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Hope in View

Romans 15:9-12 is a barrage of Old Testament Scripture. When Paul wants to emphasize a point, he brings in a barrage of Old Testament Scripture. By supporting a point profusely from the Old Testament, Paul proves that God has always determined something to be a certain way. When Paul wanted to establish man's total depravity, he quoted the Old Testament through 9 continuous verses (Romans 3:10-18). When Paul wanted to establish that God would preserve a remnant of Israel, he quoted the Old Testament through 5 more (Romans 9:25-29). In Romans 15:9-12, Paul wants to emphasize that God has always…

God's Grace to Mothers

God wants to encourage mothers in their parenting, no matter their circumstances. According to a published survey, the faith of the father is the most influential factor whether a child will trust Christ. According to this survey, if the father is a believer, the children are over 16 times more likely to embrace the faith than when he is not (Gospel Powered Parenting, 129). However true this may be, the Bible depicts the faith of the mother as crucial. Moses, Samuel, Solomon and Timothy are among the men of the Bible who owed much, in some cases their very lives,…
Isaiah 11 is one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible.  Isaiah 11 is Eden restored.  Sinful men have always tried to recover paradise and immortality – and have failed.  In Genesis 6, women tried to procreate with angels, but produced mortal giants (Genesis 6:4; 2 Peter 2:4-5). In Genesis 11, men tried to build a tower to heaven. In ancient times, Pharaoh’s tried to take riches into the afterlife, Plato designed what he thought was the perfect society (Plato’s Republic), and others sought for the fountain of youth.  Later, Thomas More wrote of Utopia, Communism tried to make…

No More Walls!

Romans 15 is about application.  It is one thing to hear Scripture – it is another to do it!  The first New Testament epistle says that one who is not “a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).  Paul wants to make sure that after 14 chapters of Romans, believers do what the Scripture says and are blessed! How does one ‘do’ Scripture?  Paul shows us in Romans 15.  First, a believer must pray for the ability to obey God.  Paul has two prayers in 15:1-13: one in v. 6…

The Path to Greatness

 Do you want to be great? Great! Having such a desire is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a noble thing. Nowhere in the Scripture does Jesus rebuke a man for wanting to achieve great things for God. In fact, God created us to be significant in his Kingdom. The psalmist recognizes this when he says, “You have made him (a man) a little lower than angels, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Ps. 8:5). In other words, God wants us to spend our lives well and to achieve great things for His glory. However, the…

Service & Study; Prayer & Praise

What would Paul say? If Paul was your pastor, and you asked: “Paul, what would you like to see in your congregation?” he might very well reply according to Romans 15:1-6: “I would like to see each zealous for serving others, instead of self, supporting those who are weak instead of despising and abandoning them, and doing everything in their power to help their fellow church members grow in their faith.” He might continue: “I would love to see each growing more and more like Christ, studying His life from both the Old and New Testaments, and growing more and…
Today is Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Resurrection Sunday. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a young donkey. In doing so, He fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 (Matthew 21:5) from 500 years before. Palm Sunday gets its name from John 12:13, because the great crowd who cheered for Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on that day held up palm branches. The lifting of palm branches was part of the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:40). In the New Testament, the lifting of palm branches represents victory and life. In heaven, a great…

Green Light of Faith

Paul is talking about love. Paul has been talking about love since 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.” He is still in Chapter 14: “for if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love” (14:15). Chapter 14 is about neutral things: things neither good nor bad in themselves, like types of food and days of worship. In these areas, God works with each Christian on his maturity level through individual conscience. Unlike areas of explicit prohibition and warning, in neutral areas, what is ‘good’ for each may differ. In these areas, unlike areas…

Acceptable to God

Paul is still talking about love.  Paul has been talking about love since 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.” He is still talking about love in Chapter 14: “for if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love” (14:15).  In Chapter 14, Paul is not talking about areas where God explicitly forbids.  Paul is also not talking about warning areas where God cautions.  Paul is talking about neutral things, neither good nor bad in themselves, like types of food and days of worship.  In these areas, God deals with each Christian individually on…

Faith Beats Fear

Like Joseph and Daniel, Nehemiah spent most of his career working for the state. You don’t need seminary to do great things for God, you don’t need Greek: you need faith. Seminary and Greek help, but men like Noah, Job, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David & Daniel were men of faith. Nehemiah is like them. Like Joseph & Daniel, he spent most of his career working for a foreign king. The New Testament never mentions him, but we all know him. Christians know he built a wall. They don’t know what wall or why, but they know he was a…
Paul is talking about love – in neutral things.  Paul has been talking about Christian love since 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.” He is still talking about love in 14:15: “for if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love.”  However, Paul is not talking about prohibited things: Christians confront, convict and seek the repentance of brothers in these areas.  Paul is also not talking about warning areas, areas that are not strictly prohibited but may be dangerous, like drinking or associating with certain kinds of people: Christians warn and watch over…

Knowing the Unknown

Scripture is not against the pursuit of knowledge. In fact, God reproves His people because they lacked knowledge- “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). When God created us, He gave us minds that are capable of receiving and processing information and as a result, our knowledge increases. Some things in life are trivial and others are absolutely essential. The chief pursuit of every man must be the pursuit of God. God created men so “that they would seek God”( Acts 17:27). One can be very intelligent and sophisticated in this life and yet end up in…