Romans 1:8-17, “People”

Romans 1:8, “8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.”

In Romans 1:8-17 we see characteristics of what it means to walk in biblical community, and it is important to remember that biblical community doesn’t just appear magically over night.  There are steps we can take today, by grace through faith in Jesus, and over time we can and will experience deep biblical community.

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Romans 1:1, “Bond-Servant”

Romans 1:1, “1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God”

  • Author:  Romans is a letter written by the Apostle Paul and Paul is someone who grew up hating Christianity, hating the name of Jesus, and would volunteer to hunt down Christians to put them in jail, and kill them if necessary (Acts 8).  In Acts 9 the resurrected Jesus appears to Paul, Paul’s life is radically changed, and Paul spends the rest of his life on earth proclaiming the name of Jesus to Modern Day Turkey and the surrounding regions.
  • Audience:  If you look down to verse 7 you see this letter is written to “the beloved of God in Rome.” These are men and women who in believe in Jesus, living in Rome, and at this point in history Rome is a dynamic city. Rome is where new technology was taking place. Rome is where the most educated and elite would live. Rome is the center of affluence. Rome is New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Austin all rolled into one.

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State of the Church: 2018

We are a family who places Jesus at the center of our lives so that it moves us to chase after every man, woman, and child in Greater Austin to experience the life transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Family:  We are fighting to be a family. We don’t want to just sit next to each other on Sunday morning. We are fighting to know one another. We are fighting to say, “No” to other relationships in our lives so we can say, “Yes” to our relationships with one another.

Center:  We desperately want to keep Jesus at the center. This speaks to the authority of Jesus. This means we submit our lives to Jesus, because it is when Jesus is at the center of our lives we have unexplainable capacity to chase after every man, woman, and child.

Chase:  This last part of our vision is the part of our vision that moves us outward. This is the part of the vision that moves us outside of our comfort zone. This is the part of the vision that guards us from showing partiality, and moving us into relationships that are uncomfortable.

Connecting with Jesus (2018):  Let the Word of Christ Richly Dwell Within You.

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

We wanted to connect with Jesus by connecting with His Word. Specifically we challenged our church family in three areas:

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What about hell? Part 1

Probably the biggest part of the conversation about hell and judgment is, “How can the God of Scripture be loving if there is judgment?”  Especially in our culture right now. Right now the quickest response to any kind of judgment in our culture today is, “Love is love” so if God is loving, then how can a loving God bring judgment?

To help us tackle this question we are going to look at Luke 16:19-31.  Lets start with verses 19-21:

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Can we all find our own truth?

Galatians 2:3-4, “3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.”

I know this is a lot of first century culture for us to step into, but this passage can help us answer the question, “Can we all find our own truth?”  Specifically, when the Apostle Paul writes the phrase, “spy out our liberty” he is talking about the freedom we have in Christ, and freedom in Christ will lead to a beautiful life.

In contrast, there is a religious community who is coming to “spy out that liberty” and claiming “truth” but it is leading to bondage as Gentile Christians are being told to follow Jewish custom and rituals.

But, these claims by the religious leaders are contrary to the gospel.  All those Jewish customs discussed in Galatians 2 were established so that it would be clear to humanity that nobody could ever make ourselves clean, righteous and presentable to God. This is why we need the good news of Jesus!

Jesus has come to fulfill all the requirements of the Jewish Law, Jewish customs, and Jesus even became unclean so that by grace through faith in Jesus we might be made clean.

In contrast there are religious leaders from Jerusalem who are sneaking into the Gentiles backyards, spying on the Gentile Christians to see if they are following Jewish customs, Jewish rituals, and I guess to see if the men were circumcised, and the Apostle Paul writes, “They are trying to bring us back under bondage.”

Do you see the tension? Can the Gentile Christians ignore the Jewish customs? Should Gentile Christian men be circumcised? How do you decide? Who is going to win?  How can you decide what is true?

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Why is there so much pain and evil in the world?

Why is there so much pain and evil in the world?  To help us tackle that question we are going to look at 1 Peter chapter 1.

1 Peter 1:1, “1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen”

  • Scattered:  The word “scattered” is used in verse 1 because the original audience was going through heavy persecution from the Roman Empire, and personally experiencing pain and evil in their lives.
  • Do a quick google search on the life of Nero!
  • Key:  It is important to remember that what we see today is not what the God of Scripture created in the very beginning.  If you look at Genesis 1 you will see the God of Scripture created everything to be perfect.  But then in Genesis 3 we see our sin show up and ruin everything God created to be good, so that today we see pain and evil.

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Is Jesus the only way? Part 2

1 John 4:1, “1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

In Part 1 we examined the position, “Jesus is just one of many ways to consider.”  We saw in 1 John the Apostle John is teaching us “do not believe every spirit” and “test the spirits” therefore, we examined the fruit that is produced when we consider “Jesus is just one of many ways.”

In Part 2 we will examine the other position, “Jesus is God in the flesh.”

1 John 4:2, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;”

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