the power of memorization and meditation.
Finally, pray for us. As I told you, we’re scheduled to teach in Europe and Asia this fall. We’re gone in September, October, and November teaching. Pray for us. I found out today we need a green pass in one of the countries and I thought, what’s a green pass? In another place, you have to have this mobile app and you’ve got to get your medical records and download them. Just pray as we go to the Middle East, as we minister to those who are in Asia and Europe. As I teach and do classes and disciple and encourage the next generation and those frontline missionaries with Bonnie.
I hope you have a wonderful week in Romans 1. I hope that you’ll grow in being unashamed of the Gospel of Christ and that you will be the bondslave of Christ. That you will apply God’s word and prayerfully ask Him to help you to love Him and serve Him more. Have a great week in Romans 1. See you next week. Lord willing.
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