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091717 - Genesis Review 2 - Chapters 1 and 2
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September 18, 2017 08:10 AM PDT
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Genesis Chapters 1 and 2, Pastor Scott Keller

GENESIS 2:2&3 ~ 2By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

God “Declared it holy,” וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ (vī-qä-dĕsh). A day set aside for God’s purposes.

“Rested,” is שָׁבַת (shä-văt), in English, __________________________.

Exodus 20:8-11, John 5:17

In verse four, we have the first use of God’s covenantal name, יַהְוֶה (yăh-wĕh). Yahweh meaning pure _____________________ and therefore the source of everything else… “Life-giver,” or “Creator.”
Whenever Jews saw the name Yahweh, they would say, אֲדֹנָי (ă-dō-nī), meaning Lord, instead. Following the Jewish lead, English translators use the word “LORD” (small caps), instead of Yahweh.

GENESIS 2:7 ~ Then the LORD God (Yahweh Elohim) formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

The word “Formed,” is, יָצַר (yä-tsăȑ), itself a word indicating intimate personal artistic attention. The Hebrew word for _____________________, יוֹצֵר (yō-tsĕȑ), derives from it…

God breathed His Breath, His Spirit, into the man.

Job 34:14&15

GENESIS 2:18-25 ~ 18Then the Lord God said, “It is NOT GOOD for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” …
21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The idea of “Helper” is misunderstood. She was to be a counterpart that ___________________________ him in every way.

God does not fashion woman from the dust… Why?

Adam proclaimed… this is אִשָּׁה (ē-shä), taken from אִישׁ (ēsh).

Jesus quoted this passage in his ______________________ of marriage. He added the injunction, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Mark 10:6-9 & Matthew 19:3-9).

Hebrews 13:4, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18&19, etc.

Jesus told the people to count the _____________ (Luke 14:25-35). Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must say no to himself. He must pick up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

Every issue comes down to a simple concept… Will you submit to the __________________________ of Jesus Christ?

If we will accept the Truth that God made us male and female, completely equal in value and different in function… then, while it may not be easy, we have a _____________ basis for right relationship in marriage and beyond.

GENESIS 2:16&17 ~ 16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Satan knew precisely what God said, but in talking with Eve in chapter 3, he mischaracterized God by carefully ___________________ His Words.

1) Eve subtracted from God’s Word…

2) Eve added to God’s Word…

Deuteronomy 4:2

Eve said Elohim, not Yahweh, or even Adonai.

GENESIS 3:4-6 ~ 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

None of us is completely satisfied with everything around us. We wish things were different and if we had the power, we would change things.
That ____________________ is the seed that births rebellion against God.

091017 - Genesis Review 1 - Chapter 1
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September 18, 2017 07:29 AM PDT
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Genesis Chapter 1, Pastor Scott Keller

1) The Old Testament must be ______________________ Christologically.

2) The Bible was established and has been __________________ by God.

GENESIS 1:1-3a ~ 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3aAnd God said…

“In the beginning,” is really, “In beginning,” without the word “__________.”

“God created.” The Hebrew word בָּרָא (bä-ȑä), is used exclusively for the activity of God. It is creation from __________________.

Colossians 1:16&17

E=MC2 is really about a matter-energy equivalence. Imagine the ____________________ required to speak the universe into existence. And we question God?”

Isaiah 45:9, Romans 9:20

Why would God expend the energy necessary for creation? The only possible explanation is to offer __________________________ to others.

God is existent. It is impossible for Him to be other than what He is and that means that God ______________________. He is pure being. As He, Himself, said, I AM, that which I AM.

The Bible is a Theocentric revelation (__________________), told as a geocentric story (____________________), because it is an anthropocentric message (____________________).

PSALM 19:1 ~ The heavens proclaim the glory of God; and their expanse declares the work of His hands. ROMANS 1:20 ~ Since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that humans are without excuse.”

Every person is completely without any defense on judgment day, because the _________________________ for God is obvious.

We see God’s creative Will, His _____________ Word and the Spirit of God – all three referenced in the first three verses.

Psalm 33:6

There is a _____________ starting in verse 3 and ending in verse 31. It is six elements, each starting with וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים (vī-yō-mĕȑ ĕ-lō-hēm), “God said.” Each of the six segments finish with the refrain… “There was evening and there was morning, day 1, day 2, day 3, etc.”

