History
Icon-add-to-playlist Icon-download Icon-drawer-up
Share this ... ×
...
By ...
Embed:
Copy
032617 - Romans 8d - Suffer, Really?
Clean
March 26, 2017 04:28 PM PDT
itunes pic

Romans 8:10-17a review and Romans 8:17b-22, Pastor Scott Keller

Good Friday Service April 14. Resurrection Sunday, 1st Service at 8:00, Brunch & Scroll Hunt at 9:00, 2nd Service at 10:30.

Please pray for Kerri, Rose, Melinda & Dana.

Do you have enough _____________ to live like you have ____________?

Verse 10, brings up the fact, that even though, “Christ is in you,” your physical body is _____________________.

The first half of verse 13, is a statement of fact. Such a person is eternally __________________ already.

Four highlights of the second half of verse 13…

1) Fact

2) Body, σῶμα (sō-mä), not flesh, σάρξ (säȑx).

3) Continuously BE

4) By the Spirit

We are children of God and therefore fellow heirs with Christ. The term heir in the Bible is focused on the absolute certainty _____________________
___________________________________________________________.

ROMANS 8:16&17 ~ 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

To be eternally saved we need to be saved AND suffer?

This is a recognition of the suffering this life still holds for the Christian.

I know you’ve suffered, but have you suffered specifically because you’re a devout follower of Jesus Christ?

This, again, is a statement that those who are the Spirit-led children of God, do stand firm for Him regardless.

Christians are not Stoics, Buddhists, Ascetics or Masochists.

ROMANS 8:18-22 ~ 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

The Greek word γὰρ (gäȑ), occurs 4 times in these 5 verses.

A goofy analogy… Winning the lottery…

Verse 18, “I consider,” isn’t Paul rendering his personal opinion.

Why does hope not disappoint? “Because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Ro. 5:5).

God subjected His own creation to futility, not because of anything it did, but because of human sin (Genesis 3:17)… But God did it in ___________.

Creation anxiously waits for the day when the Glory of God will be revealed. Specifically, His glory revealed as He fulfills His promises.

Isaiah 65:17, Create there is the same word, בָּרָ֣א (bä-ȑä), seen in Genesis 1:1.

031217 - Romans 8c - Actively Walk, Actively Be
Clean
March 20, 2017 02:00 PM PDT
itunes pic

Romans 8:5-17a, Pastor Scott Keller

Alêtheia Christian Fellowship
March 12, 2017. “Actively Walk, Actively Be”
8:30 ~ Service. 9:30 ~ Fellowship Hour. 10:30 ~ Service with Praise, Worship & King’s Kids.
Wednesday Evening Church 6:30 – 8:00 pm.
NEWS:
New Technology & Website for Those Wanting Better Communication… Very Soon-er
Good Friday Service April 14. Resurrection Sunday 1st Service at 8:00,
Brunch & Scroll Hunt at 9:00, 2nd Service at 10:30.
Please pray for Kerri & Rose.

330 N. Somers Rd. Kalispell, MT 59901~ (406) 755-1776
Visit the website ~ www.aletheia.us ~ Hear a sermon at aletheiachristianfellowship.podomatic.com
Like us on Facebook (aletheiachristianfellowship)
Email: pastor@myaletheia.com, secretary@myaletheia.com, kids@myaletheia.com

1) To “Walk,” seems like doing something a particular way, but…

περιπατέω (pĕ-ȑē-pä-tĕ-ō)

2) How many different kinds of people does the Bible describe?

3) Verse 5, starts off with the word, “For,” again. “For,” γάρ (gäȑ), in Greek, gives us the…

4) The entire chapter is a description of reality, not…

5) The back-and-forth juxtaposition corresponds to ___________________ and _________________________________________.

ROMANS 8:5-9 ~ 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Two kinds of people. People who ____________, or ____________ as, fleshly and people who ____________, or ____________ as, Spiritual.

ὄντες (ŏn-tĕs), from εἰμί (ā-mē).

Walking, Being, Thinking… all facets of the idea of “IN.” Verse 9, people are either in the flesh, or they are in the Spirit.

If you think this describes “fleshly” versus “Spiritual” Christians… you probably also think the end of chapter 7, describes the normal Christian life.

Our problem is one of receptivity… and receptivity is all about…

________________________ flows out of ________________________.

Physical frailty reminds us of the present effects of the curse. Stop being spiritually ____________________, but realize we are still tethered.

ROMANS 8:10&11 ~ 10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

This is now physical death…

Genesis 5:24, I Corinthians 15:53

As a Christian, you are alive, reborn, victorious, set free, but, nevertheless, your physical program is going to come to an end. Never fear though, the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus…

ROMANS 8:12&17a ~ 12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17aand if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…

Our obligation now, is to love, which is the opposite of our old obligation to ________________________. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).

The Spirit of God testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God… How can you refuse to accept, and embrace, and be, who you are?

030517 - Romans 8b - Actively Walk
Clean
March 06, 2017 07:09 AM PST
itunes pic

Romans 8:1-4, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 8:1-4 NLT ~ 1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

God intervened. That’s _____________. Specifically, that’s ____________.

θεός ἀγάπη εἰμί (thĕ-ŏs ä-gä-pā ā-mē) “God is love,” “We love God because He first loved us”

I John 4:8, 4:16, 4:19

That means, that until we ______________________ God’s love, it was impossible for us to love Him.

To the degree that a person cooperates with the Agapê in them, they understand, embrace, and then _______________________ it…

How common it is, for people in bondage, to stay there even after there is no hold on them.

Romans 8:12 & Plato’s allegory of the Cave.

Can you see the relational aspect in verse 3? God wasn’t satisfied leaving you to your lot in life… He intervened… by ______________ His _______.

Why did the Father send His own Son to rescue sinful humans? The Bible tells us repeatedly that it was for ________________. “

John 3:16, etc.

The purpose was to save us… into God’s __________________ forever… THAT’S __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. And it starts ___________!

II Corinthians 1:22
JOHN 17:25&26 NLT, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus instituted two sacraments all Christians agree on…
____________________________ and ___________________________.

The Gucci luggage of our life – hey, it’s mine!

Verse 3 concludes that the power of sin was _______________________ in the flesh of Christ. The reason? “So that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us.” In _______.

“Requirement of the Law” is closely related to “Condemnation.” In the most fundamental sense, the fulfillment of the righteous requirements of the Law is to ________________________.

Ezekiel 11:19, 18:30-32, 36:26, Matthew 4:17, Revelation 16:11

The whole idea of relationship with God is ___________________ to God.

Galatians 5:16-25, describes the “Works of the Flesh” and the “Fruit of the Spirit.” In that passage we are told to “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” And that the flesh and the Spirit “Are in opposition to one another.” Then…

Galatians 5:18 says, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

Our job is to actively seek God’s will moment by moment in our life… That’s what walking means. The word περιπατέω (pĕ-ȑē-pä-tĕ-ō) means, to walk around, _________________ actually going anywhere geographically.

Walking in the Spirit, is to be connected and in step with the Holy Spirit. Praying constantly, seeking His direction in everything, being aware of His presence continually, yielding to whatever He has for you as a lifestyle.

022617 - Romans 8a - No Condemnation
Clean
February 27, 2017 05:32 AM PST
itunes pic

Romans 8:1-4, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 8:1 ~ Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

“NO!
as a consequence,
is there now
any condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

“No,” is οὐδείς (ü-dās).

“Now” (and other factors) connects this verse, to 7:6, giving the consequences of that statement... That there is no condemnation at all.

“Condemnation,” is κατάκριμα (kä-tä-kȑē-mä).

κατάκριμα is found only three times in the Bible and other two occur in the passage Romans 5:16-18.

It’s very easy to see that Biblically, “Right ______________________ with God,” is the opposite of “Condemnation.”

“Condemnation” is a ______________________ all humans share as descendants of ______________.

Those who are Christians, are no longer ________ Adam… Because we are ____________________, to live __________ Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:8

ROMANS 8:2 ~ For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

No one can perfectly obey, and since that’s the requirement, all people fail. Unfortunately, there is only _______________ penalty for failure… and only ______________ pardon.

To reject the fact that there is no condemnation for Christians as an objective reality is to call God a ___________. To admit it, but to still reject it subjectively, is to call God a ___________.

Paul uses the word “Spirit,” 34 times in Romans. In chapter 8, we have _____ of those 34, times. Life in Christ Jesus, IS life in the ____________.

“Law of the Spirit of life.” The “Law of the Spirit” part means the ________________ of the Holy Spirit. “Of Life” transitions from the source of that new life to its substance… “In Christ Jesus.”

That last bit of the verse is a hendiadys. It is both a law of _________ and a law of _______________.

1) Eternally, ______________________________, “It is finished.”

2) Wallowing is self-focused and Christ diminishing.

Psalm 40:2, Proverbs 26:11, II Peter 2:22, James 1:23&24

3) There is real power to ___________________.

ROMANS 8:3&4 ~ 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

1) We make it another now, not yet thing… it’s a __________________.

2) We ________________________ the scope, ____________________ our opinion of ourselves and think we are obeying perfectly.

3) We recognize our failure, even with the Holy Spirit, and we wallow in doubt and loathing.

The non-Christian fails and they can only cry out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). The Christian fails and they cry out, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). Because there is no condemnation.

If your worried about easy grace leading to sin… well fear not, because I say, just as Paul did then, ___________ _____ ______________ ______!

021917 - Romans 7d - Wretch That I Am
Clean
February 24, 2017 07:38 AM PST
itunes pic

Romans 7:21 through 8:2, Pastor Scott Keller

OUTLINE:
“The Law is Holy,” but ___________________________ are not.

The Law ______________________ righteousness – it has no ability to _____________________ righteousness.

ROMANS 7:21-25…
21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

The evil inside is more powerful and wins.

22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

I recognize obedience is right.

23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

But.

War, ἀντιστρατεύομαι (än-tē-stȑä-tü-ŏ-mī).

The enemy won, took him as a prisoner of war and sold him into slavery.

24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Wretched, ταλαίπωρος (tä-lī-pō-ȑŏs) Revelation 3:17, Psalm 137:8, Isaiah 33:1.

“Who will (at some _____________ point) save me” from myself?

25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

A glimpse of hope, followed by a simple restatement of the answer to the charge against Grace.

The result? _________________, ________________, _______________, __________________ and _________________.

I want to obey, but I can’t, because I am ______________________ to Sin.

