Romans 1

*Some of this material is not my own*

Several Wednesday’s ago the teens in my youth group were given a blank piece of paper. The teens were asked two things. 1. What kind of activities would you like to have? 2. What book of the Bible would you be interested in studying?

Out of these two questions I was able to glean a great many things, but more importantly what the teens were interested in learning about God’s Word. As you can probably already guess several of them were interested in the book of Romans. Over the next few blog posts I will try and impart some of my gleanings from the book.

Here are some highlights to know about the book:

The book of Romans was written from Paul to the church in Rome. It was written for three different reasons:

  1. To enlist their help for missions to the west (Spain)
  2. To give clear doctrine about Jesus Christ (Salvation)
  3. And for personal reasons. (Prayer for himself and about His desire to come to them)

What about Rome itself? We all know Rome well. It was a huge influential city with a population upwards of four million people at the time. Nero was ruling at this time, but it was a somewhat peaceful time (Nero was not at this point persecuting). There were typical things within a big city: slaves, luxury, manufacturing, trade, multicultural (which means each person brought their own back ground with their own vices from their heritage). The church in Rome was comprised of both Jew and Gentile.

As Paul writes he is thinking about all these different factors, but most importantly Paul is debtor to all men because he knows the Gospel.

This post is not intended to be exhaustive or expository. It is meant to highlight and encourage. I would encourage you to refresh you reading on Romans 1 before reading on.

Probably the most well known verses within chapter 1 are verses 16-17. Remember that Rome was a very culturally diverse city meaning they would have most likely had some Stephen Hawking’s or Charles Darwin’s. Men that would have been well known for philosophical, mathematical, or some other great teaching. Men that would have reasoned about this world or the next. Individuals that would have been ready to smack Paul down for his belief, but despite this Paul was still ready to claim “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ”

Paul goes on to explain that the Gospel reveals to us that the salvation of believers is a means to an end. The power of God brings salvation to life with out the power of God salvation would still mean death. The most important part of the Gospel besides the power of God is that it must be taken (accepted). Jesus said that He came to heal those that are sick, but one must first realize that they are sick. “Medicine prepared will not cure a patient,” it must be taken. Jews and Gentiles a like are now upon the same miserable ground. They are both equally in need of a Savior, they are both equally in welcome to that Savior.

Two points for this post: Are you ashamed of the Gospel? To ashamed of what people might think of you that you are not concerned that another persons soul is sick and in need of a Savior.

Do you believe in the Power of the Gospel? This is truly the most important choice you can ever make. If you have the Gospel you are a debtor to all other’s to share that Good News.

Goodness

Psalms 107:15, 21, 31

Three verses in the same chapter that all say the same thing.

When I was beginning my college career I was required to take a class called Freshman Introduction. In this class were many Freshman things that were very boring. But one particular topic was study skills. A specific study skill that was taught was that if a teacher repeats something they are emphasizing it. Turns out that Biblical writers employ the same technique. Repeat something to add emphasis.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Three times the Psalmist says the same phrase. Three times the Psalmist cries out to his readers to praise the LORD for His goodness and wonderful works! Three times the Psalmist asks his readers to confess to Jehovah His kindness and His wonders.

There is one particular component to prayer that is key when seeking God that is missed to often. The part of prayer that should have the most quantity is that of thankfulness. Thankfulness is part of worship, thankfulness is reminding yourself of what God has done for you. Thankfulness is to remind you of all the mighty things that God has done for you in the past, present, and what He will do in the future.

The book of Jeremiah records a prayer that is a great example of thankfulness. Almost the entire prayer is devoted to thankfulness. Thanking God for what He has done, is doing, and will do. The Psalmist cries out to the LORD asking men to praise God for all that He has done. This should be our focus in prayer. When this becomes our focus there is no more room for a discontent spirit. Thankfulness teaches our spirit to rely on the Lord for His timing and His plan.

Be thankful for all His Goodness today.

Salty Rain

One month ago today, Rebekah and I were packing to make the biggest change in our lives so far. Possibly ever.

God has allowed us to move safely and quickly almost 3,000 mi. across the country to a new town with new people and new customs. It has been difficult, but has brought us closer to our Savior.

The name of today’s blog comes from our new location and today’s passage. Washington state falls in the top 7 for the most rainy cities in America. Today is no exception. Cloudy with showers most of the day. I have been told that the weather tends to wear on people as time goes on. We will have to test that out over the next few months and let you know.

The second part of the name comes from tonight youth group focus. Salt. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells the multitudes they are “the salt of the earth: but if they salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot by men.” As of late I have had trouble coming up with what to challenge the teens with. The list of passages is endless and God’s Word is powerful, but what would I say about His word to challenge the teens to become closer to the Savior? I would pray and pray for God to give me the words to speak. These prayers were sometimes answered with little or even no reply… Lord, I am trying to feed your sheep with Your word, what would you have me say to them?

I am still not sure what God is trying to teach me, except the fact that His word must be handled carefully and allowed to steep with time. The Bible says many times to meditate on His word. Not to read a verse and expect supernaturally to be able to exposite a 15 minute lesson. Meditate on God’s word and with time allow it to permeate your life, then you will know what to say.

Salt is good for two things: preservation and flavor. As believers we are to be the preservation and flavor of this world. Most would take the preservation aspect of this passage and say that we are to preserve the world from evil. Which I am sure is correct, but the story that come to mind is that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Three angels come to tell Abraham of the cities coming destruction. Abraham goes to God and begs that the city be saved for fifty. If there is fifty righteous will you save the city? The Father relents to this request. Abraham comes back to God several more times and the number of righteous drops from 50 down to 10. If there are ten righteous will you save the city? Again, the Father relents to this request, but not even ten are found withing the city.

Believers are here preserving the destruction of this world. If there were no believers within the world would the earth still stand?

Believers are the flavor, believers are the best within the world. Where there is hate, we are to love (even our enemies). Where there is lying, we are to be honest. Where there is violence we are to be the peacemakers. We are to be the flavor, the best of the world.

Have we as believers lost our purpose?

Have we lost our righteousness because of sin that we cling to?

The one thing about sticky notes is that after you stick them to something once or twice what happens? You cannot use them anymore. The sticky part of them is filled with to much junk. They have lost their purpose.

Be righteous today. Reclaim your flavor today.

Get back up and reclaim your purpose believer.