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Tag Archives: Romans 1

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 33)

I’m grateful for my friend Mike. Yes, he’s as lost as lost can be. And I’m praying earnestly for him to come to know Christ. But thinking about him has got me thinking about me. Well, not about me so much as about the many blessings I enjoy as a believer which my friend Mike does not yet enjoy.

Another blessing of which I’m becoming aware is that of a heart full of gratitude toward God for all He has done for me.  And I’m pretty sure that Mike — and my other unsaved friends —

33. THEY DON’T HAVE A HEARTFELT, GOD-DIRECTED THANKFULNESS!

I’m not saying my unsaved friends aren’t thankful people. But how much of their thanksgiving is directed toward the Lord? Apart from giving thanks at dinner, do they praise Him for life, for His mercy, for the gift of salvation? Not yet, as far as I can tell.

We live in an unthankful, entitled culture that demands its rights and expects only good things in life. But the believer is told: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thes. 5:18).

A lack of thankfulness is one characteristic of the lost person, according to Romans 1. In Paul’s diatribe against fallen man, he writes, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (v. 21) 2 Timothy 3:2 says, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy . . .” Jesus advises His followers: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Lk. 6:35)

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I demonstrate by my life that I am grateful for all God’s blessings to me. And I strategically pray for my lost friend that he would recognize his thankless natural state and turn to the Lord in gratitude for salvation. (to be continued)

 

 

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #4 THE WRATH OF GOD!(Romans 1:18-20)

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 1 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:A few observations on the WRATH of God in this passage —

I. Is being revealed . . .

II. Is against all the godlessness and wickedness of people . . .

III. These people are those who suppress the truth by their wickedness . . .

IV. The clarity of God and His character (vv. 19-20)

V. Creation testifies to God’s eternal power and divine nature (v. 20)

VI. People are without excuse (v. 20)

There is much in the Scriptures about the WRATH of God. In fact, I wrote an article a few years ago entitled “Warning a Wrath-Deserving World” and it may be accessed here.

Could it be that some in our culture need to hear more about the WRATH of God? I’ve had a person yawn in my face when I told him of God’s love. But when I talked about God’s WRATH — and how I deserved that wrath — he didn’t yawn. He listened. Just a thought.

 

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2020 in Romans 1

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #3 “I Give Up!” (Romans 1:21-28)

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 1 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:Does the Lord ever say, “I GIVE UP!” Of course not! But He does say “I GIVE OVER!” Note in this section of Romans 1 God’s reaction to man’s rejection of his Creator:

(1) God “gave them over” in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another (v. 24). This “giving over” was God’s response to their exchanging God’s truth for a lie and for worshiping created things instead of the Creator.

(2) God “gave them over” to shameful lusts (v. 26). If verses 26-27 aren’t a condemnation of homosexual behavior, I don’t know how clearer God could have said it!

(3) God “gave them over” to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done (v. 28). Why did He respond this way? Because they “did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God (v. 28)!

These are somber verses. But they seem to describe perfectly much of our world’s present state. Oh, how we need to pray for our friends and neighbors and relatives to come to know the true Creator so that they will not be “given over.”

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2020 in Romans 1

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #2

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 1 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

The reason Paul’s not ashamed of the gospel is because it is God’s power to save – – anyone! But only those who believe.

Paul defines the gospel as “the power of God that brings salvation.” We in our sinful condition are powerless to save ourselves, even when we thought we could! Only God’s power can rescue and redeem lost sinners!

And what is the purpose of that gospel? To reveal the righteousness of God! We know that God is righteous — and that we are not. How does the gospel reveal the righteousness of God? Because His righteousness is given us . . . by FAITH. Not by our works, but by His grace through faith in Christ.

How could one possibly be ashamed of this kind of gospel?! I love the statement by pastor Steve Brown when he says, “When I share the gospel with people, I’m worried about what people will think about Christ. And about what they will think about me. But mostly, about what they will think about me.”

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2020 in Romans 1

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #1

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 1 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

The Apostle Paul is called by God to be an apostle (“a sent one”). Followers of Jesus are also called to do the same. Not in the technical sense of “apostle” (that office is over), but in the sense of being “on mission” for God.

Like Paul we are called to call others to faith in Christ! And please notice that we are not just calling people to believe or have faith, but to the obedience that comes from faith (v. 5).

But our primary calling is to belong to Jesus Christ (v. 6). Upon conversion we become His. We no longer belong to ourselves, but to Him who bought us with His blood!

And, lastly, we are called to be His holy people. Holiness does not come automatically. Of course, salvation is instantaneous and is not assisted in any way by our efforts. But holiness, growing into the likeness of Christ, is a daily battle against our sin natures and a constant make-every-effort life for the believer.

 

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2020 in Romans 1

 

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Back to the Basics! Bibliology #2 “Natural” Revelation!

We Christians are often accused of making God in our image. If that were so, I for one would have left out issues like His holiness, His wrath, the doctrine of eternal hell. How about you?

Biblical Christianity teaches that God is not created, but discovered by us. Better said, He reveals Himself to us through various means. His primary means of self-disclosure is the Word of God, the Bible.

However, what about before the Bible? The Bible is not an eternal book in the sense that it had no beginning. There came specific points in human history when God the Holy Spirit led Moses to write the first five books of the Old Testament, the Apostle Paul to write over half of the New Testament, and someone (who knows who?) to write the epistle to the Hebrews! These were men guided by the Spirit of God (2 Pe. 1:21) who used their literary talents to write what God wanted written.

