Archive for the ‘Gospel of Christ’ Category


Harriet Tubman said: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world”.

  • You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
  • “Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.” Marsha Norman
  • “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”
  • “Dreams are like stars…you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.”
  • “The inability to open up to hope is what blocks trust, and blocked trust is the reason for blighted dreams”. Elizabeth Gilbert

Nearly two thousand years ago a solitary man hung on a cross, suspended between heaven and earth. His crucifixion was the manifestation of a dream that God had before time began[1]. That dream to restore mankind to God[2] resulted in God Himself being born as a defenseless baby in a forgotten manger, to parents of no standing or reputation[3]. That baby dreamed dreams not of success, not of comfort, not of adventures, but of a horrible death, death on the cross. Instead of visions of fame and riches, he had visions of the floodgates of the sins of all humanity being opened upon Him[4]. Instead of dreams of the love of his father and mother, his dreams were of becoming the vilest creation in the universe, and becoming forsaken by his Heavenly Father[5].

As Jesus hung on the tree, Scriptures says “He became cursed for you and me”[6]. While He became cursed for us, He was beloved by His Father[7], because he was being obedient[8], and He was acting on His Father’s behalf[9]. Jesus had come to earth to set things right. He had come to restore righteousness and justice[10] to a world in the grip of an evil overlord who was bent on enslaving man for himself. He had come to take back this world from satan and from sin, and return God’s Justice to the world[11]. When Jesus ascended to heaven in view of over 500 witnesses, He was holding a huge IOU signed by God[12]. That IOU gave Jesus ownership of the world, of the nations[13] and of all those who trusted in Him as their Savior.

God wrote an IOU to His Son, a huge IOU, and some day Jesus will return to claim it!

The Father is delaying the return of Christ[14] so that more people can be redeemed from the curse. He is delaying the return so that the Bride of Christ can be prepared[15]. Moreover, here we are on the cusp of a new year. Will this be the year our Lord returns to claim His IOU? Will this be the year the vision of Isaiah comes to pass?

Isa 43:19  “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”.

God will do a New Thing, and when it springs forth, the way through the wilderness will open up, and there will be rivers running in the desert.

As we stand on the crest of a new year, I believe God wants us to listen to what His plans are. Behold, God wants us to give ear to Him!

Isaiah 42:8-9 “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them”.

We are so pre-occupied with our life, our problems; our interests that we fail to look to God and see what He is doing. Most of the time we walk around so absorbed with what we have going on, that we lose our sense of God and His plans for our lives. Only when we are in a real bind do we look heavenward and call for a lifeline!

God has been challenging me of late. He has challenged me to lift up my Eyes[16] and Dream, Dream of What He wants to do. I Have A Dream for 2011.

Solomon described the type of church I want to pastor:

Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

In order to flourish and thrive, we need to focus on our Almighty God; we need to focus on what His plans are for our church and for our lives. We need to be focused on Him!

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

We need a vision of God, a vision from God, and that vision will grow out of our love for God’s Word.

We need to be little Samuel’s, and say, “Lord, Speak, for I am Listening!” The reason Samuel was born was to restore the Word of the Lord to Israel:

1 Samuel 3:1 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

We need to have visions from God. We need to have messages from God! We need the Power of God’s Word in our lives and in our church! But He will not speak if we are not listening and willing to obey!

We need to be like Isaiah, that when we look into God’s face and we hear Him say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

We need to stand and say, “Here am I! Send me!”

When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality. – Dom Helder Camara

I do not want to dream alone, so would you listen carefully and share in my dream?

I HAVE A DREAM

Ninety Nine Score years ago, the Son of God, in whose church we stand today, canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. That momentous decree disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities, and shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:14-15) The cross has become a great beacon of hope to billions of souls who have been enslaved by sin. Resurrection morning was the joyous daybreak that ended centuries of captivity to satan.

However, one thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, billions still are not free. Mankind is sadly crippled by the manacles of sin and the chains of satan.

One thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, multitudes are enslaved.

One thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, mankind languishes on a lonely island of spiritual poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

One thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, mankind finds himself an exile in God’s own country.

Therefore, we have come here today knowing this world is in a shameful condition.

Our only Hope is that someday Jesus Christ will return to cash in the IOU he gained on the cross. When Christ blotted out our sins by nailing them to the cross, He was signing a promissory note that every man woman and child could be heir to. That note was a promise that all men, by faith, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of eternal life, liberty from sin and the pursuit of God.

It is obvious today people of this world have failed to take this promissory note by faith. Instead of honoring a risen Savior, people have accepted a bad check from Satan, a check they believe promises freedom, but in reality enslaves them to sin and condemns them to hell.

But we refuse to believe that the dream of our Savior is faded and forgotten. We refuse to believe that he has insufficient power to reign over a defeated satan.

We refuse to believe that the bank of Heaven is bankrupt and without resources to bring men to salvation.

So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom in Christ and the security of justification before God!

We have come to this hallowed place to remind ourselves of the fierce urgency of now!

This is no time to engage in the luxury of complacency or to take the tranquilizing drug of apathy!

Now is the time to make real the Promises of Jesus Christ!

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of indifference to the sunlit path of God’s Redemption Power!

Now is the time to lift our neighbors from the quick sands of sin and selfishness to the solid rock of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now is the time to make redemption a reality for all of God’s children!

It would be fatal for this church to overlook the urgency of the moment. This freezing winter of mankind’s sinfulness will not pass until there is an invigorating Prairie wind of forgiveness and freedom from sin. Two Thousand Eleven is not an end, but a beginning.

Those who hope that the people of Pleasant Prairie will be silent and apathetic will have a rude awakening this year. There will be neither rest nor tranquility until we have freed our enslaved neighbors all around us. The whirlwinds of the Holy Spirit will continue to shake the foundations of our community until the bright light of Jesus Christ emerges in glory!

However, there is something that I must say to each one of us who stand on the warm threshold that leads into the Heavenly palace. In the process of winning souls for Christ, we must be conscious of our testimony for our Savior. We must be careful not to satisfy our thirst for God by drinking from the cup of self-effort.

We must forever conduct our struggle in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. We must not allow our passion for the lost to degenerate into selfishness and personal distractions.

Again and again, we must look upon Him who is invisible and rise to the majestic heights of walking by faith. The marvelous Holy Spirit must engulf our church and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, and cause us to rise up with the wings of eagles. Our freedom is inextricably bound in the freedom of the Spirit. We cannot walk alone!

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. We cannot turn back, we cannot turn aside, and we cannot be distracted. Some of you are asking, “When should we be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as one man remains the victim of the unspeakable horrors of sin.

  • We can never be satisfied, as long as our brothers, backslidden with sin, turn their backs on fellowship with God’s saints.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as the needs of our neighbors go unmet because of our callousness and selfishness.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as children are stripped of their hope and joy by parents who fail to teach them of their loving creator God, and the Savior who died for them.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as our neighbors think there is nothing beyond the grave but darkness.
  • We can never be satisfied knowing our neighbors will face the judgment of God without our Savior Jesus Christ and be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.

No… no…, we are never satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until salvation rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have faced great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from personal tragedies. Some of you have been battered by the storms of tribulations and others have staggered through personal trials of faith.

May we remember God’s promise: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you”!

I encourage you to count all things as loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to keep pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. May all your trials be the means of knowing Jesus, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Every trial and tribulation you endure is more precious than gold!

Let us go back to Belton, go back to Peculiar, go back to Cleveland, go back to Freeman, go back to Raymore, go back to your homes and neighborhoods, knowing that the salvation of your neighbors, of your children, of your grandchildren can and will be achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit. May we never wallow in the valley of despair or defeat.

I say to you today, my friends, even though we face difficulties in the year ahead, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the quest of the Son of God.

I have a dream that one day “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God”. Psalms 86:9-10

I have a dream that one day throughout our nation God will put His laws into our minds, and write them on our hearts, and He will be our God, and we shall be His people. (Heb 8:10)

I have a dream that one day the nations of this world, nations sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of persecution and oppression, will be transformed by your throne, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants”. (Ps 89:14)

I have a dream that my children, their spouses and our grandchildren will one day dwell in the New Jerusalem because their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!

I have a dream that each of you and each of your loved ones would enjoy the mansion that Jesus is building for you, because your hearts have embraced Him as your personal Savior.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place of giving people because we trust in the power of God to generously provide all we need. We will always have everything we need and plenty left over to share with others.

I have a dream that God will say of our church, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples, and that all who enter here will sense the Joy of God’s presence.[17]

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place where husbands learn to love their wives and wives learn to respect their husbands.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place where children can come and find Jesus Christ and grow in His grace and His Word.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place for Families to be strengthened as they grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a people of God’s Word, and to God’s Word they turn daily for it is our bread of life

I have a dream Pleasant Prairie will send out gospel teams ministering to the needs of our neighbors in the Name of Jesus Christ.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will send out gospel teams to Africa and Asia and wherever the Lord burdens our hearts to go!

I have a dream that the folks of Pleasant Prairie will simply be willing to GO!

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which we enter 2011. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of uncertainty a stone of precious Hope.

With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of sin and selfishness into a beautiful symphony of the Spirit’s Power.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to witness together, to stand up for Jesus Christ together, knowing that our Savior will be returning soon!

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning,

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.

He breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free; his blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me.

And if Pleasant Prairie Baptist is to be God’s church, this must become true. So let the freedom of the Gospel of Christ ring from Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church.

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the front yards of Belton.

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the hilltops of Peculiar.

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the rooftops of Raymore!

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the backyards of Cleveland!

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from every hill and valley of our great nation. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we proclaim the freedom of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when we let it ring from every village and every town, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and in the words of Psalm 98,

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

And one day, when we finally behold the precious Lamb of God, “every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God our Father!” and we will sing a new song as Jesus claims His IOU!:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”

And we will finally be able to shout:

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank Christ Almighty, we are free at last!”


