Posts Tagged ‘Unbelief’


Hebrews-study-in-contrasts

Hebrews was written by the Holy Spirit to a people who believed they knew Jesus Christ as Savior. Most everyone who read this letter had heard the voice of Jesus, whether in reality or spiritually. Most everyone had made a decision to follow Jesus. All the readers attended church, and probably gave a tithe, said a prayer, read the Old Testament, and took communion. By man’s measure of salvation, they were there, they could stand up and testify they knew they were going to heaven when they died. Some say it is hard to understand, others say it has some passages that are difficult to interpret. Everyone says there are passages that are hard to explain to young Christians. Hebrews is not normally the book given to new believers to study. However, this book is exactly what new believers need. I believe that the writer had young believer’s in mind as he or she penned it. They need to understand this truth, and learn the importance of living in it.

Who-is-the-Christian

This letter is powerful but difficult to understand. Plain but obscure. Pointed yet vague at times. Before we dig deeper into Chapter 4, I must be very honest and blunt with you, for our author is very blunt as well. Most preachers do not preach honestly about what we are going to begin discussing in Chapter 4. They either ignore it, spiritualize it or gloss it over with a thick coat of marine varnish so it appears shiny. I will not gloss it over, and if this truth makes you uncomfortable, a little squirmy, then great. This is what the Holy Spirit wants. In order to grasp the truth of Chapter 4, we need to understand the underlying purpose of Hebrews. Hebrews presents several Contrasts to bring home the truth:

CONTRASTS

A. Hebrews is a Study in Contrasts (differences)

  • „ contrasts-of-hebrewsJesus vs Angels – 1 & 2
  • „ Jesus vs Moses – 3
  • „ Jesus vs Joshua – 4
  • „ Jesus vs the Old Testament High Priest – 5
  • „ Jesus vs Abraham – 6
  • „ Jesus vs Mechizedek – 7
  • „ Jesus vs the Old Covenant – 8
  • „ Jesus vs the Earthly Temple – 9
  • „ Jesus vs earthly sacrifices – 10

THE KEY CONTRAST IS: DO YOU SHARE OR NOT?

B. Those who share in Christ and those who do not
(they have no life, no rest-now and forever)

  • Christ came to bring many sons to Glory-He had to do what was necessary to restore this world to the Glory of God and to bring many sons to God

Christian-heart-issueHebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

PROOF THAT HEBREWS IS ABOUT WHETHER YOU SHARE IN CHRIST OR NOT

Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

  • Christ had to become exactly like us in flesh and blood so that we could share in His Life and victory

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

  • Through Christ, we share in a heavenly calling, whereby we can hear the Voice of God

Hebrews 3:14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

  • Contrasts2We share in Jesus Christ

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,

  • We share in the Holy Spirit, and He brings certain assurances with Him.

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

  • We share His holiness through His discipline

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

  • We share with others

Hebrews 12:1 We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

C. How do you know if you share in Christ?

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD?

The Writer gives us the Key and it is the Word of God.

I want you to look at something that will at first appear obvious, but then I want to bring it a little closer to your heart:

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Right away the author lets us know that all of creation understands the Power of the Word of Christ! You will never realize the power of His Word without faith.

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Hebrews 4:6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,

Lack of Faith and Disobedience are tied together. Evidenced by refusal to hear the Word!

faith_vs_unbelief - CopyThe Jews in the wilderness actually begged Moses to stop speaking the Words of God to them! They stopped their ears and “NO MORE!” Hebrews 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

  • The truth is that many people hear the Word of Power, but most do not know its power, because they are unwilling to believe and obey

How Do You Know if you share in Christ?
The Word is Alive to You!

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  • The Word is only powerful to those who are honest in their heart, and willing to submit to the power of the Word

heart contrastHebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

  • Faith and Obedience to the Word of God extends to those who preach the Word for they Evidence the reality of Faith by their Lives

D. The Greatest Contrast has to do with your Heart. (Chapter 3 & 4)

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Contrast-of-heart-belief-or-unbeliefYes, the truth is that regardless of your view of Salvation, whether Arminian or Calvinistic, whether you can lose your Salvation or whether you believe in once-saved always saved-the truth is that your heart is the KEY to whether Jesus Christ makes any CONTRAST in your life!

God does not sit up in heaven and say “yes, you are saved because you said a prayer when you were 8.” That is how we tend to judge whether we are saved or not.. That is a man-centered view of Salvation.

God has a different determination of whether you are saved or not. He details it in the Letter to the Hebrews. It has to do with your heart-whether it believes or not! God doesn’t just listen to your confession of belief, He looks into the darkest corner of your heart and sees how that confession of belief interacts with your life.

God wants to see contrast, a contrast with your life in comparison to the lives of those who don’t care. You say you care and you are saved, but God wants to see a contrast.

Belief that actuates the Power of God to affect your life everyday is the aim of Hebrews.

EVIDENCE OF A BELIEVING HEART

evidence-of-believing-heartYou are either dead to God, or you have His life. I don’t care how alive you think you are. If your life has not been affected by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, you are dead to God.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

You can say a prayer, you can join a church, you can get baptized all in the strength of your flesh and will, but if the Word of God and the Holy Spirit have not touched your life in such a way that you obey in faith, you are dead.

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 2:1-7 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Here is evidence that you share in the Life of Jesus Christ:

1 John 5:4-5 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

experience-Christs-power-to-restRest in Christ. Does that mean you don’t do anything? No, what it does mean is that you are yoked to Him and He is your primary focus. He gives  rest to your souls no matter what news you are hearing, or what situation you are facing.

  • The Word of God that penetrates your heart on a daily basis. (Manna)
  • Power to overcome the Giants of sin.
  • Courage and Confidence in the face of trials and hardships.

ARE YOU RESTING IN THE REALITY OF A LIFE IN JESUS CHRIST IN HIS VICTORY?

  • The FOCUS of your belief is to actuate the REST we have in Jesus Christ.
  • The FOCUS of the Jews in the Wilderness was to get to the Promised Land, a place of REST

overcome the world - CopyHebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4:9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

Hebrews 4:10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore strive (1 below) to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

    • “to make effort, be prompt or earnest :- do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavor”
    • Not working as if it depends upon you, but effort born from a sense of urgency and need.
    • Knowing that our ways are opposite God’s ways

This is not talking about heaven. This is talking about NOW! God wants us to know and experience the Belief that brings the Life of His Son into our lives. This is eternal life. This is the Promise. This is the Rest!

1-ephesians-2-vs-4-61As Paul said, we SIT with Jesus in the Heavenlies! We REST in Him! That Rest is evidence of our salvation.

Is Salvation confidence in a prayer, or even in a better life you think you are experiencing?

Not according to God’s Word. Salvation results in a change in your life and your desires!

Here is Evidence that you do not share in the Life of Jesus Christ:

1. Being overthrown in the wilderness (the world).

1 Corinthians 10:5-6 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Fail to reach – hystereō (see footnote 2) –to be last, behind, posterior in place or time. In the NT, figuratively of dignity, condition, strength and the like, to be behind, inferior, to lack (see footnote 3) – fall short of recognition by God.

    • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
overcome_the_world - CopyChristians are to Overcome the World by their Faith and Belief in God and His Word!
  • For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.
    Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5  

2. Having an Unbelieving Heart

Do-you-have-unbelieving-heart

  • Look at what happened in the Wilderness because of unbelieving hearts:

Exodus 17:1-7 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of  Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

  • Testing God by thinking He doesn’t care about your situation.
  • Turning back to the world and what it has – Achan
  • Relying on your own strength to get what you want.
  • Not believing and obeying God.

3. Living in your Flesh

black-heart-89479 - CopyNumbers 13:30-31 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”

The Jews did not believe they could take the land, so they refused and desired to go back to Egypt, in spite of seeing all that God had done! Then Moses pronounced God’s judgment upon them, that they would never be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So they said, let’s go in and show God that we can do it!

Numbers 14:39-45 When Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, the people mourned greatly. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the LORD has promised, for we have sinned.” But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the LORD, when that will not succeed? Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies. For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed out of the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.

The REST of God is a REST that is supernatural, it can not be attained by fleshly efforts. They were doomed to encounter defeat!

TO GOD, THE PROOF OF YOUR BELIEF IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE ENTERED INTO HIS REST.

  • This REST is only possible in Jesus Christ!unbelieving-heart - Copy

(1) Because Christ is Exalted above the Angels, being the Creator God and Managing this Creation with His Life:

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. „

The Danger is that we miss out on LIFE by drifting away from our Savior „ He will roll up all the old and useless stuff in a coat-do you want to be rolled up too?

(2) Because Christ is our mighty Captain, having become a man yet still conquering sin and making atonement for us, 

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling,consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

„ If we are to share a heavenly calling, we will focus our lives upon Jesus „ Jesus has shown us that He the truth from God. „ Jesus has shown us that He is our High Priest who can be trusted and find comfort in.

(3) Because Jesus is the Builder and Faithful of God’s House:

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

„ We must watch our hearts, lest we fail to reach God’s house. „ The promise of rest requires our cooperation, desire and effort.

(4) The Rest which Christ promised is His Rest but it is not a passive rest.

Cure-for-unbelieving-heart-is-plenty-of-lettuceHis Rest is built on a bed of LETTUCE, as the next post will show.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

  • 1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

More on how to obtain this rest in the next post…

1 “to make effort, be prompt or earnest :- do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour” James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “4704”.

2 James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “5302”.

3 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hystereō“.

REST: Usage Notes: signifies “to cause or permit one to cease from any labor or movement” so as to recover strength. It implies previous toil and care.William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Eased”.

anapaúō; fut. anapaúsō, from aná , again, and paúō , to cease, give rest. To give rest, quiet, recreate, refresh (Matt. 11:28; 1 Cor. 16:18; Phile. 1:20); in the mid. / pass. form, to be refreshed (2 Cor. 7:13; Phile. 1:7, 20; Sept.: Prov. 29:17; Isa. 14:3; Ezek. 34:15). In the mid., anapaúomai, to rest oneself, to take one’s rest 

(Matt. 26:45; Mark 6:31; 14:41; Luke 12:19; 1 Pet. 4:14; Rev. 6:11; 14:13; Sept.: Deut. 33:20; Esth. 9:16; Job 10:20; Prov. 21:16; Isa. 13:20, 21; 27:10; Mic. 4:4). In relation to 1 Pet. 4:14, compare the Sept. of Isa. 11:2, where anapaúomai is also applied to the Holy Spirit resting upon Christ. Deriv.: anápausis , inner rest; epanapaúō , to cause to rest; sunanapaúomai , to rest with or together.Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 156-157.

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Jesus rebukes His disciples for their unbelief

Mark 16:14-18 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The disciples were reclining. They were at ease in their unbelief. They were more concerned about their bellies than they were their hard hearts. Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. They had refused to believe the report that Jesus was risen and alive!

The disciples were allowing a fleshly thing to cloud a spiritual reality. Their focus on what was in the past hardened their heart to what was true in the now! This is true of Christians today. We feed our hearts on what God has not done or failed to do. Whenever we dwell on what has not happened, we foster the atmosphere for the spirit of offense and bitterness to arise and then thrive. When we dwell on what has not happened, we legitimize unbelief. We even excuse unbelief as normal. So we promote a sense of justification for not believing God.