GENESIS 1:26&27 ~ 26God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God specially created humankind in _______ _______ image… The Imago Dei, צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים (tsĕ-lĕm, ĕ-lō-hēm).

1) Image has to do with authority…

2) Image is tied to procreation and specifically sonship…

Genesis 5:1-3

3) Image goes back to that internal dialogue within the Godhead…

God, a relational Being, specially created us to be _____________ beings.

Real relationship requires choice – without freedom to reject, relationship is artificial.

090317 - Romans 15e-16 - A Final Word
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September 05, 2017 02:34 PM PDT
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Romans 15:29-16:27, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 15:29-33 ~ 29I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ. 30Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; 32so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. 33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

The translation ignores the Greek word, δέ (dĕ), usually, “But,” “And,” or “Now.” The next two verses make his _______________________ clear.

First, there are zealous ____________ trying to kill him.

Second, the Christian Jews might either _________________ the offering or accept it without any _____________________.

Paul opens verse 30 with, παρακαλέω (pä-ȑä-kä-lĕ-ō)… Because of our submission to the Lordship of ________________________, and because of the _________________ Agapê in each one of us… Join in my fight. It is συναγωνίζομαι (sü-nä-gō-nē-dzŏ-mī)… A military term for an __________.

Note the Trinity in verse 30.

Verse 32, confirms that while Paul was hoping for a unifying outcome and an uplifting visit with the Romans, it was always, God’s ________ be done.

Note the blessing in verse 33, is God’s attribute of ___________________.

ROMANS 16:1&2 ~ 1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

We start with an untranslated, δέ, again. It means this is ______________.

Paul “Commends” Phoebe to the Romans and calls her “Our sister.” That means that she was a Christian woman who was the _________________ of a delegation delivering this original Letter to the Roman Church.

He also calls her a “Servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.” “Servant” is διάκονος (dē-ä-kŏ-nŏs), from which we derive our word Deacon. She was __________ than a “Servant,” but ___________ than a, “Deaconess.”

ROMANS 16:3-16 ~ 3Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. 6Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. 12Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. 14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. 15Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

The Greeting contains names that are Latin, Greek and Hebrew… There are both _________ and Gentile, __________ and female, ___________ and free.

Paul commands them to “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” It was the ultimate expression of acceptance, trust & solidarity. A sign of __________.

ROMANS 16:17-27 ~ 17Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 21Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. 22I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. 24The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

Paul starts verse 17, with παρακαλέω again. I’m begging you to carefully avoid people who are negative. “Accepting one another” is more than actively striving for ___________ - it is also keeping yourself from disunity.

082716 - Romans 15d - Please Your Neighbor 4
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September 05, 2017 01:59 PM PDT
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Romans 15:14-28, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 15:14-21 ~ 14And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. 15But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; 21but as it is written, “They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.”

The passage has two basic parts… First, ___________________________ ________________________________________________________.
Second, _____________________________________________________
________________________________________________________.
Paul is affectionate and puts himself in the _______________ category with the Romans by once again calling them, “My brethren.”

“I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are…” What Paul was saying is, “I am fully convinced that you folks, as a ______________, are…

Paul’s confidence was really in God to effect what was necessary to unify the church. 1) Bring it ________________, 2) guide it through various ____________________ and 3) get everyone who remains connected to the _______________ line.

1) “Full of goodness.” Biblical Goodness is ___ human goodness.

2) “All knowledge.” It’s ___ just knowledge, it is “All knowledge.”

3) “Admonish.” The _________ has the capacity to admonish νουθετέω (nü-thĕ-tĕ-ō), in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again.” Paul wrote them boldly… Period. They may have been familiar with _______________ of his points.

He was apologizing in the sense of ἀπολογία (ä-pŏ-lŏ-gē-ä), to ________________ or ______________ one’s position.

With that understanding, it’s easy to see what Paul does next when he says, “Because of the grace that was given me from God…” This is his _______________, explaining why he felt it appropriate to write to them.

1) He was an _______________ of Christ Jesus, specifically sent to the Gentile world of Asia minor and _________________.

2) His mission is ___________________, which sets up part two of this passage.

Paul could not have made it __________________ that it was God, not him, who was behind his ministry.

His ministry can be ___________________ up as, “The obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed.”

James 2:18-20, II Timothy 3:4&5, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 21:8

The power of the Holy Spirit, is the power to transform human beings into ________________ of God.

“From Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Paul established church _______ of _____________.

ROMANS 15:22-28 ~ 22For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; 23but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you 24whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— 25but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. 26For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. 28Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain.