[1] 1 Pet 1:19-21

[2] 2 Tim 1:9

[3] Phil 2:6-8

[4] Isa 53:10-11

[5] Mark 15:34

[6] Gal 3:13

[7] Matt 12:18

[8] Heb 5:8

[9] John 17:21

[10] Ps 37:6

[11] Isa 53:10-11

[12] Rev 5:1-5

[13] Ps 2:8

[14] 2 Pet 3:9

[15] Rev 19:7

[16] Isa 60:4

[17] Isa 56:7

Additional Verses which form the foundation for the Dream:

1 Peter 1:19-21 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:10-11 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

Matthew 12:18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

John 17:21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Psalms 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Revelation 5:1-5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Psalms 2:8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 42:8-9 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Jeremiah 2:13 “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!

Isaiah 60:4 4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.

Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

1 Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

1 Samuel 3:1 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

Jeremiah 11:14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.

Isaiah 6:8-9 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Colossians 2:14-15 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Hebrews 12:26-29 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Luke 11:4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Isaiah 35:6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;

Isaiah 43:1-2 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.

Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Psalms 86:9-10 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Psalms 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

2 Corinthians 9:7-9 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

Isaiah 56:7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

Ephesians 5:25-28 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Mark 10:14-15 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Matthew 4:4 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Luke 3:5-6 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Psalms 98:1-4 Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power! The Lord has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation! He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Isaiah 45:23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

Revelation 5:8-10 When he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders prostrated themselves before the Lamb. Each of them had a harp, and they had golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new song and these are the words they sang, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”

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A young boy had just gotten his driver’s license. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your bible a little and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about it.”

After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father, if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, “Son, I’ve been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your bible diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut.”

The young man waited a moment and replied, “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know, Samsom had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair!”, to which is father replied, “Yes, you’re right, and they also WALKED every where they went!”

We have come to Romans 8, a chapter in the Bible which more than any other talks about our walk with the Holy Spirit. In fact, our walk in the Holy Spirit is to become so natural that we hardly notice it, becasue our walk in the Holy Spirit is to be the New Law of our Christian walk.

What is a Law? A Law is a general rule that happens over and over again, without exception. Every April 15, we are reminded that without exception some accounting of your income must be made to the IRS. It is automatic. Every time you jump up in the air you come back down. The Law of Gravity is something we just accept.

When you drive, you know you must keep track of your speed. When you see a Red Light you know you should stop. We drive on the right side of the road. In England and Australia they drive on the other side of the road and it is the most unnatural feeling in the world.

When we live according to a Law, it is so accepted that it is natural.

Romans 7 revealed a struggle that Paul had, a struggle that ran him right up against a Law, A Law of Sin. It was a Law that his flesh was comfortable with, had accepted, and was struggling with.

Even though in Romans 6:6 (Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.)  he had taught us

1. KNOW our old man is dead.

Then he taught us in Romans 6:11 (Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord) to

2. COUNT on God that it is so.

Our old man is dead. Depend on it. God says it is true. And then Paul taught us, that if our old man is dead and we can count on that like money in the bank, then our flesh is unemployed, and so it must be…

3.PRESENTED to God for Him to use.

He taught this in Romans 6:13: (Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.)

Still Paul struggled with his will. He testified to this in Romans 7:15-20

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

The reason for his struggle is that he discovered something: “but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Romans 7:23

There is a law that governs how we live in this flesh. It is the Law of Sin and of death and it cripples man’s will to do good. Man wills to be different, but the law of sin is relentless, and no human can resist it.

So, how can we be set free from this law of sin and death? We certainly need freedom from sin, we certainly need freedom from death, but most of all we need freedom from this LAW of sin and death.

  • How can we be delivered from the constant repetition of weakness and failure?

The Key Phrases

There are two phrases that we see in Romans 5:12-6:23:

“in Adam” and “in Christ”

There are two phrases we see in Romans 7:1-8:39:

“in the flesh” and “in the Spirit”

POSITIONAL Experience

“In Adam” and “In Christ” picture our position. At birth God views us in Adam. All that is Adam’s is our. His sin nature, his sinfulness, that is our position at birth.

When we are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, we are placed “in Christ.” God no longer sees us in Adam. He declares us justified, righteous. Our sins are forever forgiven. We have the life of Christ.

PRACTICAL experience

“In the flesh” and “in the Spirit” relate to our practical experience.

It is not enough to simply know what your position is. You need to experience it. To be in Christ is not enough. To have our old man crucified is not enough. To present our members as servants of God is not enough. The only way the New Law becomes effective and practical in our lives is when we learn to walk everyday “in the Spirit!”

We need to see there is a New Law that we Christians are to live by. It is as natural as the Law of Gravity. It is a more powerful law than the law of sin.

The key to this Law is walking in the Holy Spirit.

This is why the first part of Romans 8 is so centered upon the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit is mentioned in Romans 8 no less than 19 different times. No other chapter in the New Testament contains as many direct references to the Holy Spirit. While it is true that our old man is crucified, and we are freed from the power of sin, if we do not mind our walk, and learn to walk in the spirit, then our lives will be a contradiction to the fact of my position in Jesus Christ.

If we walk in the flesh, what is true of me in Him will not be expressed in my life.

Positionally I may be in Jesus, but practically, my temper, or my lust, or my jealousy, or my greed may be in evidence.

The truth of who we are in Jesus Christ cannot be experienced by walking in the flesh. That is totally the experience of Paul in Romans 7. The flesh is no match for the Law of Sin. The only way we can experience the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives is by living according to a New and greater Law, the Law of Living in the Holy Spirit!

Living in the Holy Spirit means that I trust the Holy Spirit to do in me what I cannot do myself. This life is completely different from the life I would naturally live myself!

  • This is not a life of TRYING but of TRUSTING!
  • This is not a life of STRUGGLING but of RESTING!
  • Whether your problem is a temper, a sarcastic tongue, a critical spirit, impure thoughts, you do not set out by sure will power to change yourself.

    If you are Living in the Spirit, you know and count yourself dead to those things and then look to the Holy Spirit to produce in you the needed purity, humility, patience, meekness, and you are confident He will do so. In fact, you thank Him in advance for deliverance from those sins.

    As Exodus 14:13 states: Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you!”

    When the Holy Spirit takes matters into His hands, there is no need for strain on our part. It is not a matter of counting to 10, of going home and taking it out on a pillow, there will be no need, for the Holy Spirit has worked it in you.

    Real victory over a sin, over a habit does not come by fleshly effort, but by the Holy Spirit and our living in Him!

    This is why Satan is so active in the world tempting us to stay in the flesh. This is why John warns against loving this world:

    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:15-16

    If you are in love with the world, the love of the Father is not in you. That is because the love of the world has brought you into a fleshly walk, and not the walk of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is LOVE!

    When you love the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of possessions, you are not living according to the Law of the Holy Spirit! You are settling for the bowl of lentil soup that Esau sold his birthright for. In the Holy Spirit is our life of Blessing!

    Temptation gets us off our walk and exposes us to struggle and defeat!

    When the Japanese invaded China, their overwhelming strength destroyed most of the Chinese tanks within the first three months. They were unable to deal with the Japanese armored tanks until they devised this scheme:

    A sniper would be set up in a hidden place and would fire a single shot at the Japanese tank. After at least 15 minutes he would fire another single shot. Then after ten minutes or so, the sniper would fire another shot. He would keep doing it until the Japanese tank driver, eager to locate the source of the shots, would pop his head out to get a better look around him. The next shot would put an end to the Japanese driver.

    As long as the driver remained in the tank, he was safe. The scheme was devised to get him out in the open.

    Satan’s temptations are not designed to get us to do something really sinful, but simply to act in our own energy. As soon as we step away from the Holy Spirit, and start acting naturally, in our flesh, he has the victory.

    This is the lesson of Galations 5:16-18:

    But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Galatians 5:16-18

    THE FIGHT WITH THE FLESH IS NOT OURS, BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT’S.

    These are in opposition one to another! So the Holy Spirit bears the burden of fighting the flesh, and the result is that we not do as we normally would. In fact, the result is that we are not under the Law, becasue we are walking according to a New Law, Life in the Holy Spirit!

    When we depend upon the Holy Spirit, and do not allow the devil to lure us from his cover, He is then free to meet and deal with the flesh in us.

    Walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh!

    Our deliverance and victory lies not in our own fleshly strength and determination, but by our abiding in Christ and and simply counting upon His Holy Spirit with us to overcome fleshly lusts with HIS OWN DESIRES!.

    • The Cross procures our Salvation
    • The Spirit produces that Salvation within us!
    • Christ risen and ascended is the basis of our salvation;
    • Christ in our hearts by the Spirit is its power!

    So what does Paul exclaim in Romans 7?

    I  THANK GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!

    Up until his exclamation, he used “I” or “me” over 25 times. in just a few verses. He was totally struggling in his flesh! But when he exclaimed I thank God through Jesus Christ, it became him and he and we! That is what Paul revealed in Galatians 2:20:

    I live, yet no longer I, but Christ!

    When the focus is on the I, it is “What a Wretched Man I am!” When the focus is on Christ, we shout THANK YOU GOD!

    Christians do not have a changed life. God offers us an exchanged life! We exchange our natural, fleshly live for the life of Jesus Christ within us! We do not produce within ourselves the life of Christ. We don’t try to act like Jesus. Jesus really lives through us by His Spirit!

    The Holy Spirit reproduces the life of Jesus in us! That is what Galatians 4:19 reveals – Christ is formed in you!

    What brought victory for Paul? He explains in Romans 8, that there is a new law that supercedes the law of sin. This law is not a fleshly law, but it is a law nonetheless. As such, when you start to walk in this new law, it will become natural, it will produce the same result over and over again. After all, it is a Law.

    So how do we learn to walk and live in the Law of Life in the Holy Spirit?

    Only when we we become aware of our great need for His life! We get to the point where we see our deficiencies and our inadequacies and our failures and we can do nothng else but cry out to Him!

    Does that sound like salvation? Yes, and sometimes when someone has led a life of sin and then realizes their need makes a dramatic turn to Jesus Christ, and immediately everything about their life is changed. They immediately begin walking in the Holy Spirit.