But what about before then? The Bible is quite clear that God has always been revealing truth about Himself. Through nature, human nature, and history He has communicated truth about Himself. Listen to Romans 1: 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Theologians refer to this revelation as natural revelation. That is, God has through the creation communicated truth about Himself to all people everywhere. Note what Romans 1 says:

1. God’s wrath has been revealed because man suppresses the truth that nature gives about God (v.18).

2. There is a plainness to God’s communication in nature: His eternal/invisible qualities have been clearly seen (vv. 19-20).

3. Therefore, people are “without excuse.” In some sense all people (because of creation) “know” God, but choose not to glorify Him nor to give thanks to Him (v. 21).

4. In their rejection of “natural” revelation, man’s own thinking has been adversely affected! His thinking has become futile, leading to a darkening of the human heart (v. 21).

5. Man has made a terrible exchange. He has swapped God’s glory for idols! John Calvin put it this way: “man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols.”

But natural revelation is still true — and is still there for us to point to.  We can proclaim with Psalm 19 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in natural revelation

 

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The Insane Logic of Mass Shootings (Dr. Larry Dixon)

Our hearts are broken by the recent tragedy in Las Vegas.   There are no words to describe the horror, the inhumanity, of Stephen Paddock’s actions on Sunday, October 1st. We grieve for the almost 600 families who either lost a loved one or will live the rest of their days with members injured by this man’s maniac action.

But I would like to raise one question in this post which should be deeply disturbing to any thinking person. Imagine that Paddock left a note explaining his intentions. Again, we are simply imagining the possibility that he had thought out what he was going to do.

“To Whom It May Concern:
Life has no meaning. There is no God. Of any sort. There is no afterlife. There will be no judgment for either my ‘good’ actions or my upcoming ‘evil’ actions. ‘Evil’ and ‘good’ are socially constructed categories, able to change as society evolves. But — I will be remembered.”

Admittedly, I have no idea what worldview or philosophy (if any) was held by this crazy person. If an investigation shows that he was a member in good standing with, say, a Christian Science community or a Jehovah’s Witness congregation or a Baptist church, would that connection then condemn that group or religion? Of course not.

But philosophically, what motivated his murderous rampage? He was obviously not someone who gave no thought to what he was about to do. He meticulously planned his action, selecting (and modifying) his weapons, choosing his vantage point to reign down as much lethal damage as he possibly could. As one news report said, “The shooter had checked into a hotel room overlooking the music festival, stocked a cache of weapons there and set up cameras inside his hotel suite and hallway.”

Apparently he thought enough of his live-in girlfriend to have her leave the country before his atrocious act.

A multi-millionaire, Paddock enjoyed gambling for a few days before the country music concert on Sunday. But he did not gamble with those 58 innocent lives he took. He simply took them. And the 500 his weapons brutally maimed? They never had a chance to choose their fate.   He imposed his will on those strangers like a demigod who haphazardly and whimsically metes out punishment.

No fear of God served as a deterrent to his actions. No fear of man gave him pause. He did not anticipate a trial or imprisonment for what he was about to do. It is a reasonable conclusion that he had already decided to take his own life after he had robbed so many of theirs.

Ideas have consequences and, though we may never know Paddock’s worldview, he obviously did not value his life or the lives of others. He gave no thought to the unrelenting misery his actions would scar over half a thousand people.

The question is not, it seems to me, why do such mass shootings happen? But why don’t they happen more frequently? In his October 2nd article in Patheos entitled “Answers to 4 Questions About Violence in Vegas”,[1] Pastor Mark Driscoll makes the excellent point that “Once we realize that at the root human beings are the problem, it is easy to see that we cannot also be the solution.”

In a culture that mostly refers to God only as an expletive of surprise (“Oh, My God!”), why are we shocked that godless actions would result?

One news source said, “The mass shooting has raised questions about the gunman, his intentions and his access to weapons.” But why has his act not raised questions about his worldview? What did Paddock believe? Beliefs lead to actions.

We find solace in the stories of heroic efforts made by first responders and average citizens to help others. Sacrificing one’s own safety for the sake of someone else is not a value logically derived from a Darwinian point of view.[2] Tim Keller makes the point that “If there is no transcendent reality beyond this life, then there is no value or meaning for anything.”[3] Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “Without God and the future life . . . everything is permitted, one can do anything.”[4]

But there is built within each of us a God-consciousness which includes a deep-seated grasp of the truth that all people are made in the image and likeness of their Creator. Alas, that consciousness can be suppressed and, as Romans 1 says, the natural man “neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.”

As a result of rejecting God’s revelation of Himself, God has given the natural man over to “the sinful desires of their hearts” (v. 24), “to shameful lusts” (v. 26), and “to a depraved mind” (v. 28). As a result “they do what ought not to be done” (v. 28). They “are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

We who are Evangelicals need to embrace and teach the biblical worldview.   The famous unbelieving historian and philosopher Will Durant wrote: “I survive morally because I retain the moral code that was taught me along with the religion, while I discarded the religion…. You and I are living on a shadow…. But what will happen to our children…? They are living on the shadow of a shadow.”[5]

 

[1] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdriscoll/2017/10/answers-4-questions-violence-vegas/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=Evangelical&utm_content=46

[2] In his book Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical, Tim Keller makes the point that “humanistic moral standards . . . don’t follow logically from a materialistic view of the world.” (p. 41). Later he points out that “Modern secularism has largely kept these moral ideals of biblical faith while rejecting the view of the personal universe in which those ideals made sense and from which they flowed as natural implications.” (p. 47).

[3] Ibid., p. 49.

[4] Quoted in Keller, p. 177.

[5] Chicago Sun-Times 8/24/75 1B

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Las Vegas shooting

 

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