Matthew 11:28-30, John 8:31-36

ROMANS 8:1-17a, NLT ~ 1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 5Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 12Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17aAnd since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory…

ROMANS 8:1&2 ~ 1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The chapter actually starts with a powerful word of ___________________.

That’s followed by ______ different coordinating words, _______________ and ______________.

“IN Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 2:20

You need to work it out with Him… Be good Bereans…

Acts 17:11

021217 - Romans 7c - The Law
Clean
February 14, 2017 10:33 AM PST
itunes pic

Romans 7:7-23, Pastor Scott Keller

Romans 7:5 ~
For
while we were
in the flesh,
the sinful passions,
which were aroused by the Law,
were at work in the members of our body
to bear fruit for death.

There was no way Paul could get away with saying that without clarification… No way! I said last week, that verses 7 through 25, would explain, expand and clarify this verse. So, “Sinful passions,” “Aroused by the Law,” “To bear fruit for death.”

Romans 7:7-13, NLT ~ 7Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” 8But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. 9At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. 12But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. 13But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.

In these verses, Paul has clearly laid out the facts related to the Law, and the person under the Law.

That is much more important than you may realize… Yes, for its spiritual implications, BUT also because it is the key to understanding this chapter…

There are few passages in the Bible that cause more speculation, controversy, debate and outright conflict than Romans chapter 7.

As I said, the thesis verse for these verses of elucidation, as well as the rest of the chapter, is verse 5. Verse 5, tells us the Christian USED to BE in the flesh.

Further, the person “IN the flesh” is a slave to Sin as evidenced by his or her “Sinful passions.”

Finally, those “Sinful passions” birth “Works of the flesh” that collectively “Bear fruit for death.”

This is a statement of fact concerning UNSAVED people who are all still “IN the flesh.” We need to keep the apples and the oranges separated in order to follow the flow of this chapter.

Last week, I said understanding this use of “Flesh,” here required understanding the context and also recognizing the key word, “IN.”

Immature Christians – and that’s all of us from time-to-time and in one way or another – can be fleshly… All Christians still alive, are still physically flesh, as in, we are flesh and blood, BUT no Christian can be “IN the flesh,” in this context.

We’ve been reminded several times in the last month that Christians are no longer faithless because, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 χωρὶς δὲ πίστεως ἀδύνατον εὐαρεστῆσαι).

Christians are also no longer “IN the flesh” because, Romans 8:8, says it is ALSO, “Impossible for those who are in the flesh to please God” (οἱ δὲ ἐν σαρκὶ ὄντες θεῷ ἀρέσαι οὐ δύνανται).

Just to add weight to what I’m saying, the very next verse, Romans 8:9, says, “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Then it goes on to say that IF a person doesn’t have the indwelling Spirit, they are not Saved.

No one can be a Christian, if the Holy Spirit doesn’t dwell within them. No one can have the Holy Spirit dwell in them, if they are still “IN the flesh.” It’s that simple.

My point? We are looking at an explanation, expansion and clarification defending both Paul’s statement in verse 5 and the holy perfection of the Law.

The rest of this chapter is about the LAW, not humanity in general, NOT Christians struggling with obedience, NOT even non-Christian heathens…

Specifically, it is a defense of both the greatness of the LAW and the limitations of the LAW. At the end of the day… It is about Judaism and why Messiah was needed.

In order to show both sides, it is necessary for Paul to talk about a non-Christian under Law. A pious person trying to please God through their efforts.

A noble Jewish person doing their best to obey Torah… Who better to use than himself? Again though, the rest of the chapter is about the LAW, NOT Paul.

The uber-important point… We’re talking about the Law and the Law applies to unsaved people who have not yet died IN Christ and then been raised IN Christ to walk in the newness of life under grace. Please keep that in mind.

The remainder of this chapter is about the Law. It’s not about Adam in the Garden, it’s not about the Jews at Sinai, it’s not about all mankind, it’s not even about Paul… It is about the Law.

Honestly, if we can keep that contextual fact in mind we will have no trouble discerning what this chapter means.

One of the keys to understanding Scripture is to discern the original audience. In this case it was Christians who were either influenced by Jewish thought… or would have to defend Christianity in regards to Jewish thought.

Remember, Christianity is Judaism fulfilled, so the ones resisting it were those influenced by Judaism… All of the original Christians were Jews or Jewish converts and all of the first Gentile Christians were heavily influenced by Jewish thought.

“You cannot pour new wine into old wineskins” (Matthew 9:17, etc.), Jesus said, using an ancient maxim.

Like Paul’s original audience, many of you have been taught a certain thing and so hold a certain position. You will resist me today… How much more difficult was it for the people in Paul’s day who believed to the core of their being that the LAW was given by God to SAVE the Jews?

Even when people have an epiphany and radically change their mind about something as the Jews in Jerusalem on Pentecost or the Gentiles in Rome hearing the Gospel or like the Catholic Monk and Professor Martin Luther after lecturing on Romans…

All, of them, all of us, bring along with their new life, baggage from the old. No one ever makes an entirely clean break from their past.

Paul must deal with a real hang up people had back then and it was, that to the Jews, former Jews and the Gentile Christians influenced by them…

The Law was God’s divine revelation of His Will for mankind… It was perfect and it was, in their mind, the only thing that stood between Godly living and chaos, pandemonium, “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!” It was the only thing standing in the way of total depravity.

Paul has just said in verse 5, “The sinful passions, which were aroused by the LAW, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”

He must explain that… no one back then would let that go… it must be reconciled and that’s the purpose of this chapter.

After we get that… it’s pretty straight forward.

Here’s our problem though… As I said, so many of us have been taught something different than the context tells us.

So many believe that this is about a Christian struggling with sin and when I tell you that’s not what’s happening, as I say, you’ll resist and perhaps even fight… I pray that you’ll wrestle with God, instead with me and realize that if you keep your understanding it won’t bother me because you’ll be in good company.

Many millions of Christians will enter Heaven thinking that same way… No one has perfect theology as I like to say. So, this is not a deal breaker at all, but I believe IF you accept what I’m saying you will find greater peace in your Christian walk.

Romans 7:7 NASB ~ What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

“Is the Law sin?” Paul’s famous, μὴ γένοιτο (mā gĕ-nɔ֑ɪ-tŏ), “May it NEVER be!”

That would be the charge against Paul and his teaching… He follows it by saying “On the contrary,” and then explains for the next 18 verses.

He starts with what any reasonable person would instantly see as his own pre-conversion, pre-Christian experience.

Here’s the caveat… and the reason some people don’t see it that way… It is his pre-Christian experience from his present Christian perspective.

When I was, a Marine, I did things that seemed perfectly reasonable to me at the time… today those things don’t seem reasonable at all!

My Marine experience hasn’t changed, but my perspective about it, has. It was the same for Paul and his Pharisee experience.

Paul says the first thing is that He would not have known what constituted sin if not for the Law.

The Law is for sinners, NOT Christians. Don’t agree? I Timothy 1:9, “For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful…” and on and on it goes.

The Law defines sin. Both Paul and his opponents agreed on that.

He then uses coveting as his personal example. It is without any shadow of a doubt the 10th Commandment he refers to here, which was given by God to Moses 430 years after God made His covenantal promise to Abraham (Galatians 3:17).

Adam and Eve coveted and it caused them to violate God’s command, BUT the command they violated was “Thou shalt not eat from this tree,” NOT “Thou shalt not covet.”

The point is that before Paul knew coveting was a sin, he might well covet, BUT he could not knowingly violate the command not to covet.

A violation due to ignorance is not the same as a violation of a known law. Both are wrong, both can be judged and condemned, but the first, in the truest sense, is NOT a violation of the Law.

I realize that’s not how it works in a practical sense… we say ignorance is no excuse and that’s true… As I say, the ignorant violator will be judged and condemned, but from their perspective they didn’t violate the actual law, because they didn’t know it was illegal.

In verse 8, Paul says that not only did the Law make him aware of specific sins like coveting. Sin itself, used that knowledge to produce greater violation.

The Law didn’t prevent Paul from covetousness, it made him guilty of being covetous, and more than that, it enticed him further.

There are many facets to that and I don’t want to take the time to explore them here… suffice it to say there is greater temptation when the fruit is forbidden – there is greater rationalizing when one is already guilty, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

The last bit of the verse, “Apart from the Law sin is dead,” has to do with power explained in the next verse.

Sin has no teeth when people are ignorant, BUT once they are made aware of the Law, Sin’s power over the individual explodes into action.

What I mean, is a person may covet what another has without ever being aware that it is wrong. Once the person is made aware, the don’t become less covetous – they become more guilty… Sin has more power over that person.

Ergo, verse 9, Paul was alive apart from the Law; but when he understood it, sin became alive in him and so he died.”

Verse 10, the most striking verse to help us really grasp his point… The Law that God gave that everyone thinks gives life does the exact opposite… BUT it is not the Law that kills him… it is Sin that kills him through his knowledge of the Law.

How? Because knowledge of the Law provides no ability to keep it… Trying to keep the Law only results in failure and guilt and ultimately judgement, condemnation and death.

Verse 12, sums it up by saying the Law God gave is holy, righteous and good, BUT without an ability to obey it actually provides a means for sin to destroy us.

Now, of course that was God’s intent all along. The Jews erroneously thought the Law was to make them righteous through their superior personal efforts to keep it, BUT what God intended all along was for the Law to show people their desperate need for a Savior.

Romans 7:14-23 ~ 14So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22I love God’s law with all my heart. 23But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.

Verse 14, is key. It starts again, as verses 2,5,11, 15,18,19&22 in this chapter do, with the Greek word γὰρ (gäȑ). We talked about it before, it is usually translated as “For,” here the NLT has it as “So.” It shows a causal relationship whereby the text after the word give the reason, explanation or clarification of what comes before the word. Here, verse 14 clarifies what was said in verse 13.

Verse 13, was itself a summary of the argument to that point. “The Law is good, BUT Sin is evil, and it hijacked the Law to kill me…” Verse 14, “What I mean, is the trouble is not with the Law, it’s with me, BECAUSE I am – present tense – I am, a slave to Sin.”

The remainder of the chapter is going to unpack, explain and clarify what he means when he says he is, “Too human, a slave to sin.”

IF you are paying attention, this idea, in the present tense, is a big problem.

Paul just got finished thoroughly explaining the fact that a Christian is no longer “IN the flesh” and is no longer a “Slave to sin.” That the Christian, by the power of Christ, has been transformed, resurrected, born again to walk in the newness of life to be filled with God, the Holy Spirit.