For the reason, that he just gave in the preceding verses.

I Corinthians 3:1-3

082017 - Romans 15c - Please Your Neighbor 3
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September 05, 2017 11:46 AM PDT
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Last week I said, Christians who don’t get church… Don’t get Christianity.

We live in a time and place where we loathe commitments of any kind… Just getting people to RSVP to a dinner is like pulling teeth.

While we may hate commitments - God is big on it. In fact, God sees it as having integrity, as keeping your word, as having honorable character.

SLIDE: JESUS FOOTWASHING, AN EXAMPLE ~
When we do keep our commitments, and remain involved in our local church He gets the glory, because it is, after all, Jesus, not our ability to agree on every detail, that binds us together as His disciples.

Our part, is to decide that following Jesus is more important than anything else… and then live our life that way.

We then go from a human organization held together my mutually shared beliefs to a family with a variety of beliefs that are all subsumed under obedience to Christ Jesus our Lord.

What it means is that instead of getting along because we are all the same - we get along because Jesus is the same.

Now I can have respect, love and acceptance for my brother or sister in Christ, not because they agree with me on everything, BUT because they agree with me on the ONE thing.

7Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. 8For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, “Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Your name.” 10Again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” 11And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.” 12Again Isaiah says, “There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope.” 13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I think it would be obvious that this section goes together with our last section even if it didn’t start with a “Therefore.”

In fact, this section is almost a restatement of the last one… BUT it is more than that, it is also the summary of the entire Letter to the Romans.

Paul employs a number of excellent Greco-Roman rhetorical techniques to tie the whole Book together.

Since that’s the case, let me remind you of the original situation 2,000 years ago.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christian community, at large, in the sprawling metropolitan city of Rome. It was, of course, the capital of the most powerful empire that had ever existed up to that point in human history.

Rome had a population of over 1 million people at the time… A city size that would not exist again for another 15 centuries.

The Emperor Claudius, who had succeeded his infamous nephew Caligula, had just died… probably poisoned by his wife Agrippina the Younger.

Now, Agrippina’s son Nero, Claudius’s adopted son, was Emperor.

Perhaps even more notorious than his predecessors, the Emperor Nero who “Fiddled while Rome burned,” ultimately committed suicide after he had gone so far that the Roman Senate declared him public enemy of the State.

But, at the time Paul wrote, Nero was still early in his reign… he had not yet murdered his mother and gone completely insane and so Rome was enjoying a few years of relative stability.

Saying the church in Rome, is like saying the church in Seattle. There were many groups, gathering in a variety of places, each with some differences in belief and practice and all thinking they were doing church better than the rest.

The common denominator was, of course, salvation in Christ. And although differences existed there were some things that were standard practice among them all.

Each group gathered on Sundays in commemoration of the Resurrection, they prayed together, sang praise and worship songs as a group and took up an offering.

Someone who was educated would then read aloud some portion of Scripture or some other Christian writing and then they would expound on what they had read in what was a combination of preaching and teaching.

There was also time for fellowship and sharing, testimony and mutual encouragement, but the highlight of the whole service was… Holy Communion.

It was such a big part of the church service that it eventually became cultishly ritualistic, taking on a magical quality in later centuries that was never intended by the Lord.

That’s the reason we don’t celebrate Communion every Sunday…

Anyway, back then, Communion was a big deal and the part of the service everyone looked forward to the most.

It was very much like a potluck meal we have shared here in this church hundreds of times.

Back then, the service was typically held in a wealthy person’s home or place of business or in a room that was rented, again by a wealthy person or persons within the group.

Bottom line, the wealthy people were the ones making it happen, and in Rome they were, at the writing of this Letter, predominately, Gentiles. They and their friends were “Strong in faith,” in the sense that they had the power and influence to make things the way they wanted them to be in the “Faith.”

They would bring large quantities of excellent food and the “Weaker in faith,” i.e. the poorer, less influential, minority members, largely Jewish Christians newly returned to the city, would bring little or no food.

In Corinth, the issue was the wealthy were not sharing their food and so were stuffing themselves while the rest of their “Brothers and Sisters” hungrily watched.

Here, the issue was sort of the opposite. The wealthy insisted on everyone sharing even though the conscience of some - especially Jewish Christians, with concerns over dietary laws, wouldn’t allow it.

It’s sort of like, you are convinced that drinking coke is a sin and I provide only coke to drink at our church service… You believe eating pork is a sin and I insist you share my honey baked ham. Back then it was a bigger deal, but you get the idea.