Jesus rebuked that attitude in His disciples. He rebukes that attitude now! That attitude and thinking has to die! Christians are at ease in their unbelief. They are reclining at the table of fleshly attitudes and thinking. While we feed our bellies, the world is crying out for spiritual truth that will change their lives. While we are content in our unbelief our neighbors are crying out for something worth believing in.

Too often the Church focuses on keeping people from “sin” instead of taking people into their destiny with the power of the risen Christ. Churches that provide excuses for falling short of and not believing the power of Christ are merely promoters of “religion,” for God’s Word says religion is “form without power!” (2 Tim 3:5)

The area of our greatest unbelief is in our prayers. So much of the content of our praying is for things we already possess in Christ, but fail to believe. So we labor to ask God for things we already have. We expose our unbelief through our boring prayers. We fail to ask God for things we do not possess because we fail to believe what God has given us. No wonder prayer is laborious and cursory to most Christians. No wonder there is a prevailing attitude that their prayers never reach the ceiling! Our prayers are often exercises in unbelief!

Churches are to be houses of prayer. The God purpose of prayer is to produce JOY in the experience of the believer.

John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Prayer is not to twist God’s arm, or to make us seem more spiritual. Prayer is to encourage our belief in the reality of Jesus. Jesus wants prayer to take us into fullness of JOY! JOY is the currency of Heaven! God reserves JOY as the reward for the suffering. Christ endured the cross for the JOY that was set before Him. The reality of Christ will deposit the currency of heaven in our lives. JOY is the currency of Heaven! JOY is the result of prayer! Jesus says to all faithful servants who live with His power in their lives, “Well done…enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

God wants us to feast on belief in the power of the Name of Jesus. Prayer is designed to be a breakthrough into His heavenly JOY! Prayer is the expenditure of belief in return for the heavenly currency. If we pray only for that which we already possess, we will never experience the breakthrough of JOY. We will never discover the riches of God’s heavenly currency!

Never allow our prayers to contradict what God has already promised. Our unbelief closes heaven’s resources to us. Closed heavens are between our ears. Failure to know JOY is between our ears! We limit our God because our unbelief does not want to take hold of His power and JOY, even when He is standing in front of us with outstretched arms!

This is why Paul prayed so fervently for us:

Ephesians 1:18-19 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…

Paul saw Jesus, saw His power, and saw that power in His life. Paul experienced JOY even in prison, even in the stockades, even holding flotsam in the middle of the ocean. Paul’s eyes were opened and his heart was on fire for the realities of Jesus Christ! He could see the greatness of the power within Him, the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.  Paul never reclined in unbelief after that vision.

Our Vision should FIRE our Heart!

Christians have no excuse for not seeing the same vision. The vision is there for all to see. If we fail to believe, the hardness of our heart is exposed.

When Jesus was baptized, Matthew writes, “immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” (Matthew 3:16). The picture is of the heavens being divided, rolled back, suddenly exposing the power of the heavenlies, and allowing the Holy Spirit to descend upon Jesus. Stephen saw the heavens rolled back and gazed upon the Glory of God and His Son. The truth is that the heavens have been opened to all Christians! The Holy Spirit has been given to all Christians. The Glory of God is for all Christians. We have the Holy Spirit living within us, a gift from our Savior!

Our Father is jealous for us to know the power of the Holy Spirit within us. He earnestly desires us to belief and experience His JOY!

James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

We live under an open heaven. The heavens are rolled back revealing the Power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit lives in every believer, but his POWER is not upon every believer. Luke 4:1 says that Jesus left the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit. But he did not have the POWER of the Holy Spirit until He believed the Word of God in His confrontation with Satan in the wilderness.

Are You Aware of the Power within You?

The Holy Spirit is in us eternally, but His POWER is not opened to us unless we believe. When we allow the wilderness of this world to influence our believing, we fail to see the power of the Spirit. We fail to influence the wilderness around us. We fail to alter the environment around us. Men who believed in the POWER of Christ influenced the environment into which they were placed. Stephen had a profound effect upon those angry men. Paul had an astounding effect upon prisoners, towns people, and even hardened Roman Soldiers.

Christians must learn how to “host” the presence of God such that He is always before us, influencing the environment of every place we step into. What we are conscious of, we are positioned to manifest. What we are aware of, we are able to release. If we are not conscious and aware of the POWER of God within us, we will never be able to influence those around us. The Gospel is not a ministry of words. The Gospel is the ministry of Power because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Gospel is the ministry of releasing the presence of the Holy Spirit in the whole earth. We will never release that which we are unaware of.

A woman who had struggled for years with an issue of blood made a “demand” upon Christ. In desperation she reached out among the throng to touch the “hem of His garment.” She made a demand for her life. In spite of all the people pressing around Him, Christ was so aware of the Spirit’s presence that He instantly knew when a demand was made to which the Spirit responded. If we are not intensely aware of the Holy Spirit within our lives, we will have nothing to offer those around us who are desperately seeking power for their lives. They are overwhelmed, they are needy, and we have no life-giving power to offer them.

A demand was made upon Peter. Peter confessed he had no silver or gold, but Peter was intensely aware of what he did possess. Peter had life in Christ, and He was willing to share that POWER with the beggar at the gate. Peter said “what I do have I will give you.”

Write a HUGE Check with Heavenly Currency!

Peter knew a heavenly currency that the world knows nothing about. Peter wrote a HUGE check because he knew what he possessed (Acts 3:6). Most Christians can only write tiny checks because our unbelief has obscured what we possess.

We live with such ignorance of what we possess. We possess the very “Kingdom of God.” The one who freed us from our sins, at the same time made us a Kingdom, Priests to His God and Father (Rev 1:6). Jesus said “the words that I speak to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63)

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Jesus, being the very logos (word), spoke the Spirit and Life where ever He journeyed. When Christ spoke, His words became the Spirit and brought LIFE to those who believed. When we believe in the Words of Christ, and speak them into the world, we impart the Spirit to our environment, and we impart LIFE to those who believe.

We are Kingdom builders through the POWER that is in us. This Kingdom is not in food or drink, but is righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

When we are aware of the power that lies within us, and we exercise that power in faith, we are building the Kingdom by bringing people to the LIFE in Christ. We are dispensing the heavenly currency of JOY to those around us.

When you are handing out money, people stop and demand some. When you are handing out JOY, joy that this world is so hungry for, people will stop and demand it. The communities around the disciples took note of what they were handing out. They took note of where they went. They even brought the sick and lame into the streets to catch the shadow of Peter and be healed (Acts 5:15). Note: Your Shadow will always release what overshadows you! Peter was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit!

An unbelieving, defeated group of Christians will never see life brought to the dead in sin. They will never see miracles of God. Unbelief and defeat produces inward focused Christians, prone to depression and discouragement. When we turn inward we become a dead sea. An inward focused Christian is a dead Christian. An inward Christian is self-absorbed and self-centered. We need to be pre-occupied with who Christ is! With what Christ can do! We need to constantly release Him into every circumstance we encounter. We release His POWER by faith!

Don’t allow disappointments to obscure Revelation

So much of “Christianity” is based upon disappointment rather than revelation. We fail to see the Glory of God or the Power of His Son. Stephen saw the revelation in the midst of a downpour of stones. Paul saw the revelation in the midst of a hateful heart. John saw the revelation in the midst of loneliness and exile. The Revelation of Christ changes our environment. It changes our heart! Rather than being disappointed in what God fails to do for us, we need to focus on all that God has done for us!

Jesus said that if you see Him, you have seen the Father. So Jesus is the revelation of the nature and power of God. Jesus said that “all power” had been given to him in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). His power is the basis of us going into the world. If we do not know His power by revelation, then we will be powerless if we go into the world. We will be overcome by the world!

Christ is in us as a River
Let Him Flow!

Powerlessness is inexcusable and unacceptable. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in you and he wants out. He is not in us as a lake, or a ‘dead sea’, but rather as a river. Rivers flow from. The nature and power of God becomes ours as a believer. We have to believe in our own conversion! We have to believe in the POWER that was given to Jesus and was given to us!

As Paul prayed, the Lord is releasing a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we can actually rise to who He says we are! We cannot afford to rest in unbelief, nor can we afford to think thought that God never thinks about us. We must learn to meditate on the things the Holy Spirit can say “AMEN!” to.

Paul wrote that in order to serve God acceptably, our minds (that thing between our ears) must be renewed so that our lives are transformed. Our minds must come under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We must learn divine perspective in order to live the divine life.

This renewing of our mind can only come from a divine encounter with the POWER of God. We must see the revelation of Christ as the POWER in our life. Any creed or teaching that does not take us to the person of Jesus in a divine encounter will only make us more “religious.” It will only equip us to argue, not bring life into our environment.

When our beliefs line up with the POWER of Christ in us, we can take the Gospel into our communities without limits, without baggage that weighs it down and renders it powerless. We must have the experience of the Gospel that changes our lives, changes our thinking and makes us intensely aware of the divine POWER within us. Only then can we dispense the currency of heaven to those joyless souls around us.

(Inspired by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church)


What you BELIEVE truly matters:

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though they were a very large mammal their throat was very small. The little girl stated Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The teacher reiterated a whale could not swallow a human; it was impossible. The little girl said, “When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah.” The teacher asked, “What if Jonah went to hell?” The little girl replied, “Then you ask him.”

An atheist buys an ancient lamp at an auction, takes it home, and begins to polish it. Suddenly, a genie appears, and says, “I’ll grant you three wishes, Master.” The atheist says, “I wish I could believe in you.” The genie snaps his fingers, and suddenly the atheist believes in him. The atheist says, “Wow. I wish all atheists would believe this.” The genie snaps his fingers again, and suddenly atheists all over the world begin to believe in genies. “What about your third wish?” asks the genie? “Well,” says the atheist, “I wish for a billion dollars.” The genie snaps his fingers for a third time, but nothing happens. “What’s wrong?” asks the atheist. The genie shrugs and says, “Just because you believe in me, doesn’t necessarily mean that I really exist.”

Today we will look at one of the greatest verses in the Bible. These Verses hold the Secret of Having a Christian walk that just staggers around or keeps Climbing Upward!

Romans 4:19-22 (KJV) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Beneath the Text:

  • weak (asthenéō) = “without strength, powerless, sick”. Also “to doubt, hesitate, vacillate, as meaning weak or double-minded”. CWSD
  • considered not = “paid no attention to the physical obstacles”
  • staggered not (diakrinō ou) = To be in strife with oneself, i.e., to doubt, hesitate, waver CWSD

“to judge between two,” thus, “to vacillate between two opinions or decisions.” Abraham did not vacillate between belief and unbelief with respect to his difficulty and the ability of God to meet it. He did not waver. Wuest’s Word Studies

  • promise (epangelia) = “Primarily a legal term denoting a summons or promise to do or give something. Used only of the promises of God” (except one verse) CWSD.
  • unbelief (apistia) = uncertainty, distrust, unbelief. The lack of acknowledgment of Christ; want of confidence in Christ’s power. In general, a lack of trust in the God of promise! CWSD
  • strong (endynamoō) = grow stronger and stronger; “inwardly strengthened,” suggesting strength in soul and purpose. Vines “to make strong, endue with strength,” Wuest’s

Hebrews 11:34 (ESV) quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

  • faith (pistis) = firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, CWSD

That is, his faith was strengthened in God to meet his impossible difficulty with a miracle. The thought is not here that Abraham’s faith was strengthened so that his physical powers again became equal to bringing children into the world. Isaac was the result of a biological miracle performed by God in answer to Abraham’s faith. The glory would therefore be to God. Wuest

  • being fully persuaded (plērophoreō) = “To fulfill, thoroughly accomplish, equivalent to persuade fully, give full assurance. CWSD
  • able (dynatos) = from dunamis – “strong, powerful”. CWSD

The Point of our Text

Abraham firmly believed in what God promised, because he firmly believed in God’s power. Abraham’s belief in God allowed him to overlook the visible problems to see the power of Him who was invisible. His ability to see and trust the invisible kept him from staggering over the obstacles of doubt that surrounded him. By believing, Abraham climbed to the very heights and gave glory to the Power of God! God declared Abraham righteous because He believed Him!