What’s happening here? Verse 17&20, “Sin dwells in me.” Verse 18, “I know that nothing good dwells in me.” Verse 23, like verse 14, “I’m a prisoner of the law of sin.”

Those that see the logical flow of Paul’s argument refuse to believe that he’s talking about the normal Christian experience here, BUT those who claim to take the “Plain reading of Scripture” believe that’s the only answer, since Paul uses the present tense from verse 14 to the end of the chapter.

We could argue that IF the “Plain reading of Scripture” contradicts itself we’re missing something.

Without going into a great deal of mind-numbing detail, I will say this is one of those areas where English and Greek are just such different languages we simply misunderstand.

We are thrown by the present tense verbs… In English verb tenses have to do with time… I threw the ball – past tense – past time. I throw the ball – present tense – present time. I will throw the ball – future tense – future time.

Notice in English we really only have 2 tenses related to time, past and present. We use helping words to make the future tense and more helping words to create deeper subtleties.

Greek actually has 7 tenses and none of them relate to time in the way we think of time.

When English speakers define the tenses they call one of them the “Present tense…” Realize, that’s an English description, of a Greek tense.

Because we call that Greek tense, “Present,” we translate it as an English present tense.

Because we translate it as an English present tense we interpret it as a present situation in time.

I already said Greek tenses have little to nothing to do with time… Greek tenses are focused on the aspect of the action rather than the time of the action.

What we call the “Present tense” in Greek is all about a continuous action, not a present time.

Now, practically all the uses of the continuous time tense correspond to present time… BUT it does not have to… Because the continuous nature, not the present time is most important.

I’ll show you what I mean. Go back to verse 1, in our chapter. Paul says, “I am speaking to those who know the Law.” That is the Greek “Present tense” verb to speak.

It means that Paul is SPEAKING… continuous SPEAKING… He spoke it to the scribe, it took weeks or months for it to be read in Rome, it took millennia for it to be read to you here today… Paul is SPEAKING.

The Greek is about the continuous nature of the action. For us to translate as an English present tense works well enough in that situation.

Once in a while though, we run aground with our preconception about what we call the present tense and I believe this is one of those situations.

In verses 14 through 25, Paul is talking about the complete inability to break free from enslavement to Sin, Death and the Law.

It is a continuous struggle for the person as he says in verse 14, who is STILL, “Of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.”

This section continues his argument about the ineffectiveness of the LAW to save anyone.

We shouldn’t even ask the question, is he talking about the unsaved or the saved. His point is the Law, while a wonderful divine gift from God, has no power to save… IN FACT, it only serves to condemn.

This section is about the struggle of the pious religious person seeking to obey God out of their flesh.

IF you are a Christian, you have experience the same struggle and so it seems to be addressing you… It’s not.

For the first 400 years of Christianity, when people still understood the Greek language, the understanding was this referred to Paul, before he was a Christian.

Augustine wrote about it in that way and then in his later years changed his mind and practically everyone in the west followed him for the next 1,000 years.

In 1516, Doctor of Divinity and Greek scholar, Desiderius Erasmus published the first Greek New Testament in the west. For about 1,000 years, the western church only had the Latin translation. Erasmus dedicated his life to giving them the Greek original. As an expert in Greek he broke from western tradition and taught this passage as Paul’s pre-Christian state.

Unfortunately, Luther and others were too familiar with Augustine and too unfamiliar with Greek to follow Erasmus.

Having said all of that, let me say once again, you don’t have to agree. Plenty of English speaking people through the centuries wouldn’t agree with me, and I’m certain none of them will miss heaven because of it.

The question we ask is do Christians struggle to do what they know they should and do their desires war within them to serve God or serve self?

Yes, but that’s not the point here… The point here, once again, is the LAW cannot save anyone.

We can discuss this and the ramifications in Sunday school. The plan is to finish off the chapter with a little more specifics next time. For now, let’s agree to be unified in our struggle to understand and apply God’s Word.

020517 - Romans 7b - Faith
Clean
February 05, 2017 08:54 PM PST
itunes pic

Romans 7:4-6, Pastor Scott Keller

Last week we started chapter 7 and saw that Paul opens with the obvious statement of fact that the Mosaic Law has no jurisdiction over dead people.

He follows it with an example… albeit an imperfect one, because his point, that a dead person no longer has any obligation to the Law, is a concept without easy parallels or analogies… How often, in our common physical experience, does someone die and yet, we talk about their commitments going forward?

He uses a marriage covenant as his example. The way to understand it is that the dead husband in no longer bound to his wife legally… His death releases him from all marital obligation to her (again, just talking legally, for the point). The proof that it is an absolute fact… is the reality that she’s now free to legally remarry in, get this, that society, at that time.

Let me say, once again, like an old broken record, verses 2&3 are not a Biblical teaching about marriage, adultery or remarriage. It is merely an example to help people understand a spiritual Truth about the fact that death cancels a person’s relationship, obligation, responsibility to the Law.
I am amazed at all the foolish and unbiblical teaching about marriage some people promote based on these 2 verses. This is NOT God telling us about marriage… It is God giving Paul an everyday example to help us, physical people, grasp a spiritual reality.

Dead people have no obligation or responsibility to the Law because the Law has no jurisdiction over the dead. We pick it up in…

ROMANS 7:4-6 ~ 4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Notice how Paul makes it relational and personal… “My brethren, you also.” This death to Law and rebirth to Grace, is not just a nice way to think about it, or a method that some Christians can use if it works for them… This is a cold, hard, fact. IF you are a Christian, then 1st, you are Paul’s brother, and 2nd just like him, you have died to the Law and been reborn to Grace.

Verse 4, gives us the significance or consequences of verse 1, for the Christian.

It really parallels the discussion about a death to, and thereby a release from, Sin, in the first half of chapter 6… Here it is a death to, and thereby a release from, the Law.

You’ve been released from the Law… How and for what purpose?

The how, of course, goes back to what was well established in chapter 6. The Christian has died and been “Born again” in Christ.

Like there, here in chapter 7, we again see a corporate dimension… I don’t want to press this too far, BUT I want you to recognize something important.

Our death as Christians is a death, NOT merely in the “spirit” of… Or BECAUSE of, or even through Christ, BUT really, IN Christ. It is specifically stated here, that it is a death “Through the body of Christ.”

What this means is that the Christian joins the Body of the crucified Christ… I’m NOT talking about the church… YET! I mean, Christians are “IN” Christ… And He has died. There is a union with Him and His sacrificial death… and therefore… please hear this… therefore, there is a union with all others, so connected. Now, I’m talking about the church.

This is the whole point of Holy Communion. We join Christ through His body broken, through His blood shed, and as we do, we join the Community of Believers, the Family of God, the Body of Christ… we join the church.

Some, like Roman Catholics, take this too far, and say membership, through baptism, in the church is required for salvation.

Others, though, like most Protestants, especially the intensely independent types like the Non-denominational ones in America… particularly to fiercely self-sufficient ones in Montana, don’t take it nearly far enough, assuming the church is unnecessary to the process.

Each one of us is going to have to explain to Jesus why we weren’t more committed to His church.

So many people have church on a mountain, or in their heart, or in their living room… selfishly robbing the Body of Christ of their presence.

Often the think the church is too messed up and they are protecting themselves and their children from bad influences. Well, God wants to use His imperfect church to help you see that you’re just as messed up as everyone else and that through faith in Him we will all get through this together.

So many others, think nothing of having a casual relationship with their church. I’ll go when it suits me and if they annoy me too much, I’ll take my membership elsewhere.

What you teach fellow Christians and the world watching, is that you are thin-skinned, selfish and disloyal. Purely fleshly traits.

It is the effort enabled by the Holy Spirit getting along with your brothers and sisters in Christ that God is using to mature your faith.

You say, the preacher’s just trying to drum up business. No, I’m relaying what God wants you to know… and now that I have, I’ve done my job and you are left without any excuse when you see Jesus.

Christianity is membership in Christ’s Body and His Body is manifested physically as the church. Yes, we can say that means the church universal and let ourselves off the hook, BUT it is only the church local to which people physically belong.

What I’m saying is that Christianity is a team sport in which getting along with others is essential. IF you are a Lone Ranger, IF no one’s good enough for you, IF you can’t seem to play well with others… You need to pray for more faith and allow the Holy Spirit to fix you.

Christians ARE, as a matter of settled fact, INCORPORATED into the Body of Christ… we need to remember that fact. We need to pray for enough faith in God to allow the Holy Spirit to keep us faithful to our church family in Christ.

Anyway, the implications of the statement and analogy in verses 1 through 3, conclude with the point that all Christians are brothers and sisters who have died by joining in as members of the Body of Christ.

That is further proven by the second half of verse 4, where it says the entire purpose of dying was to be released from our old master in order to be “Joined to another.” Of, course revealed as the Resurrected Lord Jesus.

Using the marriage analogy, we could say we were married to an ogre and we died, severing that bond, for the express purpose of marrying the perfect spouse.

Paul’s analogy has the ogre as the one still alive and able to remarry… that’s the limitation of the analogy and why he further clarifies it here.

The freedom of the Spirit that God provides through Christ’s death was never intended to simply be a release from the old… it was always a release from the old in order to embrace the new.

Beyond that, what is the goal for switching husbands? It is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

We are not set free to do our own thing… We are not set free to simply enjoy our new spouse… We are set free to be a full-fledged spouse. We are set free so that we can be entirely engaged in honoring, loving and serving our new spouse.
We are transferred from obligation to the Law over to obligation to God’s Grace and the result is NOT lawlessness… it’s NOT sin… it is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

In Galatians 2:20, Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Through faith, Paul identifies himself as one with Christ… His freedom is a freedom to allow Christ to live through his physical life.

Galatians 5:13 says, Christians “Have been called to live in freedom… But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”

Odd – use your freedom to allow Jesus to live through you and what that looks like is NOT being an uptight, pompous religious blow hard… it looks like serving “One another in love.”

We talk about bearing fruit for God and we start thinking of all the specific things that are intended by that… Fruit for God must mean reading my Bible each morning, praying each evening, fasting once a week, attending Bible studies in addition to regular attendance in church, giving my tithe as well as extra to charity, volunteering and… and… and…

All of those things are good and I recommend them all. BUT that is NOT the correct way to approach bearing fruit for God.

Those things can be physical evidence that a person is bearing fruit… BUT the fruit itself in the inward change that animates the Christian. It is the Spirit of God in us in Whom “We live and move and have our being.”

We can see the connection by looking again at Galatians chapter 5. There it starts out by saying that 1Christians have been set free by Christ and goes on to say 2that IF a Christian does one thing to justify themselves before God they have missed the entire point of what Christ did for them.