Communion is the most important and obvious example of Christianity. It is a demonstration of the principle Jesus was teaching His disciples in the Upper Room. It is the reason He instituted it for all time.

The vertical connection we have with God, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit becomes horizontal as we obey His command to “Love one another.”

That’s the entire purpose of Holy Communion. It is to drive that point home in a physical display over and over and over again.

Because of His body broken and His blood shed we have fellowship with Almighty God and as God’s children we are filled with His love for each other.

Does God love Miss Nell? If He does, and I have God’s love in me… How could I NOT love her? That’s just an easy example, but it applies to every person for whom Christ Jesus died.

If God loves that person over there, and I say I have God’s love in me, but I don’t love them… Not only does that make no sense, it actually misrepresents God.

Think about that for a moment. You say you are God’s child, filled with His love, but don’t love Bill over there, you are saying, God doesn’t love Bill.

Who are you to speak for God? God has already said He loves Bill so much He sent Jesus… You’re calling God a liar through your lack of love.

Communion in Rome was the most glaring example of the disunity and lack of love among the Roman Christians. It was the tip of the iceberg, they did not agree on a whole host of issues and because there was such diversity of belief and practice there was fighting, bickering and discord in the Body of Christ.

Now, Paul’s mission, as commissioned by Jesus Himself, was to spread the Gospel. It is of course the same commission all Christians have been given.

Paul was just a little more serious about it than most of them then and most of us now.

Paul’s plan, at the time, was to travel from Corinth to Jerusalem for Pentecost and deliver aid to the impoverished Jewish Christians there.

Then his plan was to travel to the Iberian Peninsula, Roman Hispania, modern-day Spain and Portugal, to bring them the Gospel.

To make that work he intended to stop in Rome on his way there to receive support for his mission from the Roman Christian Community.

He couldn’t do that if the Roman Christian Community was in complete disarray due to infighting over things that were meaningless in COMPARISON to Christ Crucified.

How could Paul say to the people in Hispania, accept Jesus as your Savior and you will be filled with an unnatural love for God and for one another as the very Breath of Almighty God floods your heart…

You will be able to obey Jesus as your Lord - His commandment to love one another… It is so beautiful, so wonderful, so supernatural and it’s how you’ll know that you are truly a child of God forevermore.

Oh, don’t mind the Christians in Rome who assisted me in my mission to you… None of it seems to work for them, but I’m sure it will go better with you folks.

Christian disunity destroys our Christian witness. It ruins the Body of Christ and it is a slap in the face of Jesus, who is the Head of that Body.

We drag Christ and Christianity through the mud because we don’t agree on what kind of musical instruments to use, what kind of songs we sing, what kind of bread we break and fruit of the vine we drink, what kind of baptistry we have, what translation of the Bible we read… It is insanity.

Paul was saying, remember Who bought you… We have much bigger fish to fry my friends…

“Therefore,” what we must do is to wholeheartedly “Accept one another,” So that “In one accord, with one voice” we can sing together praising and worshipping “Our great God and Savior.”

It is then, that we act like we recognize that “Christ also accepted us.” It is then, that we proclaim, “The glory of God.”

The result? When we do that, others… and specifically for the original purposes of this Letter, those folks in the Roman region of Hispania, will want to accept Jesus and join our Christian family.

That was God’s purpose in having Paul write this letter and that’s God’s purpose in preserving this Letter for us today… Nothing has changed. We must be unified as Christians loving and accepting one another all of the same mind, all in one accord all proclaiming God’s grace with one voice so that others might turn and be healed.

It seems like it would be so nice if the Holy Spirit would enable every believer to perfectly know and follow the will of God in every minute detail… that the Christian community worldwide would all have identical thinking, speaking and doing. No difference between any of us anywhere…

NO! God created unbelievable diversity in everything… how many types of birds, mammals, fish, insects… How many types of trees, flowers, rocks, bushes… Wild and crazy diversity everywhere and in everything even within a particular sub-species.

Look at us, we have different eye color, hair color, height, shape, skin tone… God creates with a diversity that is truly unbelievable. Even something so mundane as a snowflake is unique and beautiful.

Why then would he make us all identical once we accept Christ? No, what He does is gives us the Holy Spirit power to love, and accept one another in spite of our tremendous differences.