Faith Is Not The Means By Which We Get God To Work In Our Lives; Faith Is The Means By Which We See His Will For Our Lives!

Unbelief and the Christian Walk

A.  Unbelief is not:

  • Unbelief is not the absence of faith.
  • Unbelief is not a negative state of mind.
  • Unbelief is not an intellectual attitude, or state, caused by a want of sufficient evidence.
  • Unbelief is not a state of blank ignorance of God and of his truth.
  • Unbelief is not the state of ignorance of the existence and attributes of God.
  • Unbelief is not disbelief or belief in the opposite of what the Bible says is true.
  • Unbelief is not an intellectual state at all.

The Bible represents unbelief as sin; therefore it is not a state of mind, it is a condition of our heart.

B.  Unbelief is:

1.  Unbelief is SIN.

Hebrews 3:12 (ESV) Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

2.  Unbelief is a CHOICE.

Mark 16:14 (ESV) Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

3.  Unbelief is a lack of CONFIDENCE.

Withholding of confidence in one who is worthy of our confidence. Unbelief of the heart darkens one to committing your heart and soul to the will of God. Belief is giving God our confidence, in voluntarily yielding ourselves up to him, confiding in him, trusting in him, casting ourselves upon him, voluntarily receiving his truth, and committing ourselves to him.

UNBELIEF IS AT THE HEART OF OUR LACK OF COMMITMENT TO GOD!

It is hard to love a God with all your heart, soul and strength if you don’t believe Him!

Let’s take a little time to understand unbelief by looking at the New Testament words for doubt and unbelief.

C.   Understanding Doubt & Unbelief

1.  Doubt: Diakrino & Distazo.

To be in strife with oneself, i.e., to doubt, hesitate, waver.  Being uncertain of what to believe or do.

  • Rom. 4:20 He staggered (diakrino) not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God.
  • James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (diakrino). For he that wavereth (diakrino) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

This doubt comes through giving up one’s conviction of faith based on what one sees or feels.

Mat. 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt (distazo)?

Peter was fine walking on water as long as he focused on Jesus. But as soon as he looked at his surroundings, focusing on the physical, on the wind, and the waves, he was a goner.

2.  Doubt Leads to Unbelief

Doubt, or focusing on circumstances or your own resources, allows unbelief to grow. When unbelief starts to grow, it destroys confidence, makes one uncertain, and builds distrust. Unbelief then leads to further unbelief and finally a hardening of one’s heart!

a.  Apistia

Lacking confidence in the performer, to put no confidence in, to disbelieve; uncertainty, distrust, unbelief. In general, a lack of trust in the God of promise. Apistia is a form of unbelief that often shows a lack of a confidence in God to do what He has promised to doApistia is a choice!

  • Mat. 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief (apistia).
  • Heb. 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (apistia).
  • Rom. 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief (apistia); but was strong in faith giving glory to God.

Apistia can develop into:

b.  apeithéō

Obstinate, rebellious, disobedient; refusal to believe, apathetic. A person who does not allow them self to be persuaded or believe, in fact, he stubbornly disbelieves and is even disobedient.

  • Eph. 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (apeithéō).
  • Hebrews 3:7-8 (KJV) Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
  • Heb. 4:6 We see they entered not in because of unbelief (apeithéō). (Notice their unbelief in Heb 3 became hardened disobedient unbelief in Heb 4)
  • Heb. 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (apeithéō).

1. Unbelief is the Basis of all Sin

All Sins Come from Unbelief in God’s Word and Promises. Anxiety, misplaced shame, indifference, regret, covetousness, envy, lust, bitterness, impatience, despondency, pride—these are all sprouts from the root of unbelief in the promises of God.

Consider the message of 1 Timothy 6:10:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

What did Paul mean? Is the love of money behind every sin? Is money on your mind when you sin? I believe that the evils of the world come from a certain kind of heart that loves money.  Now what does it mean to love money? It’s not being like Scrooge McDuck and going into your vault and playing with your money! What is money? Money is simply a symbol that stands for human resources. Money stands for what you can get from man, from man’s resources.

God resources can’t be bought with money! “Ho everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. He who has NO MONEY come buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1).

Money is the currency of human resources. So the heart that loves money is a proud, independent heart that places its hopes, pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust in what human resources can offer. So the love of money is the same as faith in money—belief (trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you happy. Therefore the love of money, or belief in money, is the flip side of UNBELIEF in the promises of God.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24—you cannot serve God and money. You can’t trust or believe in God and money.

Belief in one is unbelief in the other. A heart that loves money—banks on money for happiness, believes in money—is at the same time not banking on the promises of God for happiness. So when Paul says that the love of money is the root of all evils, he implies that unbelief in the promises of God is the taproot of every sinful attitude in our heart.

2. Unbelief is Calling God a Liar.

1 John 5:10 (ESV) Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar…

Unbelief, doubt, withholding of confidence, is a practical denial that God is worthy of confidence. You are denying His trustworthiness. What an infinitely awful sin it must be to make God a liar!! If anyone here was to stand up and say God is a liar, I’m sure some of us might grab them and forcibly remove them. We would call that person a blasphemer.

Hebrews 6:17-18 (ESV) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

It is impossible for God to lie. Yet when you doubt God’s word, when you do not believe what God says, you are calling Him a liar. We are to agree to the truth of his promises, and the certainty of their accomplishment.

RC Sproul, Jr. wrote a book titled – Believing God: 12 Scriptural Promises Christians Struggle to Accept

These verses, while promises of God, are not really believed by many Christians.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
  • 1 John 3:1 (ESV) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
  • 1 John 1:9 (ESV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • James 1:5 (ESV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
  • Psalms 127:3-5 (ESV) Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
  • Psalms 37:4 (ESV) Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
  • Malachi 3:10 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
  • Mark 11:22-24 (ESV) And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
  • Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  • John 16:33 (ESV) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  • Philippians 1:6 (ESV) And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  • 1 John 3:2 (ESV) Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

III. The results of unbelief.

A.   Unbelief produces a heartless religion.

There is only ritual, no satisfying of the soul. If it is not up to God, then it is up to you, and that produces frustration and sorrow. There is no enthusiasm of the heart. Are you filled with the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit? Do you wake up with a spontaneous love for God? Then your heart is filled with unbelief.

B.   Unbelief produces a legalistic religion

Unbelief will cause you to do a great many things without regard to God. Unbelief clouds your eyes and heart to seeing God’s will and His glory. Unbelief leads to an obedience that is selfish, and based on getting what you want.

C.   Unbelief produces an religion void of salvation

Belief in God is absolutely essential to knowing God, and knowing His salvation. If someone doesn’t believe in God, what interest is heaven to him? It’s only a selfish interest, lacking any desire to glorify God, or of having fellowship with Him.

D.  Unbelief produces a disobedient heart.

Disobedience of heart to God is always a result of unbelief. Unbelief will lead you to disavow God’s sovereignty, God’s government, and will lead you to do what is in your heart, what you believe is best.

This is the root of sin in man–withholding confidence in God.

E.   Unbelief produces RESTLESSNESS in your Soul.

Now, when you do have no confidence in the promises of God–do not believe that “all things shall work together for good to them that love God”– your are carrying your burdens upon your own back, and you will grow weary.

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Your unbelief keeps you from resting in Jesus, it keeps you from His yoke, and it keeps you from His faithful promises.

F.   Unbelief results in an absence of peace in your life.

Where there is real faith, although there may be much to disturb and distress the mind, there is deep peace and joy in God, in the midst of it all; but where persons have not peace, real joy, and great satisfaction in God, in his truth, and in his promises, you may know that there is unbelief there.

Just as Paul told the sailors in Acts 27, that despite the furious storm, if they remained in the ship, no lives would be lost. Even in the most furious of storms, Paul had complete peace in the power of God

G.  Unbelief results in bondage to sin

“There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” Now, when you are in bondage to any sin, you are under the influence of the world, and are condemned by the law.

I John 5:4 declares “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.”

If you are living in bondage to sin because of unbelief, you are living in a state of condemnation; your own conscience condemns you because of your unbelief.

H.  Unbelief produces Servants and not Sons

By servant, I mean one who serves his master from fear, not love. People who don’t believe see God as someone who must be worshipped, who must be served, or they run the chance of getting on His bad side. There is no love, no anticipation, and no patient waiting upon a loving Father. There is no child-like belief in a loving heavenly Father! They don’t rely on the Father every day; they never ask Him for anything unless they get desperate. They pray, but only out of duty.

Belief will lead you to come before the throne with anticipation, with expectation, for you are a son needing the Father, depending upon the father!

I. Unbelief produces a Worldly Person.

You are given over to a worldly way of thinking and acting. After all it is up to you, because you don’t believe God. You mind earthly things; you don’t layup treasures for heaven. The Word of God is not your constant companion. The Holy Spirit is not your paraclete. No one neglects the Bible if you believe it!

IV. The Power of Believing Faith

Believing Faith Glorifies God!

A.  We glorify God by believing his promises.

Faith . . . honors him whom it trusts with the most reverent and highest regard since it considers him truthful and trustworthy. There is no other honor equal to the estimate of truthfulness and righteousness with which we honor him whom we trust . . .On the other hand, there is no way in which we can show greater contempt for a man than to regard him as false and wicked and to be suspicious of him, as we do when we do not trust him. (Martin Luther, Selections, p. 59)

Trusting God’s Word is the most fundamental way that you can glorify God. You can say “Glory to God” all you want, but if you do not believe His Word, stop wasting your breath! When you believe a promise of God, you honor God’s ability to do what he promised and his willingness to do what he promised and his wisdom to know how to do it.

  • If our goal is to glorify God in all that we do, then we must make it our aim in all that we do to believe the promises of God.

Because it was when Abraham believed the promise of God that God was glorified. John 3:33 (ESV) Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.

  • Believing God is like setting your personal seal on God!
  • Sarah received power to conceive:

Hebrews 11:11 (ESV) By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

This is of the nature of faith: “The judging him faithful that promised and agreeing to the truth of his promises. You See and Believe in the Power of God!

1.  It Is Future Oriented

Belief that honors God means banking our hope for happiness on the promises of God. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac… He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead…Heb 11:17-19

People who say, “I believe that Christ died for my sins, and that he rose again from the dead,” but then don’t bank their hope on his promises day by day—those people don’t have faith that honors the God who justifies sinners.

  • Paul says, “That is why his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.” So how did Abraham get justified in God’s sight? Why did God look at this imperfect man and count him as righteous in his sight?
  • Answer: because he believed the promises of God. It was future oriented faith that justified.

Now read on in the application to us. Verses 23–24,

The words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord. Notice! It does not say, “It will be reckoned to us who believe the past historical fact that God raised Jesus from the dead.” As utterly crucial as that is! It says we will be reckoned righteous if we believe in God! Like Abraham believed in God!