There it was circumcision, because that was the issue then… BUT it applies to anything a Christian does in order to make themselves RIGHT with God.

It is always a legalism… it always diminishes Christ’s completed work… it always diminishes Christ Himself.

The passage goes on to say 3that instead of trying to please God by doing things… by performing like a circus clown… we Christians must be led by God’s Spirit within us.

By giving ourselves over to the Holy Spirit 4our faith in Christ is built… it is a “Faith that is credited to our account.” It is a righteousness given to us as though it were our own… It is a justification before God because we, through FAITH, stand in the Body of Christ.

He then says in verse 17, of that passage, 5“The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.” You have a DESIRE to love God and see Him glorified? You desire to serve Him and His Kingdom? You desire to BE a spirit-led Christian… That’s the Holy Spirit.

You desire to DO what’s right, because God has changed your inner being through your faith in Him.

Then starting in verse 19, is where we get to the point I’m on about this morning… “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

Please notice the difference between the “Works (ἔργον or energy) of the flesh” and the “Fruit (καρπός or result) of the Spirit.” The works, or deeds or acts or energy expended in fleshly pursuits are the things people DO, like being snotty, stealing, lying and cheating…

We are not told to produce the “Works of the Spirit.” We are told that the Holy Spirit within us produces a different character and desire that results in an inner Godliness.

The fruit is not the doing of things… it’s BEING a spirit-filled, spirit-led, Christian.

A person in who, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, reign.

The fruit of inner godliness declares we are animated by the Holy Spirit and the very best proof of that is when we demonstrate an unnatural – supernatural – love for others.

Conversely, the easiest way to dismiss the claim that a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit is when they cannot get along with their fellow brothers and sisters in the family of God.

The things that flow out of that reality are the things that prove that it is reality… NOT the things that make it reality.

We are filled with the Holy Spirit and that transforms us into people with the love of God animating our lives our movements and our very existence.

You say, “I’m not sure that’s true of me.” And I say, “You need more faith.” Pray earnestly for more faith… “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The issue is faith.

Back to Romans 7:5. Because he brought up bearing fruit for God in the power of the Spirit at work in us who are under grace… it leads him to make a statement about the opposite side.

Before we were saved, we “Were in the flesh.”

Flesh is σάρξ (säȑxs), the word σαρκοφάγος (säȑ-kŏf-ä-gŏs), literally means flesh eater. You put a whole person in a sarcophagus and later only bones remain… the flesh is gone. The word “Flesh” means just what you think it means and has a lot of nuance depending on context.

In our present context, it means the natural and therefore sinful human. All unsaved people are “In the flesh” and all saved people are no longer “In the flesh.” The key is our context and the operative word is “IN.” We’ll talk more about that in a minute, BUT for now, know that Christians were “IN the flesh,” BUT not any longer. No true Christian is “IN the flesh.”

So, back before salvation, when we were still, “IN the flesh,” we had “Sinful passions.” That is feelings, interests, desires, enthusiasm and zeal for what is sinful… Sin is ἁμαρτία (hä-mäȑ-tē-ä).

That word has a connotation of “Missing the mark” and because of that lexical, dictionary, definition… many people misunderstand.

Many preachers “Miss the mark” when explaining sin, by failing to grasp the Biblical meaning of the word.

I thought of a detailed way to describe it, BUT decided, that in this case, I would do it by describing the opposite.

God is God. He is eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is pure love and pure good. Anything God declares is Truth… anything God desires is Right.

The human person who recognizes these facts does everything in their power to understand better and conform.

King Solomon, acknowledged to be the wisest man to ever live, wrote a gloomy assessment of human existence in Ecclesiastes…

At the end, after considering everything, he concludes that the whole of what it is to be human… the whole of our purpose and so we could say the entire duty of all mankind is to “Fear God and keep His commands” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

What it means is that the true essence of our existence is to take God seriously and devote ourselves to Him and His purposes…

To place God where God belongs in our life as supreme over everything else and then to act accordingly.

That is righteousness and it is the opposite of sin.

Sin at its core, is a replacing of God with self… an obedience to my desire rather than His.

It is missing the mark in the sense that I’m not even aiming at the correct target. I’ve been misled and I’ve misled myself to aim at the wrong target – that’s why I miss.

In Solomon’s statement, it means I’ve totally misunderstood what life is about. I think it’s about me.

Again, I realize, when we talk about this we so easily slip into the mode of obeying the rules, regulations, codes of conduct, modes of behavior.

Please recognize, my friends, that “Fear of the Lord,” is itself an act of FAITH.

Recognize that obedience to what God commands must start with FAITH.

That is why God credits FAITH as though it were actual righteousness.

Paul often talked about being the “Chiefest of sinners,” because of his persecution of the church as a Pharisee (I Timothy 1:15, etc.). In Philippians 3:6, he says something interesting… “As to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”

Paul, then called Saul, was zealously obeying God’s command due to his true “Fear of God.”

It was a zealous obedience earning him legal righteousness… He was blameless in his persecution as judged by the Law.

What does that mean? Paul’s greatest regret – His greatest failure – His greatest sin that made him the “Sinner in Chief,” was his blind devotion to fulfilling the legal requirements of the Law.

Paul misunderstood God’s intent because he misunderstood God’s character… Paul totally “Missed the mark” because he was aiming at the wrong target.

His target, ultimately, was about him and his sense of duty… Without consciously knowing it he was actively fighting against God because he was actually aiming to elevate himself.

Can you see, that even now, when we try to perform to gain God’s favor we are actually serving ourselves?

Can you see, that blind devotion to rules leads people to burn those they disagree with at the stake?

Sin is clever, it can get you serving him even when your certain you’re doing the opposite.

The key is to honestly assess… Am I doing this for God or am I doing this for me? Is this what God has asked of me – is it in keeping with His character – is the Holy Spirit leading me.

God asked us two impossible things… Agapê Him and Agapê others as ourselves. Both are impossible for us because Agapê only comes from God.

How can we possibly “Fear God and keep His commands”? We give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit within us and the only way that can happen is through FAITH.

Faith, my friends, at the end of the day, it is faith that is the opposite of sin. I have faith in the Holy Spirit within me, I believe in Jesus my Lord and Savior and I trust my Heavenly Father.

So, when we were “IN the flesh” our passion was to serve our own interests ahead of God’s because we lacked enough faith to put Him first and serve Him.

Paul says that our former “Sinful passions” were “Aroused by the Law.”

“Aroused”? The Jewish contention was that the Law prevented sin… It wasn’t just their idea… Practically everyone is under a delusion that the Biblical Law as well as the laws of the land keep people from sinning or committing crime.

There’s criminal activity? Pass a law! We constantly pass laws to reduce crime and what is the result? Greater crime.

The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that very thing! The Old Covenant Law didn’t reduce sin – it provoked sin!

Sin was aroused and it resulted in bearing fruit for death.

There is much more to say about verse 5, because it is a thesis-type statement with tremendous ramifications. Well, verse 6, is the same type of grand statement looking at the other side.

Paul is getting these statements out there for us and then He’s going to unpack them… He’s going to cover each one in detail.

Verse 5, is explained in verses 7 through 25, and Verse 6, is explained in chapter 8, verses 1 through 17.

We’ll get there, so please just stay the course. I know it can get difficult and tedious, just as the Apostle Peter said, BUT we also know that our whole duty is to strive to know God and serve Him.

Verse 6, tells us that we who are true Christians have indeed died to our old life of being “IN the flesh.” and we’ve been resurrected to our new life that is characterized by a dramatic shift.

Before our master was sin and before we were bound to serve the letter of the Law. It means we were faithless and could only make futile attempts to gain God’s favor.

You see it all around you… Randomly ask people if they are going to a good place when they die and the vast majority will say… “I’m basically a good person… I try to do what’s right.”

Whether it is a Jew following the Law, a person claiming Christianity who thinks it’s about earning salvation or a secular person who claims some kind of universal karma… people are so faithless, all they can do, is try to do THINGS for the ultimate goal of gaining something for themselves.

The Christian has been set free from that faithless pursuit of self-centered eternal reward… into faith. Faith great enough so that we can aim at the correct target. Faith great enough that we can serve God in the power of His own Spirit.

Faith… have enough faith to pray for more.

020517 - Romans 7b - Faith
Clean
February 05, 2017 08:51 PM PST
itunes pic

Romans 7:4-6, Pastor Scott Keller

Last week we started chapter 7 and saw that Paul opens with the obvious statement of fact that the Mosaic Law has no jurisdiction over dead people.

He follows it with an example… albeit an imperfect one, because his point, that a dead person no longer has any obligation to the Law, is a concept without easy parallels or analogies… How often, in our common physical experience, does someone die and yet, we talk about their commitments going forward?

He uses a marriage covenant as his example. The way to understand it is that the dead husband in no longer bound to his wife legally… His death releases him from all marital obligation to her (again, just talking legally, for the point). The proof that it is an absolute fact… is the reality that she’s now free to legally remarry in, get this, that society, at that time.

Let me say, once again, like an old broken record, verses 2&3 are not a Biblical teaching about marriage, adultery or remarriage. It is merely an example to help people understand a spiritual Truth about the fact that death cancels a person’s relationship, obligation, responsibility to the Law.
I am amazed at all the foolish and unbiblical teaching about marriage some people promote based on these 2 verses. This is NOT God telling us about marriage… It is God giving Paul an everyday example to help us, physical people, grasp a spiritual reality.

Dead people have no obligation or responsibility to the Law because the Law has no jurisdiction over the dead. We pick it up in…

ROMANS 7:4-6 ~ 4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Notice how Paul makes it relational and personal… “My brethren, you also.” This death to Law and rebirth to Grace, is not just a nice way to think about it, or a method that some Christians can use if it works for them… This is a cold, hard, fact. IF you are a Christian, then 1st, you are Paul’s brother, and 2nd just like him, you have died to the Law and been reborn to Grace.

Verse 4, gives us the significance or consequences of verse 1, for the Christian.

It really parallels the discussion about a death to, and thereby a release from, Sin, in the first half of chapter 6… Here it is a death to, and thereby a release from, the Law.

You’ve been released from the Law… How and for what purpose?

The how, of course, goes back to what was well established in chapter 6. The Christian has died and been “Born again” in Christ.

Like there, here in chapter 7, we again see a corporate dimension… I don’t want to press this too far, BUT I want you to recognize something important.