That’s what’s miraculous! IF we Christians could show the world how we can all disagree on a million different things but love and accept each other because we completely agree on Jesus… Then, maybe the world would be able to believe our testimony about the power of God in our life.

As I said, verse 7, starts off with another strong connective to what has come before. When we look at the content of what follows we know that this “Therefore,” is looking back at the whole letter and so it is a summation of what we as a Christian church should take away from the Book of Romans.

This is what we should get from our study…

All the amazing things we’ve discussed through this profound Bible Book and it can be summed up as, “Accept one another.” The entire 11-chapter “Principles of the Faith” section and the whole 4-chapter “Practical Application” section all come down to this… “Accept one another.”

People oftentimes feel like they need to do more to please God. They want more than their church offers. It happens all the time… It has happened to me and I bet it has happened to you.

Once we’re in that place we might let it go, we might find outside interests like Tres Dias or BSF or volunteering at the Pregnancy Center, etc.

Sometimes people try to get their church to offer more, BUT typically it’s too little, too late and so the person desiring more of God is usually disappointed and may move on to find greener pastures.

What you must know, understand and fully implement in your life is the fact that God wants you to remain committed to your church family above all other Christian duties… Because that is what Christianity is all about… “Accepting one another.”

I’ll give you a moment to read… The entirety of what it is to be Christian is frequently summed up with this sentiment… “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8). “Love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans13:8). “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31). “Serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13). “Wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). “Use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace.” (I Peter 4:10). I could go on.

The main thing God wants us to do is the very thing we brush aside as some theoretical idealism - some hypothetical sentimentality…

The reality of our genuinely getting along and the stability of our commitment to one another as brothers and sisters forever… is what testifies to God’s power within us… it is essential that we live as though we take God seriously…

And while, Bible studies are good, and working in the nursery is appreciated and cleaning the church is necessary, those things and all the myriads of other things pale in comparison to getting along through thick and thin over the long haul.

When we do all the things we do because we want to serve one another and make things better, then we are truly serving Jesus and acting like God’s children.

While it is true that we must “Accept” Christians at other churches in our valley and ultimately across the globe… As I said a few weeks ago, it is impossible IF we can’t do it here in this family.

Honestly, IF you can’t get along here… Then to say you can get along anywhere else is a lie.

To think you obey Christ in “Accepting” other Christians, BUT cannot get along with, and remain committed to, your local church family is a delusion sent from hell.

It’s a lie my friends… it is a tragic lie… IF you cannot stay the course with us, you cannot stay the course with anyone, and that means the problem is with you, not the rest of Christianity.

I’m so tired of hearing people tell me that they’ve been to every church in the county and cannot find a single one that is doing it right.

What hubris! First of all, it’s true that no one is doing it perfectly… No human is perfect, and so obviously, no family of humans, is perfect… that’s a given. Second, the real problem isn’t that others are doing it wrong, it’s that they’re not doing it right in your mind.

Who died and made you God? What in the world makes you think you are right and everyone else is wrong? What is it that makes you so special?

Now, I’ve hit upon the real issue. People who are too good to submit to a local church are people who have an overinflated sense of self-worth… They are full of pride.

Since they embrace the consumer mentality they simply take their business to the next church.

I talked extensively about the postmodern ascendancy of the individual above all else and how that mindset becomes ingrained even when we don’t realize it.

My point is that we all need to constantly remind ourselves that God saved us, not because we were so special, BUT because He is so special.

“Accept with open arms one another because Christ accepted you the same way.” If you do not “Accept” others because they aren’t perfect, it is painfully obvious that you don’t get the fact that Christ accepted you as imperfect. Deep down, you think your better than others which I’m pretty sure is the actual definition of pride. James 4:6 and I Peter 5:5 both quote Isaiah… “God is actively opposed to the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”

The way the Greek of verse 7 actually works is the final bit applies equally to the first two bits… It is, “Accept one another to the glory of God, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”

It is to God’s great glory that He has saved human beings and accepted them into His family… Think about that just for a moment. The God who holds the universe in the palm of His hand. The God who is without beginning or end. The God who holds all things together by the Word of His power. That God gave His Only Son to have fellowship with you…

That’s the most amazing thing that anyone could ever even conceive of and God did it and that is to His eternal glory.

Know what else is to God’s eternal glory? When we then welcome, accept and embrace one another in His name.

Starting in verse 8, Paul expounds on the reason for accepting others and in the process, ties the whole letter together.

He says, “Christ,” stressing Jesus’s role as Savior, has come to save the Jews, just as God promised them.