    But Paul reflected his experience where he came to Jesus but then tried to walk in his flesh, becasue he was a Jew, used to following a set of laws. But his frustration led him to the point of seeing his total inability. Then he cried out to Jesus and saw the light of the Life in the Holy Spirit.

    Many people who get saved as a youngster and grow up in a Christian home take Jesus for granted. They get out into the world or college and get lured into the love of the world. They try to live the Christian life in their fleshly strength and fail miserably. Then, when they get to the end of themselves, and realize they cannot live the Christian life in their own strength, they are ready to give everything over to Him and let Jesus live His life through them. Then is when they find victory.

    Romans 8:1 No Condemnation

    Paul goes from a wretched man in Romans 7 to this amazing declaration:

    There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

    There are two kinds of condemnation:

    1. Before God
    2. Before Myself

    I have no problem seeing my sins forgiven on the cross. I have no problem seeing that God no longer condemns me becasue I am in His son. I do have a problem with a condemning heart. I experience defeat in my life, and my heart goes into hyperdrive condemning me.

    But in the Spirit, there is no condemnation.

    What lay behind my condemnation? It was my experience of defeat. Before I saw Christ as my life, I labored under a constant sense of a handicap. I was limited, confined to a wheelchair, disabled. I cannot do this. I cannot please God! But there is no “can not” in Christ! THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION, THERE IS NO FAILURE, THERE IS NO DAMNATION, THERE IS NO REGRETTING! THERE IS ONLY THE LIFE OF Jesus Christ in me!

    For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the condemning law of sin and death!

    God wants us to realize that as Christians he doesn’t just leave us at the Cross. We don’t come to Christ as Savior and then walk away on our own. God wants us to realize that Jesus Christ wants to live through our lives, in fact, God wants us to realize that we are united with Christ. Everything about us, our identity, our life, our career, our family is inextricably tied up in Jesus Christ!

    God wants us to walk under a New Law, a Law that is to be so natural that we take it for granted, just like gravity. He wants us to walk according to the Law of the Spirit of Life in Jesus Christ!

    When we close our eyes to seeing this new Law, to seeing the Holy Spirit as Lord of our life, we open our eyes to the world and all the associated temptations. If we are not in the Spirit, we walk in the flesh, and so we walk as Romans 7 Christians, always struggling with guilt and failure and problems. Most fleshly Christians end up turning away from God at some point, for the Christian life seems to conflict with the fleshly world and all they experience there.

    Let me illustrate how this works.

    This past weekend Lydia and I were in Boonville, MO. staying at the High Street Victorian Bed and Breakfast operated by Kriss and Gene Royer. Friday night Lydia and I walked three building down to the Hotel Frederick to sit out on the balcony and watch the sunset over the Missouri River (which was at flood stage).

    It was very busy and the people were real friendly. The beer and cocktails were flowing freely, as well as the conversation. People would ask us what we were doing there and Lydia would proudly say that I had decided to ride my bicycle the 76 miles from Clinton to Boonville (on the Katy Trail) on my birthday (the day before). They would offer their kudo’s and looks of unbelief, etc. There was a group of people from the “R” bar in Kansas City and one of the guys appeared to be a “Cowboy” complete with the slow Texan draw. He was real friendly and at some point the ‘question’ got asked. It is the question that many Pastors are afraid of, especially in a crowd of people who don’t seem to be church-goers. He asked, so what do you do? I simply said I’m a pastor of a church. There were several ‘oh’s’ and some furtive glances away, but this ‘Cowboy’ seemed real interested. He immediately perked up and said he goes to church and he was a ‘Methodist-Buddhist-Muslim’. Now my attention was peaked, and I mentioned my curiosity as to how that could work. We discussed several topics in a gentlemanly way. All in the open, with others listening.

    At one point he came over to our table and engaged me one-on-one. As much as could be, this was a private conversation. He shared that as a 13 year old, he had asked Jesus Christ into his life, and admitted that growing up he went to a Gospel-Preaching Methodist all the time. I got the sense that he genuinely believed in Christ, but somewhere along the line he had gotten into a bunch of ‘worldly’ beliefs. I also found out that he is an attorney, and much of his ‘Cowboy’ display is a cover for a very intelligent, shrewd lawyer. Soon after his confession I was led to say that I have found that whenever a Christian strays away from his belief in Christ (at which point he said ‘I’m still a believer’), it is usually the result of at least one of three things. It is either because of moral impurity, deep-seated bitterness, or a temporal value system. At this point he got rather defensive, and launched into another defensive move. He decried a God who could allow such evils as 9/11, Katrina, child abuse, etc. He said he could not believe in a God like that. It hit me that he had some deep-rooted bitterness toward God over sometning in his life.

    I said that many times we make a decision with our mind to believe in Christ, but God says in Prov 23:26: “Son, give me your heart!” God wants our heart, God wants our trust. There are many things that happen in our lives that we can not understand. There are many experiences that will try to destroy our trust in God. That is why God wants our heart. Regardless of what we experience, regardless of what we think, we are to trust in God and His Word. Otherwise, we give our heart to the things of this world, the philosophis of this world, the hurts and disappointments of this world. Before long, our heart is far away from God, from Jesus, from a faith that has real application in this world.

    We conversed over an hour that evening, and while I could see a searching in his eyes, his heart is far from the Jehovah of the Bible. He has gone after a god of his own making, one who embraces Buddhists, Muslims, and all the other deluded people of the world. All becasue he is bitter at the True God for something He did or failed to do. To Mark, there is a Jesus, but He has no reality in this present world.  And so, in all practical aspects, Jesus is dead to Mark.

    And so it is with many Christians, even good Baptist(ha) ones, who make a decision to follow Jesus, but because their focus is not on the Law of the Spirit of Life, they do not see how Jesus relates to their everyday lives, and soon Jesus is an ornament, or a figurehead of something you do on Sunday, if they go at all. They too are focused on the flesh, focused on the world, and Jesus is far from their heart.

    Let’s see what effect this New Law is supposed to have upon Christians. God wants the Truth of Jesus Christ to be superior to our experiences. We are to walk by FAITH and not by SIGHT. When Christians fail to see the Power of Christ for their everyday lives it is because they are letting their fleshy experieces rule their lives.

    Kriss and Gene Royer, InnKeepers

    The Innkeepers of the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at are a marvelous Christian couple. We had a long conversation with Kriss about one of their children, Ashley Ann. They adopted Ashley Ann when she was nine years old. She had been in the foster care system since she was five, and in four short years had already had over twenty foster homes and over twenty different schools. I will let Ashley tell you why (from an essay she wrote for a Scholarship to Southwest Baptist University):

    “My life as a small child was filled with life experiences no one should have to go through, especially a little child. I was deliberately and repeatedly abused and abandoned. At age two, my father shoved my face into a brick wall from which I still have scars. My mother was a prostitute, drug user and dealer. I have seen everything imaginable. I have been sexually abused, deliberately burned, stripped naked and beaten, had needles stuck into me like apin cushion just for the kicks of the drug addicted friends of my mother. They would tell me there were ‘doctors’. At age three I was often left alone for days to look after my brother (who was 11 months older than me and had cerebral palsy) and my newborn sister. I had to learn to be resourceful to find food for us all, and ‘played mommy’ becasue no on else was there to take care of us. While I was still three, the Social Worker took me away from my mom permanently and placed me with my grandmother. This was no better because she allowed my mom to stay at her home against the rules of the social worker. My grandmother continued the abuse, and even went further, forcing me to drink beer and smoke cigarettes. When I refused, she would beat me and even burn me. At age five I was permanently placed in the foster care system. By the age of nine I had gone from foster cfamily to foster family for an average stay of three or four months. I attended twenty seven different schools. No one wanted me, and although I had learned to be flexible with so much change in my life, I was an insecure, untrusting, angry and scared little kid. I quickly learned that if I rejected others before they had a chance to reject me, it wouldn’t be so painful.”

    If the story stopped here, she would have grown up to be another abusive woman, angry at the world, angry at her children. The cycle would have continued, and everyone would have understood.

    Ashley wrote:

    “I think success in overcoming childhood trauma and abuse in a person’s life is much more difficult than attaining worldly success. I have learned that bad things can happen to a person becasue of other people’s choices. I too make choices and it was up to me whether I would carry those painful memories and emotional scars the rest of my life. I could chose to let them weigh me down and keep me stuck in a life filled with anger, pain, self pity and bitterness. Or I could use them to become a better person.”

    What made this transformation possible? How could someone so abused and hated and discarded even begin to hope there was something more to this life?

    Ashley made a startling discovery. She discovered a different foster family. “They really did want me even though they were told I was mean, angry, aggressive, violent, used bad language and tried to hurt others. They loved me no matter what I did, and believe me I tested them plenty to be sure they weren’t going to throw me away like everyone else in my life did!”

    Ashley discovered love for the first time in her life. But then she discovered the reason for that love.

    “One of the things that was different with my new family…was their faith. My new mom and big brothers worked at a family camp and I got to go with them every day. I loved this camp and I got to experience being a kid, and playing and swimming and all the things a kid should experience. And I loved singing the new songs I learned every day. It did not take long before I made this faith my own. I discovered a faith that would carry me through all the trauma of my childhood, and bring complete healing and a wholeness I never thought possible.” Ahsley reveals the power of Jesus Christ when she states: “Through my faith in the Lord I have learned how to forgive those who hurt me and how to release each of those pains and not carry them.”

    She admits it has not been easy, and yet through it all, time and time again, she has seen that “I have a power inside me bigger than myself, and that with God, all things are possible!”

    This is the choice each Christian must make. Your background does not matter. What matters is are you going to believe in the power of Jesus Christ for your everyday life? Are you going to walk according to the NEW LAW, the “Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus?”

    Only as Christian’s walk in this new law are we able to enjoy the overcoming, abundant life of Jesus Christ.

    Or, we can let our failures, the abuses, hurts, pains and evils get us to where we are bitter, disillusioned, defeated. Jesus Christ is little more than a teacher, an ideal, who has little impact on this difficult life we lead.

    It’s up to you whether you will carry your failures and bad choices with you the rest of your life. You can choose to let them weigh you down and keep you stuck in a life filled with fleshly effort, fleshly choices, and all the anger bitterness and pain they bring.