Our death as Christians is a death, NOT merely in the “spirit” of… Or BECAUSE of, or even through Christ, BUT really, IN Christ. It is specifically stated here, that it is a death “Through the body of Christ.”

What this means is that the Christian joins the Body of the crucified Christ… I’m NOT talking about the church… YET! I mean, Christians are “IN” Christ… And He has died. There is a union with Him and His sacrificial death… and therefore… please hear this… therefore, there is a union with all others, so connected. Now, I’m talking about the church.

This is the whole point of Holy Communion. We join Christ through His body broken, through His blood shed, and as we do, we join the Community of Believers, the Family of God, the Body of Christ… we join the church.

Some, like Roman Catholics, take this too far, and say membership, through baptism, in the church is required for salvation.

Others, though, like most Protestants, especially the intensely independent types like the Non-denominational ones in America… particularly to fiercely self-sufficient ones in Montana, don’t take it nearly far enough, assuming the church is unnecessary to the process.

Each one of us is going to have to explain to Jesus why we weren’t more committed to His church.

So many people have church on a mountain, or in their heart, or in their living room… selfishly robbing the Body of Christ of their presence.

Often the think the church is too messed up and they are protecting themselves and their children from bad influences. Well, God wants to use His imperfect church to help you see that you’re just as messed up as everyone else and that through faith in Him we will all get through this together.

So many others, think nothing of having a casual relationship with their church. I’ll go when it suits me and if they annoy me too much, I’ll take my membership elsewhere.

What you teach fellow Christians and the world watching, is that you are thin-skinned, selfish and disloyal. Purely fleshly traits.

It is the effort enabled by the Holy Spirit getting along with your brothers and sisters in Christ that God is using to mature your faith.

You say, the preacher’s just trying to drum up business. No, I’m relaying what God wants you to know… and now that I have, I’ve done my job and you are left without any excuse when you see Jesus.

Christianity is membership in Christ’s Body and His Body is manifested physically as the church. Yes, we can say that means the church universal and let ourselves off the hook, BUT it is only the church local to which people physically belong.

What I’m saying is that Christianity is a team sport in which getting along with others is essential. IF you are a Lone Ranger, IF no one’s good enough for you, IF you can’t seem to play well with others… You need to pray for more faith and allow the Holy Spirit to fix you.

Christians ARE, as a matter of settled fact, INCORPORATED into the Body of Christ… we need to remember that fact. We need to pray for enough faith in God to allow the Holy Spirit to keep us faithful to our church family in Christ.

Anyway, the implications of the statement and analogy in verses 1 through 3, conclude with the point that all Christians are brothers and sisters who have died by joining in as members of the Body of Christ.

That is further proven by the second half of verse 4, where it says the entire purpose of dying was to be released from our old master in order to be “Joined to another.” Of, course revealed as the Resurrected Lord Jesus.

Using the marriage analogy, we could say we were married to an ogre and we died, severing that bond, for the express purpose of marrying the perfect spouse.

Paul’s analogy has the ogre as the one still alive and able to remarry… that’s the limitation of the analogy and why he further clarifies it here.

The freedom of the Spirit that God provides through Christ’s death was never intended to simply be a release from the old… it was always a release from the old in order to embrace the new.

Beyond that, what is the goal for switching husbands? It is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

We are not set free to do our own thing… We are not set free to simply enjoy our new spouse… We are set free to be a full-fledged spouse. We are set free so that we can be entirely engaged in honoring, loving and serving our new spouse.
We are transferred from obligation to the Law over to obligation to God’s Grace and the result is NOT lawlessness… it’s NOT sin… it is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

In Galatians 2:20, Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Through faith, Paul identifies himself as one with Christ… His freedom is a freedom to allow Christ to live through his physical life.

Galatians 5:13 says, Christians “Have been called to live in freedom… But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”

Odd – use your freedom to allow Jesus to live through you and what that looks like is NOT being an uptight, pompous religious blow hard… it looks like serving “One another in love.”

We talk about bearing fruit for God and we start thinking of all the specific things that are intended by that… Fruit for God must mean reading my Bible each morning, praying each evening, fasting once a week, attending Bible studies in addition to regular attendance in church, giving my tithe as well as extra to charity, volunteering and… and… and…

All of those things are good and I recommend them all. BUT that is NOT the correct way to approach bearing fruit for God.

Those things can be physical evidence that a person is bearing fruit… BUT the fruit itself in the inward change that animates the Christian. It is the Spirit of God in us in Whom “We live and move and have our being.”

We can see the connection by looking again at Galatians chapter 5. There it starts out by saying that 1Christians have been set free by Christ and goes on to say 2that IF a Christian does one thing to justify themselves before God they have missed the entire point of what Christ did for them.

There it was circumcision, because that was the issue then… BUT it applies to anything a Christian does in order to make themselves RIGHT with God.

It is always a legalism… it always diminishes Christ’s completed work… it always diminishes Christ Himself.

The passage goes on to say 3that instead of trying to please God by doing things… by performing like a circus clown… we Christians must be led by God’s Spirit within us.

By giving ourselves over to the Holy Spirit 4our faith in Christ is built… it is a “Faith that is credited to our account.” It is a righteousness given to us as though it were our own… It is a justification before God because we, through FAITH, stand in the Body of Christ.

He then says in verse 17, of that passage, 5“The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.” You have a DESIRE to love God and see Him glorified? You desire to serve Him and His Kingdom? You desire to BE a spirit-led Christian… That’s the Holy Spirit.

You desire to DO what’s right, because God has changed your inner being through your faith in Him.

Then starting in verse 19, is where we get to the point I’m on about this morning… “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

Please notice the difference between the “Works (ἔργον or energy) of the flesh” and the “Fruit (καρπός or result) of the Spirit.” The works, or deeds or acts or energy expended in fleshly pursuits are the things people DO, like being snotty, stealing, lying and cheating…

We are not told to produce the “Works of the Spirit.” We are told that the Holy Spirit within us produces a different character and desire that results in an inner Godliness.

The fruit is not the doing of things… it’s BEING a spirit-filled, spirit-led, Christian.

A person in who, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, reign.

The fruit of inner godliness declares we are animated by the Holy Spirit and the very best proof of that is when we demonstrate an unnatural – supernatural – love for others.

Conversely, the easiest way to dismiss the claim that a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit is when they cannot get along with their fellow brothers and sisters in the family of God.

The things that flow out of that reality are the things that prove that it is reality… NOT the things that make it reality.

We are filled with the Holy Spirit and that transforms us into people with the love of God animating our lives our movements and our very existence.

You say, “I’m not sure that’s true of me.” And I say, “You need more faith.” Pray earnestly for more faith… “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The issue is faith.

Back to Romans 7:5. Because he brought up bearing fruit for God in the power of the Spirit at work in us who are under grace… it leads him to make a statement about the opposite side.

Before we were saved, we “Were in the flesh.”

Flesh is σάρξ (säȑxs), the word σαρκοφάγος (säȑ-kŏf-ä-gŏs), literally means flesh eater. You put a whole person in a sarcophagus and later only bones remain… the flesh is gone. The word “Flesh” means just what you think it means and has a lot of nuance depending on context.

In our present context, it means the natural and therefore sinful human. All unsaved people are “In the flesh” and all saved people are no longer “In the flesh.” The key is our context and the operative word is “IN.” We’ll talk more about that in a minute, BUT for now, know that Christians were “IN the flesh,” BUT not any longer. No true Christian is “IN the flesh.”

So, back before salvation, when we were still, “IN the flesh,” we had “Sinful passions.” That is feelings, interests, desires, enthusiasm and zeal for what is sinful… Sin is ἁμαρτία (hä-mäȑ-tē-ä).

That word has a connotation of “Missing the mark” and because of that lexical, dictionary, definition… many people misunderstand.

Many preachers “Miss the mark” when explaining sin, by failing to grasp the Biblical meaning of the word.

I thought of a detailed way to describe it, BUT decided, that in this case, I would do it by describing the opposite.

God is God. He is eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is pure love and pure good. Anything God declares is Truth… anything God desires is Right.

The human person who recognizes these facts does everything in their power to understand better and conform.

King Solomon, acknowledged to be the wisest man to ever live, wrote a gloomy assessment of human existence in Ecclesiastes…

At the end, after considering everything, he concludes that the whole of what it is to be human… the whole of our purpose and so we could say the entire duty of all mankind is to “Fear God and keep His commands” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

What it means is that the true essence of our existence is to take God seriously and devote ourselves to Him and His purposes…

To place God where God belongs in our life as supreme over everything else and then to act accordingly.

That is righteousness and it is the opposite of sin.

Sin at its core, is a replacing of God with self… an obedience to my desire rather than His.

It is missing the mark in the sense that I’m not even aiming at the correct target. I’ve been misled and I’ve misled myself to aim at the wrong target – that’s why I miss.

In Solomon’s statement, it means I’ve totally misunderstood what life is about. I think it’s about me.

Again, I realize, when we talk about this we so easily slip into the mode of obeying the rules, regulations, codes of conduct, modes of behavior.

Please recognize, my friends, that “Fear of the Lord,” is itself an act of FAITH.

Recognize that obedience to what God commands must start with FAITH.

That is why God credits FAITH as though it were actual righteousness.

Paul often talked about being the “Chiefest of sinners,” because of his persecution of the church as a Pharisee (I Timothy 1:15, etc.). In Philippians 3:6, he says something interesting… “As to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”

Paul, then called Saul, was zealously obeying God’s command due to his true “Fear of God.”

It was a zealous obedience earning him legal righteousness… He was blameless in his persecution as judged by the Law.

What does that mean? Paul’s greatest regret – His greatest failure – His greatest sin that made him the “Sinner in Chief,” was his blind devotion to fulfilling the legal requirements of the Law.

Paul misunderstood God’s intent because he misunderstood God’s character… Paul totally “Missed the mark” because he was aiming at the wrong target.

His target, ultimately, was about him and his sense of duty… Without consciously knowing it he was actively fighting against God because he was actually aiming to elevate himself.

Can you see, that even now, when we try to perform to gain God’s favor we are actually serving ourselves?

Can you see, that blind devotion to rules leads people to burn those they disagree with at the stake?

Sin is clever, it can get you serving him even when your certain you’re doing the opposite.

The key is to honestly assess… Am I doing this for God or am I doing this for me? Is this what God has asked of me – is it in keeping with His character – is the Holy Spirit leading me.

God asked us two impossible things… Agapê Him and Agapê others as ourselves. Both are impossible for us because Agapê only comes from God.

How can we possibly “Fear God and keep His commands”? We give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit within us and the only way that can happen is through FAITH.