God was completely faithful in keeping His promises as He always is. Now the Jews were a people who were vastly superior to all other humans on the planet… They always served God humbly and diligently and they always obeyed God completely and perfectly. That is why God chose them and that is why God fulfilled His promise in sending Jesus to them as their Messiah.

No, that’s not at all right. The Jews were constantly making mistakes, starting with Abraham… “No, she’s not my wife - she’s my sister.” Down through the generations the Jews were always messing things up and by the time Jesus arrived the majority of them were a disaster spiritually speaking.

Yet, God reached out to them. Well recognize it or not, you are no better. You don’t deserve salvation… none of us do… That’s what makes the gift so amazing. That why it is to God’s eternal glory… God accepted you… How can you then reject another person?

The Christ was the Suffering Savior God had promised the “Circumcision” - the Jews. It was because of God’s integrity and fulfilled the promises He made as recorded in the Old Testament.

Part of that promise throughout the ages, starting with Abraham and understood by many Rabbis to this day is that through the Messiah many Gentiles would be saved as well and as a result they too would glorify God.

In a sense, the Jews glorify God for his integrity and the Gentiles for His mercy… Now, of course God’s original promise was based on His mercy and His mercy to the Gentiles is based upon His integrity.

Then Paul goes into another catena of Scripture as he so often does. He quotes several passages and as usual his selection comes from all 3 sections of the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets and the Writings.

Also, as usual, His quotations are adapted to his purpose with a highly Christological interpretation.

From II Samuel 22:50 & Psalm 18:49, “Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Your name.” Deuteronomy 32:43, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” Psalm 117:1, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.” Isaiah 11:10, “There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

All of these quotations and the wording used hearken back to various sections of this letter and as I said tie it all together.

God has saved those willing to be saved by Him. He has made us His very own children through Christ. It is to His Eternal Glory and what he requires is that we now act like members of His family.

Verse 13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“Hope” is synonymous here with faith… That’s what hope in God is… it is faith. I pray He gives you the faith to have a certain HOPE.

We know that when we are filled with faith we have hope in the future… We can then let go and let God… That is JOY.

Joy is eschatological - it means that it is based upon an eternal perspective… I have faith that God has everything well in hand… I therefore have hope for my future and because I know it’s all going to work out I presently have JOY… A mindset that results in the feeling.

Anyone who has that kind of JOY… can then relax and be at PEACE… At peace with God, at peace with others and at peace with themselves.

That’s a peace that passes all understanding.

It is a gift of the Holy Breath of God we call the Fruit

081317 - Romans 15b - Please Your Neighbor 2
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September 05, 2017 11:14 AM PDT
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Romans 15:1-13, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 15:1-6 ~ 1Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” 4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 1: Those with the most power in the church have an obligation to accommodate the ______________________ of those with less influence.

Verse 2: ___________ Christian must work to build up one another for “his good,” and the good of God, the church, the Gospel, even oneself.

Verse 3: The two-part reason: 1) Jesus is our _______________________ 2) When we reproach a Christian, we actually reproach _______________.

Verse 4: Paul explains his new ___________________ and application of the Scriptures.

Beyond that, vs 4, tells us the instruction is, “So that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have _____________.”

We are being taught how to be a ____________________, not how to be _______________________ Christians.

In postmodernism, there are as many _____________________ as there are individuals.

We must each as individuals do what is right and good, but we must do it within the context of __________________. Our example is God Himself…

The ______________________ of our collective instruction is our collective perseverance, encouragement and hope.

Perseverance is ὑπομονή (hü-pŏ-mŏ-nā). Remain steady under extreme pressure to falter. Remember, the context is our bearing with the strange ideas and practices of our fellow Christian, as well as, brushing aside attacks against our own strange ideas and practices.

All three things; perseverance, encouragement and hope, are derived from the ____________________ and their scope is limited to the issue at hand.

Verse 5: Yes, from the Word, but ultimately from God - we must earnestly seek God’s help to _____________ one another - to be of the same mind.

What we must “be of one mind” about, is that Jesus _________________ to save us… He, not our ability to agree, is what binds us together as His.

A church is like a marriage… What we must do is decide that Jesus is more important than ______________________ and then live our life that way.

Verse 6: One ______________ Christian voice, despite all our differences, declaring the glories of God to the whole world.

ROMANS 15:7-13 ~ 7Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. 8For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, “Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Your name.” 10Again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” 11And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.” 12Again Isaiah says, “There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope.” 13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This 7-verse section, not only restates the previous passage, it is a _________________________ of the entire Letter to the Romans.