You don’t get justified by believing that Jesus died for sinners and rose again. You get justified by resting your hope on the promises that God secured and guaranteed for you through the death and resurrection of his Son.

2.  It Produces Fruit

Abraham became the Father of a multitude. Of many nations! He is the Father of every born again Christian!

Romans 4:16 -That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all…

Believing Faith in the promises of God produces what Paul calls the “work of faith.” Two times, once in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and once in 2 Thessalonians 1:11 Paul refers to the “work of faith.” What he means is that there is a dynamic to this kind of faith that always changes the heart (Acts 15:9 (ESV) and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.) and produces the works of love.

The clearest statement of this is Galatians 5:6: “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.” God was able to give Abraham a Son because He Believed.

What fruit has your belief produced?

Faith is a power. It never leaves the life unchanged. What you place your hope on always governs your life. If you bank your hope on money, if your bank your hope on prestige, if you bank your hope on leisure and comfort, if you bank your hope on power or success, it governs the choices you make and the attitudes you develop.

If you bank your hope on the promises of God every day, it will change the way you think, pray, and act. Belief in the promises of God is the taproot of all righteousness and love. Belief in the promises of God is not a dead and fruitless thing. What you bank on for happiness controls your life.

B.  We Must Battle Unbelief Every Day

Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold on eternal life to which you were called.” Fight against sin by fighting against unbelief in the promises of God. Fight for righteousness and love in your life by fighting to maintain faith in the promises of God. Unbelief requires a conscious decision.

Take warning from those who fell away in unbelief:

  • Some no longer have faith at all (II Thessalonians 3:2).
  • Some have shipwrecked their faith (I Timothy 1:19).
  • Some have left the faith for the doctrines of devils (I Timothy 4:1).
  • Some have denied the faith by not providing for their family (I Timothy 5:8).
  • Some have cast off their first faith (I Timothy 5:12).
  • Some have turned aside after Satan (I Timothy 5:15).
  • Some have erred from the faith for the love of money (I Timothy 6:10, 21).
  • Some are reprobate [disqualified] concerning the faith (II Timothy 3:8).

The saddest example of unbelief comes from the generation of Israelites who failed to reach the Promised Land.

“But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”(Hebrews 3:17-19).

Those Israelites were initially saved: they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, they were spiritually baptized in the Red Sea (I Corinthians 10:2), and they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire through the wilderness. But they refused to believe when God promised that He would give them the promised land. They looked at their own resources and refused to see God’s.

So we read in Jude 1:5: But then, “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not” (Jude 1:5);

As a result, that generation did not reach their final destination of salvation in the Promised Land.

  • “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (II Peter 3:17).
  • “Therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it …Labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:1,11).

How is your Christian walk? Are you stumbling, or are you climbing? Examine your hearts. Is there doubt and unbelief in your life?

  • Does your life have Stability?
  • Are you growing in Christian maturity?
  • Do you seem to stagger in your Christian walk?
  • Is your Christian walk stagnating?
  • Is God producing visible fruit through your life?
  • Do you struggle with doubts and fears?

Are you ready to climb the Mountain, trusting God’s Word? Abraham did with his boy Isaac. Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Come to Jesus, Believe in Him, and He will give you rest!


Visit with seasoned saints and it doesn’t take long for someone to ask the question “what is wrong with this world?” Especially when the conversation turns to gay marriage, immorality of politicians or athletes or movie stars or teenagers or anyone for that matter. God has given us the answer to “what is wrong with this world?”. It is found in Romans 1:18-32. Basically the world is thinking upside down, and our attitude toward God is the determining factor! God has let us peek into the way He works when we react to Him the way we do. The bottom line is that our spiritual, emotional and mental health depend upon a right relationship to Him. Anything less will result in thinking and living that is “upside down” as far as God is concerned.

FOUNDATION of WORTHWHILE LIVING

“Listen, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (HCSB)

Both God and the Jews consider this foundational truth for living a a life that is worthwhile.  Jehovah God must be honored with all or our life, beginning with His place in our heart. Romans 1:18-23 paints the big picture of what happens when we do not properly honor God, fail to see Him at work in our lives (thank Him) and exalt ourselves over Him (vain thinking).  Their foolish hearts become darkened and they become fools-‘moraino’-worthless and good for nothing to God!

The God we worship depends upon our heart, and what we hold dear in our heart. From our heart proceeds reverence or dishonor. That feeds our emotional soul and results in a thankful attitude. An irreverent heart results in resentment and bitterness in our emotional being. Our emotional soul feds our mind and either empowers us to set our minds upon God or upon ourselves. If we set our minds on ourselves we will worship a god of our own making.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa 26:3

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

Furthermore, if we chose to worship God in only one or even two of these areas of our life, wrong worship will be the result:

  1. If we honor God in our heart alone and neglect our emotions and thinking, we will love ANY god.
  2. If we honor God with our emotions yet withhold our heart and our mind, we will be emotional about EVERY god.
  3. If we set our mind on God without giving Him our heart and our emotions, we will make our OWN god.

PARADIDOMAI AND EVIL SHADOWS

Because men would not glorify God, would not make God part of their life by remembering to thank Him, and then ignored Him by becoming vain in their thinking, Creator God “gives them up” to the consequences of their unbelief – the control of sin.

“Gave up” is paradidōmi: “to give into the hands of another, to give over into one’s power or use.” Since men chose to give up God and worship the creature, God issues not only a permissive sentence, but a judicial one, whereby men discover that failure to worship God and seek after him leads to enslavement to the most hideous things, things which they thought were worth worshipping.

Remember the Movie “GHOST”?

“Paradidomi” pictures a man being delivered to prison to be subject to the power and authority of a wicked warden. If you are a fan of “Ghost” picture the scene toward the end where the evil “shadow spirits” come and take Carl Bruner (the villain) away to eternal torment. We are all applauding to know such a horrible man finally gets what he deserves.

Wuest points out that this “giving up” was first begun by man. “These people had already willfully deserted God who merely left them to their own self-determination and self-destruction, part of the price of man’s moral freedom.”

The sad truth is that any man who rejects God as God, and fails to worship His Glory, is subject to the same fate. Not just “murderers” like the character Carl Bruner. God says that any man who fails to honor and worship Him in their heart is a worthless “MORON!” Actually the word is ‘moraino’, but the same meaning is implied. Most translations use the word “FOOL.”

I COULD USE THE WORD “FOOL”, BUT I LIKE USING MORON.

God wants us to have a vivid picture of what happens when we neglect Him or deliberately fail to Worship Him. He gives us Three Pictures of the Downward Descent of Mankind when they forget God and go their own way. The evil shadow spirits are allowed to dominate and control MORONS.

Three times Romans 1 records that God “paradidomi” man. Three times God gives man up to the control of sin. Each time the consequences are frightening. The shocking image of the “evil shadows”  of “Ghost” are nothing compared to the images we will paint this morning.

Perhaps it is unfair of me to call your sister or your brother a moron. There is nothing personal about this at all, it is simply using a graphic “English” word for “moraino”, which is what people become when they “exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for … anything else. (Rom 1:22-23)

What Does God Deliver Morons to Be Tormented By?

GOD DELIVERS MORONS UP THREE TIMES TO THREE EVIL SHADOWS

But we are without excuse. These “evil shadows” are not outside of man, blending in with all the shadows of dark and light. These ‘evil shadows’ lurk within the wicked heart of every man. We can never say “the devil made me do it!”, for we make decisions that allow these ‘evil shadows’ to take our heart, and then all sorts of wickedness begins.

The First Place These Shadows Rule Will Always Be Your Heart!

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (ESV)

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalms 36:1 (ESV)

But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. Jeremiah 5:23-25 (ESV)

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:18-20 (ESV)

“the land of gloom (is) like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where (even) light is as thick darkness.” Job 10:22 (ESV)

These Evil Shadows lurk DEEP inside the heart of man, and when unrestrained and allowed to control us, procede to corrupt our emotional health and then our mental health.

God’s ways are above ours, and usually just opposite of what we would think. We think that as mankind becomes more enlightened, more educated, the more civilized we will become. We believe it is the enlightened mind that guides society. Therefore we place great emphasis on education and training our minds. We believe if you think right you will act right.

GOD ALWAYS STARTS IN OUR HEART

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalms 14:1-2 (ESV) and also Psalms 53

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14

Our heart has a brain of its own, one that is not educated by thought but is educated by what we say, see, touch and do. The heart influences our thoughts, our actions, our health, and our influence upon others. God knows that faith begins in your heart. If you believe in your heart…Romans doesn’t address the mind until chapter 12. God deals with the sin that is our heart nature. God desires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The world will tell you that God doesn’t make sense to a rational thinking man, but your heart will tell you otherwise. You mind will tell you that what happens in your life is all happenstance, that God doesn’t care or have control, so it is fruitless to give Him thanks. But your heart rejoices in Him anyway and gives Him thanks. Your mind can’t make sense of pain and tragedy, but all of a sudden your heart will burst forth with joy in the midst of sorrow. God tells us in Prov 23:26, my son, give me your heart! When we refuse to be converted to His way and His truth, our heart is easily taken over by our sin nature, by the lusts that lurk in every corner of our heart, in every corner of the world.

A heart that believes and trusts in God and His Word can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:4 (NASB)

THE FIRST GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

I. Uncleanness, Impurity, and Filthiness

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:24-25 (ESV)

  • Neither English word conveys what first century people would think when they heard the Greek word akatharsia.

akatharsia from a = without + kathairo = cleanse) literally describes any substance that is filthy or dirty and could refer to the pus around an open, infected wound or even a decaying corpse.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (akatharsia). (Mt 23:27)

Akatharsia describes a filthiness of heart that makes the person defiled.

Other Verses:

  • Romans 6:19 “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:21 “that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.”
  • Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness”
  • Ephesians 5:3 “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification.”

Given these, we can draw some conclusions about what this word might have “meant” to a first century Greek-speaking audience. Most everyone views decomposing bodies as disgusting and unclean, but for a Jew, this type of uncleanness would have had an additional ceremonial dimension. To a Jew you would not even be fit to approach the Temple. You would be ceremonially unclean and physically a leper, unfit to worship.

When we say “impure” and “unclean” English people get a picture of Ivory Soap or a dirty bathroom.

Let me suggest two possible alternatives:

Corruption- The most common meaning of corruption centers around political dishonesty. We complain about “corrupt” officials. However, it can also be used to describe physical decay. Consider these definitions from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary: “moral perversion; depravity”, “perversion of integrity” and “putrefactive decay; rottenness”.

Defilement-This word is rarely used in English, and carries with it an explicit religious connotation. “To defile” is the exact opposite of “to consecrate”. Random House gives these definitions for defile: “to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase” and “to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate”. So “defilement” is essentially “impurity”, but a special kind of impurity; one that is religious or sacramental. If I had to pick an exact opposite for the word “sanctification” in English it would be “defilement”.

GOD’S GIVING OVER MANKIND TO LUST IS DONE IN TWO WAYS.

IndirectlyGod gives them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand, allowing the consequences of sin to take their inevitable, destructive course. Sin degrades man, debases the image of God in which he is made, and strips him of dignity, peace of mind, and a clear conscience. Sin destroys personal relationships, marriages, families, cities, and nations, and churches…

Directly-God gives over rebellious mankind by specific acts of judgment. The Bible is has many accounts of God’s wrath being directly and supernaturally poured out on sinful men. The flood of Noah’s day destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 18:20, 19:24,25, 26), for example, were not indirect natural consequences of sin but were overt supernatural expressions of God’s judgment on gross and unrepented sin. God often allows men to go deeper and deeper into sin in order to drive them to despair and to show them their need of Him. (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)

What Results When Evil Shadows Take Control of our Heart?

  • Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Romans 1:24
  • because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:25

Uncleanness and depravity is the result of the lust within their own hearts, and results in dishonoring our bodies, abusing our bodies, abusing others. When we fail to honor the Truth of God, and instead worship what we chose, or what we think is right, corruption and depravity will be the natural result.

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

The First Giving over to results in hearts being wicked to the point of accepting and tolerating immoral behavior.

The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality — the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. Note that the sentence begins with the word therefore. This immorality is a result of the idolatry into which men fall. Idolatry is common in our day. We do not worship idols and images so much anymore, but concepts and ideas are idolized and deified as much as any of the idols of the ancient world.

  • Idolatry usually results in sexual immorality.

Pastor Ray Pritchard has an interesting insight:

“Why is illicit sex singled out as the first major step away from God? The answer is not hard to find. Sex is closely related to the human spirit. The way you conduct yourself sexually is a good barometer of what’s going on in your heart. After all, what is sex but the desire to be worshiped by another person? Sound strange? It shouldn’t. When two people come together, they are seeking much more than physical release. At a very deep level, they are looking for love, acceptance, fulfillment, freedom and meaning in life. By giving themselves to someone else, they hope (and secretly pray) that through this self-giving, they will discover a way to fill the void within. They “worship” through sex hoping someone will “worship” them back. Sex and worship are thus closely related in their ultimate purpose. It is as if God is pulling back the covers in order to show us how empty our hearts are without him. By turning to illicit sex, instead of fulfilling our dreams we only expose the emptiness within. It never works out like we hope it will. Immorality never satisfies…

Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do and then says that God, in effect, gives up on the people who do them. They think God washes his hands of them because they are so filthy and dirty. That certainly is not what this account says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the testimony of their own hearts and the world of nature around them, because they run after other gods and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work.

The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality becomes widely tolerated and even accepted.

THE SECOND GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

II.   Vile Affections, Degrading Passions and Shameful Desires

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.” For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27

  • The Greek words for degrading passions are atimia pathos.

Atimia: means to lower down from a place of honor. A picture is painted of something which is literally not honorable, not worthy of respect, reverence or esteem. It emphasizes the loss of honor that was once enjoyed = cf man originally created in God’s image), disgrace (to be a source of shame to & often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism), ignominy (deep personal humiliation and disgrace, disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action. This noun stresses humiliation).

Pathos: Pathos means passion and comes from the word pascho which means to suffer; to experience a sensation or impression (usually of a painful nature). A passion is a drive or force that does not rest until satisfied. These are internal desires (emanating from our fallen sin nature) cause the victim to suffer and that have to be satisfied or they drive you crazy. A passion describes intense emotion compelling action; intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; ardent affection; sexual desire or an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. The word “desires” (when used as noun as in the present context) means to have a longing for and stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim; conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.

We all have desires and passions. They are influenced by our heart, not by our mind, for they emanate from our heart. When our heart is corrupted, these desires can run wild, and corrupted passions result in degradation, falling from a place of honor as God’s Creation, into something corrupt and dishonorable. The natural end of those corrupted passions running wild is the ultimate dishonor upon God’s design for our bodies-to procreate, to love a wife or husband in covenant marriage, to raise up Godly generations after us.

GOD’S DESIGN IS CORRUPTED

“As distinguished from epithumia (lusts) in verse 24, pathē (passions), is the narrower and intense word. epithumia is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, while the meaning of pathos is passive, being the diseased condition out of which the lusts spring.

  • epithumia are evil longings; pathē, ungovernable affections.

Thus it appears that the divine punishment was the more severe, in that they were given over to a condition, and not merely to an evil desire.”Wuest’s.

  • When hearts become corrupt, immorality results from unrestrained lust.
  • When passions become degraded, perversion results because we become diseased.

MEN WHO “ABANDON” OR “LEAVE”

Abandoned  (aphiemi from apo = separation, dissociation + hiemi = send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and thus means to send away or to let go from oneself. Aphiemi was used for example of the action of dismissing a wife. The idea is to let go from one’s possession!

The verb abandoned is aorist tense (action at a moment in time, speaks of effective action) and active voice (subject makes a choice of their will to carry out this action). Thus these men made a deliberate, conscious choice of their will to abandon the natural for the unnatural.

Pastor Ray Pritchard once more:

More than anything else, homosexuality is a willful choice. No one can say, “I was born that way.” No one is born homosexual. No one. Anyone who argues otherwise is either ignorant of the Bible or has deliberately perverted its teaching. You can talk all you want about genetics, the size of the hypothalamus, about absent fathers, over-protective mothers, about early sexual confusion, and even about sexual abuse. Some of those things may indeed create a predisposition to this particular sin.

But the fact remains: Every act of homosexuality—whether in word or deed or in lustful thought—every single act is a personal moral choice. Temptation is not the issue because temptation in and of itself is not a sin (cp James 1:14-note).

But giving in to temptation—whether mentally, verbally or in actual deed—is a sin (James 1:15-note). That’s a moral choice for which God will hold you 100% accountable. You can’t blame your choices on your hypothalamus! You can’t even blame your father for his failure to be there when you needed him…As a society moves away from God, one mark of its drift into judgment is widespread homosexuality. The tragic fact is that this is exactly where America is today. (Romans 1:24-32 When God Gives Up)

The Second Giving Over results in Emotions and Passions becoming Vile, Degraded and Out of Control.

The heart is corrupted and no longer guides the emotions into that which is right. SO emotional health becomes vile, even depraved, and wrong, even abominable passions result. Emotional Disease Results. Our emotional psyche becomes conditioned to depravity. Christans, God doesn’t want us to know about or even talk about these vile passions. We are to be simple, and experts in that which is good! We are to “Walk in the Light!”

  • “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Rom 16:19
  • Walk as children of light…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Eph 5:8-12

THE THIRD GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

III.   Reprobate, Debased, Depraved Mind

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)

The result of the refusal in Romans 1:18-32 was the “reprobate mind.” Paul uses the phrase: “adokimos nous”.

Adokimos: Debased, depraved, REPROBATE (adokimos) refers to that which is rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified.

  • a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight,
  • a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle,
  • a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless
  • a sword or knife, that once the blacksmith had completed, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly.
  • a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction,
  • the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital “A”.

Look at the end result: “they refused to have God in their knowledge (ouk edokimasan),” and “God gave them up to a reprobate (= unacknowledged, adokimos) mind.” So God let them have a mind that is void of any divine characteristics.

  • Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself.
  • The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!

The Reprobate Mind has a giant “A” stamped on their head and heart.

They are tried and rejected by the Master Architect and of no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our hearts that these men and women in Romans 1:28 are so depraved.

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved.
  • 2 Timothy 3:8 And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose (literally set themselves against) the truth, men of depraved (destroyed, ruined, corrupted = kataphtheiro) mind, rejected (adokimos) as regards the faith.
  • Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless (adokimos – unfit, of proven inability to do good) for any good deed.

The Third sign is that Society has lost their spiritual mind and doesn’t even realize it.

More Dangerous Than Sin Itself:

These men had ”tested” God and did not want to believe in Him. The ultimate test of life is usefulness, and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow-men. Instead of helping God’s work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity to something much more frightening. At this stage man has lost the ability to think right. He has “lost his mind” (morally or spiritually speaking) and doesn’t even know it.

So the idea in Romans 1:28 is of a mind that isn’t quite right, that has some flaw in it that affects its ability to make right judgments. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. The result is a world that has left God far behind. It is a society with all restraints removed, a culture devoid of all sense of right and wrong, where every man is doing what is “right in his own eyes.”

“God gave them up,” “handed them over”—to punishing angels? No, to themselves and the life they have chosen. A life of falsehood, alienated from the true God and the true world he has created, is punishment enough.

13 STEPS TO HAVING A REPROBATE MIND

13. Argumentation – reprobate mind given to perversion – judgment certain
12. Justify immorality – cannot think clearly
11. Re-examine Scripture – doubt
10. Frustration over drives – confusion
9. Religious compensation – rationalize
8. Incomplete repentance – feeling sorry is not enough; root sin of self on the throne
7. Response to guilt – suppress the truth
6. Awakening of guilt – conviction
5. Violation of conscience – law in the heart
4. Questioning Scripture – dangerous; Eve’s root sin
3. Sensual focus – eye toward lust
2. Awakening of conscience – reasoning with the mind – dangerous
1. Natural curiosity – nothing wrong with this – God gave to Adam and Eve

(From IBLP-Bill Gothard)

MAN’S THINKING IS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

  • People who are turned upside down in their thinking refuse to acknowledge God as God and furthermore, refuse to thank Him for being God and loving them the way He does.
  • They became Morons (foolish, and showing no thought) in their argumentations, and plunged their silly minds still further into the dark.
  • They argue stupidly and vainly against God and His Word. Their silly minds become darker and sillier.
  • These reprobates believe they are wise, because their thinking is “upside down”. Instead of wise they are now MORONS, worshipping stuff of no eternal Value, or their pet idols or belief’s. They push God out of their lives or leave him in a dark corner, or even create their our own god.
  • God gives up on them up, allowing their foul desires to become addictive to the point of dishonoring their bodies. Life becomes a game with no real meaning or purpose.
  • These people no longer know the truth of God. They can’t even begin to comprehend it, so “upside down” are their minds. They are prey for liars and deceivers. God hands them over to be dominated and controlled by their sinful and unrighteous passions.
  • Sinful perversions warp the souls of the reprobate. They are no longer in control of their mind, will and emotions.
  • Reprobates are slaves of their degenerate (upside down) minds.
  • Reprobate minds have no shame over their actions, no matter how vile, and in fact give approval to others who do the same things.

THEY FILL THEIR LIVES WITH:

According to Romans 1:29, this person’s life will become “filled with” unfitting and inappropriate practices. “Being filled with” is from the Greek word pleroo (play-ro’-o) meaning a life so full of itself it will be full of these things listed as the consequence. “All” can be inserted in front of each to express the extreme influence of a “reprobate mind” upon a life. God gives us twenty-two characteristics of this last degree of unbelief in an individual’s life and in a perverted and reprobate society.

