2020 - Romans
In Romans 1:18-3:22, Paul divides humanity into three groups…
--Hedonists who do whatever they want… sin destroys their lives… God’s current wrath is devastating.
--Hypocrites worry about looking good, but sin behind closed doors. They too suffer the ongoingwrath of God.
--The Arrogant who speak venom to others, judging others in their own arrogance. This is a showstopper for God.
After dividing humanity into these three groups, Paul has three good newses for these three groups…
--The mess that hedonists have made with their lives, will be made right by the righteous God! Now and then!
--The hypocrite who worries about looking good, can be redeemed into a family that accepts them; where there is no need to “look good”. In the family of God there is no need for hypocrisy!
--The arrogant can take their sin to the Mercy Seat… where it is covered.
Declared right – Redeemed into the family of God – Sins covered on the Mercy seat - are the good newses of the Gospel!
All the hedonist, the hypocrite and the arrogant need to do, on their end, is receive these good newses in faith.
Romans 3:23-25 For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a (mercy seat) by his blood, to be received by faith.
--It is… faith that makes messes right…
--It is… faith that receives family redemption…
--It is… faith that covers sins on the Mercy Seat…
I can think of no better gifts… no better good newses!
Paul turns his attention, in chapter 4 of Romans, to the qualities of thisfaith which receives these gifts. This morning, we look at Abraham’s faith. Sneak preview… We need to share Abraham’s faith to receive the good newses.
We begin reading in Genesis 15…. (my favorite Abraham story… Paul’s as well.)
Genesis 15:4-18 And behold, the word of the LORD came to Abraham… …The LORD brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And Abraham believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness… But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half… As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him… When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram!
Because Abraham believed YHWH, Abraham was declared right with God! That dark night YHWH cut a covenant with Abraham. Abraham and God were tight. Abraham and God are right.
With that story, fresh in your mind, let’s read in Romans 4.
Romans 4:3-5 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
Because Abraham believed the words which God spoke on that dark night… that faith made Abraham right with God. Faith receives rightness with God! Thumb?
Romans 4:6-8 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."
On the Mercy Seat sins are covered by faith! Thumb?
Romans 4:9-12 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Here is Paul’s argument. Abraham was declared right with God in Genesis chapter 15:6. He was commanded to be circumcised in Genesis 17… circumcision was after being declared right with God. Therefore, we who are the others, who are not circumcised, can walk in the faith of our father Abraham and be in the family of YHWH by having the same faith.
Being right + sins covered + in the family ~ received by Abraham’s faith!
Keep reading… Key verse…
Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring- not only to the adherent of the law, but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
It depends on faith…
--The hedonist can be set to right – by sharing Abraham’s faith.
--The hypocrite can be given family – by sharing Abraham’s faith.
--The Arrogant’ s sins can be covered – by sharing Abraham’s faith.
It’s all received by sharing Abraham’s faith. Thumbs up?
So, it is important that we understand Abraham’s faith! Am I right? Someone tell me I am right. It is crucial that we understand Abraham’s faith, so that, we can receive the good newses!
Keep reading. Paul lists seven qualities of Abraham’s faith.
Romans 4:17-21 As it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"- in the presence of the God in whom he believed1, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope2, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith3 when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust4made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith5 as he gave glory to God6, fully convinced7 that God was able to do what he had promised.
Let’s break it down…
Elements of Abraham’s faith…
1) Intellectual belief– Faith is knowing that God is the creator of the universe. It is a head thing that acknowledges God is our creator. He calls things that do not exist into existence. It starts in the head, but it does not stay there.
2) Having hope against hope – Having hope when there was no reason to hope. One of the essential qualities of faith is hope. Hope is only hope when it shouldn’t hope. It is not wishful thinking. It is expectation when there is no reason to expect anything will get better! How could he become the father of nations when he wasn’t a father of anyone… and he was old!
3) Living… as if – Rephrasing this in the positive, Abraham lived as if it were true. Faith has an element of living – making choices – doing right – living as if God’s promises already happened!
4) No distrust – Wow, it would have been easy to distrust God. Why was God waiting? Get on with it… Why not fix it, now? Come on get pregnant! Every month there was evidence that God did not do what he said he would do. Faith does not distrust. That sounds like a heart thing. Faith does not distrust!
5) Faith grows – Instead of distrusting, which would have made sense, Abraham’s faith kept growing. Each of the encounters with God made Abraham’s faith more secure. So much so, that he was willing to sacrifice Isaac. Against the evidence… Abraham’s faith kept getting stronger!
6) Gives glory to God – Faith brings glory to God. I enjoy singing praises to God. I enjoy preaching for God. I enjoy talking about God. But you know what really glorifies Go; what really jazzes God; what really praises God… faithfulness. Staying true to his promises. Staying true to God day in and day out… month in and month out… pandemic in; pandemic out… year in and year out… decade in and decade out… lifetime in lifetime out. You have to be old to really give God the full glory. What? I know. I know… But Abraham’s faith was old.
7) Full convinced God was going to do what he promised!
--Fully convinced God is able to right by the world because that is what he promises!
--Fully convinced God redeems us into his family because that is what he promises!
--Fully convinced God covers our sins on the Mercy Seat because that is what he promises!
Faith is being pretty sure; no. Faith is being mostly sure; no. Faith is being 98% sure; no. Faith is fully convinced God is able… to do what he promises!
Romans 4:22-25 That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
That is why Abraham’s faith made him right with God! It was not written for Abraham’s sake… it was written for us who share his faith; who are convinced of the death and resurrection of Jesus!
Hedonists… Have some faith! God is going to fix your life!
Hypocrites… Share some faith! God welcomes you into his family.
Arrogant… Know there is a place where your sin is covered!
The point this morning (have a Point) We get the good newses, when we share Abraham’s faith!
August 16, 2020
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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