    You have a choice of who you want to become.

    You can be a fleshly Christian, struggling the best you can to be like Jesus, always vacillating between defeat and victory, constantly being drawn away by your fleshly focus.

    Or you can be desperate enough to simply say,”Holy Spirit, I want the life you have for me. I want you to live Jesus through me.” You can stop struggling and start resting. When you realize you need His power, and stop using your own, is when you will see the reality of Jesus Christ.


    A mommy was out walking with her 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. The cautious Mom took the item away from her and asked her not to do that.
    “Why?” her daughter asked.
    “Because it’s been on the ground, you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty and probably has germs”
    Her daughter looked up at her Mom with total admiration and asked, “Mommy, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.”
    The Mom quickly replied: “All moms know this stuff. It’s on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mommy.”
    They walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, and the little girl seemed deep in thought.
    “OH…I get it!” she beamed, “So if you don’t pass the test you have to be the daddy.”
    “Exactly” the mommy replied back with a big smile on my face.

    Actually, there is no test to become a Mom, but even brief rundown of some of the job descriptions of a Mom are overwhelming:

    Dentist, Taxi driver, Doctor/Surgeon (stuffed animals), Lawyer, Policewoman, Coroner- (for pets), Coach, Teacher, Cook (apple jacks)/Chef (macaroni and cheese), Laundress, Dishwasher, Maid, Nurse – until we get our MD which happens after kid #2, Personal dresser, Personal shopper, Personal assistant, Secretary, Rocking chair, Singer, Artist, Diaper changer, Seamstress, Groomer, Cheerleader, Plumber, Counselor, Tissue (Mom’s clothes work better) Food taster, Tickler and Pudding lid licker.

    With all these responsibilities, is it any wonder that Mom’s mess up from time to time? Sometimes Mom’s flunk the Mommy Test!

    Lydia and I were in Archie last year playing golf at Blackberry Trails. We were on the fourth hole when we get a frantic call from our fifth child, Lindsey. She was headed out to the garage to go shopping with our 8th grandchild, Laila. Laila was just seven months old. She had her in her seat that snaps into the pedestal in the car. She forgot to get something, so she sets the seat on the counter top, and goes up to her bedroom. She hears a horrid sounding “crash” and Laila lets out this blood-curdling scream. She runs downstairs to see Laila lying face down on their hard tile flor, with the baby-seat on top of her. She picks her up and sees a huge bruise and knot forming on her forehead.

    When Lydia got the call, she was frantic as well. She immediately left and met Lindsey at the hospital.

    Lindsey had one of those Mommy Mess-Up moments. She just didn’t think that a seven month old could wiggle and kick that much. Lindsey had her first experience with “mommy guilt’, but praise God, Laila was fine. It seems that God designed little babies with “mess-up’s” in mind. Their little head bones are still forming and can take an accidental fall very well.

    An important aspect of being a Mom is learning how to deal with “Mommy Mess-up’s!

    Ali Landry is an actress, model, ABC’s Superstars celebrity participant, and founder of children’s clothing line Belle Parish, and became mom to Estela in 2007.

    “As a mom, I almost always feel guilty.  I think it’s just part of being a mom, never feeling like you have enough time for the kids, your husband, yourself!  It’s a daily struggle to be the best wife, mother, daughter etc. I can be.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”

    Now that my daughter’s a little older (2-1/2), I’m no longer so germ phobic.  I no longer feel like I need to clean off everything that falls on the ground before she sticks it back in her mouth.  A few germs are good for kids!”

    If a few germs are good for kid’s are “mess-ups” good for Moms?

    Wiktionary defines “mess up” as:

    • To make a mess of; to untidy, disorder, soil, or muss. “The afternoon breeze messed up my hair.”
    • To cause a problem with; to introduce an error or mistake in; to make muddled or confused; spoil; ruin. “The change messed something up, and it’s not working anymore.”
    • To botch, bungle; to perform poorly on. “Well, I messed up my solo, but otherwise it was a good concert.”
    • To make a mistake; to do something incorrectly; to perform poorly. “He has a hard time getting started because he’s afraid he’ll mess up.”
    • To cause (another person) to make unwanted mistakes in a given task, usually through distraction or obnoxious behavior. “Stop bumping me! You keep messing me up!”
    • To damage; injure. “He messed up his elbow at the track meet.”
    • To discombobulate, utterly confuse, or confound psychologically; to throw into a state of mental disarray. “That girl totally messed me up, man. I’m not sure who I am anymore.”

    Mom’s learn that messes are a fact of Motherhood:

    As one Mom writes:
    The morning starts off with spilled milk and sticky crumbs on the kitchen floor, progresses to tomato juice dumped on the carpet, includes a stopped-up sink and a visit to the emergency room, and finishes up with the dog meeting a skunk.  Throw in a call from your husband telling you he’s bringing company home for dinner — “just something casual, hon.”
    Sometimes we really mess up.
    Sometimes — for a lot of different reasons — we are reckless, or clueless, or just plain mean.  We’re spoiling for a fight.  We indulge our sarcastic streak.
    Our families suffer for our thoughtlessness and mistakes.  Sometimes, for a little while, we just don’t care.
    We blame the kids or we blame our husband.  We blame our mothers, the neighbors, or the girl at the check-out counter.  We blame just about anyone or anything else that  allows us not to take responsibility for our own actions and failures.  We justify our own behaviour, even if only to ourselves.
    After all, we’re the mom, right?

    And that is why we feel so bad, later on, when we realize just how much we messed up.

    Whether it was an honest mistake, or something we did purposefully, messing up has consequences to our families, our friends, and to ourselves.
    Sometimes our carelessness causes harm or serious pain to someone we love.  Or our mistakes disappoint them.  Perhaps our bad attitude causes someone we love to try on a bad attitude for themselves.
    What do we do then?
    What do we do when we’ve run over the cat with the car because we were in a hurry?
    How do we handle it when we forget our daughter’s kindergarten Thanksgiving feast?
    How do we respond when we hear our sarcastic attitude coming out of our son’s mouth?
    These are the moments we are glad our families cannot fire us.  Because we supervise our own work, it is up to us to fix the mess.  We must come up with our own remediation plan.

    The truth is, Mom’s can try to fix the messes, come up with your own remediation plan, but you will continue to suffer from “Mommy Guilt”. God has a better way to deal with mess-up’s. God can even deal with Mom’s who are totally messed up!

    How Does God deal with Mommy Mess-Up’s?

    1.  Moms that Mess Up are the Rule

    Romans 5:12 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…

    The very first Mom messed up. In fact, she and her husband are the reason all mom’s mess up.

    Genesis 3:1-7 (NLT) 1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.  “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

    Everything is under the Curse of Sin

    Because of Adam and Eve’s collosal mess-up, sin (mess-up’s) entered this world. This world and everything in it is under the curse of sin. Mom’s are going to mess up, and they will continue to feel guilt over their mess-ups.

    On the website “True Mom Confessions”, Mom’s can post there mess-up’s anonymously. There are literally thousands of anonymous confessions. I have picked some of the “tamer” ones, posted this past week:

    From True Mom Confessions

    • every time my two year old eats she does it with her mouth open..i want to kick her across the room anytime she eats within my hearing range.ive told her to close her mouth time and time again and now she does it on purpose
    • if i could have a do-over, id take it in a heartbeat. i hate my kids, my husband and life.
    • My sister is not bathing her 2 yr old or brushing his teeth because he doesn’t like it. She gives him a sponge-down and lets him chew on his brush for a minute instead. Am I overreacting when I say I think that’s just plain old bad parenting, JUST because he doesn’t like it they don’t do it?? He still has cradle cap coz they never wash his hair!
    • So mad at the boys yesterday. So mad. Damian (age 3) pooped his underwear (as if this isnt bad enough) and then proceeded to wipe it on the living room window. Then (yep, theres more!) Brayden (age 22 months) put his hands in it and smeared it on the window. And it wasn’t like they were being unsupervised either! Grant was in the same room with them and I was walking back and forth doing laundry, just didn’t realize what they were doing. Disgusting!
    • I failed. I did not protect my little boy from a savage dog attack. I did not keep my promise of me always keeping my babies safe. I lied to them; because it is NOT safe here .. I hear sirens and dogs barking everywhere in the air. I failed to Keep my young beings’ safe and innocent. I hate that bull mastiff so much I wish I knew where he was..
    • I’m the mom with the 17 year old pregnant daughter. I told her to get and job and be out of the house in a month tonight. How did I ever raise such a spoiled brat? And yes this pregnancy is a mistake and this baby is a mistake. I told her if she chooses adoption then I would pay for college like I promised. If she chooses to continue this charade of adulthood then she’s on her own. I know some people don’t agree but this isn’t how I raised my daughter. I’ve never understood parents that pay for their adult children. It’s not going to be me.
    • WISH MOTHERS DAY WAS OVER ALREADY, MINE HAS PASSED AWAY, AND I CAN’T HAVE A BABY. UGH. THIS IS THE HARDEST WEEK OF THE YEAR FOR ME. SORRY MOMS!

    Yes, Mom’s and women mess up, deal with guilt, deal with frustration, and yes, even hate their lives. This is the sad state of mankind. That is what Paul wrote in Romans 5:

    Romans 5:12-14 (ESV) 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given…and death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam…

    Mom’s all all under the curse of sin, and so death reigns over our lives. That little baby you bring into this world, that brings you so much joy, will also bring you sadness, heartache, and there is nothing you can do about it, except to see things God’s way!

    We Need Someone who can “Reverse the Curse”

    So Mom’s, and Dad’s, we need something to reverse this curse, and turn life into a Blessing! We need something else to reign over death! Glory be to God, there is an answer to our messes, even when our lives are totally messed up! That answer is Jesus!