  • “Unrighteousness” is from the Greek word adikia (ad-ee-kee’-ah) referring to the violation of justice.
  • “Fornication” is from the Greek word porneia (por-ni’-ah) referring to illicit sexual practices.
  • “Wickedness” is from the Greek word poneria (pon-ay-ree’-ah) referring to a depravity in purposes and desires.
  • “Coveteousness” is from the Greek word pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah) referring to a growing, greedy desire to have more and more.
  • “Maliciousness” is from the Greek word kakia (kak-ee’-ah) referring to a desire to injure someone or a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws.
  • “Envy” is from the Greek word phthonos (fthon’-os) meaning life actions always prompted by envy.
  • “Murder” is from the Greek word phonos (fon’-os) meaning a life full of slaughter.
  • “Debate” is from the Greek word eris (er’-is) meaning a life filled with strife and contention.
  • “Deceit” is from the Greek word dolos (dol’-os) referring to deceptive, crafty manipulation.
  • “Malignity” is from the Greek word kakoetheia (kak-o-ay’-thi-ah) referring to bad character and bad morals.
  • “Whisperers” is from the Greek word psithuristes (psith-oo-ris-tace’) referring to a secret slanderer.
  • “Backbiters” is from the Greek word katalalos (kat-al’-al-os) meaning a person who secretly defames another or speaks evil of them.
  • Haters of God” is from the Greek word theostuges (theh-os-too-gace’) referring to a person who is exceptionally impious and wicked.
  • “Despiteful” is from the Greek word hubristes (hoo-bris-tace’) referring to a person who is insolent and who either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong.
  • “Proud” is from the Greek word huperephanos (hoop-er-ay’-fan-os) refers to thinking of one’s self as superior to others. This often expresses itself in prejudices by despising others or even treating them with contempt (disrespect).
  • “Boasters” is from the Greek word alazon (al-ad-zone’) referring to a vain and pretentious person.
  • “Inventors of evil things” is from the Greek words epheuretes (ef-yoo-ret’-ace) kakos (kak-os’) referring to a person who schemes in his thinking and imagination of ways to undermine or harm another person.
  • “Disobedient to parents” is from the Greek words apeithes (ap-i-thace’) goneus (gon-yooce’) referring to a person who obstinately resists the authority of his parents. The idea goes into insubordination against all who have authority over him.
  • “Without understanding” is from the Greek word asunetos (as-oon’-ay-tos). It goes way beyond ignorance, referring to a person who lacks any real understanding of the realities of life (including spiritual realities) and therefore makes decisions without any consciousness to those realities.
  • “Covenantbreakers” is from the Greek word asunthetos (as-oon’-thet-os) referring to a person who cannot be trusted to keep promises.
  • “Without natural affection” is from the Greek word astorgos (as’-tor-gos) referring to a person who is incapable of loving anyone but himself.
  • “Implacable” is from the Greek word aspondos (as’-pon-dos) referring to a person incapable of making commitments (let alone keep one).
  • “Unmerciful” is from the Greek word aneleemon (an-eleh-ay’-mone) referring to a person unwilling to help the needy or a person without any compassion for others regardless of the severity of their predicament.

THEY KNOW JUDGMENT IS COMING

The closing statement of Romans 1:32 informs us that the Holy Spirit has fully convinced this person of God’s pending judgment on his/her life. “Knowing” is from the Greek word epiginosko (ep-ig-in-oce’-ko) meaning this person has a thorough perception of what will happen to him once he dies yet he has no fear of God about it because he continues to deny the inner witness of his conscience to God’s truths and existence.

“Judgment” is from the Greek word dikaioma (dik-ah’-yo-mah) referring to a sentence by a judge for a crime committed. The intent here is that this person is fully convinced in his conscience about the eternal death sentence upon him (Romans 6:23). Yet he lives in denial of that cloud of doom over his life. Because of this denial, he not only continues on this pathway to destruction, he forms a partnership with others involved in the same practices which reinforces both his sinful practices and theirs.

WE WILL ALL DIE and FACE GOD

History tells the story of the renowned atheist, Voltaire, one of the most aggressive antagonists of Christianity. He wrote many things to undermine the church, and once said of Jesus Christ, “Curse the wretch. In 20 years, Christianity will be no more. My single hand will destroy the edifice it took 12 apostles to rear.”

  • Voltaire died a terrible death. His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.”
  • Sir Thomas Scott, once president of the English Lower House said: “Up until this time, I thought that there was no God neither Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am delivered to perdition by the righteous judgment of the Almighty.”
  • The great evangelist D. L. Moody, on his deathbed, said, “I see Earth receding and heaven is opening. God is calling me.”

Are You Ready to Face God?

For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he truly examined himself realized he was not “in the faith” as illustrated by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled “The Almost Christian”:

I did go thus for many years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do his will in all things; to please him who had called me to “fight the good fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.”

Yet my own conscience bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian.”

Is your thinking “upside down?” Could you be a moron, useless to God?

Take the Moron Test for backslidden Christians:

1. Do you ENJOY reading the Bible?

2. Do you allow God to speak to you and guide you through His Word?

3. Do you go days without even thinking about God and what He wants you to do?

4. Do you do things today that years ago you said you would never do?

5. Do you hear about immorality or watch immorality without it bothering you?

6. Are there things you do that friends and relatives would be shocked to learn about?

7. Do you find yourself thinking that God loves you just the way you are?

8. DO you find yourself arguing with other Christians about what behavior is OK?

If you don’t care what the results are, or what God thinks about your heart, YOU ARE A MORON!




Something happened to change the life of the human dynamo known as Saul. Sure, he had a dramatic encounter on the road to Damascus. Sure, he saw and heard the risen Jesus Christ. Sure, his eyes were blinded, he was helpless, his pride was desroyed, but was that enough to change the life of this zealot of zealots? In the first seventeen verses of Romans, Paul reveals the foundation of his life, the foundation of what every Christian should know. In these 17 verses are 18 Jewels that should form the foundation of our faith, faith that will keep us strong in the Lord.

Here are the jewels that made up the foundation of Paul’s new life in Jesus Christ:

1.  Paul, Bond-Slave to the King of Kings!

In writing to a church which he had never visited, Paul declares his highest office as bond-slave, (doulos). The case classification is genitive of possession, which means Paul is proud of the fact that he is a slave belonging to his Lord. This was obviously a muted reference to those individuals in the Roman empire designated “Slaves of the Emperor.” As they considered their position one of honor, so did Paul consider that he was a slave of the King of Kings. He puts this ahead of his apostleship. He knew that he was no longer his own man. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 he explains: You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

We are not our own, and Paul was proud of that fact. Instead of seeing Christianity as a system of do’s and don’ts, he saw it as the privilege of privileges. His was a position of honor.

Who you are in life is largely a result of how you see yourself. We tend to value our life on the basis of our job, our possessions, our influence, our friends, our activities. Paul saw his value by Whose he was. He was a servant of the King of Kings. Who are you? When you lay in bed at night, do you fret about your health, the things you need to do, the things you didn’t do? If you are a slave of the King of Kings, you have no rights over tomorrow, over your body, over your job. He has total control. There is no need to fret, no need to worry, no need to be concerned. Only the need to praise Him, draw closer to Him, wait patiently upon Him.

Jewel #1: Focus on Whose We Are

2.  Paul Was an “Apostle Called”

He was a slave first, an apostle second. The adjective comes from the verb kaleō, “to call” in the sense here of “to call to assume an office.” Paul was a called apostle in the sense that God summoned him to that position and placed him in it. Most translations say called to be an apostle, but actually the Greek simply says (κλητὸς ἀπόστολος) “kletos apostolos”, called apostle. Paul heard the call of Christ on the Damascus Road, and in answering that call and seeing His Savior, he was placed as one of Christ’s Apostles. He took the place of the son of perdition-Judas.

Jewel #2: Realize that We are Who We are by Design. We are Never an “Accident”!

So Paul heard the call and answered it with a “YES I WILL!” But what changed this violent, self-possessed Saul into the Apostle Paul who epitomized selfless love and sacrifice for the sake of His King? To become the slave Apostle of the one he admittedly wanted crucified?

3.  Paul Allowed Himself to be “Set Apart” INTO the Gospel of God!

  • But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, Galatians 1:15 (ESV)
  • But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Acts 9:15 (ESV)

Paul became a chosen instrument, a chosen vessel for Jesus Christ! Was he forced to comply on the Damascus Road? It may seem that way. Blinded by a strange light, hearing a strange voice-he could have resisted and kept on kicking against the Lord. Or he could have made a profession, but inwardly resented the Jesus. In any case we never would have heard from old Paul again. He would have been a pothole on the pavement of life.

But something happened to this fiery little dynamo. All his training, his intelligence, his passion for the Law and the ways of the Jews melted away when he gazed upon the one whom he had been persecuting. Yes, Paul was made to realize that he had not only been maiming and murdering ‘Christians’, but he had been doing the same to the very Son of God, the Messiah whom he professed to love so much.

We can’t begin to fathom what the Holy Spirit was doing in those three days after his experience on the road to Damascus. But whatever it was, when Saul gave his life to Jesus Christ, he was changed completely. He was a new man, he was set apart no longer to just Jehovah. He was set apart into the GOSPEL of GOD! (ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον Θεοῦ (aphōrismenos eis euangelion Theo).

Jewel #3: Realize we are Set Apart Into God’s Gospel

The word for set apart [aphōrismenos (aphorizmo)] pictures marking an area with boundaries, with a wall or fence. The Gospel of God is a natural divider of man. It will be the divider in the end times. Jesus told his disciples “So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous” Matthew 13:49 (ESV). You may think that what you believe does not matter to God. Your sincerity is what is important. No that is a Lie of Satan. You must believe “INTO THE GOSPEL”.  Your belief separates you from the world, from Satan or it will separate you from God and all of His goodness. Your UNBELIEF separates you from the GOOD SAYING of GOD. Your UNBELIEF separates you from all that is good from God. Your BELIEF brings you into His presence, into His sweetness.

Are you living as though you were separated INTO God?

4.  Paul Realized that the Gospel IS God!

Separated into not “the”, not “a”, but simply separated into Gospel of God. Normally Paul puts a little article in front of Gospel (as we’ll see in verse 9 and 16)

Here Paul’s emphasis is not on the specific proclamation of the life of Jesus, but in the Gospel representing the QUALITY of God Himself. This is a key point to consider if you are a converted Jew wondering about how the Gospel relates to the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In this one statement Paul reveals to Jew and Gentile alike that the Gospel is God, His good saying, His Goodness, His character, His Life. The Gospel is not just a collection of really pithy teachings from an untrained rabbi who suffered a martyr’s death. The Gospel is God. The same way you speak of God is the same way you speak of Gospel. They are one and the same! The Gospel is God’s eú (good, well), and aggéllō, (to proclaim, tell), or “good proclamation”. We have come to say “Good News” but originally it referred to the good message of God.

Paul was telling the Jews and the Gentiles in Rome that the Gospel is the Message of God. It is His “Good Message”. The Gospel reveals the character and the quality of Jehovah God. You cannot separate the two.

Just as the Jews enjoyed the “Covenantal Blessing” of Jehovah, the message now is that through the “Covenantal Relationship” of Jesus Christ, we not only enjoy God’s Blessing, but we enjoy God’s Presence, God’s Life, God’s Power, God’s Indwelling, God’s Favor, God’s Never Failing Love. And what is so Great about this Message is that it is all ours because of Jesus Christ. There is NOTHING we do to earn any of it. Just as the Jews enjoyed God’s Blessing by birth, so do we enjoy God’s Everything by belief and life yielding faith in Jesus Christ! We enjoy so much more than the Jews, for our is not just a “blessed life”, Our is a “New Life”, and indeed, it is an “Abundant Life!”

The Gospel of God is eternal, and one day this world will hear it proclaimed from heaven:

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with Gospel Eternal to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Revelation 14:6-7 (ESV)

Jewel #4: The Gospel Reveals the Eternal God INTO our Lives.

If we are separated into God’s Gospel, God becomes the indweller and the possessor of our souls.

NOTE: Paul Answered the Call and was Set Apart because he found a Greater POWER than himself.

I believe the main reason that Paul gave his life to Jesus Christ is that he discovered that Christ’s power was greater than his own. Paul saw himself as a winner. He was determined to be on the winning side. He was the most determined, disciplined, zealous Pharisee in the entire  Jewish kingdom. No one possessed his passion for the Law. He could not tolerate these ‘Christians’! He was determined to wipe them from the face of the earth.