What was universal in the churches of Rome, was ______________. It was like a potluck meal to promote unity, yet it was having the opposite effect.

Christian disunity destroys our Christian witness and it’s a slap in the face of ________________________.

080617 - Romans 15a - Please Your Neighbor
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September 05, 2017 10:40 AM PDT
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Romans 15:1-6, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 15:1-6 ~ 1Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” 4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Now,” ties what’s being said to what was just said. The chapter break is in the __________________ place…

The “Strong” and “Weak” are terms that, in and of themselves, create divisiveness. The terms were accurate as descriptors of church ___________________ and influence.

Whatever distinction we can make will destroy ________________ as soon as enough pressure is applied to the situation.

The word “Ought,” bugs me. In chapter 13, “What was due them,” and “Owe,” is the same basic Greek word here translated as “Ought.”

Why do you owe it? Because ________________ bears your weaknesses!

“Bearing” does not mean begrudgingly tolerating… it is to carry the load. It is to come along side and help so that you both ______________ together.

The subtlety is that the δυνατός (dü-nä-tŏs, powerful) are obligated to bear with the weaknesses of the ἀδύνατος (ä-dü-nä-tŏs, not-powerful).

What are the weaknesses? They are the things that we don’t ________ on.

Instead of “Just pleasing ourselves” (insisting that things be done our way), we actually __________________ others get their way.
Verse 2, is now addressing the ___________________ church.

“Neighbor,” is every person on the planet, but here, the focus is on your _________ church family, extending out to the rest of the Christian church.

The corrective, is that we are told, “Not just to please ourselves,” and also, that __________ others is qualified by what is “Good and edifying to them.”

The first bit of verse 3, is ________________ as our example. He allowed our weaknesses, to become His weaknesses. Then He died to pay in order to “Please us for our good, to our edification.”

Psalm 69:9, is a two-parter, each half applied to Jesus in different settings.

By quoting Psalm 69:9, Paul is saying…
1) We are fellow Believers and we are foolish and we _____________.
2) When we insist on our way, we may cause _____________ to stumble. 3) When we insult fellow believers for their way, we insult _____________.

Verse 3, is a two-fold reason for accommodating differences to get along… First, it is what ______________ did in an ultimate way. Second, whenever we insult one another, we are actually insulting _____________________.

That interpretation of the Psalm brings it into a new light that makes it applicable in the here and now… That is precisely why verse 4, is what it is… Something written for our instruction.

I disagree with many of the beliefs and practices of my pastor buddies… But, how dare I even think of denigrating one of them, because they don’t perfectly agree with me!

072317 - Romans 14a - Accept One Another
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July 24, 2017 07:04 AM PDT
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Romans 14:1-12, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 14:1-4 ~ 1Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Is Paul accurately labeling the “Weak in faith”?

Many think the “Weaker” group consisted of Christians holding to the requirements of Judaism. Is that important?

IF you think someone else is, “Weak in faith,” this message is for you, and what God is saying is _______________________________________.
The chapter starts with δέ (dĕ), which functions as a connective word tying what follows to what preceded. Here we get a ________________ against becoming isolationist.

The word “Accept,” is προσλαμβάνω (pȑŏs-läm-bän-ō). It is far more than a casual acceptance. The word means to embrace as a ________________.

Imperative mood is a _____________________, and middle voice means it is for_________________________________________.

So many people think “Ecumenical” is a four-letter word.

We judge and condemn people regarding their eternal salvation in order to excuse our disapproval of them.

I Corinthians 4:5

Welcome those who think differently… But not so you can pick at them over those ________________________________.

One Christian drinks Coca-Cola, another thinks they’re demon possessed.

One Christian votes for a Democrat, another thinks they are in league with Satan.

First, people who eat only vegetables… λάχανον (lä-ĉḥä-nŏn), applies only to garden cultivated leafy greens. Second, people who eat “All things.” It is literally everything. Paul is intentionally playing up the ________________.

Here the word servant, is a more specific term οἰκέτης (ŏy-kĕ-tās). It is a __________________ slave.

ROMANS 14:5-9 ~ 5One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Another non-specific example…

1) “Must be fully convinced,” is the single word, πληροφορέω (plā-ȑŏ-fŏ-ȑĕ-ō). The word itself, is fill until full - there’s no room for _______________.