    2.  Moms that Mess Up can receive the Wonderful Grace of Jesus!

    • Romans 5:15 (ESV) But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.
    • Romans 5:20 (ESV) Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…

    “Trespass or offense” is paraptōma, “a falling alongside, a deviation from the right path.” A “Mess-up”

    The glorious truth about “Mommy Mess-ups” is they show you your need for a Savior! Your mess-ups can open your heart to see your need for Jesus Christ! And when Jesus becomes your Savior and Lord, He gives a wonderful gift to you-the wonderful Grace of God.

    In fact, wherever “mess-up’s ” abound, the grace of God abounds even more.

    My dad moved us up to Prairie Village when I was five years old. He and mom had to leave their family in Ft Worth TX and move to a city where they knew no one. On top of that, Dad’s new job required him to travel 4 and 5 days a week. I was 5, my brother was 4 and we had a new baby brother. My brother John was one of those “impossible” kids. He was born rebellious. Nothing seemed to work. I can remember my mom chasing him all through the house, trying to spank him with a hair brush. One time she spanked him so hard it broke the hair brush, but John just kept laughing at her. It didn’t phase him. Mom’s favorit expression to yell was “Wait till your father get’s home Friday!” Mom and Dad had problems over this change in their life. I remember at about the age of 8 having to go live with a business associate of my dad’s. Mom had to go away. She was gone for a couple months. I learned when I was in my teens that Mom had had a nervous breakdown. She couldn’t cope with all the problems, with dad being gone, with her guilt, with her anger, with all of her “mess-up’s.” The mess-ups had gotten so bad that now her life was “messed-up.”

    One thing that happened after Mom came home was we started going to a church down the street. Prairie Baptist Church. I started learning about a man named Jesus. Mom started to pray with us and even read the Bible with us. After Glen Conus and Myrl Scofield made about 15 visits with my Dad, he started going to church.

    Things began to be different in our home. Mom was different. Dad was different. John was still John, but Mom could deal with him now. Dad still traveled, but managed to be home more often.

    What Happened?

    My Mom and Dad had found Jesus! God had showered them with Grace, the power to do what they ought to do! The power to do what they couldn’t do!

    God’s Grace Enables Me by Janet Mullaly

    I Know it’s the Spirit who is at work within me,
    cause I can’t do these things by myself.
    I have tried and I’ve tried
    but it’s always the same on my own
    Everything is a mess.
    I give praise to my Lord
    I give Praise to my King
    I give glory and honor to God
    For it is Him and not me
    This I clearly  do see
    It’s His Grace
    That enables me!

    God’s grace is far more effective and powerful than any single mess-up or a bunch of mess-ups! God’s Grace can forgive and even transform the worst of “messed-up” Mom’s.

    Now I’m not implying that only Mom’s mess up. No, men and women alike all mess up. What I am saying is that even the worst mess-up’s can be covered and forgiven by the grace of God!

    In fact, Paul describes himself as the Chief of “Mess-up’s”: 1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

    Jesus Came to Reverse the Curse!

    • “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
    • “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephes. 2:4-9).
    • “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:14-15).
    • “…His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephes. 1:6).

    Mom’s, when you place your life, your “mess-up’s in Jesus hands, you are surrounded by His grace. Your mess-ups may be simply because of the place you are in life-but in Christ, you are totally accepted in the beloved!

    Donald Whitney in Simplify Your Spiritual Life.  “Like Jean with three in diapers, you may be in a situation that curtails many of your spiritual activities.  You may be looking at many months or even years of such limitations.  Do what you can.  God does not love us more when we do more, nor less when we do less.  He accepts us, not because of what we do for Him, but because of what He’s done for us in Christ.  The Bible says,”He made us accepted in the Beloved [that is, Jesus}” (Eph. 1:6).  And nothing “shall be able to separate us form the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). Love God, and within the limitations He has sovereignly placed in your life at this time, do what you can.”

    No matter your mess-up, no matter how bad it was, or is, in Jesus Christ, you are accepted and beloved by God! His grace gives you the power to overcome the worst of mess-ups.

    Does that mean life will be rosy after coming to Jesus? No! Christian Mom’s mess-up just like non-Christian Mom’s.

    What’s the difference then? The difference is that now you have the Grace of Jesus to deal with your mess-up’s. You have Grace to carry you through the stress. You have Grace to give you peace when that “mommy-guilt” rears it’s head.

    Stress can lead to mess-up’s, mess-up’s can lead to guilt, guilt can lead to regret, regret can lead to depression and despair.

    Look at how Jesus handled stress, and a moment when he could have committed an enormous “mess-up!”

    For the truth is that if Jesus had to face stress, Mom’s are not exempt. You will continue to face stress, especially because you are a Mom. And when you think you have it licked because they are out of the home on their own, along come the grandkids. The cycle goes on.

    So Mom’s need to see how Jesus dealt with stress, stress that could have led to a monumental mess-up. Even Jesus came to experience the grace of His Father.

    It was just hours before He was to experience the crucifixion, before He was to experience becoming sin and being separated from His Father. It was the hour when He would experience an infinity of the wrath of God.

    His state of psychological stress was so severe that it has since been written about in medical journals: Hematohidrosis is a condition in which the blood vessels around sweat glands dilate to the point of rupture, whereupon the blood flows into the sweat glands – coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.

    This is a physical phenomena not frequently experienced, even in the most stressful circumstances. Yet, Jesus found Himself sweating blood on the evening before His crucifixion.

    During this period of time, Jesus demonstrated for every Christian how God equips a saint to think about, walk through, and succeed when under necessary STRESS:

    S – Scared to death of the
    T – Time just ahead, yet
    R – Resolving to
    E – Exude grace while being willing to
    S – Sacrifice our very life, if need be, to
    S – Succeed in God’s goals for us.

    Jesus was literally “overwhelmed with sorrow”, “full of anguish” and “falling face down” in prayer. But, HE PRAYED!

    Moms, when your stressed, when you mess-up, PRAY!

    P – Present your fears to God as honestly as you can
    R – Relinquish yourself into His hands
    A – Agree that He is Sovereign and ask for as much mercy as is possible given His goals
    Y – Yield yourself fully to His choices for your future.

    Mom’s, Jesus wants you to pray, to come to the THRONE OF GRACE!

    • Hebrews 4:16 (ESV) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
    • James 4:6-7 (ESV) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God…

    God Gives His Wonderful Grace to the Humble. It’s Ok to Mess-up! As the song so aptly announces:

    Wonderful grace of Jesus,
    Greater than all my sin;
    How shall my tongue describe it,
    Where shall its praise begin?
    Taking away my burden,
    Setting my spirit free;
    For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

    Refrain

    Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
    Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
    Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.
    Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
    Greater far than all my sin and shame,
    O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
    Praise His Name!

    Wonderful grace of Jesus,
    Reaching to all the lost,
    By it I have been pardoned,
    Saved to the uttermost,
    Chains have been torn asunder,
    Giving me liberty;
    For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

    The Water Bearer

    Pay attention to this parable of how God uses our “mess-ups” to bring beauty to the lives around us:

    A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his shoulders. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was perfect for the task for which it was made, and proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

    After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without your being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace my house.

    God is able to work His GRACE in the lives of every humble Mom who is aware of her mess-ups. In fact, God can keep you singing and rejoicing even in the midst of chaos. There will be flowers of beauty springing up all around your tears!

    3.  Moms that Mess Up can become Queens in Jesus!

    Remember Queen for a Day?

    The show opened with host Jack Bailey asking the audience—mostly women—”Would YOU like to be Queen for a day?” After this, the contestants were introduced and interviewed, one at a time, with commercials and fashion commentary interspersed between each contestant.[3]

    Using the classic “applause meter”, as did many game and hit-parade style shows of the time, Queen for a Day had its own special twist: each contestant had to talk publicly about the recent financial and emotional hard times she had been through.

    Bailey began each interview gently, asking the contestant first about her life and family, and maintaining a positive and upbeat response no matter what she told him. For instance, when a woman said she had a crippled child, he would ask if her second child was “Okay.” On learning that the second child was not crippled, he might say, “Well, that’s good, you have one healthy child.”

    The interview would climax with Bailey asking the contestant what she needed most and why she wanted to win the title of Queen for a Day. Often the request was for medical care or therapeutic equipment to help a chronically ill child, but sometimes it was as simple as the need for a hearing aid, a new washing machine, or a refrigerator. Many women broke down sobbing as they described their plights, and Bailey was always quick to comfort them and offer a clean white handkerchief to dry their eyes.

    The more harsh the circumstances under which the contestant labored, the likelier the studio audience was to ring the applause meter’s highest level. The winner, to the musical accompaniment of Pomp and Circumstance, would be draped in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe, given a glittering jeweled crown to wear, placed on a velvet-upholstered throne, and handed a dozen long-stemmed roses to hold as she wept, often uncontrollably, while her list of prizes was announced.

    The prizes, many of which were donated by sponsoring companies, began with the necessary help the woman had requested, but built from there. They might include a variety of extras, such as a vacation trip, a fully-paid night on the town with her husband or escort, silver-plated flatware, an array of kitchen appliances, and a selection of fashion clothing. The losing contestants were each given smaller prizes; no one went away from the show without a meaningful gift.

    Bailey’s trademark sign-off was “This is Jack Bailey, wishing we could make every woman a queen, for every single day!”

    But God’s Word says mommies can be QUEEN for all eternity! In fact, even amidst the chaos of motherhood, mommies reign with Jesus!

    • Romans 5:17 (ESV) For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
    • Romans 5:21 (ESV) so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Mom’s, you don’t have to have a sob-story to be selected as Queen for a Day! The fact that you know you mess-up is good enough. Simply humble your heart before Jesus Christ, tell him you have messed up, that you need Him to be your Lord and Savior, and guess what, you become Queen for Life!

    Jesus Christ reigns over death, over Satan, over sin! He reigns over the worst mess-up. When you place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you are born again as a daughter of God! You are a Queen, reigning with your new Husband, Jesus Christ!

    You reign, not because you are a super Mom, or a saintly Mom, in fact mistakes are OK! Your righteousness and Queenliness is not based on you, it is because you are in your husband, Jesus Christ! You depend upon His righteousness!

    Jesus never messes up! But you will always mess-up!