Faith, my friends, at the end of the day, it is faith that is the opposite of sin. I have faith in the Holy Spirit within me, I believe in Jesus my Lord and Savior and I trust my Heavenly Father.

So, when we were “IN the flesh” our passion was to serve our own interests ahead of God’s because we lacked enough faith to put Him first and serve Him.

Paul says that our former “Sinful passions” were “Aroused by the Law.”

“Aroused”? The Jewish contention was that the Law prevented sin… It wasn’t just their idea… Practically everyone is under a delusion that the Biblical Law as well as the laws of the land keep people from sinning or committing crime.

There’s criminal activity? Pass a law! We constantly pass laws to reduce crime and what is the result? Greater crime.

The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that very thing! The Old Covenant Law didn’t reduce sin – it provoked sin!

Sin was aroused and it resulted in bearing fruit for death.

There is much more to say about verse 5, because it is a thesis-type statement with tremendous ramifications. Well, verse 6, is the same type of grand statement looking at the other side.

Paul is getting these statements out there for us and then He’s going to unpack them… He’s going to cover each one in detail.

Verse 5, is explained in verses 7 through 25, and Verse 6, is explained in chapter 8, verses 1 through 17.

We’ll get there, so please just stay the course. I know it can get difficult and tedious, just as the Apostle Peter said, BUT we also know that our whole duty is to strive to know God and serve Him.

Verse 6, tells us that we who are true Christians have indeed died to our old life of being “IN the flesh.” and we’ve been resurrected to our new life that is characterized by a dramatic shift.

Before our master was sin and before we were bound to serve the letter of the Law. It means we were faithless and could only make futile attempts to gain God’s favor.

You see it all around you… Randomly ask people if they are going to a good place when they die and the vast majority will say… “I’m basically a good person… I try to do what’s right.”

Whether it is a Jew following the Law, a person claiming Christianity who thinks it’s about earning salvation or a secular person who claims some kind of universal karma… people are so faithless, all they can do, is try to do THINGS for the ultimate goal of gaining something for themselves.

The Christian has been set free from that faithless pursuit of self-centered eternal reward… into faith. Faith great enough so that we can aim at the correct target. Faith great enough that we can serve God in the power of His own Spirit.

Faith… have enough faith to pray for more.

012917 - Romans 7a - Till Death Do Us Part
Clean
January 30, 2017 06:36 PM PST
itunes pic

Romans 7:1-3 (Including a special message about church missions and benevolence) Pastor Scott Keller.

All pastors have people who suggest they do things a different way or tweak, if not outright change some bit of doctrine they hold.

The difference between my pastor friends and me, is that I have to actively engage in discussing, rethinking and either changing or justifying our approach here… My friends, on the other hand, simply say, we’re Baptists, we’re Presbyterians, we’re Lutherans. That’s how our denomination does it or that’s our denominational doctrine… End of conversation.

Not only, are we far freer in the way we can do things, our methods and beliefs are also far less public… Far less well known. Where denominations have existed for many decades or centuries and have all kinds of books, articles and internet content describing their practices and belief… we have very little to describe ours.

That’s the reason I wanted to talk with you today about a practice in our church… I want everyone to be well informed and understand the reasons we do what we do.

I will tell you that no one at Alêtheia thinks we have cornered the market on perfection. We are honestly, humbly and prayerfully, doing our best to seek God’s Will in all things and follow it regardless of where He leads.

The positive side for Alêtheia, is we are free to sample the best scholarship and experience from all denominations and be fully committed to what the Bible directs without an allegiance to an established institutional doctrine.

Another good thing is the ability to rethink policy and doctrine and change if that’s warranted.

All of that makes it more difficult for me as a pastor and for your Elders (who try to keep me on an even keel). We can’t just look it up in the SOP’s or regulations… We can’t just call our supervising bishop.

That can lead to a sense that it’s just Scott’s opinion or it’s just the Elders of our church making it up as they go. We all know these imperfect guys. we all know well. Why would we think their decisions are any better than ours?

That actually makes it more difficult for you as a member of a non-denominational church as well. You have to work harder to understand what’s going on and why. Plus, you have to work harder to come to a peace about Alêtheia’s leadership.

So, I wanted to give you some information about the church that you may not know. It’s an informational meeting and maybe we can have others on various topics in the future. Today we’ll talk about the support Alêtheia gives to others.

From our inception, through prayerful planning meetings in late 2003, it was decided that we as a local church would give a tithe – 10% of our gross income to be given away. Funds the church would not spend directly to support itself as a church.

The idea was based on two principles. The first was a desire to actively recognize that any and all funds belonged to God once they were given… So, there was a humble desire to trust Him enough to commit to sharing what we received with others.

There is no Biblical mandate to do that and neither is there any Biblical mandate not to do that, but “It seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit” to be generous and trust that there would be enough beyond that to maintain the church.

Remember, every cent that enables Alêtheia to function comes from you… we don’t get money from any other source. We believe God moves you to give. Put another way, we trust God to do what He wants for Alêtheia with 90% of what He has you give.

For the first year, we took in so little money, that I was hardly paid, and if you think about it, that 10% we gave away, could have gone to my family. I personally had to trust that God would provide… And, my friends, He has!

God is so good – we have been so blessed – and a few of us who have been around since the early days believe that God’s faithfulness to Alêtheia was due, in part, to that trust demonstrated by sharing our financial wealth, even when we had no financial wealth.

The second reason was the reality that we were establishing an independent, non-affiliated, non-denominational, local, church group.

Affiliated local churches give to their affiliation in support of other ministries. As an example, Easthaven, a Southern Baptist Church, gives a percentage of its income to the SBC supporting Baptist Missions as well as other Baptist ministries and endeavors as well as also giving to support some other local ministries.

Mega churches or denominational churches, send out their own foreign and home missionaries as well as establishing other ministries to which each individual church in the fold gives.

We did not have such affiliations, nor did we have the resources to have our own missionaries and outside ministries.

The Bible shows us that, from the beginning, the church sent out and supported missions… and it also shows that churches supported other Christians individually as widows, orphans and the sick as well as for entire communities such as the Jerusalem relief effort. (Luke 10:1ff, Acts 13:1ff, Philippians 4:15ff. Then, Acts 6:1ff, James 1:27. Then, Matthew 25:41ff. Then Acts 11:29&30, Romans 15:26&27). It was money spent on Missions and Charity.

As soon as Christianity began to flourish the church established hospitals, orphanages, homes for battered women and widows, as well as institutions for higher learning. Nearly every hospital, orphanage and college in Early Europe and America was started by churches.

The idea was to use the combined resources of Christian people in an organized way to be Christ in the world – to demonstrate His love to the lost as we cared for our own and then were generous towards others and even blessed our enemies.

As you probably know, for nearly 300 years Christians were persecuted and murdered by the Romans. Then in 313, Constantine legalized Christianity and so began a dramatic shift. Each succeeding Emperor advanced the Christian cause until Julian came to power in 360.

He was a philosopher and tried desperately to reverse the trend and reestablish the old Roman God’s combined with a Greek philosophical understanding called Neoplatonism.

The Emperor Julian venting his frustration at his abysmal failure to eliminate Christianity said, “Why do we not observe that it is their benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead, and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism (Christianity). For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Christians support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”

We know, that the church from the time of the Apostles sent out missionaries with financial support and gave benevolence or charity to their own poor and very quickly expanded that to include all the needy they were able to help… We know that those efforts brought many converts to Christianity and it’s been going on for two millennia.

Jesus said, Luke 6:35, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”

Naysayers will quickly point out that Jesus is talking to individuals, not the church.

First of all, the church did not yet exist when Jesus said that… But, perhaps more to the point, what is the church, if not a collection of individuals? Of course, the church is to teach individual Christians their responsibility to others, BUT how much better when the church also demonstrates the principle?

How much more can we do when we ALSO work together, pooling our resources?

I have repeatedly heard that the church giving to other ministries is not explicitly authorized in the Bible. While that point is debatable, even if it were true, most of what the church, and we as individual Christians, do… is not Biblical.

The Bible isn’t a handbook on how to do church… Nowhere does it give us detailed instruction on the governance of the church – the order of service – the type of music to use – the exact specifications of the building – the arrangement of the furniture – the attire for the pastor or any number of other things.

IF God wanted to get specific He can… just read Leviticus and Numbers… The Bible, as I have said so frequently, is not a rulebook - it’s a relation-book.

We are nowhere mandated to give any amount of money to any other ministry or charity… we can selfishly keep it all to ourselves and arrogantly say we are the only ministry worthy of our funds…

OR, we can take a chance and do our best to be generous in our support of others who are also IMPERFECTLY trying be Christ in the world and to demonstrate His love to the lost.

We have given and intend to continue giving roughly 10% of our annual budget to do just that…

It comes in two general categories… Missions and Charity. That money is all, 100%, about spreading the Gospel beyond our doors! That is the goal in every penny spent… directly or indirectly.

So, it can be supporting foreign missionaries, it can be supporting missionaries in the United States, it can be supporting other ministries that show Christian care and concern to the lost and it can be our own efforts in getting God’s Message beyond our walls, which includes helping our own people when they are in need.

10%... prayerfully and carefully determined by your Elders, as God’s appointed leaders, of this small, independent, non-affiliated, non-denominational, local church.

Not everyone will agree on the amount, not everyone will agree on the ministries chosen… My friends, my dear friends, you either need to accept those decisions or you need to recognize that you do not trust me as your pastor, and find a pastor, you do.

Here’s where the 2017 estimated $18,000-dollar tithe money goes…

1) Benevolence Fund. Almost 17% of the total for $3,000 this year. This is solely to care for people in our church. Charity begins at home and we show the world we are full of God’s love by taking care of our own people in need, first.

2) Hope Pregnancy Ministries $100 per month. They are actively trying to prevent murder and through that trying to show the community the sanctity of human life from God’s perspective. They actively discuss Christianity with their clients wherever it is appropriate.

3) Neighbors in Need $200 per month. This is a group established by the KMA, the Kalispell Ministerial Association to unify efforts to aid the homeless. I’m currently the President of KMA and a Board Member of Neighbors in Need.
It is, by charter, a last resort to keep people alive. When available they provide motel rooms for homeless single moms and when unavailable, gas vouchers so they and their children can stay warm in their car through the night.
They hand out sleeping bags, tents, coats and food. They are building a day center where the homeless can find some respite from the elements. The center will have a chapel staffed by a Christian volunteer.