2) It is so important because this is not our personal church… This is God’s church and we are part of the Body of Christ on earth.

3) We need to remember that we are nothing and this present life is nothing when compared to the purposes of Almighty God, The Judge of all.

ROMANS 14:10-12 ~ 10But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” 12So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

Who do you think you are? Can you see how ____________________ it is to judge people?

071617 - Romans 13b - Love Obligation
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July 24, 2017 06:40 AM PDT
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Romans 13:8-14, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 13:8-10 ~ 8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

“Owe nothing,” is not setting forth a doctrine opposed to debt, it highlights the one debt no one can _______________.

Love is Agapê. Why can it never be repaid? It is the love-debt __________ to God. People value God’s love by how willing they are to pay it forward.

If we don’t get the _______________ thing right, there’s no point in trying to get anything else right.

When we love others, we prove that we are recipients of God’s love and that we, in-turn, love God, because we are ____________ our Lord, Jesus.

Agapê is not a _____________ or an unattainable ideal… Agapê is activity.

Who are we to love? “One another,” is primarily our fellow believers. However, in that same verse, it then says, “For he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.” “Neighbor,” in this instance, is the Greek word, ἕτερος (hĕ-tĕ-ȑŏs), meaning…

We are ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬____________________ to love and it extends from our closest personal circle radiating outward.

Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34

The principle of loving others is ________________ up in the Golden Rule.

Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31

The word “Law,” is anarthrous. ________ law is obeyed by “Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The word “Fulfilled” is in the perfect tense. It never returns _____________. void… You love and it is a positive that never ends.

Four examples from the decalogue:

Adultery
Murder
Stealing
Coveting

Everything people need to do, to love God by obeying Jesus, is summed up by, “Agapê others as you Agapê ___________________.”

Leviticus 19:18, James 2:8 (the “Royal Law”), Galatians 5:14

ROMANS 13:11-14 ~ 11Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Much sooner than we think; we are going to be standing in front of the Risen Lord Jesus and He will pointedly ask each of us, “Tell me how you __________________ others.”

Deeds versus armor points out that it is a _____________ and that we must prepare each day for battle.

Three couplets:

Carousing and drunkenness
Sexual promiscuity and sensuality
Strife and jealousy

I’m not saying we lower our standard regarding the first two couplets…

Again, this goes to our new paradigm in Romans 12:1&2. We Christians do not, and cannot, exist for our own glory or to serve our own pleasure.

070917 - Romans 13a - Render unto Caesar
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July 10, 2017 07:39 AM PDT
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Romans 13:1-7, Pastor Scott Keller

ROMANS 13:1-7 ~ 1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

The overall gist is that God is not reserving all His ____________________ until the end - He has established the principle of ____________________ in order for there to be some semblance of order here and now.

Absent some kind of government there is ______________________.

The Bible says, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21), but then says, “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:38-48, etc.).

The “Governing authorities” are all the layers of human _______________.

What does, “Be in subjection,” mean? First, the word “Obey” occurs over 100 times in the Bible and other synonyms are also frequent, yet none of them is our word here.

It is the verb ὑποτάσσω (hü-pŏ-täs-sō). It is a __________________ term for the hierarchical structure of ranks and positions.
Imperative mood…
Present tense…
Middle voice…

In the New Testament, the verb/noun occurs more than 40 times - two others regarding government, (I Peter 2:13&14 & Titus 3:1). Six instances regarding wives. (Colossians 3:18, Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1-6, 1 Corinthians 14:34&35, Titus 2:3-5, 1 Timothy 2:9-15).

There is then a ____________________ between subjecting yourself and blindly obeying (Ephesians 5:21, etc.).

We submit to the government as good and patriotic citizens right up to the point we are forced to make the choice the Apostles made in Acts 5:27-29. Jesus said, “_______ to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and ______ to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17, Luke 20:25).

It becomes a matter of ____________________ and that goes back to our new paradigm in Romans 12:1&2…

The reason given for submitting, is that God is in control of all things.

John 19:10&11

I doubt there has ever been a more difficult form of government to know how to submit to, as a Christian. One thing we know, we are to pray…

I Timothy 2:1&2

The government is “God’s servant.” Without government - even _________ government - there is pandemonium and chaos.

Subjection, not only because of the consequences “Of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” It is not so much our own conscience, but the conscience of the ___________________ (Romans 12:2).

Verse 7 sums up this section. Do what you’re _________________ to do. Render to all, what is due them, because we have bigger fish to fry.

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