Monday, October 24, 2011

Romans 1:6-7 part 1

"...including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints" (rom 1:6-7)

This sermon was the first of a two part series on these verses. It focuses on the word called.

When I think about the fact that I have been given faith to love Jesus and believe the gospel, while so many others hear and hate it and many more others never hear it at all... well, my gut reaction is to think it's not fair. But if that's as far as I go, I really don't understand the vileness of sin or how gracious the gospel is.

God doesn't call someone based on what they deserve. I don't deserve to be called of God. You don't deserve to be called of God. What you and I, and everyone else, deserve is hell. Forever. Period.

If he calls someone, it is undeserved. It is free grace. The fact that God calls some undeserving people does not oblige him to call everyone. And it isn't unjust that he doesn't. It IS incredibly merciful and gracious that he calls anyone.

I think a quote from Piper in this sermon really sums it up:

"All condemnation from God is just and all salvation from God is gracious. Nobody can raise any complaint, whatsoever. That's how bad we are. If you don't get that you don't get sin yet."

To hear the sermon:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Romans 1:5

"(Jesus Christ our Lord) 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" (rom 1:5)

God gives us the grace to bring about obedience.

Remember what Paul was doing when God apprehended him and completely changed his life? He was on the way to imprison and murder the saints... God didn't set Paul apart as an apostle because Paul was 'on the right track' or because he was 'a good guy'. God set Paul apart before he was even born (gal 1:15) and saved him in the midst of his murderous trek, to show us that it has nothing to do with Paul and everything to do with God. God gave the grace to Paul to bring about his obedience. God gives the grace to bring about my obedience and yours.

It is for the sake of his name and his glory.

The phrase for the sake of his name among the nations puts off some people. God is clearly making it all about himself. He's self-promoting and reveling in his own glory. It seems wrong to self-promote- and it is for me and you. But it isn't for God. It is absolutely the best, most appropriate and most loving thing he can do.

"For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (rom 10:13)
If it is by his name that we are saved, it is loving for him to make it known.

"...we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (rom 5:2)
A christian's hope is the glory of God. Seeing his glory is the consummation of our salvation. We will see him as he is, in his glory. We will revel in it and be satisfied.

Our longings are for God's glory. The goal of God's grace to us is his own glory. It is absolutely loving to us for him to be all about his own glory.

To hear the sermon:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Romans 1:1-4

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our lord..." (rom 1:1-4)

Romans 1:2-4 is essentially an unpacking of the phrase "the gospel of God" from verse 1. I think at the center of these verses is Jesus, shown in the phrase "concerning his Son". The gospel of God is all about Jesus, after all!

Piper points out that it is very important to understand two main things about Jesus, lest we go astray.

1. Jesus existed before he came as a man.
Piper brings up Romans 8:3 "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh..." By God sending Jesus in the likeness of flesh it implies that Jesus existed before he was sent.
But this is all over the bible! I immediately thought of verses like Colossians 1:16 which says things like: "For by him all things were created" and "all things were created through him and for him". And John 1:1-18, which also says that Jesus was in the beginning, the creator, and that he became flesh.

2. Jesus is God.
Colossians 2:9 says plainly that "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."
These two things, that Jesus existed before he came as a man and that he is God, are things I believe wholeheartedly. But when I step back and let them sink in, let my mind run wild with the implications, it is hard to swallow intellectually. To think that God would come down as a man, experience all the pains and heartache of human life, that he would be executed by the very people he created, FOR those people, and that he would raise up from the dead... it's just wild. What's more is that it was on purpose. It was his plan to show me how good he is and to save me. He didn't have to do it, he didn't owe me or anyone. After all he is God! This is the gospel. Jesus is the center of it and it is good news.

To hear the sermon:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Romans 1:1

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God" (rom 1:1)

After listening to the very first sermon in this series, I am realizing how in depth it is going to be. 40 minutes on 1 verse! It's so easy to read a verse like Romans 1:1 and brush over it, wanting to get into the 'meat' of the book, chapter or whatever. What is amazing to me is that there IS 'meat' in this introductory verse.

As much as this verse seems as though it's about Paul and his identity, it isn't! Who does Paul belong to? Who called Paul to be an apostle? Who set him apart for the gospel?


Saul was on mission to persecute the saints when Jesus appeared to him on Damascus road. He was looking to imprison and kill Jesus' followers, not become one. Paul's pointing out here in 1:1 that it's all about God. God bought him, called him and set him apart. None of it was his own doing. God made the difference in Paul's life.

I agree with Piper (and Paul) that the big question in life isn't "who am I?" Rather, it's "whose am I?"

To hear the sermon:

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Goal and Why

The Goal: Listen and blog through all 225 sermons in John Piper's Romans series and memorize key passages.

Being a busy wife and mom, I find it difficult to have regular devotions. However, more than any other time in my life I am seeing that it is absolutely necessary for my spiritual health and sanity. The way I can know Jesus, that I might love him more, is through his good word. But I need help! I came up with this project to help me develop my devotional life. I believe it will help in three ways:

1. By listening to an in depth sermon series I will get the benefit of being in the scriptures every day and will not be overwhelmed or discouraged with trying to go at it alone.
2. By blogging through it, I will be thinking through the text again, looking into questions I have, and making connections to other parts of scripture and my own life. I will also have accountability to keep it up!
3. By memorizing certain key passages I will 'take' even more of God's truth from Romans with me.

Why Romans? And why Piper's series?

The book of Romans is incredibly rich with gospel truth. There are portions so straight forward that even my young children can understand, yet it's also so profound you could study it a lifetime and still have more to learn. I have wanted to study Romans for a long time, but haven't. This is the perfect opportunity!

There are a couple reasons I will be using John Piper's preaching series through Romans. Firstly, he is our pastor and I know that his teaching is sound. Secondly, I wanted a series that was in depth- with over 200 sermons through the text it's just what I was looking for. Lastly, all of the sermons are online at and available to anyone who wants to listen or be part of my journey.

Let it begin!