When he met Jesus Christ, he surrendered, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He knew it was foolish to keep kicking against the goads. Christ was the conqueror, the victor, and Paul realized that. I believe he reveals the reason he became set apart in verse 16, when he declares this Gospel to be the Power (dunamis) of GOD for salvation. If you know anything about the power of sin, and of satan, and of death, they don’t begin to compare with the Power of the Gospel of God!

The Hope of Tiger Woods in Buddhism

As much as I admired Tiger Woods and his public confession on Friday, when he said he was returning to his Buddhist roots, I realized that there would be no salvation for Tiger Woods. He is doomed to repeat his mistakes, because Buddhism is a religion of self-enlightenment. There is no God, no judgment, no sin in Buddhism. Buddhists do not owe allegiance to a supernatural being. There is no Savior in Buddhism. All a Buddhist can do is seek refuge in the Buddha as a guide, but not seek to be purified in the Buddha. The Buddha does not have the power to wash away sins. The liberation of self is the responsibility of one’s own self. Buddhism places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.

Tiger by sheer will power may turn his life around. Yet he knows nothing of the Power of God. I believe that if Paul had wanted to learn golf, he had enough discipline and will power to be the greatest golfer of his time. Yet even this mighty dynamo of a man knew that he had met his match when he came face to face with the Power of God’s Gospel.

  1. There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgment Day.
  2. Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of being a faith and worship owing allegiance to a supernatural being.
  3. No savior concept in Buddhism. A Buddha is not a savior who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he makes no servile surrender. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in Him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others
  4. A Buddha is not an incarnation of a god/God (as claimed by some Hindu followers). The relationship between a Buddha and his disciples and followers is that of a teacher and student.
  5. The liberation of self is the responsibility of one’s own self. Buddhism does not call for an unquestionable blind faith by all Buddhist followers. It places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.

5. Paul Saw the Gospel as the Promise of God

God’s Eternal Gospel has been promised from the very heart of God since time began. The blood runs through every chapter of the Old Testament. The prophets told of His coming in with 360 separate prophecies. They were all written over 500 years prior to Jesus birth. Jesus Christ was very God and very Man, born at the exact time in history to fulfill the Word of God! Satan could do nothing to stop Him, delay Him, thwart Him. God’s purpose established before time began came to fruition and there was nothing that could stop it.  You may be thinking that Jesus was just a good man, maybe even a truly great man, but if He has not shaken you to the core of your being, you are a dead man, because only Jesus Christ has the Power of God unto YOUR salvation. You may be like JOCO JOE, content with what you have and who you are, but if you are not Jesus Christ’s, then you are a dead man, you are nothing.

Jewel #5: God Fulfills His Promises, for He cannot lie.

6.  Paul Knew the Power of the Resurrection

Paul says that Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God in POWER when God Raised Him from the dead! That’s right! Jesus is alive! We are not talking Elvis here. We are talking the real deal! Jesus Christ lives and rules at the Right Hand of God almighty. Paul himself could testify to the reality of Jesus resurrection. I’m sure that when Jesus spoke to him on the Damascus Road, he flashed back to Stephen, looking to the right hand of God as the stones came crashing upon him. I know he could hear Stephen’s voice as if it was yesterday: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56 (ESV)

Jewel #6: Meditate each day on the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Assure yourself that Jesus Christ is the very Son of God, declared to be so by the very power of the Resurrection. Meditate on the fact that He reigns today at the right hand of His Father. Meditate on the fact that he ever lives to make intercession for you. Meditate that as the Son of God, what He says matters. His Name is above every other name. He will one day rule the nations, He will be the supreme judge of all nations, and yes, you and me. Jesus tells us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! No one, no matter who you are, no matter what you have, can get to the Father unless Jesus is your Savior!

vs 5,6: “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,”

7.  Paul Knew that he had Received Grace with his Apostleship.

Paul “lambano” received both grace and his apostleship at the same time. He received them the second he said Lord, and the scales fell from his eyes. The second he said yes to Jesus Christ, he received his office of apostle and the grace to fulfill those responsibilities. God never leaves his children floundering. He never calls them without a purpose and without power to accomplish that purpose.

Paul received grace, “charis” or the power of God which he did not deserve and the apostleship or “special commission” to carry out that grace! Paul learned that when God has a job for us to do, it must not be done in our own strength, but it requires the Power of God, His “grace”. This Christian life is no longer up to you. God’s grace is immediate, His commission is at once. That doesn’t mean there is no preparation. As in my case, God’s Grace and calling were immediate. My preparation took thirty years. With Paul and with Jesus, it took 3 years. With Moses it took 40 years. With Joshua it took 40 years. Just because you are not doing what you believe God has called you to do does not mean that you will never do it, or that you have been passed over because of some sin. It just means you may need a longer preparation than others. It means God may have a different path for you. But do not chuck it away and think that God could never use you. God delights in using broken vessels.

Why didn’t God use someone like the Apostle John to preach to the Gentiles? John was with Jesus the whole way. He never forsook him. He was beloved. He had his place, but it was ministering to the Jewish converts. God needed someone special to undertake the ministry to the Gentiles. God needed someone who was broken, who, because of his brokenness, would be willing to experience all that Paul suffered, and then say bring it on God! I will gladly suffer more! Anything, that I might know this blessed Jesus more! Let me know the ‘fellowship of His sufferings!’

Jewel #7: Realize that God Never Leaves His Children Powerless, but will Always Empower you to Accomplish His Calling upon Your Life!

8.   Paul Realized that Obedience and Faith are Eternally Intertwined.

Paul was joyful to experience any suffering for the sake of one thing – to bring about obedience by faith for the sake of Jesus Christ. As Wuest says: Obedience of faith is the obedience which characterizes and proceeds from faith. “it always refers to the faith which obeys God’s will…specifically subjection to the saving will of God revealed in Christ and referred to as obedience to the truth (1 Pet. 1:22); obedience of faith (in this verse and in Rom 16:26), and the unquestioning obedience that is demanded by Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

  • Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 1 Peter 1:22 (ESV)
  • We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV

Your faith means your eyes have been opened to see God, to see the truth of His ways, the truth of His Good Word, His Good News. When you truly see God and what He has for you and has done for you, it produces a change-a change in who you obey, who you value, who you listen to. If there was no change, or if God no longer matters to you -you need to do a heart check. Something is wrong. Being a Christian is not a 3 hour proposition. Being a Christian is a 24/7 deal. It results in a new willingness to OBEY GOD! Faith and Obedience are eternal.

Jewel #8: Obedience to God Flows from our Faith in Who He is and That His Word is Truth.

Without God’s Gospel possessing our heart,  our good works are as filthy rags of self-righteousness. Obedience flows from a heart possessed of the vision of a living Son of God! Our faith results in becoming the “called” of Jesus Christ. Paul says these Roman saints were “the called of Jesus Christ.” Genitive of possession, “belonging to Jesus Christ.” Denney says, “They belonged to Him because they have heard and obeyed the gospel.”

9.  Paul Realizes We are God’s “Beloved Saints”

Paul addresses his letter “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” The word is in the plural, “loved-ones of God,” and the word “God” is without the article, so it really should be translated “God’s loved-ones”. In addition to being beloved by God, we are “saints by way of call”, (kletos hagios). We are set apart ones because we heard and answered the call of God. Just as Paul was called to be an apostle, and set apart into the Gospel, so we who have answered His call are set apart into GOD. Hagios means holy, or sacred, and we are called to be sacred unto God. GOD LIVES IN US. We are immediately His when we are born again.  He immediately marks us with His seal, setting us apart.

That is why Paul can declare us to be “God’s loved ones!” You may come from a horrible background. You may have experience horrible pain and injustice, even from close family members. I have news for you-YOU ARE GOD”S LOVED ONE! Cry on His shoulders, wait for His touch. Remind Him you are sacred to Him, and trust in His provision for your life.

Jewel #9: No matter your Sin or your Sorrows, you are God’s Loved One, Set Apart as Sacred unto Him by His Call!

10.  Paul Knew the Way to Grace and Peace

Paul blesses his readers with the prayer for God’s Grace and Peace. But he reminds them that grace and peace are impossible unless they are form God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. In this simple greeting Paul reveals that we will never know and experience God’s Grace (power) unless we depend upon Him as a child does his father. He is our Father God.

He also reveals we will never know true Peace unless we know Jesus Christ as our LORD! Jesus told His disciples these things that in HIM they might have peace. In the world there will have troubles and tribulations, but be of good courage (courage in the face of danger), for Our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered this world. (cf John 16:33)

Jewel #10: Grace and Peace Come to us as we Know God as our Father and Jesus as our Lord!

Do you feel God’s power in your daily life? Have you experienced bucket loads of His grace falling on you as a gentle rain? Then perhaps you do not know Him as your Father. Perhaps you are trying to live your life on your own, when daily you need to come to Him as your Father, and confess your need for Him, even for your daily bread.

Do you have Peace in your life? Do you pillow your head amidst the storms and heartache of life and yet smile yourself to sleep? DO you lie there basking in the warm glow of God’s presence and power? Then perhaps you know not Jesus Christ as your LORD! Perhaps you are looking to yourself and your own resources, and that is causing you to fret and worry! Go to sleep at night saying Jesus You are Lord, and soon your heart will know His peace.

  • Grace Is Power Where There Is Weakness
  • Peace Is Courage In The Face Of Danger and Despair

11.  Paul Knew that only Through Jesus do we have Access to God!

Paul declared “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you! One thing will become clear as we spend time in Romans: Paul knew that regardless of how righteous anyone may think they are, none of us can go directly to God to offer anything, not even thanksgiving! We must go through our Savior, Jesus Christ. We have no standing before God outside of Jesus Christ! That is why it is so important that we come to God though the righteousness that we have IN JESUS CHRIST! That is why we pray though His blood and by His Name! Paul revealed the reason why in 1 Timothy 2:25: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.

Jewel #11: Never Think you are Good Enough to Approach God. Always Lean upon Jesus, for We are Accepted “In the Beloved”.

12.  Paul Knew the Key to Having Great Faith

Paul praises the Romans “because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”(verse 8). If you remember, Roman leadership was not very tolerant of religions that believed in any King other than Caesar. They were experiencing persecution. In this Paul reveals a simple truth, faith does not become great when things are easy. Only when our backs are against the wall and we are needing help do we tend to look upward to see God! And that is what faith is-seeing God, the God of Power! The church at Rome had a reputation known throughout the world of faith in God in spite of the unfavorable political environment they were living. In fact, the growing hostility only fanned their numbers and their faith in the Son of God who suffered and died for them. Great faith is not born in times of comfort and ease. It is born in adversity and hardship. When most people shrink back and fall by the wayside, people of great faith keep going strong, because they are relying on Him who has all strength!