4) Lighthouse Christian Home $200 per month. What kind of church would we be if we didn’t support our closest neighbors?
It is a Christian home full of Christian people. Anyone in this church is completely welcome to visit the home (ask me, Yvonne, Carole). Go visit them and then tell me it is not worthy of our support.

5) Shawn & Katie Xxxxx, missionaries to Turkey $200 per month. Shawn is an addictions counselor and through that will have opportunity to share the Gospel with Muslim Turks.

6) Josh & Sarah Snodgrass, music evangelists $200 per month.

7) Zach & Carrie Wolfe, missionary staff for placing missionaries, $100 per month.

8) Fund for new opportunities through the year $1200 for 2017. Just as implied, this allows us to give to other ministries during the year.

9) Vacation Bible School $500 for 2017. This is to put on a Vacation Bible School this summer for our own kids, BUT also for reaching into our community and providing Christian education to kids who may have never had it before.

10) Media outreach $400 for 2017. This is to promulgate and promote online sermons for our own people, BUT primarily to reach the unchurched and unsaved.

11) Care Portal $100 per month. We are the first church in the northwest portion of the United States to join this program. This is merely a way to offer members of the church the opportunity to help keep families together… if you wish to help.

Absolutely nothing is required. Emails will be sent to you from Rob, who is our administrator, and you either respond back that you can help or ignore the email… period.

Our church already responded to a request that prevented a local family from being torn apart and their kids put into the system last month… Because of what a few people in our church did, that family was able to stay together for Christmas and Montana ended the year with 3 less kids looking for a foster home.

Rob and I, will give you all the details and training you need next Sunday at 9:45.

That’s what we’re doing… NOT as a church institution, BUT as a group of Christian people working together, trusting God and our leaders to impact our world.

I truly hope each of you can find it in your heart to accept that direction from me as your pastor.

Now for a very short sermon opening chapter 7…

Last week we finished chapter 6. Prior to that we saw that when we take the Bible alone, we find that Eternal Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone.

People back then, just as today, got nervous… It must be about me… somehow. I must be, at least partially, responsible for my own salvation.

How can I be the hero in my own story IF God has done it all? How can I make other people behave? How can I motivate myself to behave?

Chapter 6 showed that the free-gift of Salvation transforms the recipient… Christians are a new creation in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, slaves to God the Father and His purposes.

We are under Grace, not under Law, and that fact, compels us to desire true holiness, not lawlessness.

That leads us into an even more difficult and controversial chapter…

ROMANS 7:1-3 ~ 1Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

Paul starts off with a transition phrase, followed by a rhetorical question and a parenthetical remark. All of that tells us that this is the correct place for a chapter division.

Yes, we’re still in the flow from chapter 6, BUT here Paul steps back and more carefully addresses an issue brought up there.

The last half of chapter 6, was a fine explanation of the Law for newbie Gentile Christians, BUT it would not suffice for those enamored with the Old Testament Law.

Here, he addresses those concerns in more detail. Honestly, the non-Jew, relatively ignorant of the Old Testament, new convert to Christ, could skip chapter 7, and simply move on.

We can’t do that because most of us know far more about the Old Testament than the Gentiles of long ago… plus, if we can understand the argument in 7, we will gain tremendous insight into the deeper things of God.

The Apostle Peter in his 2nd Epistle, chapter 3, talks about Christian perseverance and the necessity of Christians to “Be diligent to be found by (Jesus, when He returns) in peace, spotless and blameless.”

Peter then says in verse 15&16, that his teaching is “Just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

Peter finishes in verses 17&18, “Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:14–18).

We can glean a lot from those few verses… Peter is acknowledging that both his teaching and Paul’s are the same even IF, Paul gives more depth, that can be difficult to grasp, and easier for people with evil motives to distort.

Peter makes it clear that Paul’s letters are Scripture and implies that they can be understood and then concludes by saying Christians must grow in their “Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

Well, we will use the “Difficult to grasp” Scripture written by Paul, to grow in our “Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

So, for all who are familiar with Mosaic Law, both Jew and Gentile, you must agree with the plain and simple fact that the Law has no jurisdiction over a dead person.

This was a commonsense axiom in Judaism often cited by the great Rabbis.

Paul gives an analogy to drive home his point… It’s an analogy, NOT a teaching on marriage!

It is very easy to understand the example and therefore the principle Paul is teaching… The Law applies to the living, NOT the dead.

He could have used an example of a legal contract in which a person promises to do something… If the person dies, they are released from the promise.

The other day, in fact it was on Christmas Day, I used an analogy in a sermon that didn’t perfectly fit my point.

It worked, it helped everyone understand better, BUT if anyone closely examined my analogy, they would have seen that it didn’t match up in the details.

I wasn’t telling a story to tell a story… I didn’t care about the story or the discussions the story itself could spark… I was only interested in everyone getting a better grasp on what I was talking about.

This analogy in verse 2 and the implications in verse 3, have caused a lot of weird speculation… As I say, Paul’s not talking about marriage, adultery and remarriage. This is an analogy to drive the point that everyone should readily recognize as true… Death cancels contracts.

This is just an example to show that the Law is the Law until death changes the relationship.

Beyond erroneously using this as a teaching on marriage, the other problem is extending the analogy far beyond what was intended.

We have folks who say the husband is the Law and the wife is the Christian. BUT the Law doesn’t die. Others say the Husband stands for the “Old fleshly self” and the wife for the “Born again self.” Ridiculous. There are other, even less satisfying schemes.

Here’s the deal. Paul cannot use a better analogy because he’s describing a person who has died, but still lives.

What he intends us to understand is that the dead dude no longer has a legal relationship with his wife… I’m only talking, as Paul did, legally. For anyone who has lost a husband there is still obviously a close connection and for Christians, there will be a joyous reunion in heaven someday… although no longer as husband and wife.

What Paul is saying is the husband is not tied to his wife as her husband anymore because he has died.

Here’s where people get confused… The proof that it is true that his death has freed him as a husband is that his still living wife is free to marry another man without being an adulteress.

What have we learned? In the first half of chapter 6, we saw that we Christians have died with Christ and so are released from enslavement to our old master and owner… Sin.

Death cancels contracts – death cancels ownership… A slave is free, when he dies.

Likewise, here in chapter 7, Christians are dead to the requirements of the Law. Once a person has died they are no longer under any obligation to the Law.

What are the implications of that Truth? Next time.

012217 - Romans 6d - Whom Do You Serve
Clean
January 23, 2017 05:29 PM PST
itunes pic

Romans 6:14-23, Pastor Scott Keller

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE SUNDAY
We, as a society, have become experts at spin. When you don’t like the facts, spin them until everyone is talking about something else.

Our Tweeter-in-Chief, uses that medium to change the subject and deflect all attacks by putting his detractors on defense.

Get them talking about something else… It’s what the “Woman at the well” tried to do to Jesus 2,000 years ago. It’s still the primary tactic of people resisting the Truth today.

Sanctity of human life is not about taking away freedom or taking away choice. It’s not about interfering with women’s rights or jeopardizing women’s health.

Sanctity of human life is about protecting and preserving human life… period!

How can we do that? What role can you play? Can you adopt a baby? Can you mentor a young person? Can you volunteer at Hope? Can you give a check?

Bottom line – can you be Christ in our community and demonstrate the reality that God creates and loves every human life?

The solution to the problem is getting people to see the love of God poured out through Jesus Christ our Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Last week we finished the big overview of the concepts Paul teaches through chapter 6 and began a more detailed look at each verse.

In the section, I talked about verb moods as a way to see a logical flow to the argument. So often the Bible uses this same flow. A 1subject is broached, 2facts are given, followed by a 3command to act on those facts and then 4closing with a summary statement.

If you’ll remember, Verses 1-14 functioned that way with the end of verse 14 transitioning into the next closely related section taking us to the end of the chapter.

Romans 6:14 ~ For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

The bottom line for the first 14 verses… Your former master, the vile entity named Sin, SHALL NOT be your master any longer.

Paul thoroughly explained the reason, and in the second half of verse 14 gives the reason in a little different way.

You, Christian person, are NOT under Law, BUT rather you are under grace.

When a person is under Law – they must perform in order to be justified and everyone falls short.

No one is justified under the Law as we’ve already seen throughout Romans, but succinctly in Romans 3:20, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.”

And as it says plainly in Galatians 2:16, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” Galatians 3:11&12 state, the fact that “No one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, ‘THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.’ However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, ‘HE WHO PRACTICES THE Law SHALL LIVE BY THE Law.’”

Being under the Law and being under grace are two completely different things – the first is trusting in your performance and the second is by trusting in God’s free gift.

The point is that under the Law we only recognize how much we need a Savior and realize that our Savior must be God Himself.

That’s where the faith comes in – it is a faith in God’s Salvation – His free-gift of mercy and forgiveness called grace.

That fact opens another line of attack… So, we start again…

Romans 6:15 ~ What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

The attack is presented, as before, with a rhetorical question, that again, in Greek, can only be answered one way.

It’s difficult to convey in English because it is posed as a question, BUT the question functions as a statement.

Because Paul follows the question with his famous, “Are you crazy?” μὴ γένοιτο (mā gĕ-noi-tŏ), the “May it never be!” thing, English translators can just leave it as a question and it’s okay. The answer is in the text.

I just want you to realize that the negation of the idea is doubly strong in Greek – it is emphatically NO! just in the formation of the question and then that adds dramatically, to the, no way, no how, in his answer.

Paul’s saying it’s INCONCEIVABLE to sin because we’re under grace and he will explain.

Before the issue was, if we sin more, God’s love, mercy and grace must increase to cover more and so, He’s more glorified in the process.

Here, the issue is, if we are covered by God’s free-gift of grace, sin no longer matters at all. Not only is it inconsequential if we sin, it’s irrelevant how much we sin, because in all cases, we’re already forgiven under grace.

The first issue was about sin increasing grace – here it’s about sin being immaterial – not in any way germane to the situation.

You may ask what the Germans have to with it – normally I’d say nothing (it’s a movie reference if your lost), but much of the modern assault on Christian morality can actually be traced to 18th&19th century Germany.

In any event, God through Paul will have nothing to do with such a notion. Jesus saved us FROM sin, not TO sin. So…

Romans 6:16 ~ Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

Yes, he frames his response as another rhetorical question with only one possible answer… Of course, you know, that you are the slave of whomever you obey.

That’s obvious – everyone knows that you can easily determine who a slave belongs to by who the slave obeys.