    Remember the next time you feel you are messing up, you lose your temper, you are exhausted so you take it out on your husband- You are a Queen, reigning with Jesus Christ!

    Before I was a Mom

    Before I was a mom,
    I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
    I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
    I never thought about immunizations.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on.
    I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
    I slept all night.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. Or give shots.
    I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
    I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
    I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put her down.
    I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt.
    I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
    I never knew that I could love someone so much.
    I never knew I would love being a Mom.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
    I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
    I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child.
    I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
    I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment
    or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
    I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
    before I was a Mom .

    May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of Motherhood!

    Today, you are on Queen for a Day, but Jesus is saying:

    “This is Jesus Christ, and I can make every woman my queen, for every day of their life!


    Paul Harvey told about a 3-year-old boy who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, “Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask.” She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down.

    They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items they ended up back in the cookie aisle. “Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down & be quiet.”

    Finally, they were approaching the checkout lane. The little boy sensed that this may be his last chance. So just before they got to the line, he stood up on the seat of the cart & shouted in his loudest voice, “In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?” And everybody round about just laughed. Some even applauded.

    And, according to Paul Harvey, due to the generosity of the other shoppers, the little boy & his mother left with 23 boxes of chocolate chip cookies.

    In this note, we are going to discover all the boxes of chocolate chip cookies God gives us through His Son, Jesus Christ!

    Let’s read Romans 5:1-11 in the Phillips translation, and perhaps we can get a glimpse of all we have through Jesus Christ:

    “Since then it is by faith that we are justified, let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace, and here we take our stand, in happy certainty of the glorious things he has for us in the future. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys – we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. And we can see that it was while we were powerless to help ourselves that Christ died for sinful men. In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, even if the latter be a good man, though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us. Moreover, if he did that for us while we were sinners, now that we are men justified by the shedding of his blood, what reason have we to fear the wrath of God? If, while we were his enemies, Christ reconciled us to God by dying for us, surely now that we are reconciled we may be perfectly certain of our salvation through his living in us. Nor, I am sure, is this a matter of bare salvation – we may hold our heads high in the light of God’s love because of the reconciliation which Christ has made.

    Don’t Overlook the Excitement of Paul. The New Living Translation reveals it in verse 11:

    “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”

    We have a WONDERFUL NEW RELATIONSHIP with God through Jesus!

    Martin Luther wrote…In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text!

    W E Vine observes that the fifth chapter shows what we have THROUGH CHRIST, while the sixth shows us what we are IN CHRIST. “THROUGH CHRIST” is the keynote of chapter five. Chapter 5 unfolds the subjects of the effects of the death and resurrection of Christ…(as Paul so richly described in Romans 3:21-25). (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson

    Romans is a book of supernatural logic which is knitted together with a fine thread of “therefore’s” (term of conclusion)…

    • Therefore of giving over – Ro 1:24
    • Therefore of condemnation Ro 3:20
    • Therefore of justification – Ro 5:1
    • Therefore of no condemnation – Ro 8:1
    • Therefore of dedication – Ro 12:1

    Paul reveals the main thrust of Romans in chapter 1, verses 16-17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    The gospel of Jesus Christ is the means of our DAILY salvation, whereby the righteousness of God becomes our righteousness!

    The Power of God is on Display

    Paul began Romans with the Power of God on display, the power to bring sinful man into a right and righteous relationship with God! Romans 5 reveals that this is all TROUGH Jesus Christ and how marvelous the benefits of that Right Relationship are! The result of Chapter 5 is that God now puts His Children of Faith on Display!

    The word “therefore” reaches back to the contents of chapter four — therefore being justified (made righteous-the righteousness of God), not by works (1-8), not by rituals (9-12), not by obedience to the law (13-25), but by faith (our belief in the truth of God), we have peace. Your works, your rituals, even your following the law will never bring peace to your heart and soul.

    All that follows from the 5th chapter, 1st verse to the end of the 8th chapter describes the fruit or results of justification, the inheritance of those who are justified. Having been justified by faith, that which Paul now discusses, chapters 6, 7 and 8, shall be true of us.

    We must fully understand and envision what Christ has done for us if we are to live the Christian life that Paul will detail in Romans 6,7 and 8!

    THEREFORE (Through Faith in Jesus Christ):

    I. The Reality of Justification by Faith

    To begin with, Paul sees justification as an accomplished work, “Therefore being justified,” or “since we are justified.” Justification is not hypothetical, not just a vague possibility, but a present reality for him who trusts in JESUS CHRIST. Justification is:

    1. A legal declaration of righteousness. It isn’t that a sinner is merely made to ‘feel’ righteous in a subjective way. Rather, God “declares” the sinner to be objectively righteous in a forensic or judicial sense — regardless of his or her feelings.

    2. A genuine righteousness.

    • God doesn’t simply decide to overlook the sinner’s sinfulness and “pretend” that he or she is righteous when that really isn’t the case;
    • He doesn’t simply “cover up” the sinner with the righteousness of Jesus in such a way as to conceal his or her real condition of sinfulness from His eyes — as though simply covering him or her with a “righteousness” coating.
    • When God justifies a sinner, He declares that sinner to be made really, genuinely, completely righteous, because that sinner is “in Christ.”

    3. An imputation of righteousness.

    • To “impute” something means to ‘attribute’ it or ‘credit’ it to something or someone else.
    • If, for example, I had a ‘zero’ balance in my checking account, I would draw some money out of my savings account and have it “imputed” or “credited” or “attributed” to my checking account.
    • The only way that the checking account could have cash value is if it is “imputed” into it from another account.
    • When God justifies a sinner, he or she is not made “righteous” on the basis of anything that they do — nor on the basis of anything God enables them to do.
    • God completely “imputes” genuine righteousness to them — “attributing” it to them, or “crediting” it to their account.

    4. A righteousness through faith as opposed to works.

    • Sinners are not “justified” on the basis of their faith — or on the basis of any other work they could do, for that matter.
    • They’re declared righteous before God on the basis of two things: that their sins were placed onto Jesus when He died on the cross; and that His perfect obedience and righteousness imputed to them — He became sin for them (and died in their place); and they became the righteousness of God in Him.
    • Faith isn’t the cause of justification;
    • Faith is the means by which the sinner comes into possession of that imputed righteousness.

    As it says of Abraham in Gen. 15:6, when God made the promise to him that, even though he was childless, he would one day have as many children as the stars in heaven, “Then he believed the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness

    Paul reinforces the proof of justification with three strong propositions:

    • Verse 6, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
    • Verse 8, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
    • Verse 10, “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”

    II. The Results of Justification by Faith

    1.  Peace with God

    Romans 5:1 (KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

    A sign in front of a church said, “If life is a puzzle, look here for the missing peace” and spelled that last word p-e-a-c-e!

    “It means to be in a relationship w/God in which all hostility caused by sin has been removed!”(Shepherds Notes, p 33)

    ἔχωμεν- let us have (Word Studies)= let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Peace (eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”.

    • “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” (Ephes. 2:14-15).
    • “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).
    • harmonized relationship between God and man (Vine’s).

    D L Moody..A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; all we have to do is to enter into it

    2.  Continuous Access to God’s Grace (place of privilege)

    Romans 5:2a (KJV) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…

    It is only through Christ that we have access into this grace. The word “access” (prosagōgēn) means to bring to, to move to, to introduce, to present. The thought is that of being in a royal court and being presented and introduced to the King of kings. Jesus Christ is the One who throws open the door into God’s presence. He is the One who presents us to God, the Sovereign Majesty of the universe. POSB

    It can refer to one’s “introduction” into a relationship or it can refer to “ongoing access” in an existing relationship. Paul’s use of the same term in Ephesians 2:18; 3:12 seems to suggest that what is in view in Romans 5:2 is continued access to God, and not so much on the initial introduction into the relationship.

    A. Wonderful Grace

    He hasn’t merely reconciled us to Himself and then left it up to us to keep ourselves in that state. He has placed us “in Christ”; and in Him, we have been made “the righteousness of God” And being in that state of righteousness, it’s only by His grace that we stay that way!

    B. Continuous Access

    • Through Jesus Christ His Son, we “have obtained (place of continuous access to God).
    • We are not left to ourselves to keep from wandering in and out of God’s favor all the time. We’ve been introduced to a state of favor before Him through Christ; and in Christ, it’s in this state of favor that, by being in Christ, we forever “stand”!
    • Paul wrote to the Galatian church about this very issue.
      • The Christians in Galatia were fearful that, even though they were brought into God’s favor by His grace, they needed to keep the old Jewish ceremonies of the Old Testament in order to stay in God’s favor.
      • Paul wrote to them very strongly and urged them not to place themselves under those rules and ceremonies.
      • “Are you so foolish?”, he asked them; “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).
      • “It was for freedom that Christ set you free,” he reminded them; “therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (5:1).

    3.  Hope of the Glory of God

    Romans 5:2b (KJV) …and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    We have a Whole New Outlook.

    We now share together with Christ in His glory. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).That prospect comes from being “in Christ”. Jesus Himself prayed to the Father, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:22-23). It’s not called a “hope” because we merely hope it will happen. Paul’s meaning is that it’s a “hope” in the sense of a certain expectation;

    Romans 8:29-30, “whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

    Those whom God has justified will also be glorified!

    I heard about an old, saintly Christian gentleman who said, “I may not be much to look at right now; but one day, I’m goin’ on parade!!”

    4.  Rejoicing in Trials

    Romans 5:3-5a (KJV) 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation(thilipsis-pressure) worketh patience(endurance, constancy); 4 And patience, experience(dokimos-approved); and experience, hope: 5 And hope(elpis-anticipate with confidence) maketh not ashamed…

    Tribulation = word that means to “squeeze” or “press” something; Picture of pressing circumstances or distressing hardships. “It describes distress that is brought on by outward circumstances.” Look at the way God uses the “pressure times” in the life of someone that He has declared “righteous” before Him.

