11/5/18 “Removing Road Blocks”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 13-14. 

Highlighted Verse(s):

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10

“Therefore let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hinderance in the way of a brother.” Romans 14:13

Explanation:

At my church we are doing everything that we can to try to remove chances for guests, regular attenders, and members to be hindered from hearing the gospel. So we have a greeters in the parking lot, clear signage, free coffee for guests, greeters that open the door for you, gifts for first time guests, and when you fill out a connection card we follow up.  All of these things are efforts to apply Romans 14:13. We have decided to “never put a stumbling block or hinderance in the way of our brother” so that they might be more apt to hear the truth in the worship service.  Followers of Jesus are to love others like this  everywhere we go.  We are to make every effort to remove road blocks to the gospel.

Make every effort to remove road blocks to the gospel. 

The whole issue in Romans 14 boils down to the fact that some Christians are eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols. This is causing some weaker and less mature Christians to stumble in their faith. Paul tells them to give up their right to eat that meat because it’s causing others to stumble into sin.

Removing road blocks to the gospel will sometimes mean that you give up your right so your neighbor doesn’t stumble.

One life has an impact on another. We can easily affect each other.  We can cause others to stumble, grieve others, or even destroy others.  The truth of the gospel is offensive in that it tells us that we are sinners who cannot save ourselves but must wholly trust in Jesus.  That message is going to offend so let’s let nothing else that we do bring offense to our neighbor.  Romans 14:13 does not mean that we give up the gospel because it offends It means we give other things that offend so that the gospel can be heard.  Let’s decide to never put a stumbling block up for our neighbors.

“God’s kingdom is more than our right’s, so we need to let love determine how we act toward one another.” (Robby Gallaty)

Application:

How can you love the people around you this week?  Co-workers? Family? Friends? Neighbors?

Ask the Lord to help you to have discernment to know how to love without doing wrong to your neighbor.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Romans 15-16.

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11/4/18 “Living Sacrifices”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 11-12.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,3 but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

Explanation:

Paul spends the majority of Romans speaking of salvation for both Jew and Gentile.  Today’s highlighted verses transition to the rest of the book of Romans.  Paul now begins to apply the doctrine of salvation to the life of a Christian in practice ways.  You could say that the question answered in Romans 12 is “so what?”  Or maybe, “I’m saved, now what?”

The evidence for someone’s salvation in Jesus is found in their life. 

The main way that evidence is given for salvation in Jesus Christ is through our life.  Someone living post-conversion will offer their life to God as an act of sacrifice and worship.  This is a commitment of our whole life to Jesus.  This kind of commitment results in seeking transformation from the Word of God, using our spiritual gifts to serve others, and genuinely loving others.  Paul get’s specific about what these three things look like throughout the rest of Romans 12.

Application: 

  1. Read Romans 12 to see some specific examples of how salvation will effect your life practically.
  2. Examine your own life. What evidence of salvation in your life are visible to others?
  3. We cannot live out our salvation in our own power.  It takes the Spirit of God living in us and changing us to the will of God.  Submit to the work of the Spirit in your life today.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Romans 13-14.

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11/3/18 “Hearing and Sharing the Word”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 10-11.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13

Explanation:

So far in Romans we have seen that salvation is not of our works but a result of faith in the work of Christ.  Paul spent the first eight chapters explaining that salvation is by faith alone.  Salvation is offered to everyone, ‘there is no distinction between Jew and Greek’ (Rom. 10:12).  While salvation is offered to all, it is the one ‘who calls on the name of the Lord’ that will be saved  (Rom. 10:13).

Salvation is offered freely to all.  But to be saved each person must, in faith, call upon the name of the Lord.  

Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.  This means that followers of Jesus cannot live in faith or share their faith without the word of Jesus.  We must meditate on the Word of God as often as we can (Psalm 1) and when (no if) we share the good news of the gospel to others, let us share the word of Christ not our own word.  Paul asks how we will preach if we are not sent.  Brothers and sisters, we have been sent by Jesus as missionaries into the world.

Application:

When and how did God bring you to salvation?  Think about your salvation story for a minute and praise God for His work of salvation in your life.

How often do you read the Word of God?  Make space in your daily routine to hear from the word of Christ.

When was the last time you shared the gospel with someone?  Ask the Lord to open your eyes to opportunities around you to do this.  Remember, you have been sent.

Tomorrows Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Romans 11-12. 

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11/2/18 “Setting Your Mind on Christ”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 7-8.

Highlighted Verse(s): 

“For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit.  Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.  The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so.” Romans 8:5-7, CSB

Explanation:

You likely know and and have used the phrase, ‘you can do anything you set your mind to.’ Paul tells us in Romans 8:5-7 that life before we were in a relationship with Jesus we set our minds on the things of the flesh.  We were focused on our selves. We may have helped people or accomplished good things, but our focus was definitely on making ourselves happy.  We would sin without thinking twice about it.  This mindset is one of death.