Obedience is used 3 times in this verse and again in the next verse… It is the verb, ὑπακούω (hü-pä-kü-ō), or noun, ὑπακοή (hü-pä-kŏ-ā). It’s 2 words shoved together. The first bit is ὑπό (hü-pŏ), meaning under, as in under the control of… and the verb ἀκούω (ä-kü-ō) meaning to listen or the noun ἀκοή (ä-kŏ-ā), meaning the content of what you listened to – the information you heard.

It is a dual-concept of 1carefully listening to and hearing what is said and 2then acting on that instruction and so obedience.

I bring it up because obedience to God starts with an intention to listen and hear – in other words, to correctly grasp what God’s commanding.

This is really important because a lot of people think they’re obeying, BUT they have misunderstood the orders.

Proper obedience only comes from submitting ourselves under the authority of the actual instruction.

If we get the listening part wrong, there’s really no hope of obeying… we might very well be working ourselves to the bone trying to obey, BUT it’s the wrong command in the first place.

The better you know the one giving the commands the more accurately you can understand the commands He gives.

You and your spouse go out for dinner and leave your oldest in charge… You say, “No sugar while we’re gone.” You kid knows whether you mean literally don’t eat raw sugar, or don’t eat anything with sugar as a main ingredient, or take all the sugar in the house and throw it away.

The better we know God and His character the better we can discern what His commands mean.

One reason we disobey is because we’re ignorant… Well here’s how we can be better informed – we can work to know the Boss better.

Another reason is that we are distracted or lazy – our lack of focus speaks of a lack of concern and so learning the importance of obedience we become more deliberate. That’s part of intentional listening.

That is to listen attentively, ask questions, work to understand and confirm your comprehension of the instruction.

Beyond the careful listening is the subjecting, surrendering, submitting yourself under the instruction. The committing yourself to acting in accordance with it.

That’s the third reason we disobey and really the underlying reason for the first two… A lack of FAITH. Trust God with your surrender to His plans and purposes.

Back to the word for obedience… the problem posed by the word is Christians disobey God because of a breakdown in the listening process and therefore a submission to the wrong directive and a march in the wrong direction.

How often Christians march in the wrong direction because they have misunderstood the command because they have NOT listened. There is far too much ASSUMING and far too little listening in Christianity.

Notice that when we’re building something it is vital to do it carefully and in the proper order – you can’t build a roof before you put up the walls and you can’t do that until you lay a foundation.

When we’re destroying something it’s far less important to get the steps right.

So, we can obey Sin without the need for careful understanding – it’s destruction and orderliness is unnecessary. So, obeying Sin is easier.

In addition, Sin speaks our native language – Sin is easy to understand because he tells us what we want to hear.

I say all that to simply encourage you to listen to the Lord and conform to what He says… that’s obedience.

Then you can see, once again, the when it comes to Christianity there are 2, and only 2, possible camps. You are either a slave of Sin OR you are a slave of God.

Again, I’m often accused of being a black and white guy… It’s not true, BUT God is… God’s Message to humanity clearly, unmistakably and frequently insists that there are only 2 possible positions. You are either a Christian headed to Heaven or you are a Heathen headed to “The outer darkness,” where, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I know it’s not popular today to say it has to be one way or the other – we love to blur the lines… Years ago, people could say your either male or female… well not anymore… I’m not trying to be obstinate or divisive or upset anyone’s sensibilities – I am, once again, simply explaining what the Bible actually says. If it’s upsetting, please take it up with the Author.

That brings us to the next interesting point. It says here the choice is between being a slave to Sin, which results in death… OR being a slave to Obedience, which results in Righteousness.

If we were to balance the contrast logically we would say, Sin equals death and so the opposite side of the equation should be that Righteousness equals life… BUT that’s not what it says.

Again, in this chapter, Sin is personified as a powerful entity or force, as is Death… We should consider Obedience and Righteousness in the same way.

We surrender to Sin and obey what he commands and he pays us our wages for our faithful work in his operation… we are paid in the currency of eternal bondage to Death.

Not just physical death, but continued eternal death who will ultimately, and forever, take Sin’s place as our master.

The only other way to go is to surrender to Obedience… It’s NOT surrender to Righteousness, BUT to Obedience.

Obedience… Here again, it’s vital to know Who God is and what God wants. So many folks get bogged down in creating a list of things to do, things to avoid, BUT God – who IS unconditional love commands us to unconditionally love Him and to unconditionally love others as though we were standing in their shoes.

We can only obey those 2 commands with the unconditional love that comes from God, is poured out into our heart and is then splashed out of us, getting on God and everyone else around us.

To get that love, a person must be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be filled a person must accept God’s plan of salvation as He has presented it and to be that Christian person you must have faith.

The true obedience here is faith in God.

Does our faith that allows God to work in us and conform us to His standard of love give us life?

No, not directly.

It results in Righteousness, not life. The Bible repeatedly states that the righteous shall live by faith and that faith is credited as righteousness.

We have faith enough to believe and faith enough to obey and our faith, not our work, is credited to us, by God, as righteousness.

Paul uses the equation he does to make it clear that when we serve Sin, he pays us what he owes us for our labor…

But when we obey through faith God gives us the gift of righteousness that leads to His gift of eternal life… we have earned nothing… it is a free-gift of grace.

Finally, I said choice. It is abundantly clear that each human chooses to either serve Sin as it’s slave or to obey God as His slave to Righteousness by faith.

One more word on that topic… Before, I said it was far easier to obey Sin because it’s not important to get clear instructions and because Sin is speaking our language.

And then the third reason, because Sin tells us what we want to hear. Sometimes we get the idea that IF a person is a slave to Sin they have no other choice than to obey him.

Not true. In a movie, the hero is brought to a warlord who tells him to join him or die… One of the bad guys leans in and says, “You have no choice.” To which, the hero says, “There’s always a choice.”

Sin offers those enslaved to him a choice, that seems like there’s no choice… BUT Biblically, there is one… As Joshua said, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). On Judgment Day – no one will have an excuse.

Romans 6:17&18 ~ 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Just to confirm what we were talking about, Paul breaks into praise and thanksgiving.

Paul says, “Thanks be to you awesome Romans who get it and have become such good people – I praise you for your hard work doing so many wonderful things and for avoiding the bad things… Way to go, kudos, each of you will be receiving a plaque accompanied with my heartiest congratulations!”

Who gets the thanks? “Thanks be to God.” If the Romans or the Alêtheians did something great, why praise God? Unless of course, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

The default position for humans is the “Slave to Sin” position. God grants freedom from that master by buying us with His own blood to then be slaves to Him.

Because of that we became, “Obedient from the heart.” That is a genuine, to your core, obedience… a full listening and surrender to the instruction to Love and it is only possible through faith…

How did the faith arise? The teaching.

You cannot have faith in what you’ve never heard. God orchestrates things so you can hear His Message and He gives the requisite faith to accept… The choice to switch camps or positions is possible.

The teaching is NOT Paul’s theology as opposed to someone else’s theology – Paul didn’t establish the Christian Community in Rome.

Now here’s something very cool…

The teaching is God’s Gospel Message. It says, παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς (pä-ȑĕ-dō-thā-tĕ tü-pŏn dē-dä-ĉḥās). I say it because it means something very different than we assume from English.

It is NOT the teaching we have embraced… It is the teaching that has embraced us.

The Gospel takes ahold of people and transforms them, NOT the other way around.

Verse 18, puts a bow on the argument – Every human being will either obey Sin as his slave or they will, through faith, change masters and become slaves to Righteousness.

Romans 6:19 ~ I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Contrary to modern opinion, Paul is not apologizing for using the slavery analogy… Slavery in his time was ubiquitous and made for an excellent example to drive home a better understanding of a spiritual reality, even though we recognize the vile nature of slavery.

Paul is NOT talking about human slavery here… that’s NOT the topic… He’s using slavery as way to help people grasp his actual point.

So, what Paul’s “Apology” here is about the fact that ALL analogies are imperfect. ALL analogies can be taken too far or taken the wrong way.

Slavery, as evil as it is, makes a very good analogy to help us understand a spiritual Truth. What Paul laments, is the need to use an analogy at all.

It is our human condition that makes us spiritually ignorant and necessitates stories, analogies and metaphors to help us understand… BUT we must be careful with them.

He then goes on to restate the analogy, extend it and turn it into a command… What he means is that as a person serves as a soldier in the army of God’s enemy they are by definition lawless.

God is the Lawgiver and a failure to obey is an obedience to sin which is defined as lawlessness.

That lawlessness builds upon itself producing ever-increasing lawlessness, BUT also a lawlessness for lawlessness’s sake… a disobedience of God – a faithlessness that serves disobedience and faithlessness making it stronger.

Conversely, we are commanded to, “Now present your members as slaves to righteousness.”

Confirming his use of slavery as an analogy… where he previously said, present “Your members as weapons of Righteousness” in verse 13. Here he now says, “Present your members – your body parts – as slaves to Righteousness.”

Actively use your body parts as weapons in service to God rather than against Him… As you do, you prove that you are slaves of faith, slaves of obedience, “Slaves to Righteousness” and like “Lawlessness,” “Righteousness” also builds upon itself producing ever-increasing “Righteousness,” ever increasing FAITH that IS Righteousness.

Also, like before, it also produces righteousness for the sake of itself – specifically for the sake of holiness.

That’s what “Resulting in sanctification” at the end of the verse means… Sanctification is holiness… we ARE holy and as we serve God through faith resulting in righteousness we are conformed more and more to holiness.

Remember that holy means to be set apart for God and His purposes. The more we get it as our faith grows the more we accept and embrace the love poured out into us and the more we become “Aliens and strangers” in this world and “Fellow citizens… of God’s household.” (I Peter 2:11, Ephesians 2:19).

That’s the definition of being holy. As a Christian you have been set apart – you are holy… the command is to act like it.

Romans 6:20-23 ~ 20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here Paul closes out the section by laying it all out again and finishing it off with verse 23, bluntly proclaiming the Truth he’s been trying to articulate for the whole chapter…

The person enslaved to Sin receives, as wages paid, their well-deserved reward of eternal enslavement to Death.

On the other hand, the person who accepts the free gift of completely unearned grace offered by God is granted “Eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Without sanctification – holiness – righteousness – faith – “No one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

Paul is not switching gears or hedging his bet… He’s not now saying you must shuck and jive to get to heaven… For anyone paying attention it should be painfully obvious that he’s saying the person who still serves as a slave to Sin, is NOT a Christian.

The master you consistently serve proves who you master truly is… And therefore, who you truly are.

My dear Christian – RECOGNIZE that your master is God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit – SERVE Him – SERVE now!

Next Page