Hebrews 11 is all about people of Great Faith. The heroes of our faith were commended for their faith that enabled them to conquer obstacles-obstacles of persecution, death, disappointment, betrayal, heartache, loss of loved ones, loss of homes, possessions. Many of them died without ever seeing that which they hoped for. They died hated by the world, thought to be total losers, and yet see what God thought of them:

And what other examples shall I give? There is simply not time to continue by telling the stories of Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jeptha; of David, Samuel and the prophets. Through their faith these men conquered kingdoms, ruled in justice and proved the truth of God’s promises. They shut the mouths of lions, they quenched the furious blaze of fire, they escaped from death itself. From being weaklings they became strong men and mighty warriors; they routed whole armies of foreigners. Some returned to their womenfolk from certain death, while others were tortured and refused to be ransomed, because they wanted to deserve a more honorable resurrection in the world to come. Others were exposed to the test of public mockery and flogging, and to the torture of being left bound in prison. They were killed by stoning, by being sawn in two; they were tempted by specious promises of release and then were killed with the sword. Many became refugees with nothing but sheepskins or goatskins to cover them. They lost everything and yet were spurned and ill-treated by a world that was too evil to see their worth. They lived as vagrants in the desert, on the mountains, or in caves or holes in the ground. All these won a glowing testimony to their faith, but they did not then and there receive the fulfillment of the promise. God had something better planned for our day, and it was not his plan that they should reach perfection without us. Hebrews 11:32-39 (Phillips NT)

Jewel #12: People of Great Faith Live with Eternity in their Heart and God in their Sights.

13.  Paul Knew the Secret of Service to God

Paul declared he served God with his spirit in the gospel of His Son. The word for serve is latreuō – which is spiritual service, worship. Paul was a very fleshly man, strong-willed, stubborn, passionate, driven. Yet he came to realize that service to God must be spiritual, not fleshly. He will share later on in chapter 8 how we must walk in the Holy Spirit. He says:

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8

No one can truly serve God in his flesh. Sure, our flesh is involved, but our motivation and strength must be in our spirit as it is refreshed and strengthened and empowered by God’s Spirit!

Service is nothing more than directed worship. And Jesus said an amazing truth-that to worship God we must do so in spirit and in truth. Paul involves this in his declaration. He serves God with his spirit in the gospel of His Son. The gospel is the TRUTH, which Jesus told Pilate he came to declare. So Paul confirms what Jesus told the woman at the well, his service was from his spirit and in the truth of the Gospel.

Paul knew all too well that the Priests who served God night and day were not allowed to wear anything that would cause them to sweat (Ezekiel 44:18). Sweat is the curse upon men who must labor to get provisions. When Adam and Eve walked with God they did not sweat. The ground yielded up an abundance of food without effort. Adam could spend hours without getting tired. That is because he labored in his spirit, not in the flesh. His spirit was the driving force of his life. Man was created a living soul controlled by the Spirit. Adam was able to walk with God!

After the fall Adam became flesh. The flesh became the driving force of his life. Sweat was the by-product. Sweat is a reminder that we are fleshly beings, under the curse of sin. Paul realized that if he was to serve God, his service required two things: a strong spirit, and a firm dependence upon the Words of Christ – the Gospel of God’s Son.

Jewel #13: Grow Mighty in Spirit with the Truth of God’s Word.

Because Paul was strong in spirit, he was strong in prayer, praying without ceasing for the Church at Rome. Before the Resurrection, the disciples could not pray for more than an hour in the Garden of Gethsemane. After the Resurrection, they were praying for days until the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost!

Service to God should never be undertaken solely because you had some fantastic emotional experience. You may even be all goose-bumply and teary-eyed when you think about God. That is great, but at some point the goose-bumps will stop and your eyes will dry up. Learn to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Jesus is the truth! Know the Word-Know the Gospel of Jesus! His Word is to be the foundation of your service, not you emotions. Emotions fade, but the Word of God stands forever! It’s great to go to meetings where we get all teary eyed or all pumped up, but grab some Word! Get your heart in the Word of God!

14.  Paul Realized that we Depend upon each other for Strength and Encouragement

Paul told the Romans “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you” not because he thought he was holier than they, but so “that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. The purpose of the gifts is that they would become established in their Christian character and service. Paul is not trying to set himself above them, but only show his concern for the work of the Gospel. Paul knew this amazing truth about Christians- when one of us grows, we all benefit.

There is no benefit to the church when only the Pastor or a select few people seem to have all the ‘godliness’ in the church. No, Christ wants to fill the whole body with His grace. He wants all of us to grow in Him, because when we do, we benefit each other.

The purpose of the impartation of these gifts was that they might be established both in their Christian character and their service. That establishment was not up to Paul. It is out of Paul’s hands and placed squarely where it belongs – in God’s! It is God who establishes us in Christ. Never rely on man except as an encouragement.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

(God) comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:17 (ESV)

Jewel #14: We Complete Me! The Mutual Benefit of Growth

Paul quickly mentioned that his desire to see them strengthened was not so much a prideful thing as it was a benefit for him. He says he would be “sumparakaléō”. King James says ‘comforted together with you.’ It means to be strengthened with each other. Christianity is a mutual ministry whereby we are all strengthened as we grow stronger together.

I depend upon you as much as you depend upon me. When you are established I am encouraged and strengthened –  We Complete Me! It is never me completing you!

15.  Paul Knows that Christians are Designed to Bear Fruit

Paul had a world-wide vision. He wished to bear fruit among the citizens of Rome as well as “among other Gentiles.” Jesus said “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit”. John 15:2. God wants His children to bear fruit. We were saved to do good works, for that is the essence of the Gospel, and the revelation of the nature of God! If we don’t have desire to bear fruit, we won’t. Paul had fruit ever before Him. Every day he sought fruit. Even when he found himself chained up in prison, he was after fruit. Guards, visitors, anyone, all heard about this Jesus!

Jewel #15: Seek to be that Tree Planted by Streams of Water that Yields its Fruit in its Season, and its Leaf does not Wither.

16.  Paul was the Eager Debtor

Paul exclaimed that he was under obligation(a debtor) both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (Romans 1:14-15) The word “debtor” (opheiletēs ) means to owe, to be obligated, to be bound by duty. The Greek is impossible to translate into English, for two ideas are being expressed by Paul. He was a “debtor”…because Christ had done so much for him (saved him) and because Christ had called him to preach (given him a task to do).

This indebtedness was deeply felt by Paul. The idea is that it was intense, unwavering, relentless, powerful. The sense of debt just would not let Paul go. He was compelled to preach the gospel; therefore, he could do nothing else. He was obligated and duty-bound to preach it. He actually felt that he owed the gospel to the world; therefore, if he kept quiet, it would be worse than knowing the cure for the most terrible disease of history and refusing to share it.

He made a contrast between the Greeks and the Barbarians. He meant that he owed the gospel to all nationalities and cultures, to all the peoples of the earth whether civilized or uncivilized, industrialized or primitive, rich or poor.

With Paul it was never half-way. Because of this great debt he owed, he had to give Jesus everything! Paul was an “ALL IN” kind of guy. When he was persecuting the Christian Jews, he did it with all his heart, seeking to put ALL Christians in chains. But now that he was a Christian, he is obliged to preach the Gospel to every man and women, boy and girl on the earth. He wants ALL to be saved!

Jewel #16: Realize you owe Jesus Christ EVERYTHING, so don’t hold anything back, but with Eagerness of Heart Serve Him!

17.  Paul realized the Great Power of the Gospel

Paul knew something that so many of us do not realize. The Gospel that is God’s Good Proclamation is so much more than a ticket to heaven. The Gospel saved us from this evil world. The Gospel is power to Live. The Gospel is power over sin. The Gospel is power over Satan. The Gospel is Power! Power! Power!

We look at the stars and the planets and think of how much power it took to create all this. Yet God’s Word makes an amazing declaration. All of creation was only “finger play” to God! As David declares: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place!”(Psalm 8:3)

Wow! All of creation took only the fingers of God! Yet by comparison, God’s Word declares that when it came to saving you and me from sin, it took nothing less than the mighty arm of God! Isaiah writes: “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? (when speaking of our salvation)-Isaiah 53:1.

The power that gives us new life, that redeems us, that regenerates us, that makes us a child of God is greater than all the power it took to create the universe! This is such an awesome thought to wrap our brains around!

No wonder Paul was not embarrassed to tell everyone about Jesus Christ. He was possessor of the greatest power in the universe-the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Should we not also be so bold! Do we not possess the same power!

Could this be a glimpse of what he wrote in Ephesians: “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” Ephesians 1:19-20.

Jewel #17: Realize the Great Power that Flows in our Lives through the Gospel of Christ!

Creation cost God very little; redemption cost God His only Son. It took the power of God to transform Saul (the chief persecutor) into Paul (the chief apostle). It takes the power of God to save and transform any sinner. That power is ours everyday to overcome whatever comes our way!

Paul encourages us to see what we have and thereby “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12-14

Only Jesus Christ has the power to transform lives from the inside out! The gospel can save us, forgive us, & bring us into the family of God!

18.  Paul Knew the Power of Faith

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:1-17 (ESV)

Paul saw that only by possessing the righteousness of God can we be righteousness. There was no way man could earn that righteousness. There was no way man could be righteous. Paul saw that Christ had secured our righteousness through His blood and His death on the cross. Only by belief in the Gospel of Christ can we be made righteous. That belief is the foundation of our faith, which opens our eyes to God and the righteousness He provided for us through His Son Jesus Christ. Faith is born in our belief, and belief is made possible through faith. This righteousness that we have in Jesus Christ is revealed from faith to faith. As we have faith, we believe, and as we believe, we have faith! Trials come our way, doubts may bombard us, but we progress from faith to faith, ever beholding the righteousness we have in Jesus Christ!

We are not just in ourselves! We are made just in Jesus Christ! Those that “believe” in verse 16, are the same ones who live by “faith” in verse 17. The words are basically the same: pisteuo and pistis. They both have the idea of faith, believing, having faith in, trusting in.

It is the same word in Greek, “faith” being the noun form, “believe” the verb. To believe is to have faith, to have faith is to believe.

Jewel #18: We Grow in Faith as We Walk in the Truth. We Walk in the Truth as we grow in Faith. From Faith to Faith

  • Justification is God’s gracious act by which He declares the believing sinner righteous in Jesus Christ because of the work of Christ on the cross.
  • A righteous standing before God leads to a holy life before men.
  • We are not saved by works or by faith plus works; we are saved by a faith that works.

The believer’s righteousness in Christ means that our acceptance & worth before God cannot be earned…but only received. And on this very verse Martin Luther realized that all his efforts to work his way to God had been futile. He found the very righteousness of God granted to him in Christ!

Chose the Power You Will Obey

The Power of God vs The Power of the Individual

The gospel of Rome has long since faded from the scene. No one celebrates the birth or enthronement of a Caesar, as they did in the First Century. Other gospels, too, have come and gone. The gospel of God has outlasted has outlasted them all.

Rival gospels surface in every age and in every place. Each gospel makes an announcement and tells a story. The gospel of the 21st Century declares that the individual is lord. It is nothing new, for man has always tried to stand against God, beginning with the Tower of Babel.

The gospel of the individual is preached to us every day, 24 hours a day, over the airwaves, on the internet, in the workplace, on the campus and in the marketplace. “Don’t worry about what God thinks,” the preachers of our age tell us. “We determined long ago that if he exists at all, somewhere up in heaven, he doesn’t really care about what happens on earth. If he cares at all, don’t you think he wants you to have your own way?”

Nineteenth Century British poet William Ernest Henley wrote these lines from “Invictus”: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

The gospel of God confronts the gospel of the individual, just as it confronted the gospel of Rome.

  • Do You KNOW the Power of the Gospel?
  • Do You KNOW the Power of the New Life in Christ?

The resurrection of Jesus means this: He is Lord, and you are not. Are you willing to make Him your Lord? Are you willing to believe in the Gospel of God which alone is able to save you?