    A. Tribulations produce “perseverance” or “patient endurance”.

    • Endurance-constancy
    • They produce the quality of learning to trust in God and wait upon Him, relying upon His strength in the knowledge that He has nothing in mind for us but our good.
    • The capacity to endure calmly, confidently, & w/o complaint.” (J. Sidlow Baxter, Awake My Heart, p. 180)
    • Tribulation is a thorny tree, but it yields sweet fruit.
    • A guitar string only fulfills its purpose when it is removed from its old package, stretched as tight as it will go, & then plucked!
    • When a storm comes at sea, a ship turns to face the tempest. If the vessel allows the storm to hit its side, it will capsize. If it turns its back to the storm, the storm will drive it wherever the wind blows. Only in facing the storm is the ship safe.

    God is not punishing us.

    • All our punishment has already gone onto Christ, and He took our punishment for us.
    • And what’s more, His righteousness before God was placed to our account.
    • What a difference between the man who crosses the finish line and the one who drops out of the race ten yards from the tape, between the fighter who fights until the bell rings and the one who throws in the towel

    We are Justified with God, so there’s nothing left to think about our troubles and trials but as things that our sovereign God permits to come upon us in order to make us grow into the glorious image of Christ that He has predestined us “in Him” to be.

    B. Perseverance produces “proven character.” (Reveals what we really are inside.)

    • Dokimos-approved coinage, approved soldier

    The difficult times of life don’t make us into anything different — they just show us to be what we really are. If someone comes out of their trials a bitter person, it’s because, deep within, they were already bitter in the first place — and the circumstance simply proved their true character. If someone comes out of their trials with a sense of confidence in God, giving praise to Him for what He has done, it’s because God developed perseverance in them through the exercise of their faith in Him — and the circumstance simply proved their true character.

    C. Proven character produces “hope”.

    • Confident Anticipation that it will be worth it all!
    • This “hope” is the praise we’ll receive from Jesus for having been faithful to Him — even while undergoing a time of trial; His “Well done!”
    • This is a hope that “does not disappoint”, as it says in verse 5, “because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
    • It’s a hope that already has a guarantee of victory to it because He already loves us! All this, because He has declared us righteous in Christ!!
      • The present in no way jeopardizes the future (5:5).
      • Paul’s emphasis here is that in light of justification and the indwelling Spirit, God can actually use our difficult experiences in life to work a deeper hope in us—i.e., a deeper longing for him and desire to experience him.

    5.  Confidence in God’s Love for us

    Romans 5:5b-8 (KJV) 5 … the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    A.God Loves us the Same as His Son

    “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that you sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (17:25-26).

    In fact, Jesus even prayed that the extent of God’s great love for us would become clearly known; “… that the world may know,” He prayed, “that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:23).
    How can we help but gasp when we read that — that the Father loves us as much as He loves His own Son Jesus!!

    Billy Graham said: “When we preach atonement, it is atonement planned by love, provided by love, given by love, finished by love, necessitated because of love. – When we preach the resurrection of Christ, we are preaching the miracle of love. When we preach the return of Christ, we are preaching the fulfillment of love.”

    B. The Love of God is the Hope of the Weak and Powerless

    Hope always burns brightly in those whose character has been developed through overcoming trials.

    • Paul is not talking about the objective love of God shown to us in the cross (3:25; 5:8), but rather the subjective apprehension (i.e., in our hearts) of God’s love. For Paul this is primarily an emotional experience with a force greater than the doubt inflicted through trials (cf. Phil 4:6-7).
    • Hope is not the tuition we pay as we enroll in the school of adversity. Rather, it is the diploma awarded to those who by the grace of God do well on the tests.

    Priest and poet George Herbert wrote in The Temple (1593-1633), “He who lives in hope dances without music.”

    How do we experience this great love as displayed by Jesus? We experience it as the Holy Spirit makes it known in our hearts. He literally “shed’ the love of God into our lives. As we place our faith in the blood of Jesus, the Love of God flows into our hearts and lives.!

    • There is a saying among Italian sculptors, who often miss the chisel and hit their own hands with the hammer: “When the blood flows out, the mastery enters.”
    • It was so with Jesus. It was his death on Calvary that made him the master of our souls. “There is power in the blood.”

    6.  A Living Salvation

    Romans 5:9-10 (KJV) 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    A. Saved by His Life: we will also be completely saved from sin and death by Christ’s resurrection life and our union with him

    Salvation is not a one time thing that happens by our faith in a past action. Salvation is an ongoing process which is undertaken by our LIVING SAVIOR! His live becomes our life! His righteousness becomes our righteousness! Our Salvation will be consummated when our physical bodies are resurrected! Then we can truly say, “O death, where is your sting?”

    If He so loved us when we were still sinners — which is the far greater thing; then now that we’ve been declared righteous by Him out of His love for us, He will surely spare us from His wrath against sin — which is the lessor thing. Just as God is gracious and ready to forgive, He is also just and is fully prepared to pour out His wrath on sinners that will not receive His merciful offer, but who continue to defiantly rebel against Him.

    B. There Will be A Judgment

    He declares His own character to Moses in this way: “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty upunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (Exodus 34:6-7).

    This gives us cause to stop and remember that while He is always and ever ready to forgive any sinner that cries out to Him, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”; He still remains a holy God and will not put up with sin. To those who will not turn from their sins and receive His gracious offer of “justification by faith”, there remains this warning of His wrath.

    7.  Friendship with God

    Romans 5:11 (KJV) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    A. Our New Life in our Living Savior allows us to offer praise to God

    “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

    B. Our New Life in our Living Savior allows us to Rejoice in our Relationship with God

    Revelation 7:15-17; “… they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

    C. Our New Life in our Living Savior allows us to enjoy the experience of ever-satisfying, ever-thrilling, ever-expanding fellowship with Him for all eternity.

    • John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
    • John 17:3 (ESV) And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
    • John 15:14-15 (ESV) 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

    The Three Phases of Redemption

    In these short eleven verses, Paul gives us the three phases of our redemption:

    1. Justification, (freedom from guilt, imputation of righteousness);
    2. Sanctification, the operation of righteousness and grace received when justified, which results in Christian growth
    3. Glorification – the resurrection of our glorified body to dwell with God for all eternity

    • Justification, the beginning of the Christian experience;
    • Sanctification, the development of the Christian experience;
    • Glorification, the consummation of the Christian experience.

    The Pit and the Pendulum

    Edgar Allen Poe wrote a horrifying story set in a dungeon during the Spanish Inquisition.He takes us beneath a castle into a horrible dark, rat-infested dungeon. There we find an unnamed man who has been tried and found guilty.The stench of death and human feces is overpowering. He can hear tha rats scampering all around him. He tries to search the dungeon to see if there is a way of escape, but it’s too dark. He stumbles around and nearly falls into a huge pit in the center of the cell. He is knocked unconscious. When he wakes up, he realizes that he is strapped into a torture device that houses a swinging, razor-sharp pendulum. The pendulum gradually lowers closer and closer to his heart. The man goes mad as he watches the pendulum grow near.

    He uses his free hand to wipe the remains of his last meal onto the strap that sits between his body and the pendulum. This attracts the rats, and they chew through the strap, freeing him. As soon as he stands, the pendulum is raised and the iron walls— which have been heated to a dangerous level—close in on him. The hero is forced closer to the pit’s opening. Just before he falls, General Lasalle’s French army arrives and rescues him.

    Our enemy Satan has thrown mankind into a dark miserable dungeon of sin. He makes us godless, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless, worthless and powerless. He binds us with our sins, he tortures us, and he is constantly pushing us into the pit of his Hell.

    We are absolutely powerless to escape, to try to save ourselves. The walls are closing in, and all seems lost,

    “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. For… God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners…Romans 5:6-8 (NLT)

    God has given us so much, so that we can have so much!

    III. The Life of Jesus is our Salvation

    1 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

    Because He Lives and through our faith in Him, we know we have:

    1. Peace with God
    2. Continuous Access to God’s Grace
    3. Hope of the Glory of God
    4. Rejoicing in Trials
    5. Confidence in God’s Love for us.
    6. A Living Salvation
    7. Friendship with God

    Are you content to hear the swooshing of the pendulum blade as it inches closer and closer to your heart? Do you enjoy the rats of sin? Do you enjoy the stench of death and decay? God wants you to enjoy Him, to enjoy His Love, His peace, His grace, His friendship. And it is all freely given to you through His Son, Jesus Christ! It is all yours by believing in God’s Word! Believe God, and it will be counted to you as Righteousness!


    The minister decided to do something a little different one Sunday morning. He said ‘Today, I am going to say a single word and you are going to help me preach.’ Whatever single word I say, I want you to sing whatever hymn that comes to your mind.

    The pastor shouted out, ‘Cross,’ Immediately the congregation started singing in unison, ‘The Old Rugged Cross.’

    The pastor hollered out ‘Grace.’ The congregation began to sing ‘Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.’

    The pastor said ‘Power.’ The congregation sang ‘There is Power in the Blood’

    The Pastor said ‘Sex.’ The congregation fell in total silence. Everyone was in shock. They all nervously began to look around at each other afraid to say anything. Then all of a sudden, way from in the back of the church, a little old eighty seven year old grandmother stood up and began to sing ‘Precious Memories.’

    Memories can be precious, but to live our life in the past is not practical, nor pleasing to God. It means you have stagnated, been put out to pasture, basically your life is over. Life is meant to be lived in the now, with new precious memories. God is God of the Living, God is actively, intimately involved in your lives. He wants to be your God of the Now, not the God of the past.

    God asks the question each and every day you get up: What are you going to do with me today?

    We recently looked at how God values the Blood of Jesus Christ. He values the Blood so supremely that it was sufficient to satisfy His righteous demands for sinful man, it is powerful enough to enable us to be declared righteous, it is powerful enough to allow God to dwell in us, it is powerful enough for that very same blood to cleanse our conscience, not only at Salvation, but each and every day we live. It is powerful enough to put God on the side of man against all the accusations of Satan., In fact, through the blood, God declares that there is now NO CONDEMNATION. Satan can’t bring one charge against us.

    The difficulty you and I face is one of belief. This week we will look at FAITH, and what it means to live a life of faith as Paul presented it here in Romans 3:26-4:24.

    The saddest indictment that Jesus can bring against you is “O you of little faith!

    Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV) And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

    Faith represents a storm of change. Instead of being tossed about by the storms of this world, you are in charge, you are in control. Your storm is more overpowering! FAITH has that power. It is not your personal power, but it is a rock solid belief in the one who has the Power!

    So this morning I want us to step inside the Ship that Jesus commands, it is the ship called the USS FAITH! Let’s see what we need to learn in order to weather any storm, any tsunami, any hurricane!

    What happens now to human pride of achievement? There is no more room for it. Why, because failure to keep the Law has killed it? Not at all, but because the whole matter is now on a different plane – believing instead of achieving. We see now that a man is justified before God by the fact of his faith in God’s appointed Saviour and not by what he has managed to achieve under the Law. And God is God of both Jews and Gentiles, let us be quite clear about that! The same God is ready to justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith also. Are we then undermining the Law by this insistence on faith? Not a bit of it! We put the Law in its proper place. Romans 3:27-31 (Phillips NT)

    [Romans 3:27 (ESV) Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.]

    In order to cruise with jesus, there are three things that are not allowed aboard His ship of Faith! These Three things will keep you from the Power of the Law of Faith which powers the USS FAITH!

    THREE NO-NO’s!

    1. NO PRIDE! (27,28)
    Quit trying to keep a “profit & loss” statement w/God! Quit making an entry on the “credit” side of the page whenever you carry out one of the law’s requirements. The Gift always glorifies the Giver not the Recipient! So, no boasting! Remember the great hymn, “When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride!”

    2. NO PREJUDICE! (29,30)

    Paul takes them to the basis of the Jewish creed, the very thing that every Synagogue service always begins with even today…The Shema, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” “One” – Not one kind of God for the Gentiles & One kind for the Jews…The Lord is One! The way to God is the same way for all!

    3. NO PRESUMPTION! (31)

    Does this mean the nd of the law? No! – It strengthens it! The Law is the expression of God’s Character and should never be ignored. Up to this time man tried to be a good man, tired to keep the commandments, tried to serve God, because he was afraid of God, & terrified of the punishment that would come. But now we strive for goodness because we love God, not because we are afraid of him!

    Romans 4 and the Power of Faith

    I. The USS FAITH is Piloted by Jesus and Powered by the Law of Faith

    Romans 4 is all about the “Law of Faith” mentioned by Paul in Romans 3:27: “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith! Here Paul masterfully lay’s out what the Reformers called “Sola Fide”! (Faith Alone). We MUST get aboard the USS FAITH, there is no other way!

    “Any church which puts in the place of justification by faith in Christ another method of salvation is a Harlot church”. (Spurgeon)

    The Monstrous Hull of the USS Faith is made out of an impenetrable material called JUSTIFINIAM!

    Let’s go over justification one more time! It is a process by which an individual is brought into an unmerited, right relationship w/God. It does mark that instantaneous point of entry that makes a person right with God. As long as you remain in the ship of Faith, you are declared righteous! Even though the salt spray of sin covers you, the Blood of Jesus continually cleanses you! HOW? By staying on the ship called FAITH! As soon as you get off, as soon as you start to listen to the accusations of Satan, as soon as you start to feel sorry about yourself, as soon as you focus on yourself, you are wavering on the deck, and the danger is that you will fall and become shipwreck.

    1 Timothy 1:19 (ESV) holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

    Faith is able to turn the tables on the storms of life. Faith is able to quiet the winds, calm the sea, and deliver you safely to God’s destination. Faith alone!

    A.   USS FAITH BLOWS THE STORM OF WORKS AWAY  (1-8)

    Jewish tradition said it was from works! (The Mishna’s 3rd division Kiddushin [4.14] interpreting Gen.26:5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” “we find that Abraham our father had performed the whole law before it was given” [actually came 4 centuries later];

    (Romans 4:1-2) “What shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

    Abraham was not righteous because of his works. There is no boasting aboard the USS FAITH! “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” He believed God – He trusted in what God said! He believed God would keep His word!

    (vs 4) “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.” No, he didn’t work for his right standing with God, nor try to earn it as his rightful wage.

    (vs 5) “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” God justifies the ungodly not the righteous, simply because you believe His Word! The ‘self-righteous” don’t see their need for a Savior. Only those who see their ungodliness cry out for God!

    Mt.9:11-13 “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

    (vs 6-8) “just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
    To strengthen his argument First Mate David speaks.  From Ps.32:1,2 we see David knew God’s “forgiveness, covering, & the promise not to credit the sin any longer to his account.”

    As long as you are remain in USS FAITH, your sins are covered, you are in a right lawful relationship with God. Your lawlessness is remembered no more! Corrie Ten Boom said “When we confess our sins, God casts then into the deepest ocean, gone forever. And even though I cannot find a scripture for it, I believe God then places a sign out there that says, NO FISHING ALLOWED!”

    Justification is a double accounting. God will never count our sins against us. God credits our account w/righteousness, as a free gift, by faith, altogether apart from our works.

    1 John 1:5-10 (ESV) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    1 John 2:1-6 (ESV) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

    B.   USS FAITH BLOWS THE STORM OF RITUALS AWAY! (9-12)

    Romans 4:9-12 (ESV) Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

    When was Abraham Justified by Faith(saved)? Gen.15:6: “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness!” When was Abraham circumcised? Gen.17:22-27! So, it was several years later (Ishmael was 13). Kent Hughes says, “Sola Fide was a Gentile Principle long before it was a Jewish reality!”

    So what was the importance of circumcision then?

    • It was not the work that attained him a right relationship w/God.
    • It was a sign of the justifying faith he already had.
    • It was a sign of faith, not a substitute for it.
    • It was also a sign of God’s Faithfulness to the Jews
    • Just as the Blood is God’s Sign to us of our forgivenss
    • Just like what baptism is to us today!

    So, The USS FAITH was built before the seal of circumcision. God’s promises to Abraham & his descendants were not tied to their keeping the Law. The promise was of grace. It all starts with faith. And it always has. And it always will!

    To put the relationship between God & man on a legalistic basis invites the wrath of God!

    C. USS FAITH CALMS THE STORM OF THE LAW! (13-25)

    (13-17)for the promise to abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the god in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

    That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham. Some people are made uncomfortable by walking by faith. They would rather see a system of rules and laws to live by. It is easier to walk by sight that way. It is easier to live in the flesh.

    “You’re worried about permissiveness–about the way the preaching of grace seems to say it’s okay to do all kinds of terrible things as long as you just walk in afterward and take the free gift of God’s forgiveness. …While you and I may be worried about seeming to give permission, Jesus apparently wasn’t. He wasn’t afraid of giving the prodigal son a kiss instead of a lecture, a party instead of probation; and he proved that by bringing in the elder brother at the end of the story and having him raise pretty much the same objections you do. He’s angry about the party. He complains that his father is lowering standards and ignoring virtue–that music, dancing, and a fattened calf are, in effect, just so many permissions to break the law.

    And to that, Jesus has the father say only one thing: “Cut that out! We’re not playing good boys and bad boys any more. Your brother was dead and he’s alive again. The name of the game from now on is resurrection, not bookkeeping.”(Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon and Three. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 7.)

    Common sense will tell you that you are too wrong to meet the standards of a holy God. Pardoning grace tells you that it’s all right in spite of so much in you that is wrong. Realistic common sense tells you that you are too weak, too harassed, too human to change for the better.
    Pardoning grace promises that you can trust God to have a better tomorrow.

    (vs 18) “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”) Contrary to hope in hope he believed! This is chiseled faith – not rose-colored glasses faith; not positive outlook that denies pain & struggle faith. We’re talking about “white-knuckle” faith. The kind that holds on for dear life!

    Faith didn’t come easy for Abraham:

    This one called “exalted father”(Abram)…was childless, in a culture in which it was a disgrace to the whole family. At 75 called to leave home,  given the promise of an heir of his own(“surely now the child will come”) – He didn’t. 10 years past he’s 85, he receives a re-promise. Confident God would do it, but still unclear how, he takes Hagar as his surrogate solution! At age 86 Ishmael is born(but this wasn’t the child of God’s covenant). 13 more years & he’s 99 now. He hears from God again. Name change “father of a multitude”[ok, that helps!] Promise reconfirmed. Finally at age 100 Isaac was born.

    25 YEARS AFTER GOD PROMISED!

    “Hope prevents us from clinging to what we have, and frees us to move away from the safe place, and enter unknown and fearful territory.” Henri J. Nouwen in The Wounded Healer.  Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 13.

    (vs 19-20) “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,

    He glorified God by letting Him be God! Let Jesus Steer the USS Faith! He is the only one who can take the helm! True Faith would never put its own name in lights, but instead it always tips a searchlight to point up to God & His Grace!

    (vs 21) “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

    D. L. Moody said “God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”

    (vs 23) But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,

    Paul says this has application to you this morning so, listen up! This wasn’t just for Abraham. This is for YOU!

    In whom is your faith placed? Yourself? Your good works? Your faith’s faith? Your ability to lead a “good enough” life? Or, is it placed in His provision (Jesus Christ?)

    Only Jesus can wipe your slate clean!  Only he can give you His own righteousness!

    (24, 25) “but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”)

    So how is a person saved today?Simply by believing God’s promises as Abraham did.

    “Faith & promise go together just as law & works go together.”Warren Wiersbe; pg.733

    Imputed/credited/accounted – “At Calvary, our sins were put on Christ’s account; when you trusted Christ, God put Christ’s righteousness on your account” (2 Cor.5:21) Jesus Christ, crucified & raised to life, is God the Father’s gracious provision for the sins of a fallen race.

    Once in a church in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where the Jesus Film was being shown, Weeping and gasps of unbelief could be heard in the shocked hush as Jesus was crucified. As the Bengalis watched, they were feeling the agony of Jesus’ pain and the disappointment of the disciples. In that emotional moment, one young boy in the crowded church suddenly cried out, “Do not be afraid. He gets up again! I saw it before.” A small boy’s encouraging cry gave new hope to the viewers of the film. – “He is risen!” is the cry that gives new hope to all!