Christians have the Spirit of God living in them, bringing a totally new mindset to life. 

But now, for those who are in a relationship with Jesus, we live to set our mind on the things of the Spirit.  The Spirit lives in us and brings to our mind Scripture and other things that honor God.  This mindset is one of life and peace.  Now that we have the Spirit of God living in us we live with a mindset focused on Him.  This mindset leads to true peace.

When our minds are set on the things of the Spirit we will walk in step with the Spirit.

Application:

Is your focus on the things of the Spirit or of the flesh?

Thank the Lord for putting His Spirit in you to guide you to holy living.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Romans 9-10.

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11/1/18 “Saved from the Reign of Sin”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 5-6.

Highlighted Verse(s): 

“So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” Romans 6:11-12

Explanation:

The reign of a king all inclusive.  Kings lord over everything and everyone in their kingdom.  Kings have control over you.  The laws they put in place you must follow.  Before Christ makes someone a new creation in Him sin reigns over their bodies.  But Romans 6:1-4 tells us that we are buried with Christ and raised with Him to new life.  This means, as Romans 6:11-12 points out, that we are now dead to sin. Sin no longer reigns in our mortal bodies.  We no longer have to obey it’s passions.

Application:

Are you obeying the passions of sin? Where does sin still have control over you?  Confess these sins to God in prayer. The next step would be to confess this sin to another believer that you trust. Maybe someone in a small group with you, a friend, or a family member.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Romans 7-8.

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10/31/18 “Saved By Grace”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 3-4.

Highlighted Verse(s): 

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the prophet bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.  There is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” Romans 3:21-24

Explanation:

On October 31 most people are focused on candy and dressing up.  But October 31 is memorable for another reason. On October 23, 1515 Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five thesis on the door of a church. This led to a debate culminating in the Protestant Reformation.  Today is not only Halloween, it’s Reformation Day. On of Luther’s main points was that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone and that works are a result of salvation, not how you earn salvation.  Luther was led by God to stand up against the false teaching that your works will lead to salvation in 1515. This is still something that we struggle with deep in our hearts.  And it was something that the Jews struggled with when Paul wrote Romans.

Salvation is by grace alone through faith resulting in works.  Not the other way around.

In the highlighted verses for today I’m sure you recognized Romans 3:23, but the surrounding verses are just as important.  3:21-22 tells us the at the righteousness of God is seen apart from the law.  The righteousness of God has been revealed in Jesus Christ.  This doesn’t demote the law or God’s Word, it elevates Jesus Christ.  Only after making this truth claim does Paul write Romans 3:23-24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Application:

Read Romans 3:21-24 and thank the Lord for saving you from your sins.

Are you struggling right now with trying to earn or keep your salvation through doing good deeds (good works)?  Confess this to Jesus and seek freedom in Him.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Romans 5-6.

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10/30/18 “Living Unashamed”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 1-2; Acts 20:1-3.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” Romans 1:15-17

Explanation:

This year I was able to cross something off of my bucket list. I was an official, legit, DJ. I’ll never forget that experience, or the eagerness I felt to do this after I was asked.  You know the feeling of being eager too.  Paul says that he is eager to preach the gospel (Rom. 1:15).  He is not ashamed of the gospel because he is living by faith.

We become ashamed of the gospel when we choose to live by sight, not faith. 

The main point of Romans 1-2 is the inability to deny sin in our life and the need for the gospel in our life. Sin is ultimately idolatry – the worship of the creation rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25).  My pastor, in his sermon on Sunday, said it this way:”you don’t have to create an idol to have one.  All you have to do is honor the creation above the creator.”

Sin brings shame and takes away our eagerness to live and share the gospel. 

These chapters tell us that apart from Christ we are foolish, ungodly, unrighteous, dishonoring to God, ungrateful to God, futile in our thinking, and have darkened hearts.  It says that we exchange truth for a lie.  It says that God gives us up to our dishonorable passions and debased minds. In sin we don’t acknowledge God and are filled with unrighteousness (see the list in Romans 1:28-31).  But, these chapters also tell us about the character of God and how he draws us to Himself and repentance.  It says we have received grace and peace.  It says that the gospel is the power of God for salvation and the righteousness of God is revealed to us.  It says that God makes Himself known to us and that His kindness leads us to repentance.

When we elevate the Creator above the creation, and  pursue Him instead of sin,  we will be eager to live in and share the gospel with others.  We will live unashamed.  The opposite is true as well. When we elevate the creation above the Creator and living in sinful idolatry we live in shame.

Application:

Examine your own life. Are you living in sing and thus ashamed of the gospel? Take a minute to confess sin and seek forgiveness.

Thank the Lord for His grace and peace to you.

Who can you share the gospel with this week?  Begin to pray for them and for that opportunity.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Romans 